2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 (June 24 – June 30): Legend

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 (June 24 – June 30): Legend

“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!

“Legend”

johnny cars

When I first read the prompt of “Legend”… there was only one name that called out to me… my husband’s uncle… Johnny Cambino! From the first time I met him, he made a lasting impression on me… he was one of a kind… a true “Legend!

I often talked to Johnny, asking countless questions about his racing career that I’d heard so much about. He was a “Legend” within the family… as well as at the racing track! And from Johnny’s own words… “Until I saw the checkered flag I raced to win!! Some guys would settle into a spot, but not me – I was there to win and I never gave up! “I live on the edge.”

In asking Johnny once about where was his favorite pole spot was in the race… “I never liked to draw an upfront pole… I like to be last in the field… and win from behind!”

The West Haven Speedway was a paved 1/5 mile oval located directly on the waterfront of West Haven, CT. The track was somewhat unusually shaped, being built around a baseball diamond named Donovan Field – named after “Wild Bill” Donovan, manager of the New York Yankees. This small town of West Haven also held an attraction known as Savin Rock… a somewhat small version of Coney Island.

My husband remembers that by 5:30 or 6 o’clock p.m. on Saturday nights, there would be a steady stream of cars coming off the turnpike – all heading to the rock for the Saturday night racing. Many people with large lawns nearby, often stood out in front of their house to park cars in their yard…  it was an easy way to make a few extra bucks.

One race that always stuck in my husband’s mind was… “I remember a 100 lap race where Tommy Sutcliffe, “Tommy Suitcase” as Johnny called him, was in the lead. He held the lead for 98 laps, then Johnny made his move and pulled right around him – winning the race.! Johnny could be in last place and never give up trying to win the race. As Johnny would say, “the race isn’t over till it’s over!”

“I saw my uncle, “The King,” win many races! He was one of the top racers at Savin Rock Speedway. Usually I didn’t have the money to get into the races, so my friends and myself often “hopped” the fence after the cop walked by. On Saturday night the speedway was the place to be; it was exciting to be there and especially to watch my uncle, “King Cam,” race.”

Words from Uncle Johnny…

johnny 1951

“I began racing about 1950/51 and raced locally at West Haven Speedway at Savin Rock until the Rock closed around 1965/67. I was the top racer there, racing in all the features and winning most of them. Quite a few of them were $1000 winning purses. If there were any special entertainment going on at the races – I was involved!”

“I was so popular at Donovan Field that when the owner, Tattersall, found out I was engaged, he asked me to have a ‘mock’ wedding right on the infield – on a Saturday night for the fans! I was all for it as I was a crowd pleaser… I loved my fans and I’d do anything to please them, but my soon-to-be wife, Margaret, wasn’t as eager to participate in that deal, so the answer quickly became NO! My wedding was so popular that even many of my young fans also attended the church wedding… sitting in the pews quiet as a mouse.”

“Often, after the races, my fans would line up for me to autograph the pictures they’d purchased. I was always asked for my autograph – and I never refused. There was always a long line of girls waiting for my signature. Even my soon to be wife, Margaret, stood in line for her photograph to be signed… she never cut the line!”

johnny tropies

Johnny with only a few of his winning trophies!

“No matter where I went, I was recognized. Even on my honeymoon in Vermont, a group of motorcyclist passed and  yelled out, “Hey King Cams.”

Legend

Johnny’s famous “Legend” scrapbooks!

Johnny’s, soon to be wife, Margaret, made him a scrapbook for his birthday one year… entitled “THE LEGEND“… put together from all the racing photos and newspaper clippings she had saved all through his career. Johnny was super surprised with that scrapbook of his career in print… and couldn’t wait to show his friends. Maggie later began a No. 2 “Legend” scrapbook when Johnny re-entered the racing game at age sixty-two… racing in the “Legend Race.” Little did she know, that there would be so many new photos and newspaper clippings to soon fill a No. 3 scrapbook. The “King” as he was so called… was back in the driver’s seat! Sitting behind that wheel… was where Uncle Johnny was always the happiest!

johnny abd margaret

Johnny with the girl who stole his heart!

Johnny was one of seven children born to Giuseppe (Joseph) and Domenica (Minnie) Cambino. He was one of three boys… and very close to his brother Frank; they were very competitive in everything they did together through the years.

Johnny could tell a tale like none other… holding you spellbound to every word, and the one story of how he almost didn’t make it past age three, I’ve never forgotten. Johnny always accompanied his mother down to the well to carry water back to their farmhouse. One afternoon his mother suddenly missed him and before anyone went searching, she took off running down to the well… only to see his little fingers holding over the edge. She always knew how fascinated he was with the well, so that had been her first thought of maybe where he had went.

He entertained me from the first moment I met him… telling me about the Tarzan Tree  that he and his brother Frankie made. It was no more than a rope hanging from a tree on their farm, but it yielded them much fun… especially after an afternoon of watching Tarzan movies at the Rivoli theater in town.

Johnny’s father often scolded the boys to not swing there… as they’d hung the rope above a bed of rocks… probably to prove how tough they were! One afternoon Johnny returned to the house holding his arm… he had fallen on the rocks. Quickly before his father came home, his mother and grandmother whipped up several egg whites to soak strips of cotton sheeting in…. then they wrapped his arm to set it. Johnny laughed in telling me how hard that “home made” cast actually was. When his father came home and asked what happened… he was told that the cow had kicked him… whether he believed if or not… Mothers always knew best… on how to keep peace in the family.

I was treated to riding with Johnny several times… and while I felt like I might be taking my life in my hands… he’d look over and say, “you’re as safe as a baby in a cradle… I can stop on a dime!” He never lacked confidence… and no matter where he went, everyone knew him… he was a true “Legend.”

Stay tuned for Week 27… to be announced!

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

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

signature-blog-card

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 25 (June 17 – June 23): Earliest

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 25 (June 17 – June 23): Earliest

“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!

Earliest

Earliest… there’s so many!

When I first read the prompt, “Earliest”… many ideas ran through my mind. Earliest ancestor, photos, baby pictures, memories, heirlooms, books read, school memories, hobbies, road trips, and suggestion of your earliest ancestor who migrated to America. After not being able to make up my mind… I finally decided to write on my earliest Bryan ancestors who migrated into Georgia.

My “Earliest” Bryan’s in Georgia

 

Left: James, Parthena (daughter) and Elizabeth (Cain) Bryan… Right: Berrien C. and Elizabeth (Free) Bryan. (Berrien, son of James Bryan)

Through my research, the earliest records I’ve found of my Bryan’s in Georgia were tax records in 1807 in Captain Cleveland’s District, Franklin County, Georgia… showing John Bryan (5th ggrandfather 1753-1835) and later James Bryan (4th ggrandfather 1790-1885). It was James son, Berrien Clark Bryan (3rd ggrandfather 1821-1921)… of which I will write on… his “earliest” days of living in Lumpkin County, Georgia.

Berrien Clark Bryan was born in Habersham Co., Georgia… slightly northeast of Lumpkin, where he moved as a young boy. Boundary lines changed so often in those days, that they often never even moved to the next county… the county lines were redrawn, which then placed them in a new county. Berrien’s father, James, was one of the “earliest” judges in Lumpkin County… it was very uncivilized in that area, as early Lumpkin County still had many Cherokee Indians living among them. It slowly began attracting more families, especially seekers of gold; gold was first discovered there in 1934. What once was a small and sparse community of pine poll cabins was now being overrun with gold seekers… seeking their fortune in the many rivers that ran through that area.

I’ve often wondered if my earliest ancestors panned for gold on a daily basis, but I haven’t heard many tales of such. They seemed to be more hard working dirt farmers, but I’m sure they must have given it a try as they lived near Cane Creek. Any running water in that area had pockets of gold here and there. It was even said, that there was so much gold in the area that when the shopkeepers swept their floors out into the street, that gold dust could be found.

