2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 45 (Nov. 4 – Nov. 10): Rich Man

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 45 (Nov. 4 – Nov. 10): Rich Man

I “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. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. 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!

RICH MAN 45

“RICH MAN”

There’s so many ways “Rich Man” can be spinned. It can be interpreted as who was the richest man in your family… no one came to mind as specifically being wealthy in mine. My grandfather, Edgar T. McKinley was rich in land… owning 117 acres was something he was proud of… as the land allowed him to farm…  feeding and providing for his family. His land was rich … aka fertile… growing and producing timber much better than other farms nearby. My grandfather always said… “if you have land, you have money”… he was so true in that quote! He never bought anything on credit… he was very frugal in his purchases. He left this earth with money in the bank and land to pass on to his daughter, my mother. Even no longer here, he was still providing for his family.

I feel rich in finding the man I married… not everyone is lucky enough to find the right spouse, and remain married to one person for the rest of their life.

Hubby’s grandfather, Giuseppe Cambino was a “Rich Man” in the life he built in coming to America at the young age of only eighteen, with no more than twenty-five dollars in his pocket. He was rich in the knowledge to pursue the ownership of a business to support his family of seven children… owning Buddy’s Barber Shop. He lived the American dream of coming to this country… marrying, having a family and owning a business.

I consider my father in law, Steve Insalaco, Sr. a “Rich Man” in the life he lived. As a young boy of eight years old, he went to work at the local neighborhood market, delivering groceries and stocking shelves… he was rich in his attendance for school, never missing a day through eighth grade… he was rich in knowledge at work, always being the one called when no one else could repair… he was rich in providing for his family, working weekly more than a regular forty-hour week; he instilled in his son to never refuse overtime! I always looked up to my father in law…. to me he was a rich man of knowledge… building his own house, always knowing how to repair anything broken; it was said at his funeral, “now who do we go to when we don’t know how to repair what’s broken.” He was rich in the many memories he had of growing up and the stories he told me about his service in the Army. He was a “Rich Man” of family values… and those very values I see in his son… the man I married.

As I’ve searched and read the many census years published, I’ve learned more about my ancestors… as to who was really a “Rich Man”… and not just by the money they amassed. The agriculture census records showed their rich worth through livestock, land and produce grown. Most of my ancestors were dirt farmers… not realizing their true worth in those days, but when I now read and understand those census records… they were rich men!

Rich Man also applies to my husband… rich in family memories and traditions. I never had the memories of family traditions as he grew up with… the family holidays around a table full with family… grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I was an only child with only one uncle and cousins, but in as they didn’t live nearby, I have no holiday memories of spending time with them. I don’t think we celebrated holidays in my small family as my husband’s family did… it’s probably why I have no memories. During my 48 years of marriage… I now have those family memories of holiday meals, especially Christmas Eve… which in his family was one of the biggest holidays celebrated with family.

Together, my husband and I feel “rich” in regards to that we have raised two children who grew up to marry and give us five beautiful granddaughters to share our holidays with now. We are rich in that we are free now to travel at our leisure… pretty much we can pick up and go at a moments notice!

“Rich” has so many meanings, but this is how I have perceived it!

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Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 44 (Oct. 28 – Nov. 3): Trick or Treat

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 44 (Oct. 28 – Nov. 3): Trick or Treat

“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. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. 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!

Trick or Treat…

As Halloween approaches this year, it brings more than goblins, ghouls, and candy! It brings a count of 49 years back to the night I met hubby at a Halloween party… I was dressed as a fairy princess in a not-so-old prom dress, and he came dressed in his Air Force work duds… wasn’t too hard for him! Seven months later we were married! No tricks for us… only treats in the past forty-nine years of wedded bliss!

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McKinley and Grace’s Halloween pumpkins

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Two of my ghouls this year… McKinley as an arch angel and Grace as a corpse bride! I can tell she’s going to be running through those haunted houses soon! Ever see an angel wearing hot pink boots… well it was a little rainy and wet here on Halloween night… Gracie also has pink boots on! Those girls love their boots!

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My first Halloween photo… the twins, Ana and Nina were ten months, Ella was three and McKinley was one.

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A favorite photo of my Ella as “I Dream of Jeanie”… Ana as “Little Red Riding Hood” and Nina as her favorite princess “Aurora.” Their mother, like me, often makes their costumes.

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My son’s attempt at pumpkin carving!

I don’t remember any of my childhood Halloween costumes, school parties, carving pumpkins, or even going out trick or treating… not sure why none have never stuck in my head. I only remember one Halloween dress up when I was a teen… I cut my jeans into long strings and went as a hobo… not sure why I thought a hobo would have long strings on their pants, but that’s what I did!

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My silly attempt at a Hobo outfit as a teenager… not sure if this is what they wore, but its the only Halloween photo I have of myself!

Halloween in my youth was much more safer than today… we never had to worry about needles or blades stuck in candy, or drugs disguised as candy. Even in your own neighborhood today, you can’t let your children go out alone… and their candy must be looked at before eating. No one today would dare give a child an apple or homemade candy as in years past when people often made caramel apples or candy specifically to give out to the neighborhood children; it was a much safer event when I was young.

Hubby remembers… “Most of the time I dressed up as a bum… it was an easy costume and I’d carry a pillowcase… many people back then gave out full-size candy bars… and I always came home with a full bag. Today, people giving out full-size bars are far and few in-between! I think I only had one bought costume when I was in 4th grade at Thompson School, it was a devil costume my mother bought… I wore it to school for the Halloween parade.”

Halloween Dress Up of my in-laws!

Celia, Steve Insalaco, Nancy and Gene Cavallaro

LtoR: Celia and Steve Insalaco, with Nancy & Gene (her sister and brother in law) My mother in law made quite the “flapper” in costume and what I wouldn’t give to have seen my father in law dressed as Zorro! Aunt Nancy looked awesome as Morticia, but not quite sure what Uncle Gene was supposed to be…

Celia and Steve Insalaco

Another Halloween party has my mother in law as Phyliss Diller… and I’m thinking my father in law was maybe Groucho! In my wildest dreams… I never would have thought he would have ever dressed up!

When it came time for my children to enjoy Halloween, I mostly made their costumes… they were clowns, scarecrows, gypsies and even vampires. It was easy-peasy when they were really small, as those footed pj’s worked ever so well… it kept them snuggly warm on those chilly evenings. We usually took them to my husband’s parents and walked in his old neighborhood… then to great grandma’s house and his godmother’s house. They always had more candy than they even needed… or that I would allow to eat.

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Always easy when your daughter wants to be a gypsy… wrap a black shawl around, find gaudy long necklaces and tie a bandana on her head! Easy, Peasy costume!

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Today, we very seldom have any trick or treaters in our neighborhood…  I didn’t even buy one single bag of candy this year! In visiting my grandchildren the day after Halloween, I was treated to a few Snickers from their candy filled pumpkins… my favorite candy bar! From the looks of their loot… they did very well on Trick or Treat night!

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Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Nancy Drew: Season 1… Episode 3: The Curse of the Dark Storm

Nancy Drew: Season 1… Episode 3

The Curse of the Dark Storm

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From the moment I discovered a new “Nancy Drew” television series was premiering… I was hooked! Anyone who knows me… knows that I love Nancy Drew and everything that goes along with her. I missed out on watching the 1977 series with Pamela Sue Martin as I was a new mom with a one-year-old… not much time left to be hooked on Nancy Drew, as I was hooked on my son, Stephen! I vaguely remember hearing about the show on tv, but I had a one year old to chase after and it had been over fifteen years since I’d even cracked open a Nancy Drew book! Later when my daughter, Melissa, was born I began buying Nancy Drew books at tag sales… hoping to make her a Nancy Drew fan… but she never read past the Mystery of the Old Clock. But I saved her books and they now sit on her book shelves for McKinley and Grace to enjoy… and hopefully they will become Nancy fans!

Loved the opening scene… finally we’re seeing the classic nod to The Secret of the Old Clock!

From the last show, Nancy has learned that Nick has “two” cell-phones, George was punked when her bucket ran “red”, and Ace, somehow knew that Bess was really living in that white van!

Nancy pushed at Nick right away about his second cell phone… telling him that she knew who the other only call on the phone was… Tiffany… and demanding to see what was in the package that Tiffany left in her mom’s car… to which he refused… leaving Nancy no choice but to walk out!

And the Easter Eggs soon started…

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I would thought we’d have seen the clock much earlier, but one of the first nods tonight went to the first book, Secret in The Old Clock!

 

Finally, Nick showed Nancy what was in the package that Tiffany left for him… Nancy’s mind is ticking away… “either there’s something inside it or it’s meant to lead us somewhere, she says.” “Tiffany loved her hidden treasures… with emphasis on “hidden“… that was a great line from Nick! He also mentioned a certain book to Nancy, written by Edith Wharton… nod to Edith Stratemeyer Adams.

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The Secret in the Old Attic was silently mentioned with that spinning wheel sitting on Nancy’s desk… the woman head pencil cup is also reminding me of something, but haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m leaning to it reminding me of Nancy’s face on the cover of The Mystery at Lilac Inn.

Ryan Hudson visits Carson to discuss his case… and not long after, he’s hearing footsteps and then a ghostly scream… of course, he’s the only one hearing them; hearing the footsteps reminds me of The Hidden Staircase. Later as Carson goes up the stairs, we see Dead Lucy hovering above him… and while he feels something… he sees nothing! It seems Dead Lucy’s spirit likes the Drew home!

Tiffany must have been a Nancy Drew reader as she likes puzzles and secrets… and this episode was all about puzzles, secrets and hidden items! She visited Nick in jail after Nancy’s mother pressured him into letting her come; Kate Drew was Nick’s social worker. From all the books Tiffany gave Nick…  as that is how they communicated… and now they are turning out to be the clues. One book, “Under the Lilacs” led them to visit “The Lilac Inn”… the old B & B that Tiffany was restoring.

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Lilac Inn Bed & Breakfast… loved seeing all the blue Lilacs by the house… and don’t we all want to stay at The Lilac Inn.

The Lilac Inn is quite impressive, and there’s even more clues from Nick’s books… seeing all the great children series writers paintings on the wall as they walked in, such as Robert Louis Stevenson and E. B. White… more nods to children literature. Then we see a photo of the already mentioned Edith Wharton… possibly included because of her name, but she was a novelist and a short story writer. It seems our Nick is quite the reader… maybe some Hardy Boy books might show up at one point in his room. These writers have worked hard to constantly keep up with adding Easter Eggs as part of the plot in their writing… that’s not easy! Interesting how Nancy and Nick come up with the numbers of 812, being the time Tiffany saw him, and 428 being the date the murder occured… and soon a bottom drawer popped open… revealing a key! I knew the moment I first saw that clock, that something was hiding inside it… as I’m sure all Nancy Drew fans did!

