Armed Forces Day Parade or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Here comes the United States Air Force. I can recall being disappointed that they did not march with rifles. Armed Forces Day Parade, Plattsburgh, N.Y., May 1964.

 

This is being written with my apologies to the movie “Dr. Strangelove…” but I just could not think of a better title. I was born and raised in Plattsburgh, New York, which is in the upper extreme right-hand corner of the state. Plattsburgh is a small city of about 20,000 people surrounded by dairy farms, apple orchards, and maple sugaring operations. It has a large state college which brings people from not only the state but from all over the world to study and teach. The Plattsburgh area is also on the shores of Lake Champlain and the edge of the Adirondack Mountains. It is a vacation paradise for those who love the outdoors. It also home to many retail stores. This brought many tourists into our area, especially from Canada. Many times the parking lots would have more cars from Canada than from N.Y. For many years (1815 to 1995) it also had a military base which of course drew in more people from many different places. When I was growing up, the Air Force Strategic Air Command was in full vigor in Plattsburgh. All theses things made the Plattsburgh area a unique and diverse place to grow up.

 

My sister Ronni taking a pose while waiting for the parade. Plattsburgh, May 1964.

 

The pictures were taken by me on Armed Forces Day in May of 1964. Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It was meant to replace the separate Navy, Air Force, and Army days that were (and still are) observed. Louis Johnson who was the U.S. Secretary of Defense created the observance in 1949. When you are young and live in a small town, a parade is a good way to spend part of your day. It was always a sight to see the airmen marching by in their dress uniforms. Local high school bands were sure to march also. Fire trucks, police cars, also were sure to be in the parade. So in 1964 my sister and I made our way downtown (yes we walked there all by ourselves) to watch the parade and take pictures

 

That’s me Charles Moore posing while my sister take a photograph. She showed more skill with the camera than I did. Plattsburgh, N.Y. May 1964.

 

My intentions originally in writing this post was just to share these pictures from the days of my youth and talk about family pictures. However, as I started to work on this, I got to thinking more and more about how it was to grow up in a town the was home to a Strategic Air Command base that had scores of B52 Bombers fully ready to strike at Russia or any enemy of the United States. Not only did we have the air force base but our valley was ringed by Atlas Missile Sites, ready to launch at a moments notice. It was no secret that our little town was very high on the strike list of any enemy the U.S. was to have. Most people today would be amazed how normal life was even with all this danger around them.

 

Armed Forces Day Parade with a local high school marching band. May 1964.

 

I can recall sitting on our front porch on a summers evening and listening to the roar of the B52 engines being warmed up on the runway tarmac miles from us. How that sound could carry. It was as normal to hear that as it would be to hear the crickets chirp at night. We, of course, had air raid drills at school. Sometimes we would take cover in our classrooms by or under our desk. Other times in the hallway outside the classrooms, and about once a year we would march to a door where we were told was the air raid shelter. I think it was just the furnace room. Also once a year we had what was called a go home drill. We liked this one because you were let out of school early at about noon. You were told to walk not run and have your parent sign a slip stating what time you got home. We were told in case of an attack if we had enough time we would be sent home. I remember during the Cuban Missile Crisis everyone was to keep a box of necessary items to be thrown into your car if we had enough time to get out of town. I had wanted to put in a checker game into the box, but my mother said no. I have no idea now why I thought this game was a necessity, but I did. I wanted it in my mother did not. So we argued until my father stepped in. Now my father never failed to back up my mother (a lesson I used when I had children) except this time, when he said “let him have it. It won’t make any difference anyway.” Something in the way it was said gave me a better understanding of the trouble we were in.

We got very use to having these big ugly fat fellows (BUFF) around. If you ever watched one take off with a full load you would swear that they flapped their wings just like a bird as the came down the runway.
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: B-52F Boeing photo
PictionID:44795985 – Title:Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: B-52F Boeing photo – Catalog:16_005979 – Filename:16_005979.tif – – – – – Image from the Ray Wagner Collection. Ray Wagner was Archivist at the San Diego Air and Space Museum for several years and is an author of several books on aviation –

 

I do not want you to think the air base was terrible. It was not. Like the tourist, the area people, and the college it brought much life and good to the area. The air base gave me the chance to meet people from all over the Untied States and helped me to sharpen and form my opinions and outlook on life. Why many of us city kids knew where in the chain link fence we could slip through and attend movies on base for almost nothing. I wonder what would happen today if someone was caught doing that. Friends were made good times were had, and I am glad to have these memories.

