A WOMAN OF MYSTERY
Years ago, when I first began documenting my maternal family, I reached out to our matriarch at the time, my Great-Aunt Doris. She spoke for hours, naming the ancestors she knew then sharing stories of their lives.
Although she knew a lot about her mother’s family, my great-aunt was less certain about her father’s family, especially his mother, Alice (Manley) Cole.
What little Aunt Doris knew about her grandma was her name and the fact that she disappeared from her father’s life when he was a child.
Alice was an enigma, a woman of mystery. As a family historian/genealogist, I LOVE following clues and solving puzzles, so off to the records I raced.
On this day, 20 June 1876, Allen Layton (my 4th great-grandfather) passed away.
Born on 29 September 1806, in Jerseyville, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Allen Layton was the eldest of eight known children of Allen Layton and Annay Foster.
Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Everyday People, On This Day
Tags: American history, ancestry, biography, Civil War, family history, family tree, genealogy, lineage, New Jersey
I remember the first time I saw New York’s Grand Central Terminal. I was in college. My Immigrant Fiction class had embarked on an excursion to New York City to walk in the footsteps of the approximately 12 million people who immigrated there between 1892 and 1954.
Like the immigrants before us, our first stop was Ellis Island, the official entry point. As we crossed the harbor to Ellis Island, I stood at the ferry’s rail, gazing at the Statue of Liberty who welcomed these people to their new home: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
After we visited both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, we headed over to 42nd Street and Park Avenue to tour Grand Central Terminal, built in 1913. Perhaps some immigrants heading to different locales to live might have caught a train at Grand Central Station? It is possible. Grand Central Terminal was and still is the most famous railway terminal in the world.
However, Grand Central is much more than a railroad station. High above the exterior doors is the ethereal sculpture featuring Hercules, representing physical strength; Mercury, the god of travel and commerce; and Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and protector of cities. Under them is an ornate clock made of Tiffany glass. Then, there is the main concourse. I remember gazing across the expanse to the information booth with its famous four-faced clock; each face crafted of opal. And above was a ceiling of constellations, painted backward as if I were seeing the stars from God’s vantage point. What a wondrous sight!
Recently, I read The Elegant Out, written by Elizabeth Bartasius. Told in the first-person point-of-view, this work of fiction feels more like a memoir.
The main character, Elizabeth, is struggling. Stuck in a dead-end job, Elizabeth is a domestic abuse survivor. Even though Elizabeth has a new love, Gabe, a man who deeply cherishes her, and a son Jack, around whom her world revolves, her ex-husband’s abusive words still echo in her head. And that long-ago vitriol has affected her self-worth and self-identity.
Categories: Book Reviews
Tags: book blog, book review, books, children, critique, friendship, love, marriage, opinion, relationships, writing