Friday, May 26, 2017
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Of course, Jo Maeder didn’t really marry her mother. Photo of Jo Maeder with Mama Jo, subject of the memoir “When I Married My Mother” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, for lack of a father, she did everything a spouse would have done to take care of her mother, when, at 79, it became clear her mother could no longer live alone. She left her career as a DJ in New York City, bought and refurbished a house in North Carolina to be near her brother, and moved her mother out of Richmond to set up housekeeping together. Such a decision usually involves convincing a parent they need taking... (Read More ...)

Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal Her mother tossed the journal on the kitchen table as though it were a newspaper, to be read at her leisure. Raab was 43. Diana Raab (Photo credit: Wikipedia It was the treasured journal her grandmother had written. It described the wartime experiences of a child who would later take her life. Raab found her grandmother in her bedroom, a suicide from an overdose of pills. Raab was ten. Reading about Raab’s panic and desolation on finding the one adult whose world she was the center of helped me understand what must have been going... (Read More ...)

How Many Daffodils Were Planted in New York City After 9/11? Here’s how the Daffodil Project started in New York City. New Amsterdam in 1660 “Like most New Yorkers in the fall of 2001, NY4P Chair Emeritus Lynden Miller was grieving in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when she received a fax from Hans van Waardenburg, a Dutch bulb supplier. “He had written, ‘I feel so distressed and heartbroken for New York. New York and my country have had a long relationship going back to New Amsterdam. … I just wish there was something I could do,’ ” Miller told the New... (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 ...)

The original version of General Electric’s circular logo and trademark. The trademark application was filed on July 24, 1899, and registered on September 18, 1900 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Have You Ever Visited the Old Family Homestead? On a recent trip to Schenectady, New York, where my father was born, I showed my brothers an historic plaque that honored our great-grandfather, Julius Zander, our grandmother’s father. He was an immigrant from Germany. The plaque reads: On this corner site stood first Bellevue Blacksmith shop, from 1885 to 1925. Started by Julius Zander, followed by Julius... (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 ...)

General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York My uncle, who, for reasons I did not understand until I was in my 40s, never met his father, was fascinated by genealogy. Because of his interest and diligent research, including several trips to Ireland, I learned chilling and historically fascinating stories about our ancestors. My cousin has consolidated his father’s papers and taken up the research. In just one example, my mother’s ancestors, Scottish textile merchants, were approached by the British to resettle in Ireland, which they did. Some years later, textile exports... (Read More ...)