Capt. John Denison & Phebe Lay

2.23.20 ~ Denison Burial Ground, Mystic, Connecticut
Capt.
John Denison
Died 1698 Age 52
His Wife
Phebe Lay
Died 1699 Age 49

Capt. John Denison, my 8th-great-grandfather, son of George and Ann (Borodell) Denison, was born 14 June 1646 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 26 April 1698 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut. He married 26 November 1667 in Saybrook (Middlesex) Connecticut, Phebe Lay, who was born 5 January 1651 at Saybrook Point-Old Saybrook (Middlesex) Connecticut, and died in 1699 in Stonington, daughter of Robert and Sarah (Fenner) Lay.

The following is from Ancestors & Descendants of Calvert Crary & His Wife Eliza Hill, Liberty, N.Y. collected by Jerry Crary, (New York, Privately Printed, 1917) 61

The marriage contract or deed of settlement, arranged between their parents, is recorded in Saybrook. By this deed of settlement, executed before the marriage, the respective parents conveyed to John Denison and Phebe Lay, the farm granted to Capt. George Denison near the mouth of Mystic River in Stonington, and the house and land in Saybrook, which Mr. Lay had formerly bought of John Post. … They settled in Stonington, on “the farm near the mouth of Mystic River.” He was known as “Capt. John Denison,” held a prominent position in Stonington, and in many ways was a man of mark.

John & Phebe were the parents of nine children:

  1. Capt. John Denison, born 1 January 1669 in Stonington, died in 1699 in Old Saybrook. He married about 1690, Ann Mason, who was born about 1669, daughter of John and Abigail (Fitch) Mason. John & Ann were the parents of five children.
  2. George Denison (my 7th-great-grandfather), born 28 March 1671 in Stonington, died 20 January 1720 in New London (New London) Connecticut. He married (as her second husband) about 1694, Mary (Wetherell) Harris, who was born 7 October 1668 in New London, and died there 22 August 1711, daughter of Daniel and Grace (Brewster) Wetherell, and widow of Thomas Harris. George & Mary were the parents of eight children.
  3. Capt. Robert Denison, born 17 September 1673 in Stonington, died there in 1737. He married about 1696, Joanna Stanton, who was born 5 June 1679 in Stonington, and died about 1715, daughter of Robert and Joanna (Gardner) Stanton. Robert & Joanna were the parents of five children.
  4. Capt. William Denison, born 7 April 1677 in Stonington, died there 13 February 1730. He married (as her first husband) in March 1698, Mary Avery, who was born 17 November 1680 in Stonington, and died there 5 February 1762, daughter of John and Abigail (Chesebrough) Avery. William & Mary were the parents of eleven children.
  5. Daniel Denison, born 28 March 1680 in Stonington, died 13 October 1747. He married 1 January 1704 in Stonington, Mary Stanton, who was born 3 February 1687 in Stonington, and died there 2 September 1724, daughter of Robert and Joanna (Gardner) Stanton. Daniel & Mary were the parents of three children.
  6. Samuel Denison, born 23 February 1683 in Stonington, died there 12 May 1683.
  7. Anna Denison, born 3 October 1684 in Stonington. She married (as her first husband) 7 April 1702 in Stonington, Ens. Samuel Minor, who was born 28 August 1680 in Stonington and died there 8 December 1717, son of Ephraim and Hannah (Avery) Minor. Anna & Samuel had no children. Anna married (as her second husband and as his second wife) about 1718, her first cousin, Edward Denison, who was born about 1678 and died 9 December 1726 in Westerly (Washington) Rhode Island, son of George and Mercy (Gorham) Denison. Anna married (as her third husband and as his second wife) 16 July 1734 in Windham (Windham) Connecticut, Lt. Jeremiah Ripley, who was born 4 August 1662 in Hingham (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 10 March 1737 in Windham, son of John and Elizabeth (Ripley) Ripley.
  8. Phebe Denison, born 6 April 1690 in Stonington, died there 30 December 1775. She married 2 April 1706 in Stonington, Lt. Ebenezer Billings, who was born 1 January 1684 in Stonington and died there 20 July 1760, son of Ebenezer and Ann (Comstock) Billings. Phebe & Ebenezer were the parents of twelve children.
  9. Sarah Denison, born 29 July 1692 in Stonington, died there in 1733. She married 7 November 1711 in Stonington, Isaac Williams, who was born 10 April 1688 in Newton (Middlesex) Massachusetts, and died 24 March 1733 in Stonington, son of John and Martha (Wheeler) Williams. Sarah & Isaac were the parents of eight children.

