Sunday, December 30, 2007

Visiting Adin's Farm By Sue Kinsella

I hadn’t thought about it before, so I was amazed when I realized that I knew someone who was a veteran of World War I. Well, we all did, those of us who had the good fortune to visit Adin’s farm in Center Lisle. What I understood was that he had gone into the army in 1917 and was sent to France. Mom says that’s what she had thought, too, but her research recently revealed that he went to England and was on a burial detail. Nevertheless, within six months of getting to Europe, he was felled not by a bullet or by mustard gas, but by the worldwide Spanish Flu pandemic and was sent home.

He never married, so he cared for his mother and lived the rest of his life in and within walking distance of the Baker family farmhouse where he was born. That’s where his big sister, Nancy Ethel, our Grandma Taylor, was born and grew up, as well, and their younger sisters Ruth and Lil.

When I knew Adin, he was retired from farming and living in the “new” house down the road from his birthplace, the one that Nancy and Diana refer to in their blog posts. He had built this new house from the planks cut from the trees he dragged out of the forest in his “spare time,” as Mom described in her story about Haying At Adin’s. She thinks he might have sent away for the blueprints from the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

Most of our time was spent in the front room that stretched across much of the front of the house. As you came in the front door, Adin’s big comfortable overstuffed chair was before you, between the big pot-bellied stove and the wall. To the left was a big window looking out on the front lawn and then a corner where a fainting couch stretched along the far wall. In most of my memories of Grandma Kate Baker, she’s sitting, resting on that daybed, wrapped up in a quilt.

Towards the back of the room, at the end of Grandma’s couch, was the dining table, ringed with chairs. Grandma Baker used to send me out to the front yard – really, a small pasture because periodically Adin let the cows into it “to cut the grass” – to pick dandelion greens to make into a salad. I remember that they were spicy and somewhat bitter, but putting salad dressing on them helped. Seems like sometimes she steamed them because I remember them being served warm.

Grandma Baker was blind by this time, but she must have had some “inner sight” because she pieced together quilts by feel and she cooked in the kitchen beyond this front room. She also read tea leaves. I remember her handing me a cup of tea after breakfast and asking me to drink it. Then she took it from me and looked into it carefully, noting the pattern of the tea leaves. I believe she told me that I would soon be taking a trip. And, you know, she was right, if you count driving home to Rochester as “a trip.”

As Tim noted in his blog post, a prominent feature of the front room was its “decoration” with what seemed like dozens of fly tapes – yellowish twists of sticky paper ribbons that trapped some of the zillions of flies that hung around . . . and then hung around stuck to the fly paper seemingly forever, as well. Out back off the kitchen, the grass grew to be several feet high. My main occupation when visiting Adin was pulling up lots of this grass and braiding it into long grass ropes that I strung like Christmas decorations all around the front room, competing with those fly tapes to add my idea of charm.

Upstairs in Adin’s house were bedrooms. Adin never finished the rooms upstairs, so the walls were brown wallboard with blotches of white polka dot paint stripes down them. There was no bathroom upstairs, so we used “vessels” when needed in the night. Usually, vessels were pots that were shoved under the bed, but I seem to remember vessels that were like giant vases lining the wall, almost like Egyptian statuary and nearly as tall as I was. That might not have been saying a lot, since I was a little kid. I just was glad that I wasn’t the one who had to bring the vessels down each morning to empty them and wash them out.

Adin’s room was downstairs, to the right of the front room but reached by a narrow hall behind it that led from the kitchen at the back of the house. Mom says that when neighbors who were hard on their luck came to Adin to ask for a loan, he would take them back to his room, strike the deal, then seal it with a shot of whiskey.

What did we do at Adin’s? He’d take us to visit the cows, if they didn’t come visit us in the front yard. He took us fishing. I remember using sticks with string attached and an open safety pin tied to the end. We did catch fish with that! Later, Mom said she learned that the fishing hole he took us to was a restricted state reservoir. But I think Adin figured he had as much right to it as anyone because he’d probably been there longer than the state had.

And I, too, remember shooting the rifle that Diana and Tim mention. What I specifically remember was that Adin told me, before I shot it, that the barrel was bent or something like that, so that I couldn’t use the sight on it to pinpoint my aim. He recommended that I look down the barrel and then aim for a spot several feet lower than what I wanted to hit, so that I’d have a chance at accuracy. That didn’t seem logical to me so I ignored his advice. And that is why I, too, could not hit the broad side of the barn.

