Category Archives: FAmily adventures

April 22, 2017 – A to Z Challenge – S

I had planned to just write about the Science March today in DC but changed my mind as there were threeS words in the S section of “The Deeper Meaning of LIff” that tickled me.  First though I will tell you that there were tons of people at the march and they for sure were not paid to be there. Loved all the home made signs and the costumes were great.  Loved the knitted pink hats with brains added on to the top.  Lots of nerdy types were there.  Young students, old professor or researcher types, and families who either one or both parents were employed as researchers, MD’s, PhD’s etc.

Everyone was friendly, peaceful and polite.  They read each other’s signs and some took pictures of the better ones.  A lady from Pittsburgh who’s husband works in research was there with her mother who is 91 with Alzheimer’s disease.  She talked to Sol and took her picture with her sign.  She was very pleasant and we had a nice chat.

It rained, drizzled, stopped raining and then rained again.  I saw no one complaining.  We had been late getting started because unfortunately I had not checked kids bodies for ticks and our little granddaughter came back with four.  Guilt was the feeling I started the day with.  I know better than not to check. So now she is on a months worth of antibiotic.   Darn, Double Darn is all I can say.  Back to our day, we ate lunch at Dunkin Donuts and then Mom took the little one to a birthday party and the rest of us went on to the march.  We returned home by 4ish as it just got too chilly for me out there and my back was freezing from being wet and cold.  Took the Metro and then walked back to the house.  It worked out well as the rain was just starting again as we arrived at the house.

That was my day.  Other than the guilt I enjoyed it, am very tired and will write a little short story now with two words in it from “The Deeper Meaning of Liff”


Uncle Henry always seemed to be about 100 years old to me when I was a young girl. He had very peculiar habits but they were excused because of his age.  Henry always started his day by dressing himself very neatly in a suit and tie even if he had no intention of leaving the house.  Before retirement he had been a solicitor but now he was reduced to the position of skellister.  People would politely ask his legal opinion on some subject just to let him know they knew of his past level of respect in the courts but really did not care about the response.  But he also had some old faithful clients who still came to him for wills and other legal papers.  It was good for him.

With the onset of old age and lack of a house keeper Uncle Henry would at times hire me to come over and clean up for him.  There were jobs he did for himself, like dishes but he dreaded having to dust and polish the furniture and the floors. So those were my jobs as well as changing the sheets on the little bed he used in an old guest room.  He had loved Aunt Marya and could not bear to sleep in the bed they had shared for more than fifty years.  He kept flowers in their bedroom and always wanted to make sure I did a good cleaning in there for Marya.  I suspect he would sit on the love seat and read the poetry books that she had loved so much.  Those were the kind of things I learned about him that made me love him and not complain about helping him.

This particular morning I knew things were getting stressful for him.  There he was drinking coffee from an egg cup.  He is such a snover when it comes to cleaning up the dishes.   I wondered how many other items he would figure out he could drink coffee from before he would be reduced to having to do something about it.  I did not dare look in the sink when I went into clean the kitchen floors.   He seemed to be able to go weeks with all the various containers he found to drink his coffee from and I believe he went through not only the every day china but the good stuff too before he had to give in.

I was finished sweeping when he called to me and asked me to pick out a piece of straw from the broom.  I thought by purchasing some regular toothpicks I would be able to change his habit of being a sigglesthorne but it did not seem to have worked.  That day it was the broom, next time it might be a twister tie from the bread loaf.  He just had these habits that had developed over years and nothing I could say or do or offer to do would change him.   I thought about Aunt Marya and what she would think of this behavior, or had it always been there.  Maybe I will ask him why he insists on this.  It sure grossed me out every time he asked me for a piece out of the straw broom.  I guess to know him is to love him so I will just continue to care about him just the way he is.


March 21, 2017 – Thoughts on our Trip – 4 – England and Family


I am so lucky to know the family I do in England.  My Dad has tons of cousins there  and I have met only a few of them.  This trip was so lovely and I got to meet my cousin Pamela’s daughter and Grandkids and also to see Pam’s brother Peter who I last saw when he was 10.  Pam lives in Southampton and so does Peter.  My other cousins in the south live north of Southampton – DUH, yes I know otherwise they would be in the ocean…

Gillian and Linda and families live near Winchester England. It is a lovely area. Having first met them when I was 23 it is always fun to get together again. Gillian and I went to visit her Mum in the nursing home and I am just pleased that I could see her once more.  She was a lively woman and as a young woman I was so impressed with her and I hoped I could have some of that personality when I got older.. My mother was such a quiet little thing and I was so different from her and Pat seemed more like me. I had a wonderful time when I first met them and all the other times in my life.

