Sunday, December 31, 2006

In 1890,

The newspapers had ads like this.

Cure For Your Manly Failures.

Undertaker and Embalmer For Your Family's Needs

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Missing Links

Knowing you have once walked upon this earth but finding no recorded evidence of your existence. That statement fits my grandmother's father. To think he lived here but did not leave one shred of evidence of his existence behind.

Today, Bill & I went to the Central Library in Center City Philadelphia to research old newspapers. The goal was to find "death notices" of those who lived nearly one hundred years ago. I found the "death notices" of both my great grandmother's parents John G. and Elisabeth Keller who died in the years 1897 and 1905.

I made a major breakthrough on my paternal side of the family too when I discovered that my grandfather John Weleski's (Wisloski) father was named Lewis and that his mother's maiden name was Dalhanceyk. I found Eva Wisloski's "death notice" in a 1932 Philadelphia Inquirer. She died of cancer. With this additional information, I can research other records more accurately and perhaps even solve the mystery and answer the question, "Why Was Eva Not Buried With Her Husband?"

After today, I wonder if I will ever find evidence of grandmom's father's existence. When he died August 9th, 1930, there was not one "death notice" placed in any Philadelphia newspaper even though I heard he died at the old Philadelphia General Hospital once located in West Philaldelphia in that hospital's TB ward and that he was buried with his wife. I have his burial records. This is the only evidence that he even existed. But I have searched census records, directories, military records, death records and now newspapers and still cannot find who he was, where he was from or even if he had any siblings. When he died at age 46 years old in that summer of 1930, grandmom and grandpop buried him and to true family form, grandmom probably buried her father without any notice or fanfare for he left her in the care of others when her mother died in 1915 and if folklore can be trusted was an alcoholic at the time of his death. John McCaffery, how can I find out about you?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Saratoga Springs, New York & Montplier, Vermont

Town Life in Montplier
State House in Montpier, Vermont

Stop-over in the New York town of Saratoga Springs or better known for its springs for health and its horses for racing.

Saratoga Springs, New York

A Vermont Mountain Town Known As Stowe

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music


Approaching the Canadain Border
Crossing the border.
Signs in French.
Vast flat land.
Approaching the United States Border into Vermont. After our trip into Quebec, it was a very welcome sight.
This sign was at the US Customs at the Border.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Genealogist's Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even my spouse.

The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said...
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote;
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."

Stacks of old copies of wills and such
Were proof that my work had become too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.

Had I not been busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills,
While others bought gifts to bring Christmas cheers,
I'd spent time researching those birth dates and years.

While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and yanked up the sash.

When what with my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.
Up to the house top the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and 'ole Santa Claus, too.

And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa--KER-RASH!

"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)
Spotting my face, good 'ole Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy:
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amusement--the cover it read
Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead.
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug."
He said as he gave me a great Santa hug.

"While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folk who can't find a thing."

"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family history is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

--Author Unknown

Monday, December 18, 2006

Quote Of The Day

"If I hear one more Christmas Carol, I am sure I will go into a sugar coma" as said by Bill on our drive to take the grandchildren home on Saturday.

By the way my Dear William, you only have seven more days to be subjected to my Christmas music.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Seven States In Six Days Plus One Canadian Province

Pennyslvannia is known for its virtue, liberty and independence.

New Jersey is known for its liberty and prosperity.

New York is the state that is ever upward.

Vermont is freedom and unity.

New Hamsphire is known as the state to live free or die.

Massaheuttes is the state where by the sword we seek peace but peace only under liberty.

Connecticut is the state where he who transplanted still sustains.

Conclusion Of A Honeymoon Or Lack There Of

Day 6, "Homeward Bound"

After spending the night in Springfield, Massachusetts we headed southeast through Hartford and into New York as we made our way to interstate 95.

For me the trip was a toss up between agonizing and well just agonizing because the pain in my right shoulder was horrendous and when I say horrendous I mean put me under a bus or throw me in front of a train horrendous. Yes, it was that bad and I even kept the tenz unit on the entire trip. But I lacked drugs, not advil or tylenol (which was like taking nothing) I mean as in narcotics. At one point, my shoulder felt as though it were stuck as in not being able to bring it down without screaming like a cat being tortured by hanging upside down by its tail.

This pain started the very day I returned to work on Nov 20th.

I made it through the eight hour day with eight advils and two tylenols then because I had a vicodin in my purse, I took that after I got home and fell into the comfort of my bed. Instead I went back a second day. Four and a half hours later I asked for permission to leave and then took a personal day that following Friday after Thanksgiving before taking a week off after in vacation time because though I called my physician on that very first day on Nov 20th, I could not get an appointment until Dec 8th and of course I was getting married. I was stalling for time to heal and to avoid the terrible flare-up I knew was my future.

I went to Vermont because we had already paid for the trip. I went to Vermont because it was suppose to be our honeymoon. I should have never went to Vermont because the shoulder went into full fledged flare-up and the only remedy was to come home and see my doctor.

