An Ancestor Break. A Book Recommendation about Vietnam and PTSD.

Fifty Years in A Foxhole by Charles Kniffen.

I belong to a writing group in Trescott, Maine, headed by Dr. Michael Brown. We meet at Cobscook Community Learning Center every two weeks. I first met Chuck Kniffen there, a few years back. Soon after he joined the group, Chuck and his wife made a trip to Florida and tented out in driving rain. Chuck had flashbacks on his “vacation.” After returning home, he began to write about his experiences in Vietnam and living with undiagnosed PTSD for most of his life.

His book has just been published. It is riveting. You will cry, you will laugh at Chuck’s unique humor, but most of all you will see with glaring intensity the true cost of war. The story is so relevant to the times we live in.

I have been involved with this writing group for more than three years and enjoyed our gatherings tremendously. I made friends who regularly support each other, as writers and in our personal lives. It a priceless gift. After joining this group, I began to write about my own life and stories about my ancestors, and writing eventually led to the birth of this blog.

Chuck recently did an radio interview with the owner of Sunbury Press, Lawrence Knorr. It is well worth the time to listen.

Thank you for your service Chuck. Thank you for having the courage to write your story. Congratulations!

Related posts about war veterans:

Lubec Veterans Honor Roll

A Great Resource To Find Your Civil War Ancestors  

 

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Happy Easter To You and Yours!

Me and Peter Rabbit many moons ago. I loved the way he liked to lay in my arms on his back. Peter loved to cuddle and he was so soft!

Of course, Easter is not about bunnies. It is a day to renew our hearts and minds and send up prayers into the universe for peace and love in this world.

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Me and my brothers. L to R. Jimmy, David and me (Sherry). I have that (red) blanket on my couch! Somehow I look less serious than Jimmy and David…

The History of Catholic Churches in Lubec and Trescott, Maine

From the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnsonpublished by the Lubec Historical Society. It can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library. It includes the history of all the churches in Lubec.

This summer, the Lubec Historical Society will be selling this book. It’s a great resource!

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Saint Mary’s Catholic Church was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Chapel Hill Road in 1852 when there were about 50 Catholic families in Trescott. My great great grandfather, James Keegan Sr., and his family attended church there. The church was razed in 1882. A new church, Saint Patrick’s, was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Crow Neck road, two miles away from the Keegan home. The people had begun to move into West Lubec and Lubec and it was necessary to centralize a church. In 1887, Reverend Cornelius O’Sullivan became pastor of Machias and traveled to Lubec for 35 years.

Saint Mary’s Church At Chapel Hill Cemetery in Trescott. Painted by Bertha Calkins Walton from memory.

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Related posts:

Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers. James Keegan Sr. and Jr. families.

Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: The History of Irish Immigration into Maine. 

 

Celebrating Over 20,000 Views From Over 50 Countries

In just under 16 months, there have been 10,718 visitors. Ancestor stories truly are universal.

A big thank you to all of you who have visited!

Country, Views

“United States”,18748

“Canada”,372

“United Kingdom”,143

“Thailand”,133

“Romania”,133

“Australia”,118

“Ireland”,72

“Japan”,48

“Spain”,40

“India”,32

“Germany”,27

“New Zealand”,16

“Netherlands”,14

“Trinidad & Tobago”,12

“Norway”,11

“South Africa”,10

“Poland”,10

“European Union”,9

“Kuwait”,7

“St. Lucia”,7

“France”,7

“Mexico”,7

“Brazil”,5

“Philippines”,5

“Greece”,4

“Turkey”,4

“Costa Rica”,3

“Serbia”,3

“Malta”,3

“Switzerland”,2

“Ukraine”,2

“China”,2

“United Arab Emirates”,2

“Egypt”,2

“Sweden”,2

“Suriname”,2

“Croatia”,2

“Russia”,2

“Pakistan”,2

“Denmark”,1

“Austria”,1

“Finland”,1

“South Korea”,1

“Morocco”,1

“Iraq”,1

“Italy”,1

“Malaysia”,1

“Hungary”,1

“Kenya”,1

“Saudi Arabia”,1

“Indonesia”,1

“Sri Lanka”,1

“Zimbabwe”,1

“Puerto Rico”,1

Miss Means. Piano Instruction.

If you look carefully, you will see the sign below the shuttered windows upstairs on the right. Miss Means was my grandmother Harriet Means Johnson. Photo courtesy of Michael Hoyt.

A close up of the sign.

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There is a woman in the upstairs windows on the left. She is not my grandmother. I expect the upstairs was divided  – or perhaps she is a parent waiting for a child to finish their piano lesson.

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This is the first photograph I have seen of Harriet’s studio in Machias, Maine. Before today, I did not know the location of her studio above the Machias Lumber Company on Main Street. The building is still there.

Harriet studied piano under the renowned Frederick Mariner who had a summer home on the Penobscot River. Mariner’s studio was in NYC but he accepted gifted students at the Bangor Piano School.

Harriet Putnam Means 1906: Graduation from Bangor Piano School
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Later Harriet moved to Bangor, opened a piano studio there, then eloped with Ezekiel “Zeke” Johnson in February of 1908 – without telling her parents.

Read the Harriet stories, gleaned from her 1908 letters, here.

 

 

An Ancestor Break. Watching A Handsome Pair of Hooded Mergansers

cavorting and courting in my front “yard” on a lake in Downeast Maine. They dove and danced around each other, fluffed their wings, wagged their tail feathers and chased each other. They were so excited, intent on impressing their mate, it was a joy to watch. Spring love!

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Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers

Celebrating my Irish ancestors today!

Voices of Ancestors

James Keegan Sr (1812 – 1879) and his son James H Keegan Jr. (1847 – 1927) were laid to rest in Chapel Hill cemetery in Trescott, ME. James Sr. immigrated to Trescott from Ireland in 1836. I had seen their gravestones on the findagrave.com website but I wanted to go there myself. I had hit a roadblock in tracing James Sr in Ireland. My cousin Teresa had visited Ireland and requested information about him from the Meath Heritage & Genealogy Centre in Trim, Ireland, County Meath. The Centre found one listing for a James Keegan born March 27th, 1812 to Pat Keegan and Elizabeth Keating. But the birth date for this James did not match the birth date on his gravestone (October 6, 1812). I noted that County Meath was misspelled on his gravestone as Meade, perhaps the date of birth was not accurate either. The Centre’s search covered 1812…

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