Monday, December 24, 2012

Welcome to the World, Zachary Charles Spear, By Grandma MaryLou

On December 22nd, MaryLou Taylor Spear writes:

My son Daniel Taylor Spear and Kristi Moilanen are the proud parents of a baby boy--Zachary Charles Spear--born 8:02 p.m. December 22. Weighing 8# 10oz and 20 inches, has black hair and black eyes.

I am grateful all are well and doing fine, it is the greatest Christmas gift ever!

Bless us everyone. Much love to all,

Grandma Marylou

Kristi and Zachary

Daniel and Zachary Spear

Congratulations to Daniel and Kristi and little Zachary, and to Grandma Mary Lou!! With Great Grandpa Uncle Harold recovering from pneumonia in a nursing home--hoping to get home soon--may this quicken his recovery!

Merry Christmas!

Thought I would share a wonderful Christmas picture for the Baker cousin side:

This is a young Kathryn Margaret Wood Barron, clearly NOT happy with sitting on Santa's lap! A protective older brother Chic is standing closely by her side should she need his help.

Thanks for sharing this, Kathryn! Merry Christmas to all the Baker Cousins!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Recipes By Various Taylor-Bakers

Here are a few recipes to give us ideas when the icy rain and snow keep us homebound. Since my car literally slid into the lawn today, I decided to stay home most of the day and bake!

From Bryant Waller (B.W.) Taylor:
(Lloyd’s father)

Molasses Candy:

2 C. granulated sugar
½ C. corn starch or ¼ C. molasses
½ C. water
butter size of hickory nut (1 t.?)
Boil until it crisps in cold water (brittle)--270 degrees F.

Do not stir after it commences to boil--pour on buttered plates or tins to cool, then pull (with greased hands) until white. Then cut into bite size pieces on buttered tin to cool.

Barb Taylor, wife of Harold Taylor:

Oregon Salmon Loaf:
Lucille writes: “Best recipe I know of!”

1--16 oz. can red salmon
3 slices bread, cubed
2 eggs, beaten
¼ C. chopped onion (may use same in onion flakes)
¼ C. chopped green peppers
1 can condensed cream celery soup
1 T. lemon juice

Put in baking dish; 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees

Lilian Baker Howland, also known as Lilypickle:

Aunt Lil’s Brown Bread:

1 C. white flour
1 C. graham flour
1 egg
½ C. sugar
½ C. molasses
1 C. sour milk
1 t. salt
1 t. soda in ¼ C. hot water
Add raisins if you choose

350 degrees

From Ethel Baker Taylor:

Sugar Cookies:
These are the cookies that Bob and Nancy Taylor often cooked together. They are very close to a sugar cookie recipe from Aunt Lil B. Howland.

1 c. shortening 2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar 1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. buttermilk (or 1 C sour milk)
3 c. flour--for drop cookies or 3 ½ -4 C. for roll
2 eggs, beaten 1 tsp. soda

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, then add milk and dry ingredients alternately. Drop on ungreased sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. BAKE: 375 degrees for eight minutes

Butter Tarts:

Ethel’s daughter, Ruth, was also known for these tarts.

Butter, size of egg
1 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1 C. raisins
¼ C. coconut
1/3 C. chopped nut meats
1 t. vanilla
1 t. vinegar
Mix and fill ½ full in patty shells lined with ordinary pie crust. Bake 20 minutes at 350.

Lemon Sugar Cookies:

½ lb. butter
2 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. lemon extract (or vanilla)
2 ¼ C. flour
3 t. baking powder
½ t. salt

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and cream thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add lemon, sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to creamed mixture and stir well. Chill dough, then roll out. 350 degrees--12 minutes

These recipes will get us started! Hope everyone enjoys the wonderful foods created, cooked and eaten this month!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Theo Carson’s Close Encounter By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Theodore William Carson

Every once in a while, as I transcribe diaries and journals, I come across small nuggets of gold.

Delving into Emma Jane Carson’s journals is not for the weak-hearted because of the number of journals--more, it is the foolish who choose to begin, so you see where I stand!

To catch up on family genealogy, Emma Carson, daughter of William Carson and Jane Livingston, married Bryant Taylor (B.W.), and was the mother of Floyd and Lloyd, among other children.

Emma came from a large and close, loving family of Carsons. Emma had five brothers—Albert, Theodore, George, Edward and Harry. She had two sisters, Mary Elizabeth and Anna. Theodore was three years younger than Emma, so they were close in age, and close in actuality, as he often stayed overnight to help when Emma and Bryant’s children were young.

After Emma married, most of the Carsons remained in the area with the Taylors only a short buggy or train ride away.

On to my nugget of interest:

In her 1888 journal for December 5th, 1888, Theo's sister, Emma Carson Taylor writes:

"We were terribly shocked this morning to get a large letter from Anna (Emma’s sister) to Bryant telling us the sad news that Theo had accidentally shot himself last Friday, but was now doing as well as could be expected. We are waiting the result. We cannot help but cry ‘Oh God, spare him!’”

The twenty-five year old Theo was working for a year as a farm hand in a nearby town. He had not spent Thanksgiving with his family, but stayed on the farm. Orrin Taylor, brother of B.W.--again showing that the Carsons and Taylors were close as family friends-- was spending Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, with Theo who was two years older than Orrin. About three o’clock while they were shooting at a target, Theo tried to make sure his footing was good before taking aim and instead slipped, arms flailing to attempt to catch himself. With that, the revolver went off, the ball entering his head above his ear.

Emma then transcribes a letter from her father, William, who rushed from his home to help Theo. William writes to his wife Jane and his children; Jane and their children at home read the letter and then sent it on to Emma and Bryant:

“It is a great comfort to see him as well as he is, and there is a faint hope that he may come through it. I hope you will have grace to be resigned. It is a hard thing to bear, but let us put our trust in our Heavenly Father hoping for the best. All of you pray for him and for yourselves, and let us say ‘Thy Will be Done.’ If there is any change for the worst I will telegraph to you. I remain your Husband and Parent, Mr. Carson.”

By Sunday, two days after the accident, William again writes:

“He is just now eating breakfast, sitting up in his bed. If you were here and could see him, the pleasant look and smile on his face would do you good. He feels as we all do, that it was a very sad affair, yet he is so resigned to whatever the result may be that nothing seems to bother him, only as it seems to make others trouble. When I got here, he could not speak, but was sensible, and knew me. Pretty soon he could talk and almost the first thing he said to me was that it was all right with him, let the result be what it would, but how will Mother stand it?”

By Monday, Father again writes to his worried family:

“It really does look as if he is going to be around again in a very short time. The Dr. says that there is a possibility that if the ball is inside of the bone that it may remain there and never make him any trouble. So we will hope for the best, and put our trust in him who said to the singing waters peace, be still and there was a great calm.

Four o’clock and fifteen minutes, Monday a.m., Wm. Carson”

Theo and Eunice Carson, 1897

Theodore William Carson did live to tell about this accident with, as far as we know, no lasting side effects. He married nine years later, and lived to the age of 43. While not the longest life, he DID make it past this event in his young life.

Friday, November 30, 2012

As We Used To Go Cousining By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

“We may yet spend many happy days where we can see each other and where our little ones can visit back and forth, as we used to go cousining.”

Dustan Walbridge wrote this in a letter home in October 1863 while fighting in the Civil War. Dustan is my first cousin four times removed, OR perhaps better to understand, he was first cousins with Daniel Rockwell Taylor, my great great grandfather.

