2017 A to Z: Letter Q… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter Q…

I thought I’d change the ongoing 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the 30 Day -April A to Z, but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving myself a longer time frame. Hopefully, by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



Letter Q is for… Queen For A Day, Quit, Questions and Quilts

Queen for a Day:

I have many memories of this old TV game show… watching daily after school. Why I watched it I have no clue, maybe I just found it interesting that they dressed someone’s mother up with a royal-type cape and made her “Queen for a Day”… almost like a modern adult Cinderella story with the woman competing as to who could tell the biggest sob story. Or maybe it preceded my favorite show after school… Dark  Shadows!

It first originated on radio, broadcasting new on April 30, 1945, but it was only the TV show I watched, which first aired on NBC in 1956. This game show ran on NBC until 1960, then switched to ABC and continued until 1964.

day scale

Jack Bailey was the host and opened each show with the same phrase… “Would YOU like to be Queen for a day?” The four contestants were introduced and then asked to tell what they needed most and why they wanted to be Queen for a day. At the end of the show, there was an applause meter which registered the studio audience’s responses to select the winner. The woman receiving the highest applause was immediately covered in a long red velvet “queen” robe and crowned… then ushered to a waiting throne. She was given a bouquet of long stemmed red roses, while “Pomp and Circumstance” played. I remember the woman sitting there with tears running down her cheeks as her winning prizes were announced. Sometimes it was things needed for a sick child and other times it was just household appliances like a new stove and refrigerator; often she received extra gifts like vacation trips or fashion clothing. The losing contestants also were given smaller prizes; no one left without a gift.

The ending was always Bailey’s trademark sign-off…  “This is Jack Bailey, wishing we could make every woman a queen, for every single day!”


This is one word that has never been in my vocabulary! When I tell Mama about something I’m making or working on and having a problem, she tells me just throw it away, don’t make yourself crazy. Nope…. not me! I will persevere until I finish or figure it out, making myself crazy… that’s just me! I don’t like quitting, I need to finally figure it out. And like I’ve told my children as they grew up… when you figure out what your problem is, then the knowledge is yours. Never be a quitter… don’t take the easy way out!

My mother doesn’t pursue any problems now, but maybe because she is older and doesn’t feel the need to. I’m sure she wasn’t that way in her younger years as she made many things and was an expert seamstress making all my clothes. There was never anything she couldn’t make! So I’m sure she really wasn’t a quitter like she proclaims to be now!


I am a big question person, always asking who, what, where and how; I just want to learn and know things.

Often Mama tells me, “stop drilling me.” She reminds me that I must have gotten my inquisitiveness from her father. I guess he asked many questions also as his sister often referred to him as a “cornbread lawyer.” Not quite sure what that really means, other than maybe the cornbread refers to poor…. so does that mean he would have been a poor lawyer? Mama told me many times that I should have become a lawyer because I ask a thousand questions…. sure wish I had!

I thought of pursuing the field of paralegal when my kids were small, but chickened out as I wasn’t comfortable driving into New Haven and how could I research places or go to the courthouse if I didn’t drive into the city. I would have been good at it too…. as I enjoy research. Maybe that’s what pushed me into all the family history… you have to enjoy researching in order to trace your family history.


In growing up I felt everyone had quilts as they were everywhere in our house. They were on the sofa, on the bed and always a couple of older ones I dragged for outside reading. Mama laughs about the quilts her mother would use day after day, the same ragged ones.. when she had plenty of new ones all stacked in the back room. She was saving them… not sure what she thought she was saving them for?

It was my grandmother McKinley who made the most quilts… and the more intricate ones. My grandmama Bryan quilted also, but she mostly only made plain square quilts. Grandmama McKinley did pattern quilts, but the funny part is, she made them just by looking at them.. she couldn’t follow a pattern. While she only needed to see whatever she wanted to quilt, crochet or sew… she could copy it! To me, that’s true talent! I would rather have a pattern. I have copied things, but often I find it takes me so long to try and figure it out, I’d rather just have a pattern; I have no problem in reading and following patterns.

The quilt on the left is a “wedding ring” patterned quilt and was made by Grandmamma McKinley for my mother when she married; she made an identical one for her son. The quilt on the right is a pattern called “flower garden.” Both of these quilts were passed to me by my mother … I’ve always hoped to be able to display them, but it’s difficult with animals in the house.


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #41

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #41


Misplaced Post: Nov. 30, 2016: In watching Divinity being made on TV, I mentioned to mama, and … “Grandmama made divinity once with me, and we put pecans on top; she helped me make a box for your father before I married, he was in the Navy.”

“Even though she never made it before, she helped me try and we made it together. My Mama mostly had only made chocolate fudge candy with pecans on top. There was a pecan tree in the yard but we never got any pecans from it; I think we got ours over at Mrs. Tolbert’s house, she had several pecan trees. Leroy had set out that pecan tree from an agricultural project at school.”

May 16, 2017: As soon as I called, mama said…. “Tell Steve “Thank You” for the hose he bought me while here, but someone stole it. What’s wrong with people! I guess this case is for Nancy Drew… The Case of the Missing Hose! I didn’t even notice it was gone until I went to water my tomato plants, and I looked all over for it… I know I didn’t eat it. I had to go buy another one, and I bought the cheapest one they had; guess I should have kept the old leaking one.”

“After I got tired of piddling in the garden I sat down in one of the chairs outside and watched the cars fly by. After awhile I came in, shucked my clothes off… too hot for clothes tonight.”

May 17, 2017: When I called… “I’m watching my man Walker tonight, I think I’ll marry him next week”… she laughs. “Yes, I went to the center today, but same old shit down there, nothing changes. The woman who wanted my job in the clothes closet, well she doesn’t really as she never goes in there now, she only wants to play cards.”

I mentioned to mama that I wanted to buy some Nancy Drew books for Ella, and …. “My friend June Boswell had all those books and I’d borrow them from her to read. She also had all the Hardy Boy books, I’d read them too. You used to ask me for Nancy Drew books when we went to K-Mart, I imagine I probably bought you one anytime you asked.”

May 24, 2017: “I went to the center today, then came home and worked in the yard until it started to rain. I need some pine straw to put around my plants. You can buy it, but I’m not going to buy any pine straw. If I was at the farm, I could just go out in the woods and rake up all I want.”

May 30, 2017: Mama was in a mood tonight when I called. “I’m ticked off at the city and as soon as I find the number for them, I’m calling them about my trash and why they don’t pick up all of it like they do my neighbors across the street. What do I have to do, lug my trash and put it on the other side of the street? I see them pick theirs up, then they even take a shovel to clean up what’s left. All they do with mine is just take what’s on top and leave a mess on the ground. Maybe I’ll just push the rest out on the road” I looked up the number for her while I was on the phone and I’ll check back tomorrow night to see if the fire inside her has died down… or maybe she forgot all about it!

When I asked what did she eat at the center today… “They had squash casserole today with cheese… the kind I like! They also wrapped up some of the extra for me to bring home because they know I like it so much. One of the cooks had made dressing at home and had even brought me some, so I brought that home too… it sure was good. I planted some squash seeds and if they come up I’ll cook it in the microwave and put cheese on top.” I laughed, saying… “Oh, so you’re going to do some cooking?” “Well I might do a little if the mood strikes me and the squash grows.”

June 3, 2017: “I’ve done it all my life – look at something on the wall and see something completely else. Right now I’m looking at the mirror above the heater and I see daddy’s profile in it. I always see clothes hanging,… making a shadow on the wall and seeing someone’s profile. One time I was at Aunt Annie’s and when I saw something that made a profile and it looked like my daddy, they had to take me home; I thought something had happened to him.”

“The knots on the wooden walls at the farm were where I saw a lot of profiles. I didn’t see animals so much, I always saw people. I’ve done that all my life… things like that just catch my eye. Maybe daddy’s spirit is here with me.” I laughed and said, “he’s going to see you naked then.” “Well that’s ok, he’s used to that as I pulled my clothes off when I was little all the time. I never see a profile of my mother though.”

“Well I called the city today… they said they’d send somebody, but I haven’t seen anybody yet. I cleaned out Boo’s “poop box” today when I came home… boy, I didn’t realize he had gone so much!”

June 6, 2017: Mama said, “I got all bit up by something in the garden yesterday so I didn’t go out there today… too many bugs.”

“When mama made a blackberry pie, the top crust and bottom would be so crispy and when you stuck your fork in, it’d be all juicy with berries. I could never make one like that, it’d come out all gooey, not crispy like my mama’s. But I don’t want any of those store-bought blackberries either, I want the ones like we used to pick on the farm.”

June 8, 2017: Mama answered the phone tonight in a low voice. “Why are you talking so low,” I asked. “I’m talking low so Boo won’t run away, we’ll he’s gone now. He doesn’t like noise when he’s laying here with me.”

“I went down to the center today and had a nice surprise. Carolyn’s husband, Johnny, made fried apple pies this morning and he sent me a couple. I’ll finish them up with coffee after.”

“Melissa called me on the way home from work tonight, that was a nice surprise. She was telling me about the new house they bought. Hope it all works out for them.”

