September, 2011

New England...

We arrived in New England on Labor Day, initially to attend the InterVec-Phoenix Travel Club Annual member Reunion.
Then, off to visit family, friends and places of our youth in the area.

Follow along....

We arrived as the area was recovering from Hurricane Irene.
We experienced 3-days of rain thanks to Tropical Depression Lee after our arrival on Monday, but the rest of the folks were
not due in 'till Thursday - so we hoped for the best.

On Wednesday, the good folks from the Danforth Bay RV Park arrived to
put up a large tent cover on a space they donated to us in the very center of our area -
during the never ending rain.

Bit by bit the process continues....


Bringing in some picnic tables, along with some re-cycle bins and trash cans,
to make them convenient for our use.

Now we are official - our banner is up, and will be ready for business when our members arrive.

Wednesday afternoon, after an Officer meeting, we get-together to pull all the information
ready for our members.
(They are working so fast, that I couldn't slow them down enough to get them in focus.)

Putting them in alpha order...
We had 35 rigs, 1 cabin, for a total of 71 members who attended. Unfortunately, one member couple were forced
to cancel due to weather related problems.

The all night rain broke in the morning, just in time for our members to check in ...

... and receive information about the upcoming activities.

At the Meet & Greet session we got reacquainted...

And we told stories and learned about what has been going on in the past year.

And met new members and welcomed them to the fold.

On our first full day, we gather for breakfast, and some more getting to know you better talk.


The folks bring in their "Silent Auction" Items as well.

Kermit Fisher - "Mr. Phoenix Cruiser" checks out how he made those several wrong turns
trying to get to us from Elkhart amid storm damaged roads and highways.

A report on Phoenix USA by Kermit - A great company, great people, great product, great service - always!

Outgoing President Milly leading the business meeting.

A few of our 35 rigs on one of the three adjoining "streets" in our area.

There were also areas tucked away, right next to us, in the pines.


Howdy! - 71 of our members joined us in 2011.

Phoenix Cruiser's all over the place...

Our membership "Tree" - again thanks to member Chuck Moore.

And up on top - a tribute to our founders:

"Founders - InterVec-Phoenix Sponsors
Nancy & Ralph  Hosts  Kermit Fisher"


One of our members (Frank Jezek) wrote:
"Charlie got lost on the way to the dinner & did not get his photo taken for the calendar.
Hope it's not too late!"
Yes, it was to late for the calendar - but we will include him here - Thanks, Frank.

Checking out the goodies...


The Pot Luck Supper begins to take shape....


Tasting a bit of the Grape.

From past years - available again for those that missed out.

We begin the collection of Raffle Prizes.

On this table were a few of the items that Phoenix USA donated to the Silent Auction,
including two brand new quiet water pumps.

Because of the distance from our sites and the meeting room, the folks at
Danforth Bay generously provided us with four golf carts for the duration of our stay, to assist
with 'people moving.'


OK, let's fill this up with all this good stuff....


How much chocolate do you want?

Or perhaps something else for desert.

Saturday morning we gathered to wait for our busses...

The weather was great. No signs of the earlier storms.
Fine weather for our entire Reunion.

And when they came we were ...

Checked on board by our Bus Captains...


And headed to a New Hampshire jewel, Lake Winnipesaukee
to board the M/S Mount Washington

While waiting I looked up and saw what I thought might be a Moose Lighthouse.
It turned out to be the town water tower fixed up to look like a Lighthouse. Clever idea.

A railroad train passed by as we waited...

And here she comes - the M/S Mount Washington.
She is 230 feet, 4 levels, 3 dance floors with a capacity of 1,250 passengers

Here she comes...

The stack displays the House Flag.

Looking through glass at the wheelhouse as we get under way.

Easy living here.
The Lake is about 72 square miles in size, or 44,000 acres, in size. There are 240 habitable islands.

The River Queen out of New Orleans? No, don't think so.

Coming into the Wolfeboro harbor.


A classic Chris-Craft - must have been the "Stretch Limo" model.

A power boat races us out of the harbor.

Stan & Gail Wilen enjoying the ride, in the shade.

A lot of sailboats out on the pleasant windy day.


Just about to round his mark.

A few of the smaller homes on Governor's island.

The bridge to Governor's island

Back home - a delightful day.
Now we board the busses for a short ride back to get ready for...

