Monday, October 26, 2009

On the Home Front-- Part Two: Working! By Aunt CB

Patriotism, it seems to me, has dwindled since this time. We saved magazines “for the boys,” paperback books came out as a big item better to be carried by servicemen, we collected newspapers (for what I don’t know) and this was not just young people, it was everyone. We were all in this together. I’ve not seen this cooperation in any subsequent war. Perhaps it was the sneak attack which propelled our war entry or the persuasiveness of FDR, at an rate there were few black market junkies.

Early in our war years, Sampson Naval Base on Seneca Lake was opened. Geneva was awash with sailors. One Christmas I worked at Grant’s 10 cent store and spent 1/4 of my time in the basement, looking for boxes in which to package sailors' Christmas purchases to be mailed home.

One fellow came in, spied a huge 4 foot Teddy bear and had to have it for his 2 year old niece. I explored the basement for a BIG box and he and I spent 45 minutes stuffing Teddy in the box, covering it with brown paper and tying all with string (no tape then!), ready for the Post Office. All this for $3.98.

And then there was a humungous sailor who came in, wanting a gift for his mother. He was from “up-hill in West Virginia” and wanted something special for her because “I wanna git her somethin she’d not buy fer herself, I miss her cookin’.” He chose an apron! The flimsiest, ruffled, embroidered tea apron I ever saw. As I wrapped it for mailing I said, “Nice choice,” doubting that she’d ever wear it but hoping that she would hang the dainty garment on the wall of her cabin to show all who visited what “her baby” had sent her!

When war summer arrived, I put on my boy overalls and long sleeved shirt (which shocked Grandma Baker when Gladys and I wore them), tied up my hair in a bandana and got a job as a drill press operator at the American Can Co. I was really into the war effort! One day when Sam, the “set up” fellow was adjusting my press for a job he said, “Be very careful with this job, as it’s a really important cog in the defense industry.”

Thus, I carefully aligned my press along the proper positions while I bored 14 holes in thru a “Y” shaped piece to meet one larger bore done at the end of the shape. I knew I was preparing a bomb sight or at least a machine gun sight. It took me most of the day and as I returned it to the Receiver, job done, I felt great pride in my job as I helped to win the war. As I signed it in, I asked the fellow, “What part of the machine is this?” His response, “Oh this? Why, it’s the spout for a beer machine!” It took a couple more years for us to win the war!

And finally, in May of 1945 we finished in Europe and in August, Japan capitulated. That summer I spent as a telephone operator in Geneva. Sampson Naval Base was still humming along and the fellows there had to line up to use a phone booth so we were busy. An operator took a call when we were dialed, determined what number was to be dialed and waited for the proper number of klinks that designated that 3 minutes was paid for, listened for a recipient’s answer and, when connection was assured, we butted out and went on to our next call.

This I did with a call and when the phone was lifted in the home, heard, “Hello,” followed by a shouted, “Hey, Ma,”concluded with a gasp and a shrill sliding sound, as though a door had been hastily opened.

“Hello, Jr is this you, are you OK?," shouts Ma, as I still hear gasps and coughs and a door being shunted back and forth. A sound of “Wait, Ma,” gurgled through the earpiece to me–and then a huge “Whewww!”

“Jr, are you OK?” Ma shouts again, to which Jr replies, “Ma, the fellow in here before me must have had a bucket of beans for dinner and I’ve been trying to air the place out! What a blister!” At that point I hung up, trying to stifle my laughter and share the joke with my pal Mary Lou Ireland, who sat next to me!

Picture One: Sampson Air Force Base
Picture Two: Nope, Could not find it—ANYONE find or draw just what Ma described in the phone booth?! Hilarious! (Left is Sue's idea of the source of the problem in the first place.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WWII on the Geneva Homefront: Part One—Working in the Fields, By Aunt CB

Those readers with long memories will remember our posting on the Home Front by Eveyn Taylor, back on September 2nd , 2008. Look on the right of the blog, find ‘2008’ and click through until it appears to re-read it.
Here is another look at America during World War Two:

After Pearl Harbor, my high school years were spent in a froth of patriotic fervor. My sophomore year, 1942, began with an earlier school start—8AM—and shortened periods so that by 1PM, we were through classes and available to work at harvesting food for farmers.