“I remembered to stop and buy Ensure on the way home from the center today… I was all out. I hadn’t had any over the weekend and I sure did miss it. I must have gone to the fridge several times… hoping I’d find one hidden. I am so spoiled, I could have made me a chocolate milk, but I’ve gotten too used to just popping a top.… and I sure did miss not having one. I have chocolate, but I don’t usually keep milk in the house.”

June 10, 2017: I mentioned that I had made a blackberry cobbler tonight, and… “I have never tasted a cobbler like my mama’s – the crust was so crispy and the berries underneath were juicy. Mama cooked them in her wood burning stove… I think it was that stove that gave it the best taste… mama always knew exactly how many sticks of wood to cook everything! Out of all her sisters, mama was the best cook.”

“Everyone liked to come over to our house on Sunday. One time I told Aunt Chris and Uncle Ed, “well now that you got your gut full, you can go home.” Daddy was not happy with me and got mad, telling me that I should not have said that. I told him, “well that’s what you say.” He didn’t whoop me because he knew what I said was what I heard him often say.”

I told mama that we went to McKinley’s Pre-K graduation and how she led the Pledge of Allegiance using the microphone, with the others kids behind her. Her voice sounded so grown-up… and she did such a good job. Mama said, “Oh I sure wish I could have seen that.”

“I was married the day before I graduated high school, and when they called my name to come get my diploma, they called me Mrs. Bryan and I didn’t walk up. Everyone started laughing because I just sat there. I wasn’t used to being called Mrs. Bryan, I was expecting them to call me by my name of Helen McKinley. Your father was there, he sat with my parents.”

“I should have graduated in 1946, but I failed 10th grade, so I graduated in 1947. I stayed back because I wasn’t doing my lessons and skipped school too often.”

June 12, 2017: Mama talked about the neighbors bringing over their new baby to show her, and… “Imagine if I had a baby at my age. I’d give it to you.” “Well, if you have a baby, I’ll take it… that would be a miracle and you’d be in Ripley’s Believe it or Not!”

June 14, 2017: In telling mama about a video on Facebook of a little dog chasing a chicken, then the chicken chasing him. “We had a little feist dog on the farm that chased our chickens, and sometimes killed them in playing with them. Daddy took him one day and hung him up by his hind legs and laid the dead chicken right under his nose. After he took him down, that dog never touched a chicken again, he wouldn’t even go near one. Daddy asked me if I wanted the dog, and that was the only way he was going to let him stay… by breaking him.”

June 16, 2017: I called mama tonight after we got home to tell her we had dinner tonight with all the girls to celebrate Steve’s birthday. “Oh, I would have liked to have seen them all together. I hope Steve enjoyed his birthday, tell him I said Happy Birthday and I love him. I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law.” I then told her about wanting to make some crafts using old blue jeans… that idea came after I went through my jeans and looking at the pile I was throwing out, and not wanting to throw them out! “I’ll have to start looking at the center for some, we get all kinds, even overalls.” I can just imagine that I’ll have a room full of blue jeans to look through on my next trip home! “It sure has been hot and sultry down here, I don’t like this kind of weather.”

June 17, 2017: When I called tonight, mama asked what was I doing, and I said I had been writing… “You must have gotten your writing skills from Aunt Lena, definitely not from me.” Now I wonder where did Aunt Lena get it from? “My father, Aunt Lena and Aunt Emma were smart. My father’s father was smart too… he used to sit on the porch while all his boys worked the farm for him. I never remember seeing him work!”

“While you’re out at all those tag sales you like to go to, find me something pretty. Something different that you don’t see in the stores.” And I asked, “don’t you have enough jewelry? Mama said, “I can never have enough.”

June 18, 2017: When I called…. “I’m watching this program about digging gems in Cripple Creek, Colorado. They just dug up a big purple stone… I need that. Let’s go dig for gems?” “We can go to Dahlonega,” I said.  “No, I’d rather go there, let’s go! I’d love to be able to do that and dig them up. Now they’re advertising that Prevagen for your brain… I need some of that too. I think I bought a bottle once, very expensive, but never saw a difference. If I was younger, I’d definitely go dig for gems, don’t think I have the energy now.”

June 19, 2017: When I called mama said… “I was just yelling at the neighbors out the window, those firecrackers are driving me crazy. They are too loud. Well, now it’s quiet over there!”

I asked mama about Lena’s sewing cabinet… “I guess she gave it to me because I sewed quite a bit. I remember seeing her use it, but later on, it just sat in the living room when she stopped sewing. I used to keep my thread and needles inside it when I sewed.”

Mama was still talking about the gem shows she watched the other night… “Leroy and I dug up a big black stone one time. We dug it out of a Chinaberry tree behind the log cabin. It stayed in mama’s sewing box for years and years; I wish I knew what happened to it. The tree had a bad spot in it and I guess we were digging at it. We also had many arrowheads on the farm. There were so many in the fields where daddy plowed; you had several when you were young, but I don’t know what happened to them.”

June 22, 2017: Mama called me tonight as her phone had rang, but no one was on the line, so she was checking on me in phone tag. When she asked what was I doing…. “I was just eating watermelon.” “Oh, don’t tell me that, I love watermelon! Every day after school, Leroy and I busted one open and ate the heart out, then we’d throw the rest to the pigs. They loved watermelon and would eat the entire thing. Daddy only grew them to feed the pigs so we could eat them whenever we wanted; he always kept a pile of melons near the pig pens. The heart of the melon is the best, it’s usually the reddest and the sweetest. We were spoiled!”

June 24, 2017: In telling mama abt The Happy Hollister books I found at a tag sale today. “I never heard of them, I read Nancy Drew. I’m going to have to ask down at the center about those books and see if anyone ever heard of them.”

Mama then mentioned her friend June Boswell. “I used to borrow June’s Nancy Drew books. She lived near town and when daddy went to town on Saturday afternoons, I’d go and play with her. She had a crab apple tree in her yard and I loved to eat them… they were so sour… you could only eat them by putting lots of salt on. All the kids ate them, kids ate anything back then. We’d eat them while still making a face. We had horse apples on the farm, they were good and mellow… also big and yellow. I guess they called them that because the horses liked them so much. Mother used to make jam and pies with them. There was an apple tree way back in the woods when we lived in that log cabin. Daddy would go way back in the woods and pick apples, they were big red apples and so good. I don’t know why he didn’t try and plant one from the seeds and take it to our farm when we moved.”

Mama asked me to find out if anyone remembered her friends June Boswell or Claire Jernigan. I posted in my Greene Co. History page, but I hated to tell her that June had passed away a few years ago; I finally told her and she was sad to hear… “the last time I saw June was probably over 15 years ago at a school class reunion in Siloam. She wasn’t well, and her mother had come with her. No one seemed to be talking to her and when I saw her sitting in a wheelchair in the corner, I went over to talk to her about the old days. Later her mother came up to me and thanked me for going to talk to her as most had shunned her. I didn’t need to be thanked, and I went back later and spent more time with her as we had a good time talking about what we did as young girls.”

June 26, 2017: When I called… “I can’t wait for my squash to be ready. I planted the seeds on the sides of the yard. One year I had so much squash I was giving it away. I might just stop at John’s Supermarket tomorrow and buy me a couple, as I really want it right now. I’m also almost out of my chocolate drinks… definitely going to stop and buy some tomorrow.”

June 28, 2017: Mama was chilling in the house when I called, too hot outside. No sooner than I told her about the nudie photo album Frank had found in the rafters of their house, she said… “OMG… that’s so funny, bring them down here and I”ll take them to the Senior Center for a laugh.” I told her, “Frank put them back up in the rafters for the next owner to find and have a laugh. They must have been the original owners of the house and they must have been swingers, as there were two couples posing nude; probably from the 80’s.”

June 29, 2017: Mama answered and said, “I knew it was you, I saw your picture on the phone, LOL. It’s been a little rainy here and I hope it continues through the 4th so they won’t be shooting all those firecrackers! Boo doesn’t like them! They are such a waste of money—they could be paying their rent or buying food.”

In telling Mama about Melissa moving into her new house… “I guess I’ll have to come up there and be the maid, but I don’t do windows… I’ll clean the floor for my room and bed.”

“I went to the center today, but barely picked at my lunch there. We’re going to Charlie’s tomorrow… I”m taking Johnny and Carolyn out to eat for him cutting my grass. We will probably go out for an early dinner.”

I mentioned that I was watching my favorite Canteen movie… “They made those type movies during the war… even going overseas and entertaining the troops. I don’t remember your daddy ever mentioning anything but they were probably over there when Leroy was there. I remember hearing that Bob Hope and Red Skeleton went over.”

“It just thundered, so off Boo went under the bed. The girl next door asked me to come with them down to Coker Field to shoot firecrackers. I told her No Thank You, I don’t want to hear them. I yelled at them the other night as they sounded like they were right under my window. They stopped as soon as I yelled out the window!”

“When you come down we’ll go down to the Farmer’s Market in Monroe, it’s usually behind the courthouse on Saturdays, I think. Maybe there’s something there you might want to buy.”

I asked about my tree house in Perry, and … “Tell Frank to build a tree house and I’ll come up there and live in it. The girls can climb up to visit me and bring me food.”

