Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Christmas at Ted Lochner's House, By Chuck Lochner

Chuck Lochner writes about Christmas at his brother Ted's house in Spencer, MA. Ted and his wife, Judy have three boys, Jimmy, Brian and Andrew:

"I was there for a week. We had a good time. Kids are doing well. Jimmy in college, Brian is a junior and has two part time jobs, Andrew a freshman and into football and basketball.

Judy graduated with an Associate Degree in Environmental Science and is working for the town as an inspector. Ted is still at Home Depot and trying to keep it all together.

Ben and Snowflake (the cats) eat, sleep and poop."

Thanks, Chuck, for the Lochner update!
Picture One: Ted and Judy's house
Picture Two: Ted and Chuck
Picture Three: Brian and Andrew
Picture Four: Jimmy
Picture Five: Ben the Cat

Friday, January 21, 2011

Christmas at the Maffeis By Dorothy Maffei

Dorothy Maffei sent me these pictures of Aunt Leona and her family from their holiday get together the end of last year.

To catch up cousins who might not remember, Leona and Neil Maffei had four children--Neil, Carol Ann, Joey and Dorothy.

Neil is the oldest and Dan is his oldest child. Then comes Andrew (and his twin sister Sara) and Max.

So, Dorothy is their aunt. Aunt Leona is the grandmother of Dan, Andrew and Max.

Great to see these pictures--Thank you, Dorothy--as Aunt CB says, you are a sweetie for sharing these!

Picture One: Neil, Dorothy and Aunt Leona
Picture Two: Max, Dan, Leona and Andrew
Picture Three: Neil and Pat, their son Max, and Leona
Picture Four: Dan, Leona and Abby

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Wonderland By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

As I write this, there is another eight inches of fresh snow, just dropped during the day’s commute, sure to mess up the end of the work day, AGAIN.

My sister Sue, out in San Francisco, recently sent out this email:

“Well, for almost all of you this will be ho-hum, but for us it’s mind-boggling. This is the first time in all the years I’ve lived here that our car was covered in ice when we came out to go to school! Since we didn’t have a windshield scraper, we had to wait until the defroster melted the ice enough for me to be able to see.”

This set off a flurry of back and forth emails in my family, many of them like this one from my brother Chris’ wife, Jen:

“That’s no excuse for a girl with Upstate NY roots. You use a credit card, library card, etc. Spray the washer fluid… You have been out west waaayy too long if you can’t solve this simple problem! Of course I park in the garage at night so to avoid the situation at all costs!”

And, Tim’s wife, Rose offered up that in central NY State, businesses often give out car scrapers as free gifts. I am betting that Sue will get several from various family members next Christmas.
Aunt CB chimed in that perhaps it was the early morning hour that had Sue not thinking of better ideas, but Sue’s next email explained that she HAD tried:

“Oh my goodness, I didn’t even think of using something like a credit card! I did spray the washer fluid and the wipers just slid across like the ice was a permanent plastic coating. So I turned on the air conditioner and ran it through the defroster because that often defrosts faster, but it just seemed like NOTHING was going to melt the ice faster today. Or at least it seemed like that as we waited and waited, meanwhile looking for things to use to clean the mirrors, etc. (Those cloth grocery bags come in handy at times like this!)

Mostly, though, we were just so grateful that we don’t have to deal with this every morning and sent a lot of sympathy to those who do! While we waited, I told Alex about the recent e-mail from Chuck Lochner with a video showing a guy apparently running late for work, frantically cleaning off his totally snow-buried car with his briefcase, suitcoat sleeve, whatever else he can find. Then, when he clicks to unlock the car so he can get in, the car AHEAD of him blinks its lights . . . .”

So, back here in Acton, as I get ready to go out and snowblow the driveway one more time as I see the plows have again piled up huge banks at the end of our driveway, we do wish you ALL the best this winter season.

Take care, and may your winter adventures be entertaining, safe, and wonderful the second (and third ) time ‘round in the telling.

Picture One: At the top of the blog, my son Nick skiing out at Jackson Hole, early January 2011. Now THAT is a winter wonderland!

Picture Two through four: Taken in my backyard a few hours ago.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Clara Elizabeth Taylor Burt: By Aunt CB and Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Clara was the oldest child of B.W. Taylor and Emma Carson. She was the big sister of Leon, the twins--Floyd and Lloyd, Mildred, Harold and Florence. Like the other Taylors, she was born and raised at Woodlawn, the family farm in Oakfield, NY.

Clara was another family tragedy. When Florence (her sister ten years younger than she) brought home scarlet fever from school, she shared it with Mildred and Clara.

Mildred ( age 5) had scarcely recovered two to three months before from typhoid fever (which almost every family member had at one time or another-- never did they realize that its source lay in their drinking water, from the well just beyond the back door and adjacent to the cow door of the barn).

Poor little Mildred just couldn't take another such disease and died. Clara, who had done most of the raising of Mildred, went round the bend. As is typical of a schizophrenic, this was her first break, just past her teenage years. She was kept in her room, meals and all, for a month, quiet being the cure they felt. Mental hospitals were terrible then.

