at Stewart Field in Newburgh, NY.
My Dad’s brother, Paul Rier, served in the US Army Air Corps at West Point, Stewart Field, NY during World War II, as did Dad (James Eugene Rier) and their brother Francis (Babe) Rier. They were from Lubec, Maine. This photo was found among my parents’ old photos of those years. Dad and Mom often posed for each other and developed the photos in a dark room. This pair of photos was taken in my parent’s apartment on a lounge chair my father built.
Uncle Paul was so handsome and my Aunt Alice was beautiful. We called her Aunt Winkie but I’m not sure why. Another story to discover!
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Every Christmas when I was growing up, we made Christmas cookies. A wonderful sugar cookie made with lemon extract and decorated with colored sugar and cinnamon hots. My children learned to make these cookies when they were growing up, then my grandchildren learned too. This year, my daughter Liz and her children, Hayley (14) and William (11) made Christmas cookies with me on Christmas Eve, after having a ham dinner together. What fun! Oh, the memories it brings back and the joy of making more memories. We used many of the same cookie cutters that Mom had and gave to me, horns, curlicues, birds and hearts.
I love looking at my mother’s writing on the recipe card. I have no desire to make a new one. I hope this one lasts for decades into the future. My only alteration of the recipe is to roll the cookie dough a bit thicker than 1/4″. It makes a moist, “fatter” cookie. Cooking time 10 to 12 minutes.
It appears the the lobster (center cookie) had his tail eaten. Who did it? I will not confess. Nibbling while cookies are hot out of the oven is part of the tradition!
A longer version is published here.
This post has been updated with a full scanned copy of the Means Family notebook found here: 1913.Means
When I was in sixth grade, Mrs. Luce gave the class an assignment: write a story about our ancestors. When I got home that day, I told Mom about my homework project. I hoped to write about my grandparents and great grandparents. She retrieved a small brown notebook from a closet draw entitled 1913. Means Family. Compliments of John H. Means Boston to William G Means. William Means was my great grandfather. I knew the book existed for no one could grow up in my home and not hear stories about my mother’s ancestors but I had never read it, nor glanced at the pages.
I opened the little book and read the first page:
Our great-great-great Grandfather and family.
Robert Means born 1689 married Jeane Armstrong, daughter…
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my second mother. I’ve known Muriel all my life. She and her husband Phil and their son, David, were always in my life. Phil is gone now, my Mom and Dad gone too, but my memories of our two families together are vivid.
Every summer, our families lived at Indian Lake in Whiting, Maine. We swam, we sailed, we fished, we spent hours/days boating. We started water sports on a surfboard behind the family boat. The first time Dad took me out on the surfboard, I was four or five. Soon after take off, Dad lost his grip on me and I slid between and under his legs into the water. I remember my surprise to see Dad’s legs fly by. When David and I were eight years old, we learned to water ski. We had to keep up with my older brothers. Soon we were slalom skiing.
David and I explored the woods, tented out, and built a tree house with my brothers, David and Jimmy. It was a fine treehouse on the point, with a porch and a great view out over the lake toward the island. The Watts’ lived in the next cove over. When David and I wanted to get together, we went outside and called like loons. It was the signal that breakfast was over and it was time to hit the lake. On rainy days, there were card games and puzzles. There was no phone and no TV. It was a glorious time in our lives.
Recently I visited Muriel at Avita of Stroudwater, in Westbrook close to Portland, with David’s wife Kate. Muriel has Alzheimer’s disease but her memories of life long ago are as vivid as mine. We talked about all of our antics and fun at the lake. In the photo of us together, I was talking about the old photos of Mom and her before they were married, out on a picnic with the Border Patrol guys. She grinned and said, “We girls were trying to get away with some fun without our parents knowing!” We cracked up laughing. Precious moments.
Mom, far left, Muriel on the right. They were picking cranberries with the Border Patrol guys some time in the late 1930s, or early 1940s.
I have so many photos of our families at Indian Lake. I shall have to pull them out of storage under my eves and scan.
But, for now, if you want to see the fun we had on Indian Lake, watch the old 8mm movies: Growing Up in the 50s and 60s, We Knew How To Have Fun!