A visit to Adin’s always included a visit to Aunt Lil’s store. She was Adin’s and Grandma Taylor’s “little sister.” I remember coming in the back door and tramping down the old wooden plank floor between aisles so crammed with stuff that it’s a wonder anyone found anything there. It seems we were looking for mayonnaise but we were as likely to find car sparkplugs as food. And there, in a little cubbyhole, was Aunt Lil sitting on a wooden stool at the cash register. I can hear her still, lacing her conversation with, “Don’tcha know,” just like Grandma did.

And we would go to the old farmhouse, where now Wendell and Joyce lived and worked the family farm. I remember sleeping over with our second cousins, Kathryn, Helen, Dawn, Anne and Rhoda, and giggling under the bedcovers while our mothers, all first cousins, caught up on all the family gossip.

During the days, Dad and Adin would take us kids around out in the pastures and to see the cows while Mom spent the visit gabbing with Grandma Baker. Besides being blind, Grandma was also deaf, so it was a very loud visit. I was often looking for things to do because there weren’t things to “play” with at Adin’s. I didn’t realize at the time how precious the memories of that place and time would become to me.

One winter day years later, just before I turned 13, Mom told me that Adin had been found lying on his front room floor, dead. The fire had burned out in the stove and it was cold. Piecing together the clues, Mom thinks this shy man who never married had died on Valentine’s Day. His niece Phyllis’s son, Wendell, found him two days later.

Mom and Aunt Esther took Julie and me to his funeral. I remember noticing that someone had placed a sprig of pine in his hand, to represent his love of the land. After reading Mom’s and Uncle Harold’s story about Haying, I now understand why.

Pictures: Grandma Kate and Adin, Center Lisle in July of 1955, Center Lisle in July of 1957 (hoping Ma can tell us more about this update on the house!), Adin, Dan Kinsella and Sue Kinsella, and the last picture is of Aunt Lil and Grandma Taylor.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

And More

More Pictures from Sunday

Pictures from the Day of Aunt Barb's Funeral

The Sunday of Aunt Barb's funeral was rainy, windy, grey and cold in Waterloo. Although our mapquest directions were wrong, we could tell where we were supposed to be: cars up and down the street as we found Mull's Funeral Home.

Inside, the rooms of the older home, now funeral home, were packed with people. Aunt Barb's casket was beautiful, with displays of flowers carefully laid on top of it. A Nora Roberts book was there, to be put in with her, and four stained glass angels (her girls) also would be placed inside, so that her girls would be with her forever.

Aunt Barb herself looked very much like the Aunt Barb that I remembered from years ago.

The Hawkes, the Lochners, the Kinsellas, the Maneys, and other cousins and friends and neighbors were there in force.

The service was short, with the minister leading us all in prayers and reading the 23rd Psalm and a passage from John 14. The minister then reminded us all of favorite stories from Barb's life. She encouraged us to share our memories of Aunt Barb; it is this that keeps her alive.

Jim Kinsella spoke about how Aunt Barb was like a mother to him. Yes, she yelled at him (like a mother), but she also gave him a small item to take with him to college so that he would always remember her. He ended by giving back the whale and placing it in her coffin so that he could know where to find her when the time was right. By the time Jim sat down, all eyes were misty, if not running over.

After the service, we all drove to the Sportsman Club where a fantastic dinner appeared out of nowhere. It was great to get a chance to eat and talk with so many of our cousins, and of course, wonderful to see Uncle Harold, Kathy, Annie, Mary and Judy.

THANK YOU, Chuck Lochner for these pictures. If anyone has more, please email them to me.

Do click on the word 'comments' at the end of this post to be taken to a separate page where you can write down what you remember about Aunt Barb, or more of what Sunday was like for you. When the comments page comes up, write your comment with your name and then, probably the easiest is to click on 'anonymous' and then, click on 'post'.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Aunt Barb Taylor

Always helping, always laughing with a joke, a great cook, with great hugs.

I remember all of the holidays spent at their home. While we were busy playing in the play house out back or down by the creek in the woods, Aunt Barb was making the feast that we were about to eat.

After stepping over numerous little cats to get to their doorway, Aunt Barb always greeted me a huge hug.

I will miss you so much!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Tale of Two Log Cabins

Diana writes: "I came across this picture that folks might find interesting.