Thanks for the venting opportunity. I wanted to write all this oh for so long and after a shot of Demerol at my local hospital emergency room and a subsequent earlier than scheduled physician appointment that gave me a one, two, three shot combination of drugs, I am able to write once again.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

TOP 10 Reasons Why Patty Married My Brother Billy

10. He’s great with kids…

9. He sings to her, even when she doesn’t ask him to…

8. Billy’s a pretty good cook…

7. He knows how to dress, I mean, he knows how to tie his own shoes…

6. In case Patty ever has a leaky roof, he can fix it…

5. He’s potty trained…

4. He always gets the best parking…

3. He can open a bottle of wine in ten seconds flat…

2. She already knew the in-laws would get along…

And the Number One reason why Patty married my brother Billy is…

1. Fortunately for her, he was still single!!!

written by Best Man, Kenny Cannon (11/25/2006)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Diary Of A Honeymoon Part III

Day 5 "Beginning Our Trip Back Home"

We left Stowe, Vermont today a day earlier then planned because tomorrow they expect torrential downpours as in rain. Before we left the area, we stopped at the Trapp Family Lodge, Teddy Bear Factory, Lake Champlain Chocolates and a few other little country stores where Bill bought some sort of weird pumpkin ale and some other strange beer that they make there for Shaun and Joey to try. I of course bought chocolates and a stuffed moose for Nikolas and a stuffed lamb for Joey's baby that I was reminded of will not even be born for another seven months. But you know me and those babies????? I still need to get Shaun Patrick something but I did not see any Star Wars or Guns up in those stores. I did see a bear dressed in a military outfit but I was in no way paying one hundred dollars for a stuff bear..........

After leaving Stowe, we began our trip South by driving on Rt 91 that borders New Hampshire with Vermont and stopping for the night in Springfield, Massachusetts. On our way to Springfield, we passed a new road crossing sign, Bear Crossing. Now, how do they come up with where bear actually cross the road or moose, deer or cattle for that matter? Anyway, we drove once again through Bumpkin Ville and it was several off the highway detours before we stopped to eat dinner because I refused to eat in another road-side dive where the waitress has the ass the size of a freight train and was both owner and cook that served your meal on a paper-plate accompanied with plastic forks after being informed that the grill was just fixed and needed to warm up.

Do I sound cranky? That is because I am in pain and have been now for three days. I have been sleeping on a heating pad (yes, I brought one) and using a tens unit in the car on my cock-sucking shoulder. This shoulder is worth foul-language and if you do not think so then you feel this pain that has no problem radiating down my right (dominate) arm and preventing me from fully enjoying anything and making me wish for narcotics. Writing this is plain torture so I will stop now.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Diary Of A Honeymoon Part II

Day 4 “A Bilingual and Multicultural Metropolis”

Destination is Montreal considered one of the most romantic metropolis’s in the province of Québec. Since the city is just over a hundred miles drive from where we are staying in Stowe, Vermont, we will get ourselves an early start.. After three days of a mountainous region and all that it is has to offer (not), I am in the mood for the excitement only a city such as Montréal could provide with its upscale dining, shops and museums.

It will also be interesting to see how the French Canadians react to someone from the “Well Hated United States”. I expect a cold shoulder but hope to be surprised with some form of kindness. Time for tell. Stay tuned.

Je Me Souviens (I Remember)

And I will truly always remember the hospitality of Quebec. Less then five minutes after we drove through the border into Canada, we were pulled over by a cop and given a ticket for speeding. If you are not familiar with the metric system or the French language as was the case for Bill then you will have a little trouble reading the signs. However, having a cop waiting for those poor suckers called Americans to cross into their country with signs that say ‘maximum 90” the first thing that crosses your mind is Hey, they are allowed to drive up to 90 miles per hour on this road. When what they really mean is 90k not 90m. 90k is only 55 miles an hour. Bill was driving 65 miles per hour at the time we were pulled over. Then when she handed us the ticket she told us we had to pay it before WE WERE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY. Worst thing to say to me, I may add. Because though I believe in following the rules and paying my bills in a timely fashion, I do not respond well to being threaten as in being Allowed To Leave the Country. We continued on our route to Montréal though I had a very sour taste in my mouth for these French Canadians.

Then she pulled us over again. What the hell, I thought to myself. This time she wanted the back copy of the ticket for her records. Ok now I felt totally violated and since she pulled us over “again” fifteen minutes after she gave us that ticket, I felt as if we were being followed.

I have been to Canada before but in the English speaking Ontario. I really liked being there and thought a trip back into Canada on the French side would be of interest. I cannot speak French very clearly but I can read the language well thanks to having two years of French in school. While we drove I could read all the signs clearly and was fascinated by my ability to do so. Some road signs were very easy to read such as Nord for North or Quest for West and Bill could make out those signs well. Many others were not so easy so it was fun to tell him what they said.

But after being stopped twice I could not feel comfortable in this country and wanted to turn back around which we did before even getting to our destination. Then I recalled that threat of having to pay that damn ticket before leaving the country. Hell with that, we were leaving before doing so and when we get back home I will think about whether or not I want to pay it. I did not even want to stop to eat, buy gas (which was 92.9 cents a gallon) or even pee in this place. I will keep my American dollars to myself and spend them in America, thank you…

I have to tell you that nothing felt better or safer then pulling up to immigration on the US side and speaking with an American. I was even pleased that he searched our trunk before he allowed us back into Vermont. I took notice that anyone going into Canada just stopped for a moment then drove across the border. But to get back over to the US, you waited in a line. I was never so grateful for a line. And the first thing I did after we crossed the border into Vermont was I peed. Second thing we did was stop and eat. Bill took this opportunity to tell me how very pig headed and stubborn I was. He is oh soooo right.

