One Postcard Saturdays: New Year!

As this new year begins, I feel a large dimension of hope for both myself and our community at-large. It is my sincere hope that better times are in store for us all, that these current pandemic days will soon be in the rearview mirror.

Early on in this unfolding new year, I have a good deal of hope for making progress in my family research, especially in determining ties to my mother’s biological family. In addition, I hope to further my research on my paternal side, adding to my genealogical tree.

As for my blog writings, I hope to complete posts more often than I have in the past. The content focus of each writing may vary and probably will not go in a sequential order; however, I will put links to previous posts that are related in nature, as needed.

There are many stories I have yet to tell. There are so many things I have yet to learn.

Last time, I spoke of Grammy Alice (link posted below) and her travel journals. My plan is to cover some of these travel stories in upcoming posts. Also, I need to complete further research on her family tree and would like to share some of that on this blog.

If I should be so fortunate as to make a definite determination on my mother’s biological parents and family, I will be sharing that, as well.

There are many stories still harboring in the ancestral tree of my adoptive grandmother (Gra Gra). Recently, I read a statement from someone online that indicated the importance of telling the family stories on behalf of those like Gra Gra that have no blood offspring. After many years of research, I have uncovered a few untold stories and some of the passed-down stories I have yet to prove.

For today’s posting, I have chosen two different New Year greeting postcards. I believe both were given or sent to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper). The sender’s of these cards are not members of her family, but after a little research I have been able to correctly identify them and provide a limited amount of their family background.

My featured postcard is repeated below, it contains a verse on the front as follows:

Happy New Year.

This year, next year, every year

I wish you all of life’s good cheer.

This postcard was published by the Owen Card Publishing Co. (1915-1927), of Elmira, NY. They published greeting and holiday postcards. On the front of the card is series number 534B.

The card is signed as sent by Mr. and Mrs. Orestes T. Doe. There is no postmark on the card.

In 1897, Orestes T. Doe, of Franklin, Mass., was named as Trial Justice for Norfolk County. Born in Parsonfield, Maine, Orestes died on January 5th, 1930 at the age of 65. He had presided on the District Court level for 31 years. At the time of death, his residence was listed as 29 School St., in Franklin. He had been a graduate of Boston Law School and belonged to fraternities including the Masons and Odd Fellows. At one time he had served as a town clerk.

Orestes T. Doe was married to Mabel P. Dow and they had three sons: Kenneth, Robert and D.B. Doe.

Their son, Kenneth married Lila Winchester, of Rutland, Vermont, on August 12th, 1930. Lila was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Winchester. Lila had a sister named Ada. Kenneth died at age 81, on March 20, 1983, in Portland, Maine. At that time he was living at Gooserocks Beach, Kennebunkport but was listed as formerly living in Franklin, Mass. Kenneth and Lila had one daughter and two grandchildren.

With my limited research time spent, the only additional information I uncovered regarding the other sons of Orestes and Mabel were that they had all been residents of Franklin at one time and were all lawyers.

The second New Year greeting postcard for this blog posting is shown below. It has a verse on the front as follows:

I wish you all good fortune,

Which twelve long months may give;

With loyal friends to cheer you,–

And a long, long life to live!

A Happy New Year

This postcard was published by Stecher Litho Co. (1887-1936), it has a series number 1605A. It was postmarked December 29, 1916, from Milford, Mass. The card was sent to Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Hooper (Aunt Etta and her husband) and the sender was Mrs. L. L. Milliken.

After a little research, I have uncovered the sender as Mrs. Lloyd L. Milliken. Her maiden name was Mary Evelyn Cahoon and she married Lloyd on April 14th, 1904, in Taunton, Mass. She was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George P. Cahoon. Her father was the former superintendent of the Taunton Wire Nail Co.

Mary Milliken was prominent in social circles and had been a stenographer and had an office in the Crocker Building. Lloyd Milliken, at the time of marriage, was in charge of the Hartshorn Farm, on Dean Street, in Taunton.

My research found that there was a historic house located at 68 Dean St., in Taunton, originally built in 1798 for Abiezar Dean. In 1905, the house was purchased by George Hartshorn. It was placed on the US National Register of Historic Places in 1984, known as the Dean-Hartshorn House. In the current day, the home exists as a senior nursing facility.

So, my curiosity is somewhat cured to have learned a little bit about the senders of each of these two postcards. It also speaks to genealogy clues that might be found on old postal items such as postcards or letters.

Happy New Year!

Until next time…

Links to related posts:

Happy Birthday Grammy Alice!

Born 100 Years Ago: Mom

Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures

Sources:

Boston Globe, 07 October 1897. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Boston Globe, 12 December 1904. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Boston Globe, 06 January 1930. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Boston Globe, 21 March 1983. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Fall River Daily Globe, 18 April 1904. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Metropostcard. Publishers, metropostcard.com/metropcpublishers.html. Accessed 02 January 2021.

Rutland Daily Herald, 13 August 1930. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Wikipedia. Dean-Hartshorn House, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dean-hartshorn.house. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Happy Birthday Grammy Alice!

My paternal grandmother, Alice (Holden) Lindall “Grammy” was born on this day, December 28th, in 1901. She died on December 6th, 1985–just shy of her 84th birthday. She was married to James B. Lindall (1898-1972), also known as “Grampy”.

The picture of Grammy below was taken in 1975.

Below is a picture of Jim and Alice in 1919.

As I remember it, Grammy was never very idle. In the evenings, while sitting in her chair, her hands were always in motion with knitting or crocheting. She made all kinds of things with yarn: afghans by making squares and then lacing them together; covers for throw pillows, slipper socks, baby booties and blankets. One time she made me a beautiful purple poncho shawl, as seen in the (slightly blurry) picture below, my dad standing in back of me–I still have that shawl.

Grammy was also quite the seamstress, she made most all of her own clothes. She also took in mending, I remember people dropping off and picking up items she would repair or hem. Back in the early days, I can remember her using a vintage treadle sewing machine for quite some time before upgrading to a newer cabinet electric model. Also, I remember the day she sold it–must have been bittersweet for her.

When I was young, I can remember Grammy working full time which was not very common for women at that time. She worked for Leviton Mfg. in Warwick and retired in 1962. She was active in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) and I can remember she worked at the polls on Election Day.

When Christmas came around, we looked forward to Grammy’s individual homemade pork pies on Christmas Eve and her traditional plum pudding after dinner on Christmas (and usually on Thanksgiving, too). The plum pudding was made the year before and left to age for a year, served warm with “hard” sauce which was usually made by Auntie (sister to T. Wm. Watts). There was a recurring family joke for many years after Auntie fumbled with the brandy bottle one year, adding a bit too much to the sauce she made that time–she never lived that one down and it made for yearly laughs.

Every year on Christmas, Grammy would make an array of homemade candy, fudge, individual fruit cakes and cookies, everyone would get their own little parcel of goodies. Other times of year she would make special things like daffodil or angel food cake. So much work goes into things like that and how I miss them so.

Our Christmas gifts from Grammy and Grampy were always wrapped in the thin-style curling ribbon around both sides, usually soft-sided, no boxes. She would typically give each one a new sweatshirt or other items of need. I always had a red sweatshirt because I like wearing red coats–still do. My dad’s was usually the gray sweatshirt.

My family was big on fishing and the sweatshirts came in handy down by the water. During these fishing outings, I can remember that Grammy usually had her portable transistor radio tuned in to the Boston Red Sox game, she was a huge fan.

There was always a special candy dish upstairs at my grandparents with nice hard candies. My middle brother and I used to go back and forth with each other trying to figure out who was going to be the one to ask if we could have a piece of that candy. It seems that we always had to muster up the courage to ask–not sure why.

My grandparents had a dog named Lindy, shown below, I still remember her pretty well. She was a puppy of our dog Domino, the first dog that I remember in my family.

When traveling, Grammy liked to keep a journal as a record memory of the trip. Recently, I have found several of them. My plan would be to focus on some of these travel adventures in future writings. In addition, Grammy loved to take photos so I have a ton of them. She was very good about labeling the backs so most are easy to identify. The picture below is of my grandparents, taken in 1964, in New Hampshire.

Grammy was a daughter of John Holden (1865-1942) and Elizabeth (Wilde) Holden (1864-1938), shown in the photo below. Both of her parents were born in England. Alice had several siblings. Since I wanted to limit my focus today to this birthday introduction to Grammy Alice, I will explore more of her family tree in future writings.

John and Elizabeth Holden are buried in the Apponaug section of Warwick, RI. They were living in the Pontiac section prior to death. A partial photo of their headstone is shown here below.

Grammy grew up in Providence and at some point moved to Warwick where she remained the rest of her days, in various sections of the city. She and my grandfather never owned a home of their own. Although I am unsure of the exact timeframe, my grandparents and my dad lived in the Oakland Beach section of Warwick; it would have been during the 1920s and 1930s, prior to the 1938 Hurricane. Over the years, I have found items related to my dad’s school days that indicate he was living in Oakland Beach during part of his school years, at least. They moved from there to the Pontiac section.

Grammy Alice in 1959

My featured postcard image, which is also shown below, is of the King’s Daughters Cottage, in Oakland Beach, RI; also known as the Emily L. Chace Memorial Home. This postcard was from about 1910 and was published by the B.Y. & Co., made in Germany. I chose this image because of the Oakland Beach tie in. After a brief search, I was not able to find anything of substance to share regarding this house. Since I did not want to focus too much time and attention on that today, it is possible that I may find something of interest to share in the future; if so, I will make reference back to this postcard at that time.

