Friday, August 17, 2018
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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving The History Having recently visited my family’s homestead near Schenectady, New York, originally a Dutch settlement, stories from the area are of interest. My grandmother was buried in the cemetery of a Dutch Reformed Church, not unlike the one in Irving’s story. Ichabod Crane, Respectfully Dedicated to Washington Irving. by William J. Wilgus, artist chromolithograph, c. 1856 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, is set in Tarrytown, New York, which is in the Hudson River Valley, like Schenectady,... (Read More ...)

Have You Ever Made Your Own Slingshot? I recently visited the neighborhood where my father grew up. Wooden slingshot with rubber made in Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) On an earlier trip I’d seen the street that was closed off for sledding and the one closed off for ice-skating where my father and his cousins went sledding. I would like to imagine many weekends in Schenectady, New York when children were allowed to skate and sled on closed streets. But, what did they do in the summer? Robert Paul Smith, author of How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, grew up in the 1920s, as... (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 ...)

Where Did You Go? Out. Storm drain (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing” is an ode to a childhood in the 1920s. Author Robert Paul Smith was born the same year as my father-in-law, 1915. My father was born in 1918. His book must have been much like their childhoods. My father was surrounded by friends and cousins. His father walked to work at General Electric in Schenectady, New York and walked home for lunch. When I visited my father’s old neighborhood, I found the hill a couple blocks from his house that was closed to traffic for sledding much... (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 ...)

Weekly Recap. The 2006 Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C., USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Last week, readers spent the most time reading the following posts: How glow sticks work How do you end illness? Where are you? Got milk? When did hats go out of style? Last month, readers spent the most time reading the following posts: How do you make pepper jump onto a straw? How glow sticks work How do you end illness? Did you read the Bobbsey Twins growing up? How do buttons teach math? Coming up next week: Have You Ever Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC? Monday, March 26, 2012 Confetti.... (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 ...)