Monthly Musings: 2022 September Rememberings

Summer is slipping away… and way too fast. While the mornings are nice and cool, often warming up during the day… it’s in the air that fall is coming. I look at the trees and see the lackluster in their leaves and cringe when I see them falling… thinking ahead of what’s to come!

In as I’m not ready to give up my warm afternoons sitting along the boardwalk… the cooler days are now finding me knitting at the beach. This small lap blanket is a Christmas gift, so I need to take advantage on knitting everywhere. This is blanket No. 2… the first one can be seen over here. No. 3 will be a different look… in figuring the best thing would be to knit each one in a different color pattern… don’t want to have the girls fighting over who’s is who! Update: No. 2 is now finished… onto No. 3… and I’m sure I’ll still be knitting on the drive to Florida!

September 8th brought sad news… Queen Elizabeth II, age 96, passed away at Baloral Castle in Scotland. Queen Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, (year I was born) at age 26. She watched her father, King George VI, as he was crowned King at London’s Westminster Abbery in 1937; she was only 11 years of age… never imagining that she would she become Queen one day… and at an early age. Queen Elizabeth enjoyed a 70 year-long reigne… the longest Britich monarch to sit on a royal throne.

I’ve always had a fascination in watching the Queen, and always wanted to visit Buckingham Palace… maybe because my DNA runs across the ocean with over 50-percent ancestry in Scotland and Wales; my ancestry shows me related to Princess Diana… I need to do more research as I might also link into the Queen’s family lines. (For some odd reason, I could not upload or even paste a photo of the queen here in this post… very odd!)

911 at Savin Rock

September is always the saddest month… as it’s the month of when 911 happened. So many memories flow back and I’m compelled again in writing my memories in a 911 blogpost memorial… which can be read over HERE. We must never forget what happened that day!

I don’t know about you, but whenever I look out and spot a red Cardinal… I think about my mother and father… and that they’ve come to check in on me… bringing a tear to my eyes. This one appeared on 911.

I discovered this treasure while tag sailing on the 9th. In pulling up at the sale, I spotted a ceramic Christmas tree on a table… and made a bee-line towards it… in wanting a white tree for the longest. The sign read “Musical Xmas Tree, asking $5.00! I couldn’t get my money out fast enough… almost running back to the car with my treasure! The bottom of the tree was inscribed 1960 by Norma… so now “Norma” lives with me. As soon as we arrived home, I immediately cleaned it while my husband replaced the older electrical cord… I danced on pins and needles while waiting to turn it on… finally winding the key… and hearing Silent Night. I still can’t believe what a steal I had in finding this tree… and Christmas has come early in my house this year.. as I light it every night!

Christmas is coming, and I’ve begun working on more knitted Xmas Tree potholders… they make a great decoration for the table… perfect for hot dishes. A WIP… which won’t remain long on my needles, as many are needed for gifts.

On Saturday, (Sept.17, 2022) while out tag sailing, I finally stopped at the coffee shop that sells Boba (Bubble) tea… not sure on the tea, as mine was only made with milk and brown sugar, along with the boba bubbles … which are actually tapioca pearls, I think. I’ve seen people talk about this drink and watched a couple of videos, but today I finally took the plunge and bought one… hubby wasn’t interested in even trying! I have to say, I did enjoy it… and chewing the bubbles as they flowed up through the “larger” straw was fun! The con was… it’s much sweeter than my coffee, which I drink with no sugar… which was the biggest change, but I liked the boba bubbles. There are also fruity ones with exploding bubbles… think I’ll save those to buy for the girls. If you haven’t tried, do take the plunge and give one a try… it’s not a drink that I would drink daily, but I’ll definetly have one ever so often.

As most of my dark and light pink Hibiscus have bloomed and gone, the seed pods are now drying up, so I’m pulling off most of the pods to shake out their seeds… will be taking to my daughter in law in hope that she can grow them along her front fence. I spotted a red Hibiscus in a local store parking area recently… will grab some seeds from there also, as I’d love to have the red mixed in with my pinks. My Hibiscus originally came from my mother’s garden in Georgia… she grew mostly everything from seed… it was totally against her nature to buy plants! Whereever she went, she’d heist a cutting… mama’s digging tool was always kept in the car.

Hibiscus seed pods… each pod yields probably over 50 seeds… but who’s counting!

I’ve begun my Christmas shopping… in as I have five granddaughters to buy for… I need to start early! What’s great about Amazon is, I just have the items mailed directly to my daughter in law… and she wraps for me… what’s better than that! Thank You Rose! Sorry… can’t post pics on those items yet, as you never know who reads my blog! I still need more Ideas!

Photo Credit to “Samantha of Guilford” for this aweseome shot of Isaiah!