In the cellar, I liked how Nancy and Ned worked together in figuring out clues to reveal what Tiffany hid! I could really see my Nancy coming up with those answers, and I loved the old clock having a hidden drawer!

  • Clue: Nick spots a bottle with the name… Aliento De Gato which reminded him of a book he read that Tiffany had given him… of how a guy crossed the wrong guy and was bricked up behind a wall.
  • Clue: Tiffany gave him the clock… meaning she wanted him to turn back time.
  • Clue: Nancy turned the clock to the time that Tiffany said she saw him… 812
  • Clue: Nancy then turned the clock hands to the date, 428… and the bottom front of the clock popped open to reveal a secret drawer… holding a key… and the key opened the safe they’d discovered behind the wall.. revealing what Tiffy hid. She truly liked puzzles in planning all that out.
  • Clue: Carson finds his own clue, when he notices a footprint showing where the broken wine bottle lay on the floor at The Lilac Inn… and later noticed wine on Nancy’s white sneakers.

George was certainly punked in the bucket of blood that runneth over on her steps, but when Rita walked in to The Claw and the glass carafe exploded in her hand… well, I think George was scared! Axe soon saved her from the whaling harpoon that slammed to where she was standing. It certainly seems George has spirits chasing her! The harpoon reminded me of the book, The Secret of the Wooden Lady. Rita soon enclosed George inside a protection circle… wasn’t that from a book… but which one? Nancy and Nick walked in just in time for Nick to save George from an exploding overhead light… and then poof Rita was gone. It wasn’t long before George discovered a newspaper clipping on the wall as she carefully rehung the whaling harpoon… there was Rita’s picture on a newspaper clipping… “Missing woman decapitated in boating accident on July 18, 1975.” The article read that Rita had summered in Horseshoe Bay, while waitressing at a diner… and wearing roller skates… just as she had told George! Very erie… but why would you have this clipping on the wall? Did George really see her… as Nick and Nancy saw no one!

At one point, Ace and Bess drove past Bess’s white van… and she saw her “home” had a huge tree limb impaled through a window. Ace remarked… “someone is sure going to be surprised“… poor Bess as she strained to look at her van!

This episode has them all showing more compassion of each other… building trust, while slowly becoming friends. Later, Nancy suddenly appeared at Bess’s van… no inquisition, but instead offering friendship… and inviting Bess to come and stay at her house… not judging her. 

But when that sparkly diamond ring falls to the floor in Bess’s van… Nancy picks it up and ponders… “did I just invite a killer to stay at my house?” Will she pocket the ring, saying nothing, or question Bess?

Hope to see you back for my comments and thoughts on Episode 4… The Haunted Ring!

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 43 (Oct. 21 – Oct. 27): Transportation

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 43 (Oct. 21 – Oct. 27): Transportation

“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. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. 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!

Transportation

Wikipedia: Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another… Transport or transportation was quite different for our ancestors… what would they think in seeing all the changes today?

When my McKinley’s first rolled into Georgia from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in the early 1800’s… they didn’t arrive by train, plane or car… they travelled, lugging all their possessions, by wagons… and most likely a covered wagon pulled by oxen for endurance. The covered wagons gave them protection from the sun and rain, keeping themselves and their belongings safe from the elements.

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The heavily traveled Great Wagon Road, also called the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road, was the primary route for the early settlement of the Southern United States.

As a young girl growing up in the early 1960’s, for some strange reason, I remember being obsessed with covered wagons… and longing to ride in one. I often said that when I married, I wanted to ride on one for my honeymoon, not sure if I was thinking how much fun that would be? I never even knew that they actually did offer such honeymoon travel packages… but it never entered my mind again when I married many years later. I think by that time, I’d changed my mind on that type of excursion… who really wants to ride for a long period of time bouncing around with no shock absorbers!

When my third great grandparents, William and Sara (Beaty) McKinley, left Mecklenburg County, N.C. in 1830… traveling over 250 miles to reach their destination of Putnam County, Georgia. As mules or oxen walk about two miles an hour… averaging fifteen miles a day, it took them almost four weeks… and that depended on the weather, roads being passable, and if they ran into hostile Indians or others. In as they traveled near Cherokee lands, they most likely didn’t run into any problems.

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Most likely my McKinley and Bryan ancestors traveled the Colonial Roads of the Fall Line Road, and the Upper Road into Georgia

To protect themselves, their food, and belongings, the fabric wagon cover was often soaked in linseed oil… making it waterproof. In as much as we pack our SUV when we travel to Georgia by car today, I can’t even imagine what they had to choose in going and leaving behind when they left their home in moving across states… often to a remote unpopulated area. When they left Mecklenburg County, N.C., it was much more civilized than where they were relocating to, in Putnam County, Georgia. At that time, Putnam was a new county… only newly incorporated from Baldwin in 1807; was that the reason for the relocation?

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Putnam was considered one of the most promising counties in middle Georgia at that time. It offered vast forests covering its hills, with many streams flowing through… making for easy crops of cane growing. The Oconee bordered the county on one side, with several brooks and large creeks weaving in and out. The land soon filled with new inhabitants and one-room cabins.

The next mode of travel that opened the west to faster travel was the railroad and the steamboats; hauling heavy freight by covered wagon was quickly replaced by both. By the end of the Civil War in 1864, the heavy covered wagons were no longer even produced… they were no longer needed. Time was marching on… and changing. Between 1841 to 1869, more than 250,000 to 500,000 made their way west by covered wagons… often drawn by either mules, oxen or a combination of both. Mules were strong, quicker and often tolerated the heat better, but oxen were more good tempered animals and strong… and they could eat native grasses… so that made them cheaper than the mule as you didn’t have to carry their feed. My grandfather (Bryan) always used a mule for plowing, but again he wasn’t traveling cross country.

My fourth great grandfather, Tillman D. Gooch, left for California after riding the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma in 1838/39; the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indian tribe. As that was the last mention of him in Georgia, we possibly believe he might have continued the rest of the route to California by train. I can’t even imagine riding horseback from Georgia to Oklahoma, which by today’s travel is over 1000 miles…  and in those times, it was traveling over rough terrain… often having to even clear paths as they went.

My Bryan ancestors were already in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Habersham and Lumpkin Counties as early as the late 1700’s. I can’t define their mode of travel into the area, but mostly likely they traveled into Georgia by covered wagon… but we have not defined from exactly where they relocated from… as of yet. I know they traveled by horse and wagon in the early years there, and continued to use wagons until way into the 1930’s and even into the 1940’s.

Great Aunt Myrt Poss (Bryan) told me stories of how her parents, William C. and Sara (Turner) packed their wagon, filled with straw and quilts when traveling to visit his father, William Madison Bryan (my great-great grandfather) who lived in Lumpkin County, Georgia. It was a week, or more, long ride to reach his mountain cabin from their then home in Greene County, Georgia. Aunt Myrt talked about how they camped out along the way… cooking and sleeping under the stars. While the kids probably didn’t mind the trip, or the camping out, I can’t imagine the adults found it as enjoyable, but it was all they knew, and the only way to reach their destination.

My granddaddy Edgar T. McKinley didn’t finally relinquish his wagon completely for electric travel by car until almost 1940… mama said cars were far and few inbetween. People continued to rely on their “tried and true” horse and buggy. While he did own both a Model T and Model A car… he still enjoyed taking his Sunday drive to visit family in the horse and wagon. My grandmother never learned to drive after breaking her arm when granddaddy showed off once in the Model T… she was always frightened to ride in one until much later… probably why he used the wagon on Sunday drives. His father, Lawson McKinley, had a wagon with the surrey fringe on top… mama remembers him coming back from town in it on Saturday afternoons.

In being a farmer, Granddaddy McKinley always owned a truck… he needed one to transport his pride and joy… his Walker Foxhounds, and haul those huge cotton bales. Fox hunting was a big pastime in Greene County… there was never a Friday night when he didn’t pack up his dogs for a night of hunting. He lived for fox hunting, and when he had to give it up… he grieved over having to give up his dogs! There wasn’t a farmer in Greene County, at that time, who didn’t go fox hunting. And if you went fox hunting, you went to the local filling station in town on Saturday afternoons to continue hashing out whose dog was in the lead on Friday night and whose dog treed the fox. I’m told that my grandfather had some of the best Walker dogs around… he was very proud of those dogs!

Transportation changed after the war… when many at that time weren’t only owning cars, they were buying “new” cars. Granddaddy bought his only new Ford car about 1954… complete with no radio, no air conditioning, and probably no heat. Imagine! Many things today which come standard in our cars… were not standard in the early cars. What would they think about the new cars and gadgets today… imagine, no more hanging your arm out the window as a turn signal. They’d call us certainly spoiled in transportation today with our planes, cars and trains. They never traveled by plane… trains was the fastest mode of travel for them at that time.

me-by-mustang

During my lifetime, I’ve seen many changes in transportation… even just in the cars I’ve  owned… from my first classic 1965 Mustang, and later a 1967 Mustang Fastback.  My father owned many classic Pontiac Catalinas… he was always a Pontiac man! When I was a child though, I only remember him having station wagons. I loved those style wagons, as I could plant myself way in the back “third seat”… far away from my parents. One of our station wagons had two seats that faced each other in the back and a couple of them had the third seats that actually faced the car behind you. How safe was that with no seat belt… and riding with the back window down… we all survived! Me standing by my classic “1965” mustang with a friend of my parents. I should have had my head examined when I traded it in for my 1967 Fastback Mustang… if only I knew what the future would hold for that car! Hope someone saved it!

Our station wagon often turned into a camper on the weekends when we went camping at Lake Sinclair… so much fun. When you folded the second and third seats down, you had a bed… just bring quilts and pillows. While Daddy enjoyed sleeping outside in a recliner, mama and I kept warm and mosquito-free inside the wagon! Today, the station wagon has turned into a SUV… just look around, almost everyone owns one… including me. We also even had our share of station wagons before they went out of style; nothing better to own when raising children, pets, and great when moving!

