December 30th, 2015 – What kind of a year has this been?


Picture of Mary Elizabeth McArdle and her husband Samuel James Stevens. She was born in 1846 and died in 1908.

Last year at this time I was in a grand funk.  Just returning from four months in Ireland was a killer. I loved living in a walkable city and here I was back in no where to walk to, no side walks except on the highway where the noise of the cars can drive one crazy.  No easy way to get to other neighborhoods so I could walk around them just for someplace to go.  And then there was the life over there.  Places to go and things to see. Not overly expensive and transportation that was easy to use. Everyone in Ireland takes the bus. Here I cannot think where I would go on a bus.  So as I said, big huge funk…

But then there were some fun trips to visit family and to see the lovely niece Sarah starring in the “Miracle Worker” at the Barter Theater in Abingdon VA.  And there was the trip to Salt Lake City with friend Bob to work on Genealogy with the New England Historical and Genealogical Society.  What a great experience and the weather was great for seeing the city.  Want to do that again.

The summer was great totally. Having the girls for two weeks, going to the theater on a regular basis, spending time with the family, and visits from friends from home.   Decorating Fairy Trees with Norah and the little girls. That was such a memorable day.

The fall was visiting DC a couple of times,  Canadian Thanksgiving with the Allin’s, US Thanksgiving at Norah’s, Christmas at Ian’s and New Years in Saratoga. Not a bad time anywhere along the way.

So although not a day goes by that I don’t think about Galway and all the fun we had the truth is that life goes on and there are so many wonderful people in my life and I am one lucky woman.  A man who loves me and cares for me, four wonderful children who are terrific adults making a difference in the life of others and who love their partners well.  Gorgeous little grandchildren who make my heart burst with happiness. And the spouses of my children love them and enhance their lives in all good ways. Then you add in the extended family and friends and I am very blessed.

Now I know this all sounds like fantasy land like a Christmas letter. There were also the three or four run-in’s with bronchitis, feeling exhausted all the time, not getting enough exercise, and a couple of caps on teeth and one root canal. Still dealing with another cracked tooth that is not getting any better so it is looking like it is going to take more than the root canal and a cap.  But none of that was bad enough to negate all the good things that happened this year.

So now for my son Ian who is waiting to see how Charles responds to the birth of his first grandchild, my mother let’s check it out.

April 1908
April 1 – Bridge flowed over. No mail. Fergus birthday.
April 3 – Shocked to get message that Mary Stevens is dead. (Emily’s sister) Bill McConnell was in Lyndhurst and brought telegram from Station around by Ellisville to us. We will never forget this act of kindness.
April 4 – Took Emily to Athens. Had to go by Ellisville. Long Bridge is flooded yet. A lonesome night.
April 5 – Crossed the ice, walked to Athens hired Tom Sly’s horse and drove to Athens.
April 6 – Mary’s funeral at 11 am. Chris did chores while I was away.
April 8 – A sheep had three lambs but one dies
April 9 – Very warm. More lambs.
April 12 – Turns very cold.
April 15 – Go to Gan for Madeline and Miss Senecal also Hazel Bracken as far as Ellisville. Girls bring lovely Easter Lily plant but Madeline nearly freezes herself trying to keep it from freezing as it very cold.
April 16 – Good Friday. We fast from morn until night.
April 19 – Easter Sunday. The girls help me look for sheep and new lambs
April 26 – Good to have Agnes here as Emily and I feel so badly about Mary. Madeline and Agnes drive Bill this afternoon.
April 27 – Tom Slack takes girls to Gan. We are glad Madeline has Agnes for friend.

May 1908
May 1 – Big rain storm turns to snow over 2 inches.
May 3 – more snow 4 inches
May 9 – Friday – Went to Gan for Madeline. At last a letter from young Chas.
May 10 – Ben Slack comes for Madeline as Bertha wants her as a bridesmaid. Emily made a lovely dress but she, Madeline, is very nervous.
May 12 – Wet day. Leave early for the wedding. Bertha Slack and Moses Kavanaugh in Athens Church. J Flood groomsman. Nice time. Madeline does not care for Flood. She stays as we have to come home early.
May 14 – Chas Slack brings Madeline home.
May 17 – Sunday – I take Madeline back to Gan.
May 22- Father Kehoe and Jim Shine here for dinner and day. Great visit. He, Father, says he is a cousins of Franks. (would give anything to know how he was related)

June 1908
June 3 – Fergus brings Mrs LaQue and three children out to us at noon. She wants to stay. Baby very sick. Mr LaQue in Mexico and she is in bad way.
June 6 – Planted millet today.
June 8 – Election Day. Dargood beats Wilson by 150 votes.
June 13 – Flip LaQue surprises us as he returned from Mexico to see his family. Nice chap. He brings Madeline with him.
June 15 – LaQue and Madeline left for Gan. He has to return to Mexico. We get along find. Ag LaQue and Emily are great friends. Young Frank follows me from morn til night. Mary tries to but tires out. I called her “Pee Wee” she is so tiny and now she calls “Pee Wee” is coming.
June 21 – Frank LaQue kills two ducks. Took them out of pen and petting them squeezes too hard. Baby very sick.
June 23 – High School closes and we are so glad to have Madeline home.
June 25 – Madeline stays with children while Emily and I take Ag fishing. She things our Point beautiful. She is a gay person and we enjoy her so much but she has three very weak sickly children and she knows it.
June 30 – Get word Fergus and Frank’s baby girl arrives yesterday the feast of St. Peter and Paul.

July 1908
July 1 – Emily and I leave early for Gan to see our granddaughter. Dominion Day and I go with Mike to see races. Home at 10 pm. Frank has nurse and Aunt Jane.
July 9 – Emily goes to Athens for a few days until Sat. Palmers arrives.
July 10 – All go to Jones Falls and drive spring and take everyone. Palmers, LaQues, Ellen, Emily, Madeline and myself. Great day. Kenneys very friendly. We take own lunch and picnic but they treat us to ice cream.
July 12 – Very very hot 93 . Mike O’Connor comes out. Emily goes to Gan with him.
July 17 – Madeline goes to Gan for her mother who was with Frank since nurse left. Mrs LaQues goes with her.
July 18 – Madeline and Emily back Glad to see them.
July 25 – Saturday – Young Chas back again.
July 30 Fergus, Frank and babe arrive.
July 31 – Helen Desmond arrives. Fergus, Frank and Norah here for week. Great time with baby. Ellen crazy over her.


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