I panned for gold on one of my early visits to Dahlonega… my son and I enjoyed panning our bucket of river dirt as we eagerly hoped to find one of those gold nuggets we’d so heard about… we only left with gold dust in a vial! What back breaking work, to be on your hands and knees all day on the river banks… but you were highly rewarded when a gold nugget appeared in your sluice tray.

My son, and I, along with other family members walked the family lands of our earliest ancestor who lived and farmed in Lumpkin County… along the famous Cane Creek in Dahlonega. Berrien lived a simple life there with his wife, Berilla Free… and in their simple log cabin they raised fifteen children. Life in those early days wasn’t easy… walking or riding into town in a wagon… if you were lucky to even own one.

Beerrien’s daughter, Parthena, was a weaver and it was said that she wove cloth for many of their clothes. I’ve often pictured her sitting in the cabin by a spinning wheel as she spun yarn to weave. What did they use for spinning… did they own sheep maybe? It was said, they had cows… most likely for milking, or possibly even meat, but many raised pigs for meat in those days. Chickens could always be found in the yard… another supplier of meat and eggs for cooking.

Those early days of living and farming were back breaking days. Early rising to plow their fields… endless hours walking behind a plow. Berrien plowed many fields as he raised vegetables to feed the family… and probably selling the surplus to supplement items he didn’t grow. With the creek name being Cane Creek… I often wondered if wild cane grew along the banks… which would supply them with sorghum syrup.

Even when my 3rd great grandfather was in his nineties… it was written he still walked to town to cash his pension check from the war (civil war). Such strong people they were in those early days… he didn’t just live around the corner from town, but I’m sure he walked the woods… as the crow flies… and not the dirt roads they had carved out of the mountain.

Their church, Cane Creek Church, was close, but they always used the walking path up the mountain behind their cabin, never traveling there by way of a cut road. Everywhere they went was usually by walking paths, as it was usually the shorter route.

Early days of cooking was either outside over an open fire or a cast iron stove in their kitchen area. I’m sure they didn’t mind firing up those stoves in the dead of winter in the mountains, but summers were blazing hot enough, without the added heat of those stoves. Lighting those stoves required heavy lifting of many sticks of wood… how did they judge temperatures? My mother often talked about her mother cooking on a cast iron stove… and never having a problem in cooking… so I guess they learned to judge the heat with much practice.

It was the women who rose early to light the fires in the kitchen… preparing to cook either on the cast iron stove, or even earlier in the large open hearth… which would be the room they used for cooking. What I wouldn’t give to have a cast iron pan that they once used… they are all we use today for cooking. Their hearth would have hanging cast iron pots as well as pots with legs that sat in the hearth; the stoves and hearths also required daily cleaning of the ashes.

The men and boys often hunted to supplement the meat on the table… summers yielded them more choices of meats… and many varieties of vegetables and fruits.  They salted and dried meats for the winters and stored foods under cool hills of dirt to preserve them for the winter months.

Those earliest days were days of just survival… no pleasure days like today. Everything they had, they used and saved. If flour or sugar was bought in sacks… the material was saved to use for clothing. Nothing was discarded so freely like today; they reused everything until it was no longer useable. I remember piles of “junk” behind my own grandfather’s smokehouse… that was his “go to” for when he made repairs. There was no Home Depot to go to!

I don’t envy those “earliest” days of living… working from sunset to sundown… with hardly any time for pleasure; I’m sure days of fun was far and few in between. No one travelled many miles away from home… a wife was usually found within the community. Most couples courted within church socials… under the watchful eyes of family!

I’m thankful for my earliest ancestors… they braved the new lands to live, raise their families… seeing few changes during their lifetimes. They paved the way for us all!

Stay tuned for Week 26 … Legend

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

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

signature-blog-card

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 24 (June 10 – June 16): Dear Diary

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 24 (June 10 – June 16): Dear Diary

“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!

Dear Diary...

Dear Diary…

I’m Sorry I Threw You Away!

red-diary

Another  post  which started me thinking… but this one didn’t take long in remembering my diaries I threw away before I married. They have always been on my mind ever since! My thought here, is to recreate those entries from my memories… at least a few remembered thoughts of what I might have written on those pages; but, leaving out some details… probably why I threw them away… not wanting anyone to read… so silly I was!

Dear Diary… June 22, 1962: School is finally out, next year I’ll be in sixth grade. Tonight going to the movies to see Elvis in Girls, Girls, Girls! Can’t Wait! Hope a certain boy comes. Stopped at Lawhorn Music after school to buy Elvis’s newest record. Maybe I can record some of the songs from the movie off the radio this weekend. Love Friday nights at the movies… hope mama stops at the store for me to buy a bag of caramels… gotta have them with popcorn! Can’t watch a movie without popcorn!

Dear Diary… July 13, 1962: Sara and I went to the high school today to check the dumpster for stuff they threw out. We found lots of papers and books, and even pictures they didn’t sell. I also found a class ring in there… mama said she’d try and find its owner! Can’t wait to play school… have to go to the library next week and sign up for the summer reading program. Last summer I read many biographies of inventors, maybe I will read some of the presidents biographies this summer. I also have to finish reading the new Nancy Drew book I bought last time I went shopping with mama.

Dear Diary... July 20, 1962: Went with mama to Kmart this morning and she bought me another new Nancy Drew book. It’s so hard to decide… really wanted more than one, but I finally decided on “The Secret in the Old Attic“… so hard to make up my mind, as I also wanted “The Haunted Showboat” too, but mama said only one! Going to the movies tonight, Elvis in Blue Hawaii is playing first, then his new one… Follow that Dream…  a double feature! Mama is letting me stay out late tonight so I can see both of them, she’s taking me and Janet there and picking us up later.

Dear Diary… July 21, 1962: Loved the movies last night… and the music. Oh, I wish I could see him in person… wish I could go to Hawaii… but so far away!

Dear Diary… Dec. 25, 1962: I love my new diary… I guess mama wanted me to keep my writings all in one place. Did she have a diary? Maybe that’s why she bought it for Christmas for me… maybe she always wanted one. I tried to look surprised when I opened it, but mama probably knew I’d already unwrapped it and peeked! I don’t know why I have this thing about unwrapping my gifts, but I just have too! Mama did surprise me with my typewriter though… she had put daddy’s name on it and I thought it was something heavy for him.

Dear Diary… Jan. 1, 1963: New Years Day and mama cooked a special dinner of turnip greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread. She said it’s suppose to bring you good luck in the new year! Oh well, back to school tomorrow.

Dear Diary… April 16, 1963: Today is my birthday, I’m 11… bummer that I have to go to school. Mama gave me a couple of early presents today, and I got 2 new Nancy Drew books, The Haunted Showboat and The Clue in the Diary… can’t wait to read them.

Dear Diary… Nov. 22, 1963: Today was my last day at school before a few days off for Thanksgiving. We had just gotten in our rooms when we were told to go to the auditorium. They wheeled in the TV’s, so we could watch the news… President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated in Texas… we were in shock. I cried as I sat there watching, then they let us go home. I can’t believe our president was killed, all the girls were crying. He was the first president my mother had ever voted for.

Dear Diary… Feb. 9, 1964: I can’t believe I finally got to see The Beatles on TV tonight, they were on the Ed Sullivan show. They played my favorite song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”… oh I wish I could go to New York City to see them… it’s so far away! Those girls that got to go are so, so lucky! I tried taking a picture with my polaroid instant camera, but it didn’t come out too good.

Dear Diary… July 10, 1964: Going to the movies tonight with Janet, maybe Mike will be there and we can all sit in the corner… and maybe not watch the movies! Elvis movies are on tonight, Viva Las Vegas. Maybe mama will let me come tomorrow night too, I want to also see Harum Scarum.