July 8, 2017: I mentioned carnivals, and… “I remember going to carnivals every time they came to Greensboro. We had “school days” where we would go there from school on the bus. Sometimes mama and daddy took us at night, and  I’d run all around and find someone to hang and ride with.”

I told mama about taking the girls to the beach and to the carnival afterward. McKinley rode the rides… and really wanted to ride the Ferris wheel. She wanted to ride every ride that went high and fast. Grace got stuck in one of the kid climb-type rides and Melissa had to crawl in and rescue her.

“One time while at the carnival with Red Albert McKinley, Kenneth’s brother, we went on the Ferris wheel together; he got it to rocking so much that I thought I’d surely fall out. I never wanted to go on that ride again after that.”

I told mama that I found a few more Nancy Drew books. “I always enjoyed reading them, they interested me and fascinated me at all she did. I always wanted to be a detective… me and Willie Mae should have not married and opened up a detective business to investigate women’s cheating husbands…. that would have been fun!”

In talking about how kids act today… “You were never a problem when you were small. One time you hid from me and I couldn’t find you. There was a hole out back with fresh dirt and I thought you fell in there. I came back on the porch and found you hiding under the table. I should have hugged you, but I jerked you up and spanked your butt as I had been so upset. I’d called and called you and you never came out.”

July 13, 2017: When I called mama tonight I asked her if she knew that Nancy Drew first came out in April of 1930, the same year and month she was born. “They knew Nancy was really me… I remember they had her driving a roadster in those first books. I read them from my friend June Boswell; I don’t remember if they had dust jackets or not, they might have; maybe she took them off  before she loaned them to me.”

Mama soon began telling me about her new little friend’s next door… “There are about 3 or 4 little girls next door that seem to be out in the yard all the time, or at least when I am. I guess the girl there is babysitting some of the family children for the summer. They follow me up and down the side yard wanting to come in my yard and constantly asking me a thousand questions… “Can I come in your yard” – “Can I have a flower” – “What are you doing” – “What is this”… I felt like screaming! I finally just came on in the house. No sooner than I start working in the yard, then out the door, they come. They have lots of toys out there to play with, but no they’d rather follow me around and ask questions. I don’t want to talk, I just want to work in the yard. I guess I won’t be out there too much as my nerves can’t take that.” “I guess you’re just too likable!” I said.

I told mama about us going to PA. for a 100 yard – mile long tag sale… “If I was up there, I’d go with you, that sounds like fun. I’d just jump on the side running board like I used to do with Daddy’s car and I could jump off and on.”

July 15, 2017: When mama answered the phone, I asked: “what’s cooking down there?” Me,” she said, “it’s so hot down here I just don’t want to go anywhere… I just want to stay home and lay in the bed. I did go out and check my squash vines, but there wasn’t one, so I just came on back in the house. I remember when I had the garden out in the back, that I had squash plants that just wouldn’t quit. I had so much squash that I had to give it away to everyone at the center. It was coming out of my ears! It just kept coming and coming… and now I can’t even find a single squash to cook. I want to cut it in half and microwave it, and then fill it with cheese, it’ll be so good… well it’ll be good if I can ever get a squash.”

“I’ve been dragging iron pieces to the front to make a fence on the border of the neighbor’s yard to keep the little girls from trying to come through into my yard. Now they’ll have to peek through! I’m not a mean person, but those young girls are driving me crazy asking me a thousand questions. I don’t want to talk constantly, I just want to work in my yard!”

I was reading a book on prices in 1952 as I talked to mama and I told her that a broom in 1952 costs 98 cents… “Oh I don’t want a broom, I hated sweeping at the farm. Mama made good brooms, nice and tight, but I wanted no part of sweeping anything.”

“Daddy gave me his old car one time before you were born, or even thought of. We lived in Union Point. \I traded it to a man for a vacuum cleaner, as I didn’t want to sweep with a broom anymore. The car wasn’t any good, so I didn’t care about it but he wanted it. No sooner than I got that vacuum then my mother in law came and took it down to her house to use. If I knew then, what I know now, she wouldn’t have even tried to take my vacuum out of my house, but I was stupid then and said nothing. We were poor, we had an icebox on the back porch. An ice-man came around weekly selling ice to everyone… it kept our food cold.”

In talking about work… “I only worked for tips when I waitressed and hardly got a salary when I bar-tendered at The Holiday Inn. I did make good tips at both as I have the gift of gab and know how to talk to people. Even when I waitressed, I made good tips as the owner was too cheap to pay us anything.

July 17, 2017: I was trying to ask Mama about the 1962 Bryan family reunion photo tonight, and … “I don’t ever remember you wanting a camera so I don’t think you had one unless someone handed you their camera to take the photo. If you had ever asked me for one, I would have bought it for you as you never asked for anything. I don’t remember that photograph right now, you’ll have to bring it down for me to see again.” I asked her about daddy in the photo as he had on a bow-tie, and no one else was dressed up. “Who knows why he had it on?”

In talking about the family… “I should have kept a diary all these years, all the family secrets would be in there as what people did, and who they did it with. I could tell tales about most of them! I never missed what happened.”

“That woman who wanted the clothes closet down at the center, she was in there today trying to make it into some fancy boutique place… then she locked it up and left. I went down and got the key and opened it up so people could go in… and she better not say anything to me, she doesn’t own it! I might just make my own key and then I’ll open it anytime I want. What’s wrong with people, it’s there for them to shop in and she wants to fix it all up like a fancy store and then close it!”

July 18, 2017: In telling mama about seeing cornbread and milk posted on Facebook…”I don’t want any cornbread and milk, buttermilk only. I’ll never have good buttermilk again.” I said, “should I bring back your churn so you can make some?” “Hell No! I don’t want to ever churn again, I probably shed lots of tears into that buttermilk as I sat there. I didn’t want to stay in the house and churn, I hated it! I wanted to be out in the field with daddy and do whatever he was doing. I was Daddy’s girl!”

In explaining this drink I was watching being made on Facebook called the Purple People Eater, mama said… “That sounds like the Skip and go Naked drink I used to make at the bar, and if you drank enough of them, it’d make you want to skip and go naked. LOL “

Another Facebook video rolled by of a cat riding in a car, and… “Willie Mae had an outside cat who every time he’d hear the car crank he’d run and jump in, ready to go for a ride.  He’d come with her over to the farm and roam around until Willie was ready to go home. He’d know when she was ready to leave and be waiting there by the car, ready to jump back in. It was Willie Mae’s girls who taught him that trick, they always had animals and cats and trained them to do all kind of things.”

“ It’s so Hot, I didn’t even go look to see if I have any yellow squash yet, maybe tomorrow I’ll remember and check.” I told her, “look good as those little suckers like to hide from you!”


To be continued…

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© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Family Photos: 1962 – The Bryan Family Reunion and more

Family Photos

Family photos are a treasure… and they tell a story if you just look hard enough. This was a recent photo I discovered again… long forgotten. In studying it, what caught my eye was that both my parents were in the picture… but where was I? Being an only child, my mother kept tight reigns on me and I was never out of eyesight… so where was I in 1962… I was ten years old! And…Yes, I have asked her… if you’re wondering. But at the moment, she can’t remember… especially after fifty-five years. BryanReunion

The Bryan Reunion

I’ve had many cousins ponder this photo and betwixt us all we have come up with the names below. I did not want this photo lost without knowing their names… at least the majority of them. There are very few survivors in this photo and without these people, our family photographs might end up in a pile as unidentified.”

Every time I still look at this photo, I’m still at a loss as to how I didn’t end up in this picture, but also missing in my immediate family is my father’s parents, Paul & Evelyn Bryan. I’m sure if we were there…. they were there…. somewhere! And I’m pretty sure they would have ridden with us in our station wagon, with me riding shotgun all the way in the back; I loved riding in the far back seat facing the cars behind us!

I know granddaddy Bryan always helped in cooking the pig anytime there was a BBQ… and no Bryan family reunion was held without BBQ and Brunswick Stew! That just wasn’t going to happen!

So Where Were My Grandparents?

Front Row L. to R: Leon Bryan and wife Louise (directly behind him on left), small boy looking behind him, next to Leon, is Steve Yearwood, Helen (Bryan) Yearwood with arm on Leon (Leon’s dau), Helen (McKinley) Bryan (my mom) in chair, Kathy Yearwood (girl in my mother’s lap), Cindy Bryan Moore (young girl kneeling), Skipper Bryan (Charlie’s son), Charlie Bryan, Myrt Bryan Poss, Harold Bryan (Clyde’s son), unk young girl (possibly Harold’s daughter Debbie, age 4), David Bryan, (Charlie’s son, on end), unk girl in front touching face. (I first thought this girl might be me, but mama would have had me next to her and since this girl is over toward Clyde Bryan’s family, I am going to assume she is related to them)

Back Row L. R: Charles Bryan and wife Rosa Lee, Clayton Bryan (my father), Runt Bryan, unk woman, John Robert Poss (peeking through), Sara Kate Bryan (wife of Runt Bryan) Polly Bryan (wife of Charlie), unk woman (possibly Dorothy “Dot” Mae Bryan – Clyde’s daughter), unk tall boy in back (possibly Floyd Bryan?), Ever Lou (Ogletree) Bryan, (wife of Clyde), Clarence (son of Clyde), Clyde Bryan. 