How have I forgotten space travel… and how far we’ve come in transportation to the moon and planets. I was always fascinated with the astronauts when their rockets went up… and especially when they landed back in the ocean. I have memories of being glued to the screen watching that capsule splashdown in the ocean with waiting Navy seals to rescue them. I even have a few posters and space information that I sent away for from the Kennedy Space Center… I was a frequent writer in asking for material. And today, they no longer even ride in that cramped capsule attached to a rocket… they have advanced to a huge plane-ship that explodes into space and now lands like an airplane on a runway… I know my grandfather would shake his head on that one!

How will transportation change in my grandchildren’s lifetime… already they have the self driving cars… which I will never trust! Heck, I can’t even ride shotgun with my husband and close my eyes. I am the second pair of eyes on the road… which today you need… to keep safe from those who think they must be on their cell phone while driving. Nothing infuriates me more when we travel… seeing them texting on their phones while drifting over in the next lane… often my lane! Yes, I’m the backseat driver… but I like to call myself the “navigator”. No more folded maps… trying to navigate through to find your course… just ask “Siri”… although a couple of times she’s taken us off course, but for the most part, having your phone plot your course is one of the best things!

Will we ever see the “Jetson” age of flying around in our cars? I sure hope not!

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Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Nancy Drew: Season 1… Episode 2: The Secret of the Old Morgue

Nancy Drew: Season 1… Episode 2

The Secret of the Old Morgue

From the moment I discovered a new “Nancy Drew” television series was premiering… I was hooked! Anyone who knows me… knows that I love Nancy Drew and everything that goes along with her. I missed out on watching the 1977 series with Pamela Sue Martin as I was a new mom with a one-year-old… not much time left to be hooked on Nancy Drew, as I was hooked on my son, Stephen! I vaguely remember hearing about the show on tv, but I had a one year old to chase after and it had been over fifteen years since I’d even cracked open a Nancy Drew book! Later when my daughter, Melissa, was born I began buying Nancy Drew books at tag sales… hoping to make her a Nancy Drew fan… but she never read past the Mystery of the Old Clock. But I saved her books and they now sit on her book shelves for McKinley and Grace to enjoy… and hopefully they will become Nancy fans!

cw nancy

If you haven’t viewed the pilot episode as of yet… I would suggest watching it before reading on… but if you don’t mind spoiler alerts…

Our Nancy does what she does best… sleuthing mysteries!

In the ending of the pilot show, Nancy discovered a blood-stained dress hidden in a trunk… in the attic… and her mind was running full steam ahead. Why was the dress of a murdered girl of over twenty years ago… in her parents attic?

Besides searching for answers to who killed Tiffany Hudson… Nancy also had “Dead Lucy” on her mind! Are they both connected? We all know Nancy would never kill anyone, even though Chief McGinnis has her as a prime suspect… how dare he! Nancy has her own suspects… and she’s not one of them, but she’s trying to rule out her two… not best friends at the moment… and the almost boyfriend… of whom she’s a little suspicious of… while also feeling very guilty! And then there’s her father… who’s looking very guilty!

I’m thinking like Nancy… her father is high on that suspect list. Let’s go back to the pilot episode… Nancy as a young girl sees her father and mother burying a box, or possibly the very same trunk… in their backyard. Suddenly her mother appears with a flashlight and carries her away… Nancy never forgot that night. It seems whatever happened, that both her parents were involved!

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Suspect notes in Nancy’s book:

  • Carson Drew (father)
  • George Fan (somewhat friend)
  • Bess Marvin (somewhat friend)
  • Ace… I don’t think he’s even a somewhat friend? He’s only a suspect in Nancy’s book, not on Chief McGinnis’s suspect board!
  • Ned aka “Nick” Nickerson (somewhat boyfriend)

Nancy questions her dad about the blood-stained dress in the trunk… in the attic… and the answers he gives about it being a prop, totally had Nancy’s wheels turning. She wasn’t believing that for a moment… and neither was I! Just my thoughts… but if you had killed someone, why would you save their bloody dress… in your attic? While it’s certainly making her father look guilty… I’m thinking her mother and father both saved it as evidence against someone who murdered Dead Lucy… or could they have found the dress and saved it in thinking they were protecting someone… so many “what ifs.”

Nancy makes a stop at the police station to look at the “cold case” file of Dead Lucy, but stops cold in front of Chief McGinnis’s Evidence Board… where he tells her she can no longer help… as she’s a suspect! But that won’t stop our Nancy Drew!

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Nancy stared at the suspect board… there was her photo… how can our Nancy Drew be a suspect! She has always been the one hunting the criminals… and now Chief McGinnis has her on his evidence board! This is definitely not the same Chief McGinnis from our classic books who greets her coldy every time he sees her… he never would have accused our Nancy Drew! I’m thinking that he might change his tune over time… he’s going to need her help oneday!

Nancy’s list of suspects and clues…

  • George: She plays the tough girl, but a pro at keeping secrets… like the older man she was hooking up with in junior year; there’s more to George than she wants known. Why does George walk so boyish… and almost bow-legged looking! I hope that walk tones down a bit… as I’m beginning to like her more.
  • Bess: Supposedly she lives with an aunt in her mansion… so why does she need to be working here?
  • Ace: While he appears as a slacker up front… he’s smarter than what he shows.
  • Nick: So what’s his motive… although he seems to be really the only one who has a motive as the now dead “Tiffany Hudson” accused him as a murderer three years ago!
  • Carson Drew (father): Nancy finally questions him… from her jail cell. He immediately tells her…”trust me.” The dress you found was a prop I used years ago to scare your mother. (Hmm, was that the same trunk Nancy saw them digging up in the backyard? Her mother had told her it was all a dream! Now they both have lied!) Carson continued to tell her that the trunk she saw them digging up actually  belonged to grandma Rosalyn… “after she died, we found out she had buried her valuables in that trunk… the bone china teacups… and the silver steak knives in the pantry.” Hmmm… while it sounds kinda fishy… and if true, why didn’t you dig them up during the day… why at night with a flashlight? There’s more to this story!
  • I wasn’t thinking Ace a suspect until “kick the bucket” night when he gets the text from the “weed guy” saying… “Keep me in the loop. Share any results from the morgue.” So who’s he sharing info with… Chief McGinnis? Ryan Hudson? Carson Drew? or maybe Dead Lucy? But why is he using the contact name of “weed guy”… that would throw off most if seeing the call… as they often think he’s stoned!

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Actually none of them have a motive… except maybe Nick because it was Tiffany who put him in jail 3 years ago!

Nancy plots… with help!

In learning that an autopsy is planned soon for Tiffany Hudson… Nancy knows she has to work fast if she wants a blood sample for her own investigation. She mentions a teacher??, a forensic chemist who owes her a favor for solving a perfume related mystery in the 9th grade… but she just needs Tiffany’s blood!

In continuing to quietly investigate her own suspects… Nancy visits Nick at J. Dodd’s… the local marine service and repair shop. Upon entering, she quickly notices her mom’s car under the tarp and lifts the corner, showing the famous Nancy Drew blue color. Nick quickly pulls the tarp from her hand, covering back the car. Hmm… why not let her look at the car… are you afraid she might find what you discovered… or did you just leave it laying on the seat? I really want to know what is in that box! It’s not very big… could it hold the crown of Dead Lucy… or the sash that we saw laying on  the rocks? We know it holds something important… maybe Katherine was hiding it from Carson. So many questions… so few answers… until!

Next on to questioning and following George, who quickly offers to lift Ryan Hudson’s phone while he jogs on the trail? Nancy quickly wonders out loud as to how does she knows where he goes… hmm that confirmed to Nancy what she’d already suspected. Even though George didn’t end up stealing his phone… Nancy now knew exactly how George and Ryan connect…. as she was watching!

The more she thought on Bess… the more she wondered… why does Bess work if living with an aunt in her mansion. Surely she doesn’t need the money being a city girl… but we all know Bess likes “pretty sparkly” things… and if you watched the ending of the pilot… you know what sparkly thing Bess was trying on! I bet she won’t be wearing that to work! I’m sure Nancy will be following Bess soon… and I can’t wait until she sees that trailer and goes inside… as she won’t be content until she sees the inside! But aren’t you puzzled with Bess saying… “I don’t date boys or girls”… what’s up with that statement!

Nancy cases the morgue… “Pick a lock, steal some blood… I’ve been doing this since I was fourteen.” Before leaving, Nancy has another “Dead Lucy” sighting in the window and now the ghost of Lucy leaves her touch on Nancy when the dead hand drops down. That ghostly touch leaves Nancy feeling that she now… almost believes in ghosts!

Another break-in for Nancy in this episode, but the last one was a little easier with timing and a quick roll under the garage door. She thought this one was going to be a quick “pick the lock”…. but quickly learned that breaking into the morgue with their new security system was going to take more planning… she now needed an actual key card to break in. With help from Nick, she broke into the medical examiner’s car… another break-in… but not without another ghostly sighting of Dead Lucy… a scream… and blood leaking out from under the car. I think at this point I’d be questioning my own sanity!

When Axe heard of the “Dead Lucy” sighting at the morgue… he immediately told the girls how the morgue is haunted by “Dead Lucy“… how she wanders after dark searching for her long lost body. He continued to say… “about ten years ago, kids snuck in… one died, one disappeared and one lost their mind!” That is when they changed their security system from a lock to key card entry. If I was Nancy… I would have most definitely changed my mind!

Unlike our Nancy in years past… this time she ended up being caught on this break-in, but not before George saved what Nancy had went for… the blood sample of Tiffany Hudson. George could have easily walked away, with an “oh well you’re on your own”… but instead she showed the making of a friend!

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Finally Nick pulls the tarp off to show Nancy her mom’s car… so glad it’s a Mustang! I didn’t quite understand why Nick took off her mother’s necklace and put it in the gear shift knob for safe keeping! I’m also wondering if the license plate might mean anything… FCIC2171

While I thought the Summer Festival tradition of bringing a bucket of seawater to leave on your porch… only to kick over at midnight… was a little odd and scary… I loved the storyline! If the seawater flowed out… you lived. If it turned to blood… well, you are marked for death in the coming year. Horseshoe Bay sure has some spooky yearly events… does the entire community believe in ghosts? Thank Heavens this tradition is only once a year… on the final day of summer… something to look forward to… or not!

As midnight approaches… you hear the bells tolling… with it comes another year… who will live and who will die… only the buckets will tell!

“Bucket Kicking”

  • Bess kicks her bucket… she lives.
  • Ace kicks his bucket… he lives.
  • Nick kicks his and Nancy’s bucket… they are safe.
  • George kicks her bucket… blood runs out!