Then going to Wallasey to see the more distant cousins was fun as well. Barbara and I love genealogy and we know not many of the others do so when we get a chance to get together we have great fun talking the old ancestor stuff. Always learn something new when I am with Barbara.  Also enjoyed seeing Ann and Ian and their daughter who had hosted us in Scotland the year of the family reunion in Kilmarnock.  And meeting Barbara Costelloes daughter was a delight. I wish we could have had more time to chat. Niall was great seeing again although I wish I could have actually had a longer conversation with him and his husband.   Ian and Tessa were great and Ian toured us about and took Denis running which was a treat for him.  They had lots to talk about.

Politics did enter the conversation in England the same as it did everywhere else.  Only two Trump supporters were to be found and the rest were just wondering if we had gone completely daft or what?  We had no answers for them other than our sadness for those who are going to be harmed by this presidents policies.  Trump supporters just do not see it so assume they support what he wants to do.  I have started wishing for some harm to be done to them so maybe they will wake up.  Not kind I know but how do you get people to see the storm that is about to hit when they think sunshine will just stay the way it is.   I am sure some think doing away with the government as it exists will be good and doing away with all government programs will help them but I think they will be surprised.  Anyone ever pay that huge toll to drive around Toronto on the privately owned highway north of the city. Other places have them too and they ain’t cheap.

Anyway, England was delightful and we so enjoyed ourselves.  Next time I want to go into London for several days to see the museums and historic places that I have not seen. Oh and my favorite thing was seeing my second cousins twice removed. The little kids.  they are such lovely open and friendly little folks.  I wish our girls could meet them all sometime.

And by the way today was so busy and I had a great time. Started out picking up my 90 year old friend Josephine and took her to the Senior Center for lunch so I could talk to my friend Rosemarie about her upcoming trip to Greece. Then Jo and I went to Chair Moves exercise class by MVP free to seniors.  From there I took Jo home but had to stop on the way to get her some milk.  After getting her into her house I took off for Albany to meet my friend Judi for a late lunch at Peaches Cafe.  Great meal. Judi and I are birthday twins. We were born in different years but on the same day.  We have not seen each other in ages so it was a real treat.  Then I drove her to the train back home to Long Beach and then I headed for Tai Chi class. Was so happy to be there again and upset that I could never have done the moves on my own. Totally forgot everything.   From there I went to the High School to a presentation on mental health and teens because my old friend Donna was doing the presentation.  Ended up being interviewed for the newspaper  so will have to watch for that. Also got to see many of my local friends I have not see in several months so all in all it was a banner day.


February 20-22, 2017 -Cousin time in England part 1

I know,I know, my goal was to write every night but I blew that.  Monday morning we got a 5:30 wake up call, finished packing and went down for breakfast.  Checked out by 7:15 and walked across the street to the Ferry Terminal. Got our tickets, passport check etc and waited for the bus to go out to the ship.

What a lovely ride it was.  We had reserved seats at the front of the ship and we made ourselves comfortable and I did sleep a bit.  Around noon we went upstairs and had some lunch.The ride was very smooth so you could walk around.

We arrived in Portsmouth after 6 hours.  The ride in was interesting.  I saw Gosport where one of my Great Granduncles settled from Kilmarnock and opened a tailor shop like his brother, may great grandfather did in Southampton.

Philip was waiting for us and off we went to Alton.  Was so nice to see Gillian and Philip again. We figured out we met 50 years ago this year.  Her sister Linda and husband Tim came over for dinner.  It was a lovely time.  We did have some lively conversation over Trump and Brexit since Tim and Linda are supporters of both of those things.  First time I have had a conversation with anyone on that side of things. Good thing we like them because it was just that, a lively conversation.

The 21st we got up and had breakfast and the Gillian and I went off to see her mother who is my Dad’s last first cousin, Pat.. She is in a care home for people with dementia.  When we arrived she was snoozing so she was first confused. After we had visited for a bit and I showed her pictures of her with my parents years ago and some of her aunts and uncles and brother, she was sharper and when we took her back to the lounge room for her lunch she told them aide I was her cousin Maggie from America. I was very pleased.

