Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Branching Out to My Maine Roots: John Mahaffy and Ruth Thompson

I am one of the lucky ones! I haven't only listened to stories about my great-grandparents I have my own memories. Unfortunately, I have only one snapshot in my mind of my great-grandfather. I remember him sitting in a rocking chair wearing a blue cardigan. He asked me to reach into his pocket and see what I could find. It was a hard candy...butterscotch! Why was this visit with him imprinted into my mind? I couldn't have been older than five. If that! They had been living in Florida when he died so I must have seen him before they moved or during a trip back to Connecticut. I asked mom if she knew when this happened. She had no idea. I cherish this single moment in time!

My great-grandmother is a totally different story. I have lots of memories of her. Mostly, I remember spending nights over with her. We would play cards with the ladies who lived nearby or watch TV together. I have no idea what we watched, but I remember sitting with her. The next morning she would fix Shredded Wheat for breakfast. I hated Shredded Wheat, but didn't want to tell her so I would eat it anyway. There was the time I spent a week with her while my mother and grandmother went to California to visit my mom's aunt and uncle. I would spend time with her until she could no longer live alone. Grammie had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Now I think back and see some of the signs, but as a young child I didn't understand what was happening. I look forward to sharing some of those times with you. 

Now that I have shared some memories I'd like you to meet my great-grandparents. This photo was taken in honor of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. It has to be the most common photo shared throughout the family.  

This is John Wesley Mahaffy and Ruth Mae Thompson.

John Wesley Mahaffy was born in Limestone, Maine on June 29, 1894 to James Gordon Mahaffy and Ola Almeda Micue.  James was born in New Brunswick, Canada and Ola in Greenville, Maine. John was the second of seventeen children born to James and Ola. For years, I had been told that John had been the oldest child. However, during my search to find all the siblings I found that a baby had been born before John. When I mentioned my findings to my grandmother, she was quick to confirm that yes there was a baby but he had died before John was born. The family's story was partially correct in that he was the oldest living child (at least when the story was started). John died of a heart attack on December 8, 1972 while they were living in Vero Beach, Florida. After John's death Ruth returned back to Connecticut.

John and Ruth were married in the Madison Baptist Church in Madison, Maine on March 21, 1914. Their children surprised them with celebrations for both their 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries. By their 50th anniversary they had 23 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Ruth Mae Thompson was born on October 22, 1896 in Starks, Maine to Henry Artemas Thompson and Mary Ann Collins. Both Henry and Mary were born in Maine and their ancestor lines will run deep into our nation's history with veterans from the Civil War and Revolutionary War as well as some of the earliest settlers of Maine and Massachusetts. Ruth was the third of seven children and the first daughter born to Henry and Mary. Ruth died on June 14, 1993 in Bristol, Connecticut. She had suffered with Alzhemer's for many years before succumbing from pneumonia and congestive heart failure. At the time of her death, she was survived by two sons, three daughters, a sister, 24 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great-grandchildren.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Taking a Glimpse at George Dailey and Julia Roccasalva

This is so my grandparents! You can see how relaxed they are. Here they are enjoying a day at Bantam Lake. Grandpa and Grandma Dailey were always felt a calming atmosphere around them. My best memories of them are sleeping over and going to feed the ducks with stale bread crumbs, or spending the day at Lake Compounce.

So here's a glimpse of who they are: 

George Hubert Dailey was born at home at 45 Orchard Street in Bristol, Connecticut on November 11, 1910 to George Edward Dailey and Beatrice Irene Gamache. George Edward was born in Connecticut, but Beatrice had immigrated with her family to Bristol from Quebec. George H. was the second child to George E. and Beatrice, and only had one sibling, an older sister. George H. died on January 12, 1997 in Bristol, Connecticut, while staying at a convalescent center. Dad's passing a few weeks earlier had been a toll on him. He had a hard time at dad's wake and refused to go to the funeral as he said he wasn't going to watch his "baby boy" be buried. After the wake he didn't do well and had to be admitted to the convalescent center. 

