MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Memorial Day 2018…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

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On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds. He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. He was sent home to Maine to die. He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine. Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.

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Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried. Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862. He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.

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Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

Have a great Memorial Day and enjoy the weekend whatever you’re doing.

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Memories Of My Mom…

Maude Louise Littlefield

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Born in Waterville, Maine

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard

my mother, Maude Louise and grandmother, Albra Mae – Oak Bluffs, 1924

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Moved to New Jersey after high school graduation and met a Jersey boy, Joseph Albert (Al)…

 

                                         married him                     and had a Jersey girl (me)

The next to the last Mother’s Day I spent with my mom was May 1975. My parents were vacationing on the Cape and she was unaware that we were driving up from NJ to surprise her for the weekend. I gave her the book ‘Mostly On Martha’s Vineyard, A Personal Record’ by Henry Beetle Hough, as I knew she’d know some of the people mentioned in the book. I am so glad I did that because after reading the book she decided she wanted to sail over to the Vineyard to visit her mother’s grave. It turned out be her last trip to her beloved Vineyard.

Can’t let Mother’s Day pass without pictures of my sweeties…

Daughters Patty and Debbie…

                                      Then                                                 Now

Grandchildren Tiffany and Tyler…

                                                        Then                                                  Now

 

 

 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Story…

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Why this picture?  Is it a double exposure or is it not. So what’s the story !!!!!!

My daughter Deb is a twin.  Her sister Susan was only with us for a few hours.

Katy (Katama) was Deb’s first Boykin Spaniel. She was our first dog to go on vacation with us, no big surprise that it was to MV.  Katy left us after 20 months and we feel that she’s now with Susan.

Below is Chappy (Chappaquiddick) who was Deb’s next Boykin Spaniel.

We took lots of pictures of Chappy’s first trip to the Vineyard in 2002, especially on the beach and in the water. He really enjoyed splashing about and barking at waves. These pictures show a little of his fun at the beach.

And then there’s this picture:

Is this a double exposure !  Or is it Deb and Chappy with Susan and Katy ?   You be the judge.  Just let me say that my non-digital camera had never, until that day, taken a double exposure and never did so afterwards !!!!

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My Mom, Maude Louise…

My mother, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman was born in Waterville, Maine on March 11, 1907.

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(my mother and her mother Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Grant Baird)

The picture below is one of my most favorite pictures of all time…

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard… that’s my mother and grandmother at their house on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs, 1924

After graduating from Oak Bluffs High School in 1926 she moved to Newark, NJ where she met, and married a Jersey boy… Joseph Albert Freeman

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and had a Jersey girl (me)…

 

I have posted the above pictures etc several times here on my blog either on my mother’s birthday or on Mother’s Day so why am I doing it again this year ?   During the past several months my daughter Deb and I (90% Deb) have been digging into the ancestry of our family.  I posted back in October 2015 how my mother’s ancestors did indeed come on the first voyage of the Mayflower …. but since then Deb has discovered ancestors on mom’s side all over the place and going back many generations.  She’s also discovered facts about my grandparents on my dad’s side which has been amazing since we didn’t know anything about them at all.  But that’s a post for another time. Today it’s all about my mom, Maude Louise.

A friend asked me the other day to describe my mother…what was she like, what did she like to do. I pondered this question and found it was sort of a hard one to answer. To me my mother was funny and a little nutsy at times, a trait I’ve happily inherited by the way… she was kind and loving, a hard worker, she adored my dad, and me. She liked to crochet, she made tablecloths and doilies, and also made lace on handkerchiefs. She made one for my best friend to carry on her wedding day… when I got married I carried it as my ‘something borrowed’.. as did my daughter Patty when she got married.

