Friday, October 31, 2008

Lily (Lillian) Rosena Baker Howland—Nov. 4, 1892, By Aunt CB

(---Early, I know, but check the November Birthday List as of Tonight. We've got another birthday girl to write about on the 5th!--
--Also, Look for Charlie Hawkes Picture CD to Music of the Taylor Reunion after the November 5th Aunt Barb story---)

Gladys called her “Lily pickle!” We just called her Aunt Lil and loved her dearly! She was named Lily but always went by Lillian.

When I remember growing up in the 1930's my memories of her center mostly on the store, not the house. That’s where she gave us the most wonderful breakfasts; bacon, fried eggs, cold potatoes warmed up with plenty of onions cooked with bacon grease and coffee, liberally laced with evaporated milk. They sure beat cornflakes or rice krispies! That’s where she made her pickles too, and the aroma, when she heated them to can, after they had “soaked” a few days, was actually nose twitching.

She was very liberal with her bounty, allowing us, pop, creamsicles, penny candy—and once she even outfitted Gladys and me with boy’s overalls and Tee shirts so that we could go picking blackberries for jam. (Grandma Baker was scandalized at this outfit, but allowed as how our intentions were good, and provided us with long cotton stockings--with feet cut out to protect our arms).

One year, when my father was away deer hunting she arrived at our house in Geneva, having driven there alone (along with Fort Knox, her ever present over-sized purse) to stay a few days. She drove like the proverbial bat out of “you know” but not many women did then, so we were no judge and glad to see her.

That was the visit she taught us how to play “spoons.” Teaching a bunch of kids who’d never played card games must have been a challenge but she was rewarded when she heard, and laughed herself silly at our glee, when we could yell “Jackass” as one of us grabbed the last spoon!

And then there was the year we came to her house for Easter. I was young and couldn’t remember much past Uncle Elmer slicing ham at the dining room table and it slipped and scooted across the room. Didn’t bother Lil a whit! She reached down, picked it up and placed it back on the platter and he continued to slice!

And yes, that was the year she’d hard boiled 3 dozen eggs and hidden them around the front yard. We had great fun, looking for them after dinner but the real plus was the next summer when Gladys and I found 2, still hidden, and very odiferous! (So were we after we cracked them!)

Years later, grown now, I took her to visit my good friend, Cliff, at his Antique shop in Canada. She nearly had a stroke at the prices—“$30 for a peepot! Why I paid 10 cents for one just like it at an auction!” (Never mind that 50 years had passed since that auction!)
No, there was only one Lily pickle — and I wish her a happy 116th birthday!

Picture One: Howland-Taylor Cousins
Back, Sylva, Ruth Maney, Leona, Esther, Arnon
Front, CB, Doris, Gladys Wood, Phyllis Mudge, Harold
Howland yard, Center Lisle, 1931 or 32
Picture Two: Leona H. Maffei, Sylva H. Emhof, Lillian Howland 1921
Picture Three: Aunt Lil, Ethel Baker Taylor 1969

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Castle Of Our Own! By Sue Kinsella

Did you know that the Baker family has ties to a mighty castle in Scotland? If you thread back through the family – the parents of Nancy Ethel Baker Taylor and Lillian Baker Howland were Kate and Byron Baker, and Byron’s parents were Leonard Timothy Baker and Nancy Cornelia Borthwick – you can follow the family back to Borthwick Castle, near the borderlands between Scotland and England.

Today the castle has been beautifully renovated into a hotel for weddings, events, and individual visits. But over the past seven centuries it has played some surprisingly prominent roles in Scottish history.

Built in 1430 by the first Lord Borthwick, the castle is not a romantic Disney Sleeping Beauty-type castle. Instead, after Lord Borthwick helped free King James I from eighteen years’ imprisonment in England and bring him back to Scotland, the grateful king granted him a charter to build a stronghold fortress castle in the countryside outside Edinburgh.