MyrtandBrothersJuly1962 (2)

I believe this photo was also taken on the same day. The photograph says July 1962 and their clothes look the same. Again, my grandfather, Paul Bryan is missing from this picture!

I can only assume granddaddy Bryan was tending the pig or chopping BBQ and grandmamma Bryan was possibly brewing her BBQ sauce with a recipe that I’ve yet found written down anywhere! Is that how no one learns your secret recipe?

paulbryan3blackwhite chopping bbq

My grandfather, Paul Pinkney Bryan with brother Clyde Bryan

This was probably where granddaddy was while everyone else was posing for this photo…. doing nothing! Granddaddy was a worker bee and he was probably hungry… wanting to eat – not take pictures! He was more of a behind the scenes person!

This was my grandfather’s passion… he loved a good BBQ and was always involved in the chopping process; probably why he wasn’t in the top photograph. This photograph was sent to me by his brother Gordon Bryan… telling me that he sent it to me because he knew I would treasure it… and he was so right. I was ecstatic when I opened the envelope to find this photo because I had so wanted a photo of granddaddy doing what he loved best, and wearing his famous field hat! I so wish I had that hat! If you’re curious about granddaddy’s middle name of Pinkney… follow the link on his highlighted name in the beginning of the story.

So let me decipher who’s family is who for you… if you don’t know already! And even though this photo is marked 1962…. it might not have been developed until that date; just a possibility… but in comparing several of the ages of the children to the age marked on the photograph, I actually believe 1962 was the correct year of this photograph.

My grandfather Paul Bryan and grandmother Evelyn (Little) Bryan are not in this photo, but his brothers (all but one) and sister are… Leon, Charlie, Myrt (the only sister) Runt whose’s real name is Jewel, and Clyde. The other missing sibling, besides my grandfather Paul, was Gordon Bryan. Paul has two sons, Clayton and Floyd, but only one son, Clayton Bryan (my father) is positively identified in the photo unless Floyd is the tall man on the back, right side. Cousin, Charles Bryan, strongly feels that this tall man is my father’s older brother Floyd. If this man is Floyd Bryan, wife Vivian and children Paulette and Robert are not in this photo.

My father is wearing the bow tie in the back row…. really a bow tie at a family BBQ reunion… what was he thinking? If only I could ask him! Daddy must have somewhat liked “bow ties”… as I’ve found several pictures of him wearing them; actually, I have more pictures of him sporting a bow tie than a regular tie. Directly in front of my father is my mother Helen McKinley Bryan (sitting in a chair holding a young girl, but it’s not me). The young girl she’s holding is Kathy Yearwood, daughter of Helen Bryan Yearwood.

In thinking I might have taken the photo, I asked Mama if I had a camera. “You had no camera at that age and never asked for one that I can remember. If you had asked for one, I would have probably bought it as you seldom asked for anything. Maybe you took the photo with someone else’s camera?” I do remember taking many photos, but it was probably later on as I did have a Polaroid instant camera; many of those photos can be found in my scrapbooks and photo albums.

Brother Leon Bryan and wife, Louise (Mauldin) Bryan, are in the front row and have two children in the photo… back row is son Charles Bryan with wife Rosa Lee next to him. Directly kneeling in front of Rosa is Charles sister Helen (Yearwood) Bryan; her husband Bill seems to be missing… could he have taken the photo? Also missing is son Doug Bryan, but I believe he wasn’t living in Georgia at that time.

Brother Runt Bryan in the back row is wearing the plaid shirt… his real name is Jewell Hubert; I’ve always been puzzled as to why Jewell, but most called him Runt. From his daughter Cindy… “He was the last born and they all called him Runt, even his mother. Some called him JH, but it was mostly just “Runt.” But still, how did my great grandmother, Sara E. (Turner) Bryan, come by the name of Jewell; I haven’t found any other family members with that name… did she plan on having a girl and just liked the name? No one seems to know, and we’ll never know now! Runt’s wife, Sara Kate (Cheatham), is three people over in the back row. Runt and Sara Kate have three children and we feel confident that Cindy (Bryan) Moore, is the young blonde girl in the front row kneeling. Cindy’s sister Sandra Bryan (age 17) and Ron (age 20)  also seem to be missing from this family reunion; Cindy assumed due to their age that maybe they didn’t want to come.

Brother Charlie Bryan is in the front row with a blonde haired boy on his lap, who we have identified as son Skipper (Robert Bryan). Charlie’s wife Polly (Cardin) is in the back row; while always known by Polly, her real name was Mary. They have two children, Robert (Skipper) and David Bryan, who is identified as front far right.

Sister Myrt (Bryan) Poss is kneeling next to brother Charlie; her husband John Robert Poss is in top row peeking between two women. Myrt had one daughter, Elizabeth… could she be the young girl, touching her face, in the front row near Myrt?

Brother Clyde Bryan is in the back row (right) with wife Ever Lou (Ogletree) next to him. I need to get in touch with cousins from his side to correctly identify the group near him on end as even though I’ve somewhat identified most of them, a few are good guesses, with two still unidentified. Clyde’s two son’s I’ve identified from another family photographs below. I believe Clarence Bryan is between Ever Lou and Clyde Bryan, and the other man below Clyde, who favors Clyde, must be his other son Harold Lee Bryan. The young girl that Harold is holding, is possibly his daughter Debbie, age 4. The short dark haired woman between Polly and Ever Lou I believe to be Dorothy Mae “Dot” (DeLoach) Bryan, daughter of Clyde and Ever Lou Bryan. (The family of Clyde Bryan still needs more exact identification to finalize this photo.) The young girl touching her face in the front I also believe to be of Clyde Bryan’s family, but I have no name for her.

Brother Gordon Bryan is also missing from this Bryan reunion, most likely because he also lived in N.C. and too far to attend.

My “final thought… ” Who took this photograph?

Maybe I did as I definitely don’t seem to be in the photograph?


More Bryan photographs

This photograph helped me to identify a few in the above photo. While the names were written on here, they never came through perfect in saving the photograph.

Clyde Bryan and family (2)

L. to R: Polly Bryan, Charlie Bryan, William Clyde Bryan, John Robert Poss, Ever Lou Bryan, Harold Bryan, Dot Bryan DeLoach, Clarence Bryan. Boy in front is David Bryan (son of Polly & Charlie Bryan) and girl in front is Pat DeLoach, daughter of Dot (Dorothy Mae) Bryan DeLoach.

This photo was most likely taken at the home of Clyde Bryan in Waverly Hall, Georgia… and I’m assuming this because both his sons and daughter, along with granddaughter Pat are in the photo. Clyde’s sisters’ husband John Robert Poss is also in the photo, did that mean Myrt took the photo? I’m sure she must have been there. In studying Dorothy “Dot” Bryan DeLoach in this photo, is what makes me feel I’ve identified her correctly in the Bryan reunion photo.

After studying several times, I think I have this photo identified with the correct names. The only one I somewhat question myself on is the name, Harold. While there doesn’t seem to be enough letters in spelling his name, I think they are squished together and in looking at another photo of Harold, I believe this photo to be him.

(If I have someone misidentified, please let me know so I can make the correction)


clyde bryan bbq

One of Clyde Bryan’s many BBQ’s... Ray Grant (family friend?), H. W. “Mutt” DeLoach (husband of Clyde’s daughter Dot), Rusty Bowden (married to Clyde’s granddaughter Pat DeLoach), Harold Bryan (Clyde’s son) and Clyde Bryan in the chair.

Harold_Bryan_Cooking_Stew (2)

Harold Bryan cooking Brunswick Stew in the cast iron kettle!


Gordon, Charlie, Leon, Clyde, Paul Bryan

Bryan Siblings

L. to R. Back: Gordon, Charlie, Leon, Clyde and Paul

Front: Runt (Jewell) and Myrt.

I believe this photograph was also taken at Clyde’s home in Waverly Hall, Georgia; that is where they seemed to have most of these BBQ reunions.


Bryan siblings

50th Wedding Anniversary photo of Leon and Louise Bryan (1982)

All siblings gathered for another photo on their anniversary, except for brother Clyde Bryan who passed away in 1978. The party was held at The Union Point Community Center in Union Point, Georgia.

Louise and Leon Bryan – Front Sitting

L. to R: Charlie, Polly, (Charlie’s wife), Evelyn, (Paul’s wife), Paul, John Robert Poss (Myrt’s husband), Sara Kate (Runt’s wife), Myrt, Runt, Ever Lou, (Clyde’s wife), and Gordon Bryan.

These Bryan siblings all descend from…

William Clark Bryan & Sara Elizabeth Turner

WC Bryan Sara Jewell Bryan (2)FIX

William Clark Bryan – Jewell Bryan – Sara Turner Bryan

For More family photographs, Click… Family Photographs… and their stories


Want to read more family stories, click…. Family Stories

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: Choo Choo – All Aboard in Old Saybrook, 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 often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes

Choo Choo – All Aboard!


