A place for Murphies, their friends, and anybody who's interested to talk to one another and share pictures. Leave a comment!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Greatest Songs Ever...

...are up for discussion. My #1 is Danny Boy. Somewhere in my top ten is The Stars and Stripes Forever. I have another one that's right behind Danny Boy but I can't remember what it is right now. Excluded are classical masterpieces such as Beethoven's 5th. It has to be a "song", with or without lyrics. Hm, maybe "Misty" and "Moon River" and "Autumn Leaves" are in the top ten. Ah, yes, I remembered. "Over the Rainbow" is in the top three or four.

Monday, July 07, 2014

What if they hadn't managed it?

All you Murphies should take note of this series of letters from the 1860s in which two young people -- Pruda Erway in Pennsylvania, and Mortier Wickham in New York -- carry on a secret courtship by correspondence for more than a year that finally culminates in a surprise wedding.  (These seem to have been something of a fashion at the time -- at one point, the young man expresses exasperation because another pair of relations pulled off the same surprise a few weeks before they did.)  Had they not managed it, many things might be different: they were my great-great-grandparents.  Among the several daughters later born to them was Cassie Wickham, my grandmother's mother, who grew up here, in the house on Seneca Lake that I wrote about when Grandma Frey and I went on a family history quest in 2008:

Maybe surprise marriages are a family tradition.  Mortier and Pruda's granddaughter Edith -- my grandmother -- pulled off a surprise wedding of her own one Christmas in the 1920s when she took the train to Chicago, where Grandpa Ober was a medical student, married him on Christmas Day and returned home alone to Ithaca, where she told nobody what they had done for months because, as a married woman, she'd have been expelled from her graduate program at Cornell.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Look who came to visit

When we visited Caleb, Kate and Jamie last week, Jamie and I saw a picture of a Luna moth in a field guide and I was telling him how unusual and special it is to see one, and how I've only seen one once -- years ago on the farm.  Then today we arrived at the lake and discovered that we had left an outside light on and that two Luna moths were clinging to the wall near it.  Here's one of them.  So beautiful!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A weekend visit

Saturday was a beautiful day for a visit with Jamie, Great Murphy and Caleb at Look Park.

Jamie wasn't feeling all that well, but he was game, at first, and excited about a ride on the train . . .

. . . at least in theory.  In reality, some doubts set in.

But not for Great Murphy!  She, of course, loved every bit of it: the train ride, a picnic lunch,

and the time with her family.  Jamie warmed to it, too.

But he wore out fast that afternoon, suffered through a long, uncomfortable car ride home, and slept through the rest of the afternoon and a good part of the evening . . . and woke up Sunday morning feeling much better.

Bears are always a comfort

. . . even in boxes . . .

and there was lots of serious playing to do.

Looking back, it was a great visit.  Wish we didn't have to say goodbye.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Bad Key

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Song For You

Monday, May 12, 2014

Excellent Adventures with Edna, Part 2

After lunch at Mary Link's, we drove out of the Village of Ashfield, onto a narrow, hilly dirt road winding its way through the spring woods, and found our way to Cousin Bill's house.

Starting 14 years ago, he built every bit of it himself, clearing the trees, pouring the foundation, building the chimney, the walls, the stairs (made of peeled-clean tree trunks with branches still there), the floors -- all of it his, and all of it originally designed and beautifully crafted.  He's still working on it little by little, as he finds the time and the money for each new task -- but finished or not, it's already a beautiful home.  Those are barn doors on the first floor behind the scaffolding.  They'll open to huge screened window openings, letting light and breezes into the kitchen.

Naturally, Grandma loved it.  Here she is inside with Carrie, studying a family photo of Pat with Bill and Nicky when they were impossibly young.

And here are two of Bill and Carrie's four particularly beautiful, soft and affectionate cats, posed fetchingly on top of some of Bill's particularly beautiful craftsmanship.  Notice the wood inlay in the countertop and the "tiles" that cover the kitchen walls -- actually recycled roof slates, each one cut to size by Bill.

And here's the kitchen, with cabinets that Bill just finished building, more slate tiles and recycled floorboards from a church.

Here's one of the two big, sweet, happy dogs who live in the little but roomy-feeling house along with the four cats, Bill, Carrie and Carrie's son Kyle.  This dog purrs when you pet her.  Yes, I said she purrs.  Apparently it's something that Rottweilers -- at least happy Rottweilers like this one -- do.

What a good dog.

This was the first warm day of a late, cold spring, and the dogs decided that they'd been waiting long enough for a chance to splash around.  After Bill put out the pool, every time we looked outside, there was a smiling, expectant doggie, all ready and waiting in the pool.  "Hey, where's the hose?"

Grandma got a chance to model a hat.