My Denison Line

Capt. John Denison (1646-1698)
George Denison (1671-1720)
Daniel Denison (1703-1749)
Mary Denison (1728-1803)
Elias Thompson (1773-1848)
Lucy Anne Thompson (1808-1852)
William Martin White (1836-1925)
Samuel Minor White (1873-1949)
John Everett White (my grandfather)

2.23.20 ~ Denison Burial Ground, Mystic, Connecticut

James Morgan & Margery Hill

1.27.20 ~ James Morgan (1607-1685)

A visit to the special history collection at the Bill Memorial Library in Groton turned up another book containing a map of the Avery-Morgan Burial Ground, identifying who is buried where. To the right of the line of four ovoid stones of my ancestors (discussed in previous posts) are two more graves with very small stones. They mark the resting places of the parents of Capt. James Morgan. My 9th-great-grandparents. Back to the cemetery for more pictures!

1.27.20 ~ Margery Hill (1611-1690)

James Morgan, my 9th-great-grandfather, was born about 1607 in Wales, and died 6 August 1685 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. He married 6 August 1640 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, Margery Hill, who was born about 1611 in England, and died 28 April 1690 in Wallingford (New Haven) Connecticut, presumably while visiting her daughter.

The following is from History of New London County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers & Prominent Men compiled under the supervision of D. Hamilton Hurd, (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1882)

James MORGAN died about 1685. He was about seventy-eight years of age. The earliest notice of him is from the records of Boston, where the birth of his daughter Hannah is registered, eighteenth day, fifth month, 1642. He was afterwards of Gloucester, and came with the Cape Ann company to Pequot, where he acted as one of the townsmen from 1653 to 1656, inclusive. His homestead, “on the path to New Street,” was sold Dec. 25, 1657. He then removed east of the river, where he had large grants of land. The following additional grant alludes to his dwelling: “James MORGAN hath given him about six acres of upland where the wigwams were in the path that goes from his house towards CULVER’s among the rocky hills.” He was often employed by the public in land surveys, stating highways, and determining boundaries, and was nine times deputy to the General Court. His estate was settled in 1685 by division among four children,–James, John, Joseph, and Hannah, wife of Nehemiah ROYCE.

James & Margery were the parents of six children:

  1. Hannah Morgan, born 18 July 1642 in Roxbury, died 12 December 1706 in Wallingford. She married 20 November 1660 in New London (New London) Connecticut, Nehemiah Royce, who was born 30 May 1637 in England, and died 1 November 1706 in Wallingford.
  2. Capt. James Morgan (my 8th-great-grandfather), born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury, died 8 December 1711 in Groton. He married (as his first wife) in November 1666 in New London, Mary Vine, who was born about 1641 and died 8 December 1689 in Groton. James & Mary were the parents of six children. James married (as his second wife and as her second husband) about 1690, Hannah (Brewster) Starr, who was born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 11 December 1711 in Groton, daughter of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.
  3. John Morgan, born 30 March 1645 in Roxbury, died 12 February 1712 in Preston (New London) Connecticut. He married (as his first wife) 16 November 1665 in New London, Rachel Deming, who was born about 1643 in Wethersfield (Hartford) Connecticut and died 6 August 1689 in Groton, daughter of John and Honor (Treat) Deming. John & Rachel were the parents of seven children. John married (as his second wife) about 1689, Elizabeth Jones, who was born 28 August 1664 in New Haven (New Haven) Connecticut and died 23 August 1711 in Preston, daughter of William and Hannah (Eaton) Jones. John & Elizabeth were the parents of eight children.
  4. Lt. Joseph Morgan, born 29 November 1646 in Roxbury, died 5 April 1704 in New London. He married in April 1670 in New London, Dorothy Park, who was born 6 March 1652 in New London and died 5 April 1704 in New London, daughter of Thomas and Dorothy (Thompson) Park. Joseph & Dorothy were the parents of ten children.
  5. Abraham Morgan, born 3 September 1648 in Roxbury, died there in August 1649.
  6. unnamed daughter, born 17 November 1650, died a week later.
1.27.20 ~ Erected to the Memory of the Founders of the First Avery and First Morgan Families in America Whose Graves Are Near This Site.