Dustan lived in Peacham, Vermont and by January of 1864, he was a Full First Lieutenant in Vermont’s Company A, 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment. He was wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor and died at Douglass Hospital in Washington, DC in June of 1864. Dustan never did get to go cousining again.

A fellow Vermonter, Nelson Glazier, wrote home about the foods he missed while in the same Washington DC hospital as our Dustan:

“I often think of some good old Vermont dishes, such as Griddle Cakes, Boiled Victuals, Fried Potatoes, Green Sauce, Berries etc. - then I want some Johnny Cake & good fresh Butter to say nothing of a little warm maple sugar & the like - But I will pause in this long catalogue of eatables or you may almost dread to see me coming home - but never mind. I want to eat everything when I do get there.”

‘I want to eat everything when I do get there’. How I KNOW how Nelson feels—I love to come home to Mom and Dad’s and have Old Fashioned Tomato soup, watermelon pickles, or good ole’ Johnny cake. The elderberry pie I leave to my brother Dan and various cousins.

The Taylor Reunion is another wonder of food sampling—meatballs, lasagna, cookies, pies, deviled eggs, and any bounty left over from Kathy and Gordie’s garden for the taking. From what I hear and what little I remember, the Baker Reunions were also famous for their food choices.

At these Reunions and Holiday times—December is filled with opportunities--we DO get to ‘go cousining’, something I treasure and wish I had more fully appreciated when I was younger.

So as December dawns, may you enjoy many good times of food and laughter and stories told, and may you too be lucky enough to ‘ go a-cousining’.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving, by Sue Kinsella and Pat Herdeg

Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Cousins! 

Here are some of the things for which we are thankful.

Dan Maffei Returns to Congress!
Taylor Baker Cousins give thanks that our cousin, Dan Maffei, was elected on November 6th to the U.S. Congress from New York’s 24th Congressional District, representing Syracuse and surrounding towns and countryside.
Dan defeated the opponent who cost him his previous Congressional seat. That 2010 defeat was by the slimmest of margins, less than 600 votes. This time, Dan, a Democrat, not only defeated his Republican opponent 48% to 44%, but won by a resounding majority even with a Green Party candidate taking another 8% of the vote.
Dan is the son of Neil Maffei, grandson of Leona Maffei, and great-grandson of Aunt Lil Baker Howland. Congratulations, Dan! We’re so proud of you and look forward to your leadership in the U.S. Congress!

Sue, Giving Thanks for
  • The wonderful Taylor Reunion in September
  • Dad/Uncle Jack recovering from a long hospitalization in September and October
  • Pat Herdeg recovering from a miserable pneumonia
  • Many Taylor Baker Cousins prepared for Hurricane Sandy and, fortunately, they all weathered it without serious damage
  • My family and all my extended family
  • Spending Thanksgiving with my son, Alex! Even though his college is only 60 miles from home, it seems I get to see him so much less than I had thought I would, so it's wonderful when we get a few days to spend together like we used to.

Pat, Giving Thanks

I am thankful for five years of this Cousins Blog! Thank you to all cousins -- some I have known all my life and some I have gotten to know well through email -- who have expressed encouragement, added ideas, pictures and stories, or commented on these stories. Who knows how many more stories or years are left to this blog of family history, but for the years we have shared this blog together, I am grateful. 

What Do You Give Thanks For? 

Please fill up the Comments page, we'd love to hear from you! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Center Lisle Congregational Church, By Aunt CB with help from Laurel Decker

Recently, I received an email from cousin Laurel Decker. She wrote: " Last year Helen McPeek (Phyllis’s daughter) had gone through things of her mother's. There was a booklet of the Center Lisle Church….. Long story short, I borrowed, scanned and put it in a PDF.

We can all thank Helen for sharing with the family. And, we can all thank Laurel for sending it on to us here at the blog! To look through the booklet, go to the right hand side of the blog. Under the heading of  'Miscellaneous Items' you will see a link which will take you to the booklet. Enjoy!  

And, Mom has written a short piece on the church: 


Growing up in the 1930's we’d usually spend a week each year during the summer at Grandma Kate Baker’s farm. Our beloved Uncle Adin worked the place. We thought we “helped him” when we were there, but looking back, now I’m an adult, I doubt it! However, very occasionally, Adin would go to town and come back with a slight buzz on, singing a song about “Yorkshire.” I had no idea where that was, I only knew Center Lisle. However, the church I’m going to write about was established in Yorkshire in 1830! Center Lisle Congregational Church. (The hamlet’s name was changed.)

Nineteen charter members met, first in one another’s homes, and took on this awesome responsibility. The membership is sprinkled with names I’d heard in conversations among my mother (Ethel), her sister (Lil) and their mother (Kate Baker). Glezen, Livermore, Caldwell, Ensign and many others.

The church family grew through the years, often with “fits and starts,” running into personality problems as ALL churches do. However, they followed church guidelines. Initially, discipline was handled by church members but eventually it was handed over to the Deacons, while the Trustees cared for the church building and paid the minister’s salary (when they could!) Eventually a “Ladies Aid” came about and filled many empty spaces, growing into a “Guild” which still exists today. The minister usually served 2 or 3 churches but this small church grew to be important to the Center Lisle area, it helped provide problem solutions to churches world wide in its Mission outreach.

The land for the church was deeded to the trustees in 1830 for $275. In 1832 a small frame building was raised on the lot, but by 1855 was too small for the congregation. It was sold, moved next door and became first a house, then a garage and finally Howland’s General Store. (This is the place we all loved, Aunt Lil’s store!) Thus, in 1855, the present church was built for $3300. Much material was donated by members from their virgin forests. Labor was supplied by church men via a “Bee” for major construction.

In 1926, the need for a dining room upstairs was remedied and a window opening made in the back wall over a new, higher pulpit. A lovely stained glass window was given.

By 1940, a furnace was installed, stoves could not do the heating job. Then in 1948, Orrin Dickinson made some beautiful pulpit railings and choir loft rails from parts of an old piano and other used material. In 1953, a new ceiling and interior walls we refurbished along with stained glass windows gifted by members and installed by Mr. Dickinson and Rev. Terwilliger. In 1958 a well was drilled for the church and plumbing added to the edifice! 1960 brought mahogany pews to the church and in 1966, a BIG upheaval came about. The church was raised and a full basement put in, allowing a new kitchen, dining area, bathroom and a new entrance with more exits in the church proper.

As a circle always completes itself—the old original church building gone through so many stages was returned to the church by Lil Howland. Aunt Lil sold them the building for one dollar ($1.00). It was razed and now is the church parking lot, a fitting gift.

Rev. Floyd Terwilliger served the church for 46 years. He and his wife are buried in the Center Lisle Cemetery. He gave “full measure” to this church and community which he loved. He is the only one I knew, as Grandma was buried from this church in August 1955. She was shown in the back of the church, but when Wendell Henderson was buried in 2006, the altered church allowed him to be shown in the front before the pulpit.

