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Louis and Mary

Dear Rosa,

It’s funny, this strange little world I live in. Searching for people so long gone no one remembers what they looked like. Walking through cemeteries, seeking family I’ve never met. Finding you, Rosa, and your sweet husband, Henry, was a wonderful moment for me last week.

Today brought another special moment. Today, I found your grandparents.

Louis Blain and Mary Adaline Bourdeau. Only here in Vermont they were known simply as Lewis and Mary Blair.

I knew I’d find them. I just didn’t think they’d be buried in the same cemetery as you.

And how sweet is that?

So, next time I’m in little Duxbury, Vermont, you know where old Sue will be. Yup, sauntering up and down perfectly  manicured lawns searching for that small stone that marks her great-great-great grandparent’s resting spot. And when I find their stone, I’ll take a pic or two to share.

Maybe I’ll even plant a lilac tree.

Rosa · Uncategorized

I found you, my Rosa…

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My Dearest Rosa,

Well, it was a sweet search and one that culminated in a wonderful moment for Sue.

I knew where you were buried, in a little cemetery in Duxbury, Vermont, right alongside your husband, Henry and son, Freddie. It took a while to find you and it was such a charm when I did.

You were there, beneath a shady lilac tree, you and Henry and I was so moved.

My Rosa. My great-grandmother.

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And the little white marker besides yours and Henry’s? It’s your son, Freddie’s. You can’t read his name anymore. 100 years have stolen it away. But, if you look close, you can just make out, “Age 4 years.” Freddie didn’t live long enough, did he?

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And see, Rosa- I thought you might like to know I’ve found you’re mom, Elizabeth. She rests close to me, in Burlington.  Your sister, Hattie,  is there, too.

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I found a measure of peace, knowing you were so well cared for. And the lilac tree- I know where it came from- your daughter, my grammy, must’ve planted it.

She had a matching tree in her yard.

It’s  still there you know, grammy’s lilac tree. Just like yours, it continues to thrive and bring a reminder of the changing of the seasons, the passing of time, and the memory of those who’ve come before us.

Enos Blair short stores · Uncategorized

Oh, that little devil…

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Dear Rosa,

I love a mystery. I don’t write them, I solve them. Yup, you can call me “Detective Sue” – or some other cool moniker like “Cookie”. I had wondered why your grandfather, Louis Blair, would show up in Civil War records as Enos Blais and now I have a pretty good hunch.

He was a jumper.

Shhh – don’t tell anyone.  Jumpers were shot when they got caught.

Let me explain…

The Union sought out and paid bounties to Canadians to fight on their side. Many of these fellows weren’t naturalized and even lived in Canada (the Union recruiters went their to seek them out). They were paid $300 for their service to the Good Old US of A.  I don’t know the numbers, but quite a few of these fellows quickly learned a neat little trick. Sign up in New York, get paid, then scram, only to sign up in Massachusetts under a different name.

Thus, Enos Blais.

If you’re wondering how I made the jump from Louis Blair to Enos Blais – I’ll tell you, all the details of this Enos, from age to children to place of birth line up exactly with Louis Blair (Maybe I should start calling him Louis Blain – because that is his real name!).

So Rosa, there you have it. Your Grandfather was a crafty fellow. I wonder if any of his sons did the same thing?

We are a smart lot, us Blains-

We know how to make money.

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two worlds divided by a simple road…

Dear Rosa,

Well, I’ve joined an on-line historical fiction writers critique group- wow, is that a mouthful – and what a watershed moment for this old gal. Chapter One of “The Guardian” has been critiqued by 7 people! And what wonderful, insightful things they’ve had to say. It’s a slow process to re-write, but one I’ve been digging into with gusto.

Which brings me back to the odd name for this post.

I was in Burlington on Saturday, searching for my great-great grandmother’s marker and what a revelation I had.

I knew from recent research that the Irish and French did not mix in Burlington (a driving factor for the plot of my book). Even the Irish and French Catholics did not share the same church. This fact was driven home when I stood on a small road separating a very large cemetery.

