Thursday, January 31, 2008


It was the summer of 1945. I’d just graduated from Geneva High school and was home in Waterloo, waiting for the O.K. on my summer job of telephone operator. Harold was just finishing his freshman year at Waterloo High School. We were both at loose ends; I didn’t know many people in this town where our parents had moved the year before, and Harold knew some, but not enough to create mayhem. We were both ready to kick up our heels, but how? where?

Taking a good look at Harold, I realized that he was growing up. He was just as tall as I was and probably the same size—and—“hey Butts, try on my skirt” I said as I shoved it at him. Bored, he answered, “sure thing”, grabbed it and stepped into it. Zipped up, the thing fit him perfectly! Amazed, I threw him a sweater, he popped his head, then arms though it, and there he was, transformed into a girl—if we could cover the hair. A kerchief did the job, and much to my amazement, he even fit into my high heels.

Peering in the mirror at his reflection, he said, “I wonder if we could fool anybody?” It seemed to me we could, and so we concocted some action. Mom was washing clothes in the back room. Perfect! She was busy there. Quietly, and carefully maneuvering the stairs, (he could even walk like a girl in those shoes!) we came down and he went out on the porch and rang the door bell. I shouted, “I’ll get it” to Mom, and let him in to sit in one of the living room chairs. Then I went out to Mom and said, “It’s a girl that knows Harold named Mabel. I’ve heard of her, but don’t know her well. She seems very shy. I don’t know where he is, so I wish you’d come in and help me entertain her while we figure out how serious this is.”

Mom was always very agreeable, so she just wiped her hands and came along to the living room where “Mabel” was waiting. I introduced Mabel to Mom and the three of us sat down. “So you go to school with Harold?” Mom said. “Mabel” nodded. “And you live here in town?” she continued. “Mabel” nodded again nervously shuffling her feet. Desperate not to giggle, I cleared my throat and searched for a safe topic of conversation. “You must be glad that school is out for the summer now”, I mumbled. “Mabel” looked at me, and I could see a laugh coming, so I hastily said, “and the weather has been so nice!” She nodded and once again, quiet vibes filled the air.

Anxious not to offend, Mom quickly asked, “would you like a glass of lemonade?” “Mabel” started to shake her head up and down, looked at me, and we both lost it! Snickers changed to belly laughs, as Mom looked from one of us to the other, paused, and light dawned. She laughed too, as we crowed, “couldn’t believe you didn’t know your own son!” Mabel has been a good friend of our family ever since.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thanks, Ma-- aka Aunt CB!

If you look on the right, you will see previous blog titles in the green.

Then, underneath, is the blue shaded area.

You'll notice a few new items.

First up is the Index to the Taylor CD.

Aunt CB did incredible work as she looked at picture after picture on the CD of Uncle Jack's pictures; she wrote down numbers and who she thinks is in each, and in some cases, the location. You will notice some question marks, and here is where we could use anyone's help.

For instance, on number 743, Mom knew everyone in the picture, but not Alyssa's name. Thanks, Charlie for that! (If you want to figure out which picture we mean, look down to the Reunion pictures from 1989--the Hawkes family).

I have begun a 'corrected copy' and we can add names as we find them.

So, feel free to download this 34 page wonder by Mom, or just look through. For those who have a Taylor CD, this is pretty important!

For those who still want a Taylor CD, just let me know.

The second new item is the just added Taylor side of the genealogy. Thanks to Ma and Pa for all of this work; I just put it up on the blog so that we all can enjoy this information.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Visit with Grandma Taylor, or How I Became Part of the Family

By Jon Maney:
Not long before Grandma Taylor was killed by a car while crossing the road in July of 1970, I stayed with her. I can’t remember how many days exactly--just a week or two at most. I had just turned fourteen and my mother thought I could help her around the house. Grandma Taylor had spent part of the year with us and was unhappy to be away from her own home. Everyone seemed worried about her and wondered how long she could stay there alone.