This is the story of a church which not only served its community but reached out world wide to help others in need. Those who began this could not have forseen its work, the strength it gave this community but they built it. Others have carried it on though the years and with the help of the Lord, will continue to carry this work into the future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frankenstorm, Also Known as ‘Hurricane Sandy’, as Seen by Tom Kinsella from the center of landfall

Various cousins and siblings chime in

From Tom in Absecon, NJ:

My preparations for the hurricane are complete. Some of you will remember my adventures with Irene back in August of 2011. Now the Frankenstorm is barreling up the coast and may take a left turn into my front yard (if not mine, then perhaps Pat's or Ted's -- good luck you guys). I hope not, but here's the plan if it does.

First, I have laid in a serious supply of Beans and Buns (as some Algonquin vets will attest, they are important staples). I have many candles (and a nice pair of antique candle holders, which I did not have during Irene -- then I was balancing candles in cups and mugs). I have flashlights, and some batteries, but there is no longer any "D" batteries within 100 miles, so I couldn't stock up -- so, candles.

I have bought bottled water and in addition I have frozen two big pans of water which I will take out of the freezer and put in the fridge when the electricity goes out (which all sources say it will).

The car is full of gas; money in my wallet; cans of low salt peas and carrots. I feel pretty good.

Tomorrow the storm is forecast to hit around 5 pm and go on forever and ever (at least until Tuesday night). The conjunction of a Northeaster (Nor'eastah for Massachusetts folk), hurricane (even if it is a tropical depression by tomorrow) and a full moon has caused the barrier Islands near me to evacuate.

Around 4 pm I will fill up the bath tub. I have pulled the canoe into the rafters and taught the cats to wear life jackets. I have an axe to chop through the roof if it gets really bad. And, again for you Algonquin vets, I have laid in a good supply of Champagne Chavignion (for those not in the know, this CC is a lot like paddle pain remover).

Wish me luck.

Much love from soon to be swamped South Jersey,

Spuds Waiting for the Storm to End
From Jim in Rochester, NY:

Looking forward to more updates from Tommy "On the Spot" (any relation to "Johnny On the Spot"?)

We may be in Sally's flight path this year though, being so far inland, won't get anything like what you will get. Good suggestion however...the Buns and Beans one. You never know...

Jimmy "On the Pot"

From Ali in Washington DC:

I suddenly feel sorely under-prepared in comparison. I have flashlights, candles, bottled water, and PB&J... no canoe, though. I'll let you know how it hits us down here.

From Jen in Syracuse, NY:

I don’t know what we were thinking – we just put the canoe up in the garage. At least it is easy to get it and the kayaks out easily enough if we have to. We did just fill up the dog’s water tank, so we can all drink out that if need be!

From Tom:

Okay, it's raining here and the wind has picked up. The latest forecasts have the storm hitting just north of Atlantic City. That means that I will get lots of rain (being just south of the center), from 6 to 10 inches supposedly. It's the folks to the north of the storm center that are worried about storm surges. Barrier Islands have been evacuated.

Bought the last of my staples -- a pizza, potato chips, and orange pop. Now I'll sit back and wait. Watching football now. I also picked a generous handful of kale from the garden: I can cook or eat it raw tonight (if necessary).

From Glenn in Acton, MA:

Looking forward to updates from you during the excitement tomorrow -- keep sending them until your internet goes out, then switch to signal lanterns in your attic window until you take them aboard the canoe with the cats!

From Tim and Rose in Syracuse, NY:

Tim and I are all set with food. We have a 2 pound carrot from our garden. That should last a few days at least. We don't need no stinkin' beans.

Rose with carrot

From Tom:

So, when I poked my head out of the covers this morning (warmed by two cats on the bed), I peered out the window and thought, "This is lame." A gentle rain was falling -- like springtime in Rochester -- all was safe. There was my car, tucked behind the house within arm's length of my window. No trees down. No flooding.

Then I turned on the news and started to process where we are in this storm. It's been raining for about 20 hours, a bit breezy at times, and the storm is still 200 miles away. The latest tracking suggests the eye of the storm will land somewhere between 20 Hobart Ave, Absecon and 23 Leeds Point Road, Smithville (home of the Jersey devil). That's a five mile stretch. That's my address and Christine's.

The big storm is supposed to hit tonight. Ferocious say the newscasts. Record breaking! FrankenFreakenStorm!?!

Okay, so I still wasn't disturbed till I began to look at the twitter feed for "AC Sandy." This is folks in or around Atlantic City. If this is to be trusted, they are evacuating the West side of the city now (the East side, of course, is the ocean -- the West is usually considered safe); Streets are flooding; the board walk is being torn up or washed away. And there are pictures to prove most of this. Storm surge is already worse than Irene and yet the storm is 200 miles away. The Atlantic City Expressway is closed from twenty miles north of me to its bottom in Cape May -- in other words the State of NJ just said, if you didn't get out yet, you're staying.

So, the story might get more interesting as Monday rolls on to night.

Kristin, you are right, there's a study to be done on what gets bought out in supermarkets when storms approach. Shopping on Saturday, I found all the bread gone except for rye and the multi-grain loaves (I happily bought a loaf of 12 grain). All white bread and even whole wheat entirely gone. A bit more odd to me, all but one creamy peanut butter was gone -- I got the very last one -- but there was plenty of chunky. What could that possible mean?

Electricity is flickering, but no serious outage yet.

Much love from a dampening South Jersey,

After the Storm, Spuds Inspecting any Damage

Another from Tom:

After 25 hours without electricity the juice is back (it kicked off around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, right after the TV newscaster said, "Hey, we've lost the feed . . ."). Right now my fridge is cooling down and my house is heating up. Yay!

The storm was hurricanish -- by that I mean came in bands, just like Irene. I'd look out the window and think, "nothing," then a few minutes later I'd hear a howling and see leaves and branches flying sideways by the windows. From about 5 pm through 3 am we had a pretty good blow (again, in those bands).

No damage in my yard. I took a walk around the neighborhood and lots of trees just leaned over. I guess the rain softened the soil and the roots gave way.

Christine had been blocked in in three directions by trees in her neighborhood, but she tells me she can get out now. Good, cause she still has no electricity. School is closed tomorrow for clean up.

Off to a dinner of warm beans and buns (I've been eating them cold).

Much love from South Jersey,

As we now know, Tom got off relatively easy for a New Jerseyite by the coast. Thank you everyone for keeping in touch during this siege!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TWO Halloween Stories! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Pat still does not have internet, so we are thankful for the Acton Memorial Library, which does. Next story--a look at Hurricane Sandy through our cousins' emails!

Memories of Halloween By Chris Kinsella

Twelve Top Memories of Halloween at 2846 St. Paul Blvd:

12. Mom gives out last three years worth of Halloween candy left in the wooden bowl on top of the fridge. Wonders why no one comes to our house. Concluded it’s because we’re on a busy street.

11. Must pose for stupid mandatory Halloween picture.

10. The only kids that come to 2846 are the Gugals.

9. The McKees, Schafers and that cranky old lady on the corner smile when they give you candy and are altogether rather friendly. It would be the last time we, as children ever saw them so mirthful. We should have dressed up as lifeguards. (Editor’s Note: My brothers’ wild summer lifeguard parties—while Mom and Dad were in Canada—were legendary and NOT liked by the neighbors).

8. It snows.

7. Dad checks candy for razor blades and poison and eats three Snickers bars.

6. Someone gives us apples. We reason they could contain razor blades so we chuck ‘em.

5. Dad rechecks the candy. He takes a Babe Ruth, three Tootsie Rolls and a Milky Way bar.

4. People aren’t home so they leave a tray out containing 30 Snickers bars. The sign reads ‘Please Take One’. We take them all.