Dear Diary… July 11, 1965: We went to Lake Sinclair this weekend, we left on Friday night after daddy got home from work. Mama and me slept in the back of the station wagon and daddy slept out in the lounge chair. Love going up there for weekends; daddy always cooks breakfast for us. Daddy’s friends Henry and Willie Mae came up with their boat on Saturday. Their daughters, Karen, Pat and Debbie brought their water skis… I tried to ski, but I couldn’t manage my ski’s out in the water and when they put the tow rope around my neck…. I went under. I’m not doing that anymore. I went up where the jukebox is on Saturday night… we played Wooly Bully all night long… finally an adult came and unplugged our music… bummer!

Dear Diary… July 24, 1965: I went with mama and daddy out to Mr. Bobby’s tonight, Mike was there and he saddled the horse for me so I could go for a ride… he came too. I like him! I know mama doesn’t want me to go out with him, as he’s a couple years older, but I want to.

Dear Diary… August 13, 1965: We left early Friday morning with our neighbors, the Lampley’s to go to their cottage at Alligator Point in Florida. I’d never been there before… I hoped I would see an alligator, but never did. Mama and I walked on the beach behind the cottage to look for shells, while daddy went fishing. It wasn’t a good beach for swimming, but I never saw so many pretty shells before. We even found real silver dollar shells… mama even picked up a crab to bring home. I brought home a big bucket of shells… mama is going to mount them on a frame for my room.

Dear Diary… April 16, 1966: I was so surprised with my birthday present today… granddaddy gave me the rollerskates I wanted… and a case. I couldn’t believe it! Can’t wait to go to Lake Joy rink for skating… mama said I could stay there until midnight tonight for the late skating. Hope some cute boys are there tonight, maybe I can get some to buy me pom poms for my skates. Mrs. Acres will be surprised to see I have my own skates tonight.

Dear Diary… June 25, 1966: I started working on Saturdays at The Coffee Cup washing cups at the counter. I’m only getting 50 cents an hour, but it’s a little money. People sure drink a lot of coffee there.

Dear Diary… July 12, 1966: Janet and I walked to town today to take Harvey for a cherry coke and smashed toast at the Perry drugstore. Harvey is our invisible rabbit that goes everywhere with us. We walk down the sidewalk holding his hand, but he hops across the street when we do the Teaberry Shuffle. Mama yells at me to stop taking Harvey with us. haha

Dear Diary: March 13, 1967: Went out driving with Coach Brady today at school in Drivers Ed… he let us stop at 7/11 for candy and a coke; he got cigarettes. We drove over to Warner Robins… we were late getting back to school because I was driving… I don’t like to pass anyone, and I got behind a slow driver. Bet he doesn’t let me drive anymore on the way back to school again!

Dear Diary: April 21, 1967: Daddy took me out for driving lessons this afternoon… it didn’t go well. Ended with a yelling match and I pulled over. He wants me to do as he says, but he doesn’t’ drive that way… that’s what we fought over!

Dear Diary: April 22, 1967: I made lots of mixed tapes today off the radio…. called WPGA station here in Perry and made requests; spent the day waiting to hear them so I could on my tape recorder mama gave me for my birthday. I love being able to play just my favorites. Mama knows the dj out there and he said I could come out anytime.

Dear Diary… March 13, 1968: The guy I’ve been writing to in Vietnam finally returned to the states; we’ve been writing to each other for about six months. He picked my letter, out of a pile… I wrote to a magazine in response to them asking for penpals, for GI’s in Vietnam. He sounds serious about wanting to come visit me… I’m not so sure about that. He calls me Peaches! He trained dogs in the Army, but had to leave his dog there!

Dear Diary… April 16, 1968: I turned 16 today… Yay! Mama will take me for my license next week… finally no more driving with my learners permit. Granddaddy is going to buy me a car… now daddy has to find one. How long will that take…. forever I bet?

Dear Diary… April 20, 1968: Mama took me to get my license at the GA. State Patrol office today. Guess What? I didn’t even have to take a test or anything… mama knew them there… they just gave me my license! Now I can finally drive by myself, but their car or granddaddy’s big boat!

Dear Diary... June 28, 1968: Started working Saturdays at Johnson’s Department store… I’m glad it’s only Saturdays as they are so strict. We can’t stand around and talk, or even chew gum… we always have to stay busy. Some of us chew gum, but keep hidden when we chew. I’m already tired of this job, so don’t think I’ll work here too long.

Dear Diary… July 5, 1968: Daddy came home with a car for me today… finally! It took him forever! He found me a 1965 pale yellow mustang with bucket seats. It’s automatic, but the gear shift is on the floor… so at least I’ll look like I’m changing gears… haha! They let me take it around the block a few times tonight… I just called Janet to tell her. Hope they let me take it out this weekend… I can’t wait. Finally my own car… and I don’t have to drive granddaddy’s Chevy boat with the big fins anymore. Last time I drove it, I couldn’t even find where the gas tank was.

Dear Diary…  May, 1970: Today is the big day… finally graduation. No more school or teachers dirty looks. haha!  Now what will I do? I haven’t even given a thought about college. I did mention it to daddy one day, and he asked, “what do you want to do?” I said, “probably party,”… they didn’t go well, as he said, “well I’m not paying for that.”  Guess that ended me thinking of going to college!

Dear Diary… Oct. 31, 1970: Went to The Sandpiper club in Warner Robins tonight, then later went over to these Air Force guys house for a party. Me and Linda Sue went dressed up; I went as a princess… wore one of my old prom dresses. I met a guy named Steve, and as soon as I went in the house… actually I tripped when I went in… he caught me. We stayed together the rest of the night… I think I like him. He’s from CT., that’s so far away!

Dear Diary… Nov. 16, 1970: Steve has been calling me a lot and we are together all the time now, but he just told me tonight that he’s getting transferred to Loring AFB in Limestone, Maine. Boy does that sound far from Georgia… guess I won’t be seeing him anymore, although he’s telling me he will call me all the time when he leaves. I don’t know what’s going to happen now… I don’t want him to go! He’s leaving in a couple of weeks.

Dear Diary… Feb. 10, 1971: Steve has been calling me almost every night from Maine. A guy showed him how to make free phone calls, so we talk half the night. He says the snow is higher there than he’s ever seen before. When he called tonight he told me that he’s leaving Maine in April… headed to Thailand, but then… he asked me to marry him! I said Yes, but what is my parents going to say. He wants to get married before he leaves and bring me to CT. to live with his parents. I’m scared! What is daddy going to say… and Mama! I don’t even know how to tell them… they’ve never even met him!

Dear Diary… Feb. 12, 1971: I finally got up the courage to tell daddy tonight… he told me I’m crazy… and said, “what if he doesn’t come down to even marry you.” I am scared, and nervous, but I’m going to marry him. He’s coming the end of April, and we will go to S.C. right away to get married… we can get married the same day! We decided not to have a real wedding as his parents are there, and mine are here…. well I decided that!

red-diary

Before Steve came to Georgia to marry me… I threw all my diaries into the trash. Even today, I can still see them lying in my trashcan… right beside my bureau. What was I thinking… throwing away all my thoughts… whether silly or not! I didn’t want anyone to read all my young girl… silly writing at that time, especially Steve. Many memories I didn’t write here, but I’m sure my daughter would have enjoyed reading all my boyfriend problems through the years. I recreated writings here that I remembered writing about in my diaries, but who wouldn’t give to have their original diaries… written in their own handwriting! Well, that’s not going to happen… because I wasn’t thinking down the road! I’ve often wondered if my diaries were every discovered and rescued, but I’ll never know… but I might dream that they were!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my “Dear Diary” memories!

Stay tuned for Week 25 … Earliest

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

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

signature-blog-card

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 23 (June 3 – June 9): Namesake

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 23 (June 3 – June 9): Namesake

“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!

Namesake

Namesake… who’s who!

So many are lucky enough to have been named for a grandparent, favorite aunt, uncle or even a parent… but I was named after my mother’s favorite movie actress… Jeanne Crane! I did manage to receive my middle name of Lee from my uncle, Leroy McKinley.