Two 100 ft. high towers rise up out of pastoral, gently rolling farmland (maybe a little bit like Center Lisle?). Originally surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge and a grated portcullis gate, the towers were built of high quality stone blocks, with walls twenty feet thick at the base. The castle had a dungeon and some say that prisoners were sometimes given the option of trying to jump the distance between the tops of the two towers for their freedom – or suffer the consequences one way or the other.

Mary Queen of Scots honeymooned at Borthwick Castle and was a frequent visitor. She hid there in 1567 with her husband, the Earl of Bothwell, when they were being hunted by Scottish nobles intent on capturing him. The Earl got away but left his wife, the Queen, behind at Borthwick Castle. Not one to be intimidated by a siege of 1,000 soldiers, Mary disguised herself as a pageboy and escaped out the window of the Great Hall, riding through the enemy lines at night to join her husband.

In 1650, Oliver Cromwell attacked the castle, and one of the high towers still shows gaping scars where his cannon bombardments ripped out large chunks of the stone wall. Eventually, the Lord Borthwick of that time negotiated a deal allowing him to flee with his wife, child and all their movable furniture while Cromwell’s forces occupied the castle.

During World War II, treasures from Scottish museums and critical public records were moved to Borthwick Castle for safekeeping in case Edinburgh was bombed.

At least two ghosts are thought to haunt the castle. One is a young servant girl who was quickly dispatched by sword with her baby when she bore an unintended Borthwick son. The other is a chancellor who was caught embezzling money from the family and summarily “fired” by being burned to death.

Just down an impossibly pretty lane from the castle is the Borthwick Parish Church, with family and local graves surrounding it and, inside, the burial sepulchers of the first Lord and Lady Borthwick, with their likenesses gracing the raised stone tombs.

In 1973, my parents went to Scotland and visited Borthwick Castle. They were met with a sign outside its walls that said “No Visitors Allowed” but did that stop them? Of course not. A local woman encouraged them to try to see it anyway and they were rewarded by meeting the man who was reconstructing the castle into a destination and events hotel, after many decades of its being left derelict. They spent several hours with him as he showed them all through the castle, from the dungeons in the cellars to the soldiers’ garrison at the top, through all the bedrooms and the Great Hall, up and down the spiral staircases, and even out to the woods and stream behind the castle where Cromwell’s soldiers encamped with their cannons.

In December 2002, just before Alex turned double digits, I was hired by an international organization to attend a meeting in Scotland. Of course I took Alex with me so we could vacation afterwards. The rooms at Borthwick Castle were not available then so we stayed at a different castle not far away. But on Alex’s 10th birthday, we celebrated with a fabulous Christmas dinner in Borthwick Castle’s Great Hall with a dozen or so couples from the surrounding farms that supplied the castle with lamb, beef, and much of its food throughout the year.

After the dinner, we were getting ready to leave but the woman managing the dinner kept ignoring my request for a bill. As we sat resting by the enormous medieval fireplace, several musicians sauntered in and soon began playing lively sets of Scottish jigs and reels. The farm couples all got up, pushed the furniture to the sides of the room and started dancing – and then grabbed Alex and me, shoving us back and forth between them to stumble through the steps of the traditional dances as well!

What an incredibly unforgettable birthday celebration in our family castle!

See for some terrific pictures and more information.

Picture One: Aunt CB in front of Borthwick Castle, July 1973
Picture Two: Damage from Oliver Cromwell’s cannons
Picture Three: Lord Borthwick Sepulcher, July 1973
Picture Four: My son, Alex, on a spiral staircase to the bedrooms
Picture Five: Great Hall

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dan Maffei, TaylorBaker Cousin for U.S. Congress!

Daniel Benjamin Maffei, son of Neil Maffei, Jr., grandson of Leona Howland Maffei, great grandson of Lillian Baker Howland, is running as the Democratic candidate for Congress from the 25th U.S. Congressional District of New York. This district stretches from Syracuse to the northeastern suburbs of Rochester, stomping grounds for many TaylorBaker Cousins both now and in the past.

This is Dan’s second run for the seat. In his first campaign for public office two years ago, he came within 3,400 votes of unseating Jim Walsh, the Republican representative who had held the seat for 9 terms. Challenged a second time, Walsh is instead retiring and Dan has a clear shot at winning, despite having two opponents in the current race.