In the afternoon we went to Linda and Tims.  Pamela and her brother Peter who are the children of my Dad’s first cousin Norman and Gillian and Linda’s first cousins came along with Peters partner Shirley.  Also there was Linda and Tim’s daughter Amy’s family.  They have three very nice little kids and her husband Ken is a fun guy.  Had a lovely dinner and a great visit with everyone.  Of course if you get enough Laughlands together you can be lucky to ever finish a sentence.  Was a late evening so again so writing.

Weds was Southampton day.  We went and picked up Linda and her granddaughter Gracie.  We went down and parked at the shopping Mall and went to the BarGate. Hundreds of years ago Southampton was a walled city and you entered through the Bar Gate. Our great grandfathers shop was there but there are only modern buildings there now. I did take a picture of the site.There we met Pamela and her daughter Clare and her children Jacob and Freya.  They are really cute friendly little ones just like Gracie.

At the BarGate we met a couple of fellows who lead city tours. Would have been nice to take a tour but we were committed to touring the Tudor House. So we walked along the City Walls which have been preserved.  The Tudor House was a very interesting tour. The kids seemed to enjoy it as well.  They got to do dress ups in Tudor period clothing. They liked the displays as well. We had lunch there.

Afterwards the others headed for home and we drove up to the house our grandparents grew up in. It is called the Towers on Cavendish Grove.A lovely old home.  Now broken up into apartments.

From there we went to the Old Southampton Cemetery to see if we could find the family graves.  I knew it was not going to go well because of the conversations I had had with a volunteer from the cemetery.   The Cemetery is in terrible shape in the area we were in. Made us kind of sad.  After walking around we headed for home.

After a little down time the three couples met for dinner at a pub which went well. Lovely dinner.

September 15, 2016 – Thoughts on a crisp fall day

September 15, 2016 – Thoughts on a cool crispy fall day

I have not felt like sitting down and writing for a while. Just in some kind of a funk.

Got a message recently on Facebook from someone I messaged back in 2012 about a possible family connection. In the mean time I made that connection but there was no interest on the person’s side of things. So I told this person last week who was all excited about a possible connection to check it out with their elders. Have not heard back so figure it did not go well. Have learned over time you cannot force things on people but just have to wait for them to want to figure out the connections.

Then I felt very torn about being at home and wishing I were up here. Do I really want to get all involved at home again or not? I am getting use to being alone most of the time and maybe that is good or maybe not so good. If I could feel motivated to do the projects I want to do it would be better than frittering away each day. Cleaning is not that time consuming or laundry and yet I don’t get to the things I have said I would or that I want to do.

Coming back and forth might just be giving me the excuse not to accomplish anything. Only have four days so why dig holes and plant the perennials I bought in the spring. Or finish sorting the bins and take things to the Archives. Or finish painting the doors I started in July. Or cleaning out on top of the rock.

I did stop at the archives today and wish I had not had groceries that needed to go into the freezer because they have a lot I would like to look at. The box about the school house is growing and I have not been there in several years so it is all new for me. Did not even take it down and look at it. I would love to go through Lorna Warren’s boxes to see what they found of interest on her family after she died. And I heard there is a picture of my Grandfather in high school in one of the files. It is an interesting place to visit.

When I got back I unpacked groceries and then read for a bit while I ate lunch. Decided to go through some items and get them ready to show my niece and her family when they come to visit tomorrow and Saturday. I know her dad has copies of some things but then there are these items she might like to see.

I am going to meet them in Gan and show them the Town Hall and the picture of the little kid’s gr gr grandfather when he was the Mayor. And then the house their gr grandmother few up in until she was nine. And the Church she went to and if it is there the school building where she went to school starting at age 4. My grandmother was in a hurry to get them into school so she taught them to read very early and to write. She taught my mom to write right handed as she knew being a lefty would cause her problems in school. We will have an early dinner there and then come out here.

Saturday will be Turkey Fair Day which will be fun plus walking around the various places here at the Point where there are family items, Saddle Rock, the Barn, the Farm and a trip down to the water to meet Mike and Cheryl. If we are up to it we will go to Mass at St. Patricks so they can see the Stations dedicated to their gr gr gr gr grandparents. I am sure at their young ages the kids won’t grasp that but still nice for them to see a small country church. Going to take a picture of Daniel at Daniel O’Connor’s grave site. I have one of my Dan there as well. Named after a very fine man, both of them. Might also take them to the Delta Mill which is a working mill. That would be a great educational piece.