And last but not by any stretch of the imagination least, these people have talented animals!  The little black cat stopped doing what she had been doing when Bill called her and followed his instructions to hop on and start exercising.  Who gets a cat to do what she's told, not to mention to do it on a treadmill?  Your Cousin Bill -- whom Carrie calls "the Cat Whisperer" -- that's who.

A Mother's Day Interlude from Jamie

while Part 2 of Edna's Adventures is in production . . .


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Excellent adventures with Edna

On Saturday, we picked up Grandma in Hadley and took her for an almost-Mother's-Day ride down Memory Lane.  We drove up past a house Dad built in Sunderland, past this fountain in South Deerfield:

and then on up toward Conway, past Pekarski's Sausage and through the "pretty place" on Route 116, where Grandma remembered the names of people who lived years ago in some of the the lovely old farm houses tucked in along the creek.  Then we passed her own house, changed -- but not all that much -- with the beauty of Boyden's farm behind it, and then on up to the cemetery in the village of Conway, where we found Grandpa's grave.  Grandma was really happy to be there.

Dad took a little lichen off Grandpa's gravestone while Grandma enjoyed the sunshine, and we left flowers there.

Just a few steps away are more family memories.

The stone on the right is for Grandma's parents.

It was still wet from rain that had fallen earlier, so it's hard to read, but the inscriptions are for Edward R. Koeber, 1894--1974, and his wife Clara M. Twining, 1897--1949.  Here's more info about Edward, and here is a little more about Clara.

On the other side of the picture of Dad and Grandma is the stone for Clara's parents, Grandma's grandparents, Frederick L. Keyes 1860-1946, and his wife Lucia Twining, 1878-1947.  It's a little odd that the gravestone uses "Twining" as Lucia's surname.  Her maiden name was Weeks, and Twining was the surname of her first husband.  He went off to Washington State without her, for reasons we don't know -- though it seems to me I once saw a photograph of a dilapidated house that somebody had discovered him living in out there.  By the time Lucia died, she'd left that marriage behind and remarried, so her last name should have been Keyes.  We don't know why that isn't on the stone.  Maybe she kept the name "Twining" so she'd have the same last name as her daughter? 

Lucia is the great-grandparent you've heard about with Native American ancestry, traced back through her mother, Mary Ann Ford from Clarence, New York,  who was the "granddaughter of Yellow Jacket, a famous Indian Chief of western New York" .  Scroll down to page 399 at the link and read the full entry for #19, Henry Augustus Weeks, Lucia's father.  He led quite a life!  As I've mentioned before, I think it's possible that Yellow Jacket was actually Red Jacket, a genuinely famous Seneca Indian orator and chief who, among other things, traveled to Philadelphia to meet with John Adams and George Washington while negotiating with the new United States for the future of his tribe.  Here are some others who think so, too.

We left the cemetery and drove on up to Ashfield, past the farm by Poland Road that used to be Grandpa Koeber's and later became the base for Caleb's bicycle adventures, to have lunch with Mary Link and William.  Grandma was so fascinated and delighted with every pretty little thing in Mary Link's flowery kitchen, from pussy willows to sesame seed treats to napkin rings, that she could barely eat her lunch.  Enlarge the second picture, you'll see that she's inspecting her sandwich with visible pleasure.  To have fun in life, aspire to be like Grandma -- like both Grandmas, for that matter -- eager to be thrilled with everything you see. 

From there, we went on the woodsy home of cousin Bill and Carrie on Bug Hill Road -- but it's getting late, and they deserve a whole post of their own, and I'll put that up tomorrow.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014


This is what I imagine Luke was like when he saw fireworks for the first time.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Through the looking glass

Jamie requests to get sprayed with a hose

It was about 60 degrees on Sunday and Jamie enjoyed getting sprinkled by a hose from afar. But this quickly led to demands to be sprayed directly with the hose, over and over again, as seen below. As you can see, he requests this abuse. Immediately after we stopped he wanted us to start again.

Jamie Jamareeno

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Revisiting Safety Tips

 Safety Tips

1. Stay the hell out of bed. A lot of people die in bed.

2. When you go someplace in a car, get far from home as fast as you can. Over 25 miles, preferably. Most accidents occur within 25 miles of home.

3. Once you're that far from home, don't go back. Most medical emergencies occur in the home. Stay away from home.

These are reposted from September 2010.  No one paid any attention to them then, either.  I stole them from somewhere but I don't remember where.  

Friday, March 07, 2014

Why Daisy goes first

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Good news for Laura!

We're running out of clowns.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Can this be real?

I can't get this video to embed, so old-fashioned link clicking will have to suffice.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Happy birthday, Funny Face!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

We want Caleb

to have a happy birthday!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Norwich makes it through to Hollywood!

We haven't watched American Idol since Simon left --but this year, it looks as if Chenango County has a reason to pay attention:
The Evening Sun and the Post Standard weigh in. Another local singer, Ethan Harris of Garrattsville, is auditioning next week.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 2013

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