Some other tidbits of this trip into Quebec besides gas being dirt cheap, most homes still had the old fashion television antennas on their roofs. We drove through a lot of flat farm land. I noticed they had a Burger King, McDonalds and Ford Motor. A lot of French Canadians were driving Buicks. The police did not pull over anyone with Quebec license plates even though they were driving much faster than those with US plates.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Diary of a Honeymoon

Day 1 “The Travel Day”

We got a late start this morning to our New England State of choice, Vermont. The late start had a lot to do with cleaning up the messy Bed & Breakfast Room I checked into the night before the wedding with my sister and daughter-in-law then spent the wedding night in with my new husband.

Because we (Marianne, Trish & I) returned late from our Saturday of Beauty, (pretty close to 415p for a 5p ceremony) we tore off our clothes and threw them everywhere so we could get dressed and arrive close to if not at 5p to the Inn across the road. I will write about our day of pampering, hair and makeup at a later date.

We got our directions “via” internet (big mistake) and ended up taking a scenic route through North Jersey before we headed into the state of New York. It was not the nicest part of the state of New Jersey neither I might add. The idea was to avoid Manhattan at all costs so that we did not end in traffic and become more easterly directed then needed. Once we did get through New Jersey the drive through New York’s Catskill Mountains was beautiful.

It was the first time I ever saw these mountains though I grew up surrounded with its stories. You see, my grandfather was an avid hunter in the Catskills along with his brother-in-law Coll and Coll’s son Buddy. Grand pop had more stories about his adventures as a hunter.

We drove passed Woodstock before we headed to Albany and decided to spend the night somewhere north of the city. We stopped at an Inn in Saratoga Springs both exhausted from the day’s drive though I must admit I did not drive even one mile. Bill drove while I read the Sunday paper, drank my coffee and ate a sesame seed bagel. Yeah, married life is so hard…….

DAY 2 “Destination Green Mountain Inn”

We got on the road before 9am and left what is known as the 3 H’s, Saratoga Springs, New York, the place known for its Health (springs), History (revolutionary war) and most importantly for the folks up here, Horses as in Horse Racing.

As we drove up Route 4N, we passed a town called Schuyerville. In this town we came across a sight never seen in our everyday part of the country called Philadelphia. It was a small waterfall with steam or at least the appearance of steam that flooded the air. We passed several other small farm towns before we arrived in the well known ski town of Killington. Because of the unseasonably warm temperatures, the ski areas were closed. Of course this cannot be good for the local economy which draws tourists into their town for the popular winter sport. The weather was even too warm for “fake” snow so the slopes were brown and dry.

From Killington to Stowe (our final destination) we drove miles and miles through what I can only call “Hillbilly Bob-like” towns where anyone close to the human species would only survive in these towns if they were actually born here. I did not see one supermarket of any kind let alone a mall that may have a store on site. (Where do they shop? I would surely have Macy’s withdrawal if I lived here.) However, we did see signs such as “Moose, Deer or Cattle Crossing”.

As a city girl born and raised, I could never survive in a town like this. Yes, the scenery is beautiful and peaceful but I would need Kohl’s or Macy’s and the occasional Starbucks and of course a pharmacy for my Zoloft refills. And then there is the question of entertainment. What do the folks do for enjoyment? Sit and wait for a Moose to walk by or spend Saturday night at the Pork and Bear Bar? (Bill took this opportunity to tell me I would never make it as a pioneer.)

Then there are the names of the people, places and things here in the farmland of Vermont. Check below for a few examples.

1) Small dog electronics
2) Poverty Road
3) Yestermorrow
4) Church of the Crucified One with a preschool called Precious Moments

Late afternoon we made it to the Inn and I must tell you it was beyond my expectations. The suite was absolutely amazing with its king size canopy bed complete with down comforters that sat right in right of a gas fire-place and had a hot-tub in the same room. The bathroom had a large two person glass enclosed shower with gold fixtures and a make-up vanity. Did I mention the dressing room with the double glass pane doors? It was beautiful and perfect for our first week as a married couple.

DAY 3 “Tree Huggers & Metric Along With Dried Out Food and Of Course the Many Tourist Traps Known as Country Stores”

Ok so the food up here has a lot to be desired. I think they have this terrible habit of overcooking everything as was in the case with last night’s very expensive filet. The filet was so tough I could have knocked out Hulk Hogan with it. This morning we had breakfast at this quaint (dingy) road-side diner called Munchies where the pancakes were so dry they actually stuck to my ribs. But hey, I traded a chance to eat a gourmet muffin and coffee at one of the many chic bakeries up here so that Bill & I could drive miles just so he could eat an egg all for the sake of marriage.
Speaking of food, there were barely any places in which to eat breakfast since most places open for breakfast were bakeries that served items such as rolls, cider donuts, muffins and breads especially the “very delicious and popular “Honey Oatmeal bread.

