Sunday, October 7, 2018

Prickly Fall: Fear of Jumping Off

Prickly Fall: Fear of Jumping Off
From the Family Collection of Midge Frazel, circa 1948-1949
60 Hilltop Dr. Cranston, RI
This is the only photo I can find that shows the concrete steps and section that connects the house to the garage at my childhood home. It was a favorite picture spot but photos usually were taken closer to the back door with someone coming or going out of the kitchen.

When I was in the first grade, my mother got the idea that I should be encouraged to jump off to the driveway by not using the stairs. I looked down and then over to the stairs and wondered why it would be better to jump than use the stairs. What was the purpose of the stairs? 

My mother obviously wanted me to be more aggressive and be like other kids. What happened was that I waited until I was taller and heavier to do things like that. She wanted it now, so she could catch me since I tended to move away from people if they came near me. I didn't like the way people smelled or touched me without warning. 

There was a neighbor man who wanted me to sit on his lap. I refused. My father told me I should be kind to the man who didn't have children. When my father went into the garage to get more chairs, I told him that he couldn't make me and that I would tell my grandmother. 

His face changed. My grandmother owned the business. I learned that that was something my father was afraid of...losing his job. In 1971, she did just that, sold the business out from under him. 

While in college I was frequently told, that I should try to "get along" and be "more fun". Instead I observed people and made my own mind up that I didn't like people who jumped without using the stairs, so to speak. People found out the hard way that I was aggressive when they weren't paying attention. It is a prickly way to live but it works for me.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Rose Gold: Grandmother's Bracelet

Rose Gold: Grandmother's Bracelet
Bracelet given to my grandmother by my grandfather, date unknown but post 1914
Close-up of rings in the bracelet

I love my grandmother's (or should I say grandfather's), taste in jewelry. I have inherited and kept most of my maternal grandmother's jewelry because it is simple and sturdy. 

For a couple of weeks, I have been thinking about the focus of my family history book and realized that the name of my project should be called the Rose Gold Project because Rose Gold is so different. I have searched my jewelry collection for the pieces that match my grandmother's wedding band. My grandfather gave my mother a rose gold Movado watch. The band, which is fabric, broke and it sits in the box, unworn. I can't read the watch face anymore but I keep it anyway.

But, wait! The watch is evidence that my GRANDFATHER bought that watch, my grandmother's ring and this bracelet. It wasn't that my grandmother liked it, HE did. Family history at its best.

The Project name will be a subtitle and it fits well with the title I have chosen.

The bracelet is rose gold and yellow gold and I have decided to start wearing it. It is comfortable and sits well on my wrist. The ovals are rose gold and the squares are yellow good.

It will keep me company while I write. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rose Gold: Gathering the Right Materials

Rose Gold: Gathering the Right Materials
Preparing to Write a Family History

Photo by Midge Frazel 26 Sept. 2018, materials by Erin
In 2016, I began thinking about planning and writing about my family business and what to include. I started writing last year in sections in a spiral bound EC notebook with removable pages. That was a good idea because it let me pre-write without fear of forgetting where I left off. 

Now, I need to make a better writing plan and add in the people from my family that made the story happen. It needs to be in a small book because it will need to look like it is meant to be kept or cherished. I named this project, "Rose Gold" because my grandmother's wedding ring is rose gold and it had endured as well as is in fashion today.

I pulled together two small bound notebooks with non removable pages to look like a set because the story won't fit in just one book. I also picked a blank journal to use so that it will look like a scrapbook of evidence. You'll see. Then I started buying stickers to be used a section or chapter dividers. I have written headings to fit the text and I am going first to write in the productivity book so that I can build my timeline without feeling that this story needs to be written sequentially or in chronicle-date order. That technique build suspense and make the research look inviting to read about.

I won't be writing matching blogs posts very often but instead writing about the process as I write in the books you see here. People are more interested in how to do it for themselves than they are reading about my family.

I am going to call it "Away at My Dreams" because it was something my daughter said to me when she was really little and thought she actually went somewhere while she was sleeping. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Prickly Fall: Being a Widow

Prickly Fall: Being a Widow

This summer, I lost a friend, very suddenly and then another and then another. Then, my husband's cousin, Eleanor, who was a recent widow when we moved here, passed away. She was in her late nineties. 