This is one of the missile silo sites just a few miles from Plattsburgh.
Convair SM-65F Atlas, Site 6 Au Sable Forks NY.
This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain in the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Front Porch Picture

Picture taken in 1927. From left to right. Joyce Monty Smith, 1919 – 2006, Emma Craft Monty, 1866 – 1938, Etta Monty Smith, 1857 – 1942, Doris Monty Lyon, 1921 – 2006, and Oreon Monty, 1850 – 1930. Picture from the Carl Gonya collection

The above picture is what I call a front porch picture. You know what I mean where everyone gathers on the porch for a group picture. Many times a porch is not even needed. While looking at the photographs in my collection, I have noticed many of these pictures. I have come to the decision that I will feature these from time to time on my blog. We can learn so much about the people in these pictures, and we should take note of them in our own family’s history. The people all shown above are relatives of my wife’s. They are left to right Joyce Monty Smith, her aunt, Emma Craft Monty her great-grandmother, Etta Monty Smith, a great-aunt, Doris Monty Lyon, her mother, and finally Oreon Monty, her great grandfather. The sad fact is that we tend to lose our ancestor’s stories that are three or even just two generations old. Here is how you can learn a little about your ancestors and perhaps recapture some of their stories.

Flogging
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “A Picture For Philanthropists.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 3, 2017.

 

Oreon Monty was born in the year 1850 and died 1930. The year Oreon was born California becomes a state, and New Mexico and Utah are now territories. The Fugitive Slave Act is passed making it illegal to shelter runaway slaves even if they reach a free state. The new law forces under penalty of law the return of these slaves. 1850 saw the first women’s rights convention in Worcester, Massachusetts. Flogging is abolished as a punishment in the U.S. Navy. Also “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathanial Hawthorne is published.

Etta Monty Smith was born in the year 1857 and died in 1942. In 1857 Kansas ratifies an anti-slavery constitution. The Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott Decision which stated in short that under the U.S. Constitution, Scott was his master’s property and was not a citizen of the United States. The Court also declared that the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery in certain areas, unconstitutionally deprived people of their slaves. The Mountain Meadows Massacre takes place in which 120 pioneers are murdered. The National Association of Baseball Players is founded. New York City saw Elisha Otis, install its first elevator. 1857 saw the first issue of the Atlantic Monthly Magazine.

Baker & Godwin. The laying of the cable—John and Jonathan joining hands / W & P. , ca. 1858. [New York: Published and for sale by Baker & Godwin, Printers, Printing House Square, corner Nassau and Spruce streets, New York] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed May 03, 2017.)

Emma Craft Monty was born in 1866 and died in 1938. In 1866 the National Labor Union was formed, which is the first national association of unions. The Atlantic Telegraph Cable is completed. The Plains Indians score a major victory when Capt. Fetterman and 80 Soldiers are killed. The Jesse James Gang robs a bank in Lexington, Missouri. Tennessee is the first Confederate State to be readmitted to the Union. Also in 1866 Lucy Hobbs Taylor, is the first woman to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

 

 

Telephone
Horydczak, Theodor, Approximately, photographer. Telephone. Disk type dial phone I. Washington D.C, None. ca. 1920-ca. 1950. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed May 03, 2017.)

Joyce Monty Smith was born in 1919 and died in 2006. The year she was born saw the signing of the Versailles Treaty (drawn up at the end of World War One) and the creation of the League of Nations. However, due to the politics of the day, the U.S. Senate rejected the treaty and adopted an isolationist view in our dealing with the world. We also passed the 18th amendment which prohibited the sale of alcohol. Also in the year of her birth race riots broke out in 26 major U.S. Cities including Washington D.C… The dial telephone was introduced to the public by American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is confirmed. Johannes Stark from Germany (discoverer of the Doppler Effect) wins the Nobel Prize in Physics. Cincinnati won the World Series over the Chicago White Sox’s. This resulted in the Black Sox scandal in which eight White Sox players were banned from baseball for life, for intentionally losing games.

Unknown
Harris & Ewing, photographer. [Tomb of Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia]. Arlington Virginia, None. [Between 1921 and 1929] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress. (Accessed May 03, 2017.)