I have decided that when I don’t write my mood gets pretty darn black… Not sure why but when I write it is almost better than a good therapist. Just getting things out on paper gives me some clarity. I keep so much to myself and have my entire life that it is like an overflowing trunk. Stuff is spilling out all over where before the top was pretty well shut tight. Time to think has opened the lid and I have this desire to reach out and put an end to some of my weirdest memories or old friendships that have disappeared over the years. I am going to have to think more about this isolation and the effect it has on me. Or I am going to have to get busy and put the lid back on for a while so I can figure out somethings.

There is also politics. I wish like everything that this election would be over and done with. If the crazy guy wins I will turn to prayer to try and save my grandchildren and children. I figure with the things in his agenda we are going to sink big time. Big business will get their way, environment will go to hell and we will all bake to death in the next few years. The man cares about no one but himself and his money. Oh and his rich friends. But you and I down at the bottom of the ladder are disposable. The whole thing has contributed so much to the way I feel.

Anyway, let move on to more fun things like Charles Diary.

October 1916

Oct 1 – Madeline, the teacher and I went to Lansdowne to Mass. Tom Slack and Leo Palmer came home with us and spent the rest of the day here.
October 2 – Emily and I went to Gananoque there all night. We called on John McArdle.
Oct 3 – We spent the forenoon around town and started for home at 2 oclock got home before 5. Jim Burns gave us a pair of ducks.
Oct 4 – At home all day. Levi Williams brought out Fergus’ mare and colt was here for dinner.
Oct 5 – I drew up some stove wood forenoon. J McDonald and R Watson out to Ellens. And here most of the afternoon. Annie came
Oct 6 – I went fishing this morning got three pike. This is a fine day but looks like rain.
Oct 7 – At home all day worked up at the barn. I look the teacher part way to Seeley’s Bay. C Weeks and I divided the grain.
Oct 8 – At home all day no one here today. Very hot day. Jim Bevins called this eve.
Oct 9 – Worked around the place went back to the pasture. Rained most of the day. We had a good thanksgiving dinner. Ellen here for dinner.
Oct 10 – Did not do much today. C Weeks dug some potatoes.
Oct 11 – Madeline and I went to Lansdowne to Mass got home at noon. Then I went to Lansdowne village to the races with A Argue. Kelly here this eve.
Oct 12 – At home all day. I visited with Kelley most of the day.
Oct 13 – Wet morning and most of the day. I took Kelly to Lyndhurst on his way to Waddington. There was a big rain this afternoon.
Oct 14 – Madeline, Ellen and the teacher went to Lansdowne. Mrs Flood came here on her way to Lansdowne. ( note from Madeline – “so often he wrote Mrs Flood instead of Bridget his sister”)
Oct 15 – The teacher and I went to Lansdowne to Mass. Got home before one oclock. Miss O’Driscoll and Mr Foley was here when I got home. Scanlin went to Seeley’s Bay. J Kenney called this afternoon.
Oct 16 – I went back to see the cattle forenoon and drew up wood afternoon. Got up some for C Weeks. F McNamee and Mrs Flood called on their way to Delta. Madeline worked at the milk books.
Oct 17 – We got our milk check. I gave C Weeks his check $23.75.
Oct 18 – I ploughed forenoon. C McDonald come here for dinner and P Flood was here for tea.
Oct 19 – Ellen went home with Percy last night. I ploughed most of the day.
Oct 20 – Wet most of the day nothing doing.
Oct 21 – I ploughed most of the day. The teachers and G Wight went to the Bay last night and was out in the big storm. The teacher is sick today.
Oct 22 – At home all day no storm. No one around. Scanlen in bed most of the day.
Oct 23 – Clifford ploughed forenoon and most of the am I worked at the fences until 3 oclock and then took Scanlen out to Elgin to see the Doctor. He did not come back with me.
Oct 24 – I worked around the place forenoon and went to Lyndhurst afternoon. Emily and Madeline went with me. I got check cashed. J Burns spent the eve here. We got word that George Townsend was dead in Syracuse.
Oct 25 – I ploughed forenoon and went looking for a little bull that got out of the pasture. Big rain this eve.
Oct 26 – Ploughed most of the day and worked around the place rest of the day.
Oct 27 – I ploughed the most of the day. There was small rain I went out the crossing to meet Eulalia Wiltsy. We got home about dusk. Her and Madeline went to Seeleys Bay to a dance with Scanlan.
Oct 28 – I ploughed most of the day no stir. P Flood was here for dinner J Bevens spent the eve here. I drew a load of sand afternoon.
Oct 29 – The two girls and I went to Lansdowne to Mass. I gave $15.00 to the church debt we got home at 1:30 oclock at home the rest of the day.
Oct 30 – I ploughed forenoon and worked at the Cellar wall. J Bevins came here at noon and worked at the wall the rest of the day.
Oct 31 – We worked at the cellar until 3 oclock. J Bevens helped me. C Weeks drew a load of sand and one of stone. He had the team to go to Lyndhurst afternoon. Wight had the team to plough his garden yesterday.