3. People that are really lame give out suckers.

2. Dad has to make sure the Juicy Fruit gum and candy bars aren’t poisoned. They aren’t.

1. It rains.

Dan Kinsella, Kathy Rogers, Tim and Sue Kinsella

Halloween in Ma and Pa’s Day, by Aunt CB and Uncle Jack

In our day we don’t remember any’ treat’s, we only remember ‘tricks’. These were fairly innocuous by today’s standards. An early after dinner start found us and three or four neighbor friends running from house to house, quickly skipping up steps, loudly stamping on porches and scampering back down. A singular feat which Mom could perform about 50% of the time was the insertion of a straight pin into the edge of the doorbell, causing it to ring constantly until the home owner removed the pin. This, of course, required a tip toe approach to the porch followed by a quick exit.

Dad remembers his gang pounding on porches with heavy sticks. One time, after giving a porch a thorough pounding, all of his friends took off up the street. Not Dad. He decided to drop down behind the man’s two foot hedge. Mr. Man came running out of his house and stopped at his hedge—Dad was lying on the other side not two feet away. The Man watched the disappearing kids and shouted, “You @#$%*!! kids. If I get my hands on you, I’ll break every bone in your bodies.” Needless to say, Dad lay perfectly still, hoping the Man couldn’t hear his wildly beating heart. Fortunately, he never glanced down.

Both Mom and Dad remember making spool noisemakers. In our day, all spools of thread were made of wood. We would cut small scallops in each end, tie a string (about two feet long) around the center of the spool and wrap the string around the spool. A pencil was then inserted into the hole in the spool making it an item guaranteed to terrorize the neighborhood.

Here also, a quiet approach was necessary. Tip toeing to a window, one quietly placed the spool up against the glass, grasped the pencil tightly and gave the string a vigorous pull. The ensuing racket was most satisfying!

One most perfect enactment Mom remembers still. Somehow she made it to a lamp lit window behind which sat a gentleman reading the paper. When the spool racket began he raised straight up in his chair, 12 inches at least, and the pages of the paper flew all over. Whether he landed on his feet running is not known, for Mom was long gone, having leapt down the steps and dashed away.

We grew up during the height of the Depression, so perhaps that accounts for the no ‘treats’, only ‘tricks’, but we sure had lots of fun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Deer Hunting, by Uncle Jack and Sue Kinsella

Sue: Hunting and fishing are big with many in the Taylor-Baker families. I remembered my Dad going hunting when I was a kid, so I asked him about it. He talked with Harold Taylor to get his memories, too, then sent me the following story.

My deer hunting adventures started in about 1954. Dick Lochner had talked to Merle Barrows [Ethel and Lil’s cousin] at one of the family gatherings and Merle told him about the great deer hunting get-together he and his neighbors had every year near his home in Pitcher, NY. Dick asked what he and I had to do to get invited and Merle said, “Consider yourselves invited! You can stay with Viola and myself.”

So next November, the day before deer season opened, we drove down to Pitcher, NY, raring to go. I had picked up an old double-barreled shotgun at my parents' house in Waterloo, NY that was originally my Dad’s. My brother, Dick, had used it for pheasant hunting.

 Merle and Viola's Farm, July 1955
Sue and Dan Kinsella by front of car

After we arrived, Merle gave us the lowdown on the deer hunt. He said the participants were all neighbors and friends. We hunted on a neighbor’s lands that, fortunately, backed up to government land that was off limits for hunting. The deer that lived there in this wide open area wandered back and forth between the government and the private land so that there were always lots of deer in the area. I must mention that hanging on Merle’s living room wall was the biggest mounted deer head I had ever seen. 

Early the next morning around 5 o’clock, Viola shouted up the stairs that breakfast was ready, and what a breakfast it was — heaps of eggs, pancakes, sausages, and bacon plus lots of freshly baked bread. We then piled into Merle’s truck and drove a few miles to his neighbor Bob's house. There we met the others that were included in the hunt. While waiting for it to get light we spent the time eating doughnuts and drinking coffee.

Just before daybreak, we split into two groups, the shooters and the beaters. Dick and I were in the first shooters group. We piled into Merle’s truck and drove on a dirt road that led to a hill about 1⁄2 mile from Bob’s house. Merle then dropped us off, one by one, about 100 yards apart along the hill. We could see Bob’s house from there. As soon as daylight came, the beaters came out of Bob’s house, spread out into a line and, banging clubs and pans together, started marching towards us.

There was a small forest of trees halfway between Bob’s house and where we were waiting. Several of the beaters entered that forest and shortly after I saw at least a dozen deer sprint out of the other side and run in our direction. Don’t you think that made me excited! Just then I heard a shot off to my right where Dick Lochner was positioned. I saw Dick take a couple more shots at a running buck and then I realized the deer was running towards me. It was about 40 yards away as it ran past me so I shot, aiming for its shoulder. Much to my amazement, the deer dropped like a rock. When I reached it, the deer was dead. Shortly after the drive was over, up came the trucks that picked us all up, plus the two deer that had been killed on that drive. We were driven back to Bob’s house, where we had more coffee and doughnuts.

After a suitable rest, we all got into the trucks and were driven to a different area where another drive was organized. The beater and shooter groups exchanged assignments and we started all over again. In that drive, three bucks were killed. I was not too far from Bob when he shot his deer. It was running at full speed and he dropped it with one shot!

That night when we were back at Merle’s house, I mentioned to him having seen Bob drop the deer and that I thought that he was an excellent shot. Apparently there was some rivalry there because that seemed to upset Merle and he promptly told me many tales of his hunting skill.

All the deer that were killed were brought back to a barn on Bob’s farm and hung up from a long beam. When Dick and I left, there must have been 12 to 15 deer hanging there. I don’t know who made the decisions on how much deer meat each person got but I think it depended upon on how much time the person spent hunting, not on how many deer they shot. As far as I could tell, everyone got some deer meat, whether they had been beaters or shooters, and whether or not they had personally killed a deer. Dick and I each received a generous portion of a rear haunch and all that winter we had roasts and steaks and hamburger from it.

The following year, Dick and I must have told Harold Taylor how much fun we had had hunting deer at Merle’s because he decided to join us at the next year’s hunt. The three of us stayed at Merle’s and, as usual, Viola provided us with delicious calorie-laden breakfasts.

We followed the same routine of beaters and shooters, but this year things were different. Now does were legal to shoot, which meant there were many more opportunities to shoot a deer.

Harold said early on in the hunt he had a nice clear shot at a deer. He told me, “I took good aim, pulled the trigger and shot. I don’t know what happened but the deer just disappeared. I never saw it again. I wasn’t worried, though. I still had two more days to hunt so I felt confident that I’d get my deer by then.”

But then Dick Lochner stumbled upon two deer and he killed both of them. This posed a dilemma for us. You are only allowed to kill one deer per day. When you do kill one, you have to attach your tag to that deer and then you must stop hunting. There were four people in our particular shooters group: Dick, Harold, one of Bob’s neighbors and me. The neighbor and I had already shot a deer that day and Dick had killed two. We needed a tag to put on Dick’s second deer and the only solution was to use Harold’s tag, which is what happened. That meant Harold had to stop hunting even though he hadn’t killed a deer yet.

