Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Same Name

Parents often want to honor someone in their family. My 2nd great grandfather was named Charles Shoemaker Moore. That name was passed on to his oldest son who passed it on to his oldest son. When my brother was born there was a disagreement about his name. My dad’s sister wanted it to be Charles Shoemaker Moore, but my mom didn’t like Shoemaker for part of his name. On a hot August dinner after some arguing my dad said he would name him Terry after the Philadelphia Phillies manager, Terry Moore. My mom said fine, but little did she know that the next day my brother would be born premature. So, his name was Terry Charles Moore.

Other relatives sharing a name with a child or grandchild would have adjectives added to differentiate. So, there was Big Helen and Little Helen, Big John and Little John, Big Margaretta and Baby Margaretta. My name is a reversal of my mother’s. Hers Millicent Arline and mine Arlene Millicent.

In my husband’s family William is a very common name and not always bestowed on a child but a spouse marrying into the family having William as a name. My husband is William as is his oldest son. His father, both grandfathers and two great grandfathers are all named William. His mother’s brother and his sister’s spouse are Williams. Two cousins and a nephew are named William.
#52 Ancestors, #52 Ancestors 2018, #52 Ancestors Same Name

Monday, August 6, 2018

Going to the Chapel

Bill and I decided to get married while at Annual Training for  the Army National Guard in June of 1981. We picked July 18th giving us about one month to plan. My parents were probably thrilled I was getting married but I’m sure my mom was a little disappointed that it would not be the wedding she would have like. My parents were married in the home of my dad’s sister, Caroline. It was a simple affair with just a few friends.

We planned a church wedding at the First Methodist Church in Gloucester City, NJ – my home town. We only planned for a matron of honor and a best man. My matron was Letitia Sarracino. We were both teachers at the same high school where we were students just one year apart. My friend Irma Zank was the soloist and we three were active in that church. Jimmy Ridge, a distant cousin played the organ. Bill’s best man was his uncle, Joe Baker.

I had picked a gown that I easily got off the bridal rack at Penney’s. No alterations necessary. The day of the wedding came, and it was a sunny, hot July day. The photographer was someone my dad knew who took the Little League pictures. Our neighbor loaned us his nice car and one of the students from school asked if he could be the driver. We arrived at church, but Bill’s mom wasn’t there. After about a half hour delay she arrived with her sister-in-law and nephew Bill and his family. Nephew Bill couldn’t find his shoes and that held them up. Meanwhile my Bill was the room at the rear of the church not knowing what was happening. He worried I might have changed my mind. The ceremony continued without any other delays.

The reception was in my parents’ back yard. Me, my mom, her friends and mine all helped to make the food. My friend Judy made sure the food was ready to eat and her husband served drinks at a home bar set up in the yard. My mom wanted music and so she got some sheets of plywood laid down in the yard and my brother’s boom box provided the music. Friends, neighbors and relatives were invited. The high school softball team I coached all came too as did some of our army friends. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I had chosen my cake with several pastel colors. Letitia ‘Tish’ was pregnant, and I had told her to pick a dress she like in whatever color she wanted. She chose a peachy, melon color so the cake was planned to go with what ever she picked. Bill and I cut the cake and left the rest to be cut by Judy. When our first anniversary came around I asked if we were supposed to eat a piece of wedding cake. That’s when I found out that the top layers of the cake had slid off and onto the floor due to the high heat. No air conditioning at my mom’s house.

Eventually the day came to an end and Bill and I left for a trip out west. We stayed in a nearby motel that first night and then headed to New Mexico and Arizona for a two-week honeymoon. My mother-in-law took care of Bill’s 4 kids at her home in Cape May until our return.
#52 Ancestors, #52 Ancestors 2018, #Weddings, #Arlene Baker

Sunday, August 5, 2018

So Far Away

I grew up with only one set of living grandparents. My dad’s parents died 30 years before I was born. My mon’s parents lived in Tampa, Florida, 1100 miles away from us. In the 50s and 60s most people didn’t travel far very often. I would see my grandparents about once every two years. Sometimes we would go to Florida by car (a 3-day journey before interstate highways), sometimes by bus or train. Sometimes my grandparents would drive up here to NJ. There were letters and phone calls (not too often with those long-distance charges). But those things don’t make up for the loss of close regular contact with grandparents. My grandparents and parents made sure those visits were perfect. I loved and adored them. Of course, as and adult I would see their flaws. I loved them but grieve for not knowing them and they not knowing me better.