A last chance look at the Silent Auction items.


New members Craig Johnson took over the Auctioneer duties.

The Auction pair: Craig & Leslie Johnson.
They did a Great Job!

Delivering the purchased item...

And our money tender was Frank Jezak.

Pay up is the rule!

Sunday morning, and Jim Weston leads us in a non-denominational service.


Sunday evening we had a special event...

Local legend & storyteller, Ed Fayle.

He sang, played his guitars, and harmonica as he told us some favorite stories from the past.
Great fun - very talented.

It's Bingo with a Twist time.

Guy Hoffman and Alan Berk shared the Bingo calling functions.

We have a BINGO

The final dinner.

Good food for us all.


New Club President Donna Weston and Allen Kosobucki as Vice President get ready for a new year.

Our leadership team.
Jean & Dave Van de Water, Jim & Donna Weston, and Mickey & Allen Kosbucki

Donna pulls the first Raffle Ticket.

Here we are The Class of 2011.

Ready for Kerrville, Texas in '12.

We now begin the family visiting portion of our trip. Enjoying the opportunity to visit with relatives
 living in New England that we have not seen for years.


Chet and Eleanor Parker purchased this house many years ago, but it was built by
Colonel Cushman - who fought in the War of 1812. A historic place.

Jean, Randolph and Eleanor.
Eleanor, 94, is Jean's first cousin. Randolph is Eleanor's son.

We are joined in a scrumptious Lobster Dinner by family friend Bill Barse.

The original open cooking fireplace

Harriet Peterson Kincaid
This lady is Jean's Grandmother. Her husband, Capt. Andrew Wilson Smart, was the Captain of the Charles C Rice
A "tall ship" that sailed from Portland, ME to China and other ports of call, using just the wind.



On our way out of the RV Park on 9/15, we came upon a flock of wild Turkeys.
Our children will remember the "Turkle Feather" I used to wear in a hat "back in the day."

We traveled south to Sudbury, Mass to visit Dave's first cousin Bruce
and his wife Marge Langmuir. Here they are in their "nature first" back yard.

As we drove around in Sudbury we came upon this plaque commemorating a poem and a special little red schoolhouse.

The Little Red Schoolhouse originally was built in 1798.

Jean ponders what it must have been like going to school here.

These chalk boards on each desk, remind me that I have several of these that my
Grandfather (Van de Water) used when he was going to school.

And this stove reminds Jean that her father's job, at one point when he was
going to school much like this one in Phillips, Maine - was to keep the stove stoked early
in the morning so that the school room was warm by the time school began.

A Massachusetts Historic Landmark.
Originally "How's Inn" or "The How Tavern."
In 1746 it was "The Red Horse," but after the "Tales of the Wayside Inn" was published
in 1863 it became "Longfellow's Wayside Inn" by popular acceptance.

The original building was built in 1702 as a two room homestead by David How.
In 1716 it was expanded and opened as an Inn.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow enjoyed the Inn, and wrote
about it in the prelude to his famous "Tales of a Wayside Inn"

Also - from Henry David Thoreau (1853) : "The birds are heard through pleasant
dashing wind that enlivens everything
... Left our horse at How tavern."

A portion of the original building - note the wide plank floor boards.

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Ford in 1946 established a trust to preserve the Inn, and then after a fire
it was restored in 1956 by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

A look back at what we might have seen...

The "Tap Room" with the personalized pewter mugs hanging from the ceiling.

We did not try this.

More rooms as they might have been.
The Inn still operates, with a fine restaurant and a few rooms for rent - upgraded from what you see here I am sure.

Our children will remember the several "Study Chairs" we had that used the same concept as this one.

Marge is a very talented artisan as can be seen above, and below.

Her work was on display at a show of local Sudbury art talent presentation.


A gifted lady, for sure.

Following several recommendations, we decided on our last evening in New Hampshire to
drive 16 miles from the RV Park to dine at Krista's in Cornish Village in Maine.

If you blinked you would miss this delightful place. Their balcony overlooks a wonderful ...

... rushing stream, flowing quickly and noisily just below the extended porch.

The view, and food are excellent. If you are ever in this part of Maine or New Hampshire
give Kristra's a try. You will not be sorry.