Doris Monty Lyon was born in 1921 and died in 2006, the same year as her sister Joyce. In 1921 Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknown Soldier had its first burial. Governor Miller of New York told members of the N.Y. League of Women Voters in a speech “that the league had no excuse for existence.” The speech was not warmly received by the women. Albert Einstein is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton, wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Rudolph Valentino is becoming known as the movies best-known lover. James Joyce’s “Ulysses” is published in Paris. 500 copies which were sent to the U.S. were seized by the U.S. Post Office and burned as obscene material. The N.Y. Giants win the 1921 World Series, defeating the N.Y. Yankees.

Charles Lindberg by his plane The Spirit of St. Louis.
Charles A. Lindbergh, with Spirit of St. Louis in background, May 31, 1927. , ca. 1927. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress

 

The picture was taken in the year 1927. Here are some of the events that took place in 1927. The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) goes on the air. Saudi Arabia becomes independent of Great Britain. The last Model T Ford is produced. The pilot Charles Lindberg crosses the Atlantic in the first non-stop flight in his plane “The Spirit of St. Louis.” Golfers in S.C. are arrested for violating the Sabbath. The U.S. Supreme Court permits forced sterilizations of various unfits by states where such surgeries are practiced for eugenic reasons. Perhaps the worst school mass murder was committed in 1927. In Bath, Michigan 45 people are killed of which 38 are elementary school children. Also, over 50 more people are injured. The “Jazz Singer” was the first movie to synchronize sound and picture. A Roman Catholic priest Father George Lemaitre was the first to espouse The Big Bang Theory. Babe Ruth hits a record 60 home runs in a single season. His N.Y. Yankees also win the 1927 World Series. The must-read book of the year was “Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis.

While we have learned very little personal facts about these people, we have in fact learned much about them. By knowing and having some understanding of the events that took place in their lives you gain some understanding about these people. These events could not help but have an influence on their beliefs, opinions, and how they lived their lives. All the events of each generation have an effect on the people living through them. This is passed down to each new generation which is mixed in with their new experiences until finally, it is our turn. I guess the best way to say it is that my great-grandfather on my father’s side (who I never met) has through the years echoed down to me his life experiences. My wife’s Mother Doris Monty Lyon was to have a child (my wife’s brother) with Downs Syndrome. Now read once again the events of 1927 and imagine how Doris was affected. So take out those old front porch pictures and see what you can learn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going To the Movies

This is me in my Davey Crockett shirt. While not really released as a movie I was a big fan

 

A few days ago I was watching on television the original King Kong movie. I remembered as a child when I first watched this movie and feeling very sorry for King Kong. This caused me to reflect on my lifelong affection for movies. I also started to think about how these movies played a part in the narrative of my family’s story. Movies seem to weave in and out of some of my fondest memories.

Westerns were and still are a favorite movie to watch.
Picture from Flickr, The Commons. Contributing Library, The Library of Congress, from the book The Story of Montana year 1916.

I grew up going to the movies at the Strand Theater. The Strand was a fixture in downtown Plattsburgh, N.Y., and still is even today. My mother, Veronica Deloria, worked there for a short while selling tickets and worked the concession stand. She often told the story of how they stopped the movie and announced the bombing of Pearl Harbor. All military personnel had to report to the local base right away. Soon everyone was listening to the radio trying to get the latest news on what would be for us the start of World War Two. My early story at the Strand was very different. I was about six or seven when my mother brought me to see the Walt Disney movie Old Yeller. If you have not seen the movie, you may want to skip the next few lines. It was a great movie about a boy and his dog. I can clearly remember how thrilling the movie was and that I was on the edge of my seat for much of the movie. However, the ending was gut-wrenching when the dog came down with rabies after fighting off a rabid animal saving once again the family. The young boy had to put down Old Yeller. At that moment I stood up and let out the longest and loudest booooo that I could muster. My poor mother grasped my arm and tried to calm me down. That’s when I wailed “but mom they shot the dog.” I have never to this day fully trusted a Walt Disney movie. However, I was hooked on the movies and the many worlds to which they would transport me. My wife and I who I meet in high school went on countless movie dates to the Strand. Over the years times grew hard on the single screen, downtown movie theaters. Many towns have lost these gems. However due to the efforts of far-sighted people, a very small town was able to save and restore this special and wonderful place. Their website is; http://www.strandcenter.org/ and well worth the look. They were very helpful and sent me the pictures below to use with this blog.

