Friday, October 30, 2009

Grandpa Mack's 101st Birthday

Last weekend we were in Michigan for my wife's father's 101st birthday. The pictures are found here and a video is found here.  We had a wonderful time in spite of the miserable weather - cold, windy and rain.  I'm at a loss as to how anybody can live there year round!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On the Road

Last week Nancy and I were in Miami Thursday thru Saturday babysitting our granddaughter, Alexa. Today we are off to the Detroit area for my father-in-law's 101st birthday and we will be back home on Monday afternoon.  (By the way, the temperature in Boca Raton right now is 79 with a high forecasted of 86; in Detroit it is 56 with a projected high of 59.  Just lovely!) After that we will be home for four weeks and then we will off for a week in Scottsdale, AZ with three of our daughters and their family for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cemeteries in Rochester, NY

For the thirty or so years that I lived in Rochester, I knew that Rochester had two large cemeteries: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Lake Avenue for Catholics and Mount Hope Cemetery on Mount Hope Avenue for everybody else.  I guess that I may have heard of two smaller ones, the Rapids Cemetery and Riverside Cemetery, although at the time I probably couldn't tell you where they were.  I have subsequently learned that the Rapids Cemetery was located in my neck of the woods, the 19th Ward.  It is on the north side of Congress Avenue just about seven lots from Genesee Street.  Riverside Cemetery in located on the east side of Lake Avenue just north of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.  I suspect that if I had gone north on Lake Avenue I would have assumed that Riverside was just a continuation of Holy Sepulchre.  Looking at a map the two abut each other.

When I started looking at my family's history I found that some of my Eagan Grandfather's siblings had been originally buried at St. Patrick's cemetery located on Pinnacle Hill.  When the large plot of land on Lake Avenue was purchased by the Diocese of Rochester for a cemetery (and also St. Bernard's Seminary) all bodies from Pinnacle Hill were removed to Holy Sepulchre.  Also were removed to Holy Sepulchre were those buried at other Catholic cemeteries that I did not even know about.


One of the first duties of the new common council was to provide a suitable resting-place for the dead. The early settlers had used for that purpose a half-acre lot on the corner of Plymouth avenus and Spring streets, by permission of its owners. Rochester. Fitzhugh and Carroll, who finally deeded it, as a free gift, to the village corporation in 1821. Three months later it was exchanged for a lot of three and a half acres on West Main street, where the City hospital now stands, and all the bodies were removed thither. This was always known as the Buffalo street buryingground, while a smaller one on the east side of the river was called the Monroe street bury ing-ground. But both together were too circumscribed and too near to a growing population, so in 1836 the common council, approving a selection unofficially made by a committee of citizens, purchased of Silas Andrus a piece of ground comprising the first fifty-three acres of what is now Mt. Hope. Fortunately for posterity Silas Cornell was the surveyor of the city at that time, to whose rare skill as a landscape architect, and equally perhaps to his wise forbearance in altering as little as possible the undulations of the ground, it was owing that Mt. Hope has always been one of the most beautiful resting-places for the departed in nil the land. The spirit of the original design has been adhered to by successive superintendents, notably by George D. Stillson, who held the position for sixteen years. Additions were made to the necropolis from time to time, the largest being in 1865, when seventy-eight acres were purchased, so that it now contains about one hundred and eighty-eight acres. The first interment, that of William Carter, was made on August 18th, 1838; on the 1st of June, 1894, the fifty thousandth burial took place and up to this time some sixty thousand have been laid away there, a veritabla city of the dead, a silent city.

While there were some few Catholics interred at Mt. Hope in early days, the great majority of that communion, practically all of them, preferred to bury their dead in ground consecrated by their church, and so the trustees of St. Patrick's bought an extensive tract on the Pinnacle hills, southeast of the city, in 1838, and for the next thirty-three years the interment of English-speaking Catholics was made in the Pinnacle burying-ground, as it was always called, since which time much of the light, sandy soil of that eminence has been removed for building purposes. The German Catholics have had three cemeteries—that of St. Joseph, on Lyell avenue; of Sts. Peter and Paul, on Maple street, and of St. Boniface, on South Clinton street—but almost all the bodies have been removed from these and deposited in the Holy Sepulcher cemetery. This comprises about one hundred and forty acres, situated on Lake avenue, north of the city line, in the town of Greece, and extending to the bank of the river. The location is a most desirable one, and since it was opened, in 1871, it has been increasingly beautified, so that it has become very attractive to all visitors.

Perceiving the advantage that the Holy Sepulcher had over Mt. Hope in being located so far from the dwellings of the living, several persons formed themselves into a corporation in 1892 and bought one hundred acres of land just north of the former, where the grounds were at once laid out in a suitable manner and were tastefully decorated, the result being that lots were speedily purchased and interments are very frequent in the lovely Riverside cemetery. One other place of the dead might have been mentioned before, on account of its antiquity. Although within the city limits, near the southern end of Genesee street, it was doubtless intended for the use of the dwellers ir Scottsville and Chili, for it is said to have been established in 1812, when there were no residents here. It has always been known as the Rapids burying-ground. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trafalgar Street in Rochester, NY

Yesterday we looked at my home until 1950 on Flint Street.  Here you see my home from 1950 until 1961 when I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  While in the Corps I was married and when I returned to Rochester at the end of my enlistment my wife and son moved into my father-in-law's house on  Shelbourne Road.  Originally when we moved here the front door was in the middle of front with a window on the right.  Inside there were relatively small halls/rooms and the living room.