McKinley

My great grandfather, Edgar Lawson McKinley, was partially a namesake of his father, Hugh “Lawson” McKinley, who also had a twin brother, Joseph “Lee” McKinley; the continuation of using the “Lee” name goes back five generations. Edgar “Lawson” was the third son in a family of thirteen siblings; I have not found either of his names in any earlier lines… although they could have come from parents siblings, which I have not researched.

“Edgar” Thomas McKinley, my grandfather, named his only son, “Edgar” Leroy, after his father (“Edgar” Lawson McKinley) and himself; I feel the name Leroy was given as a partial of “Lee”; Leroy was a popular Southern name at that time.

When I asked my mother if she had a namesake… she laughs, “I don’t know why my mother named me Helen… and I’ve always hated that name… and not fond of my middle name, Rebecca, either.” In my family research, I did discover of where mama’s name of Rebecca originated. Besides her grandmother, Margaret (Hillsman) Askew having a daughter named Rebecca… Mama’s great grandmother was Rebecca (Mapp) Hilsman. I love the name… maybe there’s hope in having a great-granddaughter one day taking that name, as it didn’t pan out with my daughter… hubby didn’t like it.

Bryan

In my surname of Bryan I haven’t discovered too many namesake naming… and I’m the only child of Harold Clayton Bryan and Helen Rebecca McKinley. In having no brother, our Bryan surname ended… although my mother wanted me to name my son “Bryan” but I hedged, as I wanted my son named after his father. Which almost didn’t even pann out either, as he didn’t want our son named after him… but I won! He always hated his name of Stephen… but who ever likes their name? I never did! Neither of my Stephen’s are called Stephen… they both go by Steve, although I do call my son by his given name.

In my grandfather’s (Paul Pinkney Bryan) family of nine siblings, the second son was named William Clyde Bryan… a namesake of his paternal grandfather, William Clark Bryan. It seems that William was one of the Bryan names that was often passed down through quite a few generations; William Clark Bryan’s father was William Madison Bryan, who possibly gave him his first name, and his father’s (Berrien Clark Bryan)  middle name of Clark. B. C. Bryan also had a brother named William, son of James Bryan, whose father was John Bryan; no children in John’s family with the name of William, although it’s been hinted that his father might have been a William… and also possibly that John’s middle name was William… but it has yet to be proven. Don’t you just love family stories passed down! His middle name of “Pinkney” has befuddled me as I’ve yet to discover from where that name was passed down from… was it a maiden name, or just a liked name… but thankfully, no one else received it. My Granddaddy was always very embarrassed with it, and never liked to tell people his middle name; I never knew it until I began researching and mama told me. I have found that it was a very prominent and well-known name in South Carolina… so I may need to begin researching there.

My cousin, Cindy (Bryan) Moore did use our “Bryan” surname for her first born, so at least one of us carried “Bryan” on in that way. Her son, “Bryan” was often called “catfish” by her father, Jewell “Runt” Hubert Bryan… as he loved to fish; “Bryan” was his fishing buddy! Cindy’s brother, William Ronald Bryan has two boys, Daren Scott Bryan and Kevin Brett Bryan to carry on the Bryan name… another “William” here! Daren has a son, Russell Bryan, and Kevin also has a son, Nathaniel Bryan… so our Bryan line continues! Sister Sandra Bryan Connor, partially named her son Gregory Burt Connor, after their father, Jewell “Runt” Hubert Bryan… slightly changing the “Hubert” into a spelling of Burt… taken from his father’s middle name.

I always wondered who my father’s namesake was… and I’m still wondering. There was another cousin named Harold Bryan later on, but I found no one before my father… and I don’t think he ever liked that name as he only went by “Clayton.” As a little girl, I always wondered why his best friend called him “Fats”… when he was skinny, well at least in his early years! His brother Robert “Floyd” Bryan wasn’t named after anyone either, but he did name his son as his junior. Daddy’s brother also only went by his middle name, “Floyd”, while his son was called by his first name of “Robert.” I always thought it funny how both my father and uncle, used their middle names as their main name. It seemed by the early part of the twentieth century, most families weren’t continuing with family name patterns any longer… they were now using more modern names.

I was named after a movie actress…. my namesake was Jeanne Crain, my mother’s favorite movie star. From the moment she saw her on the big screen, in State Fair, in 1945, she fell in love with that name and wanted to name a daughter with it. I’m not sure why she didn’t name my sister, born in 1949 with that name, but instead named her Monica Yvonne… she only lived six months! Besides me always hating my name, and often never pronounced correctly. I go by Jeanne, pronounced as Jeannie with an “i”, but spelled with no “i.”Have I confused you? My middle name of Lee was given to me in remembrance of my uncle Leroy McKinley.

When I first began high school, the teacher pronounced my name incorrectly of both first and last names… and when I didn’t answer present, he sent me to the principal’s office for being insubordinate! My surname of “Bryan” was also often written and pronounced as “Bryant”…  with a “t”… which annoyed me immensely! Through family research, I also found a couple of my Bryan’s listed as Bryant in the census… and was told that some changed the spelling when they moved from one county to another… so possibly the law wouldn’t find them. I won’t go into those reasons here!

In my husbands family, we have Italian names…

The Italian naming rules were:

  • A man’s first son was named after his paternal grandfather…
  • the man’s first daughter was named after his mother… the girl’s paternal grandmother.
  • the second son was named after his maternal grandfather.
  • the second daughter would be named after the girl’s maternal grandmother.
  • often if a sibling died young… the next child would be given that name again.

The reasoning with this custom, was to carry on a remembrance of their beloved ancestors soul… in the form of a namesake!

The children to follow, would often be named after the parents, a favorite aunt or uncle, a deceased relative and even a favorite saint of the church. While this ritual was followed closely… don’t ever assume it to be the ultimate truth! Sometimes a “falling out” in the family often changed the entire “naming” of namesakes!

Let’s look at my husband’s Italian family names!

Stephano & Giacinta (DeRosa) Insalaco

The first generation of Insalaco’s, Stefano (Stephen) and Giacinta (DiRosa) came to America in 1920… settling in Willimantic, CT. They immigrated from Sicily, Italy with son No. 1, Antonio (Tony), who was so-named after both his paternal grandfather, Antonio Insalaco, and his maternal grandfather Antonio DiRosa. Daughter No. 1 was also born in Italy and named Louisa, after her paternal grandmother, Louisa Cacciato. Daughter No. 2, Maria was named after her maternal grandmother, Maria Stincone, and her father’s sister, Maria Insalaco. 

Second son, Stephen Joseph Insalaco was born in 1921, in America, and was named in accordance also…. with the naming after his maternal grandfather, which also coincided also with the father’s name of Stefano, but given the more Americanized version of Stefano. The naming rule continued when Stephen J. married Cecelia (Cambino) Insalaco… their first son, Stephen, was named after his father and paternal grandfather The second son David, was named after no family member and caused quite a stir with her father… naming an Italian grandson with a Jewish name was a no-no… but he had no say… she won! My son was named Stephen after his father, and paternal grandfather. The Insalaco line ends now in our family as my son only has three daughters, but one day, they may pass his given name down to a son.

Our daughter was not named after any family member… I liked Rebecca after my mother, but my husband didn’t. I also liked Scarlett from Gone with the Wind… but again, he didn’t. An aunt mentioned Melissa, after he said Melanie… and then we both agreed on Melissa; he liked the singer Melissa Manchester and he liked the song “Sweet Melissa” by the Allman Brothers; she received my middle name of “Lee” after my uncle, Leroy McKinley, who was killed in WWII… she is his namesake!

My daughter, Melissa passed her middle name of Lee to her first daughter and gave her my mother’s maiden name of McKinley as a first name. Their second daughter, Grace Kathryn honors the husbands family after a paternal great grandmother. Just last year we added another McKinley to our tree… my third cousin named their daughter also as such. I’m hoping one day to get these two McKinley cousins together… one is in CT., and the other in Ga. My granddaughter, McKinley, was very excited when she heard she heard a cousin shared her name! You don’t often find the name of McKinley given to a girl… so they both are setting a precedence!

