Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28th

Happy Birthday, Rob!
Kennebunk Beach, 2009

Japan, 2004

Colby, 1992

Meriden, CT 1973

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

All summer I had promised Mom I'd take her to Kennebunk Beach to take a ride by the old house. Mom had heard rumors that the house had been sold and painted white and we had to see for ourselves if it had been ruined! Well, summer days go flying by and suddenly it's the end of August! So today was the day! And what a great day it was! Perfect summer Maine weather! I picked Mom up at around 9:30--our first stop was to go "see" Daddy. We did some "dead-heading" of the flowers and a little weeding. At least the best we could do considering we had no tools but our bare hands! Then we took off down the turnpike heading south.
We got off in Wells, and I showed Mom my "old" classroom at the Elementary School, then off to our first landmark,

I ran in and got us a half dozen of the greatest donuts in Maine (half chocolate/chocolate, half jelly) and we took them down to the Center (by Forbes) at Wells Beach to enjoy--see proof below!!

Sorry, Mom, but the author of the post has complete control over all pictures she chooses to put in the blog (therefore you will see no posts of me eating donuts!)
We then rode up and down Atlantic Ave., commenting on how all the renovated cottages have ruined the old look of the beach and reminiscing about the all the great summers at Wells. Then off to Moody, to ride past Aunt Ann's house and those beaches before heading to Kennebunk.
We finally made it to the old house on Kennebunk Beach after a quick stop for new camera batteries. The house has in fact been painted, not white, but gray with white trim and a pretty blue door. Although it's not "our" house the way "we" had it, it looks great!!

Of course, Mom would never do this, but I hopped out of the car and went and introduced myself to the new owners (who happened to be on the porch) and told them it had been Dad who renovated the house in 1966 and turned into a year round house from a summer place. They couldn't have been nicer! They are from Worchester, Mass. and have only owned the house for a few months. Apparently it had been on the market for about a year. They wanted to give the house a more "beachy" feel. They even insisted we come in and take a look around to see what they'd done. They were very cordial-and apologetic for the mess (it wasn't messy) as they have at least 3 small kids. We talked and shared some history of the house--it was really nice--I told the husband seeing our old tv room downstairs brought back vivid memories of us all crowded round the tv on 7/20/1969 watching the first steps on the moon, and the morning I came down for school and found Mom watching the breaking news that Robert Kennedy had been assassinated--ironic considering the current headlines about Ted Kennedy. So many memories came flooding back--so many great times in that house in High School and college for me--many of which cannot be revealed here as I still have some that Mom doesn't know about!!! I did snap one quick shot of the living room--beautiful fireplace is still in tact--and even got Mom to pose in front of the house.

After waving goodbye to the new owners, I was so glad I got out of the car-they couldn't have been nicer-I still miss the old place, but it's nice to know the new owners clearly love it too, and are beginning to make new memories there!
We finished our tour with a ride around the beach, through the Port, and around the ocean past the Bush's house to Cape Porpoise then home. It was a great time, Mom--so glad you thought about doing it and we got to do it together! Nancy

