Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nine Letter Word

It drives me nuts that so many people have abandoned basic English in their e-mailing and online messaging. Don't get me wrong. I am no master of the English language and I am not one of those grammar snobs who have given up being polite to people in the the zealous quest for the proper use of semi-colons. But I still like to have the odd period thrown into text communications to allow me to know when to stop one thought and begin another.

But sometimes taking letters from words can be fun. What if this was the only question on the exam to pass high school English and earn your diploma. Would you graduate?

Okay you brainiacs, here is a brain teaser for you.

For instance, what 9 letter word in the English language continues to form another word each time you remove a letter from it?

The base word is: Startling

Startling - remove the L
starting - remove the T
staring - remove the A
string - remove the R
sting - remove the T
sing - remove the G
sin - remove the S
in - remove the N

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Moment Living In History!

Another history blog!!! This story is about a grand ole house, the Jan Martense Schenck House, built in 1670 time frame, in good old Brooklyn. I was born in Brooklyn and lived in one of the oldest houses in New York State for the first four years of my life, and then visited. My grandparents rented the house in 1920 and live in this home until 1954. Thirty four years in a rented house, but to us it was always Pop and Nana's house. My grandfather put in the plumbing, steam heat, electricity, and white washed the house. Every holiday was spent with the entire family coming home to "the old homestead." One year the turkey was so big the oven door would not close, so the men "jerry-rigged" a broom handle and some wooden blocks and forced the oven door closed against the cabinet across the way.

This is the Old Homestead in Brooklyn in about 1890, amazing to think that Brooklyn still was sooo open!

The house had five bedrooms, two main large living rooms, no TV, we all sat and listened to the radio. In the back was a root cellar, and a scary area under the house which was said to be the "dungeon." Under the floor boards in the kitchen there was an old passageway that led to the bay. Was this used to hide taxable items back in the 1700's or as part of the underground railway? No one knows for sure. Only the ghosts of the dwelling can answer that!!

Among the varied stories I grew up with was, that a British officer was captured in the house hiding in the attic in his underwear during the Revolution. Another held that pirates gold was buried on the grounds, my grandparents would wake up to folks digging in their yard during the depression. The house was also featured in some of the old "Our Gang" movies! Mom tells me she would be sitting reading alone in the house and she could hear the creaking of floorboards, as if someone were walking upstairs. Ahhhhh Peg they would say, it is just the house settling (after 300 years??)!!

This Picture was about 1909. When my grandfather moved in he removed all the ivy all over the side of the building due to bugs and mold.

This home had hundreds of years of history! And I am thankful I was able to live in such a house of history! The original two rooms of the house now stand in the Brooklyn Museum. It is amazing for me to go and stand and look at this model and think, I lived in this house!! SOOOOOOO I have decided to do more research and tell you about the history if you so choose to read on!! (OR you can google Jan Martense Schenck House there is all sorts of stuff on the net.)

Circa 1900

In 1675 or so, a Dutch settler named Jan Martense Schenck built a house on the south shore of Long Island, in an area that in those days consisted mainly of sweeping meadows, tidal wetlands, and sand dunes, the two-room structure originally stood on Mill Island, which today is part of the Mill Basin neighborhood of Flatlands, in Brooklyn. The house is one of the oldest in the United States. It was built on land granted to Schenck by Peter Stuyvesant and the Council of the New Netherlands.

Here is my dad on his TRIKE (love the caps) in appox. 1925 ...take a look at that huge building behind in the distance ... I would love to know what that was!!

In the early nineteen-hundreds, the house was turned over to the Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Company, as payment for filling in some nearby streams and salt marshes. The house survived through the first half of the 20th century in its original Flatlands location. In 1952 the house was at risk of demolition because of development in the area. The Brooklyn Museum arranged to have it dismantled. The pieces were numbered with bright-orange paint and stored, for a decade, under what was then the Interborough Parkway waiting almost a decade until preparations for installation of the house could be made in the museum. On April 26, 1964, the house was opened to the public inside the museum’s fourth floor.

A three-bedroom wing was added to the north-east wall. When this happened, what was once the front of the house (the eastern wall) became the back of the house. The west wall with the porch became the new front of the house.