While I wasn’t one of the fortunate ones who met Isaiah Glenn Shields when he arrived in New Haven, CT. this month… on his “Walk America“… I did hook up in following him on Facebook on his walk through CT. We took a ride last Sunday in hopes of seeing him along RT. 1 as he left Guilford, but I think he was having way too much of good time there… not leaving until late afternoon. Darn! He left from the most Western part of Washington on May 13, 2021, and is walking to the most Eastern tip of Maine. When hitting Connecticut, he had walked over 7000 miles… I can’t even imagaine walking in his shoes!

If you’re on the East Coast… Isaiah is headed your way on the final trek to Maine through Massachusets and and possibly New Hampshire! LMK if you see him!

In searching for notes of this month… I came across many written words of last year; I need better organization! So what have I forgotten?

  • The girls are beginning school soon (2021) and being told they are coming back to once again wear masks! Is this going to be another winter where everything is closed? (Yes, they began with masks, but they slowly disappeared… and things now are almost back to normal (2022); some still continue to wear masks in stores)
  • On Aug. 30, 2021 our government pulled our Armed Forces out of Afghanistan: It was extrememly heartbreaking as I watched our planes surrounded by Afghanistan’s on the runway… trying to climb onto the planes. What direction is our country headed into… scary times!
  • I finally ordered a new laptop… it’s something I’ve been contemplatig for over a year, but hate the idea of having no DVD drive. I know they say… “Oh, everything is in the cloud“… but I like my stuff more on hand. I have much of my photos and genealogy stored on DVD’s… and if I look hard enough, I’ll still find floppy disks!
  • I don’t know if you hate change like me… it’s just not my cup of tea!
  • My winter (2021-2022) project is scanning all the many hundreds… more like thousands of photographs I have of my family… and also my husband’s family. I purchasd a photo scanner that will scan a stack of about 30 photographs in about a second each. If I had never seen it in person, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. The other plus is that it automatically scans both sides… also saving what’s written on the backside. It instantly saves and edits the images… saving the before and after images. I was impressed!(Hate to admit, but I haven’t even begun the scanning… still a WIP)
  • Hurricane Henri (August 2021) didn’t hit us as first said; it landed in Rhode Island istead… but we had lots of rain. It was the third hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

September sadly ended with Hurricane Ian slamming into the Gulf Coast of Florida on the 28th. While I’ve experienced a few hurricanes since moving to CT., but never to the magnitude of “Ian”… and pray we never do. I need to gather my notes on the hurricanes that have slammed into Ct. during my time here, and put together a post; hubby probably remembers more than I do as he took care of all the outside clearing of debris. As my son now lives in Florida… I worry more during hurricane season, but thankfully he was clear of the storm except for rain. Prayers for all who were in its path!

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

More Monthly Musings can be read HERE.

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Family Stories: Remembering 911… 21 years later

Remembering 911: 21 years later…

(Sept. 11, 2022)

I’ll never forget this day… I was at work on a regular day, or so I thought. You can read my full acount of my morning HERE.

I Will Never Forget!

This day is the largest event that has happened in my lifetime of 70 years. Our country was attacked… I felt the equivalent of how my parents and grandparents felt when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The only difference was that we retalliated against Japan for that attack and defeated them. 911 has truly never been vindicated for that attack.

My husband and I watched for weeks… watching over and over… of the daily events… and finally into the begining of the cleanup… it’s all we watched! New York City was under ciege… and the city was closed… you could not even leave Manhatten that day. I am thankful I had no family trapped there.

There was “no other” TV programming on the air… and no one wanted to watch anything else!

The attack in Manhattan, Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania affected everyone, and it hurt me inside tremendously when I heard others, who didn’t live near the area, say… “it doesn’t affect me, I’m not near there.” This affected all Americans! This was a time when we all needed to come together more than ever!

This was an attack on Amerian soil… it affected you… and I will never forget! It was an event that changed our country forever!

God Bless all who lost their life on that day… America will never forget you!

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

More stories on 911 can be read HERE.

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The Family Homes: House No. 1… 212 Binns St., Union Point, GA


While reading the blog of Laura Hedgecock, her post resonated with me… telling the stories of a house… specifically a house you grew up in. Every house has a story… so I’m telling the story of the early homes I’ve lived in.

Every House has Stories… Part 1

My first home was in Union Point, Georgia (212 Binns St.) with my parents, Clayton & Helen (McKinley) Bryan. Living just next door was my great-aunt Christine (Askew) Amos, and one house away further were my grandparents, Paul and Evelyn (Little) Bryan. After my father was discharged from the Navy, his father built our house with lumber that my mother’s father, Edgar McKinley, bought… lumber coming from another house recently torn down; use and reuse… that was the green lifestyle during those times! (House now listed as 302 Binns St.)