More About the Shanahans

After Cheryl's post about the Smith/Shanahan connection, it got me interested. I spoke to Mom at length about who and what she remembered. Andi is also a wealth of knowledge, as she has been working diligently on genealogy for quite a while. Mom spent a long time writing a comment here about her memories that unfortunately got deleted before posting (so annoying--I've done it, too.) Today Mom called Mary Clarey (not sure I spelled it right)-daughter of one of the famous Shanahan sons (Bill-William) and got the story straight. Apparently, there were not 7 Shanahan sons. There were 5! The 7 number must have been including my grandfather (Arthur Smith) and his twin who died soon after birth, Walter. That makes 7. The Shanahan sons were: 1. William, married to Maggie who had 5 children, Jim, Evelyn, Mildred, and twins Mary and Margaret. 2. Frank, married to Agnes who had a son Frank Jr. from a first marriage, then with Agnes had another Agnes, Mary (the one Mom spoke to) Len, Joe, Paul, Jack and Anna (obviously good Catholics!!) 3. Fred, who married a first time and had daughter Ethel. Then after first wife died, he married Mabel, who raised Ethel. 4. Ed, who married Ann and had Fred and Helen Nelson. 5. Jack, who married Gladys, and they had one daughter Dorothy (Dot). Now I hope I got that right--I was taking notes furiously as Mom spoke--feel free to make corrections! Hope this is now as clear as mud for all! Nancy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Rob has been working on his family tree - both sides - and has come to a stumbling block in trying to sort out the Shanahan connection to our family. Could anyone reading this provide any of the following information:
What was the relationship between the Smiths and the Shanahans? Grampa Smith's mother?
Anyone know more about Grampa Smith's mother's (Johanna or Joanna McCarthy)?
What were the names of Grampa Smith's half-brothers and/or sisters?
Were most of the Shanahans from Groveland? Haverhill? Bradford? North Andover?
Know any approximate birth or death dates or burial places?
Any Shanahans still around that Bobby could contact?
Also: What was the name of Grampa's twin brother? William??? Did he die at birth?
What was the name/date of birth of Grampa Smith grandfather? (Frederick Smith's father)?
Where was he from?
Anything else? Other resources Rob could check?
I ordered two books from Amazon: "The Irish in Haverhill", Vols. I and II. Volume II has arrived and has tons of old photos of people from Haverhill but no Shanahans. I'm hoping there might be something in Volume I when it arrives.
Here are two interesting photos I did find in Volume II:

Father Madden, who I think married my parents, is 4th from left in first row in group photo above.

Ralph Woodburn, is last man on right in 2nd row in this photo of the Haverhill Police Dapartment in 1942. Aunt Barbara's father?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

for the ladies...

Browsing the internet today and came across this blog which I really enjoyed: the Beehive Cottage. Here is the link . The blog is written by a woman named Maryjane and here is her bio.: "I am a Mother to four...three daughters and one son whom are all married with families of their own! I am a Grandmother to 11 who are my pride & joy! I married my high school sweetheart many moons ago! I keep busy in my craft room, I play house & camp in my little 1957 vintage travel trailer, I live a little vintage by cooking comfort foods, make my own heavenly scented laundry detergent, ride a PINK bike, wear an apron and pearls, I love to sew and craft vintage while watching old movies or watch the oldies on TV, and I enjoy having family and friends in my home."

I love all of her craft projects, decorating ideas, recipes, and vintage photos! Here's a sneak preview:

She makes blank journals with different themes. I posted another one farther down the page.
(Reminds me of when we made scrapbooks as kids...I think it was Mom's way of keeping us busy!)
...and she has a blue vintage camper...

...a recipe journal she made...

If you scroll along the left side of her blog, Maryjane has links to lots and lots of other cottage and vintage blogs to click on. Then, way down at the very bottom, you can click to read her older posts. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Book Review: Still Alice

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

"Still Alice" is a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel about the devastating affect Alzheimer's has on its victims and their families. Author Lisa Genova's choice of Alice - young, in shape, and intelligent (she's a Psychology & Linguistics Professor at Harvard) - shows that Alzheimer's can strike anyone, not just the elderly. The book is written from Alice's viewpoint, but Genova does a good job of showing the affect of Alzheimer's not only on Alice, but how her family (John, and their children - Anna, Tom, and Lydia) struggle with the changes in Alice. Genova does an excellent job of describing what is going on in Alice's head as the dementia increases. In fact, Genova does such a good job that it's easy to forgot the book is fiction and not about a real person.

