Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rhoda Coleman Brown, April 23 1952 - January 24 2010 By Dawn Coleman Walker

Rhoda died this past January, on Sunday the 24th.

Rhoda was the daughter of Phyllis. She had a difficult life from the beginning; born with a stomach obstruction. Rhoda had a sense of humor and was a really loving sister in her younger years.

After our parents divorced we moved downstairs. Financially it was such a hard time for our mother, that she said we would not have a Christmas Tree that year. Lo and behold, I was going outside to shovel snow and saw Rhoda dragging a Christmas Tree up the street. She had shoveled snow for other people to earn enough money to purchase a tree for our family. She was so proud and smiled from ear to ear.

Either that year or a few before, we girls (Helen, me, Rhoda, and Anne) went Christmas caroling as so many did in those days. When we arrived at one of the neighbor's house, the door opened and all of us could smell a horrible odor from inside. We started singing Silent Night. I swear it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

My sister Rhoda as we were singing, literally could not help but sniff loudly after every few words. It went like this .......Silent Night...sniff, sniff, Holy Night...sniff, sniff, All Is Calm...sniff, sniff, etc. The rest of us girls tried so hard to hold in our laughter. I thought that at least one of us would wet our pants as soon as the neighbor lady closed the door.

Rhoda was ill as most of you know and had some problems with bi-polar disease. When she died of cancer, Helen, and Rhoda's son John were at her bed side. Helen had her cell phone on speaker talking with our Annie. She is now at peace. God and all our family up in heaven are protecting her now.
Dawn Coleman Walker

Picture One: Sue Kinsella, Rhoda Coleman, Pat Kinsella, 1962

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Anne Coleman Patton, By Dawn Coleman Walker

Happy Birthday, Annie!

Anne Coleman Patton
Daughter of Phyllis Born 23 April 1954

Anne (Annie) was the sweetest, most gentle child. When she was little, she was favored by all of us girls. Always living in Upstate New York, she was our Wendell's favorite too. She could do no wrong, in our eyes. She also has a sense of humor we all know and love, and mannerisms that are very much like our mother's. Her laughter and the things she does to have others laugh is so prevalent.

When quite young, while in mass at Saint Patrick's Church one Sunday, we did not have our envelopes. As the basket was being passed, we were to put our quarters in. Annie put her quarter in but kept her hand in there, searching for change. She said she wanted to get back at least a dime. At that very moment, Helen was pinching her arm telling her no and Monsignor Curtain was coming down the left aisle of the church. He saw everything and scolded Helen. He also thought little Annie was so precious.

After we all matured and were such wonderful married women with children, we went to Friendly's Ice Cream for a girls day out, (sometime in the summer of the 80s). Annie went to the rest room. As she made her entrance back to the eating area, at least 3 to 5 feet of toilet tissue was draped behind her like a lovely veil, but attached to her waistband. Everyone in the entire ice cream parlor burst out laughing.

We will, I'm sure have many more wonderful moments to share in the future about her.
Picture One: Annie and Bernie on his birthday, 2006
Picture Two: Annie's favorite picture!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ma!-- By Kathryn Barron

Gladys would have been 83 years old today. Below, I write about her love of gardens, AND also, how it has been passed on to my daughter, Beth....
Picture One: Gladys, Sylva, 1990
Picture Two: August 1990, Looking down the hill at Gladys’ garden
Picture Three: August 1993, Gail and Gladys
Picture Four: Kayte and Gladys in front of Gladys’ home, May 1994
Picture Five: Beth, Kayte, Cookie Jenkins, May 1994, on one of the benches in Gladys’ garden

A Tale of Two Gardens-- Gladys' and Grand-Daughter Beth's: By Kathryn Barron

“Let me show you where I am going to change things in my garden.” she said. We walked through her beautiful garden and she told me which plants were going to be thinned out, which ones were going to be moved to different places, as she reached out and plucked out offending weeds.

Every time I visited my Mother in New York, we took the garden tour. I heard these words many times from her. It seems like it was just the other day. . . . . oops, that was when BETH was doing the speaking. When I go to her house to visit, we go on the garden tour.

My Mom, Gladys, carved her garden out of the side of the hill behind and next to her house. She had gardens under the trees next to the road and next to the drive.
Dad had the vegetable garden. He fiercely guarded it from encroaching ground hogs. They both had wonderful gardens. Food for the soul and the stomach.

Mom did not mind the garden snakes, she understood them. She tried to tell me that THEY were more afraid of Me than I was of THEM. Don’t bet on it.

Ma’s garden stretched all the way up the hill and even had rustic wooden benches in it. At the top of the hill, she had her compost heap. Kitchen scraps were carried up there and added to the heap daily. She was ecologically friendly before it was popular.

