Bits & Pieces


How Old are You Grandpa?


Awhile back my youngest granddaughter, at her sixth birthday party, asked me, " How old are you Grandpa?"

I replied that I was seventy-three, and in order to give her some idea of how to relate I told her that I was born and grew up before television was invented. She looked at me wide-eyed, as if she couldn't really comprehend such a thing.

Those of us who are "on the net," even grandfathers, get a lot of "jokes" along with legitimate messages. Recently I re­ceived one that was titled "How old are you Grandpa?" I imme­diately thought of my granddaughter's question.

So, using some of the thoughts in it, I sent an e-mail message to her, in care of her father, and this is what I said:

Dear Kacey:

Awhile back, on your sixth birthday, you asked me how old I was. I told you that I was seventy-three, and I added that I was born and raised before television was invented, but I'm not sure that was enough to really give you a good understanding of how much things have changed since I was your age.

So... here are a few things that may give you a better idea. I was born before television, but also before: penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses and Frisbees.

When I was in the first grade there were no credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent; there was no such thing as a McDonalds, Burger King or Taco Bell. Man had not yet invented: pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers (the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air), and man hadn't yet flown in space or walked on the moon.

When I was six every family had a father and a mother, unless one or the other had passed away. I grew up before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. Most people's lives were governed by the Ten Command­ments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong, and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving one’s country was a privilege, and living in this coun­try was a bigger privilege. Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. We had never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, computers, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and the President's speeches on our radios.

We had 5 & 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a 12 ounce bottle of Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail a letter and two postcards. One could buy a new Chevrolet Coupe for $600, but even so most people couldn't afford one. Too bad too, because gas was only eleven cents a gallon.

Is it a better world now? I’m not sure.                              

                                                      Love, Grandpa


Scottish Jelly Recipes


Egg Jelly:

Ingredients: One egg, 3 ozs. Loaf sugar, 1/4 oz. powdered gelatin, 1 lemon:

    Rub sugar on to lemon rind. Squeeze lemon,  and add cold water juice to make up to half pint of liquid. Rinse pan and put in water, sugar, gelatin and egg slightly beaten. Stir till gelatin is dissolved, and the egg thickened, but do not boil. Strain and mold, when just setting, in small molds or in custard cups.


Milk Jelly:

Ingredients: One pint milk, 1&1/2 oz. castor sugar, strip of lemon rind, 1/2 oz. powdered gelatin.

    Infuse lemon rind in the milk. Bring to boiling-point and strain the milk on to the gelatin and sugar, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved. Keep in the basin, stirring from time-to-time, until the mixture is in the consistency of thick cream. Pour into small wetted molds and turn out when set.

Note—Unless the milk is allowed to thicken partly before being molded it will separate.


Port Wine Jelly:

Ingredients: Eight ozs. port wine, 8 ozs. water, 1/2 tablespoon red currant jelly, 2 ozs. loaf sugar, 1 inch of cinnamon stick, rind and juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 oz. powdered gelatin.

    Wash and peel the lemon thinly, and strain the juice from it. Put all the ingredients except the port into a lined rinsed pan, and stir over the fire until dissolved, then draw the pan to one side. Allow the pan to infuse for 15 minutes, then add the port, and strain the jelly through muslin. When cool, pour into wine glasses.


Orange Jelly:

Ingredients: Half-pint water, 1/2 pt. orange juice, juice of 2 lemons, rind of 2 oranges, 3 ozs. loaf sugar, 3/4 oz. powdered gelatin.

    Put water, sugar, orange rind, and gelatin in a saucepan and over a fire stir until dissolved. Cover, and allow to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain into a basin. Add the orange and lemon juice, also strained. Pour the jelly into a rinsed mold, and when set turn out and serve.




The following was recently received in an e-mail from Sylvia Smith, a descendant of Lot Garrison and Margaret Erwin:

 To Selected Garrison and Erwin cousins and researchers:

I just got the following message from Nanci, our friend and “cousin” in Washington state.  I had talked to John Crane several times in the past.  He wrote a very nice research book on our Erwins and associated families, "The Southern Bickhams."  It has really good information in it.  He has been to Franklinton on several occasions to add to his research.  Read Nanci's letter below for a little more detail.



From: Nanci
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2007 2:14 PM
Subject: John Dorr Crane


Dear Sylvia,

I don't know if you knew John Dorr Crane who wrote "The Southern Bickhams", but I just found out he passed away in 2002.  I had not talked to him in ages, but had tried to email him on several occasions.  At first I received no answer, then recently they were bounced.  I tried calling him this weekend and his phone was disconnected.  Sooo, I looked him up and unfortunately he had passed away.

I just needed to share this news with someone who loves genealogy, the Erwins, Bickhams, Garrisons and the families of Louisiana and Mississippi as much as you, John and I do.  I know there are many, many others who share the same passion for the history of these families and his research and insight will be missed.  I'm going to miss him greatly; he was always generous, friendly and funny.  And he was so young!



A Belated Birthday Present

Eleanor Daisy Flaherty, mother of Ruth Flaherty Erwin, passed away May 30, 1941. She had suffered from chronic asthma since birth and sadly, at the young age of forty, could no longer fight the accumulated ravages of the disease. Today asthma, like many ailments that were debilitating as well as deadly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, can now be treated easily with new and more effective drugs.

Eleanor was buried June 2, 1941 in the Mt. Benedict Cemetery in Newton, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The Great Depression was easing somewhat, but times were still tough, and money was scarce. Al Flaherty, Ruth’s father, was a bakery route salesman at the time, and had three minor children to care for. By working a second job he was able to purchase the cemetery plot, and pay for the funeral “on time,” but the marker would have to wait.

Al fully intended to place a marker on the plot when “times got better.” After Pearl Harbor things did get a little better, but there was always something that took priority: school clothes, a baptismal dress for the girls, a Sunday church suit for son Al, maintenance expenses for the bakery truck, etc., etc. And time passed.

In June 1943 Ruth’s father married again, and took on the added responsibility of two stepsons. When WW2 ended Al Flaherty moved his family to Phoenix, hoping that the dry air would help alleviate the asthma symptoms that the older children had inherited from Eleanor. Al still mentioned, from time-to-time, that he intended to have a marker placed on Eleanor’s grave site. But time passed…, and when Al died in 1968 Eleanor’s grave was still barren of a monument or marker.

When Eleanor’s three children visited one another they would occasionally mention that they should do something about their mother’s plot, but again time passed…  Al Flaherty, Jr. passed on in 2005, and Eleanor’s grave still did not have a marker.

Finally, in late 2006, Ruth and younger sister Jean Flaherty Sharp made up their minds that their mother deserved more than just grass on her grave site. They realized that if something was not done soon future generations might never know that their mother had even existed. So, in May 2007, sixty-six years after she was buried, a granite marker was placed on Eleanor Flaherty’s grave.

Ruth and Jean consider the granite marker a belated birthday present for their mother, and hope that somehow their father’s spirit knows that they accomplished what he always intended to do.

“Happy Birthday Mom! Go with God. We love you.”

Ruth & Jean