Standing in front the the 'log cabin' that my brother Jim Taylor and his friend Bob Bragen were building for fun is me (on the left) Arnon, Maria, Grandma Taylor and the little kid in front not paying attention is Carol Ann. The cabin was in the woods across the street from the house in Warners and up a hill. It was a hike - I don't think the cabin got any taller than it was - and I know they never put on a roof. I'm not sure if they ran out of steam, lost interest, couldn't figure out how to do a roof or got too interested in other things - but it sure kept them busy for a long time. This picture was hanging in the hallway of the Taylor house in MN and when I saw it I couldn't remember when I had stood in front of this and when it was taken - until my mom pointed out that the person I was looking at was HER and not me and that I was the kid with the hair and the funny pants! Just goes to show you how much like our parents some of us are."

The other log cabin was built at Otty Lake by Tom Kinsella. Boasting a marble floor filled with marble rocks swiped from the nearby marble mine, and a door and roof, it had at one point a cot and several of us spent overnights in it. In this picture are Jim, Chris, builder Tom, and our faithful dog, Corky.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Clothes Chute at 2846 By Tom Kinsella

--Editor's Note: Anyone else have favorite rooms/spots in their homes, current or past?

Christine and I got talking about clothes chutes the other day. She didn’t have one in her house while growing up. I told her I remember visiting friends’ houses where their clothes chutes ended at the basement ceiling. They just placed baskets on the floor to catch the falling clothes. I used to think those chutes very strange (although they were probably a smart innovation (cheaper and effective).

Talk of chutes got me thinking about the clothes chute at 2846. It certainly was a focal point of fun. Tim remembers hiding in it and eating his “stolen” frozen pies. What a hiding spot for such nefarious nibbling. If Mom ever did come down stairs while he was in there he was trapped, and it was very likely, if she did come down, that she was thinking about the laundry. Did you ever get caught, Tim?

I remember playing hide and seek and hiding in the clothes chute in the basement. It was a pretty easy hiding spot to find, though. I remember improving it by hiding under lots of dirty laundry still in the chute (must have been quite small). I also think I remember trying to shinny up the chute from the basement. If I did try this, I never got too far.

On the second floor the chute was also lots of fun. There was a small space in the ceiling of the chute that allowed you to get your hand above the chute. Pat, Beth, and I made a ghost detector once: a toilet paper roll with saran wrap held on each end with rubber bands; if you looked through the roll (which had magic writing on it I think), and also through Winky’s ears, and also through a key hole (all at the same time), you could see ghosts. Not sure that we ever managed to get the proper items lined up for a ghost viewing, but I remember that we kept the ghost detector hidden in the space above the ceiling of the clothes chute. It might still be there.
I also remember being told to stand in the kitchen with the clothes chute door open and to watch. Dan or Tim would be upstairs throwing stuff down, and I’d watch it come down. I also remember being the one doing the throwing for younger kids. Finally, I remember how much fun it was to slam the clothes chute doors. Mom wanted them closed, but not slammed. Well, she sometimes got the first, but seldom the last.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 at Diana Taylor McCarty's

Here is a picture of this Thanks-giving at my house. Seated in Front is Maria Taylor, from the left my Son Michael and his wife Jennifer - My oldest son, Jonathan's girlfriend Ashley then Jonathan and seated next to my mom is my daugher Kristen.

Hope the holiday season find you all healthy and happy. Holidays are always so bittersweet as we remember with fondness those that are not with us in person but only in spirit.

P.S. As you can see I did respond to Judy's question ( about what is a tiebar) - darn her for reminding her of our ages!

Monday, November 26, 2007


In June, 1943, WWII was raging, both in the Pacific and in Europe and there were no men available to help farmers. Adin, at age 54, was left high and dry. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, he came up with Harold Taylor (13), Gladys Howland Wood (16), and an old pal of his, Ed Underwood (80 or so!). Ed and his wife were homeless in an age when no one lived in the streets, so Adin made an apartment of sorts in a corner of his farm implement barn and put Ed to work.

Gladys and Harold were hired also, wages one dollar a day and room and board. Harold caught the 8 a.m. bus from Geneva, to travel to Ithaca and then, on Rt. # 79, to Center Lisle where the bus driver would stop right by Aunt Lil’s store, when the cord was pulled. This day, however, the bus was crowded with sailors on their way to the newly built Sampson Naval base on Seneca Lake. Fair of skin and slight of frame, Harold was no candidate to stand in an aisle for miles. Thus, when the bus pulled into Sampson to disgorge a line of sailors, Harold stepped off too, and fainted!