Living with us, Grandma Taylor had been subdued. I had hoped that when my brother Dan and I fought, which was often, she would do something to break it up. Instead, she was silent. It wasn’t her home, she told my mother; she wasn’t comfortable making or enforcing rules there. I remember watching television with her when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and being puzzled when she had nothing much to say. Here was a woman who had grown up with horses and buggies, who had lived through two world wars, who’d gone from using kerosene to electric lights, who’d seen silent, black and white films evolve to Technicolor talkies, who’d raised six kids through the Depression, and who now watched a fuzzy figure in a space suit bounce down and declare that this was a giant leap for mankind. I looked at her and her face was impassive.

Later, back in her own home, she was different. She was in command, cleaning up, giving stuff away, taking charge of herself. I remember that clearly, and the fact that as her guest now I was the quiet one.

For those of us who were there, her house in Waterloo evokes strong memories. We recall its smell, an odor that for me could be summed up in one word: old. The place reeked of age, of times past, meals past, of all the human history that she and Grandpa Taylor had brought into that house along with the relics from their married lives and their kids and the long-dead relatives that made the place such a wonderful, vast museum. I can remember the heft of the front door, the feel of the cool doorknob, the sensation of entering the always frigid hallway with its steep Victorian staircase, tall ceiling, and light fixture with that weird, multicolored glass star that served as its globe. From the hall you entered the dining room with its big, golden oak sideboard, round oak table and set of T-back chairs, and a lumpy, overstuffed sofa with hairy upholstery that felt and looked like a bum’s stubble. To the right was a roll-top desk and a mouse-colored 50s tv with a tiny screen. Next to that was the telephone and an old tabletop radio tuned to WSFW and Paul Harvey every day at noon.

Then to the kitchen: down an oak ramp into what was almost as strange as a cave with a monster inside--a big, brooding cook stove with a deep blue, steel stove pipe that rose up and arched like a dinosaur’s neck with a knife stuck through it. Just a damper to control the draft, but it looked violent to me.

Past the kitchen, a gray, murky laundry room with floor to ceiling wainscoting and a wringer washer, and that infamous grate on the floor that some of us boys had used, from time to time, to pee in.

This is just the beginning. There is so much more I could describe in every room in that house, all the way up to the cobwebby cupola. But it would take too long. So I’ll mention just the things that figured powerfully for me in that visit with Grandma Taylor in the time just before she died, before the house was broken up and all this became a memory.

I’ll also mention what I was like at fourteen. I was wary of adults. I didn’t trust most of them. But Grandma Taylor was different. She was from a different time, and, from my perspective, she seemed to be from a different planet.

She probably thought the same about me, too.

There was a long, dull silence after my mother left and drove back to Geneva. When the front door closed it had sounded like the lid on a tomb. Grandma Taylor sat in a chair and began sorting through papers on the dining room table. She was wearing an old-fashioned pair of gold, rimless glasses and her long, silver hair was pinned tightly at the back of her head. Outside it was sunny. I could hear the shouts and cries of kids playing somewhere in the warm July afternoon. I looked away from the wavy window glass and said, “You sure have a lot of antiques, Grandma.”

She looked at me. Grandma Taylor could smile, but this time she didn‘t. “No,“ she said. “I don’t think so.”

“You do,“ I insisted. “All this stuff, like this table.”

Her glasses seemed to magnify her watery eyes. “This was a wedding present. From 1915. It’s not an antique.”

Give me a break, I thought. That was ancient.

All afternoon I tried to find something to talk about. I looked through dusty old Life magazines and watched her arrange boxes of photographs and papers. She said she was going through things and didn’t want to leave a mess behind. She was writing names on the backs of some of the pictures. She was also writing the names of my aunts and uncles on the stuff she wanted them to have. After I finished with the magazines I started on the funnies page of the newspaper. At one point when she looked up I told her I liked the comic strip Pogo, but then she read it out loud and it fell flat.

I tried to explain the humor, how Pogo was often an allegory for the political scene in Washington. That flopped, too. Then I told her I liked the quality of the drawing. She seemed unconvinced.

