Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pat Kinsella and her Grandma Sharing Bunk Beds, By Lucille Taylor Kinsella

Not so many stockings as in the later years, with 20 or more!

Pat remembers that this happened near Christmas. We had lit candles in each window that shone a glow over the walls. Remember doing strange animal shadows with hands? Well, Pat added to the complexity by using her toes and feet. The Famed Bald Eagle was born, and so the legend began…..Many in the 2846 household that Christmas came down with sickness, but not those who were lucky enough to see the Bald Eagle. Grandma shared the room, so saw the fabled bird show, and was healthy the entire visit.

 Tom and Grandma Taylor, December 1967

When my father, Lloyd Taylor, died in June, 1969, Mom made a few visits to stay with her kids, but really wanted to stay in her house, tending her flowerbeds, her garden vegetables and visiting her neighbors! They had a good circle of friends who visited often, so we all agreed and made frequent visits ourselves to help her shop and take her to doctor visits. However, as fall turned to colder weather and snow was forecast we laid out a schedule that she stay three weeks with Ruth in Geneva, then three weeks with Esther in Spencerport, three weeks with Doris in Lockport and three weeks with me in Rochester. Harold and Arnon kept track of the house in Waterloo in her absence.

Pat's Room in 1971, with bunk beds on the left

 We all looked forward to her coming to our house and each of the kids offered her their bed! However, it was determined that she’d sleep in what was then Pat’s room and all that contained was a bunk bed set.

 Jim and Chris on Christmas morning, 1969

 That didn’t faze Grandma at all. She decided that she was surely able to climb that little ladder and make the top bunk. (She was 82.) However, Pat had an idea— she declared that each night she and Grandma would flip a coin and see who’d sleep up there. Grandma agreed that was fair. However, Grandma did not know that Pat had learned from her father how to toss a coin so that it always went the way she wanted. Thus, night after night, they flipped a coin and it always landed so that Pat climbed the ladder to the top bunk. Mom wondered, thought she “smelled a rat” but could see no way “angel face” Pat was cheating.

Thus ended a lovely visit with Grandma, still unaware of the deviltry she’d witnessed!!

Now, if only Pat could remember that coin trick! It would come in handy for nephews and nieces at just the right age.

1969 Christmas Tree at 2846
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's to All on our Cousins Blog!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

More Car Stories By Dan Kinsella, Tim Kinsella and Jack Kinsella

We first began this topic with Evelyn and Bryant Taylor's various automobiles. See:

Here is our next installment. Do you have car stories? Send them to us!

From Dan--

 Dan, 1976

My first car was a Maverick Grabber.  This was a small car that Ford somehow shoehorned a V8 engine into.  Changing the oil was not easy. Changing the spark plugs was nearly impossible. (In fact I only tried it once, and couldn't even get to the last two plugs to change them.)  I started taking it to a mechanic to get the plugs changed when they needed it (not very often so was no big deal).

He said he only knew of one model car that was harder to change them on.  That one required the entire engine to be 'dropped' so a mechanic could get to the plugs.  I'm sure it saved Ford a penny or two when they manufactured the cars to set it up this way, but what a pain for the next 100,000 miles of its life!

VW’s from Tim and Uncle Jack:

Sometime in the 1980's I decided to buy a diesel car. I bought a VW. I found diesel was cheaper than regular gasoline so that pleased me. But than winter came and I discovered a problem with the car. It would start up OK in the cold weather but 2 miles down the road (right by the entrance to the zoo) it would start sputtering and finally it would stop. Sometimes I could get it started again but not always. I once missed an early flight at the airport because of this.

Then once Jim borrowed the VW for a fairly long trip but he brought it back without any dents or scratches (not that I checked it out). The next time I jumped into the car it really sputtered (and it wasn't cold out). I finally got it coughing and sputtering down to the St. Paul gas station and asked them to check it out. The guy came to me and said, "Somebody filled your diesel tank with regular gasoline." So I went back home and said to Jim, "Did you fill up the tank on the car when you came home yesterday?" He said, "Yeah, Pop and I even used the high octane blend gas to fill it!" You should have seen the look on his face when I said, "Jim it is a diesel, it doesn't take regular gas."

Jim in 1981

Another time Tim and Rose were coming back to Rochester by plane and Mom and young Kristin picked them up--in the VW. They were gone for a very long time and then I heard there had been an accident. It was very dark at the exit from the airport and Tim, having volunteered to drive them all home, mistakenly drove over a strangely placed curb which caused considerable damage to the underside of the car. Mom remembers her glasses flying off onto the floor, and they had to take a taxi home.

Should I add--all my subsequent cars used regular gasoline?

Nick Holz, Tim and Rose and baby Kristin, 
Jack Kinsella, Dan Kinsella 1981

Four VW’s--

 Tim and Rose told me that VW had a magazine and at one point, they highlighted a family that had 2 VW's. So, we all ( Nick Holz, Tim and Rose, Mom and I, and Dan as VW owners) took the picture of the 4 VW's in the family. Unfortunately, the magazine never used our picture or our wonderful story!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Remembering Waterloo, NY Through Postcards, By Jack Kinsella

I think it is time to tell a deep dark secret I have kept hidden all my life—I was born in Seneca Falls, NY! Let me hasten to add “but I lived in Waterloo, NY ALL MY GROWING UP YEARS!!” This came about because my mother insisted in having her children born in the Seneca Falls hospital. However, since Seneca Falls and Waterloo were arch rivals, this was always an embarrassment to me.

