Saturday, February 23, 2013

Kate Youngs –In Love AND Hip! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Kate Youngs, Age 21--1885

Kate Permelia Youngs is my great grandmother, mother of Ethel, Adin, Lillian and Ruth Baker. Thanks to Laurel Wood Decker, we have copies of Kate Youngs’ diaries for the years of 1884 and 1885.

On September 6th, 1885, a twenty-one year old Kate married Byron Baker (who was age twenty-six at the time), so I was anxious to read her diaries and see how the romance progressed.

By January of 1884, Kate had lost her only sister Rosena just six months before. Sometime in 1884, Byron’s first wife, Tina Smith Baker died. While I hoped Kate’s diary would mention an exact date for this death, it did not (as far as I know, we do not have an exact date for Tina’s death).

Early in the winter and spring months of 1884, Kate and her brother Ed go to many parties, often staying out until three or four in the morning. All through the many months of 1884, I waited to hear of Byron, slowly reading the very faint and penciled passages of Kate’s diary—no mention of Byron, but plenty with initials of possible suitors. Many parties, many ‘a riding’ in the cutter during the snowy months.

Then, in December of 1884 (and knowing that Kate would marry Byron nine months later), I read:

Friday December 12th: Ed and I went up to Marline’s Party with the cutter. I had a boss time. Made quite a mash on B.B. (Editor—B.B. is Byron Baker). Danced every set with him. Carried On. We both ate off from one plate. Played Euchre together. Got home about 4 o’clock.

Age 26

Okay, it IS difficult to read Kate’s writing as it is in fading pencil, but it DOES look like a ‘boss time’. I thought that CANNOT be—too modern a saying; I am always bamboozled by what my youngest child (at age 21) is coming out with (‘jenky’ is slang for cool???). But, when I googled ‘boss’ and slang, I found this --According to the New York Times crossword puzzle, “Boss” can be a slang term meaning ‘excellent, terrific’. The New York Times page continued: “This usage has been around a long time, first recorded in the 1880s. This use of ‘boss’ fell out of fashion for decades until it was revived in the 1950s in teen and jazz circles.” Wow! Who knew my great grandmother was such a hip woman!

Also, from Victorian slang online, they say that in about 1880, ‘to mash on’ was sort of equivalent to having a ‘crush’ on someone. ‘Crush’ won out, but as Kate Youngs’ diary shows, it WAS used in her day!

Back to the diary—

Sunday, December 28th, 1884: “Ed, Em and I got ready to go to evening meeting. Byron B. came and took me away with him so Ed and Em went on. B and I went a riding all over, called to Maldens and had a gay old time all around. I got home at 11 o’clock and I had fun by the bushel.”

In the 1885 diary,

Sunday February 8th, 1885: “Byron came and took me a riding. We had a jolly old time.”

Over the winter and spring, Byron took her ‘a riding’ many times, sometimes getting home in the 3 to 4 o’clock time frame. In her diaries, where others were just initials, B.B. of mid-December’s diary passage progressed to always ‘Byron’ in her diary.

On March 15th, at her grandfather Abram Youngs' funeral, Kate writes of C.I.D. and how he is so pleased to see her (he figures into her diary many times, but JUST as initials). He "was so pleased to see me and tried to buzz around me but I was rather cold towards him." Our girl had already made up her mind for Byron, I am thinking!

I waited to see when she would write about her upcoming marriage, but found nothing but mostly empty pages all summer. Then, on the actual date:

September 6th, 1885: “Byron came and got me and we went to Union and were married by Rev. ?? (OH those hard to read penciled writings!) Late coming home and took supper. Went to Evening Meeting and then to his father’s.”

Aunt CB (Yes, Mom to me…) tells me that in those days, weddings were usually at the minister’s home and very matter-of-fact. It sure sounds like that from reading Kate’s diary! The rest of her 1885 diary? Empty!

Well, while we do not know her emotions about her wedding day, we DO know that she was ‘boss’ and ‘mashed up’ about her husband—all good things.

Her diaries also show many times making pies and cookies and bread all day long, she at age 21. Shades of what was to come later in life—little wonder that in her last years, when deaf and blind, she could still bake bread and luscious lemon sugar and vanilla cookies by feeling the ingredients—she had been doing it for seventy years or more!