She had tiers carved into the hill, made out of the stones that were so plentiful in the soil. She made a stone retaining wall behind the house to keep the hill from sliding into the house. Sounds funny, but it was serious. I swear, the hill WAS moving down hill. When she got too sick to do the work it got closer and closer and closer. . . .

Beth, my daughter, has a stone path going to her front porch and winding throughout her garden. Allen helped her out there. When they moved into their house it was horrible. The back yard was mud. No plants. Beth and Allen have transformed it into a lovely place.

The back yard is covered with lush grass (and toys). Beth has planted gardens all around the house. Her gardens would delight my Mother and my Father.

In her front garden, surrounded by flowers, were plum tomatoes. One on one side and another across the path in the middle of more flowers. There is a bench in the middle of one part. In the back some plants are all around a maple tree.

She is always moving something, somewhere. Just like Ma. Last summer, Beth had a plot in the community garden. She just signed up to have the same spot this year. She packed that 20 X 20 foot plot with loads of veggies, and marigolds. There was even a teepee made out of bean vines. She fiercely defended the garden from encroaching pests, like deer and other wildlife. Hum. . . . Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Picture One: In Front of Beth’s house
Picture Two: Beth’s front steps
Picture Three: Nick and Lena, Beth’s house
Picture Four: Beth’s plot at the Community Garden
Picture Five: Beth’s back yard

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Daniel Rockwell Taylor—Two Years in the Life—Part One: By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

In the blog stories following this, Evelyn Taylor adds to Daniel’s life by exploring more of his journal from these years…

Daniel Rockwell Taylor, born in 1828, would marry Martha Cordelia Waller in 1852, and they would become the parents of Clara (our poet, story in December 2009 on the blog ), Carlton (story in February 2010 on the blog), Orrin, and Bryant (or B.W., father of Floyd and Lloyd, Aunt CB’s father). But in 1850, he was just a twenty two year old boy ….

Sometimes, two years can change everything in a person’s life. It seems like this indeed was so for Daniel Rockwell Taylor.

Daniel, grandfather of Lloyd and Floyd Taylor, was a sophomore at Yale University in 1850, pursuing the classic education of his time--reading the Roman poet Horace and the Greek historian Herodotus, quoting Dante, studying Day’s Mathematics, and Whately’s Rhetoric.

At home at Peace Farm (called ‘Woodlawn Farm’ later, by B.W. and Emma) in Oakfield NY, his father had died six years earlier, but his younger sister Elizabeth lived with their mother, Phoebe. Brothers Arthur and Elliot lived near, while Daniel’s older sister lived close by in Cattaraugus.

After Daniel’s sophomore year, he returned to Oakfield very sick. On July 6th, after his BiAnnuals at Yale, he wrote in his journal: “ Do not feel first rate to day.” Two days later he admitted: “Dark are the hopes of future days & joys. Hope retires & peace & love & truth.”

His beloved sister Elizabeth, herself just married on July 12 of this year, 1851, stayed by his bedside and nursed him through the worst. Daniel did not write in his journal again until the end of October, still home at their family farm in Oakfield, recuperating.

The next summer, his sister Elizabeth was expecting her first child--she was twenty two years old. This baby boy was born on July 7th, 1852. There must have been complications from childbirth—most likely ‘childbed fever’ according to Aunt CB, as Daniel's journal tells of his emotions. He describes in detail what he is feeling and thinking--a few of his thoughts:

“July 17th Saturday Evening--Reach home from Cattaragus. Sister Elizabeth very, very sick. O! may God grant her speedy recovery!

Tuesday Morning: Watched with Elizabeth. She was delirious most of the time, her pulse so quick & feeble as not to be numbered. O it does not seem possible that my Dear Sister will be taken from our midst. She told me she has named her boy after me. O, even in death her thoughts are of those she loves.

But it must be—I feel it in my heart. She must die. O why could it not be otherwise.
O, God, wilt thou comfort the heart of my dear Mother, who thus sees all the hopes which she had formed of living with Elizabeth, thus suddenly cut off;

Sunday Evening--O, My Sister! must thy Sun go down thus early? Must the cold earth lie upon that fond & loving bosom & thou never more join our once happy circle of Brothers & Sisters?

Monday Morning, July 26--Sister Elizabeth is in heaven! At 4 this morning she fell asleep in Jesus.

Elizabeth did name her son, Daniel. Young Daniel and his father, Albert Sizer, went back to
Wolcott, Vermont, where the Taylors were also from, and in 1855, Albert married Elizabeth's first cousin, Mary Noyes.

Daniel Rockwell, no doubt at his mother’s urging, did not go back to Yale. With Elizabeth gone, someone had to look after Peace Farm. Daniel took over the farm duties and kept the farm running, so that his mother could live out her life at her beloved home. As Evelyn Taylor explains so well below, Daniel the writer became Daniel the upstate New York farmer.