“Would you like some Fritos,” she asked finally. She pronounced it “fri-toes,” instead of “free-tos.” She returned from the kitchen with a small bag, opened it, and offered me just three or four of the corn curls. I could have eaten two of the bags. Then she put it back.

Later we had supper. The food was really good. Fresh vegetables, and plenty of them. After I helped her wash the dishes and dry them with the towels that hung on the oak commode she kept in the kitchen, we went to the dining room. The evening was crawling along and I felt increasingly hopeless. My attempts at conversation stalled because we seemed to have nothing in common. Even though she had stayed with us earlier that year, most of the time she had talked to my mother. And even though I’d seen her at family reunions and the times she and Grandpa Taylor had visited our house, we were still, more or less, strangers.

What changed everything was the photographs. As we sat down on the couch in the dining room, I asked her to show them to me.

She did. Box after box.

We started in the 19th century, with the daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, cartes de visites, tintypes, and cabinet photographs. She introduced me to each person: Nancy Borthwick, Leonard Baker, and then their son, Byron, who became her father. There were Carsons, Motts, and Youngs. She showed me the pictures of Byron’s wife, Kate, who was her mother. About nearly everyone, Grandma Taylor had a story. I loved listening to her. It was as if the dam had broken, and in her voice lived all these generations of people who were her family. I was sitting close to her and we balanced the boxes on our knees. The sun went down and still we were only at 1904, the date of the blue, cyanotype photograph of her sister.

The photo was arresting. It showed a young girl of about my age standing outdoors, wearing a long, dark skirt and a white shirtwaist. Her face had a haunted expression. Her eyes were deep set and stared searchingly into the camera. Perhaps it was this, combined with the rich, watery tones, that made me stare back at her just as deeply.

“Oh, that is Ruth,” she said. Then she told me the story that Aunt CB has written and will perhaps one day appear in this blog if it hasn‘t already. If you haven’t read it, then I won’t spoil it, as it will draw you close to what Grandma Taylor and her brother Adin were like in their kindness to their dying sister. By the time Grandma Taylor got to the end of Ruth’s life, with Ruth in her arms and hearing the bells, both Grandma and I were in tears.

What a reservoir of feeling Grandma had for these people. You wouldn’t know it from the outside. She was not a “touchy-feely” person, the kind who said “I love you“ or gave you a hug. But listening to her it became clear that she’d come from a loving family. She told me about her father--how he, a poor farmer, believing in her brains and ability, helped send her to Cortland Normal, the teachers’ college, so that she would have a career. And she told stories about Adin and her little sister Lil, about life on the farm with its hard work and many opportunities for fun as well.

It was a relief to see Grandma Taylor as a sister, daughter, and mother, not just as a stooped, elderly lady who said quaint things like “land sakes,“ and “dontcha know.”

Next she showed me her college graduation picture. Wearing a white dress, she held the diploma, a slim, attractive woman with thick, upswept hair and pince-nez glasses perched on her nose. And then the ones from her wedding, and suddenly 1915 didn’t seem quite so long ago as I saw her as she was then, young and looking ahead at her life.

As we went through a box that held Taylor family pictures, I reached for one that had a cover. Opening it, I saw a sheet of thin, almost translucent paper with creepy cobweb designs on it. I peeled it back and was shocked to see a young girl laid out on a board that had been placed over the seats of two chairs. Her eyes were sunken and closed.

I wanted to shut the cover but could not look away. Grandma said it was Mildred, who died of scarlet fever. No one outside the family would come near her for fear of the disease, so it was up to her mother, father, my grandfather (who was only fifteen then), and her other brothers and sisters to prepare her for burial. They dug her grave in the orchard close to Woodlawn, the family farm.
It must have been grim work.

That night I went to bed in the little room off to the side of the dining room. There was a lumpy bed there, and it took a long time for me to sleep. The beams of passing cars on West Main Street showed through the window and lit up the thistle designs on the old wallpaper. They were big thistles, and I seemed to see things between them in the dark. I closed my eyes and saw Ruth, after whom my mother was named, and who, according to a psychic Grandma had spoken to once at a fair many years before, watched over her. And I saw the cobwebbed paper that lay over poor Mildred like a shroud.