The medics were alerted and he got a good going over. Been sick? Ate breakfast? As all were positive, they watched him in sick bay and took him to the mess hall with them when noon came. Presently they placed him on the 4 p.m. bus, thus he arrived later in the day then planned. Being Harold, he kept mum about this, but word got back to Mom, and he eventually had to explain why he was late in arriving.

However, having left the day after school closed in June, Harold was propelled right into “haying”, the cutting, drying and storing of fields of timothy grass, to feed and bed cattle. The first cutting was the easiest, and after being cut by Adin driving the horses, Reba and Pet pulling the cutter, and drying for a day or so of sunny ( hopefully) weather, Adin would rake the field up into windrows, the horses now pulling the rake.

Gladys and Ed would pitch sheaves on, and Harold or Adin would build a load. There was an art to building the load. All involved had to cooperate and synchronize their pitches, the top loader calling the tune. As the horses slowly pulled the wagon along the windrow, Gladys would pitch a fork full from the left side, Ed do another from the right side, and Adin threw up one to the middle. They should all overlap and tie in together. That’s what made their first cutting the easiest, the grass was the longest and more easily woven together.

A month or six weeks later, (if the weather allowed good growth) a second cutting usually produced shorter stems (or fartgrass and tickle cunt, as Adin called it!) which would not intermesh so well. The job of the top loader was to poke and prod all these pitches into an interwoven mesh, or to “build” a load. That done, the horses then pulled the wagon to the barn, old blind Pet farting all the way at every exertion while Reba, the older horse, but the one who could see, leading the way.

Here, too, there was a trick, for the wagon had to be drawn in and positioned so that there was room between the mows on each side to lead a horse, after being unhitched, to the back of the wagon, where the two were then hitched to the hay fork. If the load was well tied together, four forks would empty the wagon and all would be deposited high above in the mow by the traveling hay fork. If there was loose hay left, this had to be pitched up high into the mows and this was hard. Then out came the horses, then the wagon and all began again for the next load.

Haying was tough but necessary work. After harvesting the first cutting of hay from Adin’s farm the quartet was not yet done. Next they traveled a mile down the hill towards Center Lisle to do Great Aunt Florence’s haying. She had a small farm, 20-25 acres, right near the center of town, but while Adin’s was comparatively flat land on top of the Caldwell Hill Rd., her’s was mostly up and down the side of the hill, making it a real challenge to cut.

Harold usually walked the team down right after chores were done at Adin’s, and that was a job in itself! The two horses, knowing they were going to have to work, balked, dragged their feet and nickered, necessitating a few slaps with the loose ends of the reins. Arriving at Aunt Florence’s, Harold would hitch them to the cutter. Adin would take over and they all would cut, rake and pitch into the wagon, using a course sideways to the hill.

However, to get to the top of the hill to start was hard on the team and when they finished it was a straight shot down to the barn in a flurry of action! Scary! (No brakes on that wagon!)

There were compensations though. Florence was a marvelous cook! Noon dinner was a medley of roast pork, ham, chicken and beef, dripping with gravy, mashed potatoes and vegetables, tomatoes, all topped off with luscious pie slathered with whipped cream! She kept three to four Jersey cows, which are high in butter fat, churned her own butter and even made her own cheese, and provided buttermilk to drink.

After the meal, as at Adin’s house, it was obligatory to find a shady spot to lie down and rest for 30-40 minutes to “aid digestion.” The end of the day found Adin, Gladys and Ed traveling back up the hill in Adin’s car, while Harold dragged his weary self along, desperately trying to keep pace with two scampering horses who knew they were going home to extra portions of oats and a night’s rest.

Each day at the farm began the same. 5 a.m. Adin whooped up the stairway and Harold and Gladys rolled out, Gladys to help Grandma prepare breakfast and Harold to go to the night pasture, which was back of the barn, let the cows into their stanchions, having placed , after milking the night before, the proper amount of feed for each in front of her place. Locking each in place, if any were missing, Harold went looking while Adin applied the milking machine to two at a time.