Located on RT. 1 in Saybrook, Ct. on top of the Saybrook Junction Plaza



The Choo Choo Train weathervane sits high above… almost in the clouds of the Old Saybrook Junction Plaza. I love how they chose a train to compliment the name!

The plaza sits alongside the train station on Rt. 1 in Old Saybrook.


Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

Feel free to send me a weathervane you find in your area for my blog… take a close-up and a full photo of the building if possible… with name and location.

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: I’ll Get That Danged Varmint in Prospect, 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 often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes

I’ll Get that Danged Varmint!


When I first snapped this weathervane, I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but my first guess… a Halloween theme when I saw the cat. In as the sun was blinding me…. I had to wait until I was home and upload to my computer. Boy was I wrong!!!

After laughing…. all I could picture was a scene out of a Ma and Pa Kettle movie and Pa out hunting with old Blue who had cornered a possum!!!


This hunting weathervane we discovered on the way home from Costco… a new Costco to us and a new route home…so naturally I was looking up! A little strange I thought on the top of a carpet store, but maybe it has a meaning to someone! Any thoughts – hunting, carpet?


Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

Feel free to send me a weathervane you find in your area for my blog… take a close-up and a full photo of the building if possible… with name and location.

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Aunt Lena’s Sewing Cabinet

Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Aunt Lena’s Sewing Cabinet

When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, they often become items tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and record your memories so the family treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question… it’s the story which holds the value!


Aunt Lena’s “Sewing Cabinet”

This somewhat simple sewing cabinet belonged to my great aunt… Lena McKinley Van Dusen of Atlanta, Georgia. Aunt Lena was my mother’s favorite aunt and she looked forward to the two weeks she spent with her every summer in Atlanta. Lena lived in a spacious home overlooking Grant Park Zoo. I also remember visiting her house in Atlanta, but I found her to be a stern woman… she had no children so she didn’t tolerate any nonsense from me or allow me snooping around her house… as she called it! I did find her home very interesting with the many antiques in her living room and yes I liked to snoop and look at them, but somehow she always caught me and pretty much dragged me back, by my ear… to where I was allowed to be… as she said!

As a little girl, I loved arranging my mother’s spools and opening and closing the little table. Whenever I sew I often think of Aunt Lena and Mama… and all this little cabinet witnessed as they sewed!

It was never said who specifically taught Aunt Lena to sew, but I’m sure she learned early in life as her mother died when she was a young girl of about sixteen… and being the oldest of eight, and the oldest daughter… she soon became in charge of the household. My grandfather, Edgar McKinley, being the youngest… looked more to her as a mother and they remained close for the rest of their lives.

Every summer Lena came to visit her brother Edgar’s farm in Siloam, Georgia to spend time with him and his family. Those summer trips were how Mama became close with her aunt and looked up to her as it seemed Lena could do everything; she was a woman who liked to be in charge. Besides knowing her way around a needle and thread, she also knew how to use a hammer and saw; one summer trip she cut and built a doorway in their dining room. There had never been a doorway to go into the back room… having to go through the bedroom and a back hallway to reach the back room; my grandmother wanted a doorway in the dining room! Yes, my grandfather could have done that, but he had never given in to grandmama’s wants, but Lena put her foot down, so to speak, and cut the wall to make an opening. I think granddaddy ended up finishing the project that she started, and grandmamma finally got her door!

It was often in the fall when Lena came, usually during hog killing time… probably reminded her of the old days and she knew there would be specialty dishes served that night; brains and eggs were always served on the night of the kill! My mother has often mentioned that to me and remembered how good it was… I’ll just take her word for it, I’m definitely not trying that!

Lena felt her brother cured the best hams around; they were so good that she often had requests from her friends in Atlanta to bring back hams! Mama recalls that people from Atlanta even stopped to buy hams from him if they were in the area; one year he sold all his hams… it must have been a meatless winter as he didn’t like beef – he was a pork only man!

On many of those visits to their farm, Lena sewed while there, even making mama a white dress for my mother’s graduation. I’m not quite sure why she made it instead of my grandmother, as she also sewed, but I’m thinking maybe because Lena had brought the white cloth. My grandmother didn’t often have the luxury of buying new material, she used and reused what she had. The one thing mama didn’t like about dresses made for her and has never forgotten…. they were always too big. She wanted her clothes to fit, never hanging on her, but there was nothing she could do but wear them! Back then, they always made your clothes big…. why…. so you could grow into them… giving you more “wear” time!

Mama tells me that she only wore that white graduation dress once, well maybe twice, as she was married the night before graduation and it was the only white dress she had… So! But after graduation, the white dress was done… and I can bet money that my grandmother cut that dress up later to reuse as backing on one of her many quilts.

When Mama spent time with Aunt Lena in Atlanta she remembers her using this sewing cabinet as she sewed. Lena made all her clothes and most likely sewed for her sister Emma as they were very close. It was after my mother married, that one day when she visited, she gave it to mama. She knew my mother sewed often, as she made all her own clothes and mine. The cabinet was again going to a “sewer.” Later after my mother stopped sewing, she gave it to me to continue keeping it in the family. Now, who will I pass it to? I have five granddaughters… hopefully one of them will want to sew.

Lena McKinley Van Dusen

Lena McKinley Van Dusen

When Mama spent time with Aunt Lena in Atlanta she remembers her using this sewing cabinet as she sewed. Lena made all her clothes and most likely sewed for her sister Emma as they were very close. It was after my mother married, that one day when she visited, she gave it to mama. She knew my mother sewed often, as she made all her own clothes and mine. The cabinet was again going to a “sewer.” Later after my mother stopped sewing, she gave it to me to continue keeping it in the family. Now, who will I pass it to?In trying to research this sewing cabinet, I found several types… some fancy… some not. Lena’s cabinet is more on the plain side and I remember it painted orange when it was given to my mother. Over the years my mother repainted it gray and I have now repainted it a barn red, but I just feel like it needs something…. but what?

In trying to research this sewing cabinet, I found several types… some fancy… some not. Lena’s cabinet is more on the plain side and I remember it painted orange when it was given to my mother. Over the years my mother repainted it gray and I have now repainted it a barn red, but I just feel like it needs something…. but what?


I have thought through the years that this sewing cabinet needs a makeover, maybe a design on the front, so I’m leaning toward decoupaging some sort of sewing designs on the front… Any suggestions??? I’m open to hearing from you… I know some of you will have ideas!


Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to read more stories…

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Family Heirloom Bloggers:

I started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join me in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Writing the stories of the family heirlooms I’ve been entrusted with has been on my mind for a long time; the time is now and I plan to write their stories on a weekly basis.

Please check out the weekly Family Heirloom stories of…

Blogger: Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Blogger: Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Blogger: Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Blogger: Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Blogger:  Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
Blogger: True Lewis at Notes to Myself
Blogger: Vera Marie Badertscher at Ancestors in Aprons                              Blogger: Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Blogger: Kathy Rice at https://everyleafhasastory.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/heirloom-afghan/
Blogger: Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog
Blogger: Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Check out her Blog at –  52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap  for links to more Heirloom posts.

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Friday Night Family Heirlooms | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

2017 A to Z: Letter P… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter P…

I thought I’d change the on-going 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the 30 Day -April A to Z, but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving myself a longer time frame. Hopefully, by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



Letter P is for… Perry, Pecans, Peanuts, Peaches, Phone Pranks, Proms, Politics, Poems, Party Planning, Pocketbooks and Paperdolls


Welcome to PerryFIX

I’ll always consider Perry my hometown… and even though I wasn’t born there, I lived most all my life events there. We moved to Perry about 1957 when I was 5 years old… and this was where I learned to ride my bike, got my drivers license, went to my first prom, graduated high school… leaving Perry as a married woman.

Perry was an awesome small town to grow up in…. one of those places where everybody knew your name, literally.  All the police in town knew me, there was no getting away with anything. Mama always knew everything I did… no getting away with much!

When I left, the population was probably not over 4,000, and today it’s over 15,000… still small but it’s grown! It was founded in 1823 and first known as Wattsville, but the name was changed in 1824 to Perry… after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero of the War of 1812.

Perry is the county seat of Houston County and has seen much industry come and go… many I never knew or even saw the remnants of… like gristmills, sawmills and cotton gins. The local newspaper, The Houston Home Journal, began publishing way back in 1870 and still very prominent in Perry.

One of the main employers of residents of Perry was WRAFB… Warner Robins Air Force Base… that is what brought my family to Perry, as Daddy had gotten a job there – and worked there for almost my entire life.

Perry has made many changes over the forty-six years I have been gone, but it still hasn’t grown so much that I’m lost when I visit. Downtown has transformed into a quaint Southern town with shops… still keeping the town alive. While many of the hotels, motels, and restaurant names are gone that I grew up with, other new names have since taken their place. The one big change is The New Perry Hotel has now closed after being in operation since 1894; originally known as Cox’s Inn. It was rebuilt in 1925 and became a landmark for many Florida tourists who drove Route 41 South…. before I-75 was built. I remember seeing those tourists in town as they strolled the streets in the evening… shopping and enjoying our Southern food at the local restaurants.