George and Julia were married on January 6, 1936 at St. Joseph's Church in Bristol, Connecticut. Irene Dailey, sister to the bridegroom, was the maid of honor, and Vincent Roccasalva, brother to the bride, was the best man. Following the ceremony a wedding breakfast was served to members of the immediate family at The Hotel Bond in Hartford, Connecticut. I haven't been able to confirm this, but I believe an uncle of Julia's was the chef at the hotel at this time. They would be residing at 223 North Main Street in Bristol upon their return from a wedding trip to New York City. 

Julia Rita Roccasalva was born on January 29, 1914 in Hartford, Connecticut to Raffaele Roccasalva and Rita Pellegrini. Both Raffaele and Rita emigrated from Italy to Hartford. They came separately, but met in Hartford. Raffaele was from Modica, Sicily and Rita from Florence. Julia was Rita's second child, but first with Raffaele. Raffaele would later adopt Rita's son, and they would have three more children together besides my grandmother. Julia died on March 16, 1990 in Bristol, Connecticut. She had had some health issues and had been in and out of the hospital for the previous eighteen months before passing. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Planting the Seed for My Maternal Side

My mom's family has some pretty long branches of the family tree, especially on her maternal side. Future posts will unearth and show that those roots go very deep into our nation's history. But for now, I want to start with my maternal grandparents. 

Meet my maternal grandparents, Andrew Daniel Bodak and Madeline Estelle Mahaffy. This is one of my favorite pictures of them. They were married at the Plantsville Baptist Church in the Plantsville section of Southington, Connecticut on May 16, 1942. 

Andrew was born in Plymouth, Connecticut on August 24, 1917 to Daniel Bodak and Sophie Graban. Daniel and Sophie immigrated from Austria-Hungary. They had six children: four girls and two boys. Andrew was the third child. I never got the chance to know my grandfather as I was only ten months old when he died. My grandfather died on June 22, 1967 at his home in Bristol, Connecticut as a result of a suicide. The circumstances of his death is for another time. 

Madeline or "Midge" as she was know as was born in Madison, Maine on October 29, 1917 to John Wesley Mahaffy and Ruth Mae Thompson. Both John and Ruth were born in Maine. They had seven children: four girls and three boys. Midge was the third child and second daughter. She was also the last of the children to pass on. My grandmother died on January 2, 2011 in Branford, Connecticut from pancreatic cancer. Gram was only diagnosed with the cancer a couple months before she passed. 

For years, I would sit with my grandmother and listen to her tell stories of my grandfather and her family. Gram's side of the family is very large so had lots of stories to tell which leaves me with lots of stories to share. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Introducing My Dad: Albert Ralph Dailey

This is my first official post to my blog! I thought I would begin with introducing my dad. This is the earliest photo that I have of him. There is no writing on the photo so I am not sure where or when it was taken; but from my powers of deduction (HA HA) or better my memories. I believe this was taken at my father's grandparents house on Ward Street in Bristol. I recognize the house in the back as the neighbor's. Dad looks to be about eight months old. 

My dad was born, Albert Ralph Dailey, on November 7, 1938 in Bristol, Connecticut to George Hubert Dailey and Julia Rita Roccasalva. Dad was the second son born to George and Julia. The Daileys were living on the corner of North Main Street and Center Street when Albert was born. Today, that corner houses the Bristol Fire Department Headquarters. 

Here's a picture with his brother, Bob. Aren't they adorable? You will get to meet Bob in a future post.

Dad married my mom on March 3, 1961 in Bristol. They had five children. I am the fourth child and their third daughter. I am looking forward to sharing dad's life with you! Dad passed away on November 19, 1996. It was unexpected and I had been living out of state when he passed. I was very blessed to have had my last visit and memories of him be great ones. I had come home to Connecticut for a wedding and both mom and dad had driven me to the airport for my trip back home. My last contact with dad was a hug, a kiss, an I love you and a good-bye. Not knowing that would be my last time with him didn't matter, but years later I take comfort in knowing that I got to say that last "I love you." Not many have that opportunity when a death is unexpected. 

Here is the last photo that was taken of dad. It also happens to be the last one with his brother, Bob, taken at a family wedding. Dad is on the left.