August 21, 2016 – Vacation with the kids

Our computer connection has been misbehaving again and it was too hot for a while to do anything so here I am on August 21st. starting again.

Last week son and his wife and kids were down at the lake so we were going back and forth quite a bit. Now the girls are with us for the week. Love it so much. This weekend daughter was with us as the girls love her to bits and she provides them with auntie love and affection which is just great. All kids need an Aunt with no kids of their own to show them unconditional love which is what they get from her. My kids got it from an aunt and uncle who don’t have kids of their own but are the best loved aunt and uncle ever.

The kids were so cute with their Aunt this weekend. We had a great chat about that in 10 years Sol would be able to drive me around when I am a really old lady and my kids won’t want to have me driving but she can bring me up to Canada with Grandpa and drive us around and won’t that be fun. Then she can go out to the water with the cousins and hang out and they can use the School House as an alternative hang out. We would be in the back and they could take over the school and use the kitchen and bathroom. Sol just giggled not really understanding but knew it had something to do with having a fun time.

This morning my little one “the Bear” decided to act like a puppy so asked to have the Aunt’s dogs leash attached to her and she was going around on all fours confusing the day lights out of the real dog who was already spooked by the wind and rain. She was hysterically funny. We all had a good laugh with her and she would crawl over and “Lick’ my knees or the tops of my feet etc. She was acting out Stella the real dog accurately.

Their Aunt left at noon and they went shopping with Grandpa after lunch and I cleaned up around the place. Used my Bissell electric broom to clean up the floors and the furniture of dog hair and everything else brought in from outside. Place is back to kid normal now. Was able to clean up after dinner and feel happy with the way it looks. The chaos at home does not bother me but up here is my haven and I like some degree of orderliness when I am here.

We played Old Maid before dinner and War after dinner. They both caught on quickly so we were able to play and have fun. Loved watching Little Bear figure out her pairs in Old Maid and being so happy when she had the winning cards in War. Not bad for a 4 year old. It rained most of the day and then we took a walk down to the stream to see if the water level has risen at all. It is higher but still several feet below where it has been every summer before this.

Now all is quiet on the western front. Son and his wife are home and sending pictures from the week. All great. It was such a nice week. We went to a race in Brockville Sunday morning. Even the 6 year old ran. She was so proud of getting her medal. Then the girls stayed over two nights so their parents could go out and have some adult vacation. I don’t remember if my parents did that for us but I figure if I only have these two grandkids and am able to I want to make sure when I visit them or they visit us that they have a chance to go out on a date night. With the hectic life of couples where they are both working and in professional jobs that require all kinds of time that any opportunity I can give them I will do it. If we lived down near them I would do either before or after school care to make it easier as well. I just feel so badly for the parents who have these kinds of schedules. It is not easy for either of them and puts stress on the relationship. I admire people like my friend Susan who moved closer to her grandkids so she can take care of them as she did not want them in day care. I don’t think I could have done that but more time would be good.

So anyway, maybe tomorrow I will write about the election events. I have been very interested in the direction things are taking. But am too tired at the moment to go into that.