Picture One: Daniel

Picture Two: Woodlawn, known in 1850 as Peace Farm, taken in 1900

Part Two: Daniel Taylor, Student at Yale University 1850-1851, By Evelyn Taylor:

In reading Daniel’s Journals written while a student at Yale and two of the letters he wrote to Cordelia Waller ( his future wife), I was struck by his imagery, his use of similes and metaphors, and his meditation. He was twenty three years old at the time.

The Romantic Poets such as Keats and Shelley came to mind, and I looked up the definition of Romanticism of 1820-1860. Romantic poetry was nature poetry, which habitually endowed the landscape with human life, passion, and expressiveness. It was also a poetry of meditation.

Certainly, as a sophomore at Yale in that period, Daniel would have been influenced by the poetry and literature of that period. He also was a very observant, sensitive, introspective, perceptive person with fantastic articulate powers.

There is nothing known in the history of Daniel that tells us what he was studying. I would say that he may have been leaning toward being a writer as in one letter he mentioned that on a holiday hike through Connecticut, he had met three women who had told him stories that he might publish someday.

Illness, again we do not know what that was, prevented him from returning to Yale to finish. He became a farmer and his journals then were itemized lists of things purchased and sold. What happened to the man of the Romantic Period?

I was telling these things to a friend whose husband has been a big farmer on the muck land of Elba for years. She said that Cornell has been doing Oral Biographies of farmers, and her family was chosen to be interviewed. Cornell said that farmers' journals were not personal, but lists like Daniel’s. They, therefore, did not know how farmers' made decisions, but when they started interviewing, found that farmers were answering their questions as they thought Cornell wanted them to.

So Cornell devised a game called “Farming” which was played by the farm family and recorded. An example of a question on a card would be: “This morning three of your pigs died. What are you going to do about it?”

I cannot help but feel sad that Daniel did not continue his education and his beautiful, lyrical writings. Did he ever have regrets? That we will never know!

Part Three: Metaphors and Description from the 1850 Journals of Daniel Rockwell Taylor

Dec. l, 1850
The “Old Man of the Poles” has made his first bow today and a clear, warm, sunny face has he brought with him.

Dec. 8th
Yesterday was a dark, cold day: this sabbath morn the Sun arose in a clear sky. The Old elms were coated with ice and O how a Million Diamonds from every tree danced in the merry breezes and sparkled like as the coronets do now in the Brow of Night: with what purity and intensity of love do they behold the rolling world in their pride from their eternal mansions.

The Harp of Heaven is hasting down the western slope of the sky. O joyous stars infuse a holy joy into my breast. Be my guardian angel and I will flee forth.

Dec.27th Merry Christmas has again come and gone with its clouds of thrilling remembrances. Oh! How the eye of youth used to brighten and all the world seemed one vast apple bin of delight

Far out upon the battlements of Time stands the recording Angel of the swift rolling Years with that dread Trumpet which Heralds their Departure into the dim, dark gulf of Eternity.

The fires are faintly flickering upon the alters of 1850 soon, very soon to go out forever. The stars hide their lovely faces in the cold sky. They would not look upon the dying agonies of the Old year whose Birth they so fondly gazed upon. Hark! Upon the startled ear falls the Death Knell! Of 1850! Solemnly echoing through the dark Midnight : across the hoary deep and continents vast and wide.

Gone? Ay! Forever! And the youthful, fair and rosy New Year comes laughing in: Bright Hope sparkles: his steps are light and free and joyous.

Memory! Thou sign of the Past! Light up the scenes of the Departed Year! When first I gazed upon thy ruddy cheeks the waves of Lake Michigan in their boisterous revelry sound in mine ears and they sang the Jubilee: now the hoarse voice of the ATLANTIC chants thy Requiem. The Seasons have run their golden round; Spring came from Eden’s bowers, attired in robes of purest green. Music gushed from the bustling groves and Love and Graces, girdled and wreathed with “wild-wood flowers” went dancing over the fields.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Family Clubs! By Aunt CB

One club, started by Uncle Adin, I have already written about, but has it been put on the cousins blog yet? If you do not know of the 'Roll Down Stocking Club', read on, and if you already know this story, skip to the next club!

One summer day, Adin put the Taylor kids and some of their cousins, Lil Baker-Howland’s girls, in his flatbed wagon with horses and they all went out and picked stones from the field.

“We were all helping him,” Doris remembered (taped several years ago by Jim Kinsella), “and Lord knows our stones were probably only about two inches round. So, we sat down to have a drink ‘cause boy, you’d be working and sweating and hot and everything so we all had our ankle socks—you know, girls had ankle socks then—and Uncle Adin, all summer long, wore his long underwear. He never took it off. ‘Come on, why bother,’ he’d say. So he said, ‘It looks like the Roll Down Stocking Club’ and he pulled up his pants and his underwear and he rolled his socks down and the password was ‘Bullshit’ (said in a whisper).”

