Sunday, November 29, 2015

Unconventional Thanksgiving in Connecticut

Just so you know... if you leave on Tuesday and head to the East Coast thinking you will avoid traffic for Thanksgiving.... WRONG! 10 hour drive + rest stops does not equal 17 hours.

When a hotel tells me that they have a mini-kitchenette, I expect a little refrigerator, a microwave, and a sink. When they tell me that they have plates and silverware, I didn't expect one paper plate and 2 sets of plasticware. --->

We spent some time with family on Wednesday after Tuesday's grueling drive through traffic jams and construction zones. And the Mass-hole drivers were particularly bad during this trip.

We were staying in Mystic, north of Chris' mom and dad's old house. The ocean was beautiful. We thought about going to the aquarium, but didn't get there this time. We did visit Stonington Beach in Connecticut and found a lighthouse.

We looked for more light houses that day. We went to Fenwick Beach to see if we could get to the Old Saybrook Lighthouse. Can you see it? Just kidding...

We visited a few of the places in Old Saybrook that Chris remembered as a child. There was a great pizza place full of moving trains (at the current Amtrak station). There was a miniature Dock & Dine. He worked there as a teenager.

 We visited Chris' father's grave and cleaned up the headstone a bit. We need to have it reset and add his mom's name to it. She died and was cremated in 2006.

 We woke up Thanksgiving Day with no family plans, but we did make plans to see the final Hunger Games film at 10 am. We bought our tickets ahead. Apparently there was no need to do so... empty theater. SCORE! That doesn't happen in OH-IO. But we were so happy about it. No annoying other people...

We went to Ruby Tuesday for lunch. Who knew they were open for Thanksgiving? And, again, no one else was there. I'm not sure if the entire state of Connecticut was elsewhere, but we were enjoying the quiet. 

We took a driving trip to Rhode Island in search of another lighthouse. This time it was Watch Hill Lighthouse. The walking path took us through some beautiful houses. I have never really thought about living near the ocean... until I saw THIS! I can't imagine having a lighthouse view outside of my back window. Unbelievable!

 Then to top off the Christopher-memories-of-childhood tour, we went to Rocky Neck Beach and State Park in Connecticut. A train track runs right through it. Chris remembers many childhood days here.

I stood on this piece of rock for a long time. I watched the birds drop the shells and scoop out the goodies.
And, of course, I love the old WPA buildings.

Friday was our trip to Paterson, New Jersey, to meet my genealogy client. Before we met her, we wanted to see if we could find the family home of the Kinnanes. William Kinnane, Chris' great grandfather, came to America from Ireland in the 1870s and settled in Paterson, working in the textile mills.

We found the house on Liberty where Chris' grandfather, Richard Kinnane was born. Richard grew up here and worked in the textile mills also.

We went a few blocks down the road and found...


The Paterson Great Falls National Park.
I can't believe that his family lived so close to this magnificent location. We saw the old power plant that produced enough energy for the industry of the time.

 Chris walked across the bridge. (See the red dot?) I was afraid to do it.

 And then we went a block away and found the textile section of town.

Our final stop was in Chris' birthplace, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. We have been looking for his grandparents' burial place for years.

When it comes to genealogy and family lore, you can't assume anything. Chris' mom told both of us for years that her father (Richard Kinnane) was buried in a Catholic Cemetery in Paterson, NJ. And she told us that he was buried on the perimeter of the cemetery-- outside the fence-- because he was such a lapsed Catholic and an S.O.B. that the church refused to bury him in the actual cemetery. So, of course, Chris and I have traipsed through about a dozen Catholic cemeteries in Paterson, NJ, in search of a headstone. She also told us that her father died of a massive coronary when she was 16 years old, so we had his death at 1941.

While in Stroudsburg, we were looking for Chris' grandmother, Elizabeth Kinnane, who later married George Lee. Chris has very fond memories of Pop Pop Lee arriving on the train from PA to Hartford and spending time with him when he was a boy. In finding Pop Pop Lee and his grandmother's graves in Pennsylvania, look what else we discovered...

There is Richard Kinnane!
Not a Catholic Cemetery.
Not the perimeter.
Not buried outside the fence.
And not dead in 1941.
It just goes to show... sometimes you can't even believe your own momma!

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