Rock of Ages: Grave Concerns is my cemetery blog; it is approximately a year older than this one.
This post shares the research paper that begot the first eight posts and the shared name of the blog.
Tags: genchat, nostalgia, RootsTech
Twelve Days Ago:
General (later U.S. President) Eisenhower would have been proud of her.
She waltzed in, landed in my La-Z-boy chair, put her tired feet up, and calmly announced that she was staying for a visit. She then instructed my children to fetch her bags from the distraught cab driver standing at the door, which room to put then in, and which ones to unpack!
I was at work when this happened.
MiLady sent me a text message to call home. When I did, I couldn’t believe what happened.
“Do you want me to come home now?” I asked in a raising panic. “Is she causing trouble?”
“No, no trouble yet,” my favourite girl replied quietly, “But if she places a breakfast order for tomorrow morning, you’re making it!”
“Alright,” I answered, still worried. “Are you okay?”
MiLady chuckled, “I am, but Chef wants to talk to you.”
Chef is our youngest, 17yo and almost 5’10″ with thick mop of red hair like Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter books and films.
“Dad,” he said followed by a long pause, “how is She related to you?”
“I married her.”
“Not Mum!” he stammered, “Our visitor!”
“She isn’t really,” I started, “But she’s been around since I was small; your Grams and GranDa treated her like a daughter, so … she’d be like an auntie to you, I guess.”
For your own safety, as many of my new followers are not familiar with Nostalgia, allow me to give you a little background on her.
Almost every genealogist is familiar with the running joke that genealogy is an incurable virus. The sicker you get … etc, etc, etc. Well, Nostalgia is far worse! This Old Bat is very … unique (to put it nicely).
She loves history — your history, my history, their history, and so on — and has a very odd way of recounting events, particularly the ones that you got HER mixed up in! She’ll mention something and then you will make the mistake of questioning her about it! (Trust me, the first time you meet her, you WILL question her.).
She then tilts her head down slightly, looks at you over the rims of her half-glasses and perfectly re-creates the wicked grin of The Grinch — yes, the same one who stole Christmas. Then, in a sugary-sweet, sing-songy way, she hints a little more about the embarassing incident from your younger days.
Gears and fly-wheels spin, squeak and smoke, as your foggy grey matter struggles to remember the details.
Then she chuckles softly and her eyes sparkle as her Grinchy grin somehow expands into the wide gleam of a hungry Cheshire Cat. When this happens, you are doomed!
She’ll prattle on and on to anyone in ear-shot about the event, as though she were reciting your Curriculum Vitae without missing a beat!
But, then (if you’re extremely lucky), the Banshee will slip up early on rather than days later. And like your morning coffee, total recollection kicks in and you can attest to the aftermath and punishment that followed your shared adventure. But, by the time you look up to confront her — she is gone — clipping away and out the door/room with an over-the-shoulder wave and a chipper “Toodles, Dearie!”
After a few visits, you realize that she always manages to escape further questioning. (Far too many times I have wondered if she is related to the late Henry Houdini.).
My last few encounters has involved her unique interest in genealogy. Her passionate twist on the hobby has involved inflicting her methodology and presence upon others. Genealogy rock-stars, Footnote Maven and The Pirate Queen of GenChat being the most recent victims of her visits.
But that all changed not too long ago.
A faint whimper came from my cellphone, but I blamed it on the bad connection as it had been crackling throughout my conversation with my wife.
The next thing I heard was MiLady again, reminding me to bring home milk and some eggs.
Three hours later, my shift at work ended and I had a gruesome 40minutes of driving before I could walk through the front door of my castle and see for myself that my family had come to no harm at the hands of my nemesis!
My Girl was at the door. She quickly handed off the milk and eggs to Chef towering over her, while I shucked my work boots and jacket. Then, hugging her close, I whispered:
“What proclamations has She announced to the Common Peoples?”
“Nothing yet,” was her equally soft reply. “But, now you’re home that might change?”
“I don’t know. Is She still holding Court …” I said pointing towards what used to be called our living room.
MiLady and Chef both nodded.
One last deep breath and I turned the corner.
“Oh, Dearie,” her shrill cry pierced the Tranquility, “There you are!”
With arms and legs flailing, Nostalgia tried to sit up … twice. Exasperated, she out-stretched her arms and bellowed for:
MiLady and Chef rushed to either side and struggled to help her out of my chair.
It was upsetting to see her turn my family into her hired help. I couldn’t take it, so I put my foot down … on the footrest of my chair and pushed it shut.
Nostalgia was catapulted out of the chair like a cork from a wine bottle, slamming into me.
Catching her in my arms, I looked down to see her relieved to be out of my chair but a little shaken from the abrupt method I took to do it.