I was brought home here from the Minnie J. Boswell Hospital in nearby Greensboro in 1952. Even though this photo wasn’t taken when we lived there… Mama’s “Ola Lilly” that she planted by the front porch, still remains.

212 Binns St… where I first learned to walk… talk… and eat Mama’s good Southern home cooking. These very front steps, was where I sat waiting for Granddaddy Bryan to walk home from the mill… just so I could walk directly behind him… following his loping limp all the way down the road to his house; he lived just one house away. That walk of mine, in mimicking his, worried mama to death… as she just knew I’d end up walking that way.

Times were much safer for children when I grew up… as I often played in the yard with no adult supervision. Mama often left me outside in my playpen… alone… and when she’d come out to check on me, and found me gone, she knew someone had taken me for ice cream… and I always returned in a short time. If our dog, Butch, was in the yard… he protected me from everyone he didn’t know… no ice cream! It’s hard to believe my mother was so calm about me in those early years, as I remember her always somewhat over-protective!

The only time she fell apart when I was young, was when she hit me in the head with the hammer… I had suddenly moved behind her when she was building my playhouse. She often told the story of how she thought she’d killed me, and ran, carrying me all the way uptown to the doctor’s office… running into the office with me in her arms yelling that she had killed me. The doctor calmed her down… telling her that I was still alive and fine, and to take me back home.

We had a mixed breed dog while living on Binns St… part German Shepard and birddog… his name was Butch, and he was my protector; mama was never afraid to leave me outside with him… as no stranger dared to venture near me with Butch ready to protect! He even taught me to walk… me holding onto his tail as he walked around the yard. If I ventured out of the yard, he’d grab my clothing and pull me back. The only way Butch warned you on his intent to bite, was if he pointed you! He did bite once, as a man didn’t believe he would, and I suppose he pushed the limits… as Butch pointed and then bit him. Butch was found dead a couple weeks later… poisoned… mama always blamed that man.

figurine 1

The Tiny Ballerina… the one and only figurine to survive from Butch!

Butch often ended up in trouble on many occasions, after I piled mama’s little figurines into his mouth. Mama would walk in, call him by name… and Oops… out fell the figurines! Guess that’s why only one has survived all those years… a tiny ballerina that I treasure!

My father sold life insurance for New York Life Insurance… and I enjoyed played at selling it. I loved his freebies of the rulers, fans, and even the old unused policies. I would load up my wagon, walking up and down the street… returning with a pocketful of change; a budding enprepreneur! That was in the days when a young child could walk alone… and any adult knowing you, or not… looked out for you; sad how times have changed!

That little red wagon was bought by Granddaddy McKinley when grandmama insisted he buy because my cousin wouldn’t let me play with his. It was one of those far and few times when Grandmama McKinley became voicetrous in her actions… mostly being a calm and quiet woman.

I also seemed to be very bad about squirreling away any loose change I found around our house as a young child… mama tells me that when we moved to Perry, she found loose coins everywhere! Once I even took my father’s weekly money he’d collected from the life insurance policies he sold… they were frantic! in those days the insurance salesmen actually visited the clients home weekly to collect the premiums. They looked everywhere that day for daddy’s money… but it was only when mama told me how my father was going to jail if the money wasn’t found, that I showed her where it was… hidden away in the hanging shoe rack on their bedroom door. All was good, but I imagine I was sent to sit in the corner or received a switching!

An early Easter photo of daddy and me visiting my best friends Karen and Pat. (Note daddy’s car in the background… can anyone identify it?)

I celebrated my first birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter’s in this home.. but sadly no memory of them, although I do have a couple Easter photos and a Christmas photo of me dressed as a cowgirl, complete with guns… on a bike. Not many girls would receive holsters and guns today… but we lived in a different and better world… not easily offended! Training wheels were still on my bike, and it wasn’t until we moved to Perry, that I finally learned to ride with no extra help!

Christmas Morning, (abt. 1957) with cousins Deborah and George Amos and Hassie… no girly dolls for me, but I looked happy with my cowgirl outfit, complete with hat, gloves and a gun holster wrapped around me. My first bike with training wheels… which I still rode when we moved to Perry. Family Photograph story on this photograph over Here.

Mama built my first playhouse there from scrap lumber… even sewed curtains… but sadly, I have no memory of it… and no photos! She laughed in telling the story of building it… “Granddaddy Bryan walked over everyday as I worked… asking if I wanted him to finish. I always said No, and he’d just stand there watching me”, Mama was quite handy with a saw and hammer; never tell her she couldn’t build something!