Perry had great cruising streets and during the 60’s… that is what teenagers did once they got their drivers license, and I was no exception. Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sundays… all day… was our cruising times. Hwy. 41 was the biggest cruise strip, with the local Dairy Queen being the ultimate destination where we parked. What did we do when we parked… well we sat and watched others cruising by! And when you were tired of sitting at the Dairy Queen, then you cruised to the opposite side of town where the Royal Castle and Tastee Freeze was… and then you cruised back,  and once my parents let me leave town, Warner Robins was where I mostly hung out and cruised… and met my husband Steve.

Dairy QueenFIX

The Dairy Queen was “the” hang out in Perry… we cruised around and parked our cars… they made the best cherry cokes!

Johnsons Store

Johnson’s Store in Perry where I worked.

Many changes have come to Perry…. We used to go to Macon to the State Fair every year, but now the State Fairgrounds are in Perry near I-75… bringing much traffic to Perry. There were no “box” type stores when I left, and now there is Walmart and several others to chose from. The Dairy Queen is still there and still in the same spot, but my cruising route has changed with the addition of new businesses. Very few downtown stores with the same names have remained… all new shopping name stores, but they’ve still kept a Southern look to my hometown. I spent many Friday nights at the Perry Theater, and like most hometown theaters… it has closed its doors to movies. But the good news is… they remodeled it into an awesome antique store… I can’t wait to visit!

coffee cup

Perry downtown how it looked when I grew up!

downtown perry

Perry downtown how it looks today!


There were two tall pecan trees in our backyard in Perry on Smoak Avenue…. wonder if they are still there? Our subdivision was once a farm belonging to a farmer with the last name of Smoak… maybe these trees were part of his farm and that’s how they ended up in my backyard. I don’t remember any pecan trees in other backyards.

Pecan trees made for great climbing trees, although even though they don’t have low limbs, once I managed to get up… I could climb and climb. When the pecans were ready to harvest, I often climbed up to shake the branches… pecans need help in falling, needing that shake!

Today I rely on Mama to send me Georgia pecans. Years ago she’d often go out to a friends house and pick them up… even cracking and picking out the meat before sending to me. She’d crack them outside with a brick, then bring inside to pick out the meats while watching TV. I truly enjoyed her efforts, but she had a secret agenda…. she wanted the shells for her garden. That was OK with me – saved me lots of time and saved her extra postage!

So what do I make with all those Georgia pecans… Pecan Pie is always a favorite of mine! At Christmas, I use them for my Thumbprint cookies and I always share with my daughter and daughter-in-law…. I can never eat all that’s sent to me.


Boiled peanuts are one of the first things I crave when I hit the Southern states on vacation. In growing up, we were always kept supplied from Granddaddy Bryan’s farm. Mama roasted them a lot but they were always plentiful in our house.



I usually buy a bag of green peanuts to bring home and make a big pot of boiled peanuts to share with everyone…. although not everyone likes them. Yankee’s aren’t found of wet peanuts, but hubby eats them with me. They go best with a really cold beer!


Georgia Peaches… Oh My… and at this writing, they are ready for picking in Georgia, so head on down! My mouth is drooling for them as I’m writing, can’t you just smell them?

Nothing is better than a fresh Georgia peach in the summer… and just outside Perry was Lane Peach Packing Plant – an open-air workplace. Many kids from school worked there in the summer, but I guess Mama never wanted me to because of my asthma. I remember the kids talking about working there and how “hot” it was. It wasn’t a fun job… hot and sticky and some said the peach fuzz made you itchy.

One of my favorite ways to eat peaches is to make a southern peach cobbler, so easy! Boy, I can smell it cooking now, guess I’ll be making one soon. And you can never go wrong with just cutting them up and adding sugar and milk…. so delicious to add to your cereal or just enjoy a bowl full. My father-in-law loved them that way and I’d often take him a big bowl every week in the summer. I never had to twist his arm to eat those peaches!

Phone Pranks: 

Most likely my generation is the last “phone prank” generation… While we didn’t prank on the party lines – and yes I vaguely remember having one and waiting for someone to get off the phone so I could use it. Imagine that today! I don’t think I dared prank at my house, my mama would have whipped my behind!

It was probably mama who pushed her father into putting a phone in… granddaddy had no interest in a phone… he had no one he wanted to call! He had a farm bell to ring if there was an emergency – that’s all he needed! I can only imagine what he would think of our phones today… carrying a cell phone wherever you go… texting and sending pictures to anyone at the drop of a hat. I can just imagine him shaking his head, not wanting anything to do with that!

It was at granddaddy McKinley’s house where I pranked… guess I was just a little bored at times. I remember calling… whomever… and asking “do you have a mule”, well, of course, everyone had a mule… and then I said, “you better come get him out of my garden.” Not sure how I thought that was pranking, but…

The most known prank was the old Prince Albert one, and yep I did it…. calling a store and asking if they had Prince Albert in a can… well of course they did… then the punchline… well you better let him out! So Corny!

Another famous prank was calling an unsuspected homeowner and asking if their refrigerator was running, and then…well you better go and catch it!

Ok “pranksters” – let me hear the pranks you played!


Proms were a big event in high school and my school had two every year – a Junior-Senior and a Senior Prom. They were always held in our gym… decorated by prom committees comprised of the lower grades. It always amazed me at what a good job the committees did in decorating… not sure why I never joined, but I do remember peeking in to see what they were doing.

Junior-Senior Prom 1969 (left) and Senior Prom 1970 (right)

My Junior-Senior Prom theme in 1969 was Fly Me to the Moon and decorated in an outer space theme… complete with planets hanging from the ceiling and a huge spaceship. We were announced with our dates as we walked through the ship doors and down the ramp.

In 1970, my Senior Prom theme was The Land of Oz complete with munchkins, lions, scarecrows and tin men…. and it was awesome! I was transported to Kansas and Oz all in one night! My after-prom was spent at Calloway Gardens with my date… not sure why we picked that place, but maybe it was a popular place everyone went; I think we also went to Six Flags. Pretty much the only thing I remember from that day was that we tried riding a bicycle built for two…. well that went sour, we kept losing our balance and could never get in sync… I think we opted to walk. Every time I see one today, I always want to try again… I’m not sure I could even ride a single bicycle now much less a tandem!


I never gave a second thought to politics in growing up… all I knew was that both of my grandfathers were Democrats and they voted that way no matter who ran… that’s just how it was! Granddaddy McKinley was more political than Granddaddy Bryan; during election times every Saturday afternoon was dedicated to talking politics at the filling station in Siloam. I’m not sure how much talking there was… those talks became very political and quite heated, I’m told.

Probably the only time I paid attention to any politics in growing up was when John F. Kennedy ran for president – it was publicized everywhere. The day he was assassinated, I remember very well… I was in 6th grade. We were all brought into the school auditorium and TV’s wheeled in for us to watch the news. Most of us girls left school crying that day… it was the first tragedy I had experienced. I saved lots of paper info on the Kennedys in my scrapbooks.

I was never political or even gave a second thought whether I wanted to be a Democrat or Republican until our country was hit on 911. The world changed… never to be the same again! My husband and I began following the elections more closely – him more involved than me.

I had signed us both up to vote several years earlier, but we never did. He soon began voting for the first time and finally convinced me to go vote in the 2016 election when Trump ran for office.


McKuenI think my love of poems came from listening to the music of Rod McKuen, who was very popular in the 1960’s… not sure how I became so hooked on his music, but I bought all his albums. One of my favorites was My Friend the Sea, a beach setting in the background, hearing the beach waves and seagulls while he talked, sang. In listening to them now, I find them somewhat depressing… not quite sure why I was so hooked on his poems, but!

I remember reading other poems and one year daddy bought me a poem book I had mentioned I wanted… and still have…. somewhere! I will be hunting it down!!!

If you listened to Rod McKuen….. what was your favorite poem/songs?

Party Planning:

Whoever knew I had party planning skills until my children married and I was recruited to help first with my daughter-in-law’s showers and later my daughter. When I planned my daughter’s I racked my brain for a theme… finally choosing movies as she loved them so, and at one time wanted to be a movie/TV director.

Once I had a theme, it all rolled into place using her favorite movies of Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Godfather, Wizard of Oz, The Goonies, Indiana Jones, and Frankenstein. As she arrived, there was a red carpet to walk down, just like the Oscars… even complete with someone interviewing the guests as they walked in. Each table was decorated with a specific movie theme… the Harry Potter table had his famous jelly beans… but with better flavors than ear wax! The Goonies table was complete with maps to help find the treasure on the pirate ship. I can’t remember what I came up with for Star Wars, but The Godfather table was the best…. they each had a pretty box containing a cannoli!

I had a popcorn machine for guests to enjoy while the presents were opened and at the end, a surprise letter was read to her from a few of her favorite characters…. supposedly telling why they had traveled to be there with her on this special day; all her favorite movie characters soon walked in. I enlisted, blackmailed the help of the groomsmen as Harry Potter, The Tin Man, and Indiana Jones, and last but not least… the groom as Frankenstein. Why Frankenstein…. because they had dressed as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein for a Halloween party the year before. What I was most proud of was the movie poster I designed to make her bridal shower look like a movie with credits. I even had it printed and framed and on display there.