Theater restoration, inside the Strand Theater, Plattsburgh, N.Y.. Picture courtesy of the Strand Center for the Arts.

The restored Strand Theater. I remember that is was never a good idea when I was young and attending an afternoon matinee to sit in the rows just in front of the end of the balcony. One never knew if you would be the target of flying missiles of candy. I played it safe and sat underneath the balcony.
All pictures of the Strand Theater courtesy of the The Strand Center for the Arts. Plattsburgh, New York.

 

The newly renovated Strand Theater in Plattsburg, N.Y.. For many years many of my dreams would start with this curtain being drawn back and my dream starting on the movie screen. Picture courtesy of the Strand Center for the Arts, Plattsburgh, New York.

Also, we had several drive-in movie establishments located in our area. Plattsburgh did a large business in the tourist trade bringing down visitors from north of the border. On most weekends during the summer you could see their cars filling up the spaces at all of our local drive-ins. When I was about 16, my Aunt Verna treated me to a movie at the drive-in. The movie was The Dirty Dozen, and as many of you know, it was an action packed movie. I enjoyed the movie, and today I own a DVD so I can watch it whenever I want. However, I cannot watch the movie or catch a glimpse of it on television without thinking of my aunt. After we had come home from the movie when my aunt thought I was somewhere else in the house, I overheard her talking to my mom in a hushed voice. She was horrified at all the profanities in the movie and could not believe they were allowed to do that in a movie. To tell the truth, I had not even noticed. Also, I am sure now looking back, that the movie had many other parts that would have made my aunt uncomfortable. It always brings a smile when I think about it.

My wife Sandra Lyon Moore also has fond memories of movies and television shows. Her father would come home from work and relax by watching TV. He had installed a very high-end antenna on top of the house that could draw in stations from Canada. While many of the shows were in French and his understanding was very limited it did not stop him from enjoying all types of science fiction and off beat movies. I think one of the reasons we got along was the fact we both liked Star Trek. He also enjoyed cartoons such as The Flintstones and Huckleberry Hound and was on a first-name basis with Bugs Bunny and his whole gang. How they could make him laugh.

 

My Father-Law Robert Lyon in his easy chair after a day of hard work. The shoes and socks are off and soon he would be in a tee shirt and a bib overalls. My wife Sandy recalls all the strange movies he would watch from this chair.

In my own little family, we made good use of the new must have VCR to bring countless movies home to the family. It was for us a good way of watching and enjoy movies as a family. While most of the movies we watched are long forgotten to this day my adult children recall the huge “popcorn bowl” that the five of us shared while watching the movies. I was myself a manager at a movie multi-screen complex for a couple of years. The family including the grandchildren enjoyed the perks of free movies which they enjoyed to the fullest. However, I discovered my own movie watching went way down during this period as you were way too busy working to watch the movies and the last place you wanted to go on your time off was back to the workplace to try and catch a movie. So a much smaller popcorn bowl was often used at home while I watched my movies on a DVD.

Do you have stories about movies, television, plays, involving your family? Perhaps you should tell the stories, so they will be remembered and become part of your greater family legacy. One day an elderly woman who was a regular customer came into the movie theater I was working. She carried with her a large scrapbook which she wanted to show me. In the scrapbook she kept many of the tickets to movies, baseball games, Broadway shows, and other events she had attended throughout her life. She had started when her father many years ago brought her to her first show. While most of us will not be able to draw upon such a precious resource even one or two stories are better than none.

 

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A Christmas Gift

Christmas 1954. Here I am on my rocking horse, no doubt chasing outlaws.

Christmas 1954. Here I am on my rocking horse, no doubt chasing outlaws.

 

While I cannot say that we were rich and always had huge piles of presents under the tree I can say we always had presents, a beautiful tree, and plenty to eat. I do remember my friends being able to rattle off a long list of gifts they received and that my list even with the socks and underwear thrown in was much shorter. I was only 3 1/2 when Santa brought me the rocking horse for Christmas and to be honest that memory is rather dim. It was a few Christmases later that the rocking horse was a centerpiece in a life long lesson.

