Sunday, February 24, 2008

A First Memory of Aunt Lil by Jack Kinsella

When I heard the tape of Aunt Lil, it reminded me of the time I first met her. When your mother and I were married (Sept. 3, 1949), she came to attend and stayed at the Taylor homestead in Waterloo. We had our reception there and the day before, I went up there to cut the grass.

Just for background, a few nights before, we were out with friends and someone told this joke: A guy and his wife- let's call them Sam and Sue, had just bought a house on a very large lot and they were very proud of it. So they invited a friend-let's call him Chuck, over to visit. As they were looking at the property, Sam said the large expanse of grass was a problem as it took him six hours to cut it. Chuck immediately said, “You must be getting old Sam, I could cut it in three hours. In fact I’ll bet you $100 I can.”

Sam knew that was a lot of money to bet but he said, “You’re on!” So they each put up the money and Sam brought out a hand mower and told his friend to go to it. After about an hour of mowing, Sam could see his friend was doing so well it looked like he was going win the bet so he had to figure out some way to slow him down. His solution was to make up a large container of lemonade and lace it with Exlax.

He then walked out on the porch and yelled to Chuck. “It’s hot out there, Chuck. Take a ten minute break and come in and have a glass of lemonade.” So Chuck came to the porch, downed two quick glasses of lemonade and went right back to mowing. After two hours had gone by, Sam checked on Chuck’s progress and found that he was almost finished with the lawn. It was evident he was going to lose the bet with him. He had to slow him down somehow.

So he asked Sue to help him. He told her to put on a real slinky dress and walk out on the porch and distract Chuck. So Sue did as Sam said and pranced out onto the porch and in a very sexy voice said, “Here I come a tipping and a toeing.” Chuck took one look at her and without slowing down said, “Here I go a sh♯$$en and a mowen.”

So, as I was mowing the grass (with a hand mower, I should add), Aunt Lil was sitting on the front porch watching me mow and enjoying the sun. Just as I was making a pass near the porch, your Mom came out of the house and seeing me pushing the mower, went into a mincing walk routine and said, “Here I come, a tipping and a toeing.” I pushed the mower at a fast pace and said, “Here I go—" At that, Aunt Lil burst into a loud laugh.

I remember thinking, Aunt Lil is ancient (she wasn’t sixty yet). It can’t be she laughed because she knew the joke. No one that old hears jokes like that. Later on she told your mother she had heard the joke at her store just a few days before.

I haven’t thought about that joke in decades but last week your mother and I went to visit Uncle Harold. As we walked in his back door he came out of the kitchen to meet us. For no reason that I was conscious of I blurted out, “Here I come a tipping and a toeing.” Quick as a wink, Harold replied, “Here I go a sh#$$en and a mowen.” At that very moment I could swear I heard a soft laugh that sounded just like Aunt Lil’s.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Woodlawn Farm and Poultry

This is a business card created for a poultry business that Lloyd started two to three years before he left home for telegraphy school (1913-1914). B.W. (his father) sold the incubators and Lloyd sold baby chicks, cared for the grown poultry and also sold eggs (this from his mother’s journals).

This interest led to a six month course in Poultry Management at Cornell Univ. taken when Arnon was a baby (1920-21). Ethel mentioned that the hills of Ithaca made it hard to push Arnon's buggy.

This poultry course in turn was instrumental in his building a two floor poultry house in S. Byron (1929) where he cared for 400 chickens. He did very well, until the bottom dropped out of the market with the depression. He lost the farm in 1930.
Thank you to Diana for sending this along!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!!--The Candy Box, told by Aunt CB

It was just an old cigar box, probably came from Aunt Lil’s store, or maybe Uncle Leon’s. It was important to us though, it was our candy box!

I don’t remember how it started, but Harold, Doris and CB, the younger part of the Taylor kids worked hard at it. “IT” was filling the box with any candy we could lay our hands on, and on Saturday a.m., dividing it among us. We weren’t often given candy, but whatever we had, we shared. Usually we made sure there were eight pieces and when we set the table, under each upside down plate went a piece.

But there was a period of time (three to four years?) when instead, we chucked it right into our cigar box. Probably the idea was born when, on a trip with Mom downtown, we spied a piece or two fallen from the candy counter onto the floor. Candy was not individually bagged in our day, it was heaped in separate areas behind a glass counter and weighed out in quarter or half pound bags as you desired. In the process, some usually fell off the scoop and onto the floor.

That fact probably inspired us to quick as a flash, duck down, grab it up, pocket it and the candy box was richer that week. Dirty floors? Well, we never noticed! Sometimes it fell between the glass sides of the bins, and Harold’s skinny arms were in use here. He could slide one in and usually reach the piece of candy. Of course, sometimes the “boss” of the store caught us, and it was embarrassing but it never stopped us!