The Norwich Ovoid Carver

So we finally made it over to the Groton Public Library and found the above book in the James Streeter History Room. Unfortunately, the identity of the carver of the gravestones in my last three posts is lost to history, but he is referred to as the Norwich Ovoid Carver.

Particularly in the old Norwichtown burying ground, but also in Windham, Groton, Preston, and Coventry, one finds a small number of large rude semicircular stones that are among the earliest carved stones in the area. They are not just the crude initialed carving found in many inland cemeteries. These stones have obviously been shaped and the fronts smoothed. There is no attempt at designs, but the lettering is deeply and boldly cut and has remained legible for over two hundred years, often without appreciable deterioration. The Groton stones are particularly clear, but may well have been recut. There is something appealing in the elemental cleanness and strength of these early stones. They give one the impression of a society determined to remember its founders forever with no nonsense about it.
~ James A. Slater
(The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut & The Men Who Made Them)

Besides the four gravestones in Groton belonging to my ancestors, there are thirteen more found in Norwich, three in Preston, two in Windham and one in Coventry.

Capt. James Morgan & Mary Vine

1.18.20 ~ Capt. James Morgan (1643-1711)
1.18.20 ~ Mary (Vine) Morgan (1641-1689)

Capt. James Morgan, my 8th-great-grandfather, son of James and Margery (Hill) Morgan, was born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 8 December 1711 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. He married (as his first wife) in November 1666 in New London (New London) Connecticut, Mary Vine, who was born about 1641 and died 8 December 1689 in Groton.

James married (as his second wife and as her second husband) about 1690, Hannah (Brewster) Starr, who was born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 11 December 1711 in Groton, daughter of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.

The following is from Genealogical & Biographical Record of New London County, Connecticut (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1905), 291

[Capt. James Morgan] was one of the first two deacons of the first church in Groton, was principal magistrate, and transacted the greater portion of the civil business in his vicinity for years. He was moderator of the first town meeting, and was first selectman of the town, and became captain of the first town band (militia) in 1692. In 1689 he was one of the deputies of the General Court from New London, for the new town of Groton in 1706, and for several years was a commissioner to advance and direct the Pequot tribe of Indians in the management of their affairs.

James & Mary were the parents of six children:

  1. Dea. James Morgan, born 6 February 1667 in New London, died 4 May 1748 in Groton.
  2. Dea. William Morgan, born 4 March 1669 in New London, died 25 December 1750 in Groton. He married 1 July 1696 in Groton, Margaret Avery, who was born 7 February 1674 in New London, and died 28 July 1755 in Groton, daughter of James and Deborah (Stallion) Avery. William & Margaret were the parents of at least six children.
  3. Mary Morgan (my 7th-great-grandmother), born 20 March 1671 in New London, died 14 September 1765 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut. She married (as her first husband) 1 January 1695 in Groton, her stepbrother, Thomas Starr, who was born 27 September 1668 in New London, and died 30 January 1712 in Groton, son of Samuel and Hannah (Brewster) Starr. Mary & Thomas were the parents of seven children. Mary married (as her second husband and as his third wife) 14 December 1717, William Peabody, who was born 24 November 1664 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 17 September 1744 in Little Compton (Newport) Rhode Island, son of William and Elizabeth (Alden) Peabody.
  4. Hannah Morgan, born 8 June 1674 in New London, died 21 April 1727 in Groton. She married 30 June 1698 in Groton, Capt. William Latham, who was born 9 July 1670 in New London, and died 5 November 1732 in Groton, son of Joseph and Mary (Blanchard) Latham. Hannah & William were the parents of six children.
  5. Elizabeth Morgan, born 9 September 1678 in New London, died 18 September 1763 in Groton. She married (as her first husband) 12 January 1699 in New London, her stepbrother, Capt. Jonathan Starr, who was born 23 February 1674 in New London, and died 26 August 1747 in Groton, son of Samuel and Hannah (Brewster) Starr. Elizabeth & Jonathan were the parents of three children. Elizabeth married (as her second husband and as his second wife) about 1749, Dea. Thomas Adgate, who was born 16 March 1669 in Norwich (New London) Connecticut, and died there 10 December 1760, son of Thomas and Mary (Marvin) Adgate.
  6. Jerusha Morgan, born about 1682 in New London, died 2 June 1726. She married 22 April 1704, Nicholas Street, who was born 14 July 1677 in Wallingford (New Haven) Connecticut, and died 10 July 1733 in Groton, son of Samuel and Anna (—) Street.