She had her problems as well though, she went through a period of over a year when I was around 11 when she wouldn’t leave the house… at all… ever. She would wait for me to get home from school and then send me to the corner store for her cigarettes or milk or whatever. We didn’t know what to do about this but then the solution presented itself one morning when my dad was home and he took advantage of it. Mom was doing the wash in one of those machines that had wringers where you’d put the clothes through to get excess water off of them. Somehow my mother’s arm went half way through the wringer…she screamed.. my dad went running to see what was wrong. He quickly took the wringer apart and freed mom’s arm. She claimed she was okay but my dad being a policeman who had worked in the emergency squad division thought otherwise. And here’s where his genius solution to mom’s not wanting to leave the house came in. He said he was taking her to the hospital, she started up the stairs to get dressed (she was in her robe) and he said no, there wasn’t time for that. And then he took her to the worst, most crowded hospital in the city and left her there. He left her because I was due home for lunch break and someone had to be there. Of course when I got home I wondered why Mom wasn’t there and he said she’d gone shopping ! Shopping, really ! The woman hadn’t left the house in months and months and now she suddenly went downtown to go shopping. I was skeptical. When I came home from school later in the day there sat my mother all dressed up like she really had gone shopping. I, of course asked if she’d bought me anything.. hey I was 11 and very self involved.

But what my dad did was just what was needed to snap her back to herself.  She had been so embarrassed sitting in the hospital in her night clothes with so many people around that I guess she vowed to take her life back and do something other than sitting and crocheting all the time.

And she did…. a week later she went to the personnel office in the bank she had worked for before I was born, applied for a job as a bookkeeper and was hired on the spot.

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But there was a lot more to my mother than that episode above… the fact that she had the spirit in her to get herself back on track, I find myself calling on that spirit at times too.

She was a kook in her younger years and I’ve got the photo album that proves it.

The first page says ‘taken during the year 1926’.. most of the photos are of mom and her friends on Martha’s Vineyard…there are a few from NJ as well.   I love how she wrote in white ink on the black pages…and wow, what typical 1926 sayings she wrote.  My mother it seems was turning into a flapper… I love it.

For instance, the picture on the lower left says ‘The Oak Bluffs Sheik “oh daddy” “He’s a hound with the ladies.”  I’m 80% sure I know who that hound was but I’m not telling 🙂

It would have been fun to have known my mother when she was that age, to have hung out with her and her friends on the Vineyard, to be in on their inside jokes and what really went on in with the sheik of Oak Bluffs ! Okay, maybe not. Does one really want to know THAT much about their parents, some things are better left unknown 🙂

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Yes indeed, my mother was one of my favorite people to spend time with.  Some nights when my dad was working the night shift my mom and I would have our favorite supper and speak our ‘silly language’, which was to put ‘S’ in front of every word… not as easy as you think and certainly made for gales of laughter from both of us.

I feel that maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time on the above story about her bout with, depression, and I was tempted to go back and delete it…but no, it goes to show that she was a strong woman, who lost herself for awhile and then found and reinvented herself…and I’m proud of her for that and like to think that I got some of that fortitude or spunk from her… I definitely got my quirkiness from her and I thank her for that.

Happy birthday mom… ❤

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Birthday, Mine …

I was born on Saturday, February 14… Valentine’s Day.  Family story has it that my mother refused to have me on Friday the 13th.  Whether true or not I don’t know but I have always liked being a Valentine.

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I was born in Newark, NJ where my dad was a police officer.  From the age of 6 months I spent all my summers on Martha’s Vineyard where my mother grew up.  What a lucky kid I was.

Out and about for a walk with my Easter bunny in my new Easter outfit.

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I was an only child but never a lonely child.

Every year my mother would plan a party for my birthday and every year I’d be sick and it would have to be canceled.  At long last around the age of 9 or 10 I finally had my first birthday party.

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I believe that was the first and last birthday party I had until my 50th many, many years later…

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The group picture is my daughter Deb with dog Jilly, daughter Patty, granddaughter Tiffany and me… we recreated it for Patty’s 50th a few years ago with Deb holding dog Chappy this time.  We’ve definitely all changed a bit I’d say.

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And so that’s how birthdays go. One year after another like clock work they roll around and give us pause to think about the past ones and the ones still to come.

 DSC_0253 I can pretty much be summed up in this word search Patty made for me.

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In the words of Carly Simon…”one number older, another year younger, blow out the candles, happy birthday” 🙂

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Their First Christmas…

The sisters first Christmas, 51 years ago.