While he had to build name recognition on his first campaign, Dan is no newcomer to central New York nor to politics. Dan was born and grew up in Syracuse, where his grandfather, Neil, owned a metal-plating plant. (Jack Kinsella briefly worked there, as well). Dan’s dad, Neil, Jr., and his stepmom live in Syracuse, and his mother, Louise, lives in DeWitt, where Dan lives, too. He has three younger siblings – twin brother Andrew and sister Sara, and Max.

Dan earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from Brown University and Master’s degrees from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has worked as a reporter and producer for Syracuse Channel 9 News, as well as for NJ Senator (and former New York Knicks star) Bill Bradley, the legendary NY Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Congressman Charles Rangel, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, and Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll.

In July, Dan married his sweetheart, Abby Davidson. A Huge Congratulations!

Check out Dan’s campaign website, Good luck on November 4th!

Picture One: Sara, Dan, Neil Senior and Andrew
Picture Two: Sara and Dan
Picture Three: Dan with Max, 1989
Picture Four: Dan and Abby Davidson-Maffei

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008— Jessica Rose Catherman and Erik Robert Rooks Married!

Jessica is the daughter of Ann Taylor Catherman and Dennis Catherman, granddaughter of Harold and Barbara Taylor. The wedding was in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Bath, NY.

Our intrepid reporters are Judy Taylor Alberts, Mary Lou Taylor Spears, Kathy Taylor Mills and CB Taylor Kinsella. Any mistakes are to be credited to Ann Taylor Catherman, who persisted in drinking “sex on the beach” drinks while dancing her fool head off. It was hard to get a sensible answer to a question asked her as the evening wore on. (“sex on the beach” drinks consist of orange juice, cranberry juice, grenadine and peach schnaps)

Saturday was sunny but cool, the large stone church beautiful and COLD inside! The organist began playing at 2:45 PM, and promptly at 3 PM, the groom’s mother, Pamela Tuller, was escorted down the aisle by one of the four groomsmen (three of whom were school chums of Erik’s, plus Elliot Catherman, Jessica’s brother. The best man was another best friend from high school). Following her came Ann Taylor Catherman, mother of the bride, on the arm of her son, Ellliot. The first of three bridesmaids came next, two of them Erik’s sisters and one, a close school friend of Jessica’s. Next came a matron of honor, Jessica’s best friend from her school years. Then came a sweet little flower girl (daughter of the best man) and a ring bearer (the son of the matron of honor). Finally came Jessica, a lovely bride, on her father’s arm (Dennis Catherman).

Ann met the two of them at the front of the church and they all stood there with Erik and the attendants arrayed on each side before the altar. When the question was asked, “who presents this woman to be married...?” Ann and Denny both answered, “we will” and sat down. The wedding rites continued.

The bride’s dress was lovely! — white satin, the top fashioned in a halter style and this and the long floor length underskirt were covered with sequins and embroidery. It had a front overskirt open to display the pretty scalloped floor length edge which was drawn back behind into a train three or four feet long. Through the embroidery at the waist, was threaded a crimson sash, lightly tied so as to hang loosely down the back of the dress. With this, the bride wore three inch platform sandals (because the dress was impossible to shorten because of embroidered edge). Her veil was shoulder length worn on a simple circlet.

The matron of honor wore a crimson satin dress, while the three bridesmaids wore black satin. The flower girl also wore a crimson dress and carried a tiny bouquet of a fall colored gerber daisies and other flowers. The attendants carried larger bouquets of the same type, while the bride’s bouquet was gerber daisies and chocolate roses. The men all wore black tuxedos, the jacket cut with a mandarin color over a black vest, while the groom’s vest was white satin. They all wore black and white patent leather shoes. Ann wore a black jersey sleeveless sheath dress with a silvery belt and a hip length jacket to match. The groom’s mother wore a yellow flowered jacket with black slacks.