After the end of World War II, my grandparents moved to the Greenwood section of Warwick, to a second floor apartment. My parents moved in to the first floor apartment soon after they married. So, I grew up with my grandparents living upstairs until I was in about 6th grade when they moved into the brand new senior housing (at that time) West Shore Terrace, over on West Shore Road–they were among the first residents.

Grammy was very active at the Terrace and became president for a while of their association. After Grampy died in 1972, she was able to travel more. She became a coordinator for many senior trips which I believe also earned her a free spot if she could recruit enough to fill the bus or plane. One of her trips was to Hawaii and the picture below was taken on that trip.

In the near future, my hope is to explore some of her trip journals here in my blog posts and also to explore more of her family tree.

In the meantime, I am sending out this birthday remembrance with a few memories. She is greatly missed.

Until next time…

Thanksgiving Greetings: Lionel and Bertha!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

I am grateful for the memories of holidays past and glad that I am able to share my family stories with you, including the one that follows. In today’s blog, I share a Thanksgiving Greetings postcard that was sent by Gra Gra (Bertha) and her brother Lionel to their grandmother (Grandma Julia), in Plainville, Mass.

The publisher of this postcard is not clearly identified, so I am not sure on that but it was postmarked in 1909 from Riverpoint (West Warwick), R.I. At the time this card was sent, Bertha would have been 18 years old and Lionel age 17. To me, it looks like Lionel’s handwriting on the card.

His handwritten message reads:

Love from your two big grandchildren. Lionel & Bertha.

Julia Ann Moore James (1836-1914) was a nurse as shown in the picture below. I have not yet identified who the other lady might be, whether it was a co-worker or a family member, I am not certain at this time.

Bertha Lillian (1891-1983) and Lionel Henry (1892-1969) were two of five children born to George Lang Parkhurst James (1869-1926). In addition to Bertha and Lionel, their sibling Howard Allan James (1894-1963) was the third child born to Martha Ella Carr James Cady (1873-1920). George and Martha were divorced in 1894. Since Martha had limited means, the two older children were placed with George and the baby Howard was allowed to remain with his mother.

The below pictures are identified, as follows: the top larger block is Bertha at 8 years old and is the earliest picture of her that I have found to this point, she is also in the picture just to the right of that at age 16 with the hair bow; the lady with the bangs is Martha and George next to her with Julia on the right which is a tin-type photo. I will show some pictures of Lionel further on in this story as I do not readily have a young picture of him.

George remarried to Susan Mary Henrich (1876-1956) and they had two sons together: Vincent Charles James (1901-1997) and Lester Hill James (1905-1996). Susan and the two younger boys are pictured below.

Bertha and Lionel remained close throughout their lives and he used to come to her house to help with things like shoveling snow or little handy tasks that needed tending to. Below is a picture of him after a winter snowstorm standing next to his car.

In my last blog, I mentioned about the summer cottage we had when I was young and we frequently had visitors including Gra Gra and Uncle Lionel. There is a picture below with myself, my brothers, my parents (my dad is hardly visible standing in back) and Bertha and Lionel. In my last blog, I mentioned about the back addition to the cottage and I thought it was about 1968 but this picture is from 1966 and I can see that the addition is already on the back by this point, so it was at least started by 1966.

In my last blog, I also mentioned a swimming area, in the Charlestown Beach area, called “Danger Deep” located at the shack. Below is a picture of Uncle Lionel swimming with us there. I am the blonde-headed kid in the water on the left side of the picture.

Although I am not able to gather with my children and grandchildren on this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful to spend some time sharing my family memories with you. There are previous blogs that I have written that tie into the family members listed here today and I will make a list of those links below.

Uncle Lionel military service: Uncle Lionel: Fort Greble, RI; Vet of WWI

Other Links: Turkey Day Memories

Thanks Mom for the Effort!

A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory

Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time…

Thanks Mom for the Effort!

In my last blog post, I focused on my mom’s background in recognition of 100 years since her birth. Today, I continue her story presented mostly from my own memories.

While preparing these memories, I have found the one thing that really stands out to me is just how much EFFORT my mom put into everything she did. Hopefully, we did not take this effort too much for granted; however, I am sure there could have been greater appreciation shown along the way.

You may read the first piece that I wrote about my mom via the following link: Born 100 Years Ago: Mom.

In that piece, I mentioned that it now seems that she was adopted–something I learned about only two years ago. My research still has a long way to go and there have been no easy answers, to this point, even with studying my DNA matches. My featured postcard may provide just a little clue about that adoption. So, I am starting this writing with a focus on the postcard followed by a few details “before my time”. My own early memories will follow and will be separated into two segments: School Months (and General Memories) and then Summer Months.

Beacon Oyster Co. Postcard

My featured postcard was sent by Gra Gra (Bertha James Watts) to her brother Howard James, in Riverpoint (West Warwick), Rhode Island. The “clue” with this card is the postmark (shown below), it is dated Aug. 9, 1920 from Wickford, (North Kingstown), RI. Well, my mom was born Aug. 28, 1920 which would have been just a couple of weeks later. Gra Gra was not very adventurous, she was away from home very rarely. Even though Wickford is not far from where she lived, her written message indicates that she had been staying down that way. It does not appear to be just a day trip. I cannot imagine that she would have been staying there, over the course of multiple days, if she was that close to giving birth.

The message on the card reads: “I am having a wonderful time. I won’t want to settle down to housework when I get home. No more meals. Sister Bert”.

The image on the postcard is of the Beacon Oyster Co., Wickford, RI, which was located at the end of Pleasant Street. In the current day, there is still a boat yard and marina located there. In the past, there was Oyster farming in Wickford, between 1886 and 1939. At that point, Narragansett Bay was dredged for the installation of the Quonset Naval Base.

This postcard was published by Blanchard, Young & Co., Providence, RI; Made in Germany; there is a number on the front, C 1510.

Parents Wedding

As noted in my previous writing, my parents, Earl F. Lindall (1921-1997) and Marian L. Watts (1920-1999) were married on June 24, 1948.

They lived for a short time on Clyde Street, in West Warwick, then moved to an apartment in Warwick.

Brother Mark

My oldest brother, Mark is shown in the pictures above. He was born on Nov. 28, 1949–many years his birthday actually fell on the Thanksgiving holiday. He passed away in 2000, much too early in life–from cancer.

Brother Keith

My brother Keith on mom’s lap and Mark on the right.

Mark was the only child for five years until my brother Keith was born.

I Come Along

I would follow Keith, three years later–the baby of the family.

Charlestown Begins

In 1953, my parents bought their first parcel of land in Charlestown, RI–two 25’x100′ lots. This parcel was about a mile from the beach, as they were hoping to keep it safe from any hurricane damage. Soon after purchasing the land, they began to hand-build the front section of the cottage, with help from my paternal grandparents. They purchased two more lots in 1959, making the site a total of 100’x100′.

One side of that original one-room cottage was used for sleeping and the other side was used as the kitchen and dining area. The interior walls were unfinished and had no insulation at that time. The cottage was supported by handmade cement piers, built the old-fashioned way with sifting of sand and gravel, etc.

As you will see, this cottage was the centerpiece of our lives. We spent every single summer there and my memories are really separated between the summer memories, in Charlestown, and the school year memories, in Warwick.

School Months and General Memories

During the school months, we resided in a two-family home, in the Greenwood section of Warwick, on Route 5. My paternal grandparents lived in the apartment above us. My parents resided there almost 25 years, until the owner sold the property in 1974. My grandparents had lived there a bit longer than that but they had moved into elderly housing a couple of years prior to the owner selling.

Picture taken in my grandparents apartment upstairs. Easter.

My parents never owned a brand-new car. For many years, we were a one-car family. Unlike some families, however, my mom was able to drive. The farthest back I can remember, we had a 1950s Oldsmobile 88 (not sure of the exact year)–it was gray. My oldest “life” memory really is when I used to ride in my car seat in that car. My little seat was the vintage variety that had metal pieces that looped over the seat and I had a little steering wheel with the little round beep horn in the middle. This car was replaced in 1968 with a blue station wagon; it was a 1964 Olds Dynamic 88, with the extra seat that opened up in the back section.

The picture below is of the first Oldsmobile that I remember, with my mom and I standing beside it.

When I was real young I can remember we had an old wringer washer. We had a very small and narrow kitchen in the apartment and I can still envision my mom having to pull the washer over to the sink to hook it up to the water. I can remember seeing the clothes running through the wringer as it pressed the water out of the clothes. We did not have a dryer–my mom never had one. She used to hang the clothes outside on the line, even in the real cold weather–it was funny when they froze, but I am not sure my mom was laughing. Sometimes she used wooden racks for some things to dry.

Until I was about five years old, my dad worked as a mechanic at the garage next door. He did not make much money in those days. Once he began working at Leesona he was earning better and he was able to help make my mom’s life a bit easier by buying her a newer style washing machine and dishwasher. I believe he bought them on installment payments.

My mom was a dog fan. From looking at old pictures, she seemed to have a dog during most of her younger years. She used to mention different ones from time to time.

During our family years, I remember three different dogs. During my youngest years we had Domino, I think she was a border collie mix of some kind. She is in the picture below with my parents and brothers. I guess Domino had one set of puppies, as shown below, and my grandparents upstairs took one of the puppies, they named her Lindy. I can still remember Lindy, she is shown in the puppy photo, as well as, one by herself. She was mostly all white with a couple of black patches. I was about 5 or 6 when Domino died, which I can still remember. We had a little funeral for her.