A review from a reader on
This story deeply touched my heart. I couldn't put it down. Lisa Genova gives us such a revelation of what a person goes through on their journey down the road to dementia. It was at once interesting, entertaining, and informative, but mostly it tugged at my heart. I could feel Alice's confusion; I wept for Alice and her family, but I rejoiced in the love and care shown to her. I highly recommend this book .. a "must read"!!
Here is a link to the information on this book...for ordering or to read more reviews:

Friday, August 21, 2009

New England Patriots

Hank, Rob, Robert and Brian Lawson, and Hank's brother, Michael, had the time of their lives yesterday in Foxboro, thanks to Joanne and Mark. A week ago, Mark sent Hank five tickets to the Patriots pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals that he and Joanne were unable to use....seats in the 11th row on the 40 yard line at Gillette Stadium! To add to the excitement, this was the first game that quarterback Tom Brady was scheduled to play in since his injury last season. The pre-game frenzy at our house was building all week as the "guys" prepared for their trip to the game: calls back and forth to Mark, time checks, trips to Hannaford for the tailgating supplies, making sure the GPS coordinates for the stadium were was an ever-mounting wave of testosterone! The guys left at noon Thursday and got home at 2:30 a.m. this morning, exhausted but totally pumped about their experience. It was the first time that Hank, Mike and the boys had ever been to a professional football game and they can't stop talking about it! Here are some photos of the big day:

Our grandson, Robert, Hank's brother, Mike, my son, Rob, our grandon, Brian, and Hank ... in front of Gillette Stadium...

Hank, Robert & Brian at the game...

Heading home to Maine...THANKS Joanne and Mark!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

more old postcards of Haverhill

I found a few more old postcards of Haverhill today. Thought they would bring back memories for some of you. The first is an old postcard of Haverhill High School. My Mom was class of 1939, Dad was class of 1941, Roger was class of 19??, Uncle Arthur must have been about 1946 (?) and Uncle Ed about 1951 (?). What class were you, Marion? I bet there are lots of memories out there of things that went on in high school back then...any that anyone dares to share???

This is the Haverhill-Bradford bridge. I remember walking from Aunt Helen's house in Bradford across the bridge with Grammy Smith to pay (in person) some of Aunt Helen's bills in Haverhill. I think it was when Aunt Helen was sick but can't remember the year. I think some of you may have walked to high school across this bridge???

Ant the last postcard: Merrimack St. in Haverhill in 1906.

Hope to read some interesting comments about some of these photos!

A Perfect Summer Day

Today was a perfect summer day in Maine. Rob came home with eight lobsters for dinner and we enjoyed every bite of them on the porch.
This afternoon, Nancy came to visit and Tomo got a ride in her new "retirement" VW convertible. The license plate? Why, "SMR4EVR", of course!
"Aunt Nancy" and Taka had a great time in the pool...
...while Toshi and his Dad went to the beach and visited "Great Grammy"(Alice). Here is Toshi in full beach attire:-)
Rob with Toshi and Tomo with 94 degrees, it was everybody in the pool!
Yesterday, Hank's son, Rob, invited Hank, "my" Rob and Taka for a boat ride with Robert and Brian on Sebago Lake. Here are our grandsons Robert and Taka tubing behind the boat (yes, Mom, Taka had TWO life preservers on...)
Taka even got to drive the boat...

"Summer afternoon... the two most beautiful words in the English language." ~Henry James

Monday, August 17, 2009

Postcard of Haverhill

While we were camping last week, we drove up to Brewer to an antique shop I like, The Schoolhouse Antiques, on Rt. 15. While browsing, I found an old postcard of Haverhill, Mass., where most of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles grew up. For $1.00, I had to buy it. Does anyone recognize the location or know anything of its history? Here is the postcard: I also found this old photo on the internet (Google Images under "Haverhill, MA"). I think it said it was taken in 1905:

Does anyone recognize the location in downtown Haverhill?

Taka & Toshi

Taka and Toshi arrived yesterday for two weeks with "Nanny and Grampy" in Maine. Toshi has gotten so big since we saw him last! Rob thinks that Taka looks like a combination of his grandmother in Japan, Umeyo, and me...and that Toshi looks like he's a combination of his grandfather in Japan, Tokuhide, and the Underwood side of the family. Those Underwood genes seem pretty dominant!
Toshinori Henry Underwood
Takanori Robert Underwood
...playing with Grampy
Taka loves playing in the pool with the banana!
Looking forward to these two being a grandmother!