There were very few young men who were not in the service and crops were ready to be picked. Each farmer called in for whatever number he needed and supplied transportation to and from the high school as well as paying the students. I pulled carrots and topped beets—eight cents a bushel.

The farmers provided gloves and I was used to helping in Lloyd’s fields so it was old times for me. It was just a super way to earn money, so I grabbed my crate and flew down my row, pulling beets and wringing the tops off as I went. So concentrated was I on the job at hand, that I did not notice that I was way ahead of all the rest until I heard, “Hey, Sea Biscuit”. Looking up, I saw they were calling ME the name, that name of the fastest horse of a few years before, Sea Biscuit! Somehow, this entwined with the ‘C-C Balls’ my nickname in our family club, ‘Celia’ which Es always called me, and became ‘CB’. By my senior year, my mother was the only one who called me ‘Lucille’!

We Americans were incensed by the Japanese—they were sneaks! We saved the tinfoil that gum used to be wrapped in, we collected pots and pans for the aluminum, we saved toothpaste tubes, in fact you could not buy a new tube without turning in an old one.

We bought war stamps, pasted them in books, until we had spent $18.75. That would one day bring us $25. We walked everywhere—again,this did not faze me, we'd always walked—Daddy took good care of his car. Such good care that in 1944, when all of a sudden our rented house was sold, and we were forced to move, he could sell it for top dollar ( it was a 1941 Dodge, the last year they made them before the war stopped production and turned to airplanes) and use it as a down payment for 427 West Main, a brick house in Waterloo.

Picture One: Children in the Field
Picture Two: 1941 Dodge, like Grandpa Taylor’s, except theirs was a four door
Picture Three: The Farmer is a Soldier Advertisement in Sears Roebuck
Picture Four: WWII War Bond poster ----Late Information!! Wrong--WWI Poster--See Comments!!
Picture Five: Another WWII Buy Bonds Poster

Friday, October 16, 2009

Those Kinsella Boys! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Google the Irish last name of ‘Kinsella’ or type it in to Amazon, and you will be over-whelmed with hits for the author Sophie Kinsella and her best selling books. Surely Sophie’s books are terrific for a plane ride or the beach, but other Kinsella authors also abound.

The latest is my brother, Tom, aka T.E. Kinsella, who edited anew two ancient Irish tales. Do go to Amazon and type in the name of the book, and yes, you will see our boyyo:

"The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne & The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu", translated originally by O’Grady and Leahy, and modernized, with a new introduction, by T. E. Kinsella.

Tom writes:
“The story of Diarmuid and Grainne is an early Irish story about honor and love. In its earliest form (The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu) it probably dates to 500 AD or earlier. In its later form of The Pursuit it is the story of an older, powerful war leader, Finn MacCool, who is promised the hand of the King of Ireland’s daughter. When this daughter, Grainne, chooses a young champion over the older Finn, she and her lover Diarmuid are fated to a life on the run. The women characters in both versions of the story are strong and independent minded. They choose their own partners and their own paths in life. Sadly (distressingly in The Exile), the end result is not particularly happy.”

Tom used his initials T. E. for the book because another Thomas Kinsella has translated several important works of early Irish literature and our Tom didn’t want to trade on the older Tom’s good name.

While you are on Amazon, check out this book: "Clan Kinsella’s History of Ireland", by John and James Kinsella. Yes, you know these two characters also—perhaps as Uncle Jack and Jim.

Jim describes the book:
“ The history of the Irish is full of exhilarating stories, noble achievements, cliff-hanging dramas, profound tragedies, and indefatigable perseverance - a history Clan Kinsella helped create. Experience this history. Feel the rush of a warrior during battle, the thrill of a noble engaged in a cattle raid, the concern of a famished farmer during spring ploughing, and the comfort of a feasting clan listening to its file on Hallows Eve.”

Even if you are not a Kinsella, this book is magnificent at bringing alive Irish history, in ways that most history books I have read, never do. Jim weaves in historical facts and folklore and stories, as the bards of old might have done.

Best of all, perhaps, for this blog at least, Jim is deeply into his next book, a detailed historical fiction account of our Baker family from our Mayflower descendants on up to Aunt CB’s generation.