It was several years later and hard times were all around us. A labor dispute had broken out at the foundry where my father worked. It had been going on for almost a year, and in fact, it would still be a while before it would be settled. Money was very tight, and Christmas was to be small for us and nonexistent for many. One man, my father, worked with had a large family and no real hope of giving them any Christmas.  For several days my father took some of my old and now outgrown toys and cleaned and fixed them up as best he could. My rocking horse was among them.

Just a day or so before Christmas my father loaded our car with these now spruced up old toys. I can recall wanting to go with him the night he brought the toys over to his co-worker. He at first said no but I kept up the campaign to go and was finally given permission to go, with the strict orders that I was to stay in the car. When we got to the house, Dad quickly unloaded the car and put all of the items on the front porch. He then knocked at the door, and a man came out. A few words were exchanged a handshake and then we were driving away. Dad never spoke of this again. Some lessons just don’t need words the deed is all that is required. The lesson was clear to me even at that young age. If you can help, then you help. You don’t draw attention to yourself and at all times respect the other person’s dignity. My Dad could not have known it then, and it took me a while to realize it, but that night I was given perhaps the best Christmas gift any young boy could have hoped for.

In 1980 my daughter gives the new rocking horse a workout.

In 1980 my daughter gives the new rocking horse a workout.

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Minds Influenced by the Same Things Think Alike

I have been following and reading a blog by Dennis Peterson titled dlpedit, and have found it interesting reading. I suggest others give it a try. Dennis is a teacher and a writer of American history. This is a post of mine he thought worth repeating. I hope you agree.

dlpedit

landmark-booksLast week, I posted some thoughts on two book series that had sparked my early interest in reading and influenced my careers in teaching and writing American history. I’ve since learned that I’m not the only one so influenced by the Hardy Boys series of mysteries or the exciting history recounted in the Landmark books.

Shortly after I posted that essay, Charles Moore, who has been following my blog for a while, contacted me to suggest that I might enjoy a blog post of his that he wrote a couple of years ago. I checked it out and was so impressed that I read it twice! In a gesture of friendship and for the sake of the possibility that his essay might encourage someone else to read and write stories about their own life and genealogy for future readers, Mr. Moore gave me permission to reprint his story here on my blog. I…

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Sunshine in a Jar; Pear Pineapple Jam

Pear Pineapple Jam.

Pear Pineapple Jam.

A few weeks ago my wife made some Pear Pineapple Jam, which is a family favorite. It never fails when she makes this jam that memories of her Great Aunt Florence are evoked in a fond retelling of stories of her great aunt. It was her Great Aunt Florence who gave her the recipe and taught her how to make Pear Pineapple Jam. This Jam has been enjoyed by my family for years. In this holiday season that the months of November and December bring, many of us have family food recipes and traditions that recall past celebrations and family that has gone before us. For many people, the recipe collection in our kitchens is a who’s who of generations before us.

Great Aunt Florence was born Florence Dorothy Monty in the year 1895 in the town of Beekmantown, New York. She was the younger sister to Edward S. Monty born in 1883; their parents were Oreon and Emma Craft Monty. Florence and her brother Edward were to marry a brother and sister also, Carl and Ruby Gonya. Florence and Carl Gonya were married May 7, 1919. They were to have two children that would live into adulthood.

Florence Monty Gonya, working in the Hayfield in 1916. From the Carl Gonya Collection.

Florence Monty Gonya, working in the Hayfield in 1916. From the Carl Gonya Collection.

 

It was just 22 years into their marriage when Florence’s husband died a very sudden and unexpected death leaving her with two children aged eight and nine, and a large farm to run. If that were not to be a tough enough test in just seven months the Untied States would be drawn into the Second World War, with all the hardships that would come with it. She was 45 years old with two young children, a large farm, in a time when women had little access to credit and when men did not work for a woman, even if they could be found with a war going on. She could not have known it at this time but without a doubt, this terribly hard time would be her greatest triumph. She not only saved a farm but a family.

When I was first introduced to Florence, she was about 73 years old. They were 73 years of hard, honest work. Years spent building something, years that take their toll on a person’s body. I was about 17 when I met her, and her warmth and friendly manner put a very nervous young man at ease. She was easy to talk to and be around. However, she without asking for it demanded respect and even I could tell that she had a dynamism that still shone through the years. She was now doing embroidery and her son Willis now ran the farm. Florence never remarried.