There was a noise in the kitchen. Frightened, I got up in the dark and felt my way along the walls, down the ramp, until I found the light switch and there stood Grandma. She was wearing a cotton night gown, with her hair down in a long coil, her mouth all sunken in because her teeth were out.

I nearly screamed.

I told her I wanted a glass of water. “Not that one,” she warned, as I reached for the tumbler with her teeth in it.

Then she smiled, sort of.

After that, I guess we both seemed to adjust. I helped her with the laundry, squeezed the water from the clothes with the crank wringer, and hung them outside. We worked together in the garden, pulling weeds and picking lettuce and, as I recall, hoeing up some radishes. Then Aunt Barb visited and we went grocery shopping. I was finally helping her. Most of the time Grandma was quiet, especially when we were working, and I got used to the long silences that would’ve bothered me before. Time slowed. I could go through the rooms in the house and find things that I had questions about (Arnon’s wings insignia, the victrola, the pressed oak clock repaired with a tin hand Arnon had made, Grandpa’s calendar behind the door to my bedroom that featured a lady in a see-through negligee, kerosene lamps, clarinets, and so on. Grandma answered all my questions either briefly or with a story about someone in the family.

Once, while standing on the worn spot in front of the kitchen sink doing the dishes, I heard something I never thought Grandma would say. She had dropped a can on the floor and said quietly, but decisively, “Shit.” Now I know that doesn’t sound like much, but she had always struck me as being such an old lady, and a proper one at that, so I was surprised. And then there was the time she walked from one end of the kitchen to the other, all the while maintaining a remarkably long and tuneful fart.

I began to feel a change in me. As I mentioned before, at fourteen I was not an especially trusting kid. I thought most adults were mean. I had grown up with screaming and yelling, so the calm that Grandma managed to radiate was at first discomforting. I didn’t know what it meant. Staying with her, I learned to relax, and I found myself drawn to her and her serenity. Her friends would call and she would sit at the phone listening to their problems. She was a sympathetic listener, and when she said something, it mattered.

Looking back, I honestly don’t know if Grandma cared much for me. I probably was a burden to her during the time I stayed there, but if I was, she never made me feel that way. She was a very good cook and I ate simple meals that I loved because so much of the food was fresh and from her garden. We watched no television, but sat together at night reading books or magazines. Sometimes we went out to the side porch where she would say hello to her neighbors as they walked by. Grandma never said anything particularly affectionate to me, but I felt accepted and cared for by her, and that was plenty.

She was happy to be in her home, yet I believe she knew she wouldn’t be there for long. I can’t say whether she’d had a premonition that she would die on July 24th, in just a few weeks, but it wouldn’t surprise me. She was that kind of person. While I was there she spent a lot of time arranging things so that my aunts and uncles would find her house in order. I think that says something about her state of mind.

I also know, because of our talks, that Grandma was by nature a teacher. Of course she had trained as one, and she had, unfortunately, been wooed from the classroom, but the kind of teaching she did was constant, nevertheless. I remember her telling me how to count in German, and when we worked in the garden, she would not only show me how to use the tools, but why this or that method was best. She loved history. She never seemed annoyed by my questions about how life used to be. She answered every time with patience and interest. She was deeply connected to her family and was happy to find an occasion to remember them. Her face would light up as we went through the boxes of photographs, and I can only hope that my pleasure in seeing them and learning about these long ago relations gave her some satisfaction.

In the course of a life, certain people try to teach you how to be a human being. I would like to think that Grandma Taylor taught me something about the inaudible language of the heart, the way she made me feel welcome and cared for without having to say so.

This, happily, is the spirit of the Taylor/Baker Cousins Blogspot. It is kept alive by those of us who contribute stories and photographs to these pages. Though we live far away from one another and don’t meet as often as we should, we keep the spirit of this family alive by coming together here, to rediscover who we are.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Congratulations to Charlie and Mary Hawkes on Lockport Memorial Hospital's Win!