My grandparents generation were the true green generation; I always remember seeing a “might need” pile behind Granddaddy McKinley’s smokehouse… it was his go-to area whenever a part was needed to “fix” something! I bet everyone’s grandparents had one of those very piles! I can still see that pile in my head today… darn, if only I could press the print button! Granddaddy Bryan’s car shed was filled with his “might need” things. My husband has one of those “might need” piles… in the cellar! Our generation, is probably the last that fixes and reuses… at least my husband does… learning those skills from his father, who was the most knowledgeable man I ever met… there was nothing he couldn’t repair! And that was what many said at his funeral… “who are we going to ask now, on how to repair anything?”

But, back to the house… I easily become sidetracked!

In that I was only about 5 years old when we moved from our first house… I have very few memories other than what my mother has told me… she has given me my stories to tell.

Mama & Me…. with the famous Ola Lily in background… and the long gone clotheslines. Read more on this photo over Here!

Only photo of me inside the house… taken at Christmas. I must have been an “odd” child, as mama told stories of how I was never interested in discovering what Santa brought on Christmas morning… it saddened her. Her words were… “you would walk by the room, peek in, but then it’d be days before you ventured back in to see what Santa brought.” She sewed me a large doll one Christmas… sadly I wanted no part of it. It’s a wonder I wasn’t hauled off to be analyzed!

Maybe my un-interest in Christmas came from the night when daddy’s best friend came to the house dressed as Santa. He brought me a doll, but I’m told when I opened the door, I screamed… and ran to hide under my bed. Probably another doll I didn’t play with! Seems I grew out of my hate relationship with dolls as Barbie became my favorite toy along with Nancy Drew books when we moved to Perry.

In as I have no memory of the inside of this house… only what mama has told me, I can only surmise that Grandaddy built our house the same as his and my uncle, who’s house was just next door. It was a small home with two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining and living room. I seem to have the strongest memories of both of my grandparents homes than any of the ones I lived in. How Odd!

It was on this street… actually in granddaddy Bryan’s yard… where I learned how to capture fireflies in a jar… and place on my headboard at night before bed. I’m sure mama ensured that none were harmed… freeing them after I went to sleep! Under granddaddy Bryan’s car shed, with the sand-based floor… was the “bestiest” place for “doodle-bugging“! Just ask all the cousins! If you have never doodle-bugged… you have missed out!

This was home for the first five years of my life before moving to Perry, Georgia… now away from all family, only weekend visits. Daddy had taken a new job at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins… just next door to Perry. That would be home for me for the next thirteen years of my life… but living in three different houses while living there.

moving to Perry….

To read more Family Home Stories… click HERE.

For more Family Photographs and their stories, click HERE.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Monthly Musings: 2022… June/July/August Summer Catch-Up!

After my daily blogging in April, I took the summer off from pounding the keys… to sitting daily along the beach boardwalk… enjoying the sound of the waves slapping at the shore! I often thought of all the blog posts to be finished, but just couldn’t bring myself to write… now hoping to get myself back in the swing of things soon.

Lifeguards On Duty!

On many later afternoons, Nancy Drew kept me from knitting or word-search puzzles as we sat alongside the boardwalk… people and dog-watching… and listening to music.

Meet “Miss Lucy”… our favorite dog at the beach… belonging to Aunt Dolly! I have to say that Lucy happily agreed to model her new summer beach attire and never stops smiling! She’s such a happy dog (Pomeranian) and very much a one-owner dog… with eyes always on mama!

Even though we haven’t reached the final days of Summer… every day is getting closer and closer here in Connecticut. We also celebrated a couple more family birthdays in June with my daughter in law, Rose, on June 4th and hubby on the 16th; no more birthdays now until October and November.

I shipped these crochet chicken hot mitts and coasters to my daughter in law Rose as part of her birthday present… it seems everything in her life has turned to chickens now, so thought I’d add a few more to the household. Pattern can be bought on Etsy.

We celebrated hubby’s birthday of June 16th with dinner at Abate’s Restaurant on the famous Wooster St. in New Haven… we were so busy enjoying our appetizers and meal to even take a photo… you’ll have to imagine our table, full of fried dough, pizza, mussels, garlic bread and everything Italian. I ordered chicken franchise in a lemon-wine sauce… my favorite; one of the best parts is bringing most of my meal home to enjoy again… as I usually fill up on salad and bread! I made hubby’s favorite Ice Box Cake for his birthday, which really isn’t a cake! If you’ve never enjoyed this, it’s a one dish of chocolate and vanilla pudding with graham crackers on the bottom, in-between the layers, and on top. His mother taught me to make Italian cream pudding from scratch, so it’s how I always make it. Let me hear from you if you make this dessert. Some people also put layers of bananas between, but hubby isn’t a fan of adding fruit… so on his day, I make exactly to his liking! I need to make another soon, take photos and write a recipe… stay tuned!