After each couple of cows were milked, they were released and each knew the way out of the barn. As Adin began on the next duo Harold guided the cows across the road to the day pasture and closed the gate. As the cows meandered down the hilly side of this second pasture, now came a welcome breakfast break, after which mucking out was done. This meant that the “drops” that step down channel behind where each cow stood to be milked, were cleaned of animal waste and the floor leading into the area also. As Adin repeatedly told us, “Gotta be clean enough to eat your breakfast in”–sanitation laws say so and inspectors check periodically to be sure. If your dairy doesn’t pass, your milk is not accepted at the creamery.

It was only when chores were done that the day’s “haying” was begun. Haying was not only hard on the workers, it was hard on the cooks. Big meals were the norm, starting with breakfast, which was served around 7 a.m., between 1st milking and the mucking out. It was substantial because it HAD to be! Eggs, salt pork or ham, fried potatoes, biscuits and gravy or pancakes, it was no non cholesterol meal.

Dinner came about noon, and was another hearty repast. Beef, pork chops, mashed potatoes, big slabs of ham, baked beans, squash or whatever vegetable was ripe, plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers in season, all helped down with large glasses of milk, iced tea or coffee. Grandma, at this time, was 79 years old, very deaf and almost blind, and Ed’s wife was older than she was. This put poor Gladys on the firing line. Hired as a field hand, and expected to put in the same time as the rest, according to Grandma’s rules, women’s place was in the kitchen, cooking. It was alright for her to “help” in the field, but meals took time to prepare and clean up was necessary. So blessed Gladys was caught on both ends and she came through, dragging many days, but always there!

Supper, thank the Lord, was a lighter meal, and served after 5 p.m. milking and mucking out was over, so all could creep out to the front porch, drop into a rocker and rest. For the women, though, that time began after dishes were done and bread was set for the next day. Usually the baking was done after breakfast and before dinner. One day Harold came in to the noon meal, and noticed a stick of stove wood holding the cast iron wood fired oven door shut. “What happened to the door, Grandma?”, he shouted. “Door’s broken,”she crabbed, “won’t stay shut, so I jam it shut with a stick.”

They all sat down to the usual bounteous meal, followed by Grandma’s cookies. Now Grandma Baker’s cookies were not just cookies, they were manna from heaven! Large as a saucer and almost an inch thick, they were moist and chewy and Harold was making the most of his second one, an unheard of feat, when his left molar chomped down on a stone! It had to be darn hard, he thought as he sorted through the crumbs in his mouth, because he had felt his brain rattle!

Pulling out the offending object, he took a look and chuckled! There was a good size screw, and if he wasn’t wrong, the very one missing from the oven door. Walking over to it, he inserted it, closed the door properly and stood there, grinning as Grandma said, “Well I never!” He shone in her eyes ever after!

Harold slept in the front room upstairs at Grandma’s, Gladys had the back one. No inside bathroom in those days, so “vessels” were to be used. Gladys always complained loudly about having to empty the pot each morning–while Harold never seemed to have to do so. She must have realized that he just peed out the window, which was not an option for her, but Grandma never caught on!

Once the first hayings were done at both farms, work didn’t slacken, it just changed pace. Now was the time to clear the woods of the toppings of trees that Adin felled year round whenever he had time. He had need for many board feet of lumber, and he had mature trees in the woods to cut. As he could fit it in, he’d chop down one or two, trim the upper branches off and leave the trunks lying until he had a load. When the ground was dry enough to drive a truck down into the day pasture, past the small stream, he’d do so, then have to get the horses to pull each tree trunk out to the truck and help load it.

This done, he’d return Pet and Reba to their pasture and drive the truck thru Center Lisle and beyond near Lisle to the sawmill where they’d saw them into planks. Returning home he’d store them in a small side barn available for use in repairing any of the out buildings, the house or the barn. Eventually, in the years after the war, he used this lumber to build Grandma a new house, down the road aways, but that’s a whole other story. For now, this summer of 1943, 44 and 45, the job in the woods meant clearing the areas of the toppings left behind from these trunks. These were snaked out from between trees using the horses, piled as high as possible on a wagon left in the nearest clearing, and transported to the house where they were chopped up and placed in piles to be buzzed into firewood.

The buzzing was done with a saw mounted on an engine and placed in the drive way next to the woodshed door. They had only to buzz the limbs into firewood size chunks and then toss them in thru the window of the adjacent woodshed.

So you can see that this band of hearty warriors fought WWII in their own way. And each night as fireflies came out along with the mosquitos, and moths flew about the single porch light and darkness fell, the rockers on the front porch moved more and more slowly. Talk became more and more sporadic, until finally, giving up, each said, “Good night.” Morning came very early!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgiving Tales By Aunt CB

Thanks-giving day is coming up and these days that gets us thinking of turkeys. It wasn’t always so!