As for schooling, because Emma needed her help in the house, Clara could not attend school regularly and did not graduate from high school. But, Emma greatly believed in education and argued with B.W. to provide some--she did win for Clara a six month stint in 'Domestic Science' (house keeping) in Mechanics Institute in Rochester, now well known as Rochester Institute of Technology or RIT.

To do this she boarded with a family here and cooked and cleaned for them. This is all the schooling Clara had, then came home, once again to help at home. She did, in later years, take a course in Millinery (making hats) and had a room for business in Batavia my older sister said. She was always very clever at sewing, decorating things, doing craft work.

Bryant, son of Floyd and so, my cousin, had a picture of himself in the 1930s in a long white apron and a chef’s hat. His Aunt Clara had made it and taught him to make rolls and other things.

Where she met Maurice (her husband, Maurice Burt) I don't know, but I wonder if it was while she may have been apprenticed to a milliner in Buffalo. Her next big mental break came after Maurice left her (1925 or so?).

When I knew her, growing up in the 1930s, she was a wonderful aunt. She used to get samples of material (2" x 3") and save them for us for our paper dolls. I remember her as a marvelous cook. By 1944 or 1945 or so, when I saw her at our house in Waterloo, she was going off into her own world, carried a notebook and wrote down facts as she was an FBI agent she said.

I think this is when she came to visit Florence, lifted items from stores and eventually was put in mental hospital near her. She was diagnosed schizophrenic-paranoid when I visited her in 1949 on Long Island at Kings County Hospital with Aunt Florence.

After the War, when NY State was clearing out mental institutions she was transferred to Willard Hospital, near Waterloo, as being nearer her birth county. Here, she died in 1958.

Willard was her home for perhaps ten years. The State Hospital, opened in 1869, finally closed in 1995. As the closed buildings were given final walk-throughs, someone pried open a door to an attic. There, with pigeons swooping in and all around, were rows and rows of suitcases, filled with the personal treasures of almost four hundred of the patients.

Our Clara’s was not one of them, but an amazing traveling exhibit has been created, using a smaller number of the suitcases to surround and make more human some of the patients--Check out this website: http://www.suitcaseexhibit.org/. The website has oral histories from former staff members that you can listen to—touching and painful to listen to.

Read the book also written about these amazing attic finds: “The Lives They Left Behind—Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic” by Darby Penney and Peter Stastny.
Another amazing look at Willard Hospital, this time in pictures, can be found at:
nysAsylum.com, run by Roger Luther. He has kindly provided me with these vintage pictures of the Hospital.

While almost half of the patients who entered Willard Hospital died there, as did our Clara, many were buried in a mostly unmarked cemetery on the grounds, taken care of for years by a patient.

Clara was taken home to her beloved Woodlawn and buried in Cary Cemetery, surrounded by her parents, various siblings--including her dear Mildred, and many Taylor relatives.

Picture One: Clara and sister, Florence, taken 1904
Picture Two: Clara, taken 1907
Picture Three: Bryant Taylor, 1930, wearing hat made by Aunt Clara
Picture Four: Willard Hospital
Picture Five: Willard Hospital Sewing Room—with her love of sewing, would Aunt Clara have worked here during her last years?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy 2011!! January Birthdays, Part One

In CB Kinsella’s family, James Matthew Kinsella, and Elizabeth Lehmann ( Dan Kinsella's wife) celebrate January Birthdays.

In Doris’s family, Stephen Francis Hawkes and Mary Ann Cannon Hawkes (Charlie's wife) blow out Birthday candles.

In Ruth Maney’s family, Aunt Ruth is the Birthday Girl, along with Michael James Maney.

Picture One: Jim and Jill Kinsella
Picture Two: Liz Lehmann
Picture Three: Mary and Charlie Hawkes
Picture Four: Aunt Ruth
Picture Five: Mike Maney

Happy 2011!! January Birthdays, Part Two

In Phyllis’ family, Dawn Coleman Walker (Phyllis Howland's daughter), and Justin Henderson, son of Ron Henderson, grandson of Wendell both share January Birthdays.

In Glady’s family, Allen Smerchansky, husband of Beth Barron (daughter of Kathryn Wood Barron), and Joshua Hart-Wood and Jonathan Hart-Wood, sons of Lester (Chic) Wood are the Birthday Kids.

Picture One: Dawn and Bernie
Picture Two: Justin Henderson
Picture Three: Allen with Nick and Lena
Picture Four: Josh and Emma on their frozen pond, January 2011

Happy 2011!! January Birthdays, Part Three

On the Taylor side, Both Bryant C Taylor (son of Floyd Taylor) and his wife, Evelyn Taylor are January Birthday Kids—Evelyn, Congrats on turning 89!

On the Baker Side, Ruth Inez Baker (sister of Ethel, Adin and Lil), and Elmer Howland (Aunt Lil's husband) are January Birthdays to remember.

In Leona’s family, Geoffry Max Body-Maffei (Neil Maffei's son) is the Birthday Boy.

In Sylva’s family, Sylva Joyce Howland Emhof is the Birthday Girl of the month, along with Norris Arnold (Linda Emhof's husband).

Picture One: Bryant and Evelyn
Picture Two: Aunt Ruth Baker
Picture Three: Elmer
Picture Four: Sylva