My Starr & Morgan Line

Samuel Starr & Hannah Brewster /// Capt. James Morgan & Mary Vine

Thomas Starr & Mary Morgan (step-siblings from marriage of Hannah Brewster & Capt. James Morgan)

Rachel Starr (1705-1791)
Mary Denison (1728-1803)
Elias Thompson (1773-1848)
Lucy Anne Thompson (1808-1852)
William Martin White (1836-1925)
Samuel Minor White (1873-1949)
John Everett White (my grandfather)

Ye Body of Mrs Hannah Morgan

1.18.20 ~ Hannah (Brewster) (Starr) Morgan (1641-1711)

Samuel Starr, my 8th-great-grandfather, son of Thomas and Rachel (—) Starr, was born about 1640, probably in Massachusetts, and died about 1688 in New London County, Connecticut. He married (as her first husband) 23 December 1664 in New London (New London) Connecticut, Hannah Brewster, who was born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 11 December 1711 in Groton (New London) Connecticut, daughter of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.

Hannah married (as her second husband and as his second wife) about 1690, Capt. James Morgan, who was born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 8 December 1711 in Groton, son of James and Margery (Hill) Morgan.

Samuel is buried in the Colchester Burying Ground in Colchester, Connecticut. Hannah is buried between her son Thomas Starr and her second husband Capt. Morgan in the Avery-Morgan Burial Ground in Groton.

The following is from A History of the Starr Family, of New England, from the ancestor Dr. Comfort Starr, of Ashford, County of Kent, England, Who Emigrated to Boston, Mass., in 1635 by Burgis Pratt Starr, (Hartford, Connecticut: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1879), 14

[Samuel Starr] was one of the early settlers of New London, and a prominent man in the town, holding the honorable office of County Marshall (High Sheriff) from 1674 to his death. In 1670 he proposed to establish a ferry at Norwich, and lands were voted him for the purpose, but probably proving unprofitable, he gave it up and forfeited the grant.

He lived on the old “Buttonwood corner,” now corner of Main and State streets. There is no record of his death, but as a grant of land, made to him June 22, 1687, was deeded away by his widow, Feb. 22, 1687-8, his death occurred between those dates.

Hannah & Samuel were the parents of four sons:

  1. Samuel Starr, born 11 December 1665 in New London, died after 1687.
  2. Thomas Starr (my 7th-great-grandfather), born 27 September 1668 in New London, died 30 January 1712 in Groton. He married (as her first husband) 1 January 1695 in Groton, his stepsister, Mary Morgan, who was born 20 March 1671 in New London, and died 14 September 1765 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut, daughter of James and Mary (Vine) Morgan. Thomas & Mary were the parents of seven children.
  3. Comfort Starr, born before 6 August 1671 in New London, probably died young.
  4. Capt. Jonathan Starr, born 23 February 1674 in New London, died 26 August 1747 in Groton. He married (as her first husband) 12 January 1699 in New London, his stepsister, Elizabeth Morgan, who was born 9 September 1678 in Groton and died there 18 September 1763, daughter of James and Mary (Vine) Morgan. Jonathan & Elizabeth were the parents of three children.
1.17.20 ~ Barbara at Avery-Morgan Burial Ground

It was bitterly cold! But I was happy to find four of my ancestors. I am kneeling behind the grave of my 7th-great-grandfather, Thomas Starr, a shipwright. To the right is his mother, my 8th-great-grandmother, Hannah (Brewster) (Starr) Morgan. Next is his stepfather and father-in-law, my 8th-great-grandfather, Capt. James Morgan. Next is his mother-in-law, my 8th-great-grandmother, Mary (Vine) Morgan.

It’s complicated! It took me a while to sort it all out, but the start of the confusion occurred when Thomas married his stepsister, Mary Morgan. So his stepfather became his father-in-law.

On the far right Mary (Vine) Morgan died in 1689. Then her widower, James Morgan, married Hannah (Brewster) Starr about 1690. Next to die was James, on 8 December 1711, about 19 years after his first wife died. Then Hannah, his second wife, followed closely on 11 December 1711 and then Hannah’s son, Thomas, on 30 January 1712. He was only 43 years old. It has me wondering about a possible epidemic.