Melissa Frank Poster

I was quite proud of myself in creating this!!! And YES Melissa still have this poster in the frame, although sometimes not quite sure where to hang it. I keep reminding her of all the hard work that went into creating it and one day her girls will WANT it!!!

The guests had such a good time laughing and guessing which movie star was coming in next and Melissa was completely thrown off by the ending. I gave her no hints as what her shower theme was, as she wanted to be surprised by everything.

Bridal Shower Melissa

The finale of the Bridal Shower! L. to R: Frank Gillon, aka Frankenstein (Groom), Melissa Insalaco (Bride), Darth Vador, The Tin Man, Mark Mancini, aka Harry Potter (Best Man), and Indiana Jones played by her brother Steve Insalaco. Guys were awesome to play along for the event! They drove there in costume in hopes of getting pulled over… No Luck though!

And what comes after a bridal shower? Yep, a baby shower. Now we all know how somewhat boring baby showers can be, so I strived to make it fun! My theme was a washing theme of clothes… complete with a clothesline where all the little extra’s that came with the gifts were hung with clothespins. Prizes were everything to do with washing and the centerpieces were Melissa’s dresses I had saved. I found small wooden hangers, which my husband attached dowels, which were mounted on a wooden heart base… that was my centerpiece! I must write a blog post to show all those cute baby dresses!

Pocketbooks or Purses…. as my daughter tells me!

As I became an older teenager, I fell in love with pocketbooks, or purses as my daughter always ‘aka’ corrects me! Sorry… it’s still pocketbooks to me and my Mama calls them that also, so maybe it’s a southern thing… daughter is a Yankee! But I forgive her for that, she can’t help where she was born, just don’t correct your Mama!

One of my famous name pocketbooks was John Romaine… and on my yearly trip to Atlanta with The Rainbow Girls, I always bought one! That trip to Atlanta to Rich’s Department Store was by train… The Nancy Hanks out of Macon. Those train rides were so much fun… the anticipation of the ride… what we were going to buy… and then the ride home with all our goodies! There was even a dining car on the train and once in awhile, we splurged for food. The food was pretty expensive so we didn’t often spend our money on it, but we liked to walk through as we checked out all the train cars… walking through the cars was entertaining to us and made the time pass.

I don’t think I ever returned home from Rich’s without a new pocketbook, and what is better than changing to a new one? That is what kept me busy on the ride home…. going through my old one and deciding where everything was going in my new bag; nothing better than a girl buying a new pocketbook! And I always liked to buy makeup there too, a girl can never have enough! I can visualize those pocketbooks, too bad I have no photos of them… if only memories could be printed!

In searching for vintage pocketbooks of the 1960’s, I found two similar of my favorites remembered.



I remember having a pocketbook just exactly like this  John Romain Leather and Tweed satchel type… seems like just yesterday I was setting up my purse and being so excited to show it off… having not a care in the world except having a new pocketbook!


box purse

Another favorite style of mine, not sure why these hard case box-type were popular… but they were with just a small handle on top. It resembled a small piece of luggage, and maybe it was supposed to. I remember having a couple different box-type ones and I loved them. I kept it for many years after I married, but finally, I let it go… bad decision!


My paper dolls would probably be laughed at by today’s standards… or by my granddaughters; they only know magnetic dolls or Apps where you play with them on your I-Pad… but I’ll still take mine any day over those new-style versions.

93211a9a20a65d101d7cbcefc65b533d--barbie-paper-dolls-vintage-paper-dolls (2)

My scissors are itching to find a paper doll set to cut out! I wonder if I had a Barbie set? The top left gold coat with mink cuffs… I actually have that in my Barbie collection!

What was better than a new folder of paper dolls to cut out? Nothing… well maybe a new Nancy Drew book might run close or a new pocketbook… but again it’d depend on my age at the time! I’ve racked my brain in trying to remember which dolls I had and only two come to mind… Doris Day and Kim Novack.

Being an only child, I didn’t have to beg for too many things, and pretty much whatever I asked for… Mama bought! She tells me I really never asked for things when she took me shopping, then she would ask me if I’d like it… if I said yes, she bought it. I loved paper and scissors… I could sit all afternoon with a shoebox, paper, and scissors; I haven’t changed much, I still love paper and if I had a pack of paper dolls right now, I wouldn’t have a problem in cutting them out. What fun it was to cut the doll clothes out… actually, it was a dilemma in what to cut first… as I usually couldn’t wait to get them all cut out, and I was quite


See I still have that gold Barbie coat minus the mink cuffs, but Barbie has loaned it to Midge for the night!

meticulous in cutting; making sure to cut them neatly and if I accidentally cut off a fold-down tab… well that became a serious tragedy! I didn’t like broken things… I wanted all the tabs to be in perfect condition!

When I mentioned to Mama I was writing on paper dolls… “I loved paper dolls as a young girl, but growing up on a farm…. money wasn’t there for things that weren’t a necessity. My paper dolls came from the Sears & Roebuck Catalog… I’d sit for hours flipping through the pages finding dolls and pretty dresses to cut out… making them fit! My favorite spot was up in the loft over the daddy’s car shed… away from everyone while I amused myself all afternoon.”

So who likes paper dolls? Tell me your favorite stories!


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Family Stories: Nancy Drew Has Created a Monster

Family Stories: Nancy Drew Has Created a Monster

Nancy Drew books

The beginning of building back my Nancy Drew collection!

As my granddaughter, Ella is beginning to read and reading quite well… my mind began thinking back to my reading days. The days I fell in love with Nancy Drew… and it was quite an obsession with her. Didn’t we all want every single book? My blog title post could very easily be Nancy Drew book No. 57!

I soon began looking at books at the weekend tag sales, which has us up and out of the house very early! It was weeks before I found even one… it was so discouraging… where was Nancy Drew hiding? Finally, I found my first book in Southington, at their yearly town-wide tag sale on the green. I was beyond words, wanting to grab it and run, but the price tag of 5 dollars made me lay it back down. I couldn’t pay that price for each one… there are 56 titles in the series.

As we walked around, I told hubby that I had found one, and he was like – “why didn’t you buy it?” After telling him what it was marked, he said “and you didn’t offer another price, I”m surprised at you.” After chastising myself as to why I didn’t, we walked back around, and there it still was, “The Mystery at Lilac Inn.” I picked it up and asked the seller, “could you do any better?” She immediately offered it to me for three dollars… and I quickly said: “Sold.” I was so ecstatic to put it in my bag… it’s mine! Finally, I broke my unlucky streak!

Lilac Inn book

I broke my unlucky streak with The Mystery at Lilac Inn!

While they haven’t come in droves, a few have dribbled into my sight at flea markets and tag sales. I joined the Facebook groups on vintage children series books, which has given me more history information on them and I’ve learned about other series I never even heard of. Sure I can buy them online at the various selling pages, but that’s not the way I want to find them. I want my “little eye” to spot them sitting on a bookshelf in a dealers booth or digging through a box at the flea market. My eye can quickly spot those covers and spines… the hunt is the most fun! I just tried to tell my granddaughter McKinley that the other day as she was complaining about when will we get there… and it’s taking forever. So I went through the process of explaining how it’s the most fun in waiting to go somewhere and thinking about it… how once you’re there… well it’s over. She just gave me a look, and said: “When are we going to get there.” I looked over at hubby and just shook my head… one day she will understand, but at her age of five, well my words had just gone right over her head! Finally, we reached where she had wanted to go, and she was excited for a short time, and then it was over!

Back to the hunt….

Finally, after finding a few more books and constantly seeing the titles stare at me every day, they called to me… read me… No, read me! I finally chose to read one of my old remembered favorites – The Hidden Staircase. And just like the old days, once I began reading Nancy Drew… I couldn’t put her down. My favorite spot for reading as a young girl… was to drag out one of Grandmama McKinley’s quilts and stretch out under a shade tree. It then became just me and my book with an occasional peek at the clouds flowing by. Don’t you miss those days? I sure do, cloud watching could easily pass time on a summer afternoon. It’s a shame I didn’t know enough to truly enjoy those days more and not wish my life away so quickly… but that’s how we live… always wishing for something else!

While I don’t seem to have a lot of time to read today, as I’m always writing a blog post or researching one… or on the road going to flea markets… I have made time to read and finish The Hidden Staircase; it brought back so many memories. I find books hard to read today, even with my reading glasses… the font and colored pages are often too light colored for me so I just give up, but my Nancy books are great with the darker font. I just recently retired, but I’m still not finding free time… I’m a very busy girl!

If only I had, or my mama had, kept my Nancy Drew books… I would be such a happy camper, but like many others, they were given away. Hopefully, they survived in someone’s book collection. I wonder if I wrote my name on the inside cover like many I find today? I prefer to find them clean, but when I do find a name and date, it makes me wonder about the girl who wrote her name! Is she looking for hers?

I lived on Smoak Avenue in Perry, Georgia when I first began reading Nancy Drew. Mama tells me I kept them meticulously lined up on my bookshelf, not letting anyone touch them. So, Mama, I ask you, “why did you not save my books?” Oh well, that’s water over the dam or under the bridge!