A porch with Greek Revival columns is added to the west wall where the animal shelter had once been. The columns were probably added primarily for aesthetic reasons. The fireplaces that were in the center of the house were probably removed to make an entrance hall.

The house will now be preserved in the museum and plays a part of a moment in history.

Here is Nana in back of the old house in about 1935

My mom and brother, mom was prego for me in this! The old house in the background, 1947.

This is a painting of the old house on a Brooklyn Calendar from 1951. There use to be all sorts of folks who would just come and sit on the lawn and draw the house.

OK the picture you have all been waiting for!! A picture of me in the old house!!

DEED to the House:
In his will dated 26 January 1688-1689, Jan MARTENSE SCHENCK left "the old land with ye small Island and mill and dependencies thereon" to his son Marten Jansen who was born in 1675. Marten married Cornelia WESSELEN, widow of Domine LUPARDUS, 2 December 1703and on 13 December 1705, their son John was born. John, who was called Captain John in his later life, married Femmetie HEGEMAN. 15 November 1728. He was the next owner of the property. On 15 April 1784, his heirs sold it for £2300 to Joris MARTENSE of Flatbush, who evidently bought it as an investment for he neither lived in the house nor ran the mill but rented both.

On 20 June 1791, a pot of gold was found buried near the mill. On 13 August 1799, John SCHENCK, who was the miller at the time, died of yellow fever. Joris MARTENSE'S daughter Susan, wife of Patrick CATON, inherited the property. She left it to her daughter Margaret who married General Philip S. CROOKE. For years, the property was known as Crooke's Mill and Crooke's Island. Finally the mill was swept out of existence. The house with a small piece of land descended to Franklin CROOKE who owned it in 1909. Later it was sold to the Atlantic,Gulf and Pacific Company.

HOPE I did not bore you toooo much!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SPRING!! Feb 25th

For all you "down Staters" or Southerners .... in my Upstate town in New York, Winter is almost over ; we can see the deer wandering around now.

Just wanted to let you know Spring is almost here!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Great Guinness Toast

This is a picture of my first Guinness on my last trip to ireland!

The Great Guinness Toast, sometimes known as "St. Practice Day", made up of Guinness drinkers across the country trying to break the record for the largest simultaneous toast. Since it's inception in 1993 Pittsburgh, The Great Guinness Toast has consistently grown, and breaks its own record each and every year.

The concept of collectively raising a glass and toasting with the famous black and creamy brew is an attempt to gain entrance into one of Arthur Guinness' other select clubs; The Guinness Book of World Records.

Inner Peace ~ Feb. 20th

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can get going without pep pills,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FOX News ~ Feb. 17th

I do not get the FOX News stations since I have just basic cable, I am not a huge TV fan, although I have a few favorite shows!!

So I asked my daughter ... any special plans for valentines day?? I guess the hubby was out of town covering another news story, the FIRST Introduction of Tripp!! Tripp you ask...who the hell is Tripp ... ???? Here is a clue ... he is related to Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper. The son of Levi!!! Are you there yet??

This may be a clue ... Sarah Palin?? Sooo my son-in-law was covering the "baby coming out event" in Alaska, the first time Tripp has been seen ... Sarah came into the room carrying Tripp, my son-in law is in the back ground behind Sarah and Bristol! hahahaha he is the one giving hand singles on how to shoot the scene and then takes over the camera shot.

I hope T made it up to his lovely bride after being away at Valentines with Gretta! Gottcha T!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Annie Moore ~ Feb. 13th

So you want to know more about Annie Moore??

January 1, 1892, Annie Moore stepped off a ship at Ellis Island and into the history books. Early that cold winter morning she’d stood among several hundred immigrants aboard a ferry docked at Ellis Island. When the gangplank was lowered, she was the first to head down it. To her surprise she was greeted by a host of city, state, and federal officials who presented her with a certificate and a ten-dollar gold piece. All this occurred not because Annie Moore was the first off the ferry that day, but because she was the first immigrant to set foot on Ellis Island, the brand new federal immigration processing center.

Annie Moore arrived from County Cork, Ireland, aboard the steamship Nevada on January 1, 1892, this date was also her fifteenth birthday. Can you imagine, a new country, alone with your two brothers and only 15! Annie was accompanied by her brothers Phillip and Anthony.