Both books, Tom and Jim’s, are published by the Old Baldy Press, the brainchild of yet another brother, Dan. Old Baldy Press, named for a stone outcropping near the Kinsella cottage on Otty Lake, takes advantage of emerging internet models of publication. Jim and Tom’s books are printed by one of the large on-line on-demand printing companies, but Dan is also working to make them available in electronic form so they can be bought for use with Amazon Kindle readers and other portable reading devices.

And, while you are still on the computer, check out . This site is produced by Uncle Jack, Jim and Dan, and has won the coveted ‘Four Shamrock’ award by the Irish Internet Doras company. Scroll down and click on a few of its links—terrific information here, in history and travel…Look on the ‘Extra’ link--you will get to the ‘jokes’ section -- reading these is almost like enjoying a Guiness in Jim’s Irish pub, while he and the brothers and Pops reel off story after story.

To My Brothers—So Proud of You!!

Picture One: Tom's new book
Picture Two: Uncle Jack and Jim's book
Picture Three: Tom
Picture Four: Jim
Picture Five: Dan

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Three Generations of Taylors in the Revolutionary War: By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

We have both Bakers and Taylors who served in the Revolu-tionary War, as well as other relatives, but we’ll focus on the Taylor side for this story—specifically, Josiah Taylor, his son, Gamaliel Taylor, and his grandson, Thomas Taylor.

Now, how far back is the Revolutionary War? You can figure out the dates—mid to late 1700’s, but in family terms, it goes like this: my grandfather Lloyd Taylor, had a grandfather Daniel Taylor, who had a grandfather Thomas Taylor who had a grandfather Josiah, which is where this particular tale begins. Or maybe before that…

Josiah’s grandfather, Captain John Taylor died in 1704--he was killed by Indians while pursuing them after they destroyed Fort Pascomuck. Captain John’s son, also John, married Wait Clapp, and moved to Fairfield—known now as Westport-- in the colony of Connecticut, by the time our Josiah was born in 1701. Green’s Farms Congregational Church was a huge part of the Taylor life; as one Westport history book exclaimed: “Green’s Farms Congregational Church WAS the town at this point.”

Josiah Taylor—born in 1701-- was an elderly man in his seventies when the Revolutionary War broke out; he fought as a private. We know that by 1779, he was chosen to commissary and supply soldiers’ families, as well as handle claims for dependents left behind by their fighting men.

His son, Gamaliel—in his early forties--also fought in the War; he was a 2nd lieutenant in the First Battalion under Colonel Whiting, Fifth Company under Captain Thorp. As a lieutenant, he was in several different companies and under several different commands. In 1780, Gamaliel was still found in military records. Which battles did he fight in? He would seem to have been the most traveled and battle scarred of the three, for anyone who wants to dig deeper.

Gamaliel’s son, Thomas, also fought; he enlisted at age eighteen on May 29th of 1776, along with Nathan Taylor, a cousin? PrivateThomas was stationed at Fort Schuyler (the rebuilt and re-named Fort Stanwix near Rome, NY) under the command of Colonel Elmore, in the company of Captain Albert Chapman.

And so, we have three generations of Taylors fighting for their colony of Connecticut, along with various brothers and cousins. As one Revolutionary War genealogist commented when he was reviewing these records two hundred years later: “ It isn’t all that uncommon to find a father and a son that served, but it is quite another to discover the grandfather served as well.”

Proof of our Taylor family’s passion for their soon to be country was evident in Josiah’s will, written in 1777, four years before his actual death. He passed everything on to his wife, Thankful, and their children. However, as Josiah named each of his children in the will, he singled out two of his sons-- Paul and Eleazer-- from the other boys, and next to their names wrote: “Afraid they will turn traitors”. Did they? I haven’t discovered that yet.

But, to stay Loyalist in their small town would have been an unpopular decision. While our relatives clearly knew of the war raging in the colonies—after all, the Taylor men were already enlisted, no one was prepared for April of 1777.

On Friday of April 25, 1777, Mercy Disbrow of Greens Farms was boiling water on the beach to make salt for the household. Looking up, she was the first to see twenty six mainmasts with Union Jacks flying—British warships were headed to Compo Beach. They landed, marched through Compo and Fairfield to Danbury and destroyed as many of the colonists war supplies as possible.

Almost two thousand British soldiers, led by William Tryon, faced Benedict Arnold--who was still on our side; more than 300 British were killed and untold colonists.

