A Note On Memory

Here I am using my memory to write interesting items on my blog. Now today’s issue of The Daily Chronicle (the in-house publication at Ida Culver) has a front page article indicating that memories are more complex than simply remembering the past. To quote the article : “Scientists have shown that each time we recall a memory we are prone to change it slightly.” I wonder. I would have to lookout this in a more scientific way rather than relying on such a sweeping generalization in our in-house publication.

A photo from the past – this is me (Janet) at my loom in Dublin. This must date from sometime between 1994 when we moved back to Dublin for good and approximately 2005 when I was getting tired of weaving rugs and was finding it harder and harder to crawl under the loom in setting it up. Note the painting in the upper right hand – corner. I have that painting hanging on the wall behind me as I type this blog entry Sept. 17, 2020 in Seattle. I treasure that painting especially – it was done by my good friend and neighbor Finola O’Keeffe in Dublin. The cat is Menou whom I used to feed when Finola went on holiday. Now I think of the cat as Katerina, our cat in Seattle.

Making A Chart For The Neighborhood

This is my initial attempt to set up a framework for keeping track of my childhood neighbors. The following is a rough draft, or work in progress.

Census Date Address. Family

1920 43 Old Middlesex. Vacant – Benton Estate

1930. 43 Old Middlesex Joseph and Mildred Miller family of 5

1940. 43 Old Middlesex. Joseph and Dorothy Miller family of 6

1920. 49 Old Middlesex. Vacant

1930 49 Old Middlesex Harold and Betty Ginsburgh family, 2 children Allen and Ethel

1940. 49 Old Middlesex. Harold and Betty Ginsburgh family and 2 children Allen and Ethel

1920. 37 Old Middlesex. Vacant

1930 37 Old Middlesex. Thomas and Rita McLaughlin family, 2 sons Walter

and Robert

1920. Old Middlesex Vacant

1930. Old Middlesex. Libby family of

1940. Old Middlesex. Libby family of

1920. Old Middlesex. Vacant

1930 Old Middlesex Norton family of

1940. Old. Middlesex. Keenan family. of

1920. Old Middlesex. Vacant

1930. Old Middlesex Joseph and Rita O’Sullivan family and children

William and Joan

1940. Old Middlesex. Joseph and Rita O’Sullivan family and children

William and Joan

1920. Old Middlesex Vacant

1930 Old Middlesex. Pierce family,

1940. Old Middlesex. Pierce family, Joseph age 6 and Richard age 2

1920. Old Middlesex Vacant

1930. Old Middlesex Joseph and Bella Campbell, 1 child Joseph

1940. Old Middlesex. Joseph and Bella Campbell, 2 children Joseph and Jean

1920. Old Middlesex. Vacant

1930. Old Middlesex. Nita Hannigan

1940. Old Middlesex. Farrells

1920. Old Middlesex. Vacant

1930. Old Middlesex Bradford Chase Patch and Martha (2nd wife)

1940. Old Middlesex. Bradford Chase Patch and Martha

1920. Old Middlesex Vacant

1930. Old Middlesex O’Shea or Pheeney

1940 Old Middlesex. O’Shea or Pheeney

1920. Old Middlesex Vacant

1930. 55 Old Middlesex. Higgins

1940 55 Old Middlesex. Higgs

1920 Essex Road. Vacant

1930 3 Essex Road Michael John O’Hare and Bridget and 5 children Margaret, Ann, John

1940. 3 Essex Road Michael John and Bridget O’Hare, 5 daughters and 1 son. John

1920 9 Essex Road Vacant

1930 9 Essex Road Herbert and Nellie Crowley, 1 son Herbert Jr.

1940 9 Essex Road Herbert and Nellie Crowley

1920 31 Old Middlesex Rd. Vacant

1930 31 Old Middlesex Rd. Mr and Mrs Walsh, son Robert

1940 31 Old Middlesex Road. Mr and Mrs Walsh, son Robert

1920 25 Old Middlesex Road. Vacant

1930 25 Old Middlesex Road. Mr. and Mrs Moore, 5 daughters

1940 25 Old Middlesex Road. Mr. and Mrs. Moore, 6 daughters, Phyllis, Loretta

1920 Indian Hill Road Vacant

1930 Indian Hill Road Arthur and Mrs Sampson, daughter Lucy, son Arthur Jr.

1940 Indian Hill Road Arthur and Mrs Sampson, daughter Lucy age 18 and son Arthur Jr. age 15

1920 Benton Road Vacant

1930 Benton Road Katherine Hunt, piano teacher

1940 Benton Road Katherine Hunt, piano teacher, 2 men and another womean

1920 Oakley Road Vacant

1930 Oakley Road Albert. and Alice Carey,

1940 Oakley Road Albert and Alice Carey, daughter. Judy (Judith) age 4

1920. Oakley Road or Pine St.? big stone dwelling

1930 Oakley Road or Pine St. Arthur Doty?

1940 Oakley Road or Pine St. Doty?

1920 Oakley Road ?

1930 Oakley Road John Dwyer and Mrs Dwyer

1940 Oakley Road John Dwyer and Mrs., 2 daughters x age 4 and Margaret

Changes In The Neighborhood

I knew that my father and his wife and my sisters and brother had moved in to our house on Old Middlesex Road as the first owners. Looking back, I am beginning to wonder when the other houses in the neighborhood were built. That land was part of what was called the Benton Estate. My sisters told me that when they were small they remember the big house which belonged to the Bentons.

