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!