I have always collected old postcards of Waterloo so I’ll show a few to indicate how the town of Waterloo changed over the years. The town’s origin goes back to the 1700's but from 1850 on, its population remained very stable at around 5000 people. In 1828, it completed the Seneca-Cayuga Canal which allowed boats to bypass local rapids and travel from Seneca Lake to Cayuga Lake and continue east to connect to the main branch of the Erie Canal. This canal ran right behind the stores on the south side of Main Street and it was still there when I was growing up.

So let me start by showing how the “Four Corners” (Main and Virginia St) changed over the years:

4 Corners, 1870

This is how Waterloo looked when my Great Grandparents, James and Mary Gaffney arrived in Waterloo in 1878 with their family which included my father, Daniel Kinsella.

4 Corners, 1910

4 Corners, 1920

This is how the “4 Corners” looked when my father, Dan, was a “young man about town.” The Seneca-Cayuga Canal was a flourishing business then as shown in the picture of boats on the canal below.

 4 Corners, 2014

I took this in 2014 and it really isn’t that much different from the 1920 postcard.

Cayuga-Seneca Canal

Dad often told about watching the boats arriving along the towpath pulled by mules. 
Now it has all been filled in and covered with blacktop. Probably not one in 100 Waterlooians, when they drive behind the Post Office to drop off mail realize they are parking on what was once the old Seneca-Cayuga Canal!

Cayuga-Seneca Canal-1910

Speaking of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, check out the 1910 postcard of it as it ran south of Main Street. This is how I remember it as a boy. It was no longer used as it had been made obsolete by the building of the Barge Canal in 1919. The only place where it still exists is across from Connie’s Diner on Main and Swift St. —see Waterloo Woolen Mill

Waterloo Woolen Mill

Gorham Bridge Towpath

While the Cayuga-Seneca Canal was in operation, the tow path coming to Waterloo from the east (Seneca Falls) ran on the south side of the canal. At Gorham Street, it crossed to the north side via a tow path bridge as shown in an old post card. When the Barge Canal became operational, a modern 40 foot high bridge was built on the spot and that was where I spent most of my summer days between the ages of 8 and 14. 

Columbia Distillery
 Mr. Duffy of Waterloo had a prosperous distillery in the south of Waterloo. He decided to replace it with a modern up to date one that could compete with any distillery in the USA. When he had the building finished he was paid a visit by the owner of a distillery in the Midwest. It is rumored Duffy was given an “offer he couldn’t refuse” if he never opened his new distillery. All I know is that the new distillery never did open and Mr. Duffy became a man of leisure.

Waterloo Library

 As I was growing up, we had practically no books at home. One day when I mentioned this to my sister, Mary, she said, “Come with me. I’m going to sign you up at the library.” What a wonder world. Hundreds and hundreds of books. I though I had died and gone to heaven! What a wonderful gift Mary had given me.  It started me on my way of loving to read books!

Waterloo Wagon Shop

 This is where the famous “Woodies” (traditional sedan cars converted to wooden station wagons) were made. My job one summer was to pick up the sedans and drive them to the Wagon shop where the conversion job was done. The problem was I had to drive the sedans there and I did not know how to drive (no one bothered to ask). In the beginning, several of the sedans suffered  scrapes and dents due to my poor driving but it wasn’t a problem because most of the sedan body was removed anyway.

Waterloo High School

 This is where I went from 1940 to 1944. Some years after I graduated, it was decided the school was much too small (please note: the population had not changed) The high school was made into a grade school and a new humongous high school was built! The current plan is to tear down the grade school.

Genung Funeral Home

 Across the street from the Waterloo High School stands the Genung Funeral Home. What was unusual about this funeral home? Well for one thing, the Genung family buried a man in their family plot 72 years after he had died!!

 For several generations, every school kid in Waterloo knew that a small building next to the funeral home contained a mummy!  Only the bravest had the nerve to peek into the back window of this building to confirm this fact.  Here is the story:

 Bill Bailey, born George, died in 1899. He was a poor man with no friends and his body was sent to the Genung Funeral Home. Charles Genung, the funeral director, was working on a new embalming process at the time and he received permission to try it on Bill Bailey. The experiment was very successful so Bailey’s body wrapped in a loin cloth was just kept on a platform in the small shed. When CB’s father died, the funeral was held at Genungs and I asked  the current director, John Genung, if he would show Bill Bailey to our kids. He said he would be glad to. So we all trooped out to the small building and there on a small table lay a man clad only in a loin cloth. His skin was dark as though deeply tanned but all his features and hair looked perfectly normal. I felt anyone who had known him when he was alive would instantly recognize him.

 A few years later, John Genung decided it was time to give Bill Bailey a proper burial so in 1971, 72 years after his death, he was buried in the Genung plot.

Map of Waterloo, NY