2022 A to Z April Challenge “Reflection”… Oh What Fun I’ve Had

I tried my darndest to blog hop more during the blog… and it was hard… but such fun in discovering many new blogs. Sorry if I missed you, but I didn’t keep up with all that I stopped on! Some blogs were ones I’ve known from previous years… but many are new ones I discovered this year that caught my interest. Some blogs I found had no “like” button to click… while some even required me to sign in… in order to even click a like or comment… those tend to send me in a tizzy… as my passwords are not on the tip of my tongue. I’m so tired of keeping up with passwords… if you have a better way, do let me know!

The one post on my page, “The Early Portable Potty: The Slop Jar” (2016), was a post I didn’t include in my April “time traveling”, but maybe I should have as it’s always viewed daily… and that puzzles me! What is the attraction that warrants all those daily views?

A Few Fun Facts…

  • My April 1st post of the A to Z received 100 visitors, 9 likes, and 18 comments on the first day.
  • The day receiving the most views was on April 4th, Letter C... 183 views.
  • The day receiving the least views of “36”, was on April 23rd, Letter T… The Mistakes Made in Not Asking… it was a new post I wrote.
  • Countries viewing on April 1st was.. United States (148views), Australia (9), India (8), United Kingdom (3), United Arab Emirates (1), France (1), Denmark (1), and Phillippines (1). I enjoy looking at the countries who visit… and always wonder how they found me?
  • There were 35 countries who visited, besides the United States.
  • April 7th touched me deeply when I saw 11 views from Ukraine. In all their turmoil at the moment, 11 people viewed my post of Letter G to read… and hopefully for a short time, it took their mind off of what was going on in their lives; I would so love to have contact with them, but sadly they never returned; I contiued thinking about them daily, wondering how they found me, and were they ok? Prayers they are safe and sound, and out of Ukraine at this time!
  • My furtherest away readers were in Australia… 10,667 miles from my Connecticut home.
  • This (2022) April, I had 2,153 view for the month. 2021 had 2,478, while 2020 was at 2,674… seems that views have dwindled down somewhat over the past few years.

New Blogs that caught my eye… in no particular order

My favorite “oldies” from past A to Z’s… and most I’ve stay in contact with during the year… and always on the A to Z…

Stories Served around the tableAnne’s : Such fun memories this year in the questions “asking the grands”. And do check out her books she’s written on young sisters growing up in the tenaments of New York. I’m a slow reader… mind wanders… but they are holding my interest and I’m quite picturing Margaret and Lily as they bake the daily bread in Mr. & Mrs. Goldberg’s bakery; I’ve finished book one… now onto book two.

Janet’s Smiles I’ve been keeping up with Janet a few years now since we’ve met… always look forward to her posts. This year she entertained me with “date night” ideas.

Cassmob… Family History across the seas: I always enjoy history, and learned much on her history from “down under” and travels across the globe… definetly a world traveler!

The Curry Apple Orchard: Remembering the past and celebrating the future… interesting posts.

Anne’s Family History: An online research journal of her family history.

Finding Eliza: Family stories remembered in using the 1950’s census. I was so excited that the 1950 has arrived for us to research… but I was bummed in having to wait in diving in, until the A to Z ends.

For anyone who didn’t join in this year… hope to see you next year. It is somewhat intimidating to begin, but once you join, you’ll be back the following year… and better prepared! I did find my first year quite hectic to keep up with, but it’s all about “preperation”. I find myself thinking all year as to a “theme”… as I firmly believe for me it works the best… and I’m already scribbling notes for theme ideas for 2023!

Cogratulations on all who finished… and a big “Thank You” to all who took the time to stop in on my A to Z Time Traveling through my blog. I’ll be back next year… it’s like a family reunion of sorts… something you just look forward to attending every year… and must attend!

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Click for more … Family Stories

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Monthly Musings: 2022… April Musings

As usual, April is a whirlwind month for me… even before arrivng… and mainly due to my yearly join of the April A to A writing challenge… of daily blogging!

As I hadn’t planned my theme early enough to prepare, I came across a mention of “time travel” and it hit me… I’d time travel through my years of blogging. It has been so much fun as who can remember over 700 plus writings. I added a few new tidbits of info here and there… and it seemed to have been a big hit with my readers! Read my 2022 A to Z Here!

Time traveling through my blog this month yielded me a great hit on letter H… Honeymoon Mystery. Blogger, Donna Smith, left a message that she might have discovered the Inn where they honeymooned in Vermont. After reading my post, she searched for Inn’s in Vermont… coming up with Mountain Top Inn & Resort; after layering a photo with the mountain range behind over my photograph… Bingo… it lined up perfectly. I emailed the Inn with a link to my blog… hoping they’d be interested enough to take a peek… and you can about it on Letter Z.

Crafting this month was slightly on hold except for completing the knitted bunnies for Easter baskets… only stuffing and knitting ears. I procrastinated in making the Easter baskets from candy boxes, but finally pulled it together before the big day! My daughter in-law made the ones above for the girls in Florida; as shipping has become so price, I sent money to buy the items there. She did a fantastic job…. turning into quite the crafter!

My Easter baskets for the girls here constructed/glued together with a chenille handle… filled with goodies and a knitted bunny. The chocolate bunnies have now since dissolved into fondue!

With the arrival of Billie Bee 🐝 back in my front yard… also arriving are the many blooming of flowers. This often, solo lone “big” bee buzzing you anytime you walk out in the front yard… which he seems to think is his! I can’t wait for the honeysuckle to show up… Love the smells that will flow in through my bedroom window. Mama told me they as kids would drink the trickle of juice inside! I had to Google to see if she remembered correctly! She Did!

The bottom purple flower is known as “Money Tree”… have you ever heard of it? After blooming, many round silvery coin shapes soon appear on branches… later the thin outer covering on the coin quarter size shapes will blow away in the wind, along with seeds… and your left with branches of coin shapes dangling to arrange in a vase.