On the same subject, (food) we actually did have a decent meal today at the New England Culinary Institute in the state’s capitol Montpelier which I might add is a beautiful little town that reminds you of the Victorian Age that is German with a French Flare. It was also the first time I saw in this modern age of funeral homes/directors referred to as undertakers on the signs outside their establishments. We decided to drive out to Montpelier after a very disappointing trip out west to the city of Burlington to see Lake Champlain. Since the weather was cloudy and rainy, you could not see the lake because of the dense fog over the water and I was not impressed at all with the city itself because it reminded me of the factories of North Jersey.

Some of the things we noticed on our daily trip today were the many French Canadian radio and television stations that are common here in Northern Vermont and their use of the metric system. Also we have encountered a few interesting names of the people, places and things around here as are listed below.

1) The farm between
2) No school snowboard shop
3) Beagle factory

Then we need to take this opportunity to tell you that everywhere you turn you see Teddy Bear Factories, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Maple Syrup. And when I say Maple Syrup, I mean as in maple syrup lollipops, candles, sugar and of course its syrup. I call this the state where to be a dentist is probably a lucrative trade to be in. Sucking on maple syrup lollipops cannot be good for one’s teeth no matter how you view it.

Tomorrow’s destination, Montreal in Québec….

Monday, November 27, 2006

Twenty-Six Years Ago On This Date

This wonderful man called my grandfather died.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sum It Up

The week is almost at a close and this post may be my last for a while. I will be bringing my laptop to Vermont with the idea of downloading pictures from my camera but as far as Internet access, that is yet to be determined.

The rehearsal and the dinner that followed was a blast but that had a lot to do with my crazy sister (no one can make me laugh out loud more) who for most of the evening was known as simply "Matilda", the name given to her by yet the second craziest person in the room known as our "Minister". Let us just say that our Minister dragged out the rehearsal so long with his constant yapping and preaching that "Tilly" kept trying to keep him in line by her "Let's just move it along attitude". I have no idea why the Minister thought my sister Marianne's name was Matilda but since he called her that name we decided to let the name stick for the rest of the night. At one point when I referred to my sister as "Marianne", the Minister asked me (with a look of total confusion) "who is Marianne"? Another sister, perhaps?

Then there were the "two mothers" who walked and stood so close together during their part in the ceremony that it was as though those two were being married. At one point, Bill's father said "I hope we have a video camera at the ceremony just to capture those two together on tape".

Another funny sight that evening was looking down the dinner table and watching my Dad sip an Apple Martini. What ever happen to VO on the Rocks, Dad?

The dinner was held at Kildares, an Irish pub located on trendy Main Street in Manayunk. Of course being a pub with its Sport's Bar Atmosphere meant television and television meant that at least one of them would have hockey and so at one point Bill's brother Jerry removed himself from the party and placed his ass with direct access to view the game or (maybe he was just trying to get a glimpse of his wife and son ). You remember the two family members who have their family priorities in order? So what if the mother-in-law/grandmother is dying, the hockey game is so much more important...

Ok so I am a bitch, a self-righteous one at that. But as it has been stated numerous times before "Writing is the best revenge". So if I cannot say what I think to the person's face involved (without causing a public scene and subsequent family outrage over that public display of family disloyalty) then at least I can use the power of the written word and to this I am extremely grateful.

There were others who did not make it to the family dinner but their reasons were justified. (as per defined by me) Bill's sister Joan and her husband got stuck in the middle of the Nor'easter as they drove up from North Carolina. The same thing happened to his Aunt Sue as she drove up from Florida. My brother Michael and my Uncle Jack are not expected in until Friday. Michael is driving from Tennessee. Uncle Jack is flying in from Texas. On the way to the dinner, Nikolas threw up in the car. Not once did he throw up but three times. Of course, Shaun had to turn around and go home.

Then there were those who were feeling pretty "punky" but made the effort anyway. Bill's mom who flew up from Florida and who attended not only the rehearsal but the dinner itself. A woman who is clearly unstable on her own two feet. Who looks pale and drawn and tired and wore a wig because she is bald from chemo. My son Joseph who attends school full time while he holds down a full time job. He was visibly exhausted with a sore throat and fever but he took Tylenol and made it through the night even though we offered to drive him home early if he could not make it through the evening.

As I write this post I am reminded of what I wrote on "Our Family History, A Journey Into The Past" about those types of family members we all have. Here is that paragraph.

I have always considered my family as your everyday typical ordinary family. We do the same things other families do. We celebrate birthdays and weddings. We attend graduations and funerals. We laugh together. We cry together. We even fight together. We have the givers and the takers. We have the devoted caretakers. We have the too serious and the too sensitive. We have those with the sense of humors. We have the practical jokers. Some act like victims. Some act like heroes. We have the eccentric. We have the dramatic. But, this is who we are and who we are today is a direct result on where we came from.

So in Modern Day Psychological terms we can just blame all our faults on our parents who then in return can blame their parents and so on and so on......................................

But then came Thanksgiving Day and all was merry. I really mean it when I say merry. And I really mean merry as in Norman Rockefeller merry. We had a wonderful dinner at my sister's house. I brought the ham. She made the turkey and everything else. (sounds good to me) I enjoyed the company of my parents and nieces and all those other people (from the lonely heart's club) my sister always includes. Food was delicious. Company was fun. Then off to the Cannon side of the family across the river and through the woods to the far "opposite" side of town.