Harold was disappointed but he continued the rest of the hunt as a beater, as did Dick and I. On one of the beater drives, I couldn’t believe my ears. I heard a dog barking, but it was illegal to use dogs on a deer drive. Nevertheless, I could distinctly hear that ‘arf’ ‘arf’ sound. As I kept walking, the sound got louder and then I heard ‘arf’ ‘arf’ “Red Heart” - at the same time I came upon Harold singing the Red Heart dog food commercial!

That year I had slipped a disc in my back and it was giving me so much trouble I wore a corset to ease the pain. One day during the hunting trip, I had a call of nature. This necessitated my removing my corset. When I was finished, I rebuckeled my corset, pulled up my pants and started to walk away — but I couldn’t. That’s when I realized that as I buckled up the corset, I hadn’t  noticed I was close to a small sapling and that was now wrapped inside my corset!

Oh, it was the best of times and a record number of deer were killed on our hunting trip with Merle's neighbors. We all went home with plenty of deer meat that year.

Sue: When I was asking about hunting stories for the blog, Mom and Dad started laughing and told me a story that suggests Uncle Dick wasn't the only "hunter" in the Lochner family.

As they told it, one year Uncle Dick went on a week-long hunting trip to the Adirondacks. But he came back rather dejected because, for all his efforts, he had not gotten a deer all week. Imagine his surprise when he got home, then, to find a whole deer waiting for him!  

It turned out that while he was away, Aunt Esther had been driving on some domestic errand or other and a deer had run in front of her car. She couldn't avoid hitting it and killed it. Flustered and upset, she called the police, who decided that, since she had killed the deer unintentionally, she could keep it.

So Uncle Dick had worked hard, hunting all week, but did not get a deer. Yet he came home to find that Aunt Esther had bagged one with no effort at all!

Breaking News!

Diana sent this picture of modern-day hunting, showing her son Mike McCarty and his dog Payton. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life ‘On the Frontier’ in Elba, NY with the Howes and Wallers By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Readers of the blog will remember Daniel Rockwell Taylor, who married Martha Cordelia Waller—they are the parents of Bryant Waller Taylor who was Floyd and Lloyd’s father.

Cordelia as she was known, was the child of Orrin Waller and Roxana Howe. Now, the Howes and the Wallers lived in nearby Elba, which was part of Batavia, NY.

An obituary of a long ago cousin who ALMOST lived to be 100 describes what life in Elba was in the early 1800’s, when Orrin and Roxana’s parents or great great grandparents of the twins—Floyd and Lloyd-- moved here and helped begin the Methodist church in the frontier country:

From the Batavia NY Progressive, April 1891

An Old Pioneer of Genesee.

"After nearly a century of life Phineas Howe passed quietly and peacefully away on Thursday evening last, just as the whistles were blowing for the close of the day's labor, and another of Genesee's pioneers had gone to his reward. Phineas Howe was born in the State of Pennsylvania, near the present site of the city of Scranton, in 1794.

His father, John Howe, was a native of Connecticut and previous to his removal from Pennsylvania to New York, in June, 1810, owned in connection with a brother (Seth Howe who is father to our Roxana) four hundred acres of land, where the city of Scranton now stands. The family moved to New York, traveling by means of two ox-teams, the mother riding the entire distance on horseback.

The trip occupied thirteen days, ending in Byron. On the 12th of July, 1810, John Howe moved into the town of Batavia, now East Elba, and during the next seven days built, entire, the first log house in that vicinity, 22x20, and began house-keeping on a farm that cost him $3.50 per acre. His family consisted of eight persons. There was no chimney in the house, simply a hole for the smoke to pass through; and during the winter of 1810 and '11 while the father was absent at work his son Phineas, the deceased, cut and drew fuel for the family and browsed the cattle on the tender tops of the trees which he felled.

His life during the following years was full of the hard experiences incident to frontier life, but Mr. Howe often recalled as pleasant recollections those early days and told of farming on a scale in marked contrast with that of today. Their first crop of wheat covered one acre of ground and yielded thirty bushels. Of this he took the first grist to LeRoy on horseback to have it ground. Later, when the canal was extended to Rochester, they drew their wheat there over the rough wagon tracks through the woods and sold it for five shillings per bushel. During these years wolves were very numerous, frequently killing sheep close by the house.

The home of his father, John Howe, was a frequent stopping place for travelers and was especially a rendezvous for Methodist preachers who came into the neighborhood to hold occasional meetings; the first of these meetings was a result of his efforts. The first' class' was organized under the leadership of Marmaduke Pierce, with Joseph Waller, Seth Howe, John Howe and their wives as members, and for the first two years their preaching services were held in the old log house.

The settlers came from all directions to attend their quarterly meetings, some coming even from Rochester, then a small trading post, till they literally filled the house; twenty-two persons having been lodged there at once. At such times partitions were made by hanging blankets across the room, and the men slept on the floor with bags of grain for pillows while the beds of blankets were left for the women."

The Joseph Waller and Seth Howe mentioned above are our direct ancestors, so I thought that this article provided quite the look at what life ‘on the frontier’ was like. In many ways, it reminds me of the story of Thomas and Mary Taylor in founding the town of Wolcott in Vermont

( Not QUITE like our lives are normally today!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Dirty Girl Mud Run, by Mary Hawkes and Pat Herdeg

After the Run

Leave it to the Aunt Doris’ Hawkes family to find the most fun ways to contribute to a cause!

Mary writes:

“In September, a group of us cousins ran in the Dirty Girl Mud Run to raise money for breast cancer research. We all wore black patches under our eyes with ‘Doris Hawkes’ on them in her memory. It was an absolute riot and can't wait to do it again next year.”

So, now I had to figure out what this terrific mud run was!

The Buffalo mud run—for women only-- is one of sixteen across the country. It is an untimed obstacle course and a five K mud run. It was held at the Kissing Bridge ski slope, where thousands of participants confronted five kilometers of mud and obstacles as rain helped contribute to the muddiness of the event.

Practice Run to Get Ready

A few of the obstacles were: the H2OMG ( a water pit), a fifteen foot tall inflatable wall to get over, netted pits filled with mud that they crawled through ( named PMS or Pretty Muddy Stuff), the ‘get a grip’—a rope climb and a fourteen foot tall cargo net. Wow!

Mary Hawkes and her daughter Krissy and Cindy’s daughter Heather Walker Towlson all emerged VERY muddy!

Mary and Krissy

This sounds like such a great idea and so much fun!

Thanks, Mary, for sending this story and pictures on to us at the cousins blog!
CLEAN--Before the Run!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Taylor Reunion, September 15, 2012 - by Aunt CB and Sue Kinsella

Annie and Kathy--Hostesses of the Grand Event!

Aunt CB says:

It was a beautiful sunny day, cool with a sometimes brisk wind but we were happy. We'd expected rain showers so the weather was very acceptable!

Harold arrived early, Annie, Denny, Kathy and Gordy were ready for company and the tables, chairs and overhead awning were all set. Tablecloths were even held down by elastic cords and set with salt and pepper shakers as well as laid with grand pre-dinner snacks. Didn't take long after noon for the cars to begin rolling in.

Who was there? It's almost easier to count who wasn't there. Ruth would have been so proud, 3 of her 4 boys made it. Arnon, well, faithful Nancy was unable to make it this year, her van is too unreliable. Esther, I'm sure, would have blushed with joy, all of her boys came, leaving Julie to cry in Colorado! From Doris's Hawkes clan, only Charlie and Mary were able to make the long distance.