Here is an email sent by Charlie Hawkes:

Good Morning All,

I`m just sending out a short note for now to thank you all. Recently, Uncle Jack sent you all a note telling you about how Lockport Memorial Hospital was entered in a contest to win an MRI. He encouraged you to vote and to vote often to help us win. I`m pleased to tell you that your efforts were not for naught. It was announced Friday, January 25th at 8:00 that Lockport Memorial Hospital had indeed won the MRI. There was a live telecast over the Internet on that I believe will be shown again later.
I just wanted to thank you all and let you know how we did!
For Mary, myself, the people in our town and Lockport Memorial Hospital,
Thank you again!!!!

Siemens Medical Solutions, USA Inc. announces the winner of the 2007 Win An MRI Contest:
Lockport Hospital, Lockport, NY.
Lockport Hospital is the recipient of a brand new MAGNETOM® ESSENZA – one of Siemens’ latest developments in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. Lockport won the MRI – worth approximately $800,000. Like most community hospitals in this country, Lockport has struggled with how to afford a state-of-the-art MRI machine. With this new MAGNETOM ESSENZA, Lockport will be able to expand the diagnostic care that it can provide to its community, better addressing their healthcare needs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Center Lisle's Idea of a Snow Day--UPDATED!!

One more picture to add to the mix--Thank you to cousin Kathryn Wood Barron for these great pictures, and Mom for writing up a commentary to go with them:

We didn’t go to Center Lisle much in the winter, and these pictures demonstrate why!

This visit I don’t remember, I was four years old and probably half frozen! It looks as though we didn’t have enough warm coats to all go out together, or more probably, some coats were drying out in front of the oven, from the last wearing.

But take a look at the snow banks- yep, that’s Adin, and what a prince he was! Always ready to horse around! So what did they do with the roads in those days? I have papers showing that several owners of farms in sequence along the roads, banded together and were responsible for its upkeep in the summer, so I imagine it was the same for plowing in winter at least in the early 1900's.

Maybe Ronny Henderson who has charge of its Public Service Dept., knows when Lisle began to care for the roads, and how they plowed them. Byron had charge of his segment in the early years, and in those years it was done in winter with teams of horses, banded together. As many as twelve sometimes, my research has shown, and plowed with wooden boards fashioned in a V shape. A big innovation occurred when they tipped the V with iron!

When we did go down in the winter time, Daddy had to put the chains on the tires. Then as we drove, you’d hear the “rachety-rachety” sound when you hit cleared pavement! I do remember at least one time we were there when the side of the road looked like those pictures, and we used Adin’s old manure sled to ride down the hill in the pasture across the road from the barn.

Harold and I didn’t need that though, we each took a milk can cover, fit our selves in to it, and down we went! (Maybe Harold can still fit in one but no way I could!) Another time we were there for “sugaring off.” The Barrows and Bakers had a sugar camp together across the road from Grandma’s house and down to the left, about 200 feet. It was in a copse of sugar maples. I just remember the air near by smelled sugar sweet, and someone had to man (or woman) the shack twenty-four hours a day, as well as empty the pails hanging on the spouts. This must have been in the early 1930's, but not when these pictures were taken.

There was snow on the ground, but not big snow banks. It would have been, as you know, later towards spring, late February or March when the sap began to run. Someone ladled hot syrup in slim lines on a patch of clean snow, then gave us each a fork to pick up a strand. Sweet and good! Another treat, back at the house, was clean snow in a glass with a drop of vanilla added and milk poured over it! Snow cream! That we could have at home, whenever it snowed. And of course, at home, when big chunks of ice were available, out came the hand cranked freezer. Nothing tastes so good today, but maybe I’m just imagining that!

Picture One: The usual suspects?! Just added, see pictures below to try to decide who is in this picture
Picture Two: Adin doing a hand stand, Arnon, Ethel with baby Harold, Ruth, Lucille in front with Doris. Ma thinks Esther would have been inside with clothes drying?
Picture Three: Esther, Arnon, little one is CB (?), two children Aunt CB is not sure of, and Ethel holding Harold
Picture Four: Lloyd with Doris, CB sitting in snow, Arnon in center and Ruth holding Harold

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ruth Inez Baker By Sue Kinsella

Most of the time, ancestors influence the generations that follow them because of things they accomplish. Whether they came over on the Mayflower or fought in the Civil War or started a business or made glorious quilts, their stories echo down the years and even down the centuries.