March 1915

March 1 – Took Jim’s wife to Gan also cradles. Girls delighted with them.
March 2 – Stayed at Fergus overnight and this morn to Kingston with Fergus. We have dinner with Kate Bass at Mowatt. Les there too then I go to Dr. Bogart for medical check up then called at Allie Donnelly to Les’s room and to Gan. In eve go to Gan town meeting with Mayor Fergus. Men very friendly with me.
March 3 – Went to Mass, called at Mike’s. Father Kehoe and John McArdles then home.
March 4 – went up to Lee’s found him very sick. Phoned Asher Lee about his father. March 5 – went to Sims sale
March 6 – …. Kelly here for day.John M comes and Madeline goes home with him
March 8 – Sawyers here. Got all wood cut.
March 9 – John brings Madeline home. Herb here.
March 10 – Asher Lee phones so he is in Brockville. Comes by car and takes his father across ice to Charleston to St. Vincent De Paul Hospital Brockville. Herb and I help Lee get ready. Tim and wife here.
March 11 – Madeline very sick today. Warm day.
March 12 – Asher Lee here all night. Good visit.
March 13 – Asher here and all night after trip to Brockville. His father better now.
March 14 – Asher returns to Herkimer NY.
March 15 – Warm. Dusty roads
March 16 – sick again.
March 17 – take Ellen to see Sara Ann Bryan and after she returns hear SA is dead.
March 18 – All went to Tom Bryans to SA wake.
March 19 –Madeline, Emily and I go to funeral they stop to see 100 year old Sophia Berry. 100 years old, quite a visit. She tells Madeline about bears at her door and tearing clothes off line. Madeline comes home and writes a story for Star.
March 20 – Take buckets to bush. Jim and I tapped 175 trees. Fine day. Good run of sap.
March 21 – Frank and Lena Mac here.
March 22- Tim and I gathered sap.
March 23 – same.
March 24 – 25 – 26 –Sandy McD here.
March 27 – … arriving.
March 28 – Madeline and I go to Mass. Fine day. Home at 2.
March 31 – gathering sap. Roads dry.

August 12, 2016 -Heat Wave

I was thinking this morning about when we were children. Dad decided we could take a long trip if we camped. So he got a couple of tents, camp stove and mom made us all sleeping bags. There were seven of us so picture a car packed to the gills. Mom in the back seat with three of us “younger ”ones and Dad and the two oldest in the front seat. I don’t remember Mom driving at all but that might just be the truth.

Mom kept a bread box in the back seat and would make us sandwiches as we drove along to save time and money. I imagine we went through a lot of peanut butter and loaves of Wonder Bread. And we sang and sang, counted snow fences, cows, buffalo, and license plates. Anything to keep five kids busy during the long days drive.

What stirred these memories today was the heat and the dryness. We have not had a decent rain in seven weeks and everything is dying. Trees, grass, wild flowers, bushes, and finally the weeds are dying too. This week the heat has been oppressive and beyond what I can tolerate. Today was the worst it has been. I remembered driving across the prairies in the heat of that summer years ago. Temps in the 90’s to 100’s, no shade, no air conditioning and just wishing there was someplace cool to go for a swim. Miles and miles of prairies. “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” “You are my Sunshine” and so many other songs over and over again. No radio either. Today was that kind of day. I had things to do but could not motivate myself to go there.

Then this afternoon the winds kicked up, clouds rolled in and nothing happened. I kept praying that the rain was coming but nothing happened. I sat out in the cooler breezes this evening until about 30 minutes ago and after a bit Hubby said, “Do you hear that sound?” It was rain. For about five minutes there was some rain. Not the rain we need but it was like the sky could no longer keep it in so it just fell down. I looked out and it is still drizzling a bit so maybe there is hope for it to continue more but I also saw the moon peeking through so maybe not.

The adventure of today was surviving. I am reading “Sulu” by Maya Angelou and it is very good. And I worked on survey results for a project I am involved with so I guess somethings got done in the effort not to move too much. My kids arrive tomorrow so I have to get things done. Hopefully the temps will be lower tomorrow.