Back in the 1930's, Depression days, turkeys weren’t on everyone's table. Jack’s father raised them so he knew them well, but I don’t ever remember having a turkey dinner until I was eleven years old and this was at Uncle Floyd Taylor’s for Thanksgiving.

He ran a grocery store and what a feast we had that year at his house! Besides turkey, dressing, gravy , we had mashed potatoes, squash, cabbage salad, celery, olives, radishes and cranberry conserve. All this was topped off with cake, sherbet, candy and nuts!

We paid a price for it though, snow had fallen all day and as we drove home to Geneva, by Rt. 5 and 20 (no thruway then) we inched our way along, Daddy driving and Ruth hanging out the passenger window, trying to see the side of the road and clear the windshield simultaneously. Those were cold drives!

Our usual Thanksgiving dinner was venison and maybe a chicken with it. We kept chickens at our house and while we had a pet rooster, Tommy, who came in the kitchen every Sunday morning before we went to Sunday School, (and yes, he usually pooped on the floor in his excitement!) we made sure we never made a pet of a hen. One doesn’t make friends with what may end up in one's pot..

We usually had Thanksgiving with the Taylor side of the family. Late November was too chancy for the roads in the hill country of Center Lisle and the beloved Bakers. I remember Mom usually brought pies, she was a grand pie maker!

And one year at Aunt Emily’s (she married B.W. and therefore was our step grandmother) she introduced us to the novelty of radish roses! (radishes slit so that ice water forms rose-like petals) She was a very caring person.

But the Thanksgiving I remember best was one at her house, 40 Porter Avenue, Batavia.. As we all crowded around the oval dining room table, laden with all sorts of succulent dishes, we bowed our heads for the usual grace before meals. “Bless this food to our use, O Lord, and us to thy service,” Grandpa B.W. intoned, and then added, “and let us each tell what we are thankful for?” My blood ran cold, for what WAS I thankful for?

Each thought that occurred to me seemed to be spirited away by someone before me. Uncle Leon was thankful for family, Aunt Clara spoke of the full table (on which dishes I knew were getting cold!). Harold, two seats from me squeaked out being thankful for new sneakers, and I knew he was, for his toes had stuck out of his others all fall! I thought to say thanks for the sunny day, but Doris, beside me, grabbed that thought so there I was, my turn and speechless!

What on earth WAS I thankful for–and then it popped into my head! Of course, I was thankful for those lovely radish roses, the very ones that Aunt Emily had spent an hour specially making for us. Doris smirked at my choice, but I didn’t care, for Aunt Emily had given me a big smile, so big that I could see her gold tooth in her mouth. I knew I’d pleased someone and God knew how thankful I was to have thought of a subject!

The above picture is of ( left to right) Arnon, Leon Taylor, B.W. Taylor, Harold, Doris, Ruth, Clara T.Burt (wearing hat), Lucille, Esther, Emily Taylor, Ethel Taylor, Mary A. Taylor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grandpa and Grandma Taylor with Flag, By Diana

Here is a picture that Aunt CB and I were just talking about - it's Grandpa and Grandma Taylor and a unique flag standing in front of the lower level of our Taylor house in Warners, New York.
My remembering is that my dad, Arnon - sent this flag off to his aunt because she was going to 'show' someone - and it never came back.

I always thought that the white stripe first was always interesting or significant but then I discussed it with a historian and they said that there was not a standard way to create flags when this one was made so folks would likely start with whatever color they wanted.

CB remembers it a little differently but the end result is the same - it's in a museum on Long Island.

The Taylors always accumulated interesting things. On that note I found a box of old tiebars that I believe, based on what was around them and what they were in - belonged to Grandpa Lloyd Taylor. I see no reason to have all these tie bars here and so many of you without so.........I am happy to share if you would like on - please contact me with your address and you can have one at least until I run out.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tubby the Boat, By Harold, as told to CB

Nobody has scarlet fever twice, but both Harold and I did! His turn came in 1942, when at twelve years old, he repeated the illness he’d “enjoyed” a year previous. This time around he wasn’t feeling sick at all, although Dr Allen said he was, so he was faced with no school for three weeks and spare time, a precious commodity, especially since it coincided with a wallet which housed a laboriously saved $20 bill.