But I am fascinated by a 13-year-old girl who has had dramatic influence down the generations of our family not because of her achievements but because of her haunting absence. She died more than 100 years ago and none of us knew her, and yet we carry her with us still.

I grew up with my mother’s stories about her mother’s sister, Ruth, who was born a blue-baby with heart defects. I heard about my Grandma Taylor educating her little sister because Ruth was too sickly to go to school. In Aunt Lil’s audiotape on the blog, she says it was mostly she and Ruth who played together because Ethel was so much older, although it was actually only a three or four year difference.

Especially it would bring tears to my eyes to hear again about how my grandmother held her sister as Ruth lay dying just a month before her 14th birthday. It was just a few days after Christmas and my grandmother was only 17. Maybe I identified so closely because my own little sister, Pat, inherited some, but thankfully not all, of those heart defects, too.

Then my mother would describe the dramatic moment when Ruth suddenly cried, “Can you hear it? Can you hear those beautiful bells?!” before she slipped away. I may have embellished that over the years, because I remember the story as her suddenly sitting up and crying out something like, “Ethel, do you hear the music? It’s so beautiful!” and maybe even adding colors, as well.

Nevertheless, every time I heard this story, my heart would break again. I couldn’t imagine how my grandmother, the tender, smiling woman I knew, had ever managed to carry on after that.

When I fell down the stairs last summer, I didn’t yet know that I had shattered my ankle but instinctively I protected my foot. I knew I shouldn’t stand on it or put any weight on it. So Alex ran to get a neighbor to drive us to the emergency room and I scooted out to her car on my butt, pushing with my good foot. When we got to the hospital, Alex got me into a wheelchair and brought me in to the admitting desk. Then I passed out for the first of several times.

Alex says I went into little convulsions and threw up all over, although that wasn’t what freaked him out. Rather, it was that as I slowly woke up, I grabbed his hand and said, “Alex, did you hear the music?!” He had heard his grandmother’s stories about Aunt Ruth, too, and my question sent chills of fear through him.

I remember that I was hearing a young woman singing rap music. I’m not fond of rap music in general, but this was more pleasant than most. Still, it wasn’t great. What did it mean? Some neurologists say that near-death experiences like white light and music are the result of the body’s organs starting to shut down. But I don’t think that I was near death, although my body was probably in shock at the accident that had just happened. I don’t suppose it could have been Ruth herself, trying out rap, do you think?

I consider how some people say Asians frequently hear music differently from Westerners, valuing the absence of sound between the notes almost more than the notes themselves. Is there a connection between music and the girl whose absence has had so much presence in our family? I just hope that the music she heard before she died was a whole lot better than what I heard!

Ruth Inez Baker’s 117th birthday is coming up on January 21st. I didn’t realize until Pat put the Baker birthday list up that she was born the same day as my brother Jim. Grandma Taylor named her oldest daughter after her, and my mother brought her into the next generation by giving her name to my youngest sister, Beth (Elizabeth Ruth). Are there others in our family who carry Ruth’s name, too?

Ruth never got to live much of life at all, and yet still she lives three generations on. She’ll keep on living as long as we tell her story.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snow Day!

Snow Day here in Acton, MA. We have about eight inches, with the snow still falling. In fact, much of the state has a snow day, and because it was all beginning at 4AM, most schools called it the night before--unheard of! But nice for the teenagers who then sleep in.

Brings back memories of my snow days in West Irondequoit, NY. When we had the day off, we'd make snow caves and have snow forts, complete with shelves filled with lots of snowball ammo. Then, since we were in between two side streets of warring kids, they'd all fill our yard for the final showdown.

Or, my best friend, Kathie,had a St. Bernard. Heidi was a huge dog, and she enjoyed our favorite snow day event--pullings us in a sled up and down the snowy Seville Dr. At least, we hoped she enjoyed it.

