Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remember When Your First Memory (Week 1)

   May 11, 2012 I posted "Those Places Thursdays - 1646 Highland Ave." I have added this to the title... (Week 1 - Remember When Your First Memory). I decided to start my own 52 weeks of Genealogical Memories.   I decided that Week 1 would be "Your First Memory". Since I already spoke of this memory I am adding a link to that Blog for today's post, here...

Me (John F.W. Goodwin) age 1 with my grandfather Vic Boismier's dog Lucky.

    I think these memories will usually be the first because they are traumatic in some way; at least that is, if the first memory is at an earlier than normal age.  For me it was falling down some stairs at such an early age (10 Months). As I stated in the earlier blog, I have a fear of heights to this day. My first memory as well as a host of my first memories revolve around the homes of my grand parents. We lived at their homes, I was babysat at them or we were visiting them with extended family during most of my first 5 yrs of life. I have lot's of memories of those days. By the time my brother came along, when I was nine; my mothers parents were moved up north to retire and my parents split up and he went with my mother while I went with my father. He didn't get to know them. My mother's parents died before he was 3 years old. He never new my father's parents.  He missed out on some great and interesting characters. However my mother, aunts, uncles and myself; we can fill in the past for him.  So what is "Your First Memory" when you think back and "Remember When..."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Heirlooms from Grandma Dennie

   Well Christmas has just past and the other day i was taking down the tree and other decorations, when I remembered that I hadn't posted about the things I received when my grandmother Dennie passed.  The reason I remembered was that I was taking down the Elf's, I put up every year. From the youngest memories of Christmas that I have, I remember them hanging around the house of my grandmother & grandfather.  Now my Grandmother's last husband was Vic Boismier. He was the only grandfather I knew on my dads side, and he was my dad's step father. Which ever, it doesn't matter because he was Grandpa to me. The Elf's were his technically. He bought them and insisted that they go up each year. I loved them, I thought they were cool. He died when I was 6 or 7 and my grand mother continued to put them out (because she knew I  expected to see them).  When she past away, I knew I had to have them. They always make me remember those child hood Christmas'.  This year I notice the "Elf on the Shelf" is a big hit. Well as you see from the picture below, I've had the Elf on the Shelf for many years.  The tag on the back of the big one's says 1968. So he bought them when I was 2 years old.  No wonder I "Remember When..." for as long as I can "Remember When...".

Have to love that 60's color pattern on the small one,

bottom left.

   So it got me thinking of the other item's that remind me of my grand mother when I see them. for example the dinning room Hutch and China Cabinet. I was given them at the time because My dad and his siblings were already old enough to have established their own households. I was still newly married and building our household. I took them and they were a little worn over time and the finish was chipping. I liked refinishing wood furniture and so I refinished them in a darker color and have enjoyed them ever since.  Here they sit in my dinning room/den.

    Now inside of these sat many things that only came out for family dinners or were just there for show and didn't come out at all. I have some serving pieces in them to this day that just remind me of family dinner's.  I use to stare through the glass door of the China Cabinet almost every time I was over their house.

    In particular the two little vase's in brown, blue, and orange's; with a King on one and a Queen on the other.  They fascinated me as a kid.  It turns out they were from Occupied Japan and probably aren't a King & Queen; maybe an Emperor.  So lets look inside....

   So on the top shelf we can see the 2 vases front and center (just where I remember them as a kid -- except they were on the bottom shelf; where I could view them better). Behind them is the elegant lady playing a harp (music box). I picked it out at age 12 for her for mother's day from my dad and I. To the left of those is a bottle of red wine from my oldest daughter's wedding, 2 years ago. Directly behind and above the vase on the right is the survey tool that belonged to my grand father Lafleur (that appeared in a past post). To the right of that is the blue sugar bowl. This was always in the kitchen and on the kitchen table in my grand parents house. Behind that and to the right is the large glass pitcher that always came out for family dinners. My wife at the time liked it and wanted to use it more regularly. I was worried it might get broken but thought sure, I enjoyed the memories of it. Then one day while on a trip to the Stratford area, we were in an antique store and saw an exact match to it.  Now this was twenty years ago; but the price on it was $150. After that the wife was more inclined to put it away and use it for special occasions.  There are also things on this top shelf from a lovely lady in England who was like a second mother to me in my teens. She is still important to me and I have the little Bag-Piper in the small case in front of the sugar bowl; and beside it, closer to the vase's is a glass dome item. It is a glass paper weight with the Queen of England's jubilee crest on it. In behind the sugar bowl and survey tool is a red vase and a red with yellow handle small pitcher. Both belonged to my grand mother Dennie also. The large crystal vase in the very back corner next to the pitcher was a wedding gift to my former wife and I from an older couple at our church at the time. She didn't really know them or remember them which is why I took it when we separated  I remember them and the very sweet people they were.  