Then, on July 6th, 1779, Tryon and the British returned, burning homes, barns and churches, including the Green’s Farm Congregational Church of our Taylors. Although the church was destroyed, the Communion silver was saved by Deacon Jesup—he hid it in his well. Of the many local houses burned, one of those belonged to Widow Eunice Morehouse, most likely mother of Mary Morehouse, who would wed our Thomas in four years time.

So, yes, to remain loyal to the British at this time would have torn apart families, as Josiah pointed out in his will. While we do not know what choices Thomas’ uncles, Paul and Eleazer made, we do know what life had in store for our Thomas and Mary, and baby Gideon in the wilds of Vermont. But that is a story for another day.

Picture One: Green’s Farms Congregational Church, burnt to the ground by the British in 1779
Picture Two: Moat at Fort Schuyler, where Thomas Taylor-- my grandfather's, grandfather's grandfather (!) --fought
Picture Three: British Revolutionary War frigate
Picture Four: American Soldiers in the Revolutionary War

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Birthdays, 2009—Part One

October is a terrific month!! Welcome to Autumn—with its changing leaves and apples to pick and pumpkins to carve. In New England, our October Almanac predicts:

On the 2nd, Green darner dragonflies migrate about this time. Watch for them over sunny meadows.
On the 17th, First heavy frosts may occur about this time. Watch for dropping hazelnuts.
On the 24th of the month, Once the leaves are off the trees, look for oriole nests at the ends of willow and elm branches.
And, on the 29th, Watch for large congregations of migrating blackbirds around this time.

Our TaylorBaker history is no less colorful than the trees we love to watch this month, but focusing on the birthdays:

We have three ‘old timers’ this month: William Youngs ( Diadamia Mott’s husband, Grandfather of Ethel and Lil), Byron A. Baker (father of Ethel, Ruth, Adin and Lillian), and Nancy Borthwick Baker (married to Leonard Baker, grandmother to Ethel, Lil).

In Gladys Wood’s family, Kenneth C. Barron ( husband of Kathryn Wood) is the Birthday Kid and

In Sylva’s family, Linda Kathleen Emhof Arnold ( Sylva’s daughter) blows out the cake candles.
Picture One: William Youngs
Picture Two: Nancy Borthwick Baker
Picture Three: Byron Baker
Picture Four: Kenny
Picture Five: Linda and sister, Christine

October Birthdays, Part Two:

In Aunt CB’s family we have her husband, John Joseph Kinsella, and Brian Christopher Herdeg (son of Pat Kinsella), celebrating birthdays one day apart.

In Esther Taylor Lochner’s family, we have Sara Elizabeth Lochner ( Rick’s daughter) celebrating her birthday.

Picture One: Uncle Jack and Aunt CB
Picture Two: Brian and Gina
Picture Three: Maggie Kinsella, Sara Lochner

October Birthdays, Part Three:

In Ruth Taylor Maney’s family, we have Richard Alan Maney, and Paul James Maney (Michael’s son) as Birthday Boys. Paul has three children—Madeline (age 6), Ray (age 4) and Eileen (age 2). For Paul's birthday weekend he’ll be joining his brothers Tim and Kevin and his Dad, Michael, for a Buffalo Bills Game—Good Luck, Bills!!

In Arnon Taylor’s family, we have Stephen Baker Wright (son of Nancy Taylor Wright), Coreen Elizabeth Taylor (Jim Taylor’s daughter), and Curtis Taylor (son of Bob Taylor) as the Birthday Kids.

Picture One: Debbie and Richard
Picture Two: Paul and Madeline
Picture Three: Stephen
Picture Four: Coreen and Chris
Picture Five: Curtis

October Birthdays, Part Four:

In Doris Taylor Hawkes family, we have a large October Contingent--Cynthia Hawkes Gabrys, Cameron Charles Towlson (Cindy Hawkes’s grandson), Eowyn Brionna Colley (daughter of Kristyne Colley, granddaughter of Charles Hawkes), Stephanee Hawkes (Steve’s daughter), and Sean Towlson (married to Cindy Hawkes’daughter, Heather), all celebrate birthdays this month.

Picture One: Cindy Hawkes Gabyrs and Julie Lochner Riber
Picture Two: Stephanee
Picture Three: Sean and his daughter, Morgan
Picture Four: Eowyn and Cameron