Thursday, June 13, 2013

Introducing: Miss. Ethel Sludge......Sepia Saturday 181

This photo is the Sepia Saturday prompt this week. We bloggers try to follow the theme, in some vague way, as a seed in our thoughts. Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. Click here to learn more.

All about Miss. Ethel Sludge and family.

I have seen this daguerreotype before today.........This charming image of Ethel Sludge “Oil-Eyes-Ethel”, one of the most famous of the early Texan oil heiresses.

 Readers will surely know that she was the great-great Aunt of........ 

.....the delightful Pamela Ewing.
(Note: Pam is wearing her great-great aunt's earings)

I let my train of thought wander.....

...actually its a through train,
but its all Google could come up with.

It set me reminiscing................... you remember the 80s when we watched TV in the evenings?

I wondered...............

....was J.R. a sweet natured man? No hang-ups?

After all.............

....he looked it sometimes.

Or was he..........

....really like Narcissus?
(What Narcissus Really Saw, after Caravannio)

With fear I recalled......


.........a person who gave me a considerable email bashing a couple of weeks ago, and which through my own silly fault I compounded by bothering to reply. I had to wonder why she was so bothered to try to offend me, and then go on to lecture me as if she was a professional tutor and I was some poor little lad sent to her to improve my social skills. You know the type of person..."I'm a very busy person..."...implying that the rest of us are lazy thick old toads.

Me being defragmented.

....she did teach me one good lesson (actually I already knew it but am always tempted to forget):

DO NOT  reply to a rude or sarcastic email.

and although I did not advise her so, I will ask you now:

“Please don’t send emails to me when you have had a few drinks” (especially if it’s still 10am your time !)

Wondering if JR and my attacker shared a trait.....

.......I Googled “Self importance”  It seemed seemed a good idea. A sort of on-line health check. Was it me who had a problem, or the person who digitally hit me? Which of us had a chip on our shoulder? Why was I so megabitten by her? Why was she such a Tera-RAM?

I discovered the problem of self importance really exists as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD.

I also have to say, honestly, that it made most interesting reading on Wikipedia. I was able to reflect on all and many spats I have had with people over time, face to face, or in correspondence, and wonder if I, he/she, or both of us were the sufferers. But I will be the judge of that, and I’m not going to share the judgment with you !

The more worrying thing.... that researchers have suggested  that the incidence of NPD has more than doubled in the US in the prior 10 years, and that 1 in 16 of the population have experienced NPD. (One has to assume that such conclusions might  be applied to similar economies and western cultures, so this is not a dig at US Sepians!).

They have PH.D.s, they must be smart...

 It has been suggested that the cause of this may be social networking online......

.........if its true, we are all on the slippery path. Beware!

Thank you Oil-Eyes-Ethel.....for enabling my travel down this interesting route.

Ethel Sludge died in Devon, England, in 1945.
She never returned to Texas.

Ethel Sludge.....R.I.P.
(simulation image of her now hidden grave)

The End


All my life I have wanted to know Ethel Sludge better. 

When I was a six year old (1956 say) we used to go and visit my great uncle and aunt who lived on Beesands, a quite remote village and beach in Devon. They lived in a nice house, Sunnydale, conveniently converted during WWII by the US Army into a concrete pill-box, and very much still containing many tons of concrete that Uncle Percy never did chip away by the time he died.

Beesands, early 1900s. Sunnydale, the house at the farthest end of the beach., by the quarry.
(Own card)

The beach was adjacent to, and operationally part of, the next beach Slapton Sands, which was in 1944 part of the site of the ill-fated Exercise Tiger. and Exercise Fabius. These were exercises practicing the forthcoming Normandy Landings by elements of the 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division (United States).

Torcross and Slapton Sands.
A postcard by J Salmon Ltd, circa 1920s, from an original water colour drawing by A.R.Quinton
(Own Collection)

Behind Beesands there was a sign by a patch of derelict farmland: "Ethyl Sludge is buried here" and as we passed I always asked my Dad who Ethel Sludge was. I suppose it amused my parents. Eventually I got the correct message, but to this day I always think of dear Ethel when I recall Devon.

Presumably it was a dumping ground created when the US military emptied their fuel supplies and sediments as they cleared the area after the war, ready to hand back to the evacuated population.


  1. Don't even get me started on "the age of entitlement." I'll stick to a mindless comment about "Dallas." I loved that show. All that power, greed, lust -- now we get that nightly with reality tv.

  2. A celever play on words and my, how your mind does wander on its own train of thought - all from one little sepia prompt. I know Slapton well and am aware of its history, but those pictures of the beaches and the old 1900 one of Beesands are really interesting.

  3. It's hard not to respond in some way to such correspondence, but I think you're right - best to let it go. I've seen that postcard of Beesands before, of course, but I like it. The later one of Torcross and Slapton Sands isn't nearly as appealing, somehow.

  4. Quite a spot to be buried in. NPD - guess the name evolves with the years. History indeed repeats itself.


  5. the narcissism epidemic is a bad thing ?:)

  6. Perhaps Ethel had indulged in too much Ethyl Alcohol! Slapton Sands - a tragic place.

  7. My television was stolen in 1978. We didn't have another until well into the 1990s. So, I missed JR and evening television. Trying to miss the narcissism epidemic too, although in the world of blogging, everything does come back to me.

  8. Oh this was very delightful! I am a bit sad that J.R. aka Larry died in the show and in real life, he was a fine actor! Did you ever see him in the old show that he actually aired in before Dallas, I Dream of Jeannie? I think my fondness for Larry began then. Here is a link, I just know you'll enjoy it!

    1. Oh...I never thought of him being in comedy !! No...that show did not reach the UK. I suppose he was funny in Dallas, but you were not supposed to laugh !!

  9. Delightful!! And I do love how your train of thought does run amok!!

  10. What a charming romp through history and your mind!

  11. Enjoyed it; remembered Dallas, how could we watch this glamour and not become narcissistic which we did anyway from time to time. Great post about "Ethyl".

  12. A very entertaining post.

    I think the best you can do with the NPD folks is either cut them off at the knees by preventing them from commenting or giving it right back at them. I had one a few months back who I eventually shut the door in his face. He was a pathetic old fellow who believed the nonsense that came out of his mouth was somehow oh so important to the rest of us. I realized he was irritating like a wasp. I squashed him and shut the door.

    Hagman in real life was a very wonderful and eccentric person. He lived in a marvelous house that was off the grid. But then he had the money to be off the grid, the rest of us can only dream of this.

  13. So, when my husband was just a wee boy of 14 or so, he and his buddy found Dallas on afternoon TV re runs. They were fascinated and addicted to the show! Well, as syndication works, they channel hadn't bothered to buy the rights to air the last season, and so just started over at the beginning - it was several seasons long. There the intrepid duo were left with a cliffhanger to stymie almost any 14 year old boy. But, these were very clever boys. They started calling random phone numbers and asking people if they knew how the show ended, until finally a really nice (i.e. bored) housewife gave them a recap of the final season, and they were able to return to their normal lives. True story.

    1. Well...I can't remember how it ended now !! I hear there is a new re-make show, but nobody has bought it for the UK. I expect its a flop.

  14. Very interesting where your "train of thought" took us. I also loved your use of the terms "megabitten" and "tera-RAM"