School was finally out for granddaughters here mid-June… we picked them up on their last day and took them to our favorite spot… the beach boardwalk, where they practiced their skating.

McKinley and Grace working on their roller skating at the beach boardwalk…

These two have had enjoyed quite the summer vacation… and were off to spend a week in July at Camp Stanley with their aunt and uncle… where they paddle boarded, kayaked, and even McKinley was challenged to water ski! I was impressed with the water skiing… bringing back memories of how my friends, Pat and Karen, attempted to teach me… but it definitely didn’t work out this way. And as their summer vacation isn’t quite over… they are off for a week in August to the island of Bermuda. Nice summer memories they have made!

I began this baby blanket gift in late May for cousin Nicole… finishing just in time for my baby shower gift in July; I can’t wait to see it wrapped around their new baby girl! It went everywhere with me… even joining me at the beach, where everyone watched my progress. This was my first knitted baby blanket, as I’ve only crocheted them before… and I have to say that crocheting goes way faster than knitting! It didn’t remain as a WIP very long though, as I knitted daily to complete… but never took a completed photo! I’ll have to wait for a baby pic!

Granddaughters, Nina, Ella and Ana returned to school on August 10th (2022)… the twins, Nina and Ana, head into 4th grade while Ella begins 7th this year. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings them!

I began this mitered knit blanket earlier this summer… not sure how big I intended to make, but finally deciding on a lap blanket… as who needs a large afghan? In seeing the many edge strings hanging, fringe came to mind… so I fringed three sides; the alternate was to crochet a border edge. I’m liking the fringe and I think the granddaughters in Florida will enjoy this one… although they’ll have to flip a coin in using, as I’ve only knitted one… so far! The blanket pattern is free from The Knitting Squirrel. I enjoyed knitting it so much that I’m beginning a second one with sock yarn… as that’s what the pattern called for… with the purpose of using up extra sock yarn amassed. In that this pattern is suppose to be a “pick up” project at your leisure… that is what the sock yarn blanket will be, as I’m not finding it as enjoyable in knitting, as I did with the DK yarn. I’ve since begun a second one with the DK, but this one will be all solid squares, unlike the first one. In knitting this one, I’ve had an idea on how to possibly frame each square in black… and that means I’ll probably begin a third one soon… just to test out my theory! Stay Tuned…

We were supposed to have gone this month (August) to a reunion at the late Loring AFB in Carabou, Maine. While I so wanted to go… as they had secured a B-52 to land at the now closed base… first time a B-52 will be on base since closing in 1993. In knowing we’d be driving to Florida soon, at over 1500 miles, I just didn’t think I wanted to now drive another 500 miles… so opted not to go, but when I watched the video of it landing… I so wished I could wiggle my nose and be there to watch it land. My husband worked on the B-52 while stationed at Loring, and it was at Loring where he asked me to marry him… over the phone! While it wasn’t possible for him to ask me in person, he did have to see the base commander and ask permission to marry me… which always gives me a chuckle when I think of him standing in front of the commander’s desk and asking to marry. Like he’s always told me, when you are a GI (government issue), they are your mother and father… and you must ask permission on everything!

B-52 flying into Loring on August 11, 2022… courtesy of Barksdale AFB in Louisiana… many thanks to those guys for bringing it back to Maine. Listening to it online in landing, was awesome… just wish I hadn’t procrastinated so much in going. I’ve always wanted to see one in-person flying and landing… and sadly I missed my chance!

My summer travelers, granddaughters Grace and McKinley, winded down their summer travels with a trip to Bermuda with their parents. The color of the water, the sand, and the waves, are spectacular!

You know summer is over when the kids begin school…

My un-finished projects have now dwindled down… guess that means I need to add more projects to my needles… and soon will be beginning another mitered knit blanket… so much fun to knit… and was what kept me off blogging this summer!

Besides knitting the blanket, I’ve been at the beach every evening… enjoying the summer day no matter what the temperature was… and like I tell everyone… there’s always a breeze at the beach!

Read Family Stories, click Here!

More Monthly Musings, over Here!

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Monthly Musings 2022: May Chit Chat…

What better way to start the month off with an anniversary… No. 51 for us this year… and still very much in loved. We do everything together, just like we have done from day one. He is my best friend… and I could have no better friend than my husband… he’s always looking out for me in everything we do! I am truly blessed that he came into my life… and coming over a thousand miles away for us to meet, as he was from Connecticut… and me, a Southern girl from Georgia. Someone was definetly looking down in the planning of him coming to Georgia to Warner Robings AFB… and he never thinking that it would be where he found the love of his life!

Meet my “Togo” sewn with all Nancy Drew fabric by Moda… if you aren’t familiar with the Nancy Drew books… Togo was Nancy’s terrier. I enjoyed sewing him so much… that I just might make another… Togo 1 & 2!

