Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ethel Baker Taylor Turns 125--Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Nancy Ethel Baker was born on July 30th, 1887 in Center Lisle, NY. So, the end of July brings her 125th birthday-Happy Birthday!

The daughter of Kate Youngs and Byron Baker, Ethel was the oldest of the children who lived. Adin was two years younger, than Ruth (born four years later with a heart condition that would take her thirteen years later) and baby Lillian (born five years later).

Five years ago, her daughter Lucille (aka Aunt CB) wrote up a story for her birthday that year. You can find it at:

Now, Aunt CB shares a few more thoughts of her mother:

Kate, Ethel, Lillian

“We have written before of Ruth’s death, which when Mom recounted it would always end up with copious tears. But I have often thought—Mom was only seventeen when she held her sister in her arms as she died—what a maturing experience! No wonder she was always so level-headed and unflappable.

We may also have written this up, but my older sister Ruth told me that Mom told her of a visit to a fortune teller in her teaching days ( 1906-1914). Upon folding out her cards, the fortune teller looked up and said “You have someone ‘up there’ looking out for you!” Mom said “Yes, it’s my sister.”

And the years raising children! She may have moved around the area between children, but she somehow managed to always have the same doctor deliver her babies and the same baby nurse. Mrs. Barber came for at least a week or two afterwards. In fact, when Harold was born, in South Byron, Mrs. Barber lived just down the street and we used to walk to visit her, I’ve been told.

When Arnon, her second child, was born, apparently her labor was much shorter and easier than the first because at one point, she dashed into the bathroom, thinking a need—and poor Arnon was almost delivered into the toilet!

When Doris was born, September 11th, 1924, she had canned fourteen quarts of corn. Having fed her father-in-law and sister-in-law ( B.W. Taylor and Aunt Clara), they helped her to strip the husks off and cut the kernels off to be placed in jars and boiled in a canner. Then she laid down in her bed and produced another daughter.

Lil, Ethel

In later, more quiet years, the picture I see in my mind when she and Aunt Lil got together, is of the two of them, usually up at the farm when Lil was then sleeping in Adin’s room off the kitchen, lying on the bed, resting, mouths going a mile a minute! All the children, then grandchildren, were brought forth of be discussed, then the neighbors—hardly ever time to get to the world events for ‘past years’ and relatives all needed to be remembered.

Nancy Ethel Baker Taylor was one in a million. We were very lucky to be her children. She prepared us well for life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stockings, By Eve Taylor

You remember Eve Laufer Taylor, married to Aunt CB's first cousin, Bryant Taylor? She has written many of our stories here on the cousins blog. This is a piece she wrote to include in the Batavia Court House Time Capsule sealed in 1997. Thank you, Eve!!

The first stockings that I was really aware of in my life were the long cotton ones that were worn over long underwear. It is probably the long underwear that I recall most vividly, as it was so hard to get the stockings pulled up smoothly over them. First of all, you had to fold the bottom of the underwear leg over at the ankle and try to hold it in place while you laboriously pulled up the stocking. Nine times out of ten the underwear ended up somewhere between the ankle and the knee. After a couple of restarts, you just gave up and let it end where it would.

As freshmen in high school, the girls began to wear silk stockings. When I asked my mom if I could start wearing them, she said that I had to learn how to darn them, as that would be my responsibility. I willingly learned that task, and we went to the 5-and-10 cent store to buy my first pair. The stockings were actually made of rayon, and there was no choice of color in the price range of 25 cents. It was gunmetal gray, and they were so heavy that they had an iridescent cast in certain light.

Later, at least for dress occasions, a wonderful style came on the fashion scene. These were flesh-colored sheer silk with black or navy blue heels, toes, and seams. Nowadays, we would say they were “sexy,” but that word was not used in the 1930s. You could think it, but not say it! The seams of your stockings had to be straight, and if they weren’t, someone would soon tell you.

These finer more fragile stockings would run more easily. If I got a run and couldn’t change, my strategy when someone said, “You have a run,” was to always act surprised and look on the other leg first. Runs were always mended, and the stockings worn, for it was unheard of to throw anything away that could be fixed. This was a universal rule coming out of the Great Depression.

What a revolutionary thing was the introduction of stockings made from DuPont nylon in 1940! These were so sheer, and the feet never got holes. However, if a run did start, it went all the way and fast! If you got it in time, a little clear nail polish would buy you time. The department stores would mend them for a fee, or you could buy a special tool to pick up the threads. This was a really slow process.

Almost as soon as nylons appeared, they were off the market because of World War II. Nylon went to making parachutes. However, a few were made or left over, and the soldiers got them and bartered them in the war areas. They were a popular item on the Black Market.

During the war, with no nylons, we resorted to “liquid stockings” in the summer. It was like foundation make-up is today. You bought a bottle in the shade you liked and “painted” your legs. One problem was that you really had to wash them off before getting into bed, or your sheets would be a mess. Also if it got hot and you perspired, they would run in rivulets down your legs.

Right after the war, and for many years after, I sent away to a mail-order house for real silk stockings. They were much less expensive than in stores and very fine quality. They had sizes then, not “one size fits all” like they have now; they also came in different lengths. I wore size 9, short.

The final revolutionary invention was that of the pantyhose. I held off on this one for quite a while, but finally bought a pair when No Nonsense Hose came on the market. I guess I was not onto the sizing, for the evening that I first wore them, they kept slipping down. We had been invited to a going-away party, and our neighborhood friends all came. When we were all sitting around, I mentioned to my neighbor the trouble I was having, and she said she was experiencing the same thing. It was consoling to know I was not alone.