Some time later, we got another dog, named Shadow–shown in the picture below. My mom brought her home from the Providence Animal Rescue. I still remember that day. Shadow was all black with long fur, thought to be an English Setter mix. She was a good watch dog, was very protective and did not like seeing people in any kind of uniform.

My parents last dog was Dixie, I think that I was in high school by the time we got her. My middle brother and I brought her home after calling my mom for permission. There was a man outside of the Grant’s Dept. store in Westerly that was giving away free puppies. That was back in the day when it was a common thing to do. Dixie was the greatest dog, she was a border collie/springer spaniel mix–so she was medium sized.

My mom and Dixie are in the picture above in at Perry’s cabins, in New Hampshire, taken about 1979 or so. After Dixie passed away at a very old age, my dad said no more dogs. I think it was too hard for him to see them go.

In my family, food was a big deal. My mom was a very good homestyle cook making sure to prepare well-balanced meals. How I miss so many of things she made, they just don’t seem to taste the same when I make them. We were expected to eat what was prepared and put in front of us, all of it. I was usually the last one left at the table–a real slow poke. There was usually some kind of dessert for a bit later, but not if you did not finish your meal.

We mainly ate seafood during the summer but the rest of the year my mom prepared a wide range of meat items. My parents were very particular about the quality of meat we ate and they purchased from small local markets.

When I was very young, there was a small market in Riverpoint (West Warwick) where we purchased meat. It was on the corner of the side street in back of the now Horgan Elementary School. Further down that side street was a grain feed place where we used to buy cracked corn for our ducks and the green pellets for the rabbits–we had several. In the current time, that grain store building serves as the public works garage for the town. The small building where the market was is still there and last I knew it was a real estate office.

I can remember going to that corner market on Friday mornings when I was about five; my dad was working second shift by about that time at Leesona. The nice man that worked at the market used to give me treats sometimes from the penny candy section and one time he gave me some Starburst candy. I started choking on one of those candies. I never forgot that experience and to this day I prefer to go out of my way not to have any Starbursts.

After the Riverpoint market closed, I remember there was a place in the Crompton section of town (West Warwick) where my parents would buy meat from, it was on the eastern side of the road. Eventually, that market also closed, the building remains standing and has been occupied off and on over the years. Just recently, it re-opened as a seafood market.

My mom was fairly well known, at church (Riverpoint Cong’l), for cooking the johnnycakes at the May Breakfast and for serving as “head chef” and planner for the annual roast pork dinners. Both of my parents served at these events for many years and did most of the food ordering, which was primarily done via the local original Jerry’s Market operation.

When I was a little older, my mom was also the church secretary for many years, earning just a small monthly stipend. I can remember helping with the monthly newsletter getting them ready for the mail, sorting them by zip code and putting elastic bands around the bundles.

Another talent my mom had was sewing. Up until about junior high, she made all my school clothes–many dresses and one pair of slacks that I can remember. One dress my mom made had a large square bib-type piece, she had taken the time to embroider on that piece. Although not totally certain, my memory thinks it was bluebirds that she embroidered.

Back in my early school years, we had a dress code and girls were required to wear dresses or skirts to school. In the winter we were allowed to wear knit leggings underneath to help keep warm. I was in 7th grade by the time they relaxed the dress code and I was able to wear pants to school for the first time–my mom had made those, too.

My mom’s good cooking extended into making great dessert items. When I was a little older but I think before junior high, my mom would give me baking lessons after school. She picked a certain day per week and for quite a while on that day every week we would work on a baking project. She taught me how to follow recipes and how to measure, etc.

As I mentioned in my previous piece, my mom was not one to sit idle. She often had some type of creative project going. Sometimes it would be something she would work on alone, like a paint-by-number set and other times it was she and I making something together. One of the projects we worked on several times was making firestarters to give as gifts. We would save scallop shells and use them as molds, melt down broken up crayons and put the wax in the shell until it set. After the wax piece set, they were removed from the shell and wrapped inside wax paper with ends twisted. When used as a firestarter it burns slowly and in colors.

Another project we would make was pincushions. We would use scallop shells secured with plaster of paris and have some some kind of cloth (maybe felt?) holding something inside that would allow for the pins–I think maybe sand. I cannot remember the exact details but I can still picture them.

My mom taught me things like crocheting, knitting, embroidery, etc. It seems we always had projects of some kind going on. I have not kept up those talents but I know if I put my mind to it that I could regain that ability with some tutorials.

In later years, she enjoyed painting on fabric and making sequin ornaments that pinned to Styrofoam shapes.

A memory came back to me recently about when my mom used to take orders for Christmas cards for several years. I guess since we are in that season it made me think about it. This was during my early years, I can remember she had these big sample books each year from whatever the company was she was representing. People would give her orders for their personalized cards as they would come with their names pre-printed. I would assume this was my mom’s way of making some money to use toward Christmas gifts.

Christmas 1965 in our Warwick apartment.

Speaking of Christmas, my mom had a special “clock” ornament that she held very dear. I really don’t know the story behind it or at least I do not remember it. I have kept that ornament all these years and still make sure it gets on the tree each year even though it is rather fragile.

Most years, my mom just could not wait for the summer close of school. If we had an extra school day that fell on a Monday, we never went that last day. The only year it really made me feel bad was the year I missed my 6th grade last-day-of-school party. My mom would pack us up and pack the ducks and rabbits in a trailer and drive us down to the cottage, reversing the process the day after Labor Day; which was the day before school would start again.

Summer Months

During the summer months, my mom and us three kids would spend the entire summer at the cottage, in Charlestown. She just loved it there, it was her place of solace. My dad would stay up at our apartment in Warwick during the week so he could be closer to work and then he would come down to the cottage on weekends. In addition, he always had the last week of July and the first week in August off for vacation time. I think his plant was shut-down during that time every year. So, we only had access to the vehicle on weekends.

Once we made that summer change-over, during the weekdays we had to walk everywhere not having a car. Someone would typically walk the mile, or so, to the post office in the morning. The mail was usually sorted by 10am. We had our mail sent via General Delivery in the old days which meant we had to ask at the window if we had any mail and we had to make it before 12noon or the window would close for lunch. At some point, we finally got a post office box instead of using General Delivery. The old post office building was originally located in the building where Kingston Pizza is now. I cannot remember the year that the new post office was built, further down the road, but I want to say it was the early 1980s.

As kids, most summer afternoons we walked to the beach with mom pulling along a wagon with our gear. At times, someone would give us a ride along the way. Until we were a bit older, my mom would commonly take us swimming in the pond area located just before the bridge going over toward the ocean. There is a newer bridge there now. This pond section was known as the “Shack” to many locals, because of the red shack that served snacks. That building is still there serving food in the summer but it is no longer painted red. I also remember some of us calling that swimming area “Danger Deep” because it had a very sharp drop-off–one step too far and it went over your head. As far as I know, no one actually swims in that pond area anymore. There used to be a small beach section there. However, in the current day the water level is much much higher and has pretty well swallowed up that sandy beach==perhaps from Global Warming. There is still a marina section with many boats and docks.

When I was a kid, I can remember walking home from those afternoons at the beach and falling asleep as I walked. And, I kept walking–not sure how I could do that but I still remember it–happened every time. I assume, my mom must have guided me along the way so I did not drift out into the road.

At bedtime, after all the walking and taking in all that salt air, I used to fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow. I can remember when mom would turn out the gas light, its mantle would glow for a bit. I can remember she had a set of plastic drinking cups that used to glow in the dark, I could always see them up on the kitchen shelf from my pillow.

At that pond area by the Shack is where my dad kept his boat in the early days. At first we only had a “skiff”–a row boat. Then we had an old wooden boat with a motor for many years, named the “Mar-Dot”. On the weekends, our family spent alot of time out on the pond. We caught lots of fish–mostly flat fish. We went out to the sandbar areas and my parents raked quahogs. Us kids would mostly play about the sandbar area. I always had an old pair of sneakers to wear for these trips, so if there was a razor clam or horseshoe crab I would have some protection on my feet. In the fall, when the water was cooler my parents would go after scallops and oysters. We used to be able to catch blue crabs down at the old bridge, near the Shack. Throughout those summer months, we ate almost exclusively from the sea.

Mom and I with boat “Mar-Dot”. Dad is in the boat.

The one thing I really struggled to eat was my mom’s homemade oyster stew. I am sure it was wonderful to those that actually like oysters. For many years, I was expected to stay at the table until it was gone–I dreaded every spoonful. It seemed to be very well-liked by everyone but me. Finally, at some point in my early teens, my mom gave in and let me have something like peanut butter and jelly, or similar, whenever she made the oyster stew. It was such a relief–not a moment too soon.

Often, my mom would make a huge kettle of “clam” chowder, especially if family visitors were coming down to the cottage. She usually used either large sea clams (from Rathbone’s Fish Market) or the larger quahogs my parents dug for themselves (the smaller, more tender quahogs were steamed and dipped in melted butter). We used to have an old enamel-topped table out in the side yard at the cottage, under the old choke-cherry tree. She would clamp the grinder to the edge of the table and grind up the clams (after having shucked them all by hand, prying them all open with the special knife needed). This grinding process would also create plenty of clam juice to use in the broth of the chowder. You can imagine things got a bit messy which is why mom developed this outdoor system. In addition to the clams, there were plenty of potatoes that needed to be pared and cut for adding to the chowder. If my dad was around at the time the chowder (or dinner) was being made, he would help with prepping the veggies.

My mom would sometimes paint the sea clam shells for gifts or to sell. They were handy to hold rings or a watch while washing dishes, etc. One of the shells she painted is pictured below.