Cambino

A popular name in my husband’s family is the name Joseph, which translates into Joseph from the original name of Giuseppe in Italy. Giuseppe Gambino came to America, through Ellis Island in 1913… arriving alone at the young age of 18. It’s said his older brother, Francesco (Frank) was already here… and must have signed for him as there was no other family. After marrying Domenica (Minnie) DeTulio, his name soon Americanized into Joseph and Joe, but no son was so named as such. Their first three sons, No. 1 son, Frederick (Freddie), was named after his father’s father, Frederico. No. 2 son Frankie, was named for his father’s brother, Francesco. Son No. 3, Johnny, was named after his wife’s father, Giovanni DeTulio, aka John in America. Domenica DeTulio’s namesake was her mother, Domenica DeCuore. I always liked the name Domenica and tried suggesting it to my kids, but…

Joseph and Domenico “Minnie” (DeTulio) Cambino

Son No. 1, Frederick (Freddie) was the namesake after his paternal grandfather Frederico Gambino in Tramonti, Italy. The surname of Gambino was somehow changed in America to Cambino… either by accident or on purpose… but we’ll never know now! No children in this family line.

Son No. 2, Frankie was named after his paternal uncle, Francesco Gambino, but named his son Joseph after his father, and Joseph Jr. continued the tradition of naming his son Joseph after his father/grandfather… later, daughter Antoinette (Dolly) named her son Joseph after her father. Since then, no more Joseph’s have been named as such in the family.

Son. No. 3, Johnny, was the namesake of his maternal grandfather, Giovanni DeTulio (John), originally from Bari, Italy. Johnny had two daughters, Gina and Nancy… Nancy was a namesake of her aunt Nancy (Cambino) Cavallaro, while Gina was given a more American name.

Daughter no. 1: Catherine, we might assume was a namesake of her father’s sister in law Caterina Gambino (married to Francesco Gambino); many in the family called her “Cat”. While her husband lived here in America for many years, his wife and family remained in Tramonti, Italy.

Daughter No. 2: Cecelia must have been a liked name as I wasn’t able to find a namesake for her… but I suspect there’s one lurking somewhere in Italy, somewhere… that I haven’t uncovered! She was often called “Celia”, “Ceil”… but her brothers liked to tease her by called her “York”… maybe because she was born on York St., and sometimes “Yottie”

Daughter No. 3: Nancy was a namesake of her father’s sister… Annunziata “Nunzia” (NANCY) GAMBINO. (Gambino was original surname, but somehow, by chance of the way so many people spelled it, it eventually ended up as  Cambino, and let it stay.) Often her brothers and sisters just called her “Nan.”

Daughter No. 4: Antoinette (Dolly) was a namesake of her mother’s sister… Antoinette Detulio.  Dolly earned her nickname as she more played with the boys in the family and didn’t play with dolls, so they teased her by calling her “Dolly.” But in the early baby photos, she always looked like a little doll, so that’s probably why her brothers nicknamed her. She named her son, Joseph, after his maternal grandfather… making him the third grandson in the family to be the namesake of Joseph Cambino, her father.

While it’s nice to have a family namesake… remember, we are all named after someone… from somewhere!

Stay tuned for Week 23 … Dear Diary

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

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

signature-blog-card

© 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

Family Stories: Southern Sweet Iced Tea

Family Stories

Southern Sweet Iced Tea

image

Often restaurants in the South now serve their sweet iced tea in mason jars… love it! The new glass of the South! Did you know that June is “National Iced Sweet Tea Month”? Who knew it had its own month… but I guess it’s the kickoff of summer drink! Although down South, it’s an everyday drink!

Anytime you hear someone mention sweet iced tea…. you think of the South… because that is where the best sweet tea is found! Sweetened Iced Tea is as Southern a drink as you can find… and on a hot day there is nothing better. Southerner’s don’t make iced tea from a can or with one of those sun- tea jars… they make the real thing… from scratch!

My first job at age 16 was as a waitress… starting on a Friday night… and knowing nothing! One of my first customers – a Northern couple asked for tea with their meal. When I set down two glasses of sweet tea on their table, they immediately told me I’d brought them the wrong drink. I quickly learned “hot tea” was a drink…. who knew there was actually another type of tea. All we drink in the South is sweetened iced tea… that’s all I knew! I didn’t remain a waitress for too long – definitely wasn’t my cup of tea… Ha!

img_9818

I brought home this glass pot from mama’s one year, and it has been my go-to for making a brew of tea using mama’s explicit directions of using tea bags… and always removing the paper tags before adding them to the water.

When I first moved to Connecticut, sweet tea was absolutely “nowhere” to be found… and not even heard of. They might be willing to bring you a glass of unsweetened tea… but all Southerners know… you can’t sweeten that tea!

When the southern style restaurant, Cracker Barrel, opened up in Connecticut several years ago… that was the very first of sweetened ice tea being offered on a menu here. It was also the first finding of southern foods like turnip greens, fried okra and fried chicken in a northern restaurant. While it wasn’t the same as any you’d find on a southern menu… it was passable; I actually have always thought their turnip greens were very good! It quickly became my go-to restaurant for my southern food fix!

I grew up on sweet tea at every meal… can’t remember ever drinking milk at a meal other than breakfast. Never would you open a southern refrigerator and not find a pitcher of sweet tea!

My mother made sweet tea using just plain tea bags, but she originally used one of those stainless tea balls that held loose tea. By the time I began paying attention, well almost paying attention… she had begun making it easier on herself and using Luzianne Tea Bags. She had a certain small pan, that always sat on the stove… just waiting to brew up a condensed brew of tea to pour into waiting room-temperature water… with sugar already stirred in. It was a no-spoken rule that your tea brew was poured into already sweetened water!

Have you ever tried to sweeten cold iced tea… well it just doesn’t happen!

Just plain granulated sugar was the only thing ever used years ago in sweetening tea, but people today often add other sweeteners… for one reason or another… but true sweet tea is strictly only made with plain sugar! Later in life when saccharin appeared on the grocery shelves… mama began mixing her sweet tea with half saccharin and half sugar… not sure why she was trying to save calories as she didn’t really need to. By the time she stopped using saccharin… she had pretty much stopped making her own ice tea and even cooking. Last time I was there I spotted an old bottle of saccharin sitting up on a shelf… it reminded me of those days… of her insisting that it tasted the same. While it didn’t really taste the same to me… but I didn’t argue the point as I could always get my fill of “real” sweetened tea when we went out to eat.

I wrote this “Tea” recipe years ago when I made the family cookbook… Cooking Family Memories

tea

tea2

When I return home to my Southern roots, there are always several things like fried okra, creamed-style corn, boiled peanuts and always “sweet iced tea” that I crave! Funny, how just being in an area will make you crave different foods.

While I have no memories of my grandmother McKinley’s sweet tea making… mama says… “My mother never liked sweet tea and never made it except for Sunday dinners. She made her tea syrup with a tea ball and loose tea… never used bags, and always added a pinch of baking soda. Why I don’t really know… I think it was said that it cut the bitter taste of tea, but I continued to also because mama had. What I liked, as a kid, was when daddy brought home the big block of ice for tea… I’d beg for a few chips before he stored it away for dinner. When I was young, we had no ice box… that block of ice was stored in a burlap bag… under a pile of sawdust. I can’t explain it, but it kept that ice from melting away. Sometimes he’d put mama’s ice tea in a jug and lower it by rope… down in the well. We had a well house just outside the back porch and it was where he’d store foods to keep cold; that well water was extremely cold. I could never understand why my mother didn’t like tea… and in her not liking it… it was a real treat on Sunday afternoons!”

Drinking sweet tea without chipped ice is a “no-no” in the South! Sweet tea just doesn’t taste right unless it is chilled with ice… lukewarm tea is horrible.