The reception was held at the Corning Country Club, whose windows opened on a vista of multihued hills beyond the green of its golf course. Tables were decorated with fall leaves and gourds. Each table contained a small frame, announcing that the bridal couple had made charitable donations to honor loved ones unable to join us for the day, Erik’s maternal grandparents, paternal grandfather, a cousin and of course, Jessica’s grandmother, our own Aunt Barbara.

Dinner was buffet style and varied as well as tasty. A lovely new (to me) innovation was the cutting of not a wedding cake, but pies! It seems Erik does not like cake, so they chose to cut and serve apple and pumpkin pies and they were very much appreciated! Dancing went on, with all the usual ones, bride and groom, etc.

We wish Jess and Erik all the best—Congratulations!!

Picture One: Jessica and Erik
Picture Two: Ann and Dennis
Picture Three: Jessica, Uncle Harold, Erik
Picture Four: Elliot and Judy
Picture Five: Kathy, MaryLou, Uncle Harold, Ann and Judy

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taylor Reunion Pictures, Thanks to Kathy Taylor Mills

Could it have been one year ago that we started this cousins blog? Scroll below to find out!

One Year Old--Congratulations to the TaylorBakerCousins Blog!

It was last September 29th that we first began this journey. Seems like we have packed a LOT into this year!!

Thank you to all who have offered pictures, stories, listened to and edited my writings, given me advice and encouragement, written comments on these blog stories, and just read them!!

I hope to bring all of us closer together by sharing pictures, history, stories, legends, people, you name it. My daughter, Alison, asked me via email if we were doing okay with this huge financial chaos descending upon all of us. I answered that we could be doing better in terms of money, but it got me thinking--when all is said and done, it will be our family, our friends, our stories that we have lived and shared, that matter. And, I do not say that to all of you enough. Even cousins I have not met--I love you.

This year's Taylor Reunion showcased that sentiment--so many cousins, and we all kitbitzed (as Ma would say) and hugged with the best of them; those we had seen days before, or decades ago.

Kathy Taylor Mills captured so well what I think we all felt: "We had a lovely time and there were almost 70 people. Best one ever. Perfect weather and lots of food to choose from. Dad was pooped but enjoyed everyone. The memories will be kept for years."

And so, some of Kathy's wonderful Reunion pictures from 2008.

But, a personal note--Last year, in the first blog, I wrote: "For instance, the Red Sox have clinched the AL East division for the first time in twelve years!" As no doubt you ALL have seared into your brains, the Red Sox went on to win the World Series in 2007. Well, now it is October of 2008, and the Red Sox did not clinch the division, but they are in the playoffs, again, versus the Los Angeles Angels. The Red Sox won last night's first game, and if it stretches to four games, Glenn and Nick will see the Red Sox play the Angels in Fenway Park in Boston next Monday--first playoff game for either, and in Fenway!! I'll let you know if the game gets played, and if indeed we win!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More Taylor Reunion Pictures--Group Photos!

Picture One: The Maneys—Jill, Colleen, Jon, Debbie, Richard, Marlene, Kathleen, Michael
Picture Two: The Taylors—Gordie, Kathy, Jonah, Abigail, Carol, Jeff, Uncle Harold, Eric, Jessica, Ann, Dennis
Picture Three: The Kinsellas--First Row: Kristi, Tom, Bridget (lying on grass), Maggie, Cameron, Kelly (orange hat), Maddie, Patrick, Joe Second Row: Pat, Liz, Gina, Kristin, Rose, Uncle Jack, Aunt CB, Jill, Jen Third Row: Glenn, Dan, Brian, Tim Walker, Matt, Tim (sorry, hidden…), Jim, Chris
Picture Four: The Lochners—Laurie, Sarah, Rick, Chuck, Julie, Wes
Picture Five: The Hawkes—Joe, Cindy, Mary, Charlie, Kristi, Baby Jack, Paul, Eowyn

More Taylor Reunion Pictures!

Picture One: Nancy Taylor Wright
Picture Two: Mary and Charlie Hawkes
Picture Three: Glenn Herdeg, Uncle Harold, Chuck Lochner, Matt Kinsella, Tom Kinsella
Picture Four: Mary Hawkes, Jack, Kristi, Eowyn