My WIP’s have dwindled down drastically… but I still have those socks on my needles, that desperately need addressing. For some reason, I just can’t get the drive to finish them, but I will! My problem is, I keep finding new projects to begin. I also need to finish my Nancy Drew EPP Scottie dog… which I’m hoping to finish once the April A to Z is over. I have begun sewing the gussett… so I’m making progress! I’m sure my doggie will make it’s debut by the end of May!

I’ve added a new UFO this month… and I’m blaming Arne and Carlos on this one. In having lots of colored yarn, this was the perfect project in using it up… so I jumped in on the bandwagon! The circles aren’t completed, as there is still one more outside color before they’re crocheted together… so stay tuned! Every week they have been teaching the design on their YouTube blog… soon comes the outside color… which really transforms it into a unique look. Give them a look over Here at their “Spring Along”. #kal #springKal #crochetalong #knitalong #springknitting #arne&carlos.

Birthday girl, Grace, turned the big 8 this month… celebrating with dad and mom and big sister, McKinley… who’s birthday arrives next month!

Besides the regular April blogging… April had a few birthdays to keep me busy… with May and June birthdays to soon follow. April 6th was my mom’s “heavenly 92nd birthday”, with mine following ten days later. She tried her best to have me born on her birthday, but I wasn’t having any part of it… doctor told her to go home and come back when I was ready! Two granddaughters are April and May, son-in- law is April, then hubby and daughter-in-law follow in June. After June… it’s clear sailing until October for my daughter, and November for my son. Then Christmas planning begins… which I usually am all set by then… thinking and buying back in September and October so I can get my gifts shipped to granddaughters in Florida before we head down. I am often done with shopping way before Thanksgiving!

My daughter surprised me for my birthday with the girls and a few cousins… hubby didn’t let the cat out of the bag, although while sitting in car waiting for my daughter, I mentioned to hubby that I thought I’d seen cousin Paul… but I let it go as normally he would be at work. Yes she actually surprised me… which is hard to accomplish!

I’m still playing the online game of Wordle… you probably see your friends post their success daily… have you jumped on that bandwagon? I had been backtracking through their archives on all I’d missed… until the very bad guys over at The New York Times insisted it be taken down. Seems there are newly clone sites that keep popping up… so I’ll have to keep my eyes open. I’m still waiting for the day when my first word I play daily… is the correct word!!!

Easter is never the same without my ham and rice pies, but ham won out! I don’t seem to have the stamina I did years ago… or the back! It felt good when I finally placed in oven… and hubby offered for cleanup detail! Only left is to make a chocolate, chocolate trifle, and if I don’t run out of steam, I’ll make pizzelles! If you’re interested in my ham pie, check my recipe out over here! P.S., I did make the pizzelles, but forgot to take photos.

Hope you were able to celebrate Easter with family and friends… and the Easter Bunny was good to you. Love to hear what you baked! Do you have speciality foods that you feel you must bake! The warmer weather is calling… so I’m off to sit at the beach for a bit and enjoy some sun and relax watching the waves roll in!

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Family Photographs… and their stories: Cowgirl Jeanne

After beginning my weekly series on Family Heirlooms, I thought… why not tell the stories on the family photographs. I’ve always loved the older family black and white vintage photographs, and whenever I’m leafing through my albums, I stop to ask “what’s your story?” Every photo has one – and it’s my mission to tell them – one by one!

“Cowgirl Jeanne”

This photograph of me as a “cowgirl” was around 1957 at Christmas… me wearing what Santa left me under the tree. In as much as I loved to ride this bike… it took awhile before those training wheels came off! It wasn’t until we moved to Perry… and other kids laughed at me before they came off.

So what does this photograph tell about my mother and me on my bike? I know that this photo was taken at Christmas, around 1957. At first I thought maybe the bike was also a Christmas gift, but after colorizing it, the bike doesn’t look nearly so clean as a new bike might look. Also, it looks to be a boys bike, so maybe the bike had been a hand me down… with the cowgirl attire being my Christmas gift. I’m sure if mama had bought me a new bike, it would have been a girls bike. My mother certainly looks cold here, wearing a sweater with arms folded and a scarf on her head; I’ve hardly ever seen mama in a sweater! After coloring the photo, I laughed… in that she’s wearing clothes matching my cowgirl outfit.

My husband took upon the task of trying to identify my bike, and feels it possibly might be a Huffy. I looked more closely at my cowgirl attire, and I can vaguelly make out the words Roy Rogers on my blue and grey boots… with the same colors matching the shirt, pants, gloves, holster and hat. I certainly seem to have had the complete outfit… only thing missing was the spurs; sure wish mama had saved that outfit! I don’t think I ever wore this same outfit when we moved to Perry… as this seems to be the only photos of me wearing it.

This type of Christmas gift certainly wouldn’t be under the tree in 2022… kids today don’t know how to play like this. I wonder just how popular Roy Rogers outfits were for girls, as there was a Dale Evans shirt and skirt… but they didn’t buy me a skirt… I received the shirt and pants… maybe I was more of a tomboy! Mama always talked about how I never seemed to be very excited at Christmas… but I certainly seem happy dressed here… and all ready to ride!

Another view of me on my bike with cousins, Debra (with doll), her brother George on his bike and another cousin, Cassy. (colorized below)

Cousin George and Debra’s grandmother lived just next door to us… she was also my great aunt… sister of my grandmother McKinley. I’m thinking George may have received his bike from Santa and brought for him to ride while visiting; our street was quite, and perfect for bike riding!

To view more family photographs, click Here!

Read Family Stories, click Here!

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2022: Z… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Zee Last Thing I Expected to Discover on the A to Z!

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Z… Zee Last Thing I Expected to Discover on the A to Z!

For this April (2022) A to Z, I had decided to “time travel” through my blog of eight years… while adding a few new comments here and there, But… a surprise happended on letter H! I traveled back to June 5th, 1947, to the “Honeymoon Mystery”. A mystery of which I wrote on my in-laws wedding and honeymoon photos found… which prompted me to piece together a story. From a later newspaper clipping, I discovered their honeymoon destination was actually Vermont… but I had first began my search in the White Mountains of New Hampshire searching for honeymoon Inns.