On my left were the Irish… the Mulligans and Fitzpatricks, Nolans and O’Sullivans. We saw maybe two French names…

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photo credit: Susan Bahr, 2013

…and some very spectacular Celtic crosses.

On the right side, was the French. Pepins and Desotells, Beaupres and Boivin. I saw one Irish name, but didn’t find her, my Elizabeth. I know she’s there, buried alongside her husband, Peter and daughter, Hattie, so  I’ll keep searching.

It’s poignant, I think, and very telling that even in death, these two cultures  retained their separate identities.

A simple road separates them…

It might as well be an ocean.

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two sweet little awards for Rosa…

I want to say a heartfelt thank you to http://genealogylady.net for nominating little Rosa for the versatile blogger award – and Kristi at  http://dressedtoquill.wordpress.com for the … versatile blogger award! Please swing by and check out their sites – you’ll be glad you did.

Well, as wordpress has decided that I can’t visit some of you – including genealogy lady (I can’t even leave a comment. Would you all please tell this wonderful lady I said THANK YOU!) – I am forced to accept this award as I see fit. And so, because I feel like it (insert evil villain’s laughter here), I am going to nominate but one blogger.

Laura over at http://lauraryanfedelia.wordpress.com

Today is a special day for that sweet and amazing lady. Today she launches her book “The Box”. I can’t be with her as life has intervened and screwed everything up – but I thought it might be nice to highlight her brand new blog and ask you all to shoot over there and send her a quick “hello” and “best wishes” and such.

As to listing a bunch of things about myself? In keeping with breaking all the rest of the rules, I shall break this one, too and tell you only one thing:

I love chocolate (shhh, it’s a secret). So there you have it- my life summed up in three pathetic words!

I wish for all of you a wonderful day, full of hope and love and all good things.

Cheers-

Sue

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Hey Old Scout…

Dear Rosa,

If you met Martin Dyer, he would’ve been a boy. I only knew him as an old man with long white hair.

We called him “Marty” and he’d greet us each day with a wave and his signature call… “Hey old scout!”

Marty rented a room from my gram and a barn from Mrs. Duprey that lived just next door. He drove an El Camino two miles an hour from one house to another. So slow, you could walk and get there faster. Later, long after Marty had passed from this world, I pointed at an El Camino and noted how it was an “old man’s car.” My husband laughed and told me they were one of the fastest cars on the road.

Fast. Really? Who knew…

Marty ate lunch at Grams. Each day she would lay out 8 pieces of white bread, slathered with butter and a bowl of soup or such. The man was huge. I asked him one day, how he could eat so much. He just winked and smiled. “Gotta stay strong for hunting.”

Ah, yes, hunting. My dad says Marty lived for that.

Marty towered over my gram, but she never took lip from him. She was “Mrs. Ferry” even though he was older. She’d wag a little finger at him and say “don’t get fresh” if he tried to call her Mary.  He knew where the line was and he never dared to cross it.

He was no relation – I never felt compelled to call him uncle – but it seems important somehow, that others know that he lived and laughed and had a purpose. So maybe just for today, when you greet someone, a stranger even, give them a large wave and Marty’s hello…

“Hey old scout!”

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I just had to do it – “Mom” aka Kassie – has such a delightful way with words!

Maybe someone should write that down...

Well, well, well…

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The subject of “names” is a rather touchy one in some factions of the family…around here anyway.  I was named “Kathryn” as a political move.  I had enough Grandmothers on all sides with that name, in various spellings, and at various positions (first, middle, patron saint, baptismal) to make most of them happy.  I was not the first grandchild on either side of my family, but I was the first granddaughter on both sides!  Another of my illustrious firsts.

When I went to school, there were 7 little girls in 1st grade at Perry Elementary named Kathryn in some form or another.  So, probably, their families had the same sort of “thing” going on.  If this had been a big school, then Cathy, Kathy, Kathryn, Cathleen, Katherine, Katy, and other Kathryn would have been insignificant.  However, this was a farming community.  The schools were small.  The 4…

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