The Lochner Clan

Of course, CB's bunch, tempted by a grand meal and superior company, arrived in force! Pat was kept home by a virus and Beth by the Pacific Ocean. Tom, who often travels the farthest to get here, was bested by Sue and son Alex, who flew from California via Canada, purposely for the cousins reunion. That's 6 of the 8!

Of course, Kathy and Annie, the hostesses, were awaiting the bunch, having accomplished, already, a plethora of work and were still to add to it throughout the day.

As each car arrived, any with youngsters were emptied immediately (ever taken the top off a shaken bottle of pop?) and all fled to the field on the far side of the cottage where, conveniently, a picnic table with benches resides under a tall easily-climbed tree. Behind the cottage, between it and the shed, stands a temporary Port-a-Potty, a shield for the septic system. Really, the cottage is wonderfully prepared for the onslaught. Even Gordy's games, a ring toss and bean bag throw, ever popular, were set up and in use at our arrival.

The Grand PooBah, Uncle Harold

The very young group rather gravitated from mother and father to grandparents. Olivia Rook and Leah Walker (Annie's and Tim Kinsella's grandchildren, 2 years old) were still getting to know one another but it was fun to watch their tentative hugs! The high school/college group gathered to discuss shop, even though some had just started school.

Food? Glory be! Always more than needed. This year was a bit different, only scads of hot dishes until Jen arrived with deviled eggs and Liz brought her fruit salad. As for desserts, the usual pies, cookies, candy bits, veggie chips, with plenty for all.

Pre- and post-meal, the usual is to float from group to group. (After the meal, one staggers!) It is so good to get caught up on everyone's activities. As the afternoon began to come to a close, Rick Lochner brought out his "box of tricks" (firecrackers and fireworks) and all were treated to a rousing display.

The Kinsella Clan
Aunt CB

Sue says:

It was wonderful to see everyone at the Reunion! As each car pulled up, it was like a new Christmas present to see who would get out next.

The Taylors were all at the cottage on Cayuga Lake, waiting for the crowd. Uncle Harold was talking with Denny Catherman while Annie and Kathy were inside putting finishing touches on the arrangements. Jessica and Eric Rook were running after their two-year-old, Olivia, helped by their friend Brittany, while Gordy Mills was hauling big, beautiful tomatoes from his garden out of his truck.

Aunt CB, Uncle Jack, Alex and I were among the first to arrive, but right behind us were Jim and Jill Kinsella with their kids, Maddy and Kelly. The girls immediately ran off with Abigail Hauf (Kathy's granddaughter) to climb the tree.

David Lochner arrived with his new love, Anna. She was courageous to brave such a big crowd where she knew almost no one but she fit right in. He said they go to the gym often to do water exercises, including Zumba. I can't keep up with that on land; I know that David is an avid dancer, but I'm trying to imagine him doing frenetic water dances! He also told me that he's working on a 24,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that so far has taken 6 years.

The Taylors

The Maneys
 Tim and Rose Kinsella arrived, and soon after that, their daughter Kristin with her husband Tim Walker and kids Leah and Cameron. Kristin had just flown in late the night before from a business trip to Seattle. Two-year-old Leah was adorable, hanging around with Olivia. The two of them played bean bag toss with much older competitors, then hugged each other.

Soon Leah pulled her grandpa, Tim Kinsella, over to the dollhouse. Tim started to tell her a story about Cinderella, sweeping up the coals from the fireplace. Then Leah spun the dollhouse scene to its other side, with Cinderella dressed for the ball, and Tim quickly adapted his story. She was enthralled with the dollhouse, which was exactly Jim and Jill's plan. They were determined to pass it on, and soon it was ensconced in the Walker car.

Kathy showed me photos of fabulous woodworking that Gordy had done. She said she's getting exercise, too, although different from Dave Lochner. Her building's elevator has just been shut down for several weeks, so she's building up her stamina to climb several flights of stairs every day. Once she gets up to her office, she makes sure not to have to come down until she can go home!

Uncle Harold held court at one of the picnic tables, along with Uncle Jack. They have been through so many life stories together, both adventures and crises, starting around 65 years ago when both were in Texas. Uncle Harold was in the Army there when Uncle Jack took a break from studies at the University of Texas to go meet his girlfriend's little brother.

Mary and Charlie Hawkes

At the Reunion, everyone took turns going to sit and talk with Uncle Harold. There was no way that Aunt CB, however, was going to sit still. She was constantly on the move, helping Annie and Kathy get the food ready, reading kids' books to her great-granddaughter Leah, giving hugs to anybody available, and bartering empty canning jelly jars for fresh tomatoes from Kathy and Gordy.

Chuck Lochner arrived with brother Ted from Massachusetts. Wow, did Ted look great! He said he's lost over 100 pounds and he had shaved off his beard. He was so handsome! I was so impressed with his courage, dedication and hard work to accomplish that, and he said he's really enjoying inspiring others with his example now. Chuck joined the paparazzi in trying to get a photograph of everyone there, for all our benefit.

Rick Lochner arrived and his daughter, Sara, ran off to join the other kids. Soon Chris and Jen Kinsella drove up and their girls, Maggie and Bridget, joined the younger crowd. Bridget toted her collection of multi-colored rolls of duct tape and when I checked in with the kids later, I was knocked out by their creativity.

They had made headbands and attached an oval leaf from a nearby plant above their forehead so that the girls looked like flappers or, alternatively, Pocahontas. They had also found another plant with hard round stems that they broke off and used for "fingernails" held on by elaborate kinds of duct tape "gloves" on their hands.

Meanwhile, Cameron was delighted to find Bridget and Maggie's brothers, Patrick and Joe, and the three boys wrestled their hellos all over the lawn.

The next car drove up and out stepped Michael and Lorraine Maney. I hadn't seen Michael for way, way too many years and it was great to talk with him. Lorraine proudly showed me pictures of their newest grandson, Evander Michael.

Soon Michael's brother, Richard, arrived with his wife Debbie, and their three great daughters, Marlene, Kathleen, and Colleen. Right away, Lorraine dealt out cards to them for a wicked euchre game. Kathleen was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Wizard Needs Hug Badly," and when I complied, I got back one of the best hugs ever.

Dennis, Ted and Chuck
Dan Kinsella arrived with his wife, Liz Lehmann, and soon after, Charlie and Mary Hawkes drove up, wearing matching Hawkes t-shirts. By then, we had formed a conga line into the kitchen to fill up plates of favorite foods, so they all joined in, as well. There were two kinds of meatballs, Aunt CB's baked beans, four dozen of Jen's deviled eggs, Dan and Liz's fruit salad, pasta salads, Kathy's fried cabbage, chili, and lots more.

Jeff Hauf and his wife, Carol, arrived just in time for dinner, along with their son Jonah, who was coming from his soccer game. My brother Tom pulled up and settled in at Uncle Harold's table. Lots of guffaws emanated from there; Uncle Harold is always in the midst of stories that result in unforgettably funny lines.

After dinner, roving conversations continued, with everyone trying to get some time with each relative. The ring toss and bean bag throw games were revived with great enthusiasm. A bunch of cousins settled in to a debate about whether college is really worth it, given the huge debts with which so many students are graduating. I think there were at least six different equally impassioned points of view. Mary Hawkes passed around pictures of the "mud-run" against breast cancer that she did in honor of Aunt Doris.