Now, lets rewind to April 9th, the day my letter “H” posted… and by late evening, blogger Donna Smith, messaged me that she thought she’d found the Inn! I was esstatic! Hip Hip Hooray!!! She noticed the name “Top” on the signpost out front and in searching for Top Inn in Vermont, she turned up the The Mountain Top Inn, in Chittenden, Vermont. She compared my post of the forest skyline behind my father in law relaxing on the chaise lounge to a few photos on the Inn’s website… “Bingo”… one in particular on their back new terrace caught her eye… clearly showing such a similar comparison. She then went one step further… downloaded the photo of my father in law on the chaise lounge with the clear view of the mountain skyline… and layered it over the photo from the Inn’s page… it matched up identical! She immediately contacted me and sent me that photo… It was so exciting to see the comparison in the layering… how could it not be the same location? I think the mystery has been solved by Donna!

The puzzle pieces fit… as the original was layered over a new photograph!

If my Nancy Drew hat hadn’t been so cock-eyed on my head, I would have went and searched again after discovering that there honeymoon destination was actually Vermont, and not of which I first thought, in New Hampshire…. but… read on! Donna Smith and I seem to have more in common besides blogging… Nancy Drew! She was a contributor to the book, Nancy Drew Anthology… of writings and art! It seems, even though my Nancy hat was slightly askew, it was our favorite sleuth, Nancy Drew, that drew us together!

I immediately emailed Mountain Top Inn with my strange request of… asking if they would they look at my blog story and photos, and match them to any early photos they might possibly have. I double/triple crossed my fingers in sending off my request! I’m sure whoever opened that email… scratched their head!

It was Laura Conti, Marketing Director, who received my email… emailing me back to say she was quite intrigued with my request and offered to help. Within a week, she sent pictures of several photos that hang in their lobby… and it seems to both of us that we have a match! YooHoo!

While waiting to hear back, I began searching out more information, such as… do mountain ranges ever change their shapes through the years. It seems that they do maintain their shape through the years… and my photos were matching up very identicle to the ones of today… 75 years later! I can’t believe that I’ve finally discovered of which Inn in Vermont, of where my in-laws honeymooned! All thanks to one of my fellow blog readers.

In this original photo, I hadn’t caught the word “Top” on the sign… and also had searched in the wrong state. Check photo below of which I was sent… and while you can’t clearly see the words in the photograph, the shapes on the sign match.

This photograph of the original building hangs in the lobby of The Mountain Top Inn… you can clearly see the sign post… a more closeup is below, although the image isn’t clear for the words, but the shapes match up identical to my original photograph my in-laws took.

The Mountain Top Inn became very well known in 1955 when President Eisenhower vacationed there during a fishing expedition. A luxury room in the main lodge was soon named after the President… soon known as “Ike’s View”. (Another clue was the front porch in this photo… depicting the same striped fabric awning, and partially seeing how the front side doors in the original photo match to this photograph.

I can now almost close the book on their honeymoon mystery, but there’s still a couple of unsolved questions… first, how did she find this place, as the Inn was new on the map… no one else in the family had gone… so no word of mouth, but somehow she, or I’m assuming… had found it! I doubt that question will ever be answered as there is no one left to ask, but I never though I’d find the Inn either!

The second unsolved puzzle on their honeymoon mystery, is… where was this photo of Celia taken… with the sign behind saying… “Crossing this lawn Prohibited by order of the Police.” Is she outside a jail… Canadian border? Were they out sightseeing? They weren’t close to the Canadian border, and I’ve never heard her mention that they had been to Canada… could they have detoured near Niagara Falls on the way home? Figuring this one out might be short of a miracle!

The Inn was only open a few years at the time my in-laws chose The Mountain Top Inn in 1947. It first began as a converted barn… and actually had been a turnip farm founded in the late 1870’s. In 1940 Mr. William Barstow purchased this farm for his wife, Francoise. Through the years, there were improvements and additions to the original barn… turning it into a full Inn & Tavern. Later in 1945, William & Margery Wolfe purchased the Inn and continued to make improvements. They would have been the proprietor’s when my in-laws honeymooned there in 1947.

Advertisement found in a magazine… and from the looks of the cars, I’d say late 40’s or early 1950’s… possibly how my in-laws discovered their honeymoon get-a-way from an advertisement as such!

More changes came to the Inn in 1964 to take advantage of winter sports and encouraging year-round guests… a cross country ski center was soon developed. Today, the resort boasts over 60 kilometers of trails and known as some of the best cross country skiing around.

Sadly, in 1977, a fire managed to destroy the majority of their original Inn’s lodging… and of where my in-laws would have stayed. The Inn was later rebuilt in a similar post and beam construction lending similance to what once stood in their lobby… giving warmth and charm to what their main lodge had once offerered their guests.

I hope this summer to take a road trip to The Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vermont… seeing it in person… and maybe we’ll even spend the night to take in the treeline of the Green Mountain National Forest… the very same view my in-laws enjoyed.

As of April 30th, there has been 105 view on Letter H…

Thank You to all my readers who followed me along in this A to Z of “time travel”… connecting daily with me. And especially a big “Thank You” to fellow blogger, Donna Smith… for taking that extra step!

April is over… so everyone can take a very well-deserved rest… but don’t forget to blog hop and catch up on all you’ve missed… before writing your “reflection” post!

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories

To read more 2022: A to Z… click HERE.

Like to read more Family Stories, click over HERE.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

2022: Y… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Your Mistakes Made… and Theirs!

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Your Mistakes Made… and Theirs!

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start! Don’t let it become your “mistake” by not writing your stories!

Mistake2

Life is full of mistakes, and you’ve been told all your life… “learn from your mistakes.” But do you? For the most part, I’d say yes I have. I’ve often told my children that you have to make mistakes to fully learn from them. So what have I learned through my mistakes?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Your Mistakes Made…and theirs!