“I believe we have met like this before,” I told her. The Old Banshee just smiled over her lenses and patted my chest.
“Yes,” she agreed, as she staggered out towards the kitchen like a dunkard. “Do you have any coffee made?”
Four minutes later we were sitting opposite each other at the dining table; drinks at the ready.
“I thought you were going to England, Gia,” I said as I poured my second cup of Irish tea. ["Gia" -- pronounced "Gee-Ahh," has been a childhood pet-name for Nostalgia -- a friend of the family for way too many years, from as far back as I can (and dare) to remember.].
“I have to budget for RootsTech, Dearie,” she answered as she clutched her steaming cup of black coffee.
“You’re still going to go to that?” I asked, genuinely interested. “He won’t be there, you know.”
She sighed deeply, like a typical Disney princess disappointed that “Someday my prince will come” will not happen this upcoming year.
“Yes, and if I remember correctly I told you that!” she giggled. “It will still be fun finding others about and inquiring if any of them have heard of you. I expect one or two probably … after all, Dearie, you’re not Tom MacEntee or Dick Eastman or … “
“Or Joshua Taylor!” MiLady chimed in, sitting beside me with her coffee cup. “I saw him on that T.V. roadshow … he is too cute!” Then leaning over to my right side, she whispered, “Sorry, Dear’st, he is cute, but I love you!”
Then looking across the dining table, MiLady continued, “And I am glad that you are doing so much better, Nostalgia! I heard that you were out of sorts at Treeverne, the other night.”
“Thank you, Dearie,” she beamed, “But I do not remember anything of that evening; I must have blacked out.”
[PANIC MODE! PANIC MODE! PANIC MODE!]
“Gia, what DO you remember?” I asked, as my eyes darted across the room to the running board drawer where the liquor cabinet key was kept.
“You left me in Treeverne, you nasty man!” she retorted. “The lights were off, empty bottles were in the sink and dishwasher, broken glasses everywhere …”
I cringed tighter and tighter into a semi-fetal position. The thought of what she described could not have happened.
I know it didn’t happen like that, because I was there!
Thirteen Nights Ago:
I was at the bar — Treeverne Upon the Gene — putting away the bottles and kegs that had been delivered a day earlier than usual, when the wooden catherdral-esque doors burst open with a massive slam!
“HE’S NOT GOING?!?” shrieked through the rafters.
She was a sorry sight: her long hair looked like it was back-combed. Bits of autumn leaves and tiny twigs were splattered about in it. Her outfit was muddied and she was missing one of her classy earrings; but I couldn’t resist …
“You’re a wee bit early for the Halloween costume party tonight, Gia,” I snickered. “But you should win hands-down.”
“I paid good money for this hairdo, mind you,” she whined, looking about to see if anyone else was in the bar. (I was alone, unfortunately.).
“Minus the leaves, etc, of course,” she finished, struggling to get into the high bar stool.
“I’ll charge ya half, next time, and stick your finger in the wall socket,” I continued to tease. “Will guarantee the same results.”
Once seated, she dismissed me and any formal or cordial greeting — the door slam must have been the pre-announcement of her visit, I think.
I poured a couple glasses of a California Meritage wine (from a New Jersey supplier). I then offered her one. She took both!
“He’s not going!” she whimpered, downing the first goblet.
“Who isn’t going?” I asked.
She quickly threw back the second. “And I think I know why,” she continued, before holding both out at arms’ length for refilling!
“Who isn’t going?!?” I asked forcefully while filling the glasses again.
“Him,” she growled. [Drink] “He’s probably going to play Pirates — she stopped to drink the other, then continued — “on the High Seas in a rubber dighny somewhere!”
As I filled the glasses – again – it struck me!
“You told him,” I said, rolling my eyes at the thought. “You sent him a message and told him that you were going to meet him there!”
She sniffled before nodding.
“But, why, Gia?” I asked. “You told me that you wanted to surprise him!”
“I know!” she sobbed uncontrollably into her hands, as I stood there dumb-founded with an empty wine bottle. Contemplating if I should end all this insane misery and bop her with it.
Looking about feverishly, I found the coward’s way out and offered an emerald-green bar towel to her instead. She took it!
Her tears were intense. Her normally caked-on makeup was running down her cheeks — and from across the bar, it was an absolutely terrible sight: her face was melting and I didn’t have my video camera!
Only another woman could understand the complex, emotional — and possibly hormal — situation facing me. A dishevelled, sopping wet mess that had once been a beautiful woman at some time, was crumpled opposite me.
I gingerly reached across the table, and stroked her hair.
“There, there, Gia, it’s all right.”
“No, it’s not!” she growled in a deep demonic voice, but looking up just long enough for me to see a pair of cat’s eyes pulsing red.