Jon Maney arrived late but dressed elegantly after overseeing a wedding at Hyde Hall, the great English mansion museum he directs near Cooperstown. Yet, in the midst of telling us great stories about his work there, he laughingly cooperated when I veered him off to demonstrate the great Maney talent he shares with his brother Richard - unbelievably bendable thumbs that almost oppose those opposables!

It was so great to see so many cousins! I hadn't been to a Taylor Reunion in way too many years. We missed all the others who hadn't been able to get there - Nancy, Julie, Cindy, Diana, Carole Ann, Pat, Beth, Steve and Mick Hawkes, Danny Maney (who I learned has just retired as a Colonel in the Army!), George, Mary Lou and Judy - oops, did I miss anybody? Well, we all missed you all!

Uncle Jack and Uncle Harold
You can count on Rick Lochner to wind up the evening on a high note. This time, he neglected to bring his potato cannon but he had firecrackers and then beautiful fireworks. As cars of families started leaving, I wished that we could have more time together. I had just scratched the surface with everybody's stories and there was still so much to catch up on! But it was a grand Reunion. We're so fortunate to have this time to get together. Thank you, Uncle Harold, Kathy and Annie and your families for all the work that you put into hosting the Reunion and keeping our Taylor family together!

On an editorial note, There are MORE Pictures of this reunion. Just look over to your right and click on the 'Taylor Reunion 2012' link. Also, many of you should have received Chuck Lochner's email about extra pictures from this reunion. If you did not, and want to see more, email me (or Chuck) and I will send you his pointer email. He took terrific ones! Pat at

Monday, September 17, 2012

Update on Brandy Kapp and Josh Hart-Wood’s Family, by Brandy Kapp

Here are pictures of Emma Hart-Wood on her first day of school. Little brother Adin is there to watch her go:

Adin Hart-Wood giving Emma kiss before she leaves for her first day of school

The night before the first day of school Emma didn't want to go to bed early.  She was upset and yelling out of her bedroom, "I'm not ready for this."  I reassured her that she would be fine and would be learning and making new friends.  The next morning when I woke her up she kept saying for two hours,  " I need to get dressed, my bus is on its way. Is my bus here ?  When’s my bus coming?"  She was so excited! Little brother kissed her good-bye and she was on her way to her very first day of school! Adin and Mommy didn't know what to do with our alone time together. We adjusted well. Mommy was a little upset because Emma's growing up so fast! But, I kept reassuring myself that Daddy's her guardian angel and watching down from heaven taking care of her. We are truly blessed ... Missing Josh ( Daddy) but, knowing he’s with us in spirit!


Adin, Daddy's little Mini-Me

Autumn's just about here and Emma and Adin have two BIG pumpkins that they are excited to sit on!! God Bless to all. I hope everyone is doing well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Taylor Reunions By Aunt CB

As the Taylor Reunion is almost upon us, I had Mom write up a history of the Taylor Reunions. Carol Taylor Hart contributed this picture from the 1989 Reunion:

The Reunions first started after Mom died in 1970. Daddy had died in 1969. Arnon and Harold were executors of the will. During the summer and fall after she died we all got together several times to sort through stuff. We each took an area home to sort and share. Ruth took family pictures and I took newspaper clippings. (I made up copies of all clips for each of us. Most were health columns.) Some years later we met at 2846 St. Paul for the weekend and divided family pictures. (Jack made doubles for those wanting same).

September, 1970, near the date Mom and Daddy were married, (Sept. 30, 1915) we had an overnight weekend at Arnon’s. We all camped in his back yard. This was the first partial dispersal of estate money and was the first of the Taylor reunions. This was also where the famous story of Harold’s heart covered underwear comes from:

They were covered with lively red hearts and absolutely enthralled us all! We were standing in Arnon’s kitchen, looking out the window which overlooked his backyard where several of us had camped in tents and trailers. Ruth, Esther and I were trying to get our eyes open after a late night. Arnon and Maria were there, working on coffee I think. It was early and the sun promised us a lovely day. Like automatons we stood in a row before the window when suddenly, to our amazement, from one tent, out popped Harold, ready to greet the morning. Secure in the knowledge that trees screened him from the cars passing on the thruway just behind Arnon’s house, he stepped behind his tent to water the grass—but not before we’d all seen his attire! Beautiful red hearts on white underwear! Our hoots can still be heard!

We decided to have a reunion at one another’s homes every year on the fourth Saturday of September. We had one at Harold’s, Esther’s, Doris’, CB’s and another at Arnon’s place in Old Forge, NY. Ruth’s home was not amendable to having one.

We then decided to have one at Cayuga Lake State Park, same weekend. We’d rent cabins to accommodate all, stay Friday and Saturday nights and leave Sunday A.M. (had to rent for two nights at a time.) This worked for a few years. Barb and I would go early on Friday afternoon, get all the keys, and set up the cabins. We had to bring bedding, pillows, etc. and all cooking stuff plus food and paper needs. We each paid for our cabins and passed the hat to cover other needs.

This finally got to be too hard, too expensive, (cabin prices increased each year) so we changed the location to Harold’s cottage on Cayuga Lake. This worked better but the fourth Saturday seemed to have the worst weather of the month, usually cold or rainy. So, we changed it to the third Saturday in September. This has not always provided better weather but we’ve continued on this date.

Notices are sent out to each child of Lloyd and Ethel Taylor, plus their grandchildren. Their grandchildren are responsible for informing their families. All are welcome and expected to bring a dish to share.

The last five or six years Harold has rented a “Port-a-Potty” so as not to overload the septic system at the cottage. This, too, has inspired a story!

This was probably the first reunion that Harold had rented the “Port-a-Potty.” There it stood, in all its glory, just behind the cottage and adjacent to the parking. Barbara, the Queen of the event, was, as usual, beautifully dressed and awaiting arrivals. She was wearing her full complement of rings on her fingers which she dearly loved. Responding to the call of nature, she decided to try this new “potty.” Suddenly a piercing cry shattered the air, “My ring!” and the door swung open, Barb burst out, crying, “My ring! It fell in” She had lost much weight and her fingers had grown thinner, allowing the ring to fall off her finger and tumble into the “stew!”

Not to worry, Harold saved the day! He reached into the “pot” and felt around until he located the ring. His only comment, “Lucky it was early in the day!”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rexford Taylor By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

We have lost a Taylor Treasure! He is the first cousin of the children of Lloyd, since his father was Floyd, Lloyd’s twin. Aunt CB is up in Canada (or she would be writing), but I wanted to get this on the blog since this Sunday is the Memorial Service for Rex in Ohio. Rex Taylor has been featured in our cousins blog several times.

At this link, his wedding to Dene Chadwick is remembered by Eve Taylor:

And at this link, Eve Taylor writes of their 70th wedding anniversary party:

He and Dene had their 71st wedding anniversary this past August.

Rex and Dene, 70th Anniversary

Here is the obituary for Rex from the local paper:

“TAYLOR REXFORD F. TAYLOR, age 93 of Chagrin Falls, died Aug. 21, 2012; son of D. Floyd and Goldie (nee Calkins)(both deceased); husband of Dene (nee Chadwick); father of Barry (Cathy) and Barbara Salenbien both of Michigan; grandfather of four, great-grandfather of three; brother of the late Bryant C. Taylor. US Army Veteran of WWII.