Charles O’Connor’s Diary 1915
January 1915
January 1 – Friday – New Years Day. Lovely morn. I go early to Gan to vote for Fergus. Take Jim Bevins and wife. Harry McNeil does chores for me. We get home by 12 midnights. Busy day and big nite out. Fergus wins in hot election. He wins by 40 over Rogers. Great rejoicing by all us and his friends.
Jan 2 – Stormy. Arthur Slack and I go to Seeleys Bay to telephone meeting.
Jan 3 – Roads terrible. Herb comes again.
Jan 4 – Town meeting is now called. Municipal meeting. Election, Steacy, Simpson, Love and Fry. Busy crowd.
Jan 5 – Herb helped me logging.
Jan 6 – Holy Day. Quiet.
Jan 7 – Rainy day. Gerty Kelsey spends day with Madeline.
Jan 8 – 9- Madeline and I go to Gan by Griffins. She loves driving on ice. Back by South Lake and roads are awful. She will like ice driving more than ever.
Jan 10 – K. Kalig? here from Phillipsville.
Jan 11 – Get word Kate McDonald dead.
Jan 12 – Madeline went to Gan and on to McArdle & Spratt wedding. Fergus and Frank go but Emily and I do not. Fergus gives bride away. Big wedding.
Jan 13 – Emily. Ellen and I go to Kates funeral. She leaves 7 children. Sad death.
Jan 14 – Cut wood for school. Herb stays.
Jan 15 – Lovely letters from Fergus, Frank and Madeline. We feel we had been there at wedding. Madeline stays on Island.
Jan 16 – Herb big help to me. Get out pine logs. Who can ever say to me that he does not like to work? He is one of best.
Jan 17 – Sunday – Very stormy. Quiet. Herb plays violin most of day. Good for all of us as we miss Madeline so much but she will have lots to tell us on her return home.
Jan 18 – Get contract to furnish school wood.
Jan 19 – Tom and Mike Slack here all night.
Jan 20 – Sleighing gone. Letters from Fergus, Frank and Madeline.
Jan 21 – Ira Bevins very sick. Go down.
Jan 22 – 23 – More snow.
Jan 24 – Went to meet Madeline at Griffins. Fergus brings her there. Nane, Mayme D,, Darley and Lena here on our return. Madeline had a wonderful time and spent two days with Kate B and had event Friday.
Jan 25 – Snow and logging
Jan 26 – took wood to Gan
Jan 27 – Herb and I cut logs.
Jan 28 – 29 – Herb went home. Tom S. and Madeline go to Jones Falls to a ball. Have wonderful time. Jen Rogers and Mr Hart wonderful to them. Cold night. Madeline meets a college mate and friend of Somers O’Connor. A seminarian Mr. Garrin. She says she danced most with him. He graduated from St. Michaels with Somers. They get home at 5.
Jan 30 – 28’ below zero. Sue and Joe had put hot bricks in the cutter last night.
Jan 31 – Sunday Turned warmer in night. So Madeline and I go to Mass – use Kenneys bricks. Snowed heavy on the way home. Bad trip.

August 10, 2016 – Reunion Thoughts

What is a family reunion? It is a genetically connected group of people who get together with spouses and children and extended family to celebrate their relationship.

My family has been trying to maintain our connection for years, especially after my Dad died suddenly two weeks after his 65th birthday in 1975. We realized how fragile life can be and that spending time together and being connected would take effort but one worth working on.

We had birthday celebrations for my mom’s birthdays, the occasional total family Thanksgiving etc. Having never lived near family as my Dad moved around with his job we were all very close. Once we became adults it was even easier since ages did not matter as much. No one was burdened with any one task because we all tried to be there for each other. And as my brother Milt showed us by returning to us letters we had written over the years we all worked as staying in touch.

Over the last ten years we have been getting together almost every summer to celebrate family. This year was no different. As I drove home I thought about what does it all mean? We spend about ten hours together on Saturday and a few on Sunday before heading for home. Those of us who arrived in town on Friday night went to dinner together.

Most of the conversation is pretty general catch up kind of talk. How’s the job going? What are the kids up to? How was that fabulous vacation? Etc. A group of us had decided ahead of time not to get into heavy political conversations or discussions about the family members not there unless it was our kids, two of whom were not there. For the most part we followed our own rules. My nephew Connor did make a toast that for me was a treat. One nephew and niece who were working were missed as well as those who decided not to attend for their own reasons.

I did learn some interesting things from my grandnephews in law who are great guys and one especially a deep thinker that I want to visit and learn more from. Listening to him was enlightening. Was happy to hear my dear nephew is finished with his dissertation. That has been a long road. And meeting and getting to know his brother’s girlfriend was a treat. I am so impressed by the jobs the younger women are engaged with. I don’t know if I ever could have had young children and a real career type job.

I had brought family trees for each of my nieces and nephews as well as treats for my nieces from my mom’s casual jewelry collection. They were received well and it made me happy. I also had packets of letters and cards they had sent to our Aunt Mary over the years which I felt they should have. Just like the letters Milt had brought for his siblings.

The weather this past weekend was scorching so most of us “older” folks spent a great deal of time inside the air conditioned house. The younger more fit folks, including my three brothers were down in the river with the kids swimming and making sure no one drowned as there was a swift current. We grand-dames chose not to participate. Just too hot. So we had great chats and solved the problems of the world all by ourselves.

It was just nice to spend time with family, eat good food and just be together. The lesson I learned from this weekend is that next year if we are there we will go early to the son’s house and be more rested for such a busy time. The 8.5 hour drive down on Friday and the 6.5 hour drive on Sunday was just too much for me. I did not have the stamina for it so was pretty tired all day Saturday and Monday was a crash day. And the other thing I learned was about the mutual respect we all have for each other. I know it is there but being together during such a terrible election year with no one taking anyone on for their choices was a great example of the love we have for each other.