Well, off to shoveling!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Aunt Ruth Maney

Two days too late, but never too late to say "Happy Birthday"!

Aunt Ruth would have been 90 years old on Wednesday, January 9th.

I remember Aunt Ruth and her boys in their large house by the lake in Geneva. To me, it seemed to take up an entire hillside.

And, inside, I just remember room after room with books everywhere. And down cellar, lots of cats. I do not know why I picture cats down in the cellar and not in the rest of the house.

Aunt Ruth when asked to write memories of CB, wrote: "I remember when CB was five years old or so and got scarlet fever two years in a row; I have heard that one can't get scarlet fever more than once, but I missed being in our high school's yearly operetta my last three years of high school. Harold got scarlet fever the third year. I had my Regent's exam in our back yard with the school nurse in attendance. I was in the operetta "Mikado" by Gilbert and Sullivan in my first year of high school and enjoyed every minute of it. I can't remember the names of the operettas I missed. I only practiced a couple of weeks before we were quarantined again."

She also wrote: " I missed a lot of the fun the younger kids had together. I started baby-sitting when we moved to Geneva a year after Harold was born. They had clubs, played in the field back of our house, built a club-house in our attic, etc.

The field they played in is now the playground for West Street School where I work as Foster Grandmother. The school's address is '30 West Street' which was our house address.

Our attic had no flooring except at the head of the stairs. Of course, Mom had a lot of stuff stored in the attic. We had to walk from beam to beam when we were up there.

I'm sure that your mother has told you about the day we came home from school to find that Mom had slipped from one beam in the attic and fallen through the ceiling into CB and Doris' bedroom."

"One by one, we girls got married. We all lived in different places (except me here in Geneva) and no one had much time for letter writing. Mom kept us up on everyone's doings since we could all find time to write to Mom. She was a wonderful letter writer anyway and we all loved to get a letter from her.

We dragged all of our kids for a few visits to each other's homes at times until things quieted down as our houses emptied. Daddy died, then Mom died, then Esther and Tom died the same year. I tried to keep the nursery going and failed finally.

CB and I were both interested in much the same things--genealogy especially, and reading--so we saw more of each other. CB took over the Baker-Taylor genealogy which was, and is, a very big chore while I wallowed through the murk of the Maney genealogy."

Picture One was taken in 1954.
Picture Two was taken in 1958, with Jon Maney.
Picture Three was taken in 1960, with Pat Kinsella and Jon Maney.
Picture Four was taken in August of 1961.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reunion Pictures--Part Two

More reunion pictures, these from 1989.

To see reunion pictures from 2007, click on the '2007' under 'Blog Archive' and scroll all the way down to the bottom. It was the great emails and pictures about that September reunion that started this Cousin Blog!

Again, my attempts. I have been known to be wrong.
Picture One:
David Lochner, CB Kinsella, Julie Lochner, Doris Hawkes, Wes Riber
I absolutely love this picture. The reunion would not be a success without David getting to take home part of a pie!
Picture Two:
Hawkes Family: Starting Right to Left in back, Steve Hawkes, Aunt Doris, Charlie, Mary and Cindy--all else--help?
Picture Three:
Our beautiful ones, minus one of course: Left to Right, Uncle Harold, Uncle Arnon, Aunt Ruth, CB Kinsella and Doris Hawkes

Pictures from Other Reunions--Part One

Judy was right. Not all of us were old enough to remember the 1964 reunion. So, here are pictures from slightly more current reunions--1978 and 1980.

Here are my attempts about who is in each picture. I was not there, so any help, and memories, would be great!

Picture One: From 1978
Chuck Lochner with the guitar, Chris Kinsella, ?, Jim Kinsella, ?, ?, ?

Picture Two: From 1978
Carol Ann Taylor, Bob Taylor, Chuck Lochner and ?

Picture Three: From 1980
Someone behind Dennis, Dennis Catherman, Annie Taylor, Bernie Hauf, Kathy Taylor, Aunt Barb and Yvonne (?)