Since I have the domestic skills of a headless squirrel I did not take anything baked, cooked or even close to that to Jerry and Doreen's house. (yes, the hockey gang folks) I brought them the closest thing to domestic that I ever get, a Lenox ornament. I have learned over the years that keeping a supply of Housewarming gifts in one's hallway closet comes in handy when one is invited to an event but does not have the time to purchase a last minute item to take. I also keep a handy supply of gift bags, wrapping paper and cards too.

The entire sibling clan of Bill's parents were all together in one room and when I sat there with them it occurred to me that in a few short days I will have become one of them. Molly seem a little better in the mentally, spiritually and physically sense of the word. I know it was a happy occasion for her and she is looking very forward to the wedding but I sensed a certain sadness in her so I sat next to her and held her hand and told her how happy I was to have her in my life. I told her I loved her and she was a wonderful role model because although she has faced so much pain in the last six months, she came through as a trooper. I strongly believe in the will to live and to see this particular son married has given her the fight. But what will happen after she sees that son get married? Her health is so fragile. I am afraid to think it let alone say it but I do not think she will be with us this time next year. As a matter of fact after seeing her these two days, I do not think she will even be here next spring.

And then I must eat crow as it is only fair to do so because after concluding in my mind that Doreen was probably a cold uncaring individual, she goes and rips that mental conclusion right out from under me by giving us a most thoughtful and caring gift. It is a family genealogy tree, something as close to our hearts as anything else because both Bill & I are avid genealogists. Then to add sugar on the wound, she gives us a gift certificate as a Housewarming gift. Then tells us that by no means is this our wedding gift.

Crow is hard to eat and not very tasteful. But what must be done must be done.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

From Our Family To Yours

Happy Turkey Day!!

Anatomy Of A Family

Holiday time is once again upon us and to many folks it means the start of Holiday Family Time or lack thereof for some of us. Families get together for the sake of bringing some holiday cheer, to spread love and good fortune. This year for Bill & I it also means a wedding and all the things that go along with it.

His terminally ill mother flew up from Florida and for most of us it symbols probably the last trip up here. September's pathology report stated (I read it) that she has non-small cell lung carcinoma that has metastasized to her brain, bone, spleen and colon. Radiation Therapy has shrunk the brain tumors and thus has made her more aware and lucid. Chemotherapy has been shrinking the other tumors but in reality it is only a temporary measure because once cancer spreads in this fashion, it is a matter of treatment to control tumor growth not cure it. She was given three months to one year with treatment so I believe this will be her last trip up here and it will be for a joyous occasion because it is the long awaited wedding of her second eldest child in a family of five. Tonight begins a week of wedding festivities with the rehearsal dinner.

Originally the plan was to have a small rehearsal followed by a small dinner because it falls on the evening before the Thanksgiving Holiday and is being held on the busiest travel day of the year. That changed when a certain mother (groom) called me and asked me how many were coming to the dinner. When I told her ten she responded with "that is all"? The following day I called my future father-in-law to explain (as is my fashion) why the dinner was to be small. Not only was it for the reasons I stated above but with buying a new house, paying for a wedding and being out of work myself for five months, I did not want to spend a large sum on a rehearsal dinner. His response was "I should have told you that I was paying for it because I would like to have all the siblings invited in addition to my sister and her husband". He said "the more the merrier" in typical Irish fashion. But deep down inside I knew the real reason. His wife is ill and to have the entire family together for a happy celebratory meal was important. I relented and everyone received a telephone call and was invited which brings me to the topic of families and more importantly to the topic of how many interesting and very inventive excuses people can have just to avoid a "situation" in which they have no desire to be involved in.

Hockey Game. That is the last of the many excuses I have heard on "why" they cannot attend a family dinner. The daughter-in-law and the grandson of the woman who is terminally ill and most probably will not be around for many more dinners that include all her children and their families under one roof thinks it is more important to attend a Flyers Hockey Game. Honestly, I do not understand some people. Honestly, I could care less who does or does not show up for Bill & I. But let's have a little compassion for Molly.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of those excuses I have heard over the last month since it is Thanksgiving and all.

"I will be tired"
"Too much traffic"
"Working late that night"
"You live out of our way"
"I am sure I will not be able to get a babysitter"
and my very favorite....."I am going to a hockey game". PRICELESS REALLY.

Monday, November 20, 2006

More Information Then I Needed To Know

Like when I made a telephone call and the husband told me, "She cannot come to the phone right now because she has been sitting on the toilet constipated".

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Robert Pester "The Son-In-Law"

I did a little research on Collum McCaffery's son-in-law, Robert Pester. Though he is only related by marriage to us through his union with Collum McCaffery's daughter Anna, I researched his background to find more McCaffery clues. So here is a little information for you on this man.

Robert Pester was born in Port Leydan New York on April 4th, 1891. His father was named Mattheiu. His mother was named Cora. Robert had many brothers and sisters but by the time he was a teenager, he resided with his maternal grandparents (LeFlar). According to World War I records, Robert was married, lived on Hermitage Street and had one child. He was listed as being 6ft with blue eyes and light colored hair, a fair complexion and stout.