Florence died in 1975. She left behind a farm, an example of a righteous life, warm memories, much love, and a large and growing family. She was just seven years old when the Wright Brothers had their first flight and at age 73 saw the Moon landing. She was 16 when the Titanic sank.  She was alive for two assassinations of presidents. She lived through two World Wars and the Korean and Vietnam War. She started her family during the Great Depression. She was a woman who rose above her circumstances and the times.

Pear Pineapple Jam Recipe

Prepare jelly jars as directed on Sure Jell Packing. Follow directions for Pear Jam on packing. However, substitute 1 cup of pears with 1 cup of well drained canned crushed Pineapple. Complete processing of jam as directed.

 

The Gonya Farm.

The Gonya Farm.

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DNA and the Farmer’s Market

Farmer's Market, Syracuse, N.Y. Many different foods and many different people.  “The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources--because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”   Lyndon B. Johnson

Farmer’s Market, Syracuse, N.Y. Many different foods and many different people.
“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources–because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”
Lyndon B. Johnson

 

We’re all very different people. We’re not Watusi. We’re not Spartans. We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A,’ huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts!

Bill Murray as John Winger in the movie Stripes 1981

 

So this is me. Over all many would say pretty boring. Except when we learn the human story behind these results.

So this is me. Over all many would say pretty boring. Except when we learn the human story behind these results.

I am an American. Therefore, I am a mutt. If you were to look at me, you would say he is a White Anglo Saxon Protestant. Well, to start I am Catholic. Then somewhere in my DNA, you will find some traces of North Africa, Native American, Italy/Greece, and perhaps some Spanish from the Iberian Peninsula. I guess you could say I am a variety of ethnicity. I know I have primarily English roots from Great Britain and Ireland, but even they have not gotten along for hundreds of years. Also, if you were Irish in the United States not that long ago, you were discriminated against and held down to the lowest economic levels. However, it is not the point of this post to show the trouble that certain groups have had or are having now. What I would like to say is just relax a little because it is working. Call it a melting pot or a salad or any of the many descriptions I have heard about our great mixture of people; it is a magical blend that works. Besides it would be very annoying if you went to a farmer’s market and all anyone had to sell were potatoes.

"America, it has been observed, is not really a melting pot. It is actually a huge potluck dinner, in which platters of roasted chicken beckon beside casseroles of pasta, mounds of tortillas, stew pots of gumbo, and skillets filled with pilafs of every imaginable color." Author: Andrea Chesman

“America, it has been observed, is not really a melting pot. It is actually a huge potluck dinner, in which platters of roasted chicken beckon beside casseroles of pasta, mounds of tortillas, stew pots of gumbo, and skillets filled with pilafs of every imaginable color.”
Author: Andrea Chesman

 

I would like to give you three quick examples of the many ways I have seen this mixture work. The first was when I was perhaps ten years old. As a young boy, one of the things we use to do was to play war. We were always on the hunt for the Hun or a sneaky Jap. The shows on television had many war adventure stories, Sergeant Rock was a popular comic book hero, many of our fathers and uncles had served in World War Two or Korea. My father had served in Patton’s 3rd Army and came home with medals and memories both which were never shared and gathered dust. A young couple moved into the small apartment on the side of the house that we lived in. He was in the air force, and she was from Germany. She spoke English very well but still had an accent and at times stumble over words. I was not sure what to think about this as up to then in our play world we shot the Germans and overran their machine guns, always done with great courage. So I asked my Dad what he thought about a German living here. After all, it was only about 15 years since he was fighting them for real. The best I can remember of what he said all those years ago was that he found that they bleed and suffered just like anyone else. Then he told me about the beautiful parks that Germany had. That even in the midst of the war how they kept the parks up, and he found them very beautiful. He said other things, but it is jumbled up in the passing of the years. He did give my young mind much to consider.

The vendor with his back to the camera is from Turkey. The other person is from Greece. Both now live and work in the United States and have for years. They both served in the armed forces of their country. The gentleman from Turkey said that they could have ended up shooting at each other.  But here get to talk and trade jokes.  He said it is much better here where we can all be friends.

The vendor with his back to the camera is from Turkey. The other person is from Greece. Both now live and work in the United States and have for years. They both served in the armed forces of their country. The gentleman from Turkey said that they could have ended up shooting at each other. But here get to talk and trade jokes. He said it is much better here where we can all be friends.