Everything seemed under control until our hostess stirred us up, and we started playing active games in the kitchen ---games like passing the orange and other innovative relays! Fortunately, there was a room off the kitchen, and whenever we could, we slipped out there, gave a hearty pull and rejoined the group. I wonder what they thought we were doing?

And now my question is: In this year of 2197, when you are opening this Time Capsule, what are you wearing for stockings? I am venturing to offer, with a real stretch of the imagination, a prediction: You, too, are “painting” on your stockings with a super spray that you have developed which comes in all colors, insulates you from cold or heat, and screens out all the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun.

I have briefly described the evolution of stockings in my life so far (1922-1997). Only you can fill in the next 200 years!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On the 46-er Trek—Another Adirondack Peak Hike By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Tim, Glenn, Jim, Rick, Tom

In an earlier story on the blog, we told you about my brother Tim’s winter hike of Mt. Dix in the Adirondacks (

Tim is on a quest to climb all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks—He writes: “In the 1920's these 46 peaks were thought to be all over 4000' and thus the 46er designation was started. It was later determined that 4 of them are under 4000' feet and a few other different mountains were over 4000' feet but the original list was kept. To date there have been a little over 7300 people who have climbed all 46 and are thus are true 46ers. One interesting note is a person who climbed all the high peaks in Colorado (over 14000') came east to do the 46ers and found them much harder as they were much more remote and thus required much longer hikes to make it to the peak.”

Saturday June 23rd, Tim took another group of hikers with him up Big Slide Mountain, his 19th peak. Accompanying Tim were his brothers Tom and Jim, my husband Glenn, and my cousin Rick Lochner.

 Daring Jimmy

 Crazy Hikers--Jim and Rick

Tom on a log ladder

 What a view!

We stayed at an old inn in Keene Valley, NY and very early (5AM) the boys were up and on their way to the start of the hike ( I said goodbye and turned over in bed). Although they heard lightning and thunder, it did not rain on them until the last few minutes of the hike—they were lucky, in town, it rained very hard for almost 45 minutes.

We’ll keep you up to date on Tim’s progress, but here are some pictures to go with this accomplishment.

Rick, Tom, Glenn and Jim

Sustenance the night before--Jim, Rick, Tom, Tim

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Birthdays 2012, By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

We’re going to start out the Birthdays for July with a HUGE shoutout to one of our favorite Birthday Girls-- Nancy Ethel Baker Taylor. Happy Birthday, Grandma! You would have been 125 years old the end of July. You are remembered in so many large and small ways—we love you!
Grandma Taylor, Also known as Ethel Baker Taylor

Elsewhere in the TaylorBaker family:

In Uncle Arnon’s family, Jack Lloyd Taylor (Arnon’s son), Carol Ann Taylor ( Arnon’s daughter), and Jillian Lockwood Wright (Stephen's daughter, granddaughter of Nancy Taylor Wright) all have July Birthdays.

 Jack Taylor, June 1994

Carol Ann Taylor Hart

Jillian Wright

Still in Uncle Arnon’s family tree--July seems to be THE Birthday Month for descendants of Robert—Bob—Taylor (who was the son of Arnon)--Three of his four children-- Robert "Robbie" Henry Taylor, Jennifer  Elizabeth Taylor, and  Barbara Ann Taylor (we'll celebrate his son Curtis' birthday in October),  and Tessa Anne Taylor, daughter of Jennifer Taylor, grand-daughter of Bob Taylor, blow out candles this month.
Bob Taylor, 1968
 Chris, Bella, Barb, Jacob and Judy
 Jen and Rob

Back Row--Barb, Jacob, Curtis
Front Row--Rob, Casey, Jenn, Krista, Tessa

Back Row--Judy, Casey, Rob
Front Row--Jacob, Barb, Chris Wood (Barb's husband)

In Aunt Leona’s family, Leona’s husband--Neil Carmen Maffei and their grandson Daniel Maffei have July Birthdays. We’ll be thinking of Dan this November as he tries to take back his NY 24th Congressional Seat in the US Congress.
Neil and Leona, 1977

Dan Maffei

In Aunt CB’s family, Kristin Kinsella Walker (Tim’s daughter), Patrick James Kinsella ( Chris’ son), and Chris’ wife-- Jeanette Dalle Kinsella, Alison Kate Herdeg ( Pat’s daughter), Jill Miller Kinsella ( Jim’s wife) all are July Birthday Kids.
 Jill Miller Kinsella and Jen Dalle Kinsella

 Kristin Kinsella Walker

Alison Kate Herdeg

Patrick, Bridget and Joe Kinsella

In Uncle Harold’s family,  MaryLou Taylor Spear ( Uncle Harold’s daughter), and Jeffrey Aaron Hauf ( Kathy Taylor’s son) were born this month.

On the Taylor side, Barry Ronald Taylor ( son of Rex, son of Floyd and so grand-nephew of Lloyd Taylor), is the Birthday Boy.

Carol and Jeff Hauf

Mary Lou and Uncle Harold

In Aunt Ruth’s family, her husband Thomas Francis Maney and her son Daniel Thomas Maney both are July Boys.
 Uncle Tom and Aunt Ruth

Karen and Dan Maney, 2011

In Aunt Gladys’ family, Gladys’ husband, Lester Wood, Lester Harry ‘Chic’ Wood, and Neal Robert Osterhout ( husband of Wendy Wood) blow out candles.
In Aunt Sylva’s family, Cookie Jenkins ( daughter of Christine, daughter of Sylva) is the Birthday Girl.

In Aunt Phyllis’ family, Helen Nase McPeek ( Phyllis’ daughter) has a July Birthday.

Lester Wood

 Neal Osterhout
Grandpa Chic and Emma Hart-Wood

Wow! What a lot of fun we TaylorBakers have to look forward to this month--Congratulations and Happy Birthday to all!