And the nicest thing for me all weekend was a morning conversation I had with my darling daughter. It was special and makes me feel warm inside. The family reunion gave us that opportunity.

All in all to me Family Reunions are worth it. Even though short and sweet it still is time worth spending. I also try each year to go and visit my brothers. That way we can really catch up and spend some quality time together. After all at our ages who knows how many more years will we have? Might as well make the most of it. I know one of these days my kids will come along and take away my car….. no more free wheeling momma.

And because we are celebrating family here is more of Charles 1914 Diary

September 1914 – Norah O’Connor who he is speaking of is not my mother, she is the daughter of Daniel O’Connor’s brother Charles I believe. She lived down in Rochester and took care of her mother. Then at times he is talking about my mother…

Sept 1 – 3 – Not very well.
Sept 4 – Took Norah … to Annies.
Sept 5 – Took Norah to Gan visit Mike and Fergus.
Sept 6 Saturday – Came home in heavy rain. Creek too. (?)
Sept 7 – 8 – Ploughing.
Sept 9 weds – Fergus and Norah here. Margaret goes home with him.
Sept 10 – Went to Leadbeaters for spring wheat seed.
Sept 11 – sow wheat, cut buckwheat.
Sept 12 – 13 – Fine day. Madeline and I go to Mass. I tell Father Kehoe we must go to Prot. Funerals that he does not understand. My nerves are shaken because of speaking but in church like this he cannot understand, I am sure God does. He seems to see my point after he cools down. Anyway I had to speak out about this. (yeah Charles for doing the right thing)
Sept 14 – Mrs Burns very sick. They send for Fergus. Madeline goes over with him and keeps terpentine (?) soaked pads on her and she gets relief.
Sept 15 – Lyndhurst Fair. I was there all day. Emily and Madeline afternoon. Guy Curtis has good visit with us. Warm day.
Sept 16 weds – Fergus comes and brings brother Mike and Margaret. Got 1st prize on Daisy.
Sept 17 – Anthony Flood sick so Emily and I go up to see him. Mary Desmond home with us. Another hot day. Wonderful for September.
Sept 18 – – 19 – Working at buckwheat.
Sept 20 – Threshers here.270 bushels gain.
Sept 21 – John, Annie, Ellen and Mary Desmond here.
Sept 22 – 23– Big thunderstorm.
Sept 24– Big rain, cooler.
Sept 25 – Take Mary to station. Sorry to see her go.
Sept 26 – I go to Gan. Alex Argue goes with me. I get fruit – peaches, pears and grapes.
Sept 27 –Sunday – Arthur and Annie Slack here for dinner.
Sept 28 – Hard frost. Such a change in a week.
Sept 29-30 – Madeline and I to Delta Fair. Madeline stays with Darley as Anthony very sick.

October 1, 1914

Oct 1 – Started potato digging.
Oct 2 – Fergus and Frank here so we visited all day.
Oct 3 – Potato work.
Oct 7 – corn work. Charlotta Gilbert Johnson here and Emily has great visit with her.
Oct 10 – Finished potatoes.
Oct 11 – Quiet day. Sykes here.
Oct 12 – Thanksgiving Day. Fergus and all the family came for dinner. We have a very happy day as we love the children so very much.
Oct 13 – husked corn.
Oct 14- Emily and I go to see Allie D (Allan Donnelly) as he is sick. Have dinner there and tea at Nane’s.
Oct 15 – Took potatoes in to Fergus.
Oct 16 – Tinkering around barn.
Oct 18 – Mike Slack and Jim Dillon here for dinner.
Oct 19 – Go to Ellisville.
Oct 22 – Ploughing and bringing in pumpkins.
Oct 23 – Ploughed and then went to F Stearys sale.
Oct 24 – Mr. Browne and Mr. McLellan here wanting option on mine and right to mine the celestite mineral. We gave it for 1 year.
Oct 25 – Mrs Perry died yesterday. We will miss her red kerchief and “simony”. Ellen will miss her the most. She was always spoken of as “Old Mrs Perry” a real character.
Oct 26 – Emily, Ellen, Madeline and I go to Mrs Perry’s funeral after Emily and I got home from Mass.
Oct 27 – Cold rain day.
Oct 28 – Helped Philip Kelsey thresh.
Oct 29 – Put up winter stoves.20.00 an acre from Gray. John Sykes here for meals as she is away for a few days.
Oct 30 – Pulled turnips all day.
Oct 31 – Emily and I went to Mass today. Special one.