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And near the end… we see Carson at the beach, but he’s not there for water… now that Nancy has questioned him on the dress… he’s comes to dispose of it, by burning! Will Nancy suspect him even more when she discovers the dress is missing? What’s the old saying, if you have nothing to hide… seems that Carson isn’t thinking in that direction!

Easter Eggs

  • As midnight approaches, the church bells ring… which signals that you are to kick the bucket of seawater… if any is left in the bucket, you are good to go… if it turns to blood, then you’ll die in the coming year. (From the Nancy Drew TV show group… someone mentioned ironically that when you kick the bucket and what’s left turns to blood… you literally “kick the bucket.”) I love how a writer added that pun, and someone caught it… as I surely didn’t! Did the “tolling” of the bells give a nod to the book… “Mystery of the Tolling Bell” (1946). It took me watching a couple of times to actually hear them and put two and two together; that’s why I watch and re-watch.
  • Nancy read George’s lips when talking to Ryan in the woods… telling George, “Oh, I learned to read lips on-line” (LOL). I remember reading that Nancy could read lips in  one of the classic books, but at the moment I can’t remember which book. If you know, leave me a message below and I’ll update with the info.
  • Nancy thinking to herself… “After living in this superstitious town for 18 years...” Love how she’s the same age as our “Classic Nancy.”
  • Is the perfume mention a nod to Red Gate Farm… which had Nancy solving a perfume mystery with perfume seller, Yvonne Wong, who sold for the Blue Jade Co. There seems to be a bigger perfume mystery in Mystery of the Tolling Bell with a Madame selling Mon Coeur perfume from the Mon Coeur Perfume Co., and chapter one ironically was entitled “The Perfume Cart.”
  • With Nick as a suspect in Nancy’s book… she also thought of him as a suspect in Clue in the Diary when he moved her car. She was very suspicious of him, even though she secretly liked him.
  • Nick is slowly exhibiting many qualities as classic Ned and each episode they are slowly coming out. He helped her out of a big jam in the pilot. Who did she come to when she needed a tool for a break-in… into the car of the medical examiner… and he would have helped but she told him no as he was already a suspect. That was funny… who was she, but a suspect, along with George, Bess and Ace… but in the back of her mind, she really meant his previous arrest. In the background, he’s always looking out for her.
  • Nick mentioned he played football at the University of Florida… a nod to our classic Ned who was a football hero at Emerson.
  • This is not the first time that Nancy and the girls have been waitresses… In Lilac Inn, they all helped out as waitresses.

Conclusions and Thoughts:

  • Even though George seems to be hardened toward Nancy… she seems to be showing a trust toward her… Nancy saw her meet and kiss Ryan Hudson and didn’t tell anyone… George mentioned that to her.
  • George admits to Nancy that she now sees that Ryan always… and still wants to keep her hidden. She actually confided that as a deep secret of hers… that’s trust!
  • I’m still waiting for a “Classic Nancy”… It’s Locked!
  • Classic “Carson Drew” would never have told Nancy to grow up, this detective stuff isn’t cute anymore… he encouraged her to solve mysteries!
  • Why did Nancy ask her father “where’d you get the money” when he paid her bail? We never knew Carson Drew to be broke in the books… Nancy never had to work… he gave her a yearly allowance to do with as she wanted. And where did he get the money… from the very person he told he’d never take on as a client… the shady Ryan Hudson; ironically we learned that Carson had been on retainer for his parents many years ago. Seems this family has always had problems!
  • There were several warnings from Dead Lucy to Nancy in this episode… but are they really warnings or prodding her to keep searching… Searching for the truth to set her free!
  • Whenever Nancy dons her sleuth “beanie” hat, the messenger bag and her flashlight… I really am reminded of “Classic Nancy.”
  • Is there going to be more to the mention of Axe giving his car a name? I thought it odd to mention her name as “Florence”… will there more to this car? Maybe they should have named his car Hannah!
  • And why are they leading us to the path of possibly our sparkly, boy hungry, Bess might date Lisbeth… she almost called her later that night… wanting to do dinner! Oh well… time will tell!
  • If the “Hudson’s” only summer at Horseshoe Bay… why so much animosity? They share more of a past… then anyone is willing to talk about right now!Package in car
  • Nancy gets a look at the evidence log showing the last number that Tiffany Hudson called… The message reads “Package in car”   But while later with Nick… Nancy calls the number… Nick’s phone rings… or so we think… does he have a secret “burner” phone. If that’s really Nick’s number, shouldn’t Nancy have already recognized it? Did Tiffany place that package in car for Nick? What could be in there?
  • Loved when Nancy said… Get it together Drew, you don’t believe in ghosts… right?

Hope to see you back for my comments and thoughts on Episode 3… The Curse of the Dark Storm

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 42 (Oct. 14 – Oct. 20): Adventure

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 42 (Oct. 14 – Oct. 20): Adventure

“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. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. 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!

ADVENTURE

My biggest adventure I’ve ever had was when I married in 1971… and after only knowing my soon-to-be husband for a short six months. But the most adventurous part of marrying, was when I left my home state of Georgia… and headed to Connecticut. At that time of my life, at age nineteen… it seemed like going to the moon. I had never traveled outside of Georgia, except on a family vacation to Florida and to visit family in South Carolina. He, on the other hand… being in the Air Force… had traveled around the world to Okinawa, as well as other various states.

When I look back now, I’m shocked how I never gave moving so far away another thought… or hesitation in leaving home… now headed to live in his parents home as he was being sent overseas to Thailand! I would never do such a thing today… but again, I think much differently today!

I remember feeling like I was on an adventure as we left… I was on my own, well almost… no parents to give me curfew or to answer to. Suddenly, I thought I was all grown up… boy was I in for an awakening!

We weren’t even on the road long, just over the border in South Carolina when we had car trouble… but once that was repaired, we were on our way… making our next stop in South Hill, Virginia. I’ll never forget Greenhill cabins… small individual pine cabins… all the inside walls were knotty pine… reminding me of my grandfather’s farm house. I’ve often wanted to stop there again in our travels to Georgia, but I’ve since learned that they’re no longer standing… torn down years ago to rebuild in a different style. In having nothing to be afraid of on that first trip… I enjoyed my 1000 mile drive up the East coast… watching state by state line go by… putting me further away from Georgia… closer to where I’d soon call home… for more years than I ever lived in Georgia.

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May – 1971 pricing: Our unexpected stop just out of Georgia… car trouble right off the bat!

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I saved the postcards I bought to mail home as we traveled… although I wrote them all out and even addressed them… I never mailed them!

Since my retirement a couple of years ago, we have ventured to Vermont and New Hampshire for fall foliage… as if we don’t have enough in Connecticut! He enjoys driving… and I enjoy navigating when Siri doesn’t take us on a wild goose chase! She has taken us on dead end roads… really! And it quickly becomes very adventurous when suddenly you’re in the middle of “nowhere”… and have no cell service!

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When we drive Route 7 North into Vermont, our first stop is usually in Bennington… and breakfast is always at The Blue Benn. It’s one of the most popular local breakfast spots… be prepared  to take a wait for a table… but so worth it. Anytime I see an iconic silver diner… I want to stop!

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I was ecstatic to find a real working jukebox at our table… I used up all our quarters at breakfast! I’ll be sure to bring more next time!

In late March of 2018 we took another road trip to Vermont for sugaring maple season. What a fun adventure! Fun because everytime we stopped at one of the maple cooking barns… we were treated to free tastings of their freshly cooked maple syrup and often apple cider doughnuts. I have to say that they have the best doughnuts in Vermont… although I have another in mind (potato doughnuts) in Maine. Without even having a map, you’ll easily find the maple barns as you drive… just follow the billows of steam coming out of the barns. Our first stop is usually in Bennington, Vermont on Rt. 7 North… especially upon discovering The Blue Benn diner; there’s also a great donut place in town, but we’ve yet to stop there, but we have eaten at a local brewery restaurant on Main St. which has never failed to please us. If you continue on Rt. 7 North, you’ll come across a great sugar maple place… and great doughnuts. Don’t worry in knowing the name… you won’t miss it with all the steam billowing up from the maple sugaring barn!

When you see steam… the smell of maple syrup isn’t far behind!

On this trip, we followed Rt. 7 all the way up into Vermont… but soon decided we’d better turn right… after seeing a sign that said… Canadian border, 30 miles ahead! Having no passports, we thought it wise to head over toward New Hampshire instead. We never make reservations ahead… as we never know where we want to stop… we are flight and fancy free when we take our adventure road trips.

Siri took us over many back roads on that trip, and we stopped at whatever we thought interesting… like the Vermont Country Store… always fun to browse through, but expensive to buy! I did leave with fun “penny candy” for the grandchildren for Halloween… although it certainly was no longer a penny!

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Six Loose Ladies… Yarn & Fiber

My eyes were always peeled for knitting/yarn stores to wander through and I found a couple that I’ve marked to return to. The name of  “Six Loose Ladies Yarn & Fiber Shop” caught my eye in Chester, Vermont… and while hubby took a rest from driving, I wandered through their shop. Since I had recently learned to knit socks, my objective was to buy sock yarn on this trip. Nothing caught my eye inside, but a pair of knitted mittens, called “Thrum Mittens” struck my interest as I was leaving. As I knit, I seldom will purchase something I can make myself… so I snapped a photo with the owners permission, as she explained the process, somewhat, to me. I jotted the name down and once back in the car… I googled! Another item to add to my bucket list to make!

Thrum Mittens at Six Loose Ladies shop… if you’d like to visit my blog and see my knitted mittens… head over HERE!

Further down the road, we planned to stop at Curtis’s BBQ in Putney, Vt., but found it closed. In turning around, I spotted a shop directly across called “The Green Mountain Spinnery“… now you know that meant yarn! Being the good natured hubby I have, he drove over and took another rest! It was a very small shop, with yarn everywhere… along with knitted sweaters hanging by many patterns and books. The smell of animals had also greeted me at the door… as his work area of spinning, carding, and dyeing yarn… was just off to the side.

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The Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney, Vermont

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Photos from the website of: The Green Mountain Spinnery… do check them out… they even offer tours at various times!

I was quite taken back at the amount of women who came in while I browsed their yarns. In not knowing what I really wanted, I eavesdropped their conversations to the owner… I could tell that they were frequent customers, and strong knitters of sweaters… which were abundant inside; no one seemed to knit socks in this area. I did leave with a Nancy Blue yarn.. that I so named… but had no idea at the time as to what I’d knit! I later turned that blue yarn was turned into “thrum mittens” for the granddaughters. I haven’t been back, but I haven’t forgotten it… and it’s on my bucket list for a return visit… and maybe even Curtis will be open on the next trip… we left the area hungry that day.