I am so blessed to spend frequent time with my grandchildren. I hope that they will have many fond memories and feel they’ve been short changed with quality grandparent time.
#52 Ancestors, #52 Ancestors 2018, #Grandparents


The Bristol Family Association is an organization for descendants of Henry Bristol who was one of the early settlers of Connecticut. The association meets once a year in Connecticut. They have published a genealogy of the Bristol family and two newsletters each year. For information contact abak50@comcast.net
#Bristol, #Bristol Family Association, #Early Connecticut Settlers, #Bristol genealogy

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Cemeteries are places of mourning and also elation over genealogy discoveries. Too often when searching my ancestors’ graves, I find cemeteries that have been abandoned. My great grandfather, Charles Shoemaker Moore was a Civil War veteran and is buried in Old Camden, NJ cemetery. It is in a run down and dangerous part of town. Only a few headstones remain and sadly not one for my ancestor. I know the general area where he is buried. My husband said if we came there again it would be on the coldest day in the winter because most of the criminals would not be out. My grandparents, Margaretta and Charles Moore and three of their children are buried in another Camden cemetery – New Camden Cemetery. This is almost as bad. But just across the street is still another abandoned cemetery. Evergreen Cemetery is disgraceful. Broken headstones abound. The former owners used pieces of headstones to make curbs alone the roads which did nothing to prevent the roads from migrating over graves. I can’t locate my father’s siblings grave as I think one of these roads is now over that grave. My baby cousins’ grave also can’t be located since head stones in that are gone. He is buried on top of a Civil War soldier who was unrelated.  Apparently, you could sell the space over a family member for burial. Nearby there was a headstone that told the story of a couple who were visiting from Germany and were hit by a train. Sometimes the city or county will bring in prisoners to cut the grass in these cemeteries a couple times a year.

Many of my maternal ancestors are buried in and around Batavia, NY. Those cemeteries are lovely. They have been maintained. One even has a booklet of newspaper obituaries for the people buried in that cemetery. One of the collateral ancestors have three small headstones with a heartbreaking story in that booklet. Parents took their small child to be buried there and when they returned home their second small child had died. A few days after that child was buried a third child died and was buried.

Cemeteries give us a connection to our ancestors. My maternial great grandparents were both cremated and their ashes spread in Tampa Bay. They feel so disconnected. I want to be able to see where they lay and see a headstone.

Sometimes cemeteries give us a connection to non-relatives. Around my parents’ graves are friends and familiar people. Flora Jamieson my seventh-grade teacher and later fellow faculty member and friend; her sister and brother-in-law; Charlie Ritz who was one my father’s fellow police officers are all buried there.

Cemeteries are so much a part of our lives. They give us connections and a sense of who we are.

#52 Ancestors 2018, #52 Ancestors, #Cemeteries

Stormy Weather

Some of my most memorable weather events are tied to RVing. The first night we spent in our first motorhome was in Wisconsin. Around 9pm a big storm came up with threats of tornadoes. The RV shook with lightning striking nearby. The Sean and Travis were young. One slept through it and ones was terrified. All I could think of was “Who usually dies in a tornado? People in trailers”. Not much sleeping that night.

The second storm happened in Kansas. A huge storm came up. Water was leaking into to the RV everywhere. We put pots under leaks and the cooler under a large leak under the air conditioner. The next morning, I opened the door to dump the cooler outside and the sight that faced me was we were in water knee. Around us those who had been tent camping were returning from their escape to motels. They were pairing up to wring sleeping bags out. I unplugged the electric cord to the RV standing in knee high water. After getting everything together we pulled out of the camp ground and stopped at a convenience store just up the road. I went in to buy some buns and donuts. I asked the clerk if they had bad storms like that very often. The woman looked at me like I was crazy and said “Honey, this is Kansas.” Shades of “The Wizard of Oz”.

Arlene Baker

#52 Ancestors, #Storms, #Camping

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My Most Memorable Mother’s Day

My Most Memorable Mothers' Day
When my children were small my Aunt Bonnie had a family reunion on Mother’s Day. My Aunt Connie was visiting from Florida. As I was getting my children, Sean age 3 and Travis 3 months ready to go my husband announced he wasn’t going as his foot hurt. I was upset because he didn’t like visiting relatives and I didn’t believe his foot story. As I would learn later he had a sore foot due to gout. Anyway, the boys and I went to my aunt’s house. We were all having a good time and I was giving Travis a bottle. He had a habit of throwing up most bottles and he didn’t disappoint. Both he and I were a mess. I always brought several outfits with me and so he looked great after a change. I on the other hand looked kind of messy. In the meantime, everyone was eating. Now I could eat except before I got to the buffet Sean came in full of “mud” from head to toe. My cousin was laughing too hard for it to be simple “mud”. He then explained it was actually overflow from the cesspool. So now Sean went in the tub and all his clothes and shoes went in the washer with bleach. I had packed extra clothes for Sean. It was a new outfit – a camouflage shirt and pants just like his soldier father wore. But it was a little too big, so a hunk of clothes line was just the thing to hold up the pants. Now shoes though as I didn’t anticipate quite this big of a disaster. Once again, I wiped myself off as best as possible and went in search of food. Most of the relatives were just about done eating. I was balancing Travis on my lap when I looked down and lo and behold he had diarrhea that came out of the diaper all over him and me. Of course, I had another spare outfit for him and he was soon cleaned and dressed. But I was beyond cleaning up. My Aunt Bonnie insisted I put on one of her outfits. Now was a good eight inches shorter than me so I now sported pants that looked like pedal pushers or capris. When I finally was able to get a plate of food it was being put away. I asked my mom to hold the baby. To which her friend said "Who had that baby - you or your mother." He thought that was a funny comment. I tried to remember that he had never had any children of his own. In the end it was a memorable day with some challenges but one not to be forgotten.

#52 Ancestors 2018, #52 Ancestors, #Mothers' Day