I retracted my arm quickly and reached below the bar for another bootleg bottle from The Garden State.
“Yep, you need more to drink,” I said nervously, as I slid both re-filled glasses towards her.
Three and a half bottles later — about 45 minutes — her crying faded enough that some of her words were coherent.
Nostalgia had been severely infected with the Genealogy Virus, to such a degree that she was the hazardous equivalent to Typhoid Mary.
Between the Ancestry website and Google serach engine, she amassed volumes of information; but not all of it relevant (if that makes any sense.). During her research gathering, she encountered the works of field specialists or “genealogy rock stars”. And one name stood out over them all – Thomas MacEntee.
This poor fellow became her hero; and after reading her expressively detailed text to see him, the same frightening images probably raced through his terrified mind as they did mine: “FATAL ATTRACTION” with Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone; and, “MISERY” with James Caan and Kathy Bates!
“Gia, ya need to sleep this off,” I spoke softly. “But, ya cannae stay here.”
Not a sound came from her, nor a flinch.
“Gia? Are ya dead?” I braved losing a finger, and poked her. She teetered slowly to the left, as I then struggled over the bar to stop her from tumbling to the floor!
Rushing about, I dragged her to Treeverne’s delivery door and called a taxi-cab.
You can imagine my surprise, when a car arrived within ten minutes. In the darkness it was difficult to read the vehicle’s rear fender number.
“666?” I shake it off.
After helping me get her into the backseat, I stuff four 20s into the driver’s hand.
“She is staying at the motel up the street,” I tell him.
He nods, climbs into the vehicle and drives off, his tires screeching …
Back to Twelve Days Ago:
“Then, pray tell, how did I end up back at Treeverne?”
Tags: ancestors and relatives, family history, Remembrance Day, WWI, WWII
It has happened like clockwork since 1942. Every morning just before 11a.m. in Ottawa, Ontario, at the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, after pinning on his service medals, he marches across polished floors in the Rotunda to the solemn Memorial Chamber that occupies the third level of the tower.
This chamber, conceived in 1916, is a monument in itself to Canada’s war involvement, with fan-vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and many carvings. Inlaid into the floor are brass nameplates made from spent shell casings gathered from the WWI battlefields of major participation.
Upon entering the Chamber at just the right moment, your eyes catch gleams of sunlight refracting from the stain-glass window, “The Assembly of Remembrance.” Located on the Chamber’s South wall, figures of saints and warriors stand vigil over those named within the Chamber. It is flanked by the East wall window, of men and women rallying to “The Call to Arms,” while the West wall window hopes for the Future and “The Dawn of Peace.”
These stunning glassworks were not installed until 1927.
Then you notice the massive niches surrounding you … seventeen of them, each containing a white marble plaque. In both official languages, twelve of these plaques represent our military’s involvement from the Fenian Raids of 1866-1870 to our latest peacekeeping missions.
The remaining five plaques display literary passages in which Canadians have found Hope and Comfort: Dr. John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” is displayed in English (on Plaque #4) and in French (on Plaque #14). Plaque #9 holds Psalm 139 from The Bible. The poem, “On Going to the Wars” by Canadian writer Earle Birney occupies Plaque #7. Plaque #11 has an excerpt from French-Canadian writer, Gabrielle Roy’s first novel, Bonheur d’occasion (The Tin Flute).
But the focal point of this Chamber is at its center: a stone altar — a gift from England in 1926. It was carved from a single-piece of Hoptonwood stone and rests majestically upon black marbled steps quarried from Flanders Fields in Belgium. All the Coats of Arms of our provinces and (at that time) two territories adorn the altar’s long body. Our nation’s crest decorates the short sides, while an inscription graces the circumference of the altar’s tabletop. It is a quote from “The Pilgrim’s Progress from this World to that Which is to Come” by English Christian writer, John Bunyan:
“My marks and scars I carry with me, to be witness for me that I have fought His battles, who will nowbe my Rewarder; so he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.”
Circum-navigating the altar’s base, the same quote is engraved in French.
Atop the altar, a brass display case sits with a glass lid, attended at each corner by an angel kneeling in reverence. A massive open book lies inside the case surrounded by all this pomp and circumstance.
Six smaller altars form a symmetrical semi-circle around this centerpiece, each adorned with similar cases. Inside all of these cases, “The Books of Remembrance” wait for his white-gloved touch.
Bells peal in the Peace Tower, as he snaps to attention underneath the stone carving of the Memorial Cross, to open the wrought iron gates before entering the empty Chamber. (It is rare that spectators are given an opportunity to watch the ritual from within.).
Marching to the center, he salutes the main altar, steps up to the case, then bows his head before opening the lid, and gingerly turns the vellum parchment — every page in each book is unique! — closes the case, bows, steps back and repeats his ritual again with each of the remaining cases before returning to the center, where he salutes and smartly marches off.