It didn’t take him long to come to a decision. He’d long wanted to build a boat. He drew up plans, knew just what he wanted, but needed to figure measurements. His pre-planning included a visit to Long Pier, on Seneca Lake, where he obtained permission to moor his boat in a far corner near the land. The next trip was to the lumber yard on Lewis Street. Finished wood was beyond his pocket book, box lumber, although coarse and wide, would have to do. Carefully he inspected all the boards for knots, discarded those, and chose what he needed. Three one-foot wide, 10-foot long planks for the bottom, two for the sides and a third for the ends, then another to be cut to length for seats, great! What else? A couple of 2x2's for oars, with a piece of board on the end, they’d do nicely after the handles were rounded for easier rowing. And for this purchase they’d deliver! Straight to 30 West Street.

It took him the better part of a month. One of the hardest parts was bending the bottom boards, ever so slightly, and meeting the curve with an end board. The end result looked a little awkward, but it was the best he could do. He’d made a trip to Montgomery Ward for oarlocks and nails, but badly needed something to plug gaps between the boards, gaps which he knew would only grow larger with use. Ever the inventive mind, he rummaged through Mamma’s rag bag. Just the thing! Using a screwdriver, he pushed the strips of rags into every crevice he saw—but knew he’d need more. What to do? Then inspiration hit! Tar! He’d use heated tar like they used on the road! Where did he get it? Well, that’s his secret, but it seemed to do the job.

Next was how to get it from our house, in the west, to the lake side, two to three miles to the east. A cranking noise, a sputtering, and running footsteps on the road caught his attention, and he knew what to do! George Devine running to his truck. Our neighbor across the street had an old model T truck that he picked up trash with. I suppose he was a “rag-bag” man, but a grand fellow, and he was happy to transport the boat to the Seneca Lake mooring spot.

It was a thing of beauty, painted green, and christened “Tubby”. Harold was very proud of it and rightfully so. The appointed day came, and he and Mr. Devine carefully lifted it into the back of the truck and set off. The only place available for him to put it into the lake, where the truck could come up close enough to the water to easily disgorge the boat, was way down at the far side of the lake, past the swimming and play ground area, near where the road curves to the east side. Long Pier is on the west side, two to three miles across the foot of the lake, but it couldn’t be helped, this was where it had to be set in.

Carefully placing it on the beach edge, they pushed it in, and Harold got in, sat on the middle seat, and just glowed for a minute! The thing floated! With no chance to let the boards swell, for he couldn’t stay there, he set off, rowing with his make shift oars. Leaked? Yes, it did a bit, but he’d used plenty of tar over tightly wedged rags, and all he had to do now was row across the foot of the lake and around the bend to Long Pier. If you go today, and stand by the lake side of the Ramada Inn, look to your right and away up the lake you’ll see a pier. That was this twelve year old’s destination! Took all day, and long before he arrived, he’d raised blisters on his hands, his arms were tired, and he was hungry, but he continued on and made it, tying his rope securely to the far corner of the pier near the land. Wobbling slightly, he crawled out and sat looking at HIS boat, resting on Seneca Lake!

He rowed that boat around all summer, investigating every cove he could see, and one time picked up a bit of money, rowing some sailors to a deserted spot to spy on a buddy with his girlfriend. Fall came, and Mr. Devine once again helped him out. They brought it home to rest for the winter, tipped up against the back of our garage. In the spring, “Tubby” was rolled over, to display shrunken boards, slats big enough to put your fist through on her bottom, her days done. But no one could ever take away her glory days, the days they’d had together. He’d built a boat!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

From Sue Kinsella

Thank you for all the Family Reunion pictures! It has always been important to me to stay in touch with cousins and extended family, and it’s so wonderful to see you all!

If I ever needed reminding of what a gift cousins are, I got it this summer when Julie was one of the blessed people who dropped everything to fly cross-country to take care of me when I was incapacitated by a shattered ankle. (Slipped on a magazine and fell down the stairs – go figure!) I also heard from many of my cousins and deeply appreciated your notes and cards. I still have a lot of recovery ahead of me, but I can get around better now. I’m out of my cast (beautiful though it was) and into a walking boot now, using crutches, a walker, and a wheelchair, depending on the need. I just stood on my foot for the first time yesterday in two and a half months!