Just as I promised at New Year’s… to work on my UFO’s (unfinished objects) during the year, I’m making progress in looking back through my monthly musings. This month I diligently sewed on my “Nancy Drew” EPT (English Paper Piecing) Scottish doggie. I featured last April the five I sewed for my granddaughters, and if you’re interested in making one, check out the post HERE, as I’ve given directions and links for a “how to.” They are not hard to sew, as they[re all sewn by hand… it’s a great project to pick up and go. I often sew while sitting at the beach or riding in the car… when I can stop watching the road and giving hubby directions. I hate to admit it, but I’m a back seat driver… but he’s probably selective in listening to me… but then there are times when my eyes did good!

Mama dug up these up one summer for me… and they make me smile when blooming!

Spring continues popping up around my yard with the yellow Iris’s blooming… they are bulbs from my mother’s garden. One of the many flowers I often lugged home in my special yellow suitcase that I only used just for that reason. It seems they weren’t really x-raying luggage at that time… or didn’t care about flowers… as nothing was ever said. I can’t imagine what I would have done if caught… probably stomping my foot in telling them that I have to bring them home! I’ve had some issues at the Atlanta airport that ended up ok in the end… with me just taking a deep breath. Once, while traveling with both my teenage children, we arrived for an 8 o’clock morning flight… I presented our tickets to only have the agent shove them back to me. I pushed them back over to him, and after a couple push and shoves, he finally said P.M., not A.M… and those were tickets bought from a travel agent! I guess he took pity on me from the look on my face and directed me over to the Delta desk… telling me that they’d get me on another flight. Meanwhile I had one stompy teenager announcing that she wasn’t sitting at the airport all day… and I don’t think I can write my response to that, but I quickly walked over to Delta and told of my dilemma… and without blinking an eye, thea gent had me on an even earlier flight home to Connecticut. I then had a very happy teenager! I’m sure my son was laughing during the whole process while his sister was moaning. Traveling with my son was always a happy experience, as nothing upset him along the way… while he laughingly carried all our luggage!

Stephen even laughed on the steamy Atlanta day when we missed our van ride to my mother’s. While we had taken that van several times and knew about where it parked in the lot… somehow that day we missed seeing it. It was a long afternoon of sitting on the very “hard” concrete bench in waiting for the next one. I so enjoyed those vacations with my son traveling… just the two of us laughing the entire trip, and the hustle and bustle of the airport; we always seemed to have been running at some point through the airport in Atlanta!

In remembering that airport experience, it also brought to mind other mishaps… like the first time my daughter came with my son and I. At the Atlanta hub there is a subway system called Marta, and you really need to pay attention in getting on and off, as those doors slam quickly. We explained the process to my daughter… as to what happens, but she didn’t move fast enough with us and the door shut her out! The look on her face as we left on the train… as she was left standing there, not knowing where to go… but, actually that train only ran one way. We exited for out destination of baggage… and waited for her to arrive… which she did, admist her brother laughing as she exited! All’s well, that ends well!

Besides carrying flowers home in my suitcase, I also carried 5lb bags of White Lily self-rising flour… why you ask? Well, they don’t sell that in the North, and I needed it to make biscuits. Sure I can buy self-rising flour here, but it’s not the same. White Lily is a very soft processed wheat and makes the best biscuits… and it’s all my mama ever used! One year when my daughter and son-in-law came… I gave him the honor of pulling my carry-on through security… but he said laughing, if I get pulled over with all that flour, it’s yours! No problem, it went right through.

The only thing security usually pulled me aside for was when I brought on frozen BBQ and Brunswick Stew. They always opened the bag and waved their magic wand all around the containers… while I stood there mumbling to myself… “you are not taking my BBQ and Stew.” Luckly it always ended well! The one thing today that would never be allowed is the 3 gallons of BBQ sauce we brought home yearly from Holcomb’s… our favorite BBQ place in Greensboro, Georgia. I always secured the cap with lots of duct tape as I often had to lay them on their side in the overhead… imagine if that leaked! I don’t think I would have wanted to claim it was mine… and the vinegar smell would definitelty have overwhelmed everyone! Someone was looking out for me! Just ask my son about our travels, as he was the bagger carrier, and always schlepped lots of bags! We usually took a van to my mom’s house and often our driver on the return trip to the airport would always say… “You have everything but the kitchen sink in these bags.” Yep, we pretty much did… as mama walked around the house the night before and continuisly found more things that she thought insisted we take home. It was hard to say No!