At times, my mom would get creative with a new variety of seafood. My dad and Uncle Richard used to go night fishing on the beach and often caught sandsharks, also known as dogfish. For a while they used to release them back into the water, but at some point they discovered they were okay eating fish. Unlike many other species, the sandsharks don’t have a ton of tiny bones to worry about, they just have that spine down the back so they were easy to clean and my mom figured out ways to best cook them.

One of my mom’s unique specialties was “seaweed pudding”. How I wish that I had written down the recipe and kept it in a safe place. It may be among some of her old recipes that I still have but having the time to comb through them is something else again. Sometimes the day after a storm, my mom would have us go beachcombing for her special seaweed. We would go down early, before people would arrive for the beach. This seaweed needs to be gathered while still nice and fluffy before it dries out in the sun. This particular seaweed is the one that is shaped into little fluffy white clumps. When we brought it home for her, it would be placed in a paper bag, lunch sized, and put in the frig to keep it moist. I remember when she made the pudding, she would boil up the seaweed then strain it out, so the flavor is developed but you don’t actually eat the pieces of seaweed. I think she used the unflavored gelatin packets so it would form into the pudding consistency. It really was delicious, tasted just like vanilla pudding but it was a little more special. I have no idea how she even discovered about making this pudding nor have I ever heard of anyone else making it. Again, I do not know the actual recipe which is a real shame.

I mentioned earlier about the choke-cherry tree, those small cherries had pits inside but my mom managed to make jam from those cherries. There were other choke-cherry trees nearby that she picked from, as well. She would cook the cherries down and run them thru a sieve to get the pulp out and discard the pits.

She would also make jams from beach plums and currents that would be picked locally, as well. She also made great tasting watermelon rind pickles.

Speaking of berries, my mom picked tons of blueberries in the summer. We used to sell them up at the top of the street to the people driving home from the beach. We had signs that were painted on old boards saying blueberries (or blackberries at times) and we would stand holding the signs so the people could see us. We always sold out. We would save the money raised toward family activities such as the fair or toward activities on my dad’s vacation time.

Another way we raised a little bit of money, in the summer, was to bring the wagon down to the beach and collect soda bottles that people left behind. Back in those days, the bottles were returnable for money. There was a downside, the only store that would cash in the bottles was Main’s General Store in Cross Mills which was a longer hike than usual for us.

Back in those early days, there were potato fields along the top end of Charlestown Beach Road, right near where the cottage was located. Each year, about the end of August, the big potato picker machines would run across the fields picking the potatoes. Once the pickers had gone through we were allowed to access the fields and collect the “leftovers”. My mom had us collecting loads of them. I think we had enough to last for a long time with her keeping them in cool storage.

During those summer months, when I was young, there was a local store in the Charlestown area called Brownings, run by Perry Browning. I remember walking there often, they had the largest selection of penny candy. After the store closed, that old building remained for many years but has since been demolished. It was located next to the present-day Mini-Super market.

After Brownings closed, there was a former marine boat place just down the road from it that was converted into a store called The Superette. It was run by Joe Tougas.

The Superette became my parents choice of meat market for many years, on a year-round basis, as we would spend most weekends at the cottage into my teen years. Joe would even save us produce scrap items for the ducks and rabbits, like the outer lettuce leaves. The ducks provided us with eggs that were generally twice the size of chicken eggs and sometimes we would get double yoker’s which were really big. My mom had kept a couple of the really big shells as keepsakes.

The Superette has been gone for many years now, we were very sorry to see it close. A local bank built on that particular site location and is still in operation.

In the backyard of the cottage, in the early days, we always had a very large garden. My mom would set up barrels at the outdoor corners of the house to catch rain water. We would fill-up old milk bottles with the water and place them upside down in the dirt next to the plants. The water slowly seeped through to the roots of the plants, helping to irrigate the garden.

Our summer cottage was very simple and for many years it was just the one large room, divided by a row of lumber studs–like an unfinished wall. In the early days, there was a very small bathroom with a chemical-type toilet. Around 1968, or so, there was an addition begun along the back side. The door that went to the old bathroom became the entry point to the hall of the addition. Around this timeframe, electricity was added. Prior to that time, there had been no electric service at the cottage. Instead there was a propane light affixed to the ceiling truss over the dining area and the cooking stove was also propane.

When I was very young the frig at the cottage was an actual “ice box”. My mom would have a milkman deliver the huge block of ice, along with our dairy products. I can still remember that, seeing those large tongs they used to haul the block of ice. A bit later, prior to the electricity installation, the ice box was replaced with a propane frig.

So, for many years, during the summer we had no television. My friends would ask how we could get through the summer without it, but we really did not miss it. My mom had a transistor radio and we used to listen to the stations from New York City and Long Island. We would also play board games or cards, especially if there was a rainy day.

The addition to the cottage that was started about 1968 was not the typical building addition. There was a place in Warwick Neck near Rocky Point, in Warwick, that had several old cottages that used to be rented out. They were selling off the cottages “to be moved”. My parents bought one, probably got it for a real good price. I can remember that “moving” process quite clearly even though I was only about 10 years old at the time. We had rented a big U-haul truck. The Warwick cottage was dismantled, literally piece by piece and each board was labeled. Then the pieces were shipped down to Charlestown with the U-Haul truck and offloaded.

The addition was “reconstructed” piece by piece. The flooring was new construction as was the roof joists, etc. The addition was three small bedrooms, the bathroom, closet and porch. The additional support piers were hand-constructed, just like the ones under the front room, and the cesspool was hand constructed.

As I mentioned above, it was at this time that we had electric installed for the first time. It started slowly though, with only lights in the kitchen at first and the rest was added over time (very slowly I might add) and then insulation was added to the house.

Picture taken at the cottage in 1970. I have saved the red shutters.

Beginning in 1974, after the apartment house in Warwick was sold, my parents made the cottage their year-round home from that point onward.

For many years, we had no typical running water at the cottage. In the kitchen was a hand pump to retrieve our well water. The hand pump remained actively used until about 1986, or so. Often, it was necessary to “prime” the pump to bring the flow of water. It was the best tasting water around. For any hot water needed for bathing and dishwashing, it was boiled in the kettle on the stove.

Prior to the “running” water, we had to use buckets of water to flush the toilet. Referring back to the rain barrels used for watering the gardens…after the bathroom was added, the water collection barrels came in handy for filling the flushing buckets, helping to conserve on the well water. Otherwise, we had to fill them using the hand pump.

It was kind of a sad day when that hand pump in the kitchen was replaced with “running water” and the modern-style fixtures and plumbing. A hot water tank was added, as well.

Over time, the walls were finished and part of the wall was opened up, removing a bedroom but expanding the living room area.

After my dad retired, my parents enjoyed a little bit of traveling. They attended many annual reunions of my dad’s military service unit, some of which I have written in my previous blog story about his service. You may read that piece via this link: My Dad: A Soldier of World War II.

In 1986 or 1987, my parents were able to take a trip to England for the first time. My mom was so happy to finally see the area where her “father” was from and get together with family members there. They had a wonderful time. The picture below was taken of my parents on their England trip.

My dad passed away in 1997, my mom had quite the time to care for him during has last couple of years. He had taken a fall about a year and a half earlier and never really walked after that. We do not know if he had suffered a slight stroke or what. He was very stubborn when it came to medical care, refusing to go to the doctor which made it tough on all of us.

In Oct. of 1998, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and had emergency surgery followed by another surgery two months later. During her final year, I was her primary caregiver. The above picture was taken of the both of us during that final year.

My mom had visiting nurses and CNA’s that would come to assist in her care and they all enjoyed their time spent with her. They would indicate how kind my mom was and how much it was appreciated since many of their patients treated them otherwise. Even during her time of illness, she put forth that extra effort. She passed away in Sept. of 1999.

Closing

When I think about the current day times, I usually find that people want things done quick and easy–wanting to put in little to no effort. When I think about all the effort my mom put into things it really puts a new perspective in my thoughts. Sometimes that effort is a choice and sometimes it is a necessity. Don’t be afraid to put in that extra effort, it may be time well spent.

Until next time…

Born 100 Years Ago: Mom

Much to my surprise (and shock), just about two years ago, it became clear that it appears my mom was actually adopted. To be honest, I had no clue prior to that point and I really do not think she knew either. There is still much research to do in order to “prove it” but hopefully soon I will get a break in the case.

According to an inquiry I made a while back at the RI State Archives office they will receive the 100-year-old birth records for 1920 in the month of January 2021. Whether there will be a delay due to the current health crisis is unknown–hopefully not.

In my blog today, I begin to tell my mom’s story, highlighting some of her background before my time–up until the time she married my dad. My next blog will include some of my personal memories of her. In the future, I hope to share some concrete research findings leading to a true biological maternal genealogy.

“Maid Marian” was born the 28th of August, one hundred years ago, in Cranston (at least that’s what shows on the birth certificate I have). She resided in Rhode Island for all of her days, living in West Warwick prior to marriage (1948), then in Warwick with summers spent in Charlestown Beach. In 1974, she and my dad became full-time Charlestown residents.

My mom, as a baby, is shown in the pictures below with her only known “parents”: Bertha (James) and Thomas William Watts. My page contains previous blogs about Gra Gra and Pop Pop, including: Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital.

Many stories were shared to me, over the years, of my mom’s younger days. She was very intelligent and according to what I was told was allowed to skip ahead during her elementary school years–not once but twice. She was a child (and adult) who could not sit still, always on the move or finding ways to keep busy.

My mom grew up in West Warwick, Rhode Island, living mostly in the Fairview Avenue Historic District, known as Phenix, in the northwest corner of the town. There were multiple mill villages in West Warwick and we still refer to the various sections of town by these village names. Phenix was the third smallest of these mill villages.