When I mentioned to Mama about hunting for books, she said… “I loved to read Nancy Drew also as a young girl. We were poor so Daddy wasn’t going to buy me any but my friend June let me borrow hers. I read all she had and always returned them so I could borrow another. I wanted to be a detective just like Nancy and wished I could. Imagine if I hadn’t married your father, I could have been a woman’s detective following their cheating husbands. Now that’s something I would have really enjoyed!”

It was Mama who bought my first books, and they were all bought new in the 1960’s… who even knew or thought about buying used books at that time. I remember going to the new big box K-Mart in Macon for most of my books. My feet itched to leave Mama as soon as we stepped into the store… and quickly headed over to the book section to peruse all the new titles. They always had all the newest books and I could stand there for hours trying to figure out which “one” book was coming home with me. Mama never refused to buy me a book, and I never asked for more than one… but it’d take me forever to decide just which one it would be. But like I tried to explain to my granddaughter, it’s the excitement of the hunt, not the buy… and one day she will understand it, and maybe one day she will remember my words and tell me I was right – one day!

My collection is building… but I have a way to go! But it’s the hunt that is the most fun!

Going to the store with Mama and leaving with a bag in my hand was just the best thing, and as I was a reader… it was always a Nancy Drew book inside that bag. Nothing was better than sitting in the backseat on the ride home… and starting your new book. Some of my best-remembered book titles are Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, The Clue in the Diary, The Secret in the Old Attic, The Mystery of the 99 Steps. Let me hear what your favorites were… and do you still have your Nancy Drew’s… and give me your address!

While perusing an antique store I came across a small box with the artwork of Nancy Drew, The Mystery at Lilac Inn… it was a box of postcards showing the book covers on the front of each one. Well, I just had to have it… I wasn’t going to go home and sit there thinking… damn, why didn’t I buy that.

At present I’m reading The Secret of the Clock – Note the box with the same artwork! I just loved all the postcards depicting the art from the Nancy Drew books. And No… I’m not mailing you one! I thought of framing them somehow… but haven’t come up with just the right idea yet, but I will. If you have that perfect idea…. send my way!


Note the box with The Secret of the Old Clock pictured… the others are part of the postcards.

Just recently while heading out early to our favorite flea market “The Elephant’s Trunk” in New Milford, CT…. I spotted sign after sign in Newtown saying “Book Sale.”  I made a mental note that upon our return trip back, I was going to find that book sale! Entering Newtown later, we began following the signs, getting lost… as hubby and I disagreed on which way to go. Well, he was wrong, so he turned around a few more times to get back on track… and finally… we found the book sale!

I’m sure he wasn’t as happy about the sale as I was, but he offered to drop me off at the door while he searched for a parking spot, and I quickly took him up on his offer. It was super crowded!!! The sale was held at a local school, so while there was plenty of parking, all the spaces were taken. In order to park, you waited for someone basically to leave.

I walked into the school and was quite overwhelmed, almost all the rooms were full of boxes and boxes of books, but very well organized. In as much as I must have looked puzzled, a nice volunteer walked up to me and offered me a “map” of the layout of rooms and what they each offered. As I only was looking for one thing, Nancy Drew… she pointed out the children’s section to me and also the children’s vintage section. I began looking for the children’s section inside, but not before another volunteer assisted me again, but quickly disillusioned me by telling me she saw a lot of them leave yesterday. Bummer! I wasn’t giving up that easily though!!!

I  began looking, finding lots and lots of The Hardy Boys… guess no one is reading them so much, as I also have found lots and lots of them myself. I soon found a few Nancy Drew’s, along with a Honey Bunch, The Happy Hollisters and several Bobbsey Twins… they had also been my favorites. About that time, hubby arrived and offered to hold my books. What a great guy! I moved onto another table and there they were… an entire box full!!! While they weren’t the vintage ones I really want from my 60’s era, they were the Nancy Drew Flashlight series from the 80’s when they were re-introduced again. I had never seen the Flashlight ones until running across them recently and researched the name… but they are great for the new reader. I am becoming a little selfish now in letting go of my vintage ones after finding them so these flashlight books will be great for the girls to start with while I build a vintage collection for myself!

flashlight books

Note the “Yellow Flashlight” on the top yellow strip. I can only assume they were encouraging you to read them under the covers with a flashlight! Didn’t have to tell me that when mama turned my lights out!

Hollister books

It was The Happy Hollisters which pushed me to think of collecting my old vintage Nancy Drew books that I coveted as a young girl. The Hardy Boys were a bonus in the milk crate when I bought the Hollister series; I’m sure I’ll give them a read!

When hubby saw all the books I was buying, he was like “I’ll go find a box.” He came back to a big pile I had made… 23 to be exact! He graciously began stacking them neatly in the box and after a few more looks around, it was time to go. While most of them only had one or two dollars penciled in, they added up, but when you find them – you buy them! If you don’t, well you know what happens… all you say later is… “I should have just bought them.” There was going to be none of that later!!!

Later that night, I was once again… that young girl just returning from K-Mart with Mama, but I was now that girl sitting amongst a box of books! I wiped each one off and recorded their names so when I shop next time, I know what I have and don’t have. But I’m sure a couple extra’s won’t go to waste as I have 5 granddaughters. Does that mean I have to buy 5 of each title… Oh My! That will break the bank! If they are like me, they are not going to want their little sisters to read and steal their books. I can just hear… “mama she took my books, make her give them back, they’re mine!”

grouping Hollisters

While I never read The Happy Hollister book series, I recently found a milk crate full of the entire series, except for four, at a recent tag sale… and just couldn’t resist the price. She practically gave them to me! They all came complete with awesome dust jackets of great artwork; love the artwork on the older books. I haven’t planned on parting with them, as I want the dust jackets to survive. I can just picture all five of my granddaughters coming over and returning home to tell mama that GiGi won’t let them read her books! LOL… I’ll deal with that when the time comes!

I foresee a new hobby for me, at least until I find and complete my vintage book set and their flashlight books… and if I have to make 5 sets of Nancy Drew, well I’ll be busy for a long, long time!!!


Want to read more family stories, click…. Family Stories

Click to read Nancy Drew… The Hunt

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: Firetruck Weathervane, Woodbridge, 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 often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes

Firetruck Weathervane, Woodbridge, CT.

DSC_0836 (3)FIX

While tag sailing this morning… Look what I found!

I love weathervanes that represent the business. This is the only firehouse truck I have seen to date and sits high above The Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department on Center Road.


Their volunteer fire department is made up of about 45 members, and also a junior group of 5, with ages ranging from 15 to 17 years; eight engines complete their department.


Woodbridge Fire Department


Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: Horse and Buggy atop Newtown Inn, Newtown, 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 often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes

Horse and Buggy atop Newtown Inn

I was headed to a “book sale” when my “little eye discovered this vane“. I quickly filed away a mental note that after the book sale, we would be swinging back by…. and I wasn’t forgetting this one.


Horse and Buggy Weathervane atop The Newtown Inn.

In actuality, this weathervane is a trotter pulling a two-wheeled cart known as a sulky and used in harness racing. Watching the trotters race on Saturday nights at Yonkers Raceway was a favorite of ours many years ago… but the best part was… cashing in those winning tickets!

The Newtown Inn, at 19 Main St., was opened in 1999 as an actual Inn, offering three guest rooms, even each complete with bathrooms. They also offered catering facilities and a pub in the basement. Sure wish they were open when we stopped as I would have liked to check out that pub…. it was sweltering outside.


I walked alongside the Inn to take my photos, and by the time I came back to the car… I realized that this place was actually closed… no longer in business. It was sad to see this beautiful old Inn no longer in business, but I’m sure it won’t remain closed long as Newtown is an awesome historic town and someone will surely claim and revive it!




Love the steeple clock atop the horse barns… original to the property.

The Ryder Family purchased the Hawley Inn and Mary Hawley Manor in 1999 through family owners and turned it into the Newtown Inn… enjoyed ownership until 2016 when they closed the doors. Sadly, it still doesn’t appear to have a new owner, but I’ll keep checking on it. I could easily see this place turned back into a home… who wouldn’t want to live here with that beautiful weathervane above the horse stables…me! me! me!

The original owner of this home was Cyrenius H. Booth, building it on this very site in 1820. He later married Sarah Edmond, another prominent name in Newton, and lived there until his death in 1870; Cyrenius was a prominent physician in Newtown. By 1872 their daughter, Sarah married Marcus Hawley, and now occupied her family home along with their daughter Mary Hawley. They soon began to renovate the home, almost doubling the previous space; their daughter Mary eventually made it her home after both parents died until her death in 1930.

Hawley Manor Newtown, CT

Postcard of Hawley Manor as a home

Mary Hawley was quite well known in this small picturesque town of Newton and much history is attached to her. The Edmond Town Hall was named for her grandfather, and built just up the road from the family home… now Newtown Inn.

Just recently I learned that there’s actually a movie house inside Edmond Town Hall and movies offered at just three dollars on various days… what a bargain. I’m definitely checking that out! This is most likely a deep dark secret I’ve discovered!


Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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