At age 50 years, Robert registered for the World War II draft. During this time in 1941-1942, his wife Anna was no longer listed. Next of kin listed on his draft records was his son also named Robert Pester. Address at time of registration was 145 Kalos Street in the Wissahickon section of Philadelphia. He was also listed as being an employee of Midvale Steel 4300 Wissahickon Avenue. His son Robert Pester took over the Hermitage Street house.

Of interest; another Midvale Steel employee. It appears that nearly every male Gallagher, Keller and McCaffery relative worked at Midvale Steel from the late 1920's until they closed in the early 1970's. Here is just a small list of fellow Midvale Steel employees, William Gallagher I (grandpop's father), John Keller II (Uncle John), William Gallagher II (grandpop), William Gallagher III (Uncle Billy), John Gallagher (Uncle Jack), Collum Gallagher (Uncle Gene), Collum McCaffery (Uncle Coll), Robert Pester.

According to the Social Security Index records, Robert Pester's son, Robert Pester was born October 22nd, 1917 and died in December 1976. He was listed as living in Manayunk at the time of his death.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Trail Of The Coll's

Collum McCaffery (1860) immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland in 1875.

Collum McCaffery (November 18th, 1899) known as Uncle Coll. He was Grandmom's cousin and married to grandpop's sister.

Collum McCaffery (July 25th, 1924) known as Buddy.

Collum McCaffery (January 21st, 1952)

Friday, November 17, 2006


Collum McCaffery had four children not three, Anna, Katie, John and Collum Jr.

It should also be noted that Collum was also listed in records as using the first name of Owen which is his legal middle name.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

McCaffery, Keller, Gallagher

Collum McCaffery was born in 1860 in Ireland. In 1875, he immigrated to the Philadelphia area and by 1890 was a citizen of the United States. Both of Collum's parents were born in Ireland.

According to all the census records, Collum had three children. Anna was the eldest followed by John then Collum Jr. (Uncle Coll)

In 1920, Collum lived with his daughter Anna McCaffery Pester and her family on 148 Hermitage Street in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. Anna was 28 years old as was her husband Robert. They had two children Margaret age 3 years old and Robert age 2 years old. Robert was a Mechanic in a Garage.

Post Note; I still cannot trace either John McCaffery in any of the census records. I am not even sure if there were actually one or two different John McCafferys, one being the older son of Collum McCaffery, the other one being the father of my grandmother.

In 1910, there is a family of brothers that is questionable because the eldest brother is a policeman and his name was Edward. The second youngest brother is John who would be at the same age as grandmom's father. However, he is listed as working in a Dye Factory. Family History, known by Word of Mouth said grandmom's father worked in a stable. This same Family History also stated that grandmom's father had several brothers and one was known as a policeman. Other brothers listed in this family were Thomas (Box Factory) and was married to a woman named Bertha, Dommick (Mirror Shop) and the youngest Harry who also worked in a Dye Factory. This family of brothers had parents who were born; Father in Ireland and Mother in Scotland. If this is the family I am looking for then it changes history as we know it because this would make my grandmom not 100% Irish but a mixture of Scot and Irish.

Then there are those names, John and Anna. Collum McCaffery named his only daughter Anna and his first born son John. My grandmom's name was Anna and her father's name was John. I really think that my grandmom's paternal grandparents were named John and Anna McCaffery. Of course I have not found evidence to verify this. But it is a clue to begin research.

In 1930, Collum McCaffery is no longer listed. But of course I could not find records of his daughter's family neither. But I did find records about his son Collum who from this point on is known in all records as simply Coll McCaffery. He lived at 4135 Terrace Street in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. According to records, he purchased this house for 3,000 dollars. He was married to Anna Gallagher McCaffery and had two children Coll age 5 years old and Mary age 2 years old. Living with them was my grandparents William and Anna Gallagher. In addition, my great grandparents William and Mary Gallagher lived there too.

Some interesting facts about the family living at 4135 Terrace Street. Coll was 30 years old. His wife Anna was 22 years old. Coll was a Locomotive Engineer at Midvale Steel. My grandfather was 23 years old and was listed as also working in a Steel Mill. My grandmother was 17 years old. My great grandfather William was 45 years old and was also listed as working in a Steel Mill. My great grandmother was 43 years old and was listed as a Scrub Woman in the Hospital. Though Coll worked at the Midvale Steel Mill, I am not sure what Steel Mill (Pencoyd or Midvale) that the grandparents worked at.

Down the street at 4141 Terrace Street lived John and Sally Gallagher Keller. John purchased this house for 2500 dollars. John was 48 years old and worked in the Steel Mill too. His wife was 43 years old and had listed as her legal first name Sarah. John Keller was Mary Keller Gallagher's brother. Sarah (Sally) Gallagher Keller was William's (Mary's husband) sister.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Now That The Ballots Have Been Counted

I hope that those elected into office bring our country forward and do not get tangled up in pure rhetoric. I also hope that those elected do not take us backward in this fight against terrorists and I sincerely mean that.

There has been a lot of "outcry" over "Civil Rights" since President Bush put into effect such things as "wire-tapping". I wish people could see the picture beyond their own personal agenda. If "wire-tapping" can prevent another 2,000 people from being viciously murdered by folks who disregard human life then I think it is worth it.