Here is the ships manifest for Annie.

Annie Moore’s story was typical of many Irish immigrants. She was born in 1877 in Cork, the second child and only daughter of Matthew and Mary Moore. Seeking a brighter future for their family, her parents had decided to immigrate to America in 1888 and were living at 32 Monroe Street in NYC. Like many immigrants they didn’t know what to expect in America (or, quite likely, if they’d want to stay), so they left Annie and her two younger brothers in the care of an aunt. After years of hard work establishing themselves, they sent for their children. The three boarded the ship Nevada in Queenstown (Cobh) and spent 12 days at sea before arriving in New York harbor.

Annie married German immigrant Joseph Augustus Schayer, an employee at Manhattan's Fulton Fish Market, with whom she had at least eleven children. She died of heart failure in 1923 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, N.Y. Her previously unmarked grave was identified in September 2006. On October 11, 2008, a dedication ceremony was held at Calvary which celebrated the unveiling of a marker for her grave, a Celtic Cross made of Irish Blue Limestone.

Moore is honored by bronze statues at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and in Cobh, the Irish seaport town from which she sailed. If you ever get to Ireland make sure to see the museum in Cobh, it is very moving. It was also the last port of call for the Titanic, before her last voyage.

This is an image from Cobh.

Here are a Lyrics to one of my favorite songs! Written about Annie, I have enclosed both the lyrics and clip from YouTube. Enjoy!

Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears
Author: Brendan Graham

On the first day of January
Eighteen Ninety-two
They Opened Ellis Island
And they let the people through.
And the first to cross the threshold
Of the Isle of hope and tears
Was Annie Moore from Ireland
Who was all of fifteen years.

Isle of hope, Isle of tears,
Isle of freedom, Isle of fears,
But it's not the Isle
I left behind...
That Isle of hunger, Isle of pain,
Isle you'll never see again
But the Isle of home
Is always on your mind.

In her little bag she carried
All her past and history
And her dreams for the future
In the land of liberty.
And courage is the passport
When your old world disappears
’Cause there's no future in the past
When you're fifteen years.

When they closed down Ellis Island
In Nineteen Forty-three
Seventeen million people
Had come there for sanctuary.
And in springtime when I came here
And stepped onto its piers,
I thought of how it must have been
When you're only fifteen years.


But the Isle of Home
is always on your mind.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ellis Island ~ Feb 12th

Since my last blog was on my husband and family immigrating to America, I thought I would follow up with a little piece about Ellis Island.

The first Ellis Island Immigration Station officially opened on January 1, 1892, three large ships waited in the harbor to dock. Over 700 immigrants passed through Ellis Island that day, and nearly 450,000 followed through the course of that first year.

The first passenger to set foot on Ellis Island was a 15-year-old from County Cork, Ireland named Annie Moore, she had travelled from Ireland with her younger brothers, and landed on Ellis Island January 1, 1892. She was greeted with much fanfare and was given a $10 gold coin. She then headed out into her new life in America.

In 1897 there was a fire on the island which destroyed almost every building. It also destroyed many records of those who immigrated earlier to America. The island was forced to shut down while an architect was chosen to come up with the plan for the new building. On Dec 17, 1900 the doors opened for the public once again. The new reception hall was better than ever. On one day it was recorded that "6,500 immigrants, entered, passed, and 'cleared' in nine hours." This was widely attributed to the building's amazing architectural likeness to train stations of the time, which were accustomed to dealing with thousands of people and tons of cargo in a single day.

Due to harsher and harsher legislation, immigration through Ellis Island began to decrease. Finally, in 1954, Ellis Island was shut down by the Immigration Services and transferred its activities back to Manhattan. Over over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers passed through Ellis.

For more than 20 years, Ellis Island was abandoned. Attempts to sell the property were made, but many bitterly opposed the idea claiming: "To sell the island would be cheap and tawdry." A study by the National Park Service was conducted during 1963—1964, outlining the reasons why the island should become a national monument, a reminder of part of our American heritage. The recommendation was accepted and President Lyndon Johnson officially pro-claimed Ellis Island part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument on May 11, 1965.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan asked Lee Iacocca, chairman of the board of Chrysler Corporation of America, to help restore both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Statue of Liberty--Ellis Island Foundation was formed to raise the $230 million needed for the restoration of these two important national monuments. In the largest restoration project of its kind in Ameri-can history, $170 million in individual and corporate donations were devoted to the Ellis Island main building project alone. To date, more than 20 million Americans have contributed to the restoration plans of the foundation.