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Heading to New Hampshire

In winding through Vermont, headed to New Hampshire, we also found several antique stores… and we never pass up a stop. While spending the day on backroads, we discovered the quaint town of  Bellows Falls and their famous diner. Love the quaint New England towns and their diners… as we don’t have them in the South. Once I leave the Mason-Dixon line, I see no more diners… and no home fries with breakfast… it’s usually only hash browns… but I do love my grits when I’m down South!

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Look what we found in town… Miss Bellows Falls diner! I knew this  town was where we’d be stopping for the night! This diner had breakfast written all over it and I couldn’t wait for the morning… and it didn’t disappoint. FYI… Arrive early… as there are only a few booths!

Such a quaint New England inside, with wooden booths, good food, and friendly locals!

My search for dinner suggested a hometown place called Father’s Restaurant on Rt. 5… just down from where we were spending the night. While it looked like a rather plain brown building… we did give it a try and stop. It was quite an interesting hometown dinner restaurant and just like the google search said… it was home cooking… and very good! The dinners were quite large… giving us extras for another nights meal. Always good to return home with food for dinner!

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We saw “moose crossing” signs at every turn… and kept hoping our adventure would yield us one… but instead we found other types of  moose!

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We ate at The Muddy Moose in North Conway… great food along with many more moose inside… including a moose antler chandelier!

While North Conway was also a big touristy spot, it had great scenery, country stores, lots of Moose statues, and gave us our first view of Mount Washington... one of the most majestic vistas in the White Mountains… it was already covered with snow on the very top. The rangers told us we’d never be able to drive up at this time of the year, (Oct. 2017) as once snow and ice arrives… at an elevation of 6,288.2 feet, the roads are closed to the public. Actually I’m still not quite sure I’d even drive up in the summer, as I’ve heard stories of how close to the edge of the mountain you drive, and how you have to keep stopping on the way down to let the breaks cool… I think I might just bypass that drive unless I feel brave enough to take the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the summit… but even that sounds scary too!

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Way in the distance is Mount Washington with a peak of white… it’s also so-called “Agiocochook” by some Native American tribes.  It’s the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, and the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.

Unfortunately, we were forced to leave North Conway a few days earlier than planned as heavy rains were forecasted… and there were reports of how many roads might be washed away. After hearing those weather reports, I didn’t feel adventurous enough to wait out the rains and see… so we began our descent towards home. We did manage to stop at various book stores in search of Nancy Drew… and no luck on any other yarn shops, but I did find a restaurant so-named Jeanne’s Diner… just my luck though, it was closed! Even with all that, we enjoyed our ride home and saw many things we hope to rediscover again.. on our next fall or spring “adventure” trip.

We enjoyed New Hampshire, with its scenery of fall covered fields and iconic barns… making me feel like we were actually in Georgia at times. We both were amazed at how much both Vermont and New Hampshire share a very Southern look in appearance… and how everyone is more social and friendly… versus in Connecticut.

Food Adventure continue in Georgia…

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One of my favorite adventures when I return home to Georgia is visiting “The Varsity” in Athens. It’s the local hangout for locals and tourists… but when the Georgia Dawg’s (Georgia Bulldogs) are playing a home game… better to stay away… as there is No parking anywhere! I love walking up to the counter and being immediately greeted with a “What’ll Ya Have.” They’re so quick with that greeting, that it almost makes you almost forget what you wanted! Stopping at The Varsity is a must when visiting Athens… it’s the most well-known local spot to visit! There are seven Varsities between Atlanta and Athens… my father even worked at The Varsity in Atlanta for a short time. What I wouldn’t give to have known if he worked the counter… greeting customers with their famous “What’ll Ya Have!”

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Step through those doors at The Varsity and you know what’s coming… you’re gonna hear “What’ll Ya Have!

Love their fried pies… and in season, they even have sweet potato fried pies!

While there was no adventure traveling with my children… which I so regret… hubby and I certainly do our share of adventurous traveling today… and often at the drop of a hat. I hope my children learn from my mistakes… and take their children on  many more road trips than we did!

Believe me… I have many more “adventures”… but I think I’ll end it here! Thanks for reading! If you’ve visited any of the places I’ve mentioned… do drop me a line… and if you haven’t… go visit and let me know! If you’re a crafter, follow Here for more craft stories.

Need a laugh… when I first read the week prompt of “adventure”… I was like, I have nothing, but 2460 words later!

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Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nancy Drew Episode 1: Pilot

Nancy Drew Episode 1: Pilot

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From the moment I discovered a new “Nancy Drew” television series was premiering… I was hooked! Anyone who knows me… knows that I love Nancy Drew and everything that goes along with her. I missed out on watching the 1977 series with Pamela Sue Martin as I was a new mom with a one-year-old… not much time left to be hooked on Nancy Drew, as I was hooked on my son, Stephen! I vaguely remember hearing about the show on tv, but I had a one year old to chase after and it had been over fifteen years since I’d even cracked open a Nancy Drew book! Later when my daughter, Melissa, was born I began buying Nancy Drew books at tag sales… hoping to make her a Nancy Drew fan… but she never read past the Mystery of the Old Clock. But I saved her books and they now sit on her book shelves for McKinley and Grace to enjoy… and hopefully they will become Nancy fans!

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Kennedy McMann portrays Nancy Drew in this series… and I was into liking her from the get go… I actually fell for her after seeing the many promo pics and teaser trailers… but I had months to wait… and wait. Finally on Oct. 9th, (2019) at 9 p.m… I watched “live!” Very seldom do I ever watch anything live with commercials… but nothing was keeping me from this show! As I now collect Nancy Drew books and everything Nancy Drew, and spend much time in my many Facebook “Nancy” groups… I couldn’t wait to watch and chat about the show! So let me just say first off, I love the actress playing Nancy Drew in this show… she definitely has my approval! And from all I’ve read in the Facebook groups… everyone gives her a nod… as to the other’s… there’s mixed feelings at this point, but that may soon change!

Love the mention of how she loved mysteries from a little girl!

From the first few minutes of the opening pilot…. showing the teen prom queen falling to her death on the rocky waters edge of Horseshoe Bay… it made me reflect back to another favorite show of mine… Dark Shadows…. I was a fan! I’m also a fan of Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew… she is perfect for the show… giving Nancy just a slight look of a slightly older than the 18 year-old Nancy in the books… and she has the perfect color hair of titan red. Originally in the books, Nancy began as a girl of golden blonde locks, slowly evolving into red, titan, and strawberry blonde. No one ever seemed to have known for sure as to why the change… surmising it’s been said that it might have come about from a book cover when the artist changed her hair color… either by accident or himself deciding it looked better? It seemed to have stuck after that to the reddish tones, although the newer books today often show a more blonde Nancy!

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Nancy hung her “Sea Queen” crown on Dead Lucy’s gravestone!

1, 2… 3, 4, 5… you’ll never get out of here alive… you’re a “Sea Queen” Nancy Drew… school friends sang out to her by the gravestones. Yes I was hooked immediately… as I got my first glimpse of the new “Nancy Drew” and in what better spooky setting… she’s in a cemetery, at night, and dressed in a prom dress. This was Nancy a year ago… you soon see her in a different setting… with a different boyfriend and soon to be… new friends!

Dead Lucy in graveyard

Dead Lucy made her first ghostly appearance to Nancy in this cemetery… I knew immediately that this was my type of show… as I believe in those type of sightings and have had a ghostly experience you can read about over HERE… maybe I should rename it Dead Lizzie! Our Nancy, even the one from 1930, doesn’t believe in ghosts! Maybe in this show… she just might end up so believing… we will see… but Nancy is the only one who sees Dead Lucy!

Nancy… “I don’t believe in ghosts, I believe in looking for the truth!”

I enjoyed the flashbackk of seven-year-old Nancy…. the very curious young Nancy, who her parents referred to as “just born that way.” The little girl somewhat reminded me of my seven year old granddaughter McKinley in looks and the red hair, but I don’t think she would be as brave as this little seven year old Nancy. From the first glimpse of this young Nancy and her mom, they both shared the use of a flashlight! But I’m still puzzled as to what this young Nancy saw that night when her mom appeared with the flashlight… it seemed her father and another man were burying a box… young Nancy was watching her first mystery unfold before her eyes… and she soon began to chase the shadows; from then on, Nancy always has a flashlight when she’s exploring. 

A few years later, our still “young” Nancy saw her first shadow to chase… she followed the shadow man to discover the kidnapped, Rose Turnbull, behind a hidden staircase. She was hooked in sleuthing mysteries from that point on…

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Nancy dons a name tag more than her magnifying glass in this series!

Nancy seemed to change after the death of her mother Katherine Drew… and a year later… our Nancy had tanked in school and didn’t continue onto college with her friends… instead she took a job as a waitress, working with girls who weren’t, at this point, her best friends. This was the first sighting of George Fan (Fayne) who was so immediately unlike George from the books… and strange! George owned The Claw diner, where Nancy was now working, and very bossy to Nancy and mentioned how she didn’t like her from high school… she was holding a grudge! The only other waitress there beside Nancy was our Bess (Marvin)… and no she’s not blonde or even plump and unlike the books, not a cousin to George! Bess would probably like her character here, as she’s very thin, but I don’t know if she’d like being a brunette. She could probably eat whatever she likes now… as in the books she was written as plump and was always chastised in wanting that second piece of cake! She’s not a native to Horseshoe Bay, but instead comes from the big city to live with her aunt, who lives in a mansion on the cliffs… I was intrigued… in hoping we see this mansion on the cliffs. Surely a ghost hunting will take us there!

As to this new Ned… now Nick… I have very mixed feelings. When you’ve read and envisioned a character for so long, you picture them in your head… this is not how I pictured my Ned! While I like some things he says to Nancy, like the constant, “you ok”… and how he seems to look out for her… I’m still not sold on him… and I wish there hadn’t been the initial “sex” opening scenes in the show. Nick mentions he graduated from The University of Florida… so it seems he’s a few years older than Nancy and as you’ll soon discover, he’s already intertwined with her father, as lawyer/defendant… how long has he been in Horseshoe Bay?

The biggest change to this Nancy Drew series was the addition of the casual sex that was in the opening scenes. I think it could have been better accepted if they hadn’t had Nancy Drew having sex that quickly. We all know that this eighteen-year-old Nancy wouldn’t be the same as the eighteen-year-old Nancy from the books… but there could have been a little restraint on opening night.