I for one have felt "safer" flying. I am not sure I will continue to feel that way if the things that were put in place to protect us are taken away by some liberal-know-it-all.

If you are thinking at this point, "she must be a republican" then you will be surprised to know that I am actually a democrat. I guess I am a conservative democrat if there is even such a thing.

I just do not believe in "placing blame" and "throwing stones". Yes, I believe mistakes were made in this War in Iraq. But, I believe we went into it for the right reasons. I also believe it is time to get out. This is no ordinary war where we knew what we were up against. This is a war were folks have no respect for human life especially their own. In past wars, you knew who the enemy was. Here we have no idea who the enemy is. What we need to do is make our borders secure. Make our country strong so that we can have a defense against those out there willing to kill Innocent people like those in the World Trade Center.

I remember that day clearly. I was taking care of preop patients. The television was on in the waiting room when they broad-casted that the first tower was on fire. As I stood there watching the fire, I saw with my own eyes as the second plane hit that second tower. I also saw with my own eyes as they fell. I also saw with my own eyes the look of pure dread and shock on the face of our president when he was informed at that school what had happened. And please remember, he was in office less then nine months before this ball of messy wax was placed in his lap.

This event was years in the making before his time in office. However, because he was in office when it took place, those around him felt it necessary to place the blame entirely on him.

I remember driving home that day on Highway 95 and noticing the quiet. There were no planes flying overhead. There were no cars on the road. The entire City of Philadelphia was evacuated hours earlier. The phone lines remained jammed. No calls could be made nor any received. I remember feeling unsafe in my own country for the first time in my life. Let's face it not only did New York City get hit (which is only 2hrs away to our north) but so did Washington DC (3hrs away to our south) then one in our own state Pennsylvania. No, I did not feel safe that day. Another thing I noticed that day was the fighter jets as they flew up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

So as I stand here up on my political pulpit, I hope that those elected know what they are doing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

How Did I Get Here

Standing shoeless and coatless at 230am in the pouring rain with a dog at the end of the leash in the backyard conning her to pee.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You Really Have To Think

That if politicians spent a half of their time and money on World Hunger as oppose to Bashing each other during Election time then I believe there would not be any poor starving children in this world. I do not know about you but all those "he said, she said" commercials on television that lead up to Voting Day have gotten worse with each Election year. And quite frankly, I am sick to death of them. As a matter of fact, the commercials have more of an negative affect on me then anything. It makes be so disgusted with both choices on the ballot that I rather just write my dog's name in and vote for her. She probably would have a better grip on things then any of those high powering rich candidates anyway.

Maybe if enough folks get tired and begin to object with this Election behavior, maybe just maybe our politicians would change their negative behavior towards each other and stop the character bashing that has become so popular since Clinton's time in office.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Two Weeks And Counting

And I do not mean it is two weeks to the wedding either. It has been two very very long tedious weeks since a certain small dog came to live with us or I should state correctly "shit in my house". There is nothing like waking up to Bill saying "the dog is dancing in her shit". Oh yes, she is restricted to a crate and we limited the amount of space in that "said" crate because historically speaking dogs restricted in small spaces in which they sleep are not suppose to "shit" there. I think someone forgot to mention this to my dog. She does not seem to mind laying or dancing in hers.

Which lead me to research in both books and the Internet "How To Potty Train A Puppy". I followed all their instructions right down to the letter without much success. Then I decided to research her breed. A Puggle is a mixture of Pug and Beagle. The Pug is difficult to house break because of its stubborn will. The beagle is a digger and chewer who is a bloodhound by nature that likes to follow a scent. It is also a high energy dog. Therefore, this type of dog must be fenced in or on a leash at all times because it tends to run away. (now that's an idea. leave the gate open.) So, my sister got me a dog with a "very independent nature that requires much discipline and consistency". Isn't that funny, my sister gave me my "kids" in "dog form". How very sweet of her. I get to raise someone else who will not listen.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Left-Overs

Dear Milky Way Bar,

How I love thee with all your carmel and nougat. It is pure ecstasy to take that first bite into your rich velvet smooth chocolate. I love thee so much that I can hear you as you call to me from the kitchen counter. I know I must present will power and control. But how can I when you will not get out of my mind. I have become obsessed with just the mere thought of you. Who cares that they call you a "fun size". It just gives me the excuse to eat more then just one of you. And more of you I will eat for I will go crazy without the taste of your creamy texture within my mouth. The only solution to this heart rendering problem is that I just go back upstairs and eat all of you until there is nothing left but a crumb which of course I will need to lick tenderly from my finger tips.

The Chocolate Addict

Monday, October 30, 2006

Your Eyes Are Not Deceiving You

A Journey Into The Past has under-gone an intensive face-lift. With all the changes I have experienced in my life over the last two years, I decided to celebrate my one year Blog anniversary with a new look. Enjoy!!

Just Another Monday

For starters, my elderly neighbor next door was on VACATION and not laying dead in his locked-up house which is a really good thing because the local police NEVER did come out to check on him. I guess "dead bodies" in houses is just not a priority around here. Maybe if it had been a cat caught in a tree, I would have gotten a better response.

