2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 39 (Sept. 23 – 29): Map It Out
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!
Map it Out
This prompt had me remembering my father in law… Stephen Insalaco, and all the many blue print maps he had drawn up while began building his house in the early 1950’s. When we cleaned out the family home, I came across the blue prints he had for the over – sized cape cod… and later another map in adding a garage. Dad always mapped projects out… as I’ve learned in finding little drawings of things he made or planned to.
From these blueprints, my father in law built a Cape Cod style house… of which he was very proud! There was not one floorboard that ever squeaked or groined in using 4×4’s… it will stand forever!
Cape Cod style house my father in law built… and being as it was such a rocky area… I can’t even imagine how rough it was to build there!
The work continues even through the winter!
When dad married in 1947, his father in law gave them land next to their farm on Sawmill Road in West Haven (CT) to build on. It didn’t take him long to have plans drawn up in mapping out their first home. Building the family home took a few years as he worked on it nights and weekends with some family help, but mostly he built it himself. Dad had his on ideas, and it pretty much always had to be his way. To save money he picked up old wood to salvage, and removed the nails to reuse in his house. His son remembers his father teaching him how to hammer used nails back into shape to reuse. Dad didn’t throw much out… we found a few barrels of old motors by his workbench… plans to rebuild them one day. His generation was the “true green generation”…. as they didn’t throw away, they used and reused until it was of no more value. They truly are the last generation to think that way… although my husband enjoys repairing things instead of buying new again… maybe that’s why he enjoys restoring vintage cast iron pans… and now repairing vintage cuckoo clocks… to once again “cuckoo.”
Dad mapped out many features inside their house to make it more functable… such as in the bedroom that shared a wall next to the family bathroom. He added a second large closet with a panel door that opened for access to the water pipes in the bathroom – another great idea dad mapped out! When we had water pipe issues in our home, hubby had to cut a hole in the wall to gain access.
In hubby’s bedroom upstairs, he custom designed built in bookcases and bureau drawers… one bookcase even had sliding clear panels. Dad reused part of a bureau frame to recess in creating more space in hubby’s bedroom; a door in his room was a walk-in, into the a-frame attic. There wasn’t anything in this house that hadn’t been mapped and thought out… building to his own wants.
It was only a few years after completion of the family home when…. a knock on the door came from survey men mapping out Interstate 95… which was now coming through the state…. and his house was in the way… and needed to be moved! I can’t even imagine how he felt… or what he said… but it was soon moved after he chose another piece of land which the state purchased and moved his house onto.
I-95 shown coming through… through the property lines of Insalaco, Cambino and Camputaro property.
What a project that was in how the movers mapped out the moving of a completely built house. Hubby was a young boy of around nine and remembers watching the process of securing the house. Actually nothing had to even be packed… no dishes left the cabinets. All the kitchen cabinets were secured shut with rope… and I’m told nothing was broken. The house was lifted off its foundation and secured onto long poles for the ride down their steep rocky driveway… across the street… and up another hill to go around another corner. While the house only moved about a quarter of a mile… it probably took almost a week to accomplish. The move slowly evolved under the watchful eye of that nine-year-old boy… taking it all in… my hubby! Darn… I just wish he had taken more photos!
Much preparation took place for the move… it was a very rocky area. House was first lifted off its foundation.
Once the family home was situated on the new plot of land… with a finished basement waiting… dad quickly began plotting again. He soon mapped out an addition of a garage, plus the second level of two rooms were still unfinished… soon to be the bedrooms for the two boys, my husband and his brother… until finished, they shared a downstairs bedroom. I’m sure hubby mapped out the days until he finally had his own room upstairs… finally all to himself!
Dad later added a garage to their house
The tall oak tree on the right looks more like a baby here, compared to its mammoth size today… and it still stands!
Besides the mapping out of the house, dad also mapped out his land and where things would be added, like shrubbery, trees and the family clothesline… everyone had one in those days. My husband has always insisted on having one today… nothing like bed sheets hung on the line… and where would you air out your blankets on a windy day. Theirs attached from the back porch up to the huge oak tree that straddles three backyards. Everyone always worried about that tree coming down through every hurricane… but it’s weathered through all, and still stands today!
One of the pines that dad brought from his mother’s house on Kneen St. in Shelton… it, along with a second one still stand today and towers way over the telephone pole.
In knowing his property lines from the surveyor map, dad planted two pines that he’d dug up from his mother’s home in Shelton. He hung lights on them every year at Christmas until they grew too tall to reach by ladder; they still stand today. Several trees planted are long gone now… from hurricanes or being in the way and removed. I remember the huge weeping willow in their backyard and how it came down during a very windy storm; later a red maple was taken down when the swimming pool was added. Funny how you map out where to plant trees in the beginning… and later decide that they’ve now outgrown the yard and remove them.
Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!
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