Patty and Debbie became sisters on Nov 6, 1966 but they did not meet until Dec 21, 1966.

Dec 1966.. Patty & Debbie

 

 

Patty was almost 2 1/2 when Debbie was born.   Deb, who was due the end of December arrived 7 weeks early and didn’t come home from the hospital until Dec 21, the first day of winter, 1966.

As you can see from the picture Patty was delighted and happy to be a big sister.  Debbie, I’m sure was happy to finally be home.

Patty was a terrific big sister right from the beginning.  She helped me take care of Debbie and when I would give Deb her bottle Patty and her new dolly would join us.   Her doll was almost the same size as Deb, Debbie had been only 3 lbs when she was born and had to be 5 lbs before she could come home… so yes, she and the doll were almost the same size.

Since it was so close to Christmas when Deb came home I wanted her to be a surprise to her grandparents when they arrived on Christmas morning.   Patty was under instructions from Santa Claus not to tell anyone that her new sister was home, and since the request was coming from the big guy himself she didn’t utter a word to anyone.

However…   my mother called one evening and just at that moment Debbie, who was in the same room with me, began to cry.  Oh oh.   My mother asked if that was a baby and I said no.  She said she didn’t believe me.  She asked again… ‘is that baby home from the hospital?’   I said yes but that I had wanted to keep her a surprise until Christmas.   My mother kept her composure but I could hear the crack in her voice when said how happy she was but that we shouldn’t tell my father… let him be surprised on Christmas morning.

So Christmas morning arrived, along with a 24 hour stomach bug which hit me pretty hard. I managed to get out of bed long enough to greet my parents at the door. Patty was all bubbly and happy to see her grandparents and they were showering her with plenty of attention.

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Then my dad glanced at the tree.   He looked closer.  I could see his eyes moisten when he realized that the baby in the baby carrier under the tree was NOT a doll but his new granddaughter Debbie.    My dad wasn’t one to let his emotions out or show on his face… but he did that morning.

It was definitely a very merry, happy and blessed Christmas that year.

Christmas morning 6 years later in 1972, my favorite Christmas picture of Patty and Debbie…

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Merry Christmas to my girls ❤ ❤

 

 


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My One Vineyard Christmas…

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I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard around Christmastime many times but to my recollection there is only one time in my life that I actually spent Christmas on the Vineyard. I was probably around 5 or 6 and my mother and I went to MV to be with my godparents.

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Edward and Gertrude Norris (Nana and Pop) were my godparents. They lived part of the year in their house in Oak Bluffs which is where I spent my childhood summers. The other part of the year they lived in Newark, NJ downstairs in the same house we lived in. They were the most important people in my life besides my parents. They never had children of their own and they thought of us as their family. When my mother graduated from high school on MV she moved to Newark, NJ to live with them and to find work.

One Christmas, in the early 1950’s, when Nana and Pop were elderly, having health problems and living year round on the Vineyard and missing us, my mother decided she and I should go and spend Christmas with them. I was too young to realize this might be the last Christmas for one or both of them, all I knew was that I was going to wake up Christmas morning ON THE VINEYARD. How great would that be. The only glitch was that my dad couldn’t get off work to come with us but he insisted we go. Talk about being torn.

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I seem to remember there was a dusting of snow on Christmas morning… even if there wasn’t I like to think there was.  There were presents… one in particular I remember because I asked for it every year. A nurses kit. It was a white square box with a red cross on the side. Inside were band-aids, gauze bandages, a wooden thermomenter and a stethescope, a name tag… and the most important article.. a nurses cap. I spent the most of the morning bandaging people up whether they wanted to be or not.

All of a sudden I heard a faint knock on the front door !! I ran to open it and let out a shriek… it was my dad standing there with a big smile and a shirt box. A shirt box !! Yes indeed that’s all he had with him. No suitcase. No duffle bag. Just a shirt box with a couple of clean shirts and other essentials inside it. He liked to travel light.

It turned out to be one of the most wonderful Christmases of my childhood.

I am blessed to have the memories of that one Christmas on Martha’s Vineyard and of Nana and Pop, two people who were such an important part of my life.

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….and happy holiday memories to all. ❤