Now, on September 17th we head over to Farmington, Maine for some additional family explorations.

But before we leave New Hampshire, we take a final look at Mt. Washington.

In Farmington, Maine is the Nordica Homestead.

Lillian Nordica (December 12, 1857  May 10, 1914) was an American opera singer who had a major
 stage career in Europe and her native country.

Nordica established herself as one of the foremost dramatic sopranos of the late 19th century and early 20th century due to the
 high quality of her powerful yet flexible voice and her ability to perform an unusually wide range of roles
 in the German, French and Italian operatic repertoires.

She was born Lillian Allen Norton in this small Cape Cod style farmhouse built by her grandfather on
 a hill in Farmington, Maine. The Nordica stage name was bestowed by an Italian maestro at the beginning of her
 operatic career. He convinced her that European opera-goers would not tolerate a diva with the plain
 sounding, Anglo-American name of "Norton." The adopted name, Giglia Nordica, meant "Lily of the North" but
 she soon became known as "Madame Nordica" or simply as "Nordica".

We have found, thru' a family member, that Lillian is related. Actually a Madam Nordica is a 3rd cousin 2 times removed to Jean.

On Monday, Sept.19th, we were given a personal tour of the home/museum by Mrs. Bonnie Bell Lander.
Thank you Bonnie, we appreciate it.

When exploring Lillian Allen
Norton's genealogical records when visiting the house, we find that her line
of Norton's left Martha's Vineyard about 50 years prior to Jean's branch of
 Norton's (who arrived in the Farmington area about 1800).


Lillian Allen Norton  AKA Madame Nordica

She performed in many operatic roles, all over the world.
Many of her dresses are on display in her homestead.



Her jewelry was made exclusively by Tiffany's.
Just some of it is on display here.

She sang at a benefit performance for the Titanic survivors at the Metropolitan Opera House, NYC.

Out of focus, but this is the name plate for a WW-II Liberty Ship named in her honor.

She was an early Coca-Cola lady.


Even a cottage cheese carried her prestigious name.

Our family members have heard Jean tell the famous Martha's Vineyard story
of "
Old Uncle Ichabod" - which was verified, by the way when we visited the
Island during a Langmuir Family Reunion, we think in 1979
(will verify the date when we get home.)
Well, the above is old Ichabod's personal cane
(unfortunately out of focus) - on display here.

The inscription on the tag on Old Uncle Ichabod's cane.

A center and candelabra set - only two were made of this design - again by Tiffany's.
The clock in particular was made by
Louis Confort Tiffany. Again, this is
one of only two.


Detail on each of the candle sticks.


We now visit the Norton family plot in Farmington, ME

We only had a vague idea as to where the Norton grave stone was.
Not sure which of several Farmington Cemetery's.
We last were here in the late fall of 1980, cold and snow. The ground was almost frozen, it was the last internment of the season.
We recalled we stood on a slight rise near a roadway.
After searching, we found the family plot, and Jean's parents grave stone marker.

Jean's parents, left, next to her grandparents.

A close up of Jean's grandparents grave maker.
She never knew them...

Several family grave markers.

The Norton family.

The original purchaser of the Lot.
Jeremiah  Rice Norton (1872-1898)


Jeremiah's wife: Amanda (1824-1908)

Dr, James S. Norton.
Oldest child, Son of
Jeremiah & Amanda
He was a brother to Jean's Grandfather : Jeremiah Augustus Norton (1852-1929)


You may follow the Norton family tree - at least Jean's connection in these charts.


These are Jean's parents.

This photo mostly as reference, for ease in locating the family plot in the future.
She has her hand on her parents head stone, in the Riverside Cemetery.
"Range 1, Lot 3" -
(GPS: 44, 39, 36 N   70, 8, 41 S)
Purchased by Jeremiah  Rice Norton (1872-1898)
The lots are listed by the original purchaser.

A little bit of color is beginning to appear.

"The Norton Place"
This was Jean's father's boyhood home.
The family later used it as a summer place when they lived in Philadelphia.

Jean walking toward the home where she spent many happy times.
After our marriage, we visited here with our children several times.

The Station Manager at the SR&RL RR told us that he thought Pearly White's son was living here now.
We remember Pearly well. He used to live here when the Norton's were away. The general care taker.
When the Norton's were in residence, the White's lived in the portion to the left.