I feel this show could have been an awesome mother/daughter series to introduce young girls into reading, but that’s out now! Darn CW… you could have had more viewers! I just know my little three Nancy Drew granddaughters… Ella, Nina and Ana, in Florida would have so loved to watch this… they loved the 2019 Nancy Drew movie, which we all watched together like five times while I was there. That film just so happened to have been filmed in my mother’s hometown of Monroe, Georgia… and I just happened to have watched much of the filming, which you can read about over HERE! I even wrote for 30 days straight on All About Nancy Drew for my April 2018 A to Z.

Nancy holds locket at grave

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All that remains for Nancy to remember her mother by… the “locket”

Once again, like the book, Nancy’s mother dies, but Nancy isn’t three or even ten, she’s like almost eighteen years old, ready to graduate, and go off to college. In one of the first glimpses we see of Katherine Drew, we see the locket that Nancy later holds by her mother’s grave! In learning of her mother’s soon to be death, Nancy tailspins in school with grades suffering and college goes on the back burner. While her friends go off to college… Nancy goes to work as a waitress at The Claw in her hometown of Horseshoe Bay in Maine. Finally, this show gives us the state she lives in… the fans of the books are still trying to discover through clues as to which state Nancy actually lived in… is it New York, New Jersey, Iowa.. or?

When the murder of Tiffany Hudson occurs… our own Nancy Drew becomes a suspect! We soon learn from Chief McGinnis that George’s mother is a drunk, Bess had been picked up for shoplifting and Nick (Ned) was an ex-con!

As Nancy is questioned by Det. Karen Hart, Nancy has flashbacks of looking for clues in her mind… she sees a large diamond ring on Tiffany’s hand while she was on the phone… but it was no longer on her hand as she lay on the ground… dead! We soon see a different side of Carson Drew… we learn he’s dating Det. Hart… to Nancy’s dismay!

Nancy quickly realizes how Chief McGinnis no longer wants her help in solving mysteries… as he brings all the girls, along with Nick and Ace (bottle washer at The Claw) in for questioning. You quickly learn that George’s mother is a drunk (really) and Bess, not a native, but was supposedly picked up in the city on a shoplifting charge, which she strongly disagreed on… which is why she’s now living in Horseshoe Bay with her aunt… in a mansion by the cliffs.

If I had written this show, I would have had Nancy leave home to come to Horseshoe Bay alone… to clear her head of her mother’s death. Once the mysteries began… Bess and George would have shown up, and Ned would come into the show after the girls were more established. Carson might come after Nancy was brought in for questioning… if Nancy felt the need to call him… and Hannah would most definitely send her tins of chocolate chip cookies!

While Nancy has always been on the hunt to solve the mystery of Dead Lucy… she now has a new mystery to solve… who killed Tiffany Hudson!

When Chief McGinnis turns to Nick, he mentioned how he had been involved in a murder… which Nick quickly defended himself as being a young underage teen and how his record was sealed… but now the beans have been spilled! All eyes looked at Ned!!! That made me quickly feel that Nick didn’t always live in this town… but I later learned that Carson Drew had also been his lawyer… which further tells me that more on this will surface in future shows. They have now made “Nick” the bad boy from the other side of town… maybe this is why Nancy hadn’t known him from school… besides being almost four years older. And it didn’t take Nancy long before she broke into her father’s “locked” files to discover more on Ned’s crime! I can see why Chief McGinnis looked to Nick for this murder.

While Horseshoe Bay, Maine is similar to River Heights in the regards being it’s a town where generations of families have lived for years… it’s also a town where Nancy Drew was well known as the local teen sleuth who solved many of Chief McGinnis’s crimes…  but now it seems that he’s slightly agitated with her… and now not wanting any involvement of her help.

Nancy’s second ghost sighting is in leaving the police station… staring in the dress window shop she sees a reflection of a ghostly image! But turning around… it’s gone! It seems that Dead Lucy is following her!

Another clue soon comes in the recording of the fireworks she tried to record on her cellphone the night of the murder… instead of fireworks she sees a ghostly dark image coming toward Tiffany Hudson… and then Tiffany slumps behind the car. Nancy is soon questioning supernatural visions and her conscious questions… “did I really see that?”

Dead Lucy is blamed for everything eerie in Horseshoe Bay! The ghost’s real name is Lucy Sable… aka “Dead Lucy”, the local “Sea Queen” of the year 2000 who disappeared after that night… the only clues found was blood and a pink piece of her gown found on the rocky shore below the cliff. How did that not wash away with the waves pounding up and over the rocks?

After Nancy, donned her hat (nod to her cloche hat), messenger bag and flashlight… she broke into the home of Tiffany Hudson to look for clues in her death. In the bedroom she discovered a secret compartment in a drawer that held only a sea locket charm and a scrap of paper. She later showed it to George, and was told that it was a “mariner’s good luck charm.” George, who is very knowledgeable on maritime lore, also said… “these charms were given by girlfriends to their boyfriends when they went to sea.” They would leave a message inside and the only way their boyfriend could read it… was to place the charm in seawater to open. I love this idea and kudos to whomever came up with this idea!

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The note with the mariner’s medal!

I bet your already thinking… Go to the beach!

Nancy, George and Bess head down to the beach and after Nancy dips the charm in the water, it opens to reveal a seahorse charm inside… and George scoffs the message to read… “725 Gallows Lane”… which Nancy googles… it’s the home of a medium!

charm inside

I’m not sure of the significance of the seahorse inside the medallion, but it’s also on the crown that Nancy sat on top of the gravestone… so it seems that the sea queen’s crown has the seahorse on the crown!

While Nancy is not best friends with Bess and George immediately… we can all see that a friendship is slowly developing… actually you see it beginning when they gathered at the water’s edge with the mariner’s charm… and later going to the medium together!

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The Twisted Candles at the medium’s house

It was a great addition to the series to have Pamela Sue Martin as a guest… and the choice of her playing Harriet the medium was perfect. The first thing you notice are the twisted candles on the table, but it soon became spooky when she began speaking in another voice……. “find the dress… find the dress.” There also looked to be a statue behind her that might be a nod to the book… The Whispering Statue (1937). When she was questioned on what she spoke, she immediately said, “I didn’t mean to say that.” Now, you know you can’t just say something like that! We soon learned at the very end, when Nancy opened the attic… picking up a blood stained dress… which we surmised to be blood stained! Now who’s dress could this be, other than Dead Lucy?

Nancy quickly asked her father about the dress, but I felt he gave her a ridiculous explanation… we all know who’s dress that was… and it’s certainly making Carson Drew look very suspicious… is he the crooked bannister for real in this series? He’s definitely not like the father in the book. In all the books, Carson is listed as tall and distinguished… this Carson is a bit shorter than Nancy and looks more like an older brother.

In watching and rewatching the pilot, maybe more times than I’d like to admit… I’ve noted such an amount of similarities between the Nancy Drew series here and the books… often known as “Easter Eggs”. I’ve listed as many as I could figure out… but I’m sure I’ve missed a few!

“Easter Eggs”

  • The use of always having a flashlight… nice nod to the classic books.
  • At least all the characters names remain true… Nancy, Bess, George, Ned… aka Nick now, Carson, Chief McGinnis, and Katherine… although in the books her mother was never fully identified… and so far, no Hannah has surfaced!
  • Nancy has the same “blue” eye color and red hair as Nancy in the books… for the most part; she originally began as blonde.
  • Nancy lives at 118 River Heights Drive… a nice nod to her hometown of River Heights and her age of 18… could the first “one” refer to only “one” child?
  • Nancy first began chasing the shadows as a young 7-year-old Nancy in solving the mystery of a young girl, Rose Turnbull… discovered under a hidden staircase. Loved this nod of the name Turnbull from the book, The Hidden Staircase and Rosemary Turnbull, one of the owners of the mansion where Nancy helped to solve a mystery.  The hidden staircase mention was also in remembrance of the book, The Hidden Staircase… and also nodded to the new movie (2019), so named.
  • Early in the show, a corkboard was shown of clippings shown of Nancy’s sleuthing… so many nods here… The Mystery of the Ivory Charm, The Secret of the Wooden Lady, The Hidden Staircase, The Secret of the Old Clock, The Clue in the Diary, The Phantom of Pine Hill, The Mysterious Mannequin, The Crooked Bannister, and The Secret of Mirror Bay. Did I miss any? 
  • Nancy doesn’t seem to have the same repore with Chief McGinnis as she did in the books… it was very apparent when he brought her in for questioning and the Chief dissed Nancy’s mention of a clue she offered him… George quickly said… “you mean do it for you“.
  • In breaking into the Hudson house, Nancy dons a hat, and a messenger bag… more nods to the storylines as Nancy always carried a bag with essentials needed. The hat was a nod to the well known 1930 cloche style hat.
  • The first look of a locket around her mother’s neck… a nice mention back to the book…  “The Clue of the Broken Locket” (1934).
  • We see Nick working on a blue convertible car when suddenly under the seat he pulls out a box… it’s said to be Nancy’s mothers car and Ned is repairing it. Oh, I so wanted him to open that box… how long will it take for us to see what’s inside?
  • The “twisted candles” on the table at the seance… a nod to the book, “The Sign of the Twisted Candles (1933).
  • Behind the medium (Pamela Sue Martin) was a statue that looked similar to the one in “The Whispering Statue” (1937).
  • The medium, (Pamela Sue Martin aka Harriet Grosset) at the seance was none other than the Nancy Drew from the television series… The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977). Hope the girls visit her again in future episodes! The name of Grosset nods back to the publishers, Grosset and Dunlap.
  • Ned Nickerson now goes by “Nick”… More like a shortened version of his last name of Nickerson.
  • In the attic, at the end, Nancy finds Dead Lucy’s words written under wallpaper she peels up… nods to both The Secret in the Old Attic (1942),  and The Quest of the Missing Map (1942).
  • As Nancy looks in the trunk in the attic, she almost strikes the same pose as from the book… The Secret in the Old Attic (1942). I do like how they used an attic scene of Nancy looking through a trunk… another nod to my favorite book.
  • Was all the ghostly images shown of Dead Lucy… could there be a nod to… The Ghosts of Blackwood Hall (1948).
  • Bess lives with her aunt in a mansion on the bluffs… possibility a nod to… Mystery of Moss Covered Mansion (1942).
  • Carson Drew looks to be a little crooked… does that nod to The Crooked Bannister (1971).
  • How many times did Nick tell Nancy… Be Safe? Darn it, I didn’t count them!
  • Nancy doesn’t seem to have that loving relationship with her father in this series as she did with him in the books… but it might materialize over time.
  • Nancy has a job in Horseshoe Bay, Maine at The Crab in the series. In all the classic 56 books, Nancy never had a job… and school or even college was really never mentioned.