Memorial donations suggested to the Arthritis Foundation , the Alzheimer's Cleveland Chapel or to the Federated Church. Memorial service Sunday, Sept. 9th, 3 p.m. at the Federated Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio.”

Our hearts go out to Dene, Barry and Barbara, and their children.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crazy Nights By Various Kinsellas

‘Crazy Night’ was born back in the late 1950’s. Mom (Aunt CB) decided that there were too many ‘no’s in a child’s world and she was tired of always being the disciplinarian! Thus, an occasional night when the rules were relaxed.

• Eat anything you want

• Sleep anywhere you wish

• Stay up as long as you desire

The Kinsella Kids, with only Chris missing. Surely these angels would not be problem to babysit?!

It was a given that you had to stay in the house and it could not be held on a school night.

Mom had no idea how inventive her children were! The area of wonder which most captured them was the sleep one. They tried the bath tub, the stair landing, underneath the dining room table, the cellar clothes chute, the attic closet and tried to find enough space behind the linen closet drawers but one couldn’t really lie down there.

Food was no challenge--they’d always dreamt up crazy combinations for sandwiches.

Staying up late wasn’t a challenge—they’d start a game of monopoly and time stood still.

It wasn’t long before ‘Crazy Night’ became the most popular night in the neighborhood. Everyone wanted to be invited. One had to be restrictive, though, because arguing, fighting, any disturbance of that sort and the whole freedom was rescinded. Another factor was Mom’s ability to ‘hang in’ through it! These only occurred every two to three months.

There were some famous ones, though. Tops went to the night the kids talked Aunt Florence, who was baby sitting, into allowing one. Great stamina and sacrifice were needed to last to the end and it never occurred to Florence that she couldn’t outlast these kids! The fact remains that she finally called it quits early in the morning and paid them to go to bed!

It was a marvelous idea, served as a very popular behavior boost and probably took a few years off of their parents’ lives. The proof of the pudding though will be shown by how many ‘Crazy Night’s’ these kids, now grown up, allow their own children!

And, now the Kinsella Children Weigh In:

Jim starts us off:

I honestly don't remember that many specific incidents from Crazy Night too well and I think it's partly because I was young (Chris and I didn't have these as we grew older) and partly because I still do it with my kids so these memories replace my own.

I remember wanting to sleep in the tub and trying it out but finding it was too uncomfortable so giving up on it after about ten minutes. One year I slept on the stairs on some boards I laid against them. When I actually fell asleep I fell to the bottom of the boards and actually slept at the foot of the stairs but it sounded WAY better to say I slept on the stairs. I remember many times making my own meal with Tom and Beth but this could be blending with the times we did it but they weren't specifically Crazy Nights. I do still recall the excitement of a Crazy Night however.

Because of this excitement, I decided we had to do it with our kids. I don't remember exactly when we started but Kelly was old enough to talk. After the first time we did it, Kelly asked if we could do it next weekend also. That's when we came up with the compromise that we would do it twice a year. Once during the winter and once over the summer (we do it on breaks so the kids can stay up late).

If you're interested, here are my family rules for Crazy Night:

1) Starts at dinner time (usually 5pm)

2) Kids make their own meal. In fact, since the main goal of Crazy Night is for the adults to have no work, the kids can't bug the adults for ANYTHING (e.g. "Can you make this?", "Can you get this?" etc. The proper response from an adult is "NO." If we CHOOSE to do something, like play a game with them, or even make a special dessert, that's legal however)

3) Kids can eat anything (as long as it's safe) and watch anything (as long as it's safe) they want that night

4) NO guests. This is a special night for our family only.

5) Kids can sleep anywhere they want (it's encouraged that crazy spots be chosen) and stay up as late as they want. Jill works it that by midnight they are encouraged to go to bed if they haven't already...she reasons that Crazy Night ends at midnight and now we're going into the next day.

Pat’s memories next:

For me, I do not remember that we could bring friends for the night.

I DO remember the Aunt Florence night. Someone will no doubt remember it in more detail, but I think she began with nickels and quarters and we finally agreed when she got out the dollar bills.

HOWEVER, and perhaps Mom never heard, I remember quite plainly that Beth and I (and maybe Tom) waited behind our bedroom door for a time, pretending to go to sleep (after all, we HAD been paid). Then, we opened our door and stepping OVER the sleeping Aunt Florence (trying to stand guard outside of our door), continued on with our Crazy Night! (poor Aunt Florence--as Mom said, she was almost the only person who would ever agree to give Mom a break and babysit us).

Beth continues:

I remembered sleeping under the dining room table (probably fun because more than one could do so, so you were there with others and gabbing and laughing until you fell asleep). But I also remembered one year we must have done it shortly after Christmas because I slept in one of my favorite gifts ever: you had gotten me a small cardboard house. I say small, but it was probably big enough for the child I was to stand up in. It was nothing elaborate inside, but the outside was painted to look like a real house and it had windows you could look out of and a door to go through. I loved it! But I imagine since it was cardboard it did not last too long.

Sue writes:

After a while, we seemed to develop a ritual. If it was cold out, Mom would build a fire in the fireplace and then sit on the sofa and start peeling apples. We would gather around so she could give us apple slices.

Crazy Night was not complete without peanut butter fudge. As I got older, Mom left the fudge cooking to me, which was probably a mistake because I still don't understand what "cook until it comes to a soft boil" means. Which is probably why we (as well as later, Alex) ate so much of it with spoons.

I remember trying out both sleeping in the bathtub and under the dining room table, but neither was very comfortable and I didn't last the whole night there.

I remember hours-long Risk games on the dining room table.

I don't think I ever had a formal "Crazy Night" with Alex, but then we didn't need one. Both of us are such night-owls that most nights probably qualified as crazy nights. Well, except the eating anything you want – we usually ate much healthier than that.

Tim’s memories:

It's funny that I have so many fond memories of crazy night in general but I have very few specific ones. I do remember Aunt Florence being over for the famous night that she paid us to go to sleep. I also remember trying out the bathtub as a bed but deciding very quickly that is wasn't going to work.

Tom continues:

I remember the Crazy Night with Aunt Florence, and although I don't remember her attempting to pay us off, I do seem to remember that you and Beth and I opened our door (the back bedroom toward the Kessler's) and stepped over her sleeping form to continue the fun.

I once tried to sleep on the steps -- vertically. I brought a pillow and blanket and tried to find some comfortable position with my feet first toward the downstairs hall and then when that didn't work, my head. But no position was comfortable. I was old enough to no longer fit length-wise on a step, and I guess the landing was boring, so I went elsewhere.

Once I remember sleeping under the dining room table. Not much of note; the carpeted floor was comfortable enough.

I remember that Dan slept in the bathtub once, so on one of the later Crazy Nights, I did that, too. At least for a while.

I think the best part of Crazy Nights was the anticipation. It was very fun in the middle of it, that's true, but looking forward to the next one, asking Mom & Dad (or Auntie Flo) to let us have another night without rules, that was the best part now that I think back on it.

As I read these memories, I realize that once again, Mom and Dad were providing their kids with stories they could share and talk about all their lives. ‘Crazy Nights’ were such special times for all of us 2846 Kinsellas, as were the ‘Reading Fifty Books’ and ‘Art History Contests’. Aunt Florence WAS the only brave babysitter to take our large family on, but notice she is immortalized in the telling of Crazy Nights.

Thank you Aunt Florence, Mom and Dad—Love you all!