Saturday a.m. Harold would fly down the hall from his bed and jump into ours. This was divy-up time! There might be as many as nine or ten pieces of candy to share. If we’d visited Aunt Lil’s store, even more!

Then there was the famous time when there were five pieces there, four small and one lovely Jordon Almond (no, I have no idea where we found it!) Of course, we ALL wanted the almond. Doris was not only persuasive but she was the oldest of us, and she insisted that if she could have it, we could split the other four pieces between us. Reluctantly we agreed, each grabbing our two as she eyed her lovely white almond and bit into it. As we chomped on ours, she let out a “yikes”-and spit hers out, it was a mothball! No, it did not have an odor but was definitely a naphtha mothball. Poor Dottie got fooled!

Monday, February 11, 2008

2007 Taylor Reunion Pictures By Charlie Hawkes

If the cold, cold dreary days are getting you down, why not pretend it is September on the Finger Lakes, AND, you are surrounded by family?

Thanks to Charlie Hawkes, we have a two part slide show with pictures of the Taylor Reunion.

Charlie writes: "To be honest with you, I owe it all to my daughter. She gave me a program for my computer that will take any pictures you have and put them to music. All I did was take pictures from the reunion, downloaded some music I have and combine them into what you have on the CD. As for the great pictures, luckily, I have a family that supplies me with the best moments anyone could ask for."

For anyone interested, Charlie adds, the program is by a company called MAGIX and it`s Xtreme Photostory on CD and DVD. They also have a web site

To open the two part slide show, just look to the right under 2007 Taylor Reunion and click on Charlie's pictures.

Thank you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Milking on Uncle Adin's Farm; the Many Uses of Outing Flannel

Thanks to Aunt CB and to Tom Kinsella for the writing and research put into this posting. Very interesting!

Outing flannel is a cotton fabric, closely woven and with a fleecy side to it. Flannel is made from wool, and used for clothing, etc., keeps one nice and warm, but is more expensive, therefore, cotton flannel came into being. Children's pajamas are made from it, and men's and women's sport shirts are also. I gave Dad a cotton flannel shirt for Christmas, and I'll bet you have one or two in your closet.

When Adin was milking cows and selling the milk to the creamery in Center Lisle (1920-1950) certain rules were state mandated by the Health Dept. The milking area had to be kept extra clean, mucked out after each milking, etc. (This was before milking stations came into being, where the cows walked into position, were milked, and walked out of the barn. This milk is channeled into plastic tubes and thence into refrigerated tanks.) Adin's milking machine was a machine with a handle, which when placed between two cows, served both at once. The milk flowed into a cylinder that was hand carried to the milk cans in a clean area and emptied into them.
Here is where the outing flannel came in! A metal milk strainer was placed over the open milk cans. This strainer had two parts to it--a bottom band that unscrewed from the top funnel. A piece of outing flannel was fitted into the bottom band, then screwed back into the top funnel part of the strainer, with the flannel serving as an additional strainer to clarify the milk of any debris or whatever. Health laws stated that this outing flannel square (10" x 10"?) had to be changed each milking and a new one used. As cows are milked every twelve hours, if you shipped two cans of milk to the creamery, one for each milking, you used up two squares per day. These could be purchased at the feed store where other farm items were also sold. Because of the time involved in cutting your own, and the inexpensive price of a package, most farmers bought them already cut.

Most farmers' wives, immediately after the squares were removed and replaced with a milk can cover, to be refrigerated in the milk cooler until the creamery truck came, doused each square in cold water, to remove milk protein and hung them up to dry -- when they had a load, washed them in the old agitator washing machine, hung them to dry again and stacked them for later use.

Their uses were legion! Three to four, together and stitched in a pattern and encased in a pretty piece of cotton fabric, made a pot holder. Several of these, sewn together in strips, say six or eight across (60" or 80") and twice that down, made a decent quilt. If you wished, you could dye the squares separately or after sewing together, but that took precious time so Grandma Baker seldom did. She did use them sometimes as inserts for quilts. Normally cotton batting (like a layer of cotton balls) was used as an insert between two layers of quilted cotton or woolen material. However, the batting, whether woolen or cotton, cost money, so Grandma usually used milk cloth strainers sewn together. She made many quilts from just plain squares sewn together and, putting two sheets of them together, tied in each corner and there!!

Another common use was for babies! Washcloths, inserts in diapers, sew two to four together and in a square and make a towel to dry babies -- they had a million uses. My mother used them on us I'm sure, and she gave us each some when we had our families.

When Uncle Harold was married and working in a fruit packing company, he broke his arm, most likely trying to fix machinery. Able to still use a sewing machine because at that time they used foot treadles, he sewed together outing flannel into quilts just as Grandma Baker had done in her time. He kept the quilts and used them for his girls.