Joshua Hempstead of New London recorded the deaths of three adult members of the Lester family within one month, as well as the deaths of a few more who died after short illnesses during the winter of 1711-1712, but he said nothing definite about an epidemic. Nearby in Groton, and in Milford, there are a few gravestones suggesting the prevalence of a contagious disease among adults that winter and spring.
~ Ernest Caulfield
(The Pursuit of a Pestilence)

Avery-Morgan Burial Ground

1.17.20 ~ Thomas Starr (1668-1712)

Now that I am adjusting to this new chapter in my life I’ve been feeling the urge to locate more ancestral resting places and get back to work on our family histories. Looking through my data I discovered a cemetery close to home here in Groton, a cemetery I had no idea even existed! And four of my ancestors lie buried there. Good place to start.

This graveyard is way off the beaten path. First we had to take Filtration Plant Road north off Route 1. We had assumed the only thing up there was the filtration plant! But before reaching the guardhouse a road goes off to the left and then forks again to the left, leading to Smith Lake Cemetery (1863), which we had to drive through before reaching the much older Avery-Morgan Burial Ground (1685).

Thomas Starr, my 7th-great-grandfather, son of Samuel and Hannah (Brewster) Starr, was born 27 September 1668 in New London (New London) Connecticut, and died 30 January 1712 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. (The stone reads 1711 because he died when the Julian calendar was in use.) He married (as her first husband) 1 January 1695 in Groton, his stepsister, Mary Morgan, who was born 20 March 1671 in New London, and died 14 September 1765 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut, daughter of James and Mary (Vine) Morgan.

Mary married (as her second husband and as his third wife) 14 December 1717, William Peabody, who was born 24 November 1664 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 17 September 1744 in Little Compton (Newport) Rhode Island, the son of William and Elizabeth (Alden) Peabody.

Mary is not buried here with her first husband, but in Crary Cemetery in North Stonington, Connecticut. Thomas and Mary became step-siblings when Thomas’ mother (Hannah Brewster) married Mary’s father (Capt. James Morgan) about 1690.

The following is from The Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907; a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the “Mayflower,” Ruling Elder of the Pilgrim Church Which Founded Plymouth Colony in 1620, Volume 1 by Emma C. Brewster Jones, (New York: The Grafton Press, 1908), 20

Thomas Starr “was one of the patentees of New London, Conn., Oct. 14, 1704; soon after settled in Groton on his large farm bordering the river; was a shipwright and built a sloop called the Sea Flower.”

Mary & Thomas were the parents of seven children:

  1. Mary Starr, born 29 June 1696 in Groton, died there 15 April 1774. She married 1 November 1716 in Groton, Capt. John Chester, who was born 29 March 1692 in Groton and died there 1 June 1771. Mary & John were the parents of eight children.
  2. Hannah Starr, born 29 August 1698 in Groton. She married 17 March 1719 in Groton, Joseph Buttolph, who was born in 1694 and died in 1759. Hannah & Joseph were the parents of three children.
  3. Thomas Starr, born 26 September 1700 in Groton, died there in 1701.
  4. Jerusha Starr, born 8 February 1703 in Groton and died before 11 May 1773 in North Stonington. She married 30 July 1724, her stepbrother, William Peabody, who was born 21 February 1702 in Little Compton and died 3 June 1778 in Stonington, son of William and Judith (Tilden) Peabody. Jerusha & William were the parents of nine children.
  5. Rachel Starr (my 6th-great-grandmother), born 15 September 1705 in Groton and died there 4 February 1791. She married (as her first husband) 14 November 1726 in New London, her second cousin, Daniel Denison, who was born 27 June 1703 in New London and died 2 February 1749, son of George and Mary (Wetherell) Denison. Rachel & Daniel were the parents of ten children. Rachel married (as her second husband and his second wife) 21 November 1759 in New London, Col. Ebenezer Avery, who was born 29 March 1704 in Groton and died there 11 July 1780, son of James and Mary (Griswold) Avery.
  6. James Starr, born 18 October 1708 in Groton and died about 1787.
  7. Thomas Starr, born 10 April 1711 in Groton and died 14 May 1759. He married Jerusha Street, who was born in 1715 in Groton and died 6 July 1790, daughter of Nicholas and Jerusha (—) Street. Thomas & Jerusha were the parents of two children.