Specifically, my mom lived in the Carr-LeValley homestead (c. 1722) on Fairview Avenue, from the time she was five years old. She absolutely loved that house, a 1-1/2 story Colonial farmhouse with a gambrel roof. It had a one-story ell at the left side that has since been removed. The house appears in two pictures shown above, one just above this paragraph of my mom on a sled and one further up the page of her riding a tricycle. She spoke of this house often. It is still standing to this day, although the rear attached sections have been removed and the interior is currently gutted. Please see my previous blog for more on this home: LeValley Homestead & Moore’s Motor Service.

There was a portrait painting done of my mom when she was five or six years old, it is shown below. It was painted by a professional artist. From what I was told, it was agony for her to sit still while it was completed. Gra Gra always had the portrait hanging on her dining room wall above an artificial fireplace (there was a real fireplace in the living room).

Since Gra Gra was a 4-H Leader for so many years it would come to pass that my Mom would become involved in 4-H Club activities, as well. She also became a leader at some point and I think she told me the name of her club was the “Sew-and-Sew” Club or should it be “So-and-So”–I am not sure. To the best of my knowledge, it was through 4-H that she met my dad, I think during one of the annual camps they held down at the URI campus. My mom told me often about how she was staying up at the Springfield Fair with the 4-H Club when the 1938 Hurricane hit.

My mom was also a member of the Rainbow Girls during her younger years and she spoke of that experience from time to time.

Both of my parents were members of the 4-H All-Stars and continued to attend some of their events even later in their years. After my dad was retired, they volunteered at the Washington County Fair in the 4-H food booth for many years.

Recently, I came across two of my Mom’s 4-H pins, (shown below). There is also a picture (shown below) of a parade she attended as a youth 4-H member, she is leading the group holding a sign.

She attended the “old” West Warwick High School, in the Westcott “village” section of town, graduating in 1938. Below is shown the cover of her yearbook, which I found to contain many newspaper clippings. She clipped and saved pieces from the paper, over the years, whenever a schoolmate was listed. Tucked inside the yearbook I also found her original Commencement Exercises and Senior Banquet booklets.

According to the yearbook, my mom had a nickname at school, looks like they called her “Wattsie”. Her ambition was listed as Commercial Advertising which was surprising to me but maybe that ties into her artistic abilities then it makes more sense.

For each student, the yearbook listed a “gift”. The class gift to my mom is listed as follows: “We give you these curlers, Marian, to help you preserve your curly hair”.

She participated in the following school activities in the year(s):

Volleyball: 36, 37, 38.

Intramural Basketball: 36, 38.

Baseball: 36.

Glee Club: 36, 37, 38.

Minstrel: 36, 38.

Student Council: 38.

Tennis: 36, 37, 38.

Junior Varsity Basketball: 37, 38.

The original “old” high school was built in 1904-05, located in the Westcott section of town. There was a fire on the third floor several years ago. Below is a newspaper photo from the fire that I found within my mom’s clippings, I am not sure of the exact date (I remember when it happened but not the year). After that time there was an expansion and it was transformed into elderly apartment housing.

My mom was very artistic and during the 1940s she drew the picture, shown below, that I use as my gravatar image, it was drawn on a handmade card she gave to Pop Pop at the time.

My mom used her wonderful artistic talent working in a jewelry factory for a while, hand-painting jewelry pieces, like pins. She was able to keep some of them, I still have a few.

After high school, she worked as a bookkeeper for Universal Winding for six years, prior to marrying my dad.

In the group of four pictures, shown above, the one on the top left was the picture they used for my mom’s yearbook picture. The picture on the top right is her working at Universal Winding. The bottom left was taken during the early 1940s, I think while my dad was in the service. The picture on the bottom right is my mom wearing her high school sweater standing with my dad’s brother Richard.

My mom and dad are shown in the picture above, I think prior to their marriage but not sure of the year. My dad served in Europe during World War II and they had made the decision to wait until he returned before getting married. Previously, I wrote a blog about my dad’s service, please see: My Dad: A Soldier of World War II.

After my dad had returned from his service in the second world war, my parents were married on June 24, 1948. One of their many wedding pictures is shown below.

My mom gave birth to two sons, my older brothers, prior to my arrival.

Next time, I will share some of my own memories of my mom and her unique qualities. The rest of this blog will highlight my featured postcard.

This postcard was published by Arthur Kinsley, Riverpoint, R.I. Made in Germany, about 1915. There is a number on the front of card: A53955

Riverpoint is another mill village area of West Warwick. In this postcard picture, up the hill in back of where it shows the trolley is where a Junior High School was built in 1928. The school is still there but is now John F. Horgan Elementary School.

The mill shown on the right side of the postcard, with the tower, was Royal Mills and was extensively renovated several years ago into apartment units.

The building shown straight back has also been renovated and is used as a medical facility.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, my mom went to the “old” high school in Westcott. The newer high school was built up on Arctic Hill in 1965 from which I graduated in 1975. The middle school is connected next to the high school and was built in 1970.

Below is the back view of the postcard. It was sent or given to Miss Bertha James (Gra Gra), in Riverpoint, RI, from Bertha Berard. Since Gra Gra was married in June of 1915 this card would be dated prior to that, since there is no postmark the exact date is unknown.

Until next time…

SOURCE:

Website: westwarwickpublicschools.com; WWPS History; Accessed: 12 Aug 2020.

Salem Roots and Halloween Greetings!

If I were to ask you this question: What town do you think most closely relates to Halloween? Would you answer: Salem, Massachusetts?

Probably!

My paternal ancestors were among the early settlers of the Salem area. Although I have done extensive research on this branch of my family, I have yet to actually visit the historic Salem area in person. It is certainly high on my bucket list. I have been able to conduct much of my research via Boston and other means; however, it would be nice if I can finally walk the actual ground some day.

I am pretty sure that I am the only one who has been successful in connecting the steps to my direct Lindall ancestors. There is still some work I need to do, as well as, preparing a more cohesive gathering of my research details. As I go along with my blog stories, it is my hope to share small pieces of this family branch at a time.

This week, I was able to find a very old, undivided back, Halloween Greeting postcard to feature in this blog. Originally, I thought it was going to be just a focus on the card itself this time around. However, it seems my ancestor spirits may be lingering around and gave me a surprise kick of inspiration yesterday morning. What better time to highlight a piece of my Salem family history than a blog featuring a Halloween Greeting card.

The Mary Lindall House:

Yesterday, I learned there will be a virtual tour of some of the historic houses in Salem, this year, as a fundraiser for the Historic Salem organization. It perked my interest enough to explore their website a bit further and I did not realize previously that they have a wonderful database section of their page where you can browse house histories of over 600 houses. What a great find! It is a very helpful research tool to have access to such online data that used to take so much effort and time to retrieve in person.

When I plugged in the surname “Lindall” in the search area, the Mary Lindall House came up. Upon first reading the history text, I thought it was pointing to my direct Mary ancestor. But after re-reading, I was able to determine the Mary Lindall of this house was actually the granddaughter of my direct Mary. I was either unaware that the house existed or had forgotten about it. Indeed, I had already realized various ancestor family members, whether direct or indirect, had owned much property in this area; but, I am also aware that there was a severe fire in Salem at one time. So, I did not expect to find any actual intact family houses in the present day.

Contained within the house history, from the Historic Salem website, is an illustration of the home but I do not wish to infringe on any copyrights. If you wish to look at the illustration, you may find the page location via my sources listed at the end of this blog piece. Or, you may enter the street address, listed below, for an online search and get a current day picture that will show up.

This house was built between 1755 and 1760 (although the plaque says 1755) and is located at 314 Essex Street, in Salem. The property was owned by Mary and her niece Elizabeth Gray. The deed transferred from Samuel Kerwin to Mary Lindall in 1760.

The house was later owned by Capt. William Osgood, whose daughter Susan lived there until 1920. In 1947, it was bought by the American Red Cross to use as their Salem Chapter House. It has been sold since then but I am uncertain how many times nor any information about the current owner–not something that I will be researching at the moment.

First Paternal Ancestor:

James Lindall was my first paternal ancestor to come over, from England, to the soil of Massachusetts in about 1638. By 1640, he was known to be in Duxbury and in 1645 he was a proprietor in Bridgewater. As was common in this family, James was married to a Mary (of which there are several in this family line). The last name of this Mary unknown at this time. I may have her last name in my records that are not easily accessible for me at this moment. They had at least two children. Their daughter Abigail married Capt. Samuel Wadsworth. And their son Timothy was my direct ancestor, who I will explore below. Both James and Mary died about 1652. Their children were minors at the time and were committed by the Court to the care of Constant Southworth.

Born in 1648, Mary Veren married Timothy Lindall, son of James and Mary (listed above) in 1672. He was born in Duxbury, Mass., in 1642, and died on Jan. 6, 1698/9 at age 56. They lived in a home near the Burying Point, the location of their final resting place. Mary lived to the age of 83 and died on Jan. 7, 1731/2. She had been a shopkeeper even into her advanced years. Timothy and Mary had nine children. At first, I thought it was this Mary that owned the Mary Lindall House but after studying the history closely I realized it was actually her granddaughter.