Clippings on Corkboard!

cork boardFIX

Corkboard above Nancy’s desk!

  • Clipping on corkboard… “Horseshoe Boy’s own “girl detective” identifies to the television series, “The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries” (1977).
  • Clipping on corkboard… Daughter of Local Attorney Discovers Client’s Missing Will in Antique Clock… Book: “The Secret of the Old Clock“.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Stolen Horse Returned… Book: “The Sky Phantom” and possibly Nancy Drew computer game, “The Haunted Carousel”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Nancy Drew, ‘Girl Detective’… Uncovers Counterfeiting Ring Operated at Red Gate Farm, Exposing Horseshoe Bay Connection to Hale Syndicate… Book: “The Secret of Red Gate Farm”… the word “syndicate” refers to The Stratemeyer Syndicate.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Missing Girl Found Alive Behind Hidden Staircase by 7th Grade Honor Student: Local Realtor Arrested For Kidnapping… Book:The Hidden Staircase”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Wooden Lady Missing From Ship: Young Detective Investigates Historical Relic… Book:The Secret of the Wooden Lady
  • Clipping on corkboard… Kidnapping Plot Uncovered — Ivory Charm Key… Book: The Mystery of the Ivory Charm”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Girl Detective Aids Police: Hollow Oak Mystery Solved… Book:The Message in the Hollow Oak”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Girl Detective Uncovers Secrets of Pine Hill… Book: The Phantom of Pine Hill”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Precious Sapphire Still Missing… Book:The Spider Sapphire“.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Daughter of local attorney solves dancer mystery at Heath Castle… Book: The Moonstone Castle Mystery (1962).
  • Clipping on corkboard… Boy Found – girl detective follows leads at local museum.  Where is this from?
  • Clipping on corkboard… Horseshoe Bay’s Own ‘Girl Detective’ Identifies Serial Arsonist Based on Clues from Decades-Old Livejournal Posts… Book: The Clue in the Diary (1932).

The Claw Fix

The Bayside Claw’s Advertising Placemat!

  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… The Pine Hill Construction Co. nod to The Phantom of Pine Hill (1965).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Lilac Inn Bed and Breakfast listing… nod to The Mystery at Lilac Inn (1930).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Fortune Telling Seances by Harriet… nod to both Pamela Sue Martin as the medium and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (editor and writer (Carolyn Keene) of many Nancy Drew stories.
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Horseshoe Bay Yacht Club… nod to The Secret of Mirror Bay (1972) & The Secret at Shadow Ranch (1931).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… J. Dodd’s, Marine Services & Repair: A Mr. Dodd, owns the neighboring estate to the (1959 revision) Turnbull sisters mansion of Twin Elms.
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Bears Paw Notary Public since 1987… nod to The Case of The Twin Teddy Bears… Book 116. (It was published in 1993, so I’m still searching why they wrote 1987… LMK… if you know the answer! The “Bear” nod also goes to Emily Bear who wrote two songs specifically for The Hidden Staircase.
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Become an Artist… nod to The Scarlet Slipper Mystery (1954).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat…   Hudson Shipping Company… nod to the first murder victim, Tiffany Hudson, on the new series of Nancy Drew on the CW.
  • From The Claw’s paper placemat… Carson Drew, Attorney at Law… nod to Nancy’s father being a lawyer in the books and show.
  • It took me awhile, but I feel the Horseshoe Bay word hunt nods to The Clue in the Crossword Cipher (1967).

wordhuntWhile I managed to get a fairly clear photo of the “word hunt” of the television screen… I can’t make out the words on the bottom or even see any that I might recognize as a Nancy Drew word! Can You?

 By the end of Nancy Drew‘s pilot episode, Nancy is being guided by a medium and may be at risk by the many ghost sightings… that only she sees. While there are many fans who say, they aren’t tuning in again… I for one, am most certainly watching. I love Nancy Drew and even though I’m not onboard with every aspect of the direction in which the CW has chosen… I’m willing to give it a chance as I want Nancy to survive… in making new fans.

What I first thought about George and Bess in the beginning soon changed near the end when I saw George make a late night visit to Ryan Hudson’s house, husband of dead Tiffany Hudson… they clearly are having an affair! But what really surprised me, and it shouldn’t have… Bess went to a VW bus, which seemed to open into a sparkly bedroom… does she really live here secretly and not with the aunt in the mansion… or does she come here to enjoy the pretty things she shoplifts… like the sparkly diamond ring she pulled out of a bag… sure looks like dead Tiffany’s missing ring! So many questions!

While Nancy writes a list of clues and suspects in the Tiffany Hudson mystery… the lights go out… with flashlight in hand she heads down the stairs… but Dead Lucy is summoning her to the attic when the attic pull-down stairs suddenly clammer down… very loudly!

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My favorite scene of the movie is when Kennedy, as Nancy, takes up the flashlight pose in semblance to my favorite art cover of The Secret in the Old Attic! While Nancy searched through the trunk… Dead Lucy was again watching from across the room.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts… do drop me a message below!

Nancy with lucy in attic

Hope to see you back for my take on Episode 2… The Secret of the Old Morgue

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Weekend Weathervanes: A Black Cat

Weekend Weathervanes

A Black Cat

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

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Sadly I didn’t find this weathervane on top of a cupola… I found it at an estate sale. If my mom had seen this, she would so have wanted it… as she has a black cat called Boo!

Boo… hanging out at his favorite spot in mama’s house!

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Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 41 (Oct. 7 – Oct. 13): Context

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 41 (Oct. 7 – Oct. 13): Context

“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. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. 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!

CONTEXT

CONTEXT

Wikipedia tells me… social context refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture that the individual was educated or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom they interact.

In the 1900’s, the United States became engulfed in a severe economic depression, which began from the “panic of 1893″… mainly affecting the industrial workforce with several strikes. While it didn’t drastically affect my family lines, as they were born and lived on farms… things like that often affected families without them even realizing it.

What came about during my grandparents lifetime…

Automobiles, radio, electricity, and television – a few of the biggest changes to affect them in their lifetime… changing their lifestyle!

Family tales is what we’ve all heard in growing up… the social life of our parents and grandparents was told in the context of how they lived their lives. How they walked to school, or walked miles to catch the bus… no matter the weather. How children were to be seen and not heard. How they were expected to share in chores. How they only had one pair of shoes a year, no matter what… Social life was much different than today, and many still say how it was much better.

While I’m not a shoe hoarder, I’d hate to have to wear shoes too small… because my family could only afford one pair a year. My mother remembers how her mother never forgot the time her brother was sent to town to buy her a new pair of shoes… only to return with a pair too small… which she had to wear regardless of how much they hurt her.

Life was dramatically different for both men and women socially… men were always the provider… first going to war and later providing for a family… while women were the nurturers… not working outside the home. Their social context was in providing the homelife… raising the children, and providing all that was needed socially in the home. 

World War II changed the social lives of everyone… they began living differently as many items were rationed, and often families lost the breadwinner as the husband or sons went to war.

My grandmother never took to social changes through the years. From all I’m told, she was a hard worker from sunrise to sunset. In the evenings, there was always needle and thread in her hands as she sewed or mended… and that never changed for her. Mama’s father bought my mother a pedal sewing machine in the early 40’s, but she said that her mother never wanted any part of it… she continued to make all their clothes and quilts by hand; I guess grandmama didn’t like change. I would say the only thing she changed to eventually was an electric stove and a pressure cooker for canning… it did make life somewhat easier for her. I can’t imagine having to rise early to fire up the stove with wood to begin warming the house!

Social Context pertains to my grandfather, Edgar T. McKinley, as he interacted with friends versus how he interacted with family. With family, he was the provider… whereas the context would be on a different level as the father and the husband. When granddaddy was with friends… hanging out at the local filling station in town… the context was quite different. He interacted with them on a man to man level… arguing politics and the social activity they all shared… fox hunting. It was quite a different context of atmosphere in that filling station… on a late Saturday afternoon… while sitting around on a Coca-Cola crate! This social time was only men talking about their activities… their politics… and maybe sometimes farm work. I’ve been told that often the context of those political talks came to blows… as well as the talk of who’s dog was in the lead on their Friday night fox hunts!

Social Context for my grandparents hardly changed through the years. Farming was his occupation and during his lifetime there wasn’t much change. He began farming with a horse, and ended with a horse… although tractors did evolve through his lifetime, but he wanted nothing to do with them! A general-purpose tractor called the Farmall was introduced in 1925, but it had a slow going as farmers were hesitant to replace their trusted horses and mules with a machine… and neither of my grandfathers wanted no part of it. Later in the mid-1930’s, after much redesign by several companies, the replacement process slowly began for the farmers. Both of my grandfather’s, Edgar T. McKinley and Paul P. Bryan still wanted nothing to do with that new “fangled” equipment. They valued their work animals and treated them like family.

Granddaddy Bryan was bought a gas tiller in the late 1960’s and my father said that after one pass, it was pretty much parked under the car shed… and he went back to his beloved mule. He loved nothing more than walking behind his mule in fresh tilled soil… yelling “gee”-“haw” as he held the reins. But his favorite part of spending time in the field was when the mule took a break… as that meant a smoke break for him… and out of a pocket came a waiting cigar! Mules are known to be hard workers, but they know when they’re tired… and they stop… no matter where they are, or what they’re doing!

Mama tells me how her father, (Edgar McKinley) plowed mostly with horses… they don’t stop like mules… they just keep going even when tired, but granddaddy always knew when they were tired… when he was tired! They were then well watered and later fed with the very same hay they’d pulled out in the field with the rake.

How did social context change the lives of my grandparents through the years… Even though neither gave up their mules for the newest addition in farm work… the tractor… they did make a few social changes through the years… making life a little easier for them. They both easily transformed from the horse and wagon of travel into a motorized car. I’m not sure of the earliest which granddaddy Bryan owned, but I know that granddaddy McKinley owned both a Model T and a Model A… which gave him an easier and faster mode of travel. Car travel seemed to be more acceptable to both of them than their plowing counterpart. I often think today of how they would view the even more car changes and traffic congestion we have… I’m sure they would both agree that it isn’t for them!