Vase's - Front / Back / Bottom

Sugar Bowl - top broken and missing for years, probably has little retail value. Memories - Precious.

Glass pitcher - right side / left side. 

     Some day I hope my kids will treasure the memories of these items too.  They may remember them for different reasons, but I hope they are fondly loved as they "Remember When...". 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Family Recipe Friday - Meat Pie (Tourtiere)

    So for the past 20 plus years my mother (Noella) and her sister (Florence) have been getting together on day in November and making a supply of meat pies. The recipe was learned from their mother Desneige (nee Ouellette) Lafleur. Grandma learned from her mother Aldea (nee Gervais) Ouellette.  how far back it goes from there I don't know. Anyway I have asked them to tell me when and let me come to learn it for many years. I don't want it to be lost. My brother has it, I believe my Uncle Marks wife has it to cook for him; but I don't know if any of their kids have it (and make it) or if any of the other brother's and sister's and or their families have it. Well I was off on sick leave the last 4 months (after an emergency surgery) and so by November I was well enough to go learn. So we all met at aunt Florence's and then went to get the meat. We went back to Florence's and they proceeded to make the meat pies. "All Right...Finally". So all told we made twenty pies that afternoon. Nine each for them and 2 for me. I don't have a big freezer, so I just wanted to learn and make a couple to start. Here is the recipe ....

Meat Pie (Tourtiere)
            This recipe is for 2 pies. On average each pie will have 2 pounds of meat (1 pound beef & 1 pound of pork).  Multiply it out to make larger batches. While you can of course make your own dough for the pie crust it is simpler (especially if doing a larger batch of say 10-20 pies at once) to just buy the boxes of no name frozen 9 inch pie tins (come 2 to a box normally. Then by the Pillsbury ready-made pie crust tops. They come 2 to a box also. 
Ingredients:        - 2 lbs. medium ground beef
- 2 lbs. lean ground pork
- 2 medium potatoes 
- 1 large onion                       
- 1 teaspoon garlic (minced) 
- Sage (to taste)         
- Poultry seasoning (to taste)           
- Salt & Pepper (to taste)
- Trio mix (gravy thickener) 1 teaspoon
Preparation:      1) Peel, cut and boil potatoes (mashed potatoes style). When done drain water and hold in a bowl (may need it later). Mash the potatoes well & hold till needed.
                                    2) Finely chop the onion and cook in a large greased pan.
                                    3) Mix both the beef and pork together well and start cooking in the pan when onions are cooked down.
                                    4) Once the meat starts browning add the seasonings.
                                    5) If the meat appears to be too dry, add some of the potatoe water you held on to.
                                    6) Once meat is completely browned add in the mashed potatoes and mix well.
                                    7) Add Trio mix (gravy thickener).
                                    8) Fill 9 inch pie shells, water the top edges of the pie shell crust, and place the top crust on the pie (cut away extra) and using a fork crimp the edges of the top to the pie shell base.
                                    9) Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes (until crust is golden brown). Then place in zip lock freezer bags to store.  De-thaw and re-heat as needed.

    The other great thing was that my aunt Florence had agreed to let me go through all her photographs and see if there were any (especially older one) that I wanted to copy. So I brought my mobile scanner and a pad of paper and copied about 60 pictures. Included in there were some I had never seen before including one old one of their father (my grandpa Wilfrid Lafleur) standing in front of the truck he use to own. I was able to copy it and then repair it. \I will have to make copies for all the other family members that will want it.