Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Aesop’s Fables My copy of “The Aesop for Children” was printed in 1919. A chromolithograph of The Dog in the Manger from a McLoughlin Brothers book for children, New York, 1880 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It must have been old and torn already by the time my grandmother brought it home from the university hospital where she worked. She was the principal for the hospital school at the University of Michigan, which taught children who were confined for a long time. She taped the torn pages, covered the book with fabric, and gave it to her grandson, my brother, who was born in 1944. He was old... (Read More ...)

Who Wrote the Uncle Remus Book? Joel Chandler Harris wrote down stories he heard from African-Americans, starting with his days as a teenager on a  Georgia plantation during the Civil War, that became a series of Uncle Remus books. Beloved by children for generations, at the time they were notable for Harris’s attempt to write down the dialect of the story-tellers. It is perhaps no surprise that my husband, born and bred in Georgia, should have a dog-eared copy of a book written by an Atlanta Constitution editor. My husband’s copy of Uncle Remus Stories is copyrighted 1947, when he was... (Read More ...)

Rip Van Winkle On a recent visit to New England, where I went to Schenectady and Guilderland Center, New York, to visit my father’s old neighborhood and ancestors’ homestead, I had the good fortune to borrow a copy of the book, Rip Van Winkle. This story was originally published as one of 34 short stories and essays in Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., in 1819, along with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The Return of Rip Van Winkle Irving was born in 1783, the year the American Revolutionary War ended, so perhaps he was well suited to a story about an old man... (Read More ...)

Do You Have Anything of Your Grandfather’s? I told my family at a recent family reunion, where I’d brought family trees, genealogical records, family stories and photo albums from both my mother’s mother and my father’s father, that I was looking for two things buried among all the records. I was looking for the story about how my great-grandfather, Abraham Lincoln Frederick, had come to be named. And, I was looking for a poster from my mother’s father, a customs agent in Nogales, Arizona, where my mother was born. “Pancho” Villa, a Mexican Revolutionary general. (Photo credit:... (Read More ...)

My Great-Grandfather’s Name Was Abraham. Both my uncle on my mother’s side and my grandfather on my father’s side gathered extensive family genealogical records. This year, to celebrate my 65th birthday, my Texas-based brothers decided to gather their families with mine near Boston, where one of my sons lives. During the week, we drove to Guilderland Center, near where my father was born in Schenectady, New York. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) There is an historic house, the Mynderse-Frederick House, there that used to belong to a... (Read More ...)

General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia) What Is It About February and Suicide? I have long believed people have some control over the exact date of their death, short of a tragic accident. It may only be a day or two, or a week or two if they have some event they are trying to live to see. So, when my father died of a hemorrhagic stroke on February 12, 1991, four days after the stroke hit him, I thought he was trying to spare my mother the grief that would have marked Valentine’s Day the rest of her life. And, perhaps he was. But,... (Read More ...)