Category: Genealogy

Of Time and Family 2: Getting on the Granny Trail

Posted August 28th, 2012
Of Time and Family 2: Getting on the Granny Trail

“Dontchaknow”punctuated her every third or fourth sentence. Granny was fabulous. She was easily moved to laughter, her eyes sparkling and her face a constellation of wrinkles. She made brownies and applesauce. She took us out to lunch at some restaurant between Hingham and Cohasset and bought us as many orders of french-fries as we wanted….

Of Time and Family 1: Scranton, Pennsylvania

Posted August 28th, 2012
Of Time and Family 1: Scranton, Pennsylvania

The headline of The Scranton Times on December 9, 1914 read THIRTEEN MINERS KILLED, Dropped Dynamite Blows Bottom Out of Cage. Actually there was no dynamite. The elevator that carried miners up and down the Tripp Shaft at the Diamond Mine had a rotten floor. Regulations, moreover, allowed only ten passengers and there were thirteen…

Lietuva 8: Shaking the Family Tree

Posted May 25th, 2012
Lietuva 8: Shaking the Family Tree

Well we traveled from Maryland to Lithuania to learn more about my Dear One’s progenitors and all we discovered was that his maternal great-grandmother’s name was “Prana” not “Orene” (as it appeared to my eye in a scribble on a ship’s manifest). Apparent that “O” was a Cyrillic “P.” Anyway, it makes perfect sense: great-granny…

Retrospection 1: My Madeleines

Posted February 19th, 2012
Retrospection 1: My Madeleines

Memories are not, I think, narratives we remember as much as impressions, images and sensations. In that I am in agreement with Proust. Such imprints seem, at least to me at this great distance from the events, a little arbitrary although not like events seen through a rose-tinted lens. Who knows, though, whether they are…

My Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Posted December 20th, 2011
My Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

What will happen to all those Christmas ornaments when I am gone? The tree is finally decorated. We bought it five or six days ago and it has been sitting in a bucket of water awaiting installation in the living room. Then yesterday we set it into the stand, draped it with twinkling white lights…

WWI: I have so many questions…

Posted November 8th, 2011
WWI: I have so many questions…

So much of this trip has been about discovering a grandfather who was never a part of my memory.  David Sanford Cutler died suddenly from what may have been a staph infection in 1926.  His sons Calvin (my father) and David were only two and four years old respectively. His widow Hazel, my Granny, remarried…

WWI: Blue Cows and Saints

Posted October 26th, 2011
WWI:  Blue Cows and Saints

I lay in bed and listened to the rain insistent on the roof. We would go to Liffol-le-Grand, I decided. Liffol-le-Grand is one of the small towns near Neufchatel, an administrative center of the American Expeditionary Force, which provided housing for soldiers. It was where, in late October, my grandfather David Cutler was billeted with…

Shining Silver

Posted November 24th, 2010

I have honored Santa Argenta, the patron saint of gleaming metal, and polished silver twinkles on the table I have set for the first of our pair of Thanksgiving dinners, the modest meal I share with my Dear One and my Tattooed Boy on Thursday evening that precedes the far more ambitious spread on Saturday….

Lost in the Family Forest

Posted August 31st, 2010

One finds relatives in the most unexpected places. I know a lot about my relatives. I am that family member—and there is always one—endowed with the genealogy gene. I inherited the published books, the old photographs, letters and diaries, and the odd notes and jottings that constitute my families’ archives. It’s all in the plural…

My Two Dads

Posted June 20th, 2010

Dear Cal and Charlie, Father’s Day comes and goes. I remind my Tattooed Boy to call his father. I try to indulge my Dear One, serving meals he likes, joining in whatever pastimes that give him pleasure. I read the remembrances and eulogies that fill the papers and watch moving tributes on the news; often…