First Posted on September 9, 2019 

As a young child, you learn that when mama says wear your shoes… and you don’t, that you often are going to step on, or in something! You learn quickly that you don’t or shouldn’t ride your bike barefoot… if you value your toes, and those pedal bars certainly don’t feel good on bare feet.

Growing up in the South, I’ve always been a “barefoot” girl, for the most part. I think it’s just something about that part of the country where you go barefoot. My husband strongly disagrees on why anyone should go barefoot… as he believes it’s bad for your feet, giving you flat feet through the years. I think his biggest reason is… that there is too much to step on, like a piece of broken glass lurking, just waiting for you. He always says, that if it’s there I’ll walk right by it, but it always find his bare foot. He hardly ever goes without sneakers or slippers, and I can say with certainty that whenever he dares to walk somewhere in the house barefoot, either he stumps his toe, or finds that lurking piece of glass… just waiting for him! And then I hear the words, “see I told you, whenever I don’t wear my slippers, I step on something.” So that’s his “mistake.”

In looking back, I made many mistakes in school… not paying attention was my biggest! I fought strongly against learning… always saying how I couldn’t understand… but now I know that I made the mistake of actually just not wanting to understand; learned that mistake came way after school. I pushed my children to pay more attention in school and not allow them to squirm out of things as easily as I did… so maybe I did learn from my mistakes!

I can still hear my father telling me that I was making a “mistake” getting married so quickly… only knowing my husband for a short while… but I can definitely say that I made no mistake in marrying, as I’ve been happily married for 51 years… although he might not be so happy with me at times… as I can be slightly impatient, demanding  and can amass stacks of papers and books faster than a speeding bullet… but he never complains! I do try to learn from my mistakes on the impatience and demanding faults, but….

While my parents never showed any interest in family history when I was a child, after I married, my mother wrote down all the family names she knew and how they were connected to me; she made no mistakes! While I wasn’t interested at the time in researching… make no mistake about it… I filed those papers away in a drawer for safe keeping!

The one mistake my mother made was in not saving the love letters she and daddy wrote to each other while he was in the Navy, and even after they married. What I wouldn’t give to be able to read their thoughts to each other. I won’t make that same mistake… as I have the letters that hubby and I wrote to each other before we married and while he was stationed in Thailand after we married.

Mistakes come in all shapes throughout life!

In my many hobbies of knitting, genealogy, and numerous other crafts I’ve tackled over the years… there have been mistakes! Who doesn’t knit or crochet without making a mistake… but making them helps you to become a better knitter. No matter when I discover that I’ve made a mistake, I’m never satisfied until I’ve “frogged” (ripped out) it… and corrected that mistake! While some are content to let their “boo boo” go… it drives me crazy… and no matter how long I have to sit there diligently studying how to correct it… I will make that correction! It might not leave me in the greatest of moods as I sit there counting stitches and rows… as hubby will attest to! Nothing gets me more crazy when I’m counting… when he begins asking or telling me something… then I become loud in my counting to let him know… That I’m Counting!

There are so many examples of “mistakes” that I’ve found through the years in researching my family history… with census records being probably the first place… and there isn’t anyone who hasn’t found any. Probably the spelling of my ancestors surnames would be the biggest mistakes… but I can’t always blame the census enumerator, as they were only trying to spell the names as they heard them… and often people didn’t even know how to spell their own name… which certainly didn’t help!

Census Mistakes:

  • Name spellings
  • incorrect ages
  • parents born in wrong states
  • wrong info given; depending on who gave it to the census enumerator
  • families living in area, but never appearing on the census
  • census enumerators writing info incorrectly on census lines… logging family members in wrong families; check families next to whom you’re searching.

In my family, I’ve often had to play Nancy Drew in deciphering where my ancestors lived in a county, when they weren’t easily found. Often it was the spelling of the surname which stopped them from showing up easily enough. After learning from your early mistakes… you quickly learn how to search for them in a county by searching for their first names… or going page by page looking at all families… or searching for their neighbors, if known… as they just might be nearby.

One family really puzzled me as to where their children actually lived…as the parents had listed all their children, married or not, as living in their household. What tipped me off to that, was when I also had found their married children living in another state, and raising a family. That mistake took me awhile to finally figure out where they actually lived.

In my husband’s family, his grandfather’s Italian surname became changed over the years by his own mistake. I was surprised that it wasn’t changed at Ellis Island as so many were; the inspectors had a hard time spelling names, especially with the people themselves speaking no English… it certainly proved tough. Luckily though, his surname of Gambino survived its spelling there, but later it somehow transformed into Cambino. I’ve always felt that he wanted to lose the mafia stigma associated with his surname in America… and was happy to have a more American version of Gambino.

Another mistake I quickly learned to correct, was how I searched for married women on passenger ship lists as they sailed to America. Whether married or not, they traveled under their maiden names, as well as their children.

We all learn from our mistakes… at least we’re supposed to. A mistake is an error, a goof up… meaning you have researched something incorrectly, but mistakes have a lot of uses… as they actually are a teaching rule… as long as you pay attention and learn what went wrong!

Mistakes are good… they help… just be sure you learn from them! What’s your mistakes you’ve learned from?

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Time Traveling… click HERE.

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

2022: X… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Xmas Christmas Tree Decorations

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… it still has me just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Originally Posted: December 15, 2015

Xmas Tree Decorations and more…

I participated in the 2015 Edition of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories by Thomas MacEntee and the Geneabloggers. I’d like to personally thank Dawn Williams-Kogutkiewicz of Dawning Genealogy for sharing the idea on Genealogy Bloggers. If you haven’t blogged your Christma memories… it’d make a great April A to Z theme.

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Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you acquire them, or were they passed down to you from family members? Describe your favorite decorations!