Picture Four: From 1980
Bob's wife in background? Charlie Hawkes, Tim Kinsella, Dennis Catherman, Jeff Hauf, Bernie Hauf, Bob Taylor and Jim Kinsella?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Can You Help Identify?

These are
pictures taken at the Baker Family Reunion in September of 1964. We are eating at

Taughannock State Park in the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Aunt CB, otherwise known as Ma, has identified who she thinks are in these pictures.

Please use 'comments' to add, disagree, or write about any reunion memories!

If you click each picture, they should blow up to a bigger size to help you, if needed!

Picture One:
(left to right)Chick Wood?, Kathyrn Wood Barron?, Cookie Jenkins?, ?, Christine Emhof Jenkins?, Tim with back to us

Picture Two:
Sylva, Phyllis, Harold,? and ? --end of table, Arnon, Jim Taylor, Mike Maney, Neil Maffei

Picture Three:
Backs to Us: Barb (?), Judy (?), Beth, Pat, Tom, space and then, Cookie (?), Christine (?), her husband, Jenkins (?)

Across: Dorothy, Julie(?), Kathy, Sue, MaryLou, Tim, Mike Maney

In Back by Trees: ?, CB,Ethel, Ruth, Jim Taylor, Michael Maney, ?, George Taylor

Picture Four:
(left to right)Richard Maney?, ?, ?, ?, ?, Wendell Henderson, Helen, Aunt Lil

Curious to know where these pictures came from? Uncle Jack Kinsella has a slide box filled with over 900 pictures of the Taylor side of the family. These include, of course, Bakers also. He has wedding pictures of some of our cousins, lots of reunion pictures, Baker and Taylor, as well as Christmas pictures at Grandpa and Grandma Taylor's house in Waterloo.

IF you want a CD of these scanned in pictures, let me know and I will send you one. Email me your address at Then, we can all try to identify some of the many older pictures when a lot of us were very young!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Uncle Harold on ‘How we found a Solid Shaft of Sh** through the Straw Stack’, as Told to Jim Kinsella

In 1943-44 farm labor was very short because of the War so I was sent after school got out to my Uncle Adin’s to help with the haying. Haying was hard work and there was not much entertainment so if it rained and we couldn’t make hay or go into the woods (to cut wood) we might go to an auction.

Well, Uncle Adin went and bought a litter of pigs for $1 at an auction. As he had no pig pen he just turned them loose and let them live off the countryside. They ate grass, garbage, cow feed, apples, blackberries, and cowslips from the swamp.

Later in the season after the wheat was thrashed and a nice hay stack was built for use as winter bedding for the cows, Uncle Adin was mowing the oats that served as a cover crop for the timothy seeding (hay). As he was mowing the deepest part of the field one of the pigs was in there eating oats. Well, Uncle Adin cut all four legs off the pig. Not wanting to stop mowing, we dragged the pig off and threw it beside the straw stack.

Come spring we found out what happened. The pig didn’t die. It just ate a little straw and pooped a little…and ate more and pooped more. At the bottom of the straw stack we found the pig and a solid shaft of shit!

The truth!!

Check out the Aunt Lil Interview and Baker Family Tree!

Hi Cousins,

Happy New Year!

I have added the Baker Family information, thanks to my mom and dad and their exhaustive research. Just click on 'Baker/Borthwick/Youngs/Mott' under 'Baker Family Tree' and you should be directed to the information via a link.

I also have an interview from 1977 that my father, Uncle Jack Kinsella, recorded with Aunt Lil while she was up at our cottage in Canada (most likely when she ate catnip for Tom, Beth and I).

Scroll down and look on the right for: audio interviews. Click on 'Aunt Lil Interview'. It is divided into three parts of about ten minutes or so. Feel free to download, but you only have to hit 'play' to listen to them.

I hope to also add an interview with Grandma and Grandpa Taylor, but will wait to see if we can clean up its quality.

Thanks to Dad for the original recording, my brother Jim for turning all of this into an mp3 file, and my son Brian for helping me get the interviews onto and getting it linked up so that you can listen to them!