My second example is when we had young children many families in the neighborhood we lived in would bring children from Northern Ireland over for a few weeks in the summer to give them a “break” from the conflict going on in their home country. They would be boys and girls, Protestant, and Catholic. Many children would come over to the same families for many years. I have heard criticism about this program and how it did not accomplish much and may have been harmful in some ways. All I know is that they seemed to have a good time and many smiles and much laughter as they spent the summer here in America. One day I had a conversation with one of the older Irish youths, and he was telling me about his discoveries here in America. In our neighborhood, we had both a Catholic and a Methodist church in proximity to each other. I asked him about his thought on that and if he thought since during the summer he interacted with people from both religions if that would help him when he got home. He looked at me and said “the Protestants here are different than those at home. He would have to fight them when he got back home.” The answer bothered me then and still does to this day. Here we make it work. It must be in our DNA.

It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling.  -- Pierre Bayle

It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling.
— Pierre Bayle

My third and last example took place at the time of the infamous 9/11 attacks. There is no need to go over these attacks as they are fresh in our memories. With this being the year of the 15th anniversary we all have had a refresher on those dark days. It was a few weeks after the attacks that I found myself at the Syracuse Regional Market or as everyone else calls it the farmer’s market. Every Saturday local farmers and artisans gather in five large warehouse type buildings and an outdoor area to sell their goods. This is a splendid gathering of all kinds of people both selling and buying. It was in the middle of this humanity that I stood to one side and closed my eyes. I could clearly hear laughter and the chorus of voices in many different accents and languages. I could clearly hear a couple from India, the Italian voice selling fish, a Jamaican accent was heard in the distance, and the strangest accent of all made me open my eyes. There he was a man from Boston wearing a Red Sox baseball cap. Apparently a stranger here in central New York. Then as I looked around, I noticed and studied the different styles of dress and facial features and skin color that was surrounding me. Suddenly I felt better than I had since the attacks. As I looked all around me I realized it works, our wonderful way of life works. If you do not think it does go and get a DNA test and look at your results.

Parveen Joy Khan has been a fixture for over 20 years at the market. Her booth is the "International Beads and Gifts."

Parveen Joy Khan has been a fixture for over 20 years at the market. Her booth is the “International Beads and Gifts.”

This vendor was not camera shy at all. Her baked goods are some of the best you will ever buy.

This vendor was not camera shy at all. Her baked goods are some of the best you will ever buy.

Better Brittle Booth at the market. Before I took this picture I listen to him speak in his native language with some customers. Then when I asked permission to take his picture he spoke in perfect English. It made me wish once more that I had learned a second language.

Better Brittle Booth at the market. Before I took this picture I listen to him speak in his native language with some customers. Then when I asked permission to take his picture he spoke in perfect English. It made me wish once more that I had learned a second language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people and religions are represented at the market.

Many people and religions are represented at the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post took on a life of its’ own. I had planned to talk about some of the great discoveries that I have made by having the DNA testing done. I have made contact with cousins and have added to my family tree. I have been able to break through some small barriers and been able to prove out some of my family tree. I will be writing about these stories in the future

My wife's results. The big surprise was the European Jewish. Also the low percentage of Irish and very high percent from Great Britain.

My wife’s results. The big surprise was the European Jewish. Also the low percentage of Irish and very high percent from Great Britain.

 

My advice to everyone is to have your DNA tested. But not only yourself but the oldest members of your family. I wish these tests were available when some of my older relatives were alive. You never know what discoveries you will make down the road. DNA testing is a genealogy tool for us to use. In my opinion not to use it would be like not using the census records.

My granddaughter's results. She is a U.N. all to herself.  We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength. -- Jimmy Carter

My granddaughter’s results. She is a U.N. all to herself.
We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength.
— Jimmy Carter

As you can see, I used the testing offered by ancestry.com. However, this is by no means an endorsement saying you should also use them. Just like DNA we are all different and have different needs. Take a look around and study the offerings that are out there. Select the one that you think will best work for you. I also advise not to worry too much about going into great depth in understanding the details on how and why it all works. I could not build a car or a computer. But I understood what I need in both and selected the one I needed based on that. The same with DNA testing. Read up on it study what each company offers and then take the plunge.

“A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.” Muslim Origin

“A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.”
Muslim Origin

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