Coming soon I will post about the other ancestors buried here.

time is not even a thing

9.22.19 ~ timeworn hardware at Mystic Seaport

And this means that time is a mystery, and not even a thing, and no one has ever solved the puzzle of what time is, exactly. And so, if you get lost in time it is like being lost in a desert, except that you can’t see the desert because it is not a thing.

And this is why I like timetables, because they make sure you don’t get lost in time.

~ Mark Haddon
(The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)

For me, this might be why I like (need?) clocks. Getting lost in time for me is more like being lost at sea. (I’ve sailed across the ocean but I’ve never seen a desert.)

I hadn’t thought much about it before I read this book, but I have a clock in every room of my house. Clocks were one of the few moorings I had at school when I was growing up. The bell always rang at the right time. A difficult class could only last until the appointed time. Thinking about all this also brought up a fond memory.

Many years ago, long before I knew anything about autism, and long before there were cell phones, we were visiting Tim’s aunt and subconsciously I was looking, one room after another, for a clock, feeling very anxious. At some point it sunk in that I wasn’t going to find one and before I could check my tongue I blurted out, “you don’t have any clocks!”

Tim’s aunt said she guessed that was true, and a few minutes later she kindly brought me a watch to keep with me for the day. That’s one thing I love about her, she accepts my quirks and does what she can to make me feel welcome and comfortable anyway. ♡

It was almost three years ago when I found out that I was on the autism spectrum and thought that I would blog about it a lot more than I have. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been observing my interactions with the neurotypical world and sorting through memories with new understanding. It’s been a journey of discovery, fascinating but difficult to articulate, probably because of my brain thinking mostly in pictures.

I prefer analog clocks to digital ones. When I see the numbers on a digital clock my brain translates them to the clock pictured in my mind. And it takes a bit of time.

I enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a mystery novel written from the viewpoint of a teenage boy with autism. The author doesn’t have autism so it’s amazing that he can describe the train of thoughts running through the brain of an autistic person. I read the book in one day! It was so easy to picture everything he was talking about.

I dislike feeling unmoored and lost in time, simply because there is no clock around to anchor me. But then I remember, our brains are as mysterious as time, and oftentimes anxiety happens.

Being awake. Resting in the happening of this moment, exactly as it is. Relaxing the need to understand or to make things different than they are. Opening the heart. Just this — right here, right now.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Resting in the Happening of this Moment)

a secret garden

“A secret garden. Made by Barbara Lyn (sic) Chomiak. Seven year old.”

One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun — which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in some one’s eyes.
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett
(The Secret Garden)

I’m still poking around through my childhood papers and drawings. My mother was the true bookworm in our family. So many images coming back to me now, like my parents in the evening, my mother with her nose in the newspaper and my father watching television.

At bedtime, my mother read to us, even after we were old enough to read for ourselves. One of my favorite books was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (Apparently I loved it so much I illustrated my own version of a secret garden.) And often my father would start playing the piano, gentle Bach lullabies sending us off to sleep.

Spring is in the air! Time to pick up the pace and plow through some more boxes. Onward!

television

Happy Spring!

Work on the stuff in boxes has slowed way down because one box in particular has loads of my work from grammar school. Work that my mother had saved. The trip down memory lane has been surreal… and slow…

The above drawing was with a group of papers created when I was about seven years old. We had to draw things we were thankful for. I drew my house, the American flag, and this television. It made me smile.

Recently I’ve learned that I think in pictures, rather than words or patterns. I had a reputation for being a bookworm, and I do love read, but I do it very slowly and my reading comprehension is not up to par. (I now have my grade school report cards to confirm that.) I find it very interesting that I did not draw a book for this assignment!

I still love watching T.V., although at times I am embarrassed to admit it. Some people can be pretty snooty about how mind-numbing they think most of what is offered is. And it is. But as I was growing up my parents required us to watch nature (think Jacques Cousteau), science and history documentaries. To this day I still watch and enjoy them!

After my mother died I would watch T.V. with my father on Wednesday nights, Nature and Nova on PBS. And Masterpiece Theatre on Sundays. And nowadays you will find me glued to the set when Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. comes on!

One night in October last year, I found an episode of Nature online. I invited Katherine to watch A Squirrel’s Guide to Success with me on my laptop. To my surprise and delight, she was utterly fascinated — we do watch squirrels a lot when we’re outside — and stayed put to watch the whole program with me. 🙂

I will keep reading books, but I’m more gentle with myself now when I have difficulty following along. And in honor of my inner child, I will now be watching T.V. without apology!!!