All the felt ornaments on my tree were handmade by me. They were my first ornaments I made after turning a page in Woman’s Day magazine… and discovering them. I sewed so many, that I began selling them at craft fairs. It’s now become a ritual with me in making a new ornament every year… I vary between felted or knitted, but the granddaughters are gifted with new ornaments each Christmas.

I have concentrated this week on going through all our Christmas decorations… saved from over forty three years of marriage. As I sat there looking through box after box, I thought, “what was I thinking?” Hubby was happy to have a few less storage tubs, but me… it’s hard to part with things. I know at some point, you need to let go of decorations that are no longer used… but as of now, I haven’t reached that point yet… even though I don’t seem to decorate so much.

In years past, I was obsessed with collecting Hallmark ornaments… mostly the ones you buy every year to continue a set, like trains, houses and son and daughter specific ornaments. News… if you think your children will want all the ones you bought for them through the years, well think again. Wonder what Hallmark stock is worth,  that’s what I should have bought instead of ornaments!

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Hallmark Houses

In years past, I loved displaying all my “littles” every year. Yes, they were mostly Hallmark too, but little.  My daughter asked for them last year and I’m happy to see her display and begin a tradition for her children every Christmas. Her youngest, Grace, has taken possession in setting them up now for display every Christmas.

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“The Littles”

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The Christmas Dinnerware !

I bought a set of Christmas dinnerware one year… little did I think about having to storing them all year… to only use one day of the year! Every December I would dust them off to use on Christmasday, but now I have passed that tradition to my daughter; she often uses them the entire month of  December. My daughter in law always admired them… so I went on the hunt to acquire pieces to complete a second set to pass to her and my son.

Steve and I enjoyed looking for new Christmas decorations every year in our early years… often going to the local Chancey Brothers in the hunt. That’s how I ended up with so many totes of Christmas decorations; I did manage to downsize somewhat this year with them. In years past I gave most of the outside plastic decorations to my son… now it’s his job to store them!

One of my treasured pieces I’ve had since the early 70’s is this ceramic tree my father gave me. I must have mentioned, at some point, that I wanted a ceramic Christmas tree. One day, it just appeared in the mail. I was so touched at his thoughtfulness, and It means the world to me… and I’m not parting with it yet.

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Whenever I put this tree up at Christmas, I feel Daddy is with me in spirit!

What’s your favorite Christmas memories, decorations, or funny remembrances… do you decorate outside… what’s your oldest decorations?

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Like to read more ~ Click on 2015: Advent Calendar of Christmas

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2022: W… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Witchie Mrs. Butterworth

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Witchie Mrs. Butterworth

First Posted on October 31, 2018 

Mrs. Butterworth turns into a Witch Canva pic

As a young mother, I always sent away for things by saving box tops and labels… either for the kids or me; this calendar called out to me from the craft genes I inherited. I’ve had this calendar since 1983… the height of my craft years when the kids were small. Off to bed they went at 7… and the evening was mine, as hubby worked till midnight!

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Only a face a mother could love!

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I brought her out every Halloween… and always giving the kids a scary look that meant… they better not touch; only to be looked at, never played with. She’s been packed away for many years, but will be making an appearance this year… then back into her safe box… till another year. She only makes a yearly appearance like that famous “elf”, who pops up just after Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Buttersworth designed so many crafts using their bottle as the base… they were perfect for doll crafts… you only had to make the clothes, as the body of the doll was there.

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While cleaning out mother’s house I happened to find two bottles in her kitchen cabinets. I smiled… knowing she saved them for me! Today, you can only find them at flea markets or antique stores… if you’re lucky! I’ve seen them priced around twelve dollars… for a glass bottle that you only bought for the syrup… but now desirable!

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I’d forgotten I had even saved this 1983 calendar until during the summer when I opened up my craft pattern box and found it filed away. Of course I had to go down memory lane… and sit and look through every month of crafts.

Have you ever crafted a Mrs. Buttersworth bottle? Love to hear all about it!

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Like to read on more of my crafts, Click Craft Junkie

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Craft Junkie, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

2022: V… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Vacation Genealogy Road Trip… Day 9

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… it still has me just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Ho

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Vacation Genealogy Road Trip… Day 9

First Posted on December 31, 2016

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The Richland “Juke Joint” Bar… where mama and daddy danced on their wedding night with best friends.

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Chipman-Union Mill… Established 1875… Granddaddy Bryan walked through those gates to the mill for many years.

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Memorial marker in front of the mill… Commemorating the site of the First Regimental Reunion of Confederate Veterans. Survivors of the 3rd Georgia Regiment met at the Union Point fairgrounds July 30 – 31, 1874.

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This is located directly behind the mill and known to locals as the “rat hole.” With the train tracks directly behind the mill, and often stopping on the tracks… the employees needed a way to get to work… no excuse to be late now! I wasn’t so brave as to walk through it myself, but mama said she and her girlfriend often ran through it.

Our only stop today was a visit with my cousin Charles Bryan and his daughter Lynn… and whoever else stops by; the more the merrier makes for fun conversation. We arrived by lunchtime, and I was armed with a notebook of questions on my grandfather working at the mill, and my great grandfather who sold more than just mineral water.

Lynn dug out her dad’s family photo albums and looked through as we chatted, but they mostly were of her immediate family. But every so often, Lynn said “here’s one”… so I did leave with a few new family photos.

Once I prompted cousin Charles on our shared great grandfather, William C. Bryan, and asked if he really made moonshine… the stories quickly flowed. I decided to write a separate blog post, so just click …More than just Spring Water… in that Wagon!

Between my mother and Charles, I don’t know who enjoyed the stories more, it’s funny how once they began talking, the two of them were really quite involved in those tales…and both did their share of talking! I’m more of a behind-the-scene type of person, but not mama, she’s right out there and often tells me, “I don’t know where you get your personality from…. definitely not from me“!

If I had the opportunity to spend more time with Charles… I know there’s plenty of stories  just waiting to be told…I’ll be prepared with new questions on my next visit.

I recently discovered a financial document on the Chipman-Union Mill in Union Point where granddaddy Paul Bryan worked, along with many of the Bryan men. I found granddaddy’s brothers Leon, Clyde and Gordon listed.