My mother has always talked about those Sunday family dinners.. how many family members came… “to put their feet under her mother’s table.” I always laugh when she says that line… and she still says it today, but it’s, “if I could have just one wish, it would be to put my feet under my mother’s table and have some of her cooking and a slice of her blackberry pie… the best I’ve ever eaten.” I think we all have that wish at one time or another!

Sunday dinner at grandmamma McKinley’s was not just about the sweet tea, it was also about the food… the fried chicken or pork chops; no beef was served as granddaddy had no beef cows… he didn’t like beef; he raised chickens and hogs for food. Grandmama’s dining room table would be filled with bowls of vegetables like black-eyed peas, green beans, fried okra, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and always my favorite… cream-style corn. Mama said she would scrape the corn milk from the cob… leaving it dry as a bone! It’s a lot of work to make cream corn… but it’s so good! I remember filling a biscuit with it and making that a meal! And let’s not forget grandmamma’s homemade biscuits… mama said they were the best!

When mama was a young girl and all the family came, the children had to sit on the back stoop… waiting to eat after the adults! She often sat and worried if her favorite piece of chicken or a biscuit would be left for her. One Sunday, she snuck in the kitchen before the adults came to the table and hid a chicken breast and a biscuit up in the cabinet… her daddy gave her a switching when he found out, but she said it was worth it… as she got her chicken and biscuit that day!

 

A couple of tea balls I brought from mama’s house… they were used to hold the loose tea before people began using tea bags.

Image result for luzianne tea

Luzianne… the tea bags of the South!

Grandmama Bryan kept a pitcher of sweet tea in her refrigerator, and always on her table… granddaddy loved his sweet tea! I remember many Sunday dinners at their house… eating dinner on the table out on their screen enclosed back porch. They ate every meal out there… weather permitting. My place was always next to granddaddy… and whatever he ate, I ate! He liked adding a lemon wedge to his tea… and I followed suit. We never had lemon in our house, so that was a treat and a novelty to me. I’ll always ask for lemon today for my tea… makes me think of granddaddy. I remember how he also had certain cutlery he only used… nothing like having favorite forks and knives! Hubby laughs at me today, as I’ll be fiddling through the fork area in the cutlery drawer… for a specific fork I like. In years past… my kids seemed to have emptied their plates of food… along with their forks into the trash pail, as I now only have  mismatched forks… with only a few I like to use. Hubby doesn’t seem to like the same ones I do… so we never clash over the last fork!

Luzianne Tea tin advertising sign ... cup and saucer with slogan  "Drink Luzianne Coffee and Tea 100% Good", c. 1920-1950s, porcelain enamel on metal, USA

Vintage Luzianne coffee/tea sign

Cousin Paulette (Bryan-Huffman) remembers: “Grandmama Bryan only made what she called “black tea”, and she added a pinch of baking soda also, I think. Your daddy got it for her at the commissary at the Warner Robins AFB… it was loose tea and very strong; she wouldn’t use any store bought tea…said it was too weak. I use Luzianne tea bags… it’s the best in my opinion,, but I don’t think it’s black tea.

Cousin Cindy (Bryan-Moore) remembers: “Mama and Othermama made tea with loose tea (I’ve always used tea bags). They would steep it for a while after boiling it on the stove, and both used a gallon sized heavy jug, maybe ceramic, that they made it in. Mama always used sugar, but in her later years Othermama put saccharine in hers (no idea why, she was not dieting, she was a little bitty thing) and none of us liked it. All our kids and grands drink tea, that’s all they know. They didn’t get soft drinks when they were young and still order tea at restaurants. We drank it sitting out on the porch at Othermama’s house in Union Point. Her mill house had a tiny front enclosed front porch, but that’s where we all sat. She had a swing that faced sideways, not toward the street… and three rocking chairs. You couldn’t walk between them, but we made do! We drank tea at all our gatherings… sometimes lemonade too, but always homemade; none of us ever put lemon in our tea.”

img_9895

I couldn’t resist brewing a pitcher of sweet tea!

From the many cooking shows on TV today promoting foods and drinks of the South, more and more Northerners drink iced tea… but I’ve yet to find anyone who makes their own… it’s bought in the grocery stores. When the “sun tea” jar was advertised, I think a few might have tried that as a novelty, but that was an all-day thing… it didn’t last long. Sweet tea is sold on the shelves in Yankee supermarkets now! Have I bought it… Yes… but is it the same as what is sold in the South… NO!

When I asked members of the Greene County History Facebook group… many offered their remembrances of their mother or grandmother making sweet tea… I’ve posted a few below. It seems our Southern tea was pretty much made the same by all!

  • Todd: My granny boiled the sugar in the pot on the stove with it. But I will say I grew up on Lipton and switched to Luzanne. It was like the commercial. Lol. Best tea I ever had and I’ve been missing it my whole life.
  • James: Just know that It was Always there on the kitchen counter, made Fresh every day!
  • Susan: Mama only used Lipton family size tea bags… Nothing else would do. Boil a quart of water, add two family sized Lipton tea bags, turn the water off and let it steep. Prepare your tea pitcher, put 1 cup of sugar in the picture, add the hot tea. Heaven forbid if you dropped the tea bags in the pitcher. Add water to the tea bags that are still in the boiler and pour that into the picture. Make it before the meal so that it’s cool and won’t be watered down by the ice.
  • Linda: Pinch of soda was always added to make the tea stronger and not get cloudy. Sugar was added to water in gallon jug and then hot tea was added. A long butcher knife was used to stir it up. An occasional tea leaf ended up in that last glass of tea!
  • Bonnie: We used American Ace loose tea when I was little. Mama would bring her water to a boil and pour over the tea in a little boiler, then she would put a pinch of baking soda in so it wouldn’t be cloudy. Let it set several hours… then pour through a strainer, then sweeten it, and Boy did she like her sugar!
  •  Andrea: I don’t remember how my grandparents made it but I do remember it was always in a glass gallon jar (like the big pickle jars but was probably from pickled pig feet or pickled eggs. It was terrifying as a child to carry it to and from the fridge to table. Lol! It did slide out of my hands at least once.
  • Lynn: Our glass jar that held sweet tea was from a gallon of stew!
  • Sue: My mama used loose leaf tea, boiled till the water darkened, added a pinch of soda to keep it from boiling over, which cut the acidic bitterness… then turned it off and let it sit for a few minutes. Then she strained it through a regular mesh strainer. Usually it was a gallon pitcher that she made it in, and she added 1 – 1/4 cups of sugar… I think she used Luzianne tea… and they drank Luzianne coffee too, made in the percolator.
  • Joan: My mother made a blue pitcher full of very sweet tea every day, None of this bottled stuff that sits on the shelf for months. If it was left over, it was poured out. It was so sweet Daddy said it could probably walk off on its own.
  • Leigh: My grandma put tea bags and water in a recycled pickle jar and set it in the sun on hot summer days. After a few hours, you removed the tea bags and added sugar… stirred it all up, then added ice and a sprig of mint… it grew right outside the back door. Yummy! Great memories!
  • Randy: In 1954 we lived on the Eatonton Hwy… No TV, but had radio! American Ace made coffee too! I was about 5 years old and remember the ad playing on the radio (my dad’s name was Elmer) the add ran all the time! Can’t sing it on here but I can type it! “Elmer….. don’t forget the American Ace coffeeeee!” I’m 70 and I can still sing it!

    Thanks for writing about your memories on our simple Southern tradition of brewing and enjoying a glass of “sweet iced tea”!

A genuine glass of sweet tea is always what I first crave when I go home… and that’s where it tastes the best! The sweeter… The better! Let me hear what your favorite sweet tea is!

signature-blog-card

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

 

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 22 (May 27 – June 2): At The Cemetery

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 22 (May 27 – June 2): At The Cemetery

“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!

At the Cemetery… memories

As this prompt falls on Memorial Day… many will visit cemeteries to pay their respects to loved ones and place flags on gravestones of their military members. While I know “Memorial Day” is to honor those who gave their life for their country, it’s an honor to place a flag on all those who served.