Ellis Island was reopened and dedicated on September 10, 1990, as a unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service, administered by the super-intendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.

OVER 40% of Americas population can trace their families heritage through Ellis Island. That is pretty amazing!

For a christmas gift a few years back my daughter had my husband's name engraved on the Wall of Honor on Ellis island. The American Immigrant Wall of Honor is a permanent exhibit of individual or family names featured at Ellis Island. It is the only place in the United States where an individual can honor his or her family heritage at a National Monument.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Immigration ~ Feb. 9th

In 1947 my husband was born in a DP Camp and just this week I realized it was the anniversary of his entry into this county 59 years ago! A DP (Displaced Persons) Camp was a term often used during WWII. It was a temporary “safe haven” for many Eastern Europeans that had been removed from their native countries during the war as prisoners, or slave laborers. The genocide of millions of Eastern Europeans during the war resulted in millions of people being uprooted from their original homes in the course of World War II, becoming displaced. Estimates for the number of displaced persons varies from 11 million to as many as 20 million, it is for me so hard to fathom those numbers! When the allied armies came in and freed these people, there were no homes to go to. Their countries, homes, and families had been decimated, so many found their only life in a DP Camp.

My in-laws met and married in a DP Camp, both were taken from their native homes in Poland, he had been 18, she 14. The conditions in these camps were harsh, with lack of sanitary conditions, minimal food, very little medical care, etc. My husband was born premature, most likely from the conditions, but survived. There was another woman who died giving birth and no baby formula for the infant, so my mother-in-law breast fed that baby also until it was taken from the camp.

Here is my mother-in-law ...

Here is my father-in-law ...
I can not even imagine what their lives were like nor the torture they went through during WWII. They never spoke about it. Never.

In January of 1950 they were sponsored to come to America. They came in a Naval Transport ship called the USS General Greely. My father-in-law was on the upper deck since he had volunteered to help. My mother-in-law and my husband were in steerage. You can imagine spending 18 days in the hull of the boat in winter seas!

Here are my husbands entry papers through Ellis Island.

My father-in-law had $6 dollars when he came to this country and worked very hard doing construction, eventually owning his own company. Sadly he died suddenly in 1984from a toxic poisoning. My mother-in-law at 86 is still going strong. She is a sweet-heart and cooks great polish food!! Love her Kopytka!

Here is a picture of the ship that my in-laws and husband came to America on.
February 1950, USAT General Greely left Bremerhaven, Germany, transporting Displaced Persons to the U.S.A. and arrived at Ellis Island; in 1950 she was returned to the US Navy for Military Sea Transportation Service and given the number T-AP 141.

Another Picture of the ship that brought them to America.

I have found the full ships manifest with their names listed, here is the heading.

Here is the song Emigrent Eyes ... It is a song about the people who passed through Ellis Island, very moving song. I think of my husband and his family and cry every time I hear it!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Joke ~ Feb. 6th

It is late and I just am sooo tired .... no long blogs tonight ... so I share with you a joke I got today!! I think it sounds like a TRUE story!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I read this essay today and thought I would gently lift and borrow it! It is rather amusing. My friends and I have often spoke about Oxymornons ... like "Plastic-Glass" "Jumbo-Shrimp" "Living-Dead" "Organized-Mess" "Icy-Hot" "Open-Secret", etc. How crazy is our language. So when I came across this piece I got quite a kick out of it. So I thought I would share! Soooo if you fall and break your legs, don't come running to me! Enjoy!

English is the most widely used language in the history of our planet.
One in every 7 humans can speak it. More than half of the world's books and 3 quarters of international mail is in English. Of all the languages, it has the largest vocabulary, perhaps as many as 2 MILLION words.

Nonetheless, English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger. Neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not by computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, is not really a race at all). That is why, when stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible.

And why, when I wind up my watch I start it, but when I wind up this essay I end it.

-- Richard Lederer