Our Taylor Family Club was probably started by Arnon, who named us all and became, of course, President!

He was Windy Bags, Esther was Big Bertha Puffy, Doris was Stinky Pot, I was C-C Balls, and Harold was, I think, Squirt. Es was treasurer (of what I have no idea, but she knit a little change purse to have, ‘in case’), and we had a notebook made of a cardboard cover from a box, with paper sewn inside to make a book.

Was Doris secretary, or was Arnon? I don’t know, but I know dinosaurs were big then, as now, and we cut one out of an ‘Ally Oop’ cartoon strip and pasted it on the front of the notebook.

Where was Ruth when we had the Taylor Family Club? You must remember Harold and I were the last of the bunch, she and Arnon were the first. When we moved to Geneva, she was in high school and a quiet, shy young lady. I imagine she was so busy trying to make new friends in a strange place that she had no time for the rest of us (she ended up knowing half of Geneva!). So, she alone escaped yet another nickname from brother Arnon!

Picture One: Cousins!
Front: CB, Doris, Gladys, Phyllis, Harold
Back: Sylva, Ruth, Leona, Esther, Arnon

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lester Harry Wood Jr.'s Center Lisle Memorial Service

Gladys' son, Lester Harry Wood Jr, or Chic, aged 63, died on January 29th of this year, in Ohio.

His remains will be coming home to New York later this month.

Saturday, April 24th, at noon, the Center Lisle Church will have a service for Chic, followed by a luncheon, also at the church.

Those that want to follow, will drive to the Port Crane Cemetery ( in Port Crane about half an hour south of Center Lisle) to lay his ashes to rest with Richie, his son.

Chic's family would like to invite any family and friends to attend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Birthdays, 2010: By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Wow--I will not go on and on about the rainy weather we have been having in New England, but enough is enough!

Let me just say that when you see people on the television being rescued from their flooded cars with bulldozers, you can now say you know one of those unfortunates….my son had to climb out of my car’s sunroof to escape and yes, was plucked to safety by the bucket of a bulldozer, nearby only because the family was trying to save their home from the river.
So, please, let’s talk about birthdays!

In the Taylor family,

William Carson, father of Emma Carson (Emma is the mother of the twins, Floyd and Lloyd Taylor), and Pamela Taylor Crane (daughter of Bryant and Evelyn Taylor) are April Birthday Kids.

In Aunt Ruth’s family,

Marlene Ann Maney ( Richard’s daughter) celebrates this month.

In Uncle Arnon’s family, Michael Anthony McCarty (Diana’s son), Graham Alan Wright (Donnie’s son, grandson of Nancy), and Gabrielle Michelle Letourneau (Cynthia's daughter, 1st grandchild of Nancy Taylor Wright) all blow out candles in April.

Picture One: Pam and brother, Mitch by their dad’s cemetery stone
Picture Two: Marlene
Picture Three: Michael
Picture Four: Graham
Picture Five: Gabby

April Birthdays, Part Two:

In Aunt Esther’s family,
Laurie Acker Lochner (Rick’s wife), and Judith Powers Lochner (Ted’s wife), celebrate birthdays.

In Aunt Doris’ family,
Charles William Hawkes , and Kelly Marlene Walker ( Cindy’s daughter) are Birthday Kids.

In Uncle Harold’s family,
Jessie Taylor Spear (Mary Lou’s son) celebrates.

Picture One: Laurie
Picture Two: Judy
Picture Three: Charlie and Mary
Picture Four: Kelly and husband Blake
Picture Five: Jesse in the middle with brothers Matt and Dan on either side

April Birthdays, Part Three:

In Aunt CB’s family,

Rosemary Holz Kinsella (Tim’s wife), Kelly Ann Kinsella (Jim’s daughter), and Paul Christopher Kinsella (Tim’s son), turn a year older.

Picture One: Rose
Picture Two: Kelly
Picture Three: Paul and his soon to be wife (in August), Angela

April Birthdays, Part Four

On the Baker side,

we have Gladys Howland Wood and her son--Michael F. Wood , and Gladys’ great grandson, Aedyn Langstaff (Kathryn Wood Barron’s grandson), and Neil Carmen Maffei, Jr. ( Leona’s son), all celebrating this month.

Two of Aunt Phyllis’ daughters were born on the same day in April, just two years in between--Rhoda Lynn Coleman, and Sheila Ann Coleman (known as Annie); also in Phyllis’ family, Bernard C. Walker (Dawn Coleman’s—Phyllis’ daughter-husband) are Birthday Kids.

Congratulations to All!

Picture One: Gladys
Picture Two: Michael and Chris
Picture Three: Aedyn
Picture Four: Bernie, Annie, Ed
Picture Five: Rhoda