It's Monday. (in case you did not know) It is also the first day in weeks that the High Winds have died down to a crisp fall breeze. Sometime today I will need to inspect my gardens to see how the Fall Mums survived. I am sure they are covered in debris. I lost one of four hanging flower pots off the front porch and from what Bill told me our front screen door is bent beyond repair. The season of Fall really flew in with a bang this year. At least we did not have any fallen trees like a lot of other folks around here. Nothing worse then waking up to a tree falling on your house or car. But then again we all should be grateful. At least we are not battling "wild fires" like those folks in California.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why We Pay Taxes

We have an elderly neighbor who lives right next door who I generally see everyday getting in and out of his car, fiddling around in his yard or he comes over just to converse. Though we have not lived here very long, we got to know this gentleman well enough to know that he lives alone, never married and has no immediate family as to check up on him. Our neighbor is in his eighties and from what I have noticed of him, he is very independent. So when I noticed that his mail and daily newspapers remained on his front doorstep for the last four days, I became a little concerned and mentioned it to Bill. I also noticed that what I thought was his car remained parked in the same space this entire time. What to do?

Bill went over to his house and knocked on his door, checked to see if his front or back door was open then knocked on another neighbor's door who has lived here much longer than us to verify if that car parked across the street was indeed his. It was.

Where was our neighbor? And where did he go without his car? Is he in the hospital? I have been home this week and have not seen or heard any emergency vehicle that may have come to his door. We could break into his house but we would be arrested for "breaking and entering". My fear is that he died in his own house or has been hurt and is unable to contact help. So, Bill called our local police department and asked them if they could check on this elderly gentleman.

That was four hours ago and still there is no sign of anyone in law enforcement at this man's house. What really bothers me about this situation is "we live in the safest neighborhood in the city with the lowest crime rate". So where are the police? Why is it taking so long for them to get here? This could mean the difference between life & death for this man if he was hurt and in need of medical care. Is it not their job to protect its citizens? If we could get in that house, we would check ourselves.

This is our tax money being well spent. This is the kind of country we live in today. The hell with the very young and the very old for they have the least amount of Civil Rights. This being said, I want to take this opportunity to say that my older brother Michael was once a Philadelphia Police Officer who later became a Detective before he retired two years ago and if he was the one to receive such a call, he would have been at this man's house in a heart-beat.

If he still lived here and not in Knoxville, TN., I would have called him for his advice and help in this matter. And I have no doubt, he would have made a few calls and someone would have been here by now.

I can only hope our dear neighbor is away on some exotic fun trip and not dead or dying in his own home.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Coloring My World

Shaun takes his coloring very seriously as he carefully tries to stay within the lines and mixes his colors well while Nikolas does not take his coloring seriously at all. As a matter-of-fact, if given an opportunity, Nikolas will color on just about anything within his reach. So at Mom Mom's house coloring books and crayons are restricted to one cabinet and used only at the kitchen table. When we go out to eat, we go to places that are "kid friendly" and provide the little ones with coloring sheets and crayons to keep them occupied while waiting for their meal. A busy child is not a cranky child. And that is the way, I like them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Introducing Puggles

Congrats To Don & Linda

Don & Linda at their October 13th wedding Standing on the Left is Don's daughter. The other two girls are Linda's daughters Ashley (center) and Michele (right). The little boy is Linda's grandson Michael, daughter Michele's son.
Bill & I
James & Melissa
Dr. Delvecchio & husband. Dr. D as we called her worked closely with us for many years at the hospital before she retired two years ago. She had a reputation for being a fabulous surgeon. We just thought of her as a wonderful friend. They shared our table at the wedding.
Sylvia & Mike
If you check out this picture closely, you will see this guy attempting "god knows what" on the back of Michele's dress.
I loved the design of Linda's dress and the beautiful way her hair was done up so when she sat at the table behind us, I had the perfect opportunity to capture both the back of her dress and hair.
Cutting that magical wedding cake while overhearing Linda saying to Don the entire time, "Do not mush it in my face".

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Empowering Women

I spend a great deal of time either in the very early morning hours or the very late ones writing my own stories and reading the stories of others. Listed below are the blogs I enjoy reading. They are written by women for women and I generally can relate one or more of their stories to my own life. Some of these women I just read their stories because I find them amazing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Final Destination "Arlington Cemetery"

So if you bring kids, please duct-tape their mouths, tie their hands at their wrists, chain their feet at the ankles and lead them with a leash. Now, as a fellow cemetery tour-guide and historical cemetery explorer, I have never seen a sign like the one above and I seriously do not mean any disrespect to those who have fallen while protecting our freedom. But did they need to add that second line. Because I got to be honest with you, though I kept Shaun off the head-stones I did allow him to walk on the grass. Hell, I even allowed him to roll down the lawn. I am sure there is a special place in hell for the lawn-walking folks just like me. If it were Laurel Hill, he would be climbing across the head-stones and up on the mausoleums.
As in any cemetery, the size of your head-stone reflects the amount of wealth you had while alive. Arlington is no exception.

Tomb of the unknown soldier, a most serene place.
A marine guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Shaun taking in the scenery which was amazing.
Exceptional architectural work in the cemetery as seen here.
The graves of President John F Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis and two of their babies that died, a daughter in 1957 and a son in 1963.
The view from the Kennedy graves. Though the cemetery is located just across the bridge in Virginia, you can see downtown Washington DC.