My direct link to Timothy and Mary:

Their son, Nathaniel, is my direct ancestor. He was born in 1679 and died of Small Pox in 1711. He is buried in the Granary Burial Ground, located on Tremont Street, in Boston. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of his will which I will share in a future story. This child was somewhat forgotten about along the genealogy trail. It has taken a great amount of research on my part, over the years, to connect the steps along that trail. In addition, the name Nathaniel was carried down several times complicating my efforts to square who is who. I will explore more of them in future stories. This Nathaniel moved from Salem to Boston where he was a merchant. He was married to Elizabeth Smith. They had a son Nathaniel (1707/8-bef. 1776) and a daughter Elizabeth (1711-?). Again, I will share more in future stories.

Below are pictures I have taken during my visits to Nathaniel’s grave at the Granary Burial Ground.

Nathaniel’s stone reads: “Here Lyes Buried Y Body of Mr. Nathaniell Lindall Aged 31 years Departed This Life Sep. 1711”.

Children of Mary (Veren) and Timothy Lindall:

Mary born 1674.

James born 1675; died in 1753 at age 78; married in 1702 to Elizabeth Corwin. She died in 1706; then he married second in 1708 to Mary Weld. Children of James and Elizabeth were daughter Elizabeth born in 1703; she married Edward Gray in 1739–they had a daughter Elizabeth. James and Elizabeth had a son in 1704 that did not survive and then a daughter Mary born in 1705; died 1776 at age 70. This is the Mary who owned the Mary Lindall House.

Timothy born 1677; died 1760 at age 82. He was a judge and served in several public service roles which I will explore in greater depth at a later time.

Nathaniel (my direct ancestor, detailed above) born 1679; died in 1711.

Abigail born 1681; died in 1737 at age 56. She married in 1704 to Capt. B. Pickman who died in 1719 at age 46. Abigail married secondly in 1730 to Rev. Jenison.

Sarah born about 1682; died 1750.

Caleb born 1684; died 1751 at age 67. He was married to a Sarah who died in 1734 at age 60.

Rachel born 1686; died 1743 at age 56. She married in 1713 to Thomas Barnard and was a widow in 1718. She later married by 1726 to Samuel Barnard who died in 1762 at age 77.

Veren born 1689; died 1708 at age 19.

Resting Place of Timothy and Mary:

Both Timothy and Mary (Veren) Lindall are buried in the Burying Point Cemetery which is the oldest cemetery in Salem being established c.1637. It has also been known as the Charter Street Cemetery and the Salem Burying Point. It is located at 51 Charter Street, in Salem. My brother took a picture of their stones a few years ago. I have segmented the picture into three images to show the stones a little larger. The script is not very clear but I have written each below the pictures.

Timothy’s stone (shown above) reads: “Here lyes Buried ye Body of Mr. Timothy Lindall, aged 56 yrs & 7 mos. Dec. 6 Jan 1698/9”.

Mary’s stone (shown above) reads: “Here lyes Buried ye Body of Mrs. Mary Lindall wife to Mr. Timothy Lindall, aged 83 yrs. D. 7 Jan. 1731/2.”

Extended Family of Mary (Verin) Lindall:

Mary Veren was the daughter of Nathaniel Veren (1623-1731) and Mary (____) Putnam (1624-1694). They were married about 1648. Nathaniel’s wife Mary was married secondly to Thomas Putnam on Sept. 14, 1666, in Salem. Thomas died in 1686. Mary Veren had a half sibling, Joseph Putnam (1669-1724); he married Elizabeth Porter. Nathaniel Veren was the son of Philip (1581-?) and Dorcas Veren. Nathaniel had siblings Rebecca Veren (1616-1621) and Philip Veren (1619-1664).

Extended Family of James and Elizabeth (Corwin) Lindall:

James Lindall (1675-1753), son of Timothy and Mary (Veren) Lindall married Elizabeth Corwin in 1702. Elizabeth died in 1706; she was the daughter of Jonathan Corwin (1640-1718) and Elizabeth (Sheaf) Gibbs. Jonathan purchased what is now known as “The Witch House” in 1675. This house, located at 310 Essex Street, is the only one in Salem that currently allows visitors that is connected back to the Salem Witch Trials. The house opened as a museum in 1948. Jonathan was a merchant but also a judge during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692; he was the son of George and Elizabeth (Herbert) Corwin and is buried in the Broad Street Cemetery, in Salem.

James and Elizabeth (Corwin) Lindall had three children: Elizabeth Corwin born 1703, she married Edward Gray in 1739; a son born and died same day in 1704; and daughter Mary who was born in 1705 and died 1776 at age 70. This is the Mary of the Mary Lindall House, she never married nor had children and was the granddaughter of my direct Mary (Veren) Lindall.

Elizabeth (Lindall) and Edward Gray had a daughter Elizabeth Gray who was orphaned at an early age. She and Mary Lindall were the joint owners of the Mary Lindall House.

James Lindall remarried after the death of his wife Elizabeth (Corwin) to Mary Weld in 1708. They had seven children.

Name variations:

There are many variations found in the records of the surname Lindall. Those include: Lindell, Lyndall, Lindale, Lendall, Lindol, Lindahl, Lindal.

Related blog pieces:

Previously, I have posted a couple of blog pieces focused on my paternal side, if you might like to learn more. If so, please see, A 50th Anniversary Celebration: Hiram & Hannah Lindall or My Dad: A Soldier of World War II.

Featured Postcard:

My featured postcard, a Halloween Greeting card, has an undivided back with “Correspondence” printed—referred to as a Pioneer card. It would definitely be published prior to 1907 and may be quite a bit earlier than that.

The card was published by “Whitney Made” the Whitney Valentine Co. (1858-1942) of Worcester, Mass.

The card was sent by M.J. Gray (no idea if any relation to the Gray surname listed in my story above). I think this is Mabel Gray as there are other cards sent from her. The card is postmarked from Providence in 1924 and was sent to Mrs. W. J. Hooper (Aunt Etta) in Plainville, Mass.

Summary

Once again, I find myself with the realization that family history records often get confused especially when there are repeated uses of the same names. Even while looking at a few written things for this piece I noticed errors caused by confusion. And for myself, when I first read the history on the Mary Lindall House it looked to me like it was my direct Mary until I re-read the information and took some time to really look at the data. Then it became clear it was her granddaughter. Surely, it is often difficult trying to sort out all the details. So, proceed with caution with any family research and do not be too quick to copy what you find listed and do not jump too quickly to a conclusion.

Until next time…

SOURCES:

“A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of New England, Before 1692” Volume #3, Lindell-Lockhart; By James Savage.

Historic Salem, Inc., “314 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970,” House Histories of Salem, accessed October 30, 2020, https://hsihousehistory.omeka.net/items/show/300.

Salemwitchmuseum.com/locations/Jonathan-corwin-house/ Accessed October 31, 2020.

One Postcard Saturdays: Charlestown Bridge in Boston

Timing is everything!

Much to my surprise today, when I randomly picked my featured postcard, I learned that in less than two weeks demolition will begin on the historic Charlestown Bridge. It is also known as the North Washington Street Bridge located in Boston, Massachusetts.

This very rare steel, swing drawbridge (center pier) structure was built between 1898-1900 by the Boston Transit Commission. Their Chief Engineer was William Jackson (1848-1910) and it was constructed by the Pennsylvania Steel Company, of Steelton, PA.

Several years ago, I developed a greater appreciation for the various types of bridges that are constructed. One of my children had an extensive segment in school learning about bridge history with all the different types and specific designs so they could learn to recognize such differences–the assignments included projects such as detailed drawings. Before that point, I really had little realization of such wide differences in bridges.

Bridge Details-

The Charlestown Bridge was 100-foot wide and about 1000-feet long. Being located on North Washington Street and going over the Charles River it connected the historic Boston neighborhoods of Charlestown and the North End.

This double-decked bridge was designed to carry the Charlestown Elevated Railway, as well as, vehicle traffic. There was an overhead structure built on the center lane of the bridge for the Elevated mainline tracks, with the lower deck for two 28-foot carriageways on either side of a 22-foot right-of-way for electric streetcars.

The draw span was about 240-foot in length and consisted of four pin-connected trusses. The turntable motors of this bridge were electrically operated and took about two minutes to open or close the span. The draw was last used in 1956 and was permanently closed in 1961.

The Elevated and surface tracks were eliminated on the bridge in 1975.

In August of 2018, construction began on a replacement bridge and is expected to continue until Spring of 2023.

A temporary bridge has been installed and will be used starting in less than a week, on July 17th, until the permanent one is ready. Sadly, demolition of the old historic bridge is set to begin on July 20th.

The new bridge being constructed is being called a “street over water” and it will include: two vehicle lanes in each direction; one inbound bus lane; cycle tracks in each direction; and sidewalks on both sides with an overlook and seating area.

Postmark Info-

My actual featured postcard, with message shown below, was postmarked from Franklin, Mass., and was sent to Mrs. Henrietta J. Hooper (1861-1943), in Plainville, Mass. If you would like to learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Postcard Message-

As best that I can make out, the message reads as follows:

Dear Etta, Hope you area feeling well. Am sorry I got so behind with the papers (?) but since inspection was over I have been cleaning house and for the last two days have been in the attic. I get so tired by night I can’t write or do much of anything but go to bed. All you can do is to scold me when you see me. It seemed like old times to see Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Wood at the Corps meeting. Don’t work any harder than you have to. Goodbye with love, Winnie

One of the organizations that Aunt Etta belonged to was the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC), which was the Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). So, I am assuming that is the Corps meeting referred to by the postcard sender. There are other postcards in Aunt Etta’s collection signed by Mrs. Stewart so I recognize that name but I don’t recall seeing a Mrs. Wood at the moment.

Postcard Publisher-

This postcard was published by the Tichnor Brothers, Inc. (1908-1987), Cambridge, Mass. They published a wide variety of postcard types.