In more talks with Charles, I learned… “the mill ran a couple of stores where the employees purchased items they needed for work, or items produced by the mill. There were two mill stores in Union Point, one on each side of the railroad tracks… the rat hole underneath was how everyone traveled back and forth. It never mattered if the train stopped on the tracks, as you still were able to cross underneath … via the rat hole. Those stores sold gas, coal, clothes, groceries… almost anything you needed. Whatever you bought, went on your tab and was deducted from your weekly wages. There were no checks, their pay with given in an envelope… cold cash. Sadly… some people ended up with only change in their pay envelope… if they over-bought!”

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Binns St. ….my grandparents lived at the very end of the road.

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Granddaddy lived on Binns St…. it was just across the street from the mill. He walked the two short blocks to work every day, and when we lived there I often sat on the front steps waiting for him to walk by. Everyone knew when work ended, as the mill blew a whistle that was heard all over town; often people said they always knew it was lunchtime when the mill whistle blew.

Even though I knew granddaddy Bryan worked at the mill, which was only two blocks from his house on Binns St., I never really knew what he did…. so I asked Charles. “Uncle Paul was more of a Foreman in the maintenance department at the end of his time before retiring, but years before he worked in the spinning room and in maintenance before that… they were known as “the fixers.” Aunt Evelyn worked there also, but I don’t think for long. I really can’t even remember her working there past the late 1940’s.”

When I mentioned granddaddy in the movie “Coward of the County”… Charles laughed… “I still can’t believe Uncle Paul was in that movie as an extra, but I bet Aunt Evelyn had a hand in pushing him to do that, as he made about $35 dollars for that day’s pay; she liked money! When it was known that they were shooting scenes in the mill and looking for extras, the local woman in charge actually called granddaddy and asked him to come and try out for the scene; she knew he had the right look and told him to wear his Sunday pants and hat; that was the exact look they wanted.” I wrote a story called  Granddaddy’s 15 Minutes of Fame on his short movie career.

Granddaddy lived in the last house at the end of Binns Street, the perfect place for him as it offered him land on the side of his house, as well as another field of land behind; a stream, branched off from the Ogeechee River, separating the front field from the back, where the horse stable and barn were; he built a small bridge to utilize the back field past the stream. I remember running across that bridge, and every time imagining a troll jumping up and grabbing my legs; I guess I read Billy Goat Gruff too many times! Charles told me… “Your grandfather bought the entire block of land at the end of Binns St. and eventually built three houses. He first built his house at the end, the best spot for farming, later when his son Floyd married, he built a house next door and finally, he helped your grandfather McKinley build your parents house at the top of the block.”

I’m planning a separate post to talk about the BBQ stories I learned today…  Who knew granddaddy and Uncle Leon sold plates at work of all you can eat for $1.25! Read that post over HERE!

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I never knew granddaddy drank beer until Charles mentioned it today...”Uncle Paul would go to Bill Walker’s beer joint with my father Leon, (his brother) and have “one” beer and buy a quart to bring home. That quart lasted him all week… he’d take a sip… then put the top back on and go out to the field and plow. Aunt Evelyn wouldn’t let him have any more than that every week, but he often had two beers before leaving. He might let Evelyn (my grandmother) think he was listening, but he had selective hearing with her.”

 Granddaddy Paul was a man of few words…. and hearing Charles talk today about him today brought him more to life for me and painted a different picture.

I can never leave Union Point without a ride downtown….

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Union Point sits alongside the railroad tracks and there is only one side to town. Years ago there was also train station, but many things have changed and disappeared from this small town of where I lived for five years.

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A mural painted on the side of the last building on the side of the main street of Union Point.

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A Southern weed known as “Kudzu” engulfs everything and anything in its way; you often find deserted homes almost completely engulfed. The left photo above reminds me of a dinosaur with his head high above the Kudzu. In the early 1940’s the county agents came around to the farms planting this “new” plant on the farms to control soil erosion, or so they thought. Little did they know what havoc it would reek in years to come. Granddaddy McKinley wanted no part of it and as soon as they left… he burned it all off. Many farmers lost their timber to this evil plant called Kudzu.

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I don’t know what I see more of around Greene County… the huge stones or the large mounds of cactus. Mama always said these stones are the roots of Stone Mountain in Atlanta. You don’t find them everywhere, like this in Georgia, but all throughout Greene County they are abundant.

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Point Place Market sits on the corner of Binn St., across from the mill. The “City Hotel” originally sat here for years, run by Bill and Katie Walker. I have searched for a photo of this hotel for years…. but to no avail! The only photograph I’ve found, is one of my mother sitting on the side steps; she’s told me many stories of it, as she was best friends with their daughter, and spent much time there. Besides first meeting my father there, she also spent her first night as husband and wife in that hotel; Mr. Bill gave them a free room. As it sat directly across from the mill, many employees boarded there during the week… going home on weekends.

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The former Union Point Schoolhouse was built in the early 1900’s, and used for almost seventy years. Before World War II, it was used during the day as a school, and in the evening as a technical school for men going into the military. I’m sure my father must have attended school here, although I’ve heard he played more hookey more than attending. His father was often called to search him out; usually found at the mill playing cards with the men… I still haven’t discovered who taught him to play poker at such an early age, but I’m told he was a good poker player.

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One of my favorite things to photograph when in Georgia, are hay bales;  this one is located near my grandfather’s farm in Siloam. They looked like they had rolled down the hill, and just stopped; the clouds were also awesome on that day.

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Jackson’s B-B Que in Union Point, Georgia

Before leaving my hometown of Union Point for the last time on this trip, we made a stop for lunch at Jackson’s BBQ. Until granddaddy began cooking BBQ at home, this was where he bought on weekends. In as it’s been a long time since I’d eaten there, we decided to enjoy sandwiches before leaving. I ordered mama an order of onion rings as she didn’t want a sandwich, and she raved all afternoon about how good they were. LOL, they were so good that they gave her heartburn the rest of the day. It won’t stop her from wanting another order next time we stop!