There's nothing more prickly than death whenever it happens. It is disturbing and makes you question your own age and existence. Who leaves this world and who gets left behind can make you fearful of what tomorrow can bring. 

People who aren't on social media are getting hard to keep in touch with. I found out about one death by using the online newspaper for that location just because I had a funny feeling. I sent a card to the widow followed by an email. She felt comfortable enough to call me. I was glad to hear her voice and she shared details with me. I hope everyone is so brave. My daughter wanted me to scan some photos for her to keep of these friends. 

I found one this morning that I cropped down to share. It was a 25th anniversary photo I took more that 25 years ago. They look so young in the wedding photo and since I didn't know them when they married, I should have taken a close-up after the cake was cut.

Photo taken by the author and privately held.
I begin to think about how many women in my family were widowed.

My paternal grandmother died a bit before her husband but my maternal grandmother became a widow at age 62 and lived to be 98. I learned from her that you just have to take life a day at a time. I went through my print photographs until I found the last photo I took of her and scanned it. She was living with my parents but died in a nursing home. She told me she was wondering why she was still alive. I didn't have an answer for that question.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Prickly Fall: The Railroad Tracks Lesson

Leave Your Fears Behind
Local RR Crossing Acton, MA 5 Sept 2018
This summer, hubs and I stopped at a local railroad crossing and I suddenly remembered the lesson my father gave me at the railroad tracks behind the houses on Bowling Lane in Bradford, RI.

It must have been a time when my mother wasn't with us because she would not have approved of us going down so near to the tracks.

We went down a long series of stairs behind one of the houses. My dad looked at his watch and went out on the tracks. I was not nuts about following him. He told me to put my hands on the rails. It was vibrating. I saw no trains either way or a railroad stop like the one shown above.

Dad said that I should never go out on the tracks alone. We climbed back up the stairs and we waited what seemed like a long time until we could see the train coming. He said that you could always feel the vibration before the train actually came but it was very dangerous.

When I moved to Bridgewater from Rhode Island as a newlywed, I had no car to drive so I had to walk from our apartment to get groceries, go to the bank or the library.  I had to cross the tracks into town. When my parents came up for the first time, my dad took me aside and reminded me of the train lesson. I told him that I remembered and that I was still afraid to cross. Year after year the nearby college reported that kids took the shortcut by walking over the tracks and even some adults have been hurt on the tracks.

This is a good life lesson. Always be aware of your surroundings and don't take chances near the railroad tracks. It you see the train coming wait it out. There have been a lot of times when I have thought of dad and this lesson.

Proceed with caution. Life is short enough.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Prickly Fall: Newspaper Evidence

Newspaper Evidence

It is apparent that my father played for two local baseball teams after graduating from Westerly High School in 1935. During high school, my father ran track and cross country and played baseball. This is the kind of evidence you can find in high school yearbooks. He also helped support his family after his parents died in 1934 and 1937 by working in the local dye mill called Bradford Dye. These newspaper clipping from the Westerly Sun newspaper for June of 1938 helped prove where he was that year. Teams were sponsored by local business who most likely bought the uniforms and the equipment.  This put ancestors and relatives in a particular year and helps add evidence to their life story.

Westerly Hilltops at Hilltop Park
Westerly Sun, 13 Jun 1938, courtesy of  Barbara Fallon, August 2018

 Broadfoot, Third Base
Westerly Sun, 13 Jun 1938, courtesy of  Barbara Fallon, August 2018

Bradford Dyers ( as "Tommy" Broadfoot)

Westerly Sun, 17 Jun 1938, courtesy of Barbara Fallon, 9 Aug 2018

Prickly Fall: Champion Team Photo

Bradford Dyers Baseball Team
Tom Broadfoot from photo below
Bradford Dyers, 1940, Champions of Westerly Twilight Baseball League
This is the Champion Team Photo of the Bradford Dyers (BDA) of the Twilight Baseball League in Westerly, Rhode Island.

Did my father play for two baseball teams? This was the question I asked about the photos I have. This uniform Tom is wearing doesn't have a team name but other men have shirts that say Bradford. The plot thickens.

There is another team photo (not shown) that says 1936 and is the Bradford Dyers. Tom must have joined the team after graduating high school in 1935.

I guess you have to be champions to get a team photo.