Fix

Edgar Leroy McKinley – US Army – WWII

PFC  2 INF  5 INF  DIV

My uncle Leroy died during WWII at the Battle of the Bulge in Metz, Germany. He was drafted and sent immediately to the front lines… and while out clearing a wooded forest area, he was shot by enemy sniper fire; he was my mother’s only sibling. My post on Leroy as the boy, the man and soldier can be read Here.

The flag and Purple Heart of Leroy McKinley will be passed to his great- niece, of who was named after him… McKinley Lee Gillon.

flag 1

I placed a flag at The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall that came to West Haven, CT. to honor my uncle PFC Leroy Mckinley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DSC_1019FIX

Stephen J. Insalaco – SGT US Army

We visited my husband’s father’s grave to visit and place a flag for his service and to honor his memory. I wrote about his military life in the previous post over Here. Often we find the local American Legions placing flags on gravestones as they walk the rows… it’s awesome to stand and watch as the flag is placed and as they salute the grave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Clayton Bryan grave FIX

Harold “Clayton” Bryan (US NAVY)

My father’s grave is over 900 miles away, so it’s not often that I’m able to visit. I hope the local American Legion leaves a flag this year to honor his service in the U. S. Navy. “Thank You” for your service Daddy! My father served on-board the USS Washburn and the USS Blue Ridge… which served at Bikini Atoll for the first atomic blast tests.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In years past, I often dragged my two children to cemeteries on their vacation to Georgia to visit their grandmother. I was more into family history at that time… so what better place to gather information… than the family cemeteries. They laugh now… telling me how they told their friends that they were going on vacation to traspe through cemeteries… but now tell me that they actually enjoyed it. My mother didn’t often like to visit there… telling me she’d be there soon enough!

Years ago, after visiting Cane Creek Church in Dahlongega, Georgia, The Lumpkin Nugget newspaper wrote about my visit and the ghostly photos taken inside the church. I was soon contacted by an unknown cousin planning a Civil War reenactment for our shared Civil War grandfather Berrien Clark Bryan. That was the most unusual funeral I’ve ever attended at a cemetery… as it was a reenactment funeral. The men wore Civil War uniforms and carried muskets… while the women of the Confederacy group wore billowing black mourning dresses that flowed along the ground as they walked to the gravesite; a bronze plaque was  placed in front of his gravestone.

grave

It was an eerie experience as many Bryan family descendants gathered to honor, once again, our Civil War ancestor in an reenactment funeral.

grave2

Both regiments gathered for a picture after the funeral reenactment!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Often hubby and I ride through cemeteries we discover to view old graves, especially if I see old gravestones from the road. He enjoys reading the names and ages at death, while I enjoy photographing unique and unusual monuments. It’s interesting to see how loved ones were remembered years ago with such unique headstones and tremendously large ornate monuments. One of the most interesting cemetery we visited was St. Bernard’s Cemetery in New Haven, CT. I immediately noticed it was a predominantly Irish cemetery, but what quickly caught my eye was that many of the monuments listed their country home birthplace directly on the gravestone. I was so in awe… and so wished that my Irish family was buried there! My blog post of discovering the origin of the family home directly on the gravestone was picked up by Family Tree Magazine as another way to possibly discover where your ancestors were from.

cemFix

What an awesome find on a gravestone… A place of birth! Born in Co. Tipperary, Parish of Tomb, Ireland in 1847

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My McKinley ancestors, William (1743-1815) and Mary McKinley (1740-1806) are buried in Steele Creek Cemetery in Charlotte, N.C., and while traveling through a few years ago, we made a detour off the highway to visit this cemetery. It was quite an interesting cemetery and you can read all about my visit and discoveries over Here. My cousin, Robert Bryan, visited there many years ago to take photographs for me, but it had always been my dream to visit there in person… to walk the same land my ancestors walked on and see their gravestones in person.

mckinleys-4-with-watermark

I need to make a return visit to Steele Creek Cemetery as I have discovered many more ancestors buried there… in as I didn’t have time on that visit to search them all out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

climbing up to Hickory Flats ch FIX

Winding Stair Road… a service park road on Springer Mountain that led me Hickory Flats Cemetery.

One of the most unusual places for a cemetery I’ve ever visited, was when my cousin Charles Bryan took me to Hickory Flats Cemetery. What was so unusual, was that it was located on top of Springer Mountain in Fannin County, Georgia… sitting alongside the Appalachian Trail. To get there, we rode ’round and ’round Springer Mountain on a park gravel road called the Winding Stair Road… hardly room enough for one car. My passenger side looked down the side… down into a deep gully below… no guard rails, and I didn’t like being close to the edge! It was quite a scary ride up that graveled road… and I was constantly praying that we met no one coming down! I think cousin Charles enjoyed taking me up that specific road… watching me squirm; he knew there were other safer roads he could have taken!

Hickory Flats Cem Fix

Hickory Flatts Cemetery – New Bethel Church

I was in such awe of this place… that I totally forgot about taking many photos that day… I plan a return trip soon. Notice the sign above that says, “campers welcome.” The Appalachian trail runs alongside the cemetery, so campers are allowed to camp there. On the day we arrived, we found a group of “Long” family members holding their yearly family reunion. After much conversation, we discovered that we actually were related to them through Sanford P. Long who married Sara Catherine Bryan… daughter of my great great grandfather William Madison Bryan; they hold a reunion there every year and camp for the weekend.

Fanny Bryan Fix

Francis “Jemima” A. Fortner

1851 – 1893

The Hickory Flats community was way back in the mountains and part of New Bethel Church, which later relocated to Tennessee. It was said that Fanny died during a cold winter and often whichever cemetery was closest to pull a wagon to, was often where you were buried. Her husband, William Madison Bryan, was buried next to his father at Cane Creek Cemetery in Lumpkin County, Georgia in 1921.

Stay tuned for Week 23 … Namesake

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

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

signature-blog-card

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories, Friday Night Family Heirlooms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekend Weathervanes: First Congregational Church of West Haven, CT

Weekend Weathervanes

First Congregational Church of West Haven, CT.

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!

Feather / Arrow Weathervane sporting a live bonus!

It was a beautiful day today, and in driving by the green of West Haven, CT., I decided to finally capture the beauty of the church with it’s feather/arrow weathervane. When I zoomed in on the very top, I noticed that there was someone sitting up there… the eye in the sky looked to be a hawk… surveying the grounds for maybe a squirrel to zoom in on. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave, so that left me plenty of time to capture him  and the weathervane before he flew away.

DSC_1047FIX

Hawk sitting high on the weathervane!

DSC_1054FIX

He didn’t seem to mind that I was photographing him… he continued to survey the grounds with his eye in the sky perch!

DSC_1050FIX

First Congregational Church of West Haven, CT.

This is such a beautiful church on the green of West Haven… and celebrating it’s 300th anniversary this year.

signature-blog-card

Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Weekend Weathervanes: | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Edgar “Leroy” McKinley: The Boy – The Man – The Soldier

My uncle Leroy McKinley… my mother’s only sibling was killed in action in Metz, Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. My granddaughter “McKinley” was named in his honor! Thank You for your service Uncle Leroy… an uncle I never had the chance to meet.

Everyone Has a Story

Edgar “Leroy” McKinley: The Boy –  The Man  –  The Soldier

1924 – 1945

Feb topicsI participate on a monthly basis in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Week 52 Ancestor stories challenge. It’s funny how my story today speaks to all four weeks of February themes. Week 6 was “So Far Away”, Week 7 is “Love” – Week 8 “Good Deeds” and Week 9 “Close to Home”. My Uncle’s story definitely fits in every week this month – being so far away in Germany, showing so much love in his letters to his mother, father and sister; his good deeds over there will never be forgotten and finally he came back, closer to home. Amy’s choices for February stories couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for Leroy’s story and the hardest one I’ve ever written. I thank you for taking the time to read.

