The gas embargo. I remember odd and even days when you were permitted to pull into the gas station to get gas for your vehicle. That was around ’73 or ’74. We had just moved here and I wanted to go exploring our new hometown but there were so few gas stations that I tended to stay home in fear I would run out of gas on some back road and no one would find me – it was pretty rural here at that time.
Now we just watch the gas prices rise and wonder if there will be fuel in the near future. The reserve is going down and we’re not refilling those tanks. Europe is in a tricky situation also. I read today that they are collecting wood to burn to keep their homes warm this winter.
We traveled to Europe in June. This was our 2020 trip delayed due to covid. The highlight of our trip was towards the end in Oberammergau and attending the Passion Play. This was the 43rd year of the 10-year cycle – so the play began over 430 years ago. A pandemic brought the play to life and in 2020 I figured the pandemic would take it out. Fortunately, it was just delayed. It was great.
While we were in Switzerland near Luzern, I found a sign with the name Fielmann. It is a very close match to Filman/Filmon/Philmon and Philemon in our tree. And then there was the Wildenmann Hotel and Restaurant. The Wilderman name was once Wildenmann.
I felt quite at home.
Some of the other places we visited were Austria (Salzburg) the home of Mozart and The Sound of Music and Liechtenstein before we headed to Germany. I have to admit I ate my weight in pretzels (mostly at breakfast) and beer.
I love the flower boxes – they are so colorful and all around these countries.
I attended an amazing Memorial Day celebration today. It was sponsored by the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia and assisted by the County. There was a short explanation about the meaning of coins left at a Veterans Gravesite. A coin left on the gravesite of those that served in the military is meant as a message to the deceased’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect.
A Penny indicates someone visited the grave; the Nickel-the visitor and the Veteran trained at boot camp together; the Dime-the visitor served with the Veteran in some capacity; and the Quarter-the visitor was with the Veteran when he was killed.
There was a presentation of Banners in Memory of our Fallen Soldiers. There were 73 banners in the procession. The pipers played Amazing Grace and Taps was played by a member of Taps for Veterans.
A young woman, a tenth grade student, sang the National Anthem, The Vacant Chair, and How Great Thou Art. She was amazing.
The colors were retired.
While all this was going on I thought about my mother’s cousin, Andrew Jackson Kirksey, who served on the PT109 with John Kennedy. He was one of the two sailors who died that day. I knew his grand daughter, Jackie MacFarland, and later met her father, Jack, through the Kirksey network.
Have you checked out the 1950 census yet? I’ve been looking for my parents but have not found them. My mother’s sister was listed. I did find my husband’s family. The census searches are improving every day. Machine indexing is amazing but human intervention is going to be necessary.
Vincenzo Grassi passed through Ellis Island in 1903 on his way to a new life. He sailed from Naples, Italy, on the Nord America. He was sponsored by his friend, Mr. Zaggaro, and upon arriving in New York City he became a printer. He had a printing shop and printed private label books and other items. The shop was located along 18th Avenue. The IRT stopped on 18th Avenue.
From some of the papers I have, it appears he loved to read philosophy and poetry. Vincenzo’s two brothers, Benedetto and Domenico (Domingo), and nephews went to Buenos Aires, SA and settled there over a period of 20 years. The descendants of one nephew make their home there now. Vincenzo and his family in both Italy and South America shared news and photographs with each other for over fifty years. They stayed in touch with each other until their deaths. I’ve been fortunate, I have met the families of Palmi and South America. Another brother remained in Palmi, Italy, and Benedetto returned to Italy many years later. His father was Giuseppe and his mother was Teresa Gallo. In 1905 Vincenzo was on the New York City census as was Angela Nardelli on the next page. They were married in 1906.
I was told that Vincenzo was a very likable gentleman and a gifted speaker. He was frequently invited to be the guest speaker or toastmaster at functions of the Sons of Italy.
Angela Nardelli came to the United States around 1900. She came with her brother, Giuseppe (Joe). Their home was in Alberobello, Puglia. I came across this YouTube piece about Alberobello and as I watched I wondered where their home may have been. I hope you enjoy the video (Thank you Mich & Tony Desà for the nice video). It was a post on FaceBook.
I’m into recycling – sorting stuff, saving wraps for young people and not so young people who need 500 lbs. for a bench, and knowing what to throw out. But my recycling interest started when I was a kid.
Recycling was a way of life when I was a kid. My parents grew up during the depression. They didn’t throw out anything because it might be needed. We talk about upcycling today, but that was recycling back in the day. Did you ever watch the show, McGyver? He could make a paper clip do extraordinary things. That is why you saved stuff that might be useful. But there came a time when it was wise to declutter. My mother would pack our red wagon with newspaper and fabric (she was a seamstress). We would then walk to the junk man. He would weigh the wagon fully loaded and then weigh it empty and pay us for the paper and fabric.
Kids were looking to earn a few cents too. The way we did that was to pick up soda bottles that had been discarded along the street. When you bought bottles of soda you were required to make a depost on each bottle. We would then take those bottles to the little grocery store in our neighborhood or the supermarket and turn them in and we would get the deposit. We could either save the money or buy cupcakes or other snacks.
I haven’t written much lately. The pandemic and my knee surgery zapped my energy. But one thing I have been doing is scanning my father’s letters to my mother during World War II. Dad was drafted in 1942 and was stationed in Georgia then he moved on to Washington DC. Mom was working for the War Department and then ended up in Washington DC as well. They didn’t know each other long when they were married in DC. Dad shipped out shortly after and didn’t return until January 1946. So far, 200 letters have been scanned. This doesn’t include the V-Mail that was sent.
The scanning has been slow. Sometimes I read the letters and sometimes I don’t. Dad served in North Africa in the 2nd Armored Division and then moved on to England, Belgium, France, and I think he may have made a stop in Holland based on a souvenir he sent home. Dad included photos, souvenir post cards, money from a country and he tried to make the stories interesting but it couldn’t have been easy. Letters were read by an officer who made sure no details were passed on to friend or foe. One letter was written on USO letterhead and the logo included “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”
Unfortunately, I don’t have the letters Mom wrote to Dad. If I had had the opportunity to read the letters many years ago, I could have asked some questions. I am very glad she saved them.