Here are pictures of Julie with me and with my son, Alex. I’ve been surprised to learn how many other people have broken their ankles at one time or another. I hear that one of Ted Lochner’s sons came to the Family Reunion this year in a cast, and Diana told me that she broke BOTH ankles – AT THE SAME TIME (tripped over a dog) - several years ago. It is totally miraculous, I’m finding, that ankles can heal themselves and bones can regenerate. I say – revel in your ankles! Walk, run, jog, hike, dance, and celebrate! Love to you all (and especially Julie)!

Monday, October 1, 2007

30 West Street, Geneva, NY--By CB

The house we Taylor Kids grew up in was a large old house, paint long ago worn off, its inner workings (pipes) as old and cantankerous as the outside looked. The house itself was set near the road and was bordered by lots on either side as well as in back of it. Like a shabby well worn lady, tired, who’d settled down with her skirts all awry about her, she sat in the midst of empty lots. Upstairs the four bedrooms opened onto a large hall running from the front to the back of the house allowing for a front and back stairway. Downstairs, an entry hall opened into four rooms, parlor, living room, dining room and kitchen, all tied together by the marvelous stairways (we thought everyone had such a convenience!) Which allowed for grand games of “catch me if you can!” (Poor Mom!)

Way behind the house, a good 50-75 feet or so, sat the garage, one corner of which had been made into a chicken house. The hens had daytime access to a wired yard outside, but roosted each night in the garage. A side door leading into the area where the car was kept also held two large metal bins filled with chicken feed. Always one of us was responsible for feeding the chickens daily. This time it was Doris’ job, and she had forgotten to do it until after supper. It was fall, and when she remembered, it was dark outside.

“Come with me, CB,” she coaxed, “I’ll scratch your back 10 minutes tonight when we go to bed if you will.” (we shared a bed) Now I have to tell you that I was a real “scaredycat”, and walking all the way back to the garage in the dark even with a flashlight, was definitely not my thing, although I hesitated because I was terribly tempted. Usually to get my back scratched I’d have to scratch hers–and she was bigger than me and it took longer she always said, as she timed it.

Finally, I decided, “No, I think not, but I’ll stand by the back steps and wait for you while you go feed them.” Not able to persuade me differently, she scuffed off, making sure I’d wait for her outside by hollering “yoo hoo!” all the way down the driveway to which I’d have to answer “I’m here!” Then there was a pause and I heard the creak of the side door opening in the garage and the clang of the scoop against the metal bin.

Suddenly the night was rent with a blood curdling scream, and I saw what seemed to be an apparition appearing over the raspberry bushes between the garage and the back of the house. In one leap (honest!) she made the distance and slammed down beside me, grabbing my arm! “A rat–there was a rat on the step”– and we both ran into the house! No chickens were fed that night!

I'm sending 2 pictures-the one of the Taylor kids are from left to right, Arnon, Ruth, Esther, Doris, CB, Harold, Ethel in back. Picture taken 1936?
30 West Street, Geneva, NY taken from the south side 1942

Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Reunion Pictures!

A beautiful autumn day here in New England! I thought I would put up some more great pictures from the reunion............

From Diana

Last year for Mom's 90th we had a little suprise party and grilled outside. This year we just brought a cake to her Assisted Living Apartment on September 1st. It was a big marble cake - everyone said it was way too big - but since I got to take home the leftovers I thought it was just right.
My husband Bill and I were there - as well as Carol, and 2 of my 3 kids were there. (Jon and Kris). Several of mom's friends from St. Benedicts also stopped in for cake and ice cream.
The next day - we drove about 30 miles to watch my daughter in law in a horse show. She does 'Eventing' which is Dressage, stadium jumping and cross country. We went to watch stadium jumping and mom was very willing to give each and every rider - some tips on what they should do better. She really enjoyed herself.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

From Kathy Taylor Mills

we had a lovely time at the family reunion.
it was chilly and misty rain but still the best
attended one so far.
my parents were very happy with it.
ann and i enjoy doing it at the cottage because
any farther away and my parents would not be able to make it.
they do not travel well any more.

i did not get to talk to every one but most of them.
i think the cold chased every one off with little
there are so many small second cousins now
that i can't always keep them straight.
we need name tags with who is who and who they
belong to on them haha,
i think nance was very happy with the turn out.
being the oldest cousin she wanted to see as
many as she could.
it was great for food too,we had a great amount
to pick from in choices.chuck lochner made great

From Pat: THANKS to Charlie Hawkes and Ted Lochner for some of these posted pictures. Great work!!