My father wanted a large living room so he (with my help) tore down the walls for the smaller halls/rooms and made one large living room.  I'm surprised that the second floor didn't fall into the first floor and then into the basement as at least one of those walls that were taken down was a load bearing wall. To take the place of the load bearing wall, my father laid two very long "two by tens" against the studs and up against the ceiling and then cut the studs.  After some time he also had to but a jack in the basement to keep the first floor living room from sagging?

The details of the house at the City of Rochester property site note that there are seven rooms.  I guess that they don't count the three rooms in the attics.  Also it lists one bathroom but no mention to the toilet ("the throne") in the basement; the one that my sisters and I painted!

The house on the right was the Websters and on the left were the Hartwell.  Next to the Hartwells on the corner of Trafalgar and Montgomery were the Griffins.  If you look at a map of this area of Rochester you will note that we were three houses from West High School (now Wilson Magnet High School). My sisters could leave for school minutes before it started and be there on time.  Not me, I went to Aquinas Institute on Dewey Avenue.  For me to get to school I took a bus downtown to the Four Corners (Main and State) and transfer to the Dewey Avenue bus (number 10 bus if I recall).


Monday, October 12, 2009

Flint Street in Rochester, NY

Here is the house I lived in on Flint Street in Rochester until 1950 when we moved to Trafalgar Street. This wasn't very far as you can see on a map of Rochester. It was just the other side of Genesee Street.



The small stoop at the front door is not the way it was when we lived there.  Then there was a porch with railing that went the entire front of the house.   One spring just before Easter (I think) we were getting ready to take the bus downtown to shop for Easter outfits.  Because the railing was to walk on (what else would they be there for) my sister, Kathy, fell.  Naturally, she broke her arm.  I don't for the life of me recall how she got the break set and the cast put on.  If I had to guess she went to St. Mary's Hospital just up Genesee St. at Bull's Head.  (I'll talk about Bull's Head and other locations in Rochester at some other time.)  I'm pretty sure we didn't go downtown that day!


It's funny but I can remember more of the neighbors on Flint Street than I can on those on Trafalgar Street.  The neighbors to the right of our house was the Trimbles (Herb and his wife) and next to them was Mr. Trimble's mother and sister.  As I recall, the two houses were always painted the same and had shared garage in the back.  (In those days almost all garages were detached from the house.)

On the left was the Dipples.  I don't think I ever knew Mr. and Mrs. first names but I just looked in the City Directory for 1929 and Mr. Dipple was George.  Mrs. Dipple was a regular crone.  Their back yard was a regular jungle and if anything went over their fence you had to hunt for it.  More often or not Mrs. Dipple saw you and she would come out the back door screaming.

Next to the Dipples were the Schwartz (I think that was the name).  They had a garage in their back yard where my father kept his car.  Next to them was the Porters.  They had three older girls, an older boy and Billy.  Billy was probably five years older than I or more and quite stocky.  No, not stocky, he was fat.  He was taking flying lessons when he was in high school (Edison High) and crashed and died.  I don't recall whether it was at the Rochester Airport or Hyland Field, a small air field in either Brighton of Henrietta.

Next to the Porters, at 502 Flint St., were the Neary family: Jim (a policeman) and Helen, and Fred, Barbara and Bob.  They were probably our closest friends on Flint Street.  Until about 1944, the grandfather, Patrick J. Neary, also lived there.  I recall when he died as he was laid out at home (as was common then) during a terrible storm.  That was probably my earliest recollection of Flint Street.  Quite a neighborhood.

At another time I'll introduce you to the Denices (assholes), Johnny Montuli (or as my father called him, Johnny Ma-got-no-teeth), Annie Conner, and the rest of the crew on Flint Street.

Ireland Does Not Have A Prime Minister

This morning's New York Times had an article relating to Secretary of State Clinton and her visit to Ireland accompanied by a photo with Brian Cowen. Although the article refers to Cowen as the Irish Prime Minister, the Republic of Ireland has no Prime Minister. The head of government in Ireland is the Taoiseach, an Irish term meaning Chief. 

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I'm not sure that he has done anything yet to warrant that prize but one thing is certain. It certainly will piss off those cretins on the right!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Heat Index 104 in Boca Raton

Right now (noon) in Boca Raton it is about 90 degrees and the heat index stands at 104. That has been the norm for the last five days or so. As a result, after my morning bicycle ride and a shower I strapped my beach chair and umbrella on my back, hopped on my motorscooter and headed to the beach. Breakfast at the beach was Gatorade, a bagel and the New York Times. It doesn't get any better than that!