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Holcomb’s Bar-B-Q

Last stop for the day was back at Holcomb’s BBQ in Greensboro for my pickup of Brunswick stew and BBQ. If you’ve never enjoyed a bowl of this stew, just head on over to Holcomb’s in Greensboro, but remember they are only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And believe me, when Thursday rolls around… the locals can’t wait for lunch… everyone knows where they are going for lunch!

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The trucks rolling in the field to pick the last of the cotton!

I missed my opportunity to take photos of the cotton field on the way home to mama’s as we  discovered the trucks were picking the last of the cotton as we came by. Those “cotton pickers” ruined by Photo Opp!

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Mama’s Angel Trumpets!

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Mama caught me photographing her headboard of jewelry… and shook her head! She’s quite the “jewelry hound!“  I arrived home one day to discover her new fabric headboard… where she planned to attach her jewelry; she could open her own store with all she has. Whenever she dresses, you’ll find her walking around looking for just the perfect piece to wear. She’s quite a character…. my friends at work refer to her as “Driving Miss Daisy” from my stories.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my memories and photos of my Vacation / Genealogy trip to Georgia. Thank You  for stopping by…

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories

To read more 2022: April A to Z… click HERE.

To read more of my Vacation Genealogy trip, click on link.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2022… U: A To Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Unusual Posts

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

In searching for titles with letter “U”… I typed in the word “unusual” on my blog, and 94 posts turned up! These 3 posts below turned up with the word “unusual” in the post title…

2021: Q – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Quirky and Unusual Photos

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 3 (Jan. 15-21) Unusual Name

Family Stories: Remembering Unusual Food Combinations Eaten

Intrigued…. do check out the other Unusual 91 posts! Let me know which you found the most unusual! Enjoy the few I posted below…

Dragon at Shelburne Farms – Shelburne, Vermont… if ever nearby, do stop and check out this “unusual” farm, which looks more like a castle!

“Unusual” visit to Cane Creek cemetery over Here.

Unusual stops on genealogy hunting days

Unusual newspaper clippings found over Here

Unusual musings from Mama from our many nightly conversations….

Ponemah Mill (Taftville, CT)

One of our most unusual sightings that took our breath away on a Sunday drive… to just nowhere. Do check out the entire set of photos on the post.

Mama’s love of her life… meet Boo! Boo, her most “unusual” faithfull companion… keeping mama company and watching dutifully over her… especially in the latter years!

My most “unusual” last post in Conversations with Mama and more was the hardest to write… as it was the final… no more! I’m now left only with memories of the many unusual conversations with mama through the years. Thank You Mama for leaving me with all those conversations… family tales… funny stories, and memories… and because of her, I write! I feel truly blessed!

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Click for more … Family Stories

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2022…T: A To Z April Challenge: Time Traveling Back in Time… The Mistakes Made… in Not Asking!

Where would you travel back in time to… who would you want to visit… and why? Sounds like one of those Back to the Future movies! I’d be right there with pen and paper in hand! I had originally planned to feature the past post of “The Mistakes Found”… but instead… writing a new post “The Mistakes Made”… the mistakes made in never asking my parents, and grandparents so many questions… so now I’m Time Traveling back to ask… come on along!

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Time Traveling back in Time… The Mistakes Made, in Not Asking…if only I had!

If I was sitting in that “time machine”… it would be such a dilemma in where to pull the handle… do I stop in the years my grandparents were young… or further back… or head into the future! Anyone that knows me, knows to never give me choices… but if I had a time limit, I’d begin in 1930, the year my mother was born, and the year in which the first Nancy Drew book was published. Even though I wouldn’t be able to have a sleuthing conversation with her or ride in her blue roadster… I could buy a box of first editions, such as “The Secret of the Old Clock” to bring back! My dream is to one day discover a first edition… or my second favorite, “The Secret in the Old Attic”… but I’d have to travel ahead to 1944 for that one! And if anyone in my immediate family is reading… now you know what to save up for, and buy for my birthday… and as you’ve missed that, well… Christmas is coming!

In order to talk to grandmama McKinley, I’d need to visit after mama was born (1930)… before my grandmother’s life fell apart, when her son was killed in Metz, Germany in 1945. I’d like to sit and watch as she pieced quilts by lamplight. I’d like to ask her who taught her to crochet, sew, embroider… I’d like to watch her make biscuits and cook on the wood stove… I’d like to watch all the canning she did from the family garden… and the day the county woman came to teach her how to can… when she already knew how! That woman exploded the pressure cooker in showing her… and granddaddy sent her on her way, with just a look! I’d definetly be packing a jar or two of her blackberry jam and pear preserves to bring back… I can taste them already!

One of my questions for grandmamma would be… how did you meet granddaddy? Funny how often no one knows exactly how their grandparents met from back in the day, or even where they married… and no one honeymooned in those days? I heard all about the dress that grandmama supposedly married in. Mama described it as Nancy Drewish… a long flapper type polka dot dress with a 1920ish type clochure style hat. Mama often sneaked in the back hallway and pulled it out to play dress up in… if only it had been saved! Mama took so many photos of herself in various poses… why oh why didn’t she take one in that dress!!!

And if I was stopping in 1944 to pick up a Nancy Drew book… I might as well swing over to see granddaddy McKinley’s farm… in all its glory. His farm would be in its glory with fields of corn, cows, pigs and Pat the horse…and just maybe I’d catch him plowing in the field.I ‘d like one more chance to sit out on the back stoop with him, where he taught me to whistle to the Bob White birds in the field. But this time I’d be asking questions… what did you do as a boy… how did you meet grandmama… and what other stories did Grandpa Sharp tell you… and was there really Confederate money stuffed in his old chair?

Just maybe I could tag along on one of grandaddy’s Friday night fox hunting trips… as he never let me go when I was young… always saying, “no place for girls.” Well now, I could follow along with no questions asked, and see what really went on. Mama always said it was a lot of talk… not much hunting!