My mother has told me many tales about riding in the family wagon on Sunday visits to family, even trips to Atlanta, which was about 45 miles away… and going and coming all in the same day; now that’s a trip! On the back dirt road to White Plains, granddaddy took detours off that dusty dirt road to drive through the small creeks along the way to wet the wheels… cutting down on the dust. Mama often jumped off the back of the wagon to hop and skip along the way, but then she’d have to run to hop back on as granddaddy teased her in making the horse gallop a little faster when she jumped off. Today, at age 89, my mother often says how she wished she could ride in that wagon once again… although she might not enjoy it so much today, as I’m sure those rides were pretty bumpy! Once granddaddy bought his first A-model car, I’m sure the wagon didn’t see as much use anymore, and they soon began looking at it as old-fashioned… a slower mode of travel. Grandmama never took to the automobile so much after granddaddy took a corner too fast and they ended up in the ditch… she broke her arm.

Time marches on…

Before radio and television was introduced to the homes, their social context was family entertainment on Saturday evenings. The first music in the homes was yourself… it seems many people back then were very musical. Mama’s family played the harmonica, fiddle, banjo, guitars, piano and sometimes an accordian. She remembers how the family gathered home on Saturday nights at her grandfather’s house… pushing back all the furniture in the parlor, and play, sing and dance till late into the night. A few of her father’s siblings even had a band… and they often supplied the weekly dance music on those Saturday nights. While the adults played and danced, the children sat in the background watching…. as long as they were quiet.

Besides making music with instruments, the more wealthy people had victrolas in their homes, playing the latest records. Most families living on farms weren’t lucky enough to own victrolas… my grandparents never owned one.

The first radio news program was broadcast August 31, 1920 by station 8MK in Detroit, Michigan… but I’m sure it was several years later before my grandparents had their first radio. Mama remembers her grandfather having a small radio and they would go over to his house on Saturday nights to listen… especially if the President was speaking… everyone listened when the President gave speeches.

Way before Granddaddy McKinley had a radio, it seems my father’s parents, Paul and Evelyn Bryan, did own one… a 1936 Philco upright. As a teenager, I remember it still at my mother’s farmhouse… as after my parents married, my father had taken it; today it’s been restored and sits in my home.  Daddy had always been interested in repairing all type of electronics, from radios to televisions.

Granddaddy McKinley was always strongly opposed to electricity… lamplight by kerosene at night was ok with him, but eventually, he gave in through the pressure of my mother and the wires were soon strung to the farm in the 1940’s. We have light! It’s hard to break old habits, and every evening for the longest, my grandmother still continued to try and blow out the light. He held out the longest in having an indoor bathroom… he saw nothing wrong with the family jar in the house for nighttime or visiting the outhouse nearby… but my mother put her foot down when she moved home in the late 1960’s.

In living through times of not having lights from hurricanes or bad storms knocking us off the grid… we discovered it’s a tough life having no electricity in today’s world! Thankfully we also had gas in our home during those times, so we were able to cook and make coffee… making coffee is a very important thing in my life! We keep the old-fashioned metal percolators in the cellar just for those times… and the last time we dragged them out, we commented as what a great cup of coffee they made!

The longest we’ve been without electricity was in 1985, during Hurricane Gloria…. luckily at that time, we still had analog television, and I just happened to have a small television that picked up television signals. After putting our small kids to bed, hubby and I would lay in bed listening to tv programs… just like my grandparents listened to the radio. The night the lights came back on… it actually felt strange! It was a long two weeks, but it gave us back a simply way of life… and we often reflected on how life had been for our grandparents.

The social context of family life later changed further after the first radio came into the homes. My great grandfather, Edgar Lawson McKinley, had one of the first radio’s and they’d gather around it on a Saturday night listening to Kate Smith sing “When the Moon Comes over the Mountain“… as my mother tells me. Her first thoughts were… “if only I could look in the back and see what she looks like.” That soon happened when television came along… if she’d only known what was to be… that thing called television!

Electricity and radio were soon followed by television… now they could actually see what they had only heard on the radio. My parents were married in 1948… and by 1949 televisions were beginning to be offered for sale, but only if you lived near stations broadcasting the few programs available would you actually be able to see any programming; living near New York gave much more opportunity to enjoy the early model televisions.

Granddaddy resisted in having a television in their home until mama took him to his first live wrestling match… and he then learned he could watch it on a television set in his own home… if he had one!

After my father left the Navy in the early 1950’s he began tinkering on anything electronic he could find to repair… radios first, later televisions. He had worked in electronics in the Navy… giving him knowledge of how things worked. After repairing many things out of his father’s home workshop, he went to work for a local television repair business in town, and soon we had a small color TV in our home. Mama remembers how many neighbors on the street wanted to come and watch on Saturday evenings, especially when Kate Smith sang… When the Moon comes over the Mountain… they now could see her in person, instead of once only listening to her.

Granddaddy soon owned his first TV set… and Saturday evenings were then spent watching wrestling… banging his cane on the floor when his favorite was losing!

Through the years, as times changed… so did their social lives and all around them. It’s the same as it is today. I can look back at my life as a child, and see many changes that has taken place over the years. While I grew up not knowing what it was like to Not have a television or a radio, or the social context of the Internet… Facebook… or Cell Phone as I have to today… which connects me now socially to everyone, near and far. I did have a social context far different from my parents, as I had my own car at the age of 16, which gave a freedom they never knew; every generation grows up with a different social context of life. I wasn’t tied to a cell phone as a teenager… not even a beeper… I had to be tracked down if needed! I often wonder how my life would have been any different if I’d had a cellphone and internet! If definitely would have given me a different social life… and maybe not for the best!

My social context of life as a child was spent outside socializing with the neighborhood kids… who, like me, were outside… playing! If our parents wanted us… they yelled our names… no ringtones going off. We didn’t sit in front of a computer… we ran, we rode bikes, we skated, we played basketball, we climbed trees, we played games like kick the can, mother may I, or hide and seek. I think I had a well-rounded social context of life!

What will be the social context of life for my grandchildren in growing up, besides  already having television and radio, cellphones, internet and Facebook… what new thing will they add to their life… self-driving cars… of which I never want to own! Are we headed to the age of the cartoon… will The Jetsons be in their future? The first day my granddaughter Ella came home from kindergarten (2015), she asked her father for her own Facebook page and could she have an IPhone. That told me how the social context for her generation was going to change as she entered the world of interaction with others.signature-blog-card

Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 40 (Sept. 30 – Oct. 6): Harvest

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 40 (Sept. 30 – Oct. 6): Harvest

“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. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. 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!

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HARVEST

When I first read “Harvest”… I thought Harvest Moon… which recently appeared in Connecticut on September 13th this year… and on a Friday! In researching the name, I learned it was so-named because it rises almost at sunset resulting in an abundance of extremely bright moon light. And what does this mean for the farmers… it aides them in harvesting their crops for a longer day, but it also signals that summer is ending.

We often think of “harvest” as the ending of summer… although harvesting for farmers actually never ends. From the moment the sun rises… and often even before… a farmer’s work is never done! They work the field to ready it for planting… they nurture it… and then they reap its bountiful harvest! Both of my grandfathers were farmers, as well as their fathers; my grandfather McKinley farmed somewhat on a larger perspective.

Granddaddy McKinley farmed to pay for his land, while also harvesting food for his family… it was all he knew. He had farmed on his father’s farm from the time he was old enough to work in the field… holding the plow and reigns of the work horses. Big families were needed in those days… and they all worked the fields. My mother often faked fainting spells to be carried out of the cotton field… which was one of grandaddy’s largest crops. Her brother, Leroy, hated to plow, but being the only boy, he was needed. Mama remembers how he grumbled whenever he was behind the plow, but in the letters he wrote home from the war, he often mentioned how he wished to be behind the plow one more time; he never made it home from Germany as he was killed by sniper fire during the war.

While grandaddy farmed larger crop fields like cotton, wheat, corn and soybeans, grandmamma harvested the family garden to supply them with food during the year. She canned everything out of that garden and what wasn’t canned, was kept in the family root cellar for preservation. While my mother felt she was only a poor “dirt farmers daughter”… she was always well fed! The harvest on the McKinley farm was very bountiful! My mother never bought any produce in the grocery stores… we always came home after visits with several bags of fruits and vegetables. Besides the produce, there were many fruits on the farm which produced. Blackberry bushes grew all over… which they harvested every July… grandmamma made blackberry pies, cobber and my favorite… blackberry jam! Everytime I buy a jar today, I think about that waiting jar she always kept on her kitchen counter for me.

Their fruit trees of apples, pears and peaches were bountiful all summer and yielded many jars of jam and fruit to last them until the next harvest. I was told recently that there were also two figs trees on the farm… grandmama made her famous fig cake from them. Unfortunately they must have withered away by the time I was old enough to spend time on the farm as I never ate a fig until I married and moved to Connecticut.

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Grandaddy Bryan and me on his plowing mule

On granddaddy Bryan’s farm his harvest was on a smaller scale as he also worked in the hosiery mill, but he did have three small fields he worked. He grew corn, all types of vegetables, watermelons, and even peanuts. Cousin Paulette remembers helping him in the field and he’d put a watermelon in the “creek”… for when they rested under a shade tree… granddaddy would bust it open and they’d eat the heart. I remember him harvesting vegetables more so than granddaddy McKinley.

After pulling the peanuts up, Paulette and grandmama would, again, sit under a shade tree and pull the peanuts off to be washed and dried… life revolved around shade in the hot Georgia summers! Granddaddy did, what he often called, truck farming. He’d load up the car early in the morning, and and drive around Union Point selling fresh picked corn, green beans, and watermelons. He never believed in picking vegetables until they were to be used and even when he knew someone was coming to pick up an order… he’d wait until they arrived before heading down with his satchel slung over his shoulder, ready to pick their order. He believed fresh should always be freshly picked!

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We never left granddaddy’s house without a mess of fresh corn just picked, along with an early morning harvested watermelon for me. (Granddaddy Bryan with great grandson Charles Bryan)

Sunday dinners were always from the freshest vegetables picked in the early cool of the morning… I can still close my eyes and envision that bountable table filled with harvested veggies of creamed style corn, black-eyed peas, butter beans, green beans, sweet potatoes, fried okra, and mashed potatoes. If granddaddy and I were lucky… grandmamma made us a sweet potato cobbler  earlier that morning also! Those dinners were special… and I sure wish I had a photo of that back porch dinner table… instead of a memory in my head.

Bryan back porch

The “famous” back porch where we ate dinners in good weather. Grandmamma and Granddaddy Bryan with me, my son, Stephen, and daughter Melissa.

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Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Leave a comment