While my son and I did the most flying to Georgia every summer, and for the most part we had no issues… often laughing as we ran through the airports… as our gate always seemed to be the furtherest out! Traveling with hubby, another whole issue… he hates flying, security, and the hustle and bustle… and always forgot something in his pocket that causes him to be screened. He once had to throw away a small round screwdriver, and I heard about it the entire trip! We only drive now, no security issues!

This knitted “Mitred” blanket on the left is a new UFO I’ve begun recenlty, as it’s a pick up and go project… which I enjoy… sometimes you just want something to knit, with no pattern to struggle reading. It’s also the type of afghan that uses up your extra balls of yarn… which knitters and crocheters always have! I discovered this type blanket on Kate on The Last Homely House… she was knitting this while sitting in her garden. If you’d like to make one, there is a free pattern over at The Knitting Squirrel. The “pretty in pink” scalloped knitted blanket is a soon-to-be shower gift… but knitting in sports yarn is taking time… and leaving me like I’m not adding inches! Lately it’s become my sitting at the beach project, while watch tv and all the time… as it must be finished by the end of June!

We sided the house last year, but never managed to redo the front gardens… I knew I had to do it this year, so this month we began stopping at our local nursery to stock up on soil, mulch and flowers whenever we passed by. With todays gas prices, you know have to plan your trips to save on gas! I’ve been going out the past few mornings to work on one side… and after 6 bags of mulch, several bags of soil and flowers, it’s finished! The other side will have to wait until the generator goes in, as it possibly, might have to sit in the front, so I’ll just mulch that side for now. At least next summer won’t be so hard… hopefully… in just adding flowers.

More exciting news this month came on the 19th… with the arrival of my son’s first baby chick that their hen, Maple, hatched from her countless days of sitting on the nest. They discovered her many eggs, as she’d been guarding her nest in the begining of the month… and sitting on over 18 eggs. Not all were even hers, she secretly, or so she thought, been gathering eggs; my son caught her sneaking them under her wing and taking them back to her nest. He resorted to marking the eggs once discovered, so he could daily remove any new ones, but the real surprise to him came on the 19th when he was locking the chickens up in the coop for the night… hearing a peep… peep… he peeked under her and out popped a little chicken… and a couple days later, another one appeared.

Baby Chicks arrived this month… Chickie “Angel” on left – CeCelia on right!

The girls were super excited in having their own “home grown” first baby chicks… and promptly began naming them. The first one (black and white) was named Angel, and the newest yellow chick is named CeCelia… and ironically those are their great-grandmother’s names!

May didn’t end before more chirping over the Memorial Day Weekend… Baby chick Violet arrived on May 27th…

This past year granddaughter McKinley has been taking horse riding lessons… and is now asking about shows, so we may soon see her competing. She’s come a long way in the past year, from first being led around the ring, to now going to the tac barn, gathering her own saddle and bridle and helping to saddle her horse up for riding. What’s next… can I have my own horse?

Our month of May ended with granddaughter Grace’s dance recital… where she also received her 5-year trophy. Way to go Grace! Never put me in a photo and expect me to smile… not sure why?

Miss Grace dancing Hip Hop…

Ella playing flute in school concert and far right in school play!

Granddaughters in Florida are out of school… finished mid May, but not before a couple of band concerts for Ella, who plays the flute; joined the band last year and has been promoted up another level as her skills have progressed. This was her first year (6th) in middle school and she blossomed out in joining the drama club and winning a role in their play, Descendants, The Musical; she had to sing and dance for the audition. Way to go Ella! All the girls in Florida are planning swimming lessons for the summer to keep them busy, as well as the granddaughters here; it’s good to know their safe and confortable around the water.

Ella made “Honor Roll” all four quarters this last school year and pictured in front of many of her awards she has won during past school year. Way to go Ella, Pop and Gigi are very proud of you!

Ana and Nina (soon to be 4th graders) were busy this past year… both entered the science fair and the STEM program where they built robots. STEM is a science tenchnology and engineering math program. Ana won first place in the school jump rope challenge… what fun they’ve had this past year!

Nina jumps for JOY on last day of school!

Nina and Ana in classroom… how times have changed in seeing the students now with a laptop on their desks. Note that each sister writes differently… another way in telling them apart. You girls did awesome in third grade and I’m looking forward to what the fourth grade brings out in you!

Ana with the classroom guinie pig, Daisy, of which she was in charge of his care in the classroom. Their school is geared toward animals and have many animals and fish tanks throughout the school.

Take time today in remembering all who made your picnic and parade possible. I always remember Uncle Leroy McKinley on this day… as at the young age of 19, he gave his life in Metz, France during WWII in fighting Germany… so we may live free. It’s not about the hot dogs and hamburgers today… teach the children about freedom… and why we live free!

Let me end in wishing everyone a safe Memorial Day…

Thanks for stopping in… May was a busy month in looking back… what will June bring!