If you are new to my blog, my posting today is part of a series I call “One Postcard Saturdays” where I feature a postcard that usually has some type of landmark picture. In turn, I explore the landmark with a little research and try to give a few details about it.

Until next time…

 

Reference Sources:

Webpages

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. North Washington Street Bridge Replacement, mass.gov/north-washington-street-bridge-replacement. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Historic Bridges. North Washington Street Bridge; Charlestown Bridge, historicbridges.org. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Metropostcard. Publishers, metropostcard.com/publisherst.html. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Wikipedia. Charlestown Bridge, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlestown_Bridge. Accessed 11 July 2020.

 

One Postcard Saturdays: Worcester Market

My series, One Postcard Saturdays, ran for a few weeks last year when I focused on providing background highlights on the subject pictured on each postcard. Once again, while sorting through some of my family collection, I have set aside a few postcards to feature another round of this series.

Not to be forgotten, I will at some point in the near future complete my three-part series based on old-time Radio Actress Bess Johnson. If you would like to read the first part of that series, please see my previous posting: Radio Star Bess Johnson: Fan Letter.

My featured postcard this time around is of the Worcester Market, in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was published by Henry Freeman & Co., in Worcester, Mass.

The City of Worcester occupies an area of about eight-square miles and is located midway between Boston and Springfield.

In the early 1900’s, Worcester’s commerce was centered around Main Street, between Lincoln Square and the Common.

The last period of growth for Worcester happened during the time frame of 1891 to 1930 when corporate enterprise became a major influence on the commercial district. In early times, there were smaller row buildings and they were replaced by larger office buildings.

Thought to be the largest grocery supply building in the nation, the Worcester Market was built in 1914. It handled all aspects of food retailing–replacing many of the city’s small suppliers.

The Worcester Market Building still exists in the present time as leased office space. It is located at 627 Main Street. It was designed by architect Oreste Ziroli.

This building was part of approximately 1,200 buildings that were researched in great detail between March 1977 and March 1978 for the submission of the nomination form to the National Register. The area was listed on March 5, 1980 as the Worcester Multiple Resource Area, National Register of Historic Places Inventory; US Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service.

Originally, there was a building located next door to the Worcester Market that is shown on the top left portion of the postcard and this was the Worcester Royal Hotel which no longer exists.

This featured postcard was postmarked on October 30, 1916 from Worcester, Mass., and was sent to Aunt Etta’s husband William Thomas Hooper (born 1860). They were living in Franklin, Mass., at that time. William was a son of Ephraim (1813-1885) and Isabella (Giddings) Hooper who were the parents of eight children.

William Hooper married Henrietta Jane James (Aunt Etta) on July 10, 1878.

The postcard was sent by William’s sister Sarah. She was born about 1856 and died on August 15, 1927, in Worcester, Mass.

Sarah’s message: Dear Brother and Sister. Got home all right. Will write soon. With love, Sarah

Sarah was married to Stinson William Hodgdon (1853-1930). “Stin” was one of nine children born to: Mary P. (Hurmant) (1831-1888) and David Stinson Hodgdon (1831-1894). David and Mary were married in 1852 in Wiscasset, Maine.

Stin and Sarah resided in Worcester for many years. There are many other postcard correspondence from them in Aunt Etta’s collection, some of them being real photo postcards taken by Stin. Hopefully, I will be able share more of them in future postings.

There is still more research to be done on the Hooper branch; however, if you would like to learn a bit more you might check out my previous blog posting: Don’t Jump Too Fast To Conclusions.

To learn more about Aunt Etta, you might like to read my previous posting: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Until next time…

Reference Source:

Website: npgallery.nps.gov; Accessed 02 May 2020.

Radio Star Bess Johnson: Fan Letter

For the first fifteen years of my life, until we moved, I was able to admire a certain 8″x10″ framed photograph on a daily basis.  This photo was of radio actress Bess Johnson and it always sat on my mother’s sewing machine, which resided in the corner nook of our dining space. The picture of Bess, shown below, is not the same one referred to above, which I still possess but could not locate it in time for this posting.

Radio Actress Bess Johnson

This blog piece will be the first part of a three-part series focused on Bess Johnson. I will begin the series with some background on the friendship that developed between Bess and my family. The second piece will provide more details about her own family history background and the final piece will focus on her career highlights. Unfortunately, I cannot pinpoint exactly when the other two pieces will be written, but I will try my best to complete them in the very near future.

Bess was born in Keyser, West Virginia, in 1901, and grew up in Elkins, West Virginia. She died in 1975, in New York City. She had attended drama school in New York. Her radio work began in 1930 and she became known as the “Queen of Daytime Radio” on serial soap opera’s such as the Hilltop House and Lady Esther. In my third part of this series, I will explore her career in greater detail.

Bess was married in 1923 to Dr. Solomon Perry. They had a daughter, Jane Orr Perry. They were divorced in 1936. Bess was granted custody of their daughter Jane and she waived alimony, stating she earned more than her husband.

Bess with daughter Jane

Though not blood related, in our home she was fondly known as Aunt Bess. Through the years, I had been told that she was my eldest brother’s Godmother. To the best of my determination, it was about 1932 when my grandmother “Gra Gra” had sent a fan letter and it began a warm friendship between she and Bess. The letter had been sent to Bess via the National Broadcasting Company in New York City. In the letter, Gra Gra had expressed concern of why Bess had not been making her daily appearances on the Hilltop House program–for which she was known at the time. Bess had been confined by illness in her apartment when the letter reached her.

To learn more background about Gra Gra, you might like to read my previous post: Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital.

Bess Johnson and Bertha Watts

Around 1940, Bess invited Gra Gra to be her guest in New York, which she immediately accepted. My grandmother was not a traveler, only doing so on a couple of occasions–this weekend visit to New York being one of them. Many times, as we sat at the breakfast table during my weekend visits, I would hear Gra Gra tell the story about her visit to see Bess and the lasting friendship that developed.

Bess with daughter Jane, sitting is Pop Pop and Gra Gra standing behind him

On June 24, 1940, my grandparents (T. Wm. and Bertha Watts) celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. At the time, they were still living in the Carr-LeValley homestead on Fairview Avenue, in the Phenix section of West Warwick, RI. According to a later newspaper article, Bess had been among those who attended the celebration. The picture shown above I believe was from a different occasion at a later date. To read more about the Carr-LeValley homestead, please see my previous post: LeValley Homestead, Fairview Ave and Moore’s Motor Service Postcard.

The Carr-LeValley homestead in 1939, Fairview Avenue

My grandparents moved from Fairview Avenue shortly after they celebrated that anniversary and lived for a short time on Maple Avenue before purchasing their home on South Street.

In 1941, while residing on Maple Avenue, Pop Pop got a surprise phone call on his birthday which would have been February 20th. At the other end of the line he heard a birthday-greeting song that Bess had recorded for him via a special disc. At first, he thought someone was playing a joke on him.

Headline from a local newspaper article telling the story of Pop Pop getting a birthday greeting from Bess Johnson

Over the years, Bess and Gra Gra continued corresponding and I have found some of the postcards that Bess had sent while traveling. For each of the three pieces I write in this Bess Johnson series, I will feature a different postcard received.

In March of 1941, Bess sent this featured postcard to Gra Gra when she traveled to Indian River Ranch, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. This linen postcard was published by Curteich, Chicago, it is a “C.T. Art Colortone” and was distributed by Doubleday & Co., Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The handwritten message reads: “Dear Bert, Will try to write a letter soon. Its lovely here. Jane and I are having a grand time. Its been so nice and warm. We came by train and were sore all the way. Give my best to the family. Bess.”

Later in 1941, my grandparents purchased their home on South Street, in West Warwick, where they would live out the rest of their years–pictured below, before there was a garage addition.

Bess would come to visit them at the South Street home at least twice that I have found documented, possibly more. When daughter Jane was gearing up to graduate from school in Norton, Mass., they spent several days. My mom, Marian, was noted to have accompanied them while attending a play presentation “Twelfth Night” at the school in which Jane appeared in the role of “Sir Toby”.

Headline from a local newspaper article outlining their visit from 1942

Here are some pictures taken during that visit, showing the large backyard garden and goldfish pool. Gra Gra and Jane are looking at the pool and Bess is relaxing in a chair for one photo while picking flowers in the other.

 

Below are pictures taken during a later visit, about 1952, showing my eldest brother, Mark, with the two poodles that belonged to Bess.

 

My mom, Marian and Jane (with the flower in her hair) are pictured below.

More pictures will be shared in the next two postings. Please be on the lookout for my second-part in this Bess Johnson series, when I explore a bit of her family history.

Until next time…

 

Turkey Day Memories

I am thankful for the memories!

I am grateful that at this stage of my life I still have the ability to actually recall the memories–something that I do not take for granted.

My intention for this Thanksgiving blog was simply to find a greeting postcard that would have some interesting background that I could highlight in a brief posting. My focus changed after finding my featured postcard. It had a picture I really liked but the background surrounding the card is lacking in substance.

I do not know the publisher of this embossed postcard, I only know that it was printed in Saxony.

This postcard was sent to Grandma Julia in 1909, in Plainville, Mass. The sender was “The Three Graces”, postmarked from Providence, RI. I have not yet been able to determine the exact identity of the three Graces. However, a while back I started trying to put the pieces together and if memory serves me correctly there is a connection somehow with her sisters. For more background on Grandma Julia, please see a previous posting such as: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

Since I had so little background to share about this postcard, my thoughts began to focus on some of my own Thanksgiving memories–those from younger years. And so it goes that the remainder of this writing will highlight a few of those memories and spotlight my grandfather’s sister, we called Auntie, and her son David. In addition, I will close with an honorable mention of my brother Mark, whose birthday would have hit on Thanksgiving this year, November 28th.