Of course the Benton Branch Library, which had been the private chapel for the Benton family, was still very much a feature in my childhood, and is still standing today. It is no longer functioning as a Branch Library of the Belmont Public Library system, but I think it is maintained by volunteers as a sort of neighborhood lending library and possibly used for community meetings.

Our house was built in 1925-1926 and the Millers were the first owners. But what about the other houses? The Ginsburghs were next door. When was their house built? Mr Ginsburgh grew up in Rochester New York. He graduated from Harvard in 1920 and he was a member of an Army Training Unit at Harvard in 1921. In 1923 he married Betty Cohen in Cambridge. According to the 1930 Census, he and Betty were resident in their house number 49 Old Middlesex Road, next door to ours at number 43.

In the 1930 U.S. Census there are several other families that I can recall my sisters mentioning -the O’Sheas, Nita Hannigan, O’Sullivans, Bradford and Martha Patch, the Colpitts, the Kelly’s, the Parkers. All around the corner from the Ginsburghs. Where were these families in 1920?

The Changing Neighborhood

In my research I am discovering that the neighborhood I knew in the 1940’s had changed considerably from the 1930’s when my brother and sisters were growing up. My siblings would talk about neighbors whom I never met. My father and his 2nd wife moved into the house in 1927 when it was built. My father planted the maple tree in the back yard when my sister Nan was born in April 1927. I had the opportunity to read their mother’s diaries written from 1925-1930. The family lived in an apartment on School Street prior to the move to Old Middlesex Road. Their mother Mildred wrote of my father playing golf a lot. When the time came to move to the new house she was left to push the baby carriage about a mile up hill. In 1927 my brother Bob would have been 2 years old. My sister Ruth would have been the baby in the carriage, and Mildred would have been pregnant with Nan! And my father would have been off playing golf!! I wonder! This is painting a very bad picture of my father, but I am sure he was quite the opposite. My image of him and feelings are quite the opposite – a very loving and doting father.

I would like to look at those diaries again if I get a chance. Ruth had them for years and then loaned them to Nan. I am not sure whether They were returned to Ruth. I must. as one of Ruth’s daughters.

Exploring My Neighborhood

I am using the U.S. Census to explore my neighborhood in the 1940’s. This is a fascinating exercise as I am calling on my own memories and my older brother and sisters’ memories. My older siblings knew many neighbors who were there before my time. The Census Records of 1940 and prior years yield lots of information. As do the Town Directories for many years pre and post 1940. Registrations for the draft in World Wars 1 and 2 are a source of information. High School Yearbooks are good also. Thanks to my sister Ruth I have a History of Belmont – a publication titled Footsteps Through Belmont by Richard B. Betts – a wealth of information and old photographs. I think Ruth won it at one of her high school reunions. My brother was the Class of 1942 – a browse through his Blueprint yearbook yields memories of classmates and neighbors.

Lawn bowling prize money finally spent

Janet's thread

I had a very good season  of lawn bowling and even had some prize money from the Leinster-Crumlin week in early August.  I decided to set the money aside and use it for something special.  In late August I had my music week at Termonfeckin – the Irish Recorder and Viols Course.  That was such a good week, I decided that I would use my prize money for the purchase of a bass recorder.  And today the new recorder arrived.


I’m delighted!  We have a big recorder playing weekend coming up and I hope I can play it at some point over the weekend. 

As for knitting news, here is the eccentric blanket, which the other resident photographer in the family has labelled “latest weird rug”.    

latest-strange-rug.jpg  I am using all sorts of bits and pieces from my stash – it is a stash reduction project – in this case…

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Janet's thread

I haven’t played my recorders for a couple of years or so.  I was just busy with other activities and the time and place where the monthly recorder meetings were held were no longer convenient.  But recently I tried playing the recorder again and found that arthritis in my hands made it difficult to play.  Alas.  Up until now the things associated with aging haven’t really bothered me.  But now, trying to play the recorder is painful and it is bothering me to find that I just can’t spread my fingers with enough agility to make playing the recorder possible.  I really wanted to attend and play in an up coming one day jazz workshop.miscellaneous-ian-009  In younger days with the bass recorder.  7 or 8 years ago?  in my early 70’s

I have a friend of similar vintage whose mother had very bad arthritis in her hands.  My friend…

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Stealing A Horse

In tracing the backgrounds of my childhood neighbors, I found that one of my many Irish neighbors had some bad marks in his family history. His x great grandfather in County Tipperary had a prison record for stealing a horse. Stealing a horse from a Michael Fahey. Was this Michael Fahey a x great grandfather of our 1940 neighbor Michael Fahey?? Interesting to speculate.