Read Family Stories, click Here!

More Monthly Musings, over Here!

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Family Stories: Remembering Memorial Day

They say on Memorial Day to rememember “one event” and “one person”… and that one person always remembered, is my uncle… Edgar “Leroy” McKinley… my mother’s only brother… and only sibling.

Edgar “Leroy” McKinley

While so many think of Memorial Day as a day for parades, picnics and enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers… it’s more than that, and we should all remember and teach our kids that we have this day because of many who gave their life, like my uncle. They gave their young lives so we can live free in America and continue to wave our flag of red, white and blue. Enjoy your parade and food, but never forget why we are able to enjoy this day… because so many didn’t come home to live their lives. They only live their lives through us… in rememberance of them. Enjoy your day today… but never forget those that gave…

My mother always told stories of her brother Leroy through the years. He was her best friend, and often only playmate in growing up on the farm. She looked up to him through the years… and on that day he left for the Army, she remembered him waving to her, saying “so long” as he left for the train. His father took him to the train on that sad day, while she remained home with her mother… wondering why they didn’t all go, but likely because her mother just couldn’t bring herself to see him leave on the train.

After several weeks at boot camp at Ft. PcPherson in Atlanta in 1943, he returned home for a short visit before heading to Texas… as he was slated to head overseas… war in Germany was raging. What was going through his mind… probably the no. 1 was… will I ever return home to see my parents and sister and friends again?

From several records, and with the help of other genealogists I pinpointed Leroy’s actual unit to be Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, serving in the Third Army. He was a replacement soldier who joined the 5th division after it was originally formed in Ft. Custer, Michigan; more than 300,000 troops trained there. This 2nd Infantry Regiment was in reserve after much brutal fighting when the Sauer River was first crossed. He most likely crossed it, but not under fire as the 1st Infantry did.

Leroy wrote home as often as time allowed… and those letters were coveted by my grandmother. She read his letters over and over, often keeping them in the pocket of her dress. She was very possessive of them, not allowing anyone to hold them. She would read them to my mother and grandfather, but grandmama never let them out of her site.

It was in July of 1944, when the 2nd Infantry Regiment, along with the 5th Infantry Division landed in Normandy, France. They then became part of General George Patton’s United States Third Army, capturing Rheims and seizing the city of Metz after a major battle at Fort Driant. I can only guess that Leroy was possibly there with his unit. From letters written home, he mentioned being in France, as well as Luxembourg, and this would be the correct time frame. It was in the battle of capturing Metz, when he was was fired on by a lone sniper hiding in the dense woods outside the village; a purple heart was given to his parents.

Ironically on a Monday night, February 19, 1945, the day of his death, my grandmother penned her last letter to her only son. This letter never reached him, but instead, returned to her and I know it broke her heart in receiving it back. In that letter, she wrote…”We received letters dated Jan. 3rd, 12th, 13th, and 14th,. I also had a V-mail from you on February 17th, dated January 24th.  I hate to hear that you haven’t received the fruitcake in the box I sent in November and the cigars I sent later in a tin box. When that fruitcake tin was finally returned back to her in the mail… she hadn’t yet heard of his death, but in her heart she knew… she knew her only son was gone.

PFC Leroy McKinley died Feb. 19, 1945…

Thank You Uncle Leroy… I’ll never forget you as my middle name of Lee was given to me in your honor, as I also gave to my daughter and in continuing the memory, she named her daughter McKinley Lee… ensuring your name is never forgotten!

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Family Stories: Dear Uncle Leroy

Always on Memorial Day I remember my Uncle Leroy… who didn’t come home from the war to live his life… a life at age 19, that he gave for his country… so we may live a free life. I so wish I could have met him.

Everyone Has a Story

Family Stories

Dear Uncle Leroy

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Dear Uncle Leroy:

On this Memorial Day (May 27, 2018) I’m writing to “Thank You” for your service during WWII, where at the young age of 19, you gave your life for this great country of the United States. A life that should not have been lost to parents Edgar and Ola McKinley… their one and “only” son and “only” brother to my mother Helen Rebecca McKinley.

What would life have held for you if you had returned home safely from the war? You often wrote home in your letters of how you looked forward to helping your father plow the fields once again when you came home. Funny how often the very thing you once disliked doing, became the very thing you dreamed of coming home and once doing again. I’m sure your letters gave grandmamma and granddaddy much…

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

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

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

A Few Fun Facts…

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

New Blogs that caught my eye… in no particular order

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

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

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

Click for more … Family Stories

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Monthly Musings: 2022… April Musings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view more family photographs, click Here!

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© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Family Photographs… and their stories: Cowgirl Jeanne

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

“Cowgirl Jeanne”

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view more family photographs, click Here!

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