Auntie and David in the mid-1960’s

During my youngest childhood years, my mom was always the hostess for the family Thanksgiving Dinner, as well as, for Christmas. It was a tight squeeze in our apartment for the average of 14, or so, family members attending. Out would come the folding metal table, that I still possess to this day, being set up alongside our normal table. There was an archway between the living room and dining area and this extended seating area would encompass both spaces.

My mom would cook a huge turkey, always 20-something pounds. I can still remember going with her to the local turkey farm to get a fresh turkey. I seem to remember the entrance to that farm being on the south side of Route 117 past Quaker Lane heading into the West Warwick area–I could be wrong, of course, but it was in that general area.

As I grew a little older, my dad decided that all the work my mom had to put into the Thanksgiving Dinner was getting to be too much. He suggested we start a new tradition of going out to eat for the Thanksgiving dinner, still with a gathering of the same family members–and so a new tradition began and continued for several years. Of course, over those next few years we gained a member or two and we also suffered a few losses.

For a few years, we held our “new tradition” Turkey Day gathering at the Showboat, in Coventry, on Lake Tiogue. This local favorite landmark was shaped like a large boat. It began in the 1940’s, prior to World War II and was tragically destroyed by fire on January 16, 1976. Of the select few places we went for these Thanksgiving Day feasts, this one location remains my favorite memory.

According to my memory, the Showboat dinner began with great soup that was set out on the table in a large tureen–I can still picture that in my mind. Each family received their own whole turkey at the table and all the trimmings were served family style. Any leftovers were brought home and we had no clean up to worry about.

Holiday dinner at Meadowbrook Inn

Other than the Showboat, we went a few times to the Meadowbrook Inn, in Charlestown, where both my brothers had worked at one time. We went to the Carriage Inn, in North Kingstown, at least once, maybe twice. The last of this dining-out tradition that I can remember was probably the very early 1980’s, at a place in South Kingstown that is long-since gone–it has changed hands several times since then.

The holidays always bring fond memories of Auntie and her son “Uncle David”. I tend to think of them both during this time more so than any other time of the year. She had one of the kindest souls that I have ever known.

My mom and David, probably about 1932.

I always looked forward to Auntie coming over to attend those early dinners, held at our apartment. We lived in the Greenwood section of Warwick, right on busy Route 5, Greenwich Avenue. She lived across the street from us in a little rental cottage during my younger years. Later on, her landlord, Mr. Palumbo, tore that place down to build a large apartment building. He was able to move her down the road a piece, to another place he owned. Her new apartment had been a barn that was renovated into living space for two single-level apartments. So, she did have one neighbor, it may have been a couple or just one younger man–can’t quite remember for sure. However, I can remember the man volunteered for the Big Brother organization and sometimes he had his young sidekick with him.

As the holidays approached, I always felt great anticipation for the arrival of my mom’s Cousin David from New York City–where he resided for many years. Us kids used to call him “Uncle” David because there was a large gap in age and it was not seen as proper for us to call an adult by their first name–even a cousin, I guess.

Auntie was born Annie Irene Watts on June 15, 1897, in England. She died in 1971, on a day that I will never forget–even though the actual date is not fresh at hand. She was in the hospital at that time. I can remember we were at the cottage in Charlestown and our close family friend, Mrs. Michaels, came over to deliver the message to my mom from the hospital–we had no phone there. It was like the world stopped for me that day.

Annie Irene Watts

Auntie was the youngest daughter of Jonas (died 1923) and Mary Jane (Pepper) Watts (died 1921)–they were married in 1880. They lived in Nottingham, England. Auntie was half-sister to Emma (from a different father), and full sister to Alice, Thomas William (my grandfather), and George Watts. She moved to the USA sometime after 1910 but prior to 1923 and remained here the rest of her life.

Photo taken about 1923 so Auntie was living here in the US by that time. Siblings standing in the back, Auntie and Pop Pop (Annie Irene and Thomas William Watts) And Gra Gra holding my mom’s hand.

When I was very young I can remember when Auntie was blind, I don’t know when it first happened. I remember she had surgery that allowed her to see from one eye but she lost the other, which was replaced with a glass eye. She always lived close by to us and spoiled us very much–especially my middle brother Keith and myself. My oldest brother, Mark, seemed more favored by my grandmother since he was the first born so I think that had something to do with Auntie giving us younger two a little more attention. It was later on that I would have a closer relationship with my grandmother.

Picture taken in 1950, Auntie, Pop Pop and Gra Gra, sitting on the black rattan couch. I loved that piece of furniture!

Since Auntie did not drive, my mom usually took her shopping on Saturday mornings, then my brother Keith and I would visit her. We watched cartoons followed by the other Saturday shows on her little TV.

Auntie with my brothers, probably about 1956, at her cottage.

When we had time off from school, Auntie would often take us on a bus ride to downtown Providence, or East Greenwich–back in the days when it was a pleasant thing to do. At that time Westminster Mall was closed off to traffic. Our first stop, downtown, was always at the Woolworth’s store–I can still see their lunch counter in my mind. One day, I had forgotten my shoulder-strapped hand bag at one of the counter stools and felt my heart race when I realized it. Luckily, when I ran back it was still there.

Our trips downtown always included shopping but I can remember Auntie having eye specialist appointments, as well. Before heading to the return bus stop, we commonly ate lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. We also bought popcorn to feed the pigeons while waiting for the bus.

The below pictures include Auntie’s brother Uncle George, with two of them taken in 1964 when he came over for a visit.

The pictures are not the best, a little blurry, the one that shows him sitting outside on the lounger chair was taken at Auntie’s little rental cottage, when she lived across the street from us. The photo with the boats was taken at Galilee, Narragansett, RI, during his visit in 1964.

It was probably within the next couple of years that Auntie moved from the little cottage to the place further down the road. Sometime after she moved, I can remember that she had an operation on her leg that replaced a vein with a plastic version.

Auntie worked at Leviton Mfg., in Warwick, for many years as an inspector–of some kind. I can remember helping her by stamping green slips that went into the items she inspected.

This picture was taken in June 1969. Auntie is in the light-colored coat, my brother Mark is almost 20 years old here, standing on the left end. Gra Gra is in the blue dress and my mom is on the right end. Photo was taken in the gardens outside Gra Gra’s house, in West Warwick, RI.

About 1969, or so, Auntie went to live in a newly-built senior housing place, West Shore Terrace, in Warwick–the same place as my paternal grandparents. So, she was a little further away from us over those last couple of years, too far for us to walk–for the first time.

Auntie had never married. She became a single parent with a son born in 1930, David Bruce Watts. He died in 2010, after suffering with dementia issues.

David attended and graduated from St. Andrew’s School, in Barrington. He served in the Navy for a while. I do have his service records but they are not handy for me as I write this piece. David settled in New York City and worked for a large advertising company. I can remember him bringing us “Leg’s Eggs” when he came home for the holidays.

Every time he was visiting here in RI, he would go out running every day. I can remember running along a time or two when we were down at the beach cottage. He used to tell us stories about his routine of running in Central Park, near where he lived in NYC. He also spoke about dreams of moving back to RI and opening a Judo school. He was a Judo instructor in NYC for many years, I do have some of his papers and awards for that, as well.

When I was young, David had a Japanese girl friend, she had come home with him to RI for Christmas several times. I remember she was a dancer in the Martha Graham dancers. She was just beautiful and I was quite fascinated with her. One time, she even wore her traditional Japanese Kimono for us and explained it all.

David never married, though, and had no children.

After Auntie died, we gave David the Concertina that had belonged to her and he found someone in NYC to give him lessons and he would play for us when he came to visit. I think he even purchased a new one at some point and played in a little band. Just for fun, I think.

He disconnected with the rest of us left in RI after my grandmother died, so sometime around 1983. It became a very difficult issue for me and something I still don’t understand what his reason was for doing so. I also wondered if I did something or said something. At some point, he talked with my middle brother to discuss his health issue which was not discussed with me. Personally, I never heard directly from him again.

It was much later that I learned of David’s dementia issues. When I learned of the facility where he was living, I sent him a letter but I don’t have any idea if he was able to comprehend it or not. I tried to find him when we visited NYC a short few years before he died but we were not successful. He had been moved from that facility to a different one and the staff would not release any information to me about his new location. The only question they would answer was when I asked if he was still alive, they said yes. For all the good that did me, because I was never able to find him. I do know now that he had been moved to a place New Jersey, which was the location of his death–sadly, something I learned about much after the fact. At least I know I tried, but it would have been nice to see him one more time.

On a side note, my oldest brother, Mark, was born on November 28, 1949. He died of cancer in 2000. His birthday often fell on Thanksgiving Day.

One of my favorites pictures of Mark as a baby was taken at Thanksgiving, in 1950, when he was one year old. They gave him a turkey leg to chomp on.

My brother Mark, Thanksgiving in 1950.

Another picture taken on Thanksgiving in 1950 is multi-generational. Mark is sitting with Grandma (Henrich) James, she is Gra Gra’s step-mom. Looking at the picture, sitting on the left end is our maternal grandmother, Gra Gra–Bertha L. (James) Watts. On the right end is paternal grandmother, Grammy–Alice (Holden) Lindall. Our mom, Marian, is sitting in the back.

To learn more about the Henrich family connection, please see post: What’s in a Name, Lena Henrich?

To learn more about Gra Gra, please see post: Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

I am, indeed, thankful for the memories!!

Until next time…