Kate Permelia Youngs Baker—so many facets to you—Wish I had known you!

Kate Club, 2011--Named for Kate Youngs Baker--Madeline Kate Kinsella, Lucille Kate Taylor Kinsella, Alison Kate Herdeg and Leah Kate Walker
Any More Cousins in the Kate Club out there?!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winter Snows in Cousin Country! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

My husband and I spent the day at Old Sturbridge Village where they held an antique sleigh rally. We saw draft horses, miniature horses, gypsy horses and all sorts of sleighs—Albany Cutters, Portland Cutters, and regular bob sleighs. We saw all sorts of dogs in the sleighs (one of the categories was ‘Sleigh Dogs’, so we voted on the best dog), including a ‘lurcher’ (never heard of it, but one of the only ‘lurchers’ in the US??!). Very fun time, as the horses and dogs and people were all dressed up in olden time costumes and furs. Of course, the two feet of snow helped!

And, as most of you know, we've had snow over a LOT of cousin country these past two weeks. A few pictures are here:

Jack and CB Kinsella's house

These are pictures taken by Uncle Jack of the Kinsella's home in Greece, NY. They got about 13 inches of snow.

Also in Greece, Rick and Laurie Lochner's house:

Rick and Laurie Lochner's House

Laurie must have had yardstick in her lawn--she told me it was 13.1 inches!

Another cousin from Kate Youngs Baker's side, Norma Bruscani, sent a picture from Farmington, NY where they got eight or nine inches of snow:

Norma Bruscani's Home

In Geneva, NY, Mike and Lorraine Maney sent this picture:

The Maney's

And, out in Minnesota, Cousin Diana McCarty sent these pictures:

Diana McCarty's Home

Here in Acton, MA, I took this picture just after our storm dropped 22 inches on us in less than 24 hours:

The Herdeg's House

And, my brother, Tom, in New Jersey HOPED for snow. Here is his picture taken the same day as mine (when we got almost two feet of snow). Notice the cross country skiis by the front door--so hoping to be used!! Tom writes: "I bought those skis, with new boots, last year and have yet to use them. We had less than 2 inches of snow all last winter. For the current season, I imagine our total is around 9 inches, but all in small 1 to 3 inch increments."

Tom Kinsella's Home

Unused Skiis

Thanks to all who sent pictures--great to see them!! And, as the Ides of February are just past us and spring is yet to come, I will end as my brother Tom did in his email to me:

"Much Love; Stay Warm."

Friday, February 1, 2013

30 West Street, by Aunt CB

We on the Cousins Blog first wrote about 30 West Street, the Taylor homestead in Geneva for a time, back in October of 2007. Take a look at what we were covering then:

We were reading of Uncle Harold’s boat he created—Tubby, we were hoping my sister Sue’s ankle got better, AND, we enjoyed a wonderfully full story of 30 West Street as told by Mom.

Later, in 2010, she wrote again—more of Geneva as a small town in the midst of WWII:

Now, in early 2013, she again thinks back to 30 West Street for a snippet in time:

At 30 West Street, Geneva, in the early to mid 1930’s Doris and I shared a bedroom, while baby Harold slept in a crib in Mom’s room. Our bed, a double one, had a head board with a slot about six inches high between the mattress and the top of the bedstead, so we could peek into Mom’s room.

And, in this same bedroom, down near the baseboard, there were large cracks in the plaster and wallpaper. Picked away, could be seen, little pockets behind the baseboard. That is where Doris would shove my paper dolls when she got mad at me. We so often wished we’d been around when they tore down 30 West Street to garner them!

After growing up in 30 West Street, I have concluded that everyone should have a BIG old house with a front and back stairway! [how Mom ever stood our chasing one another up and down and around in that house I will never understand!] Also, another plus--a huge attic, although the lack of floorboards was a minus and resulted in Mom once putting a foot and a leg through the ceiling of Ruth and Esther's bedroom. It was great to play in though!

Our home at 30 West Street was taken down to make way for West Street Elementary School, so it exists only in my and my baby brother’s memories now, but I remember it still.