However on a trip there on Monday, we found the"next door" neighbor's (about .5 mile away)
- the Sweet's (whom we remember) - said that the "Cook Boy" was watching over the property now.
The Cook's had a milk herd and we remember their cows being moved back and forth
on the road by the Norton Place.

The barn where tools and equipment were stored.
We found no sign of the old "Chicken House" where Jean's mother had a weaving loom and a pump organ.

We found that is apparently it is secured.
The farm was left to Jean and her brother Jim. Jean passed her portion on to her brother, now diseased.

The Tree Farm sign is still there. We remember "Walking The Line" with Jean's father.
For his property across the road, a once per year activity, to insure the property line & corner markers
were still present. He used to say that the Tree Farm business assured a "slow but steady outflow."

A last look at The Norton Place.

The driveway, the pump house to the left.
(Again for future reference, the car is at: GPS: 44,48, 22 N  70, 15, 51 W)

Some additional color as we work our way to Phillips.
Jean's father used to walk to Phillips (about 4 3/4 miles) to go to school.
In the winter his job was to keep the (one room) school house warm
by stoking the pot belly stove. He often spent nights at the school when the weather was
particularly bad.

The Sandy River at the Phillips Bridge - down stream.


The Sandy River at the bridge - up stream.
The Sandy River ran along the Norton property.
There was a great swimming hole there.

A little more color.

In Phillips we found this remnant depot of the old Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR
We remember walking the old road bed of this narrow gage RR as it ran on the Norton Property
near the Sandy River.

We saw a sign - "Railroad Rides Today!" - couldn't turn that down, so....

Just up the hill and around the corner we saw this.

The SR&RL RR operated from 1879. It closed down in 1936. It had 122 miles of track, and largely
hauled lumber products, tools, machinery & mail; with passenger service starting about mid-life.
This life ended in 1936 when "A rich New Yorker bought the Company. Not to operate it, but to salvage
what he could from the rails, engines and wheels & axels as scrap. Everyone was fired, trains stopped,
 a notice was  posted: "No train Service Tomorrow." "
All the rails were removed by 1938.

A look at a train approaching the Phillips Depot in 1882

We arrived at the Sanders Station for our train ride.

A look at the Sandy River as we take a closer look at the 2 foot narrow gage rails.

Here she comes...

The RR is entirely run by volunteers as it collects and refurbishes any equipment that did not make it to the scrap yard.

Our Conductor waits with us for the train.

Stream Driven? - no. A gas engine is hidden in the tender as they rebuild the authentic thing.

Underneath the black colored Styrofoam "coal" the gas engine is started.
It's the thought that counts, right?

Jean studying the schedule. We were the only passengers on the ride.

The 2-foot wide rails lead us down the track way.

Approaching the maintenance yard...

...Where much of their equipments rests.

Passing by some of their rolling stock.


Note - Mark & Eric - Our WeCo Phoenix Works Strander Cablers were made by Baldwin Locomotive.
(I wonder what they look like now.)

We remember Jean's father arranging a tour of the Forster's factory for us.
We watched toothpicks being made.
Closed down now - cheaper to make toothpicks overseas.

We get off at the end of the line. The RR used to go across the Sandy River at this point in this covered bridge.
The bridge was torn down in 1939 (or so.)

Jean is talking to our Conductor just where the covered bridge used to cross.

Note the stone supports at the center of the bridge.
(See below)

The cut stones in the center of the river are all that's left of the center support structure.

High water takes on the bridge. The bridge won.

Our engine awaits our return to the maintenance yard.

The Roundhouse was rebuilt with dedicated volunteer help

Check it out.

The turntable. To direct the cars to the correct roundhouse shed for repair.

S0 well balanced that I was able to move the turntable by hand, great engineering.

One of the original cars. It is believe that this car was used when the railroad was initially built.

Another view of the turn table area, and some of their roiling stock in the background.

A look at a Caboose they are rebuilding at the Roundhouse.

They are carefully restoring the interior of the passenger car.

The outside is carefully restored as well.

As we leave the train ride, we spot a bit more color.

We left Maine on Tuesday, September 20th, (in the rain) heading back up
thru' Maine to Canada as we slowly work our way back home.

It has been a great visit.  Now to "On The Way Back Home"