As he exits, he passes under the statue of a mother holding her children. Under this statue, a stone carving of an angel appears to record the names of those who sacrificed their lives for this country.
And for the next 24hours, every book in the Chamber proudly tells of its own:
- WWI (at center) — in 1942 this Book of Remembrance was placed in the Chamber and the House of Commons Security Services began the Turning of the Page Ceremony. With 65,655 names contained in this book, it remains the focal point of the room to date.
- WWII (at South wall) — on November 11th, 1957 this volume was added to the Chamber with 44,893 names
- Korea — added November 11th, 1962, this Book of Remembrance gives tribute to 516 Canadians felled during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953
- Newfoundland — in 1973 this Book of Remembrance was placed in the Chamber, honouring 2,363 Newfoundlanders who died in both World Wars. They are displayed in a separate book because Newfoundland was NOT part of Canada’s Confederation until 1956!
- South African War / Nile Expedition — on May 31st, 1962 this volume was added to the Chamber on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Peace of Vereenging, which ended the war in South Africa. 283 Canadians are contained in this book.
- Merchant Navy — in 2003 this Book of Remembrance was placed in the Chamber, containing 2,199 Canadians who died while serving in critical re-supply missions during the First and Second World Wars; and,
- In the Service of Canada — added November 11th, 2005, this Book of Remembrance, contains over 1,700 Canadians who died during peacekeeping missions
Silently the pages declare to all gathered around them: “Here are Our Heroes – We Remember Them Always”
Until just before 11a.m. the next morning, when he marches across polished floors in the Rotunda to the solemn Memorial Chamber that occupies the third level of the tower …
- website, Veterans Affairs Canada
- website, Parliament of Canada http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/Publications/Memorial/Memorial-e.asp
Lumberland, Sullivan Co, NEW YORK
Anyone familiar with the area?
Tags: Halloween Special, Pumpkin Patch Kid
There was a delivery at Treeverne, during GenChat.
I tried to post a picture, but don’t know how, so …
Here she is!
My foster granddaughter, Pum’kin!
Tags: genchat, Halloween Special
Mike the Music Man (who looks a lot like the late #VincentPrice) will repair the Juke Box, this Wednesday night. He guarantees the music will be memorable. (Memorable? Just what is he referring to?).
A special genchat will happen on Halloween, October 31st. It’s special because it will be during the morning, rather than the evening.
And Treeverne-Upon-the-Gene will have House Specials for the occasion as well:
- Bloody Mary (highball glass): Tomato juice, Vodka, red hot sauce, green hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt/ pepper; garnish w/celery stalk
- Black Devil (chilled martini glass): Dark rum, dry Vermouth with Black Olive garnish and Orange sugar rimmer
- Almond Joy Martini (chilled martini glass): CHOCOLATE vodka, Hazelnut liqueur, coconut rum
- Blood Sucker (cocktail glass): Triple Sec, Vodka and Pineapple juice w/raspberry or strawberry puree for garnish along side of glass (“blood”)
- Liquefied Ghost (martini glass): Vanilla syrup, cream, vodka and soda
- Pumpkin (Spice) Punch: lemon juice, Bourbon, apple cider, honey, Pinot Grigio, sliced apples, oranges and pears (serving from jack o lantern/pumpkin bowl)
- Milky Way (martini glass): Coffee liqueur, CHOCOLATE vodka and cream
- Witches’ Brew: Pineapple juice, cranberry juice and Malibu rum
- Bloody Brain (shooter): Chilled vodka & lime juice in shoot glass; use straw to add drip in Bailey’s Irish Cream. Acidic lime juice will curdle cream creating realistic blobs of “brain”
- Gory Brain Cocktail (champagne flute): Peach Schnapps, straw in Irish Cream. For the extra gore, add dash of grenadine.
- Zombie Cocktail (highball glass): Apricot brandy, light rum, dark (or Jamaican) rum, lime juice, Grenadine, orange juice and Bacardi 151 rum
- Vampire Overbite (stemmed cocktail glass): vanilla ice cream, Triple Sec, and (white) Creme de Cacao and Grenadine
- Cemetery Slime Punch NON-ALCOHOLIC: Slowly add diet root beer to punch bowl filled low-fat frozen yougurt (vanilla & chocolate) and Gummi worms
- Vesper (martini glass): Gin, Vodka, Kina Linnet and a lemon twist
- Zombie Gut Punch (glass punch cup): Blood Orange juice, Black Cherry soda, Vodka, Triple Sec; add Grenadine to rim
Oh, and there is a special guest or two joining us as well.
Who, you ask? I’ll never tell!
Come and see!