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.