Sunday, January 8, 2012
Memories of Ruth Taylor Maney By Aunt CB
Some many years ago we were visiting daddy’s cousin who lived in Springville, N.Y. (where he was born.) She was the daughter of his Aunt Anna Carson Spencer, Helen Spencer Weber. She had married but had only one adopted daughter, so she was eager to pass along to a blood relative all of the voluminous genealogy she had spent years collecting. I was as eager to accept it as she was to give it, as with Mom and Daddy gone, I knew little of the Livingstons and I did not have any of Emma’s journals at that time.
Helen had tried to keep track of all of her grandmother’s siblings (her grandmother was Jane Livingston who had left N. Ireland in 1854, come to the USA and eventually married William Carson in Geneseo.) Jane was the oldest of 11 children so Helen had some job.
She had no idea how to keep track of everyone, so she went to her butcher and asked him for a few feet of his wrapping paper. This is what she spread out on her dining room table and under the heading of each of the eleven siblings she kept track of birthdays, weddings, babies and deaths through the years. Now she was ready to pass it along and luckily, I was there!
The butcher paper, all six feet or so of it, then spent some time in my drawer, as I was busy raising a family. However, whenever I could steal a half day away I’d head to Geneva, bringing the roll with me, and Ruth, having made sandwiches to save time, would help me to decipher the tiny crabbed writing and dates!
We’d spread it all out on her living room floor, (she had two adjoining rooms so we were lucky!) and take turns, one of us carefully crawling around on the paper on the floor, trying to read the dates and writing, the other one writing down on a tablet what the first one said. It was hard on the eyes (Helen scribbled some names) and harder on the knees but we’d persist, and after 3 or 4 times of this we’d finally achieved success!
We had names, dates, and at least one address to write to which eventually, after several years, led us to cousins in Scotland that we never knew we had. In 1973, when I went to Scotland, I did not have this information, but by the time Beth went there, years later, she was able to meet one of these cousins and made friends!
I do correspond with two of them and enjoy their letters but the real joy is the memory of Ruth and me, rolling around on her floor, exhausted after two or three hours of trying to connect the correct names with the proper dates, and going crazy over nothing and just laughing ourselves silly! There were few times in our grown up lives when we were free to do this and when we did get together we made the most of it.
I miss her!