If it was summer, mama might be outside sunbathing… she cringed when he’d make her go to the field and pick cotton or help hang barb-wire fence! She would be 14 years old now… and saying goodbye to her brother Leroy, as he was drafted in the Army. I never had the chance to meet her only brother… maybe he could show me granddaddy’s old Model T under the car shed… it was told he often took it completely apart and laid all the parts out on the ground… making his father Oh So Mad!

In 1944, Mama and Daddy hadn’t met… he was now 16 and headed to boot camp for the Navy. Somehow he managed to have enlisted at age 15 with a fake ID… but soon he was soon discovered after being there for a few months; later after turning 16, his father signed for him to join. To actually see my father, I’d need to head to San Francisco… well that’s one way to see the Golden Gate Bridge! I’d love to see daddy in his Navy uniform… in those blues and whites! He was a looker… looking similar to Elvis in the face!

After time spent at granddaddy McKinley’s farm… I’m heading over to the small farm of Granddaddy Bryan in Union Point; I loved spending time there also. Granddaddy Bryan was more on the quiet side… not nearly as talkative or voicsterous as granddaddy McKinley. I often kept to myself there… looking for doodlebugs under the car-shed or walking through the fields, and over the field bridge to visit the mule up at the barn. When I was young, crossing that bridge scared me silly, as I just knew some troll would jump out and grab me by my ankles… dragging me underneath. I ran very fast over it! Granddaddy built the small bridge as a sideshoot stream of the Ogeechee River ran directly through his field. Once I grew over my fear of trolls, I’d lay on my belly to look down in the water… watching whatever caught my eye swimming by. I don’t think I ever fished off it… probably no fish there.

I’m sure I could somehow prod granddaddy into talking more on this visit… as I know he had stories to tell about his life growing up. I’m told he worked for the man who began the Coca Cola company… he must have stories! I’d like to hear more about his work in the mill and all the shenanigans my father got into as a boy. Granddaddy often had to return my father, over and over, to school… as he’d skip to play poker with the men at the mill. He must have been a very good pokerplayer as a young boy!

While I didn’t often hang under Mama Bryan (name I called my grandmother) too much, I would try and spend more time with her and learn her secret in making sweet potato cobbler and the famous Brunswick stew and BBQ sauce. This time I’d definetly ask more family questions about her life as a young girl and where she lived… and how she met granddaddy. Everyone assumed they met at church, which was usually the case back then; often the only place they were able to go for outings and even dates.

I’d like to revisit my father at a later date… and hoping I don’t forget my camera, as I desperately need more photos of daddy and I. In as I’ve never heard him talk about his years in the Navy… I have plenty of questions! I always heard my mother talk about how he jumped off the ships bow into the ocean, where it was radioactive… now there must be more to that tale! How did he not spend time in the brig for ignoring Captain’s orders! Why did I never ask him to explain himself in not following directions… as I had plenty of chances! If you’d like to read about daddy in the Navy, and just how the water came to be radioactive…. skip over HERE. That story is posted on my first blog when I began writing in 2014 in the 52 week, 52 ancestor challenge.

Another thing I’d ask my father is… just where did you find my first car… the 1965 yellow Mustang… and why did it take so long to find? I still remember the day he walked in announcing that my car was waiting for me in the driveway. Granddaddy McKinley gave him the money for my car, but it took daddy like over three months to find that car… a painful three month wait?

If I could have just one more afternoon… I could possibly piece daddy’s life together and hear his stories… the stories he never told. Why did he never mention his Navy days… or his life as a young boy? I only learned stories here and there from my mother, his uncles, and cousins… and while I’m thankful for them… I still have questions! He was often a bad boy… especially the time he nailed all the chicken’s feet to the ground! I bet grandmama gave him a whooping!

I most definetly now wouldn’t let daddy sneak out early on my last morning before leaving for Connecticut… dodging me in not saying goodby. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that he was having a hard time in saying goodbye to his little girl. I was so caught up in being a newly married bride, that I wasn’t seeing it.

Let’s side-step here a moment in remembering when the classic Back to the Future movie first arrived in 1985. I was already into family research at that time, and after watching that movie… all I could think about was… where would I first go… and ask! What was your thoughts on these movies… did they make you want to jump in the DeLorean with Marty and Doc Brown? I sure did!

That Delorean wouldn’t have been big enough for all I’d want to bring back! I definitely would have smuggled grandma McKinley’s Nancy Drewish flapper dress and hat for the ride back! If only there had been a photo of her wearing it!

Those movies put such ideas in everyone’s head, such as… what if this is really possible one day… possibly in our lifetime! Imagine going back to see your parents as teenagers… meeting them face to face! There were so many funny scenes in that movie… like when they thought his name was Calvin Klein because of the name on his underwear… a great pun in the movie! Did you have favorite scenes?

My biggest want in time traveleling… would be to go back to the very first day I met my husband on Oct. 31, 1970… and knowing what I know now! So how would that have changed things? Well, he wouldn’t have left me in Georgia when the base transferred him to Loring AFB in Maine. We probably would have gotten married before he left… and taking me with him to a cold, snowy Maine. I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to have been an Air Force wife. He laughs saying, “you would have never left our house in Maine with all the snow there“… it was more snow than he was even used to in snowy Connecticut.

If I had a do-over, hubby and I would enjoy our almost 51 years of blissful marriage… all over again! Those years went by way too fast… as most were spent raising kids. I’d definitely like more young years again! Heck, if I could time-travel, I would have enjoyed a vacation in CT. and met my future husband as a young boy, but with him being 4 years older than me, he probably wouldn’t have given me a look… but who knows! Even so, I could have seen his favorite “Savin Rock” amusement area and actually see the area in the time frame of when he grew up. I’m sure I would have loved his hometown as a kid!

Oh well… we haven’t evolved into a “time travel” society yet… so for now, a girl must dream!

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Click for more … Family Stories

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