Leroy boy man soldier_0006 Leroy held by his father, Edgar McKinley…

View original post 4,507 more words

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies... | Leave a comment

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 21 (May 20 – 26): Military

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 21 (May 20 – 26): Military

“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!

Timing was perfect for this prompt… In looking through many of my photo and family history albums, I came across my father-in-law’s military information and all documents he saved.  In visiting my mother in law one day, I found her cleaning through things that she was planning on discarding… immediately I asked if I could have them. I knew they were dad’s treasures and I wanted to save them, as I love all my treasures I’ve saved through the years…  and hoping my children or grandchildren will also save them one day.

Stephen Joseph Insalaco

1921 – 2000

SteveInsalaco Army

Dad often talked to me about his life growing up and while serving in the military… and from those afternoon talks – I’ve written these words.

Stephen Joseph Insalaco was the first American born child born to the Insalaco family in America. He was the son of Stefano and Giacinta DiRosa Insalaco – the third child born to this family by 1921. Stephen was born on April 24, 1921 in Willimantic, and like most births at that time, he was born at home. Steve was one of nine children in the Insalaco family, and one of four sons – he was the second oldest.

Dad enlisted in the Army Air-Corp on July 21, 1942 in Hartford, CT., for a term of enlistment so-written as… for the duration of the war or other emergency, plus six months… subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law. He was listed at a height of 5 ft., 7 inches with a weight of 137 lbs.

SteveInsalaco Army clipping

I’m sure his mother was very proud of him, as she was the one who first saved this small notice in the local paper… and was probably quite annoyed that they misspelled the family name. This tiny article has survived for over seventy-seven years!

Dad was inducted into service on August 4, 1942, and left on August 21, 1942 for Devens, Massachusetts camp and then onto Fort Myers, Tampa, Florida, where he spent about six weeks; he trained with the 582th Technical Squadron Training School No. 727. In talking to my father-in-law about his life in the Army Air-Corp, I knew he enjoyed time spent in the service and his job of aircraft mechanic. (I’m assuming the newspaper put Miami by mistake as his paperwork read Tampa, Florida.)

SteveInsalaco Army card 1

He spoke of all the bases he was stationed at and the many planes he worked on, but now I wished I had asked even more questions! Dad never forgot his TI (Training Instructor) at boot camp and how he resembled the actor, Lee Marvin, although he didn’t remember his name. When Dad first saw Lee Marvin on stage later on, he thought that he might have even been his TI in boot camp – remembering the voice and mannerisms being the same as his TI. (Lee Marvin did not serve in the Army Air-Corp – he served in the Marines.) After boot camp, Dad was sent to the Army-Air Forces Technical School in Madison, Wisconsin…. and it was there he completed a course for radio operators.

SteveInsalaco Army card

Next stop was MacDill Field

In March of 1943, Private Insalaco was sent to MacDill Army-Air Base – a base located eight miles south of downtown Tampa, Florida on 5,000 acres… being on the Southwestern tip of the Interbay Peninsula on the west coast of Florida. It was mainly used in World War II for training airmen on B-17 and B-26 aircraft and originally known as Southeast Air-Base; later renamed MacDill Field in honor of Colonel Leslie MacDill. After the establishment of the United States Air Force in 1947, it became known as MacDill Air Force Base. (The MacDill Base closed in 1991)

Flying operations at MacDill began in 1941, and the base’s first missions included transitional training on the B-17 Flying Fortress. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, MacDill became a major staging area for the Army-Air Corps flight crews and aircraft. In 1943 the base discontinued B-26 training and returned to B-17 training which continued through the end of World War II. During the war, as many as 15,000 troops were stationed at MacDill at any one time. Several bases in Florida, including MacDill, also served as detention centers for German prisoners-of-war (POWs) in the latter part of 1944 and 1945. Before leaving Private Stephen Insalaco was promoted to Staff Sergeant Insalaco.

Headed to Fort Myrtle Beach

After leaving Tampa in January of 1944, Dad was stationed at Fort Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he was an airline mechanic on the flight line. It was a very small place at that time, having only one hotel in town. The landing field on the base seemed to be carved out of the woods, and from the air it looked like a cross in the middle of a wooded area. Steve served in the 316th Airdrome Squadron and was a mechanic on the B-25 planes. Dad enjoyed talking about this base and how it seemed to have just been plunked smackdown in the middle of those woods… and while he never saw with his own eyes how it resembled a cross in looking down from high above, he remembered it from being told by all the pilots.

SteveInsalaco Army card 2

Leaving for Kellogg Field

In July of 1944, Sergeant S. J. Insalaco was sent to Army Air Base, Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, Michigan. He served in Squadron “N,” 357th AAF Base Unit and remained there until 1945.

SteveInsalaco Army plane 3

Back to Florida

Steve soon returned back to Florida… to be stationed at the Marianna Army Air Field in Marianna, Florida with the 137th “H” Squadron AAF Base Unit. He was sent to the MAAF – Marianna Army Air Field Advanced Flying School. While Dad never talked about if he was sent there to learn how to fly a plane… in my research, that seemed to be the only reason you were sent there. If only I had questioned this!

While in the Air Corp, Steve developed a way to determine which phone was ringing at locations where numerous phones (EE-8) were lined up on a table or desk. This was always a problem because whenever a phone rang, you couldn’t tell exactly which one was ringing. He wired up a relay on each phone and when a phone rang, the relay would chatter and could be seen. The military brass were so impressed that they sent him to other bases to wire up their phones (EE-8) also. (As told to me by Steve’s brother, Pete Insalaco.) I questioned later as to why Dad never told me this story… but he wasn’t the type of man to brag on his accomplishments!

SteveInsalaco Army plane 2

Dad had several pictures of himself and his buddies; being an airplane mechanic, most of those photos were always near the planes he worked on. He enjoyed talking about time spent as a mechanic on the B-25 planes to me – and I enjoyed listening! I never had the opportunity to hear my father talk of his time spent in the Navy, so I treasured my father in-law’s stories.

SteveInsalaco Army plane

Dad by one of his planes he worked on!

While on leave

On one leave, Dad stopped in Manhattan at his Uncle Jimmy Insalaco’s tavern, “Tivale Bar & Grill” on 8th Ave; Jimmy owned two taverns in the city. Uncle Jimmy drove his Indian motorcycle to Shelton once for a visit . (Jimmy was Vincenzo Insalaco, brother to Steve’s father.)

Discharged

On January 7, 1946, Sergeant Stephen J. Insalaco was honorably discharged from the Army-Air Corp; he separated at Mitchell Field, New York on January 7, 1946. He then returned home to Connecticut and back to work at The Armstrong Rubber Co. in West Haven, Connecticut… where he soon married in 1947 and began his family in 1948 with the birth of my husband, Stephen David Insalaco.

My father in law never met anything he couldn’t repair… he saved every motor that webt bad… thinking “one day he’d get around to repairing it.” While he did repair a few motors, we found a barrel full next to his workbench in cleaning out the cellar. It’s not easy to actually rebuild a motor, but he had a lot patience. He worked in maintenance at Armstrong Rubber and was known as the man who could repair “anything.” When the plant closed and machinery was sent to the Nashville plant, they couldn’t install it to work correctly… he was sent to get them up and running. Throughout the family he was known as the man to call when anything broke… nephew Paul said at his funeral… “now we have no one to call anymore.” My husband often says, “if my father was here, he’d know how to repair this.”

Stay tuned for Week 22… At the Cemetery

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

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

signature-blog-card

© 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

Weekend Weathervanes: Ride Through Pennsylvania

Weekend Weathervanes

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!

A ride through Pennsylvania found these weathervanes!

horse in paFIX

This one made me laugh… pointing out what was to be found below!

DSC_0500FIXDSC_0501FIXDSC_0502 (2)FIX

What a beautiful town Kutztown, PA was!

DSC_0424 (2)FIX

I loved the detail in this one… hubby was driving so I only managed to grab only one shot!

signature-blog-card

Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

 

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Weekend Weathervanes: | Tagged , , | 3 Comments