Amanuensis Monday: They “Liked it Immensely”

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)


Letter to Benita McCormick from The
Jewel Tea Company, thanking her for
her Christmas story and enclosing a
check for $50 as payment in full.  From
Benita McCormick’s scrapbook.

[Note:  Amanuensis is an ancient word meaning one who performs the function of writing down or transcribing the words of another.  Derived from the Latin root manu-  , meaning manual or hand, the word also has been used as a synonym for secretary or scribe.]

One morning in mid-December, 1937, just months after returning from her trip to Mexico with my great-uncle Phil, my great-aunt “Detty,” or Benita (McGinnis) McCormick, opened her mailbox to find a check in the amount of $50.  It was payment for a Christmas story she had sold to The Jewel Tea Company for use in their company Christmas cards.

The Jewel Tea Company originated in Chicago, but as its success grew, the company relocated to Barrington Illinois. Though the company originally started out selling tea and coffee, it gradually expanded to include a trademark china pattern and a variety of household goods.

Whether or not the Christmas cards noted here were sent to customers is a mystery. So, too, are the cards themselves and even the subject of this letter, The Story of Shamus Beg.   Nonetheless, knowing my Aunt Detty’s vivid imagination, her story must have been filled with fanciful prose and whimsical sketches of leprechauns, or “little people,” probably based on the tales she heard during her travels in Ireland nearly a quarter of a century earlier.  

 

 December 10, 1937

 

Mrs. Phillip C. McCormick

8032 Vernon Avenue

Chicago, Illinois

 

My dear Mrs. McCormick:

I purposely delayed sending you your check because I had hoped to be able to include a few copies of our Christmas card.  However, I appreciate the continued urge to “do your Christmas shopping early,” and I am therefore sending your check today.  The cards will come pronto.

Naturally, the check is payment in full for all your right, title, and interest in and to “The Story of Shamus Beg.”  You will be delighted to know that all those folks who had an opportunity to “preview” the story liked it immensely.  It has the qualities of charm, simplicity, and dignity, which ought to make it ideally suited as a Christmas greeting.

I am returning under separate cover the material which you had given me earlier this year. I was very happy to be able to use your story and if in my contacts I come across people who are interested in stories of this nature, you may be sure I will keep you in mind

Best personal regards.

                                                               Sincerely,

                                             THE JEWEL TEA CO.
                                                                         
                                             By:  Clayton N. Watkins, Chief 
                                             Publications Division

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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

 

Treasure Chest Thursday: There Was an App for That

Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)
Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)

 
Phillip Columbus McCormick,
circa 1914.
From the scrapbook of Benita (McGinnis) McCormick.

 

My great-uncle, Phillip Columbus McCormick, who always loved the Spanish language, must been smitten with it during the trip that he and my great-aunt Detty, Benita (McGinnis) McCormick, took to Mexico in 1937.

But unlike many people in the 21st century who rely on electronic applications, or “apps,” to aid with translating and pronouncing foreign words, Uncle Phil used something more basic and tangible. And in this age of hardware and software updates and crashes, his handy little tool happily endures to this day.
 
One day while in downtown Mexico City, he visited an American bookstore and stumbled across a small, cloth-bound phrasebook, Spanish for your Mexican visit. It was authored by Frances Toor, an American anthropologist who wrote several books on the Spanish language and Mexican culture. It contained everything he could have needed in his travels.

 

This small book, written by American anthropologist
Frances Toor, contains chapters on culture and language
for the traveler and the expat living in Mexico.

Ms. Toor geared the book toward expats and tourists, filling it with helpful vocabulary and relevant chapters, such as ordering food, visiting the doctor, asking for directions, and haggling for souvenirs. Her short, chatty paragraphs about the people and various practical situations could easily put newcomers at ease.  She even included pertinent, full page advertisements before each chapter for local businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, and jewelry stores.  While the ads must have helped defray publishing costs, they were probably among the few English-language ads for places and services that British and American tourists would have needed – and found –  during their stay.

 

The inside cover page bears the name of its owner,
“P. McGinnis       Mexico City  8/30/37”

 

I don’t recall Aunt Detty ever trying to speak Spanish, or for that matter any other language.  She would have left that to Uncle Phil.  Indeed, she was proud of his gallant efforts to carry on a conversation in Spanish, as it helped them make friends wherever they went.
 

Of particular interest to Uncle Phil would have been the chapters on bookshops and recreational activities, as he was an avid reader and golfer and loved to watch bullfights.

I can imagine him calling his artist wife’s attention to the ad below for A.C. Garies Almacen de Pinturas, or Art and Paint Store, in Mexico City.  Aunt Detty never traveled anywhere without recording her impressions artistically, and knowing where to find good paint supplies would have been at the top of her list for shopping.

 

Advertisements such as the one above at right, not only reassured
visitors to Mexico that there were goods and services available
that were just as good – or better, in many cases – than some of the
things they would find back home.
This small volume, measuring about 4″ square, was the right size to fit nicely in Uncle Phil’s coat pocket.  It is still in good shape, and though its pages are gently yellowed with age, it remains a sweet reminder of a young man who long ago leafed through it many times during this and subsequent visits to Mexico (and eventually Spain), in that universal desire to understand and be understood.
 
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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

Those Places Thursday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 5: The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

We wrap up our postcard series by visiting one of the loveliest stopovers Phil and Benita made during their 1937 vacation, the famed floating Gardens of Xochimilco, in the southern region of the Federal District (Distrito Federal), about 40 minutes from downtown Mexico City.

 

A family enjoys their outing in a “trajinera,” or flower-decked gondola, as a young flower vendor poses in her “chalupa,” or vendor’s barge. Postcard; Mexico, 1937.
From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.
Vendor-photographer, his camera mounted on a tripod, pauses on his “chalupa” as he awaits an approaching gondola of tourists.  Postcard; Mexico, approx. 1930s.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.
Derived from the Náhuatl words xochitl and milli, Xochimilco means “field of flowers.”  Over eleven hundred years ago, the city was built on a lake by the Xochimilca tribe as a system of man-made islands, called chinampas, and canals for farming and navigation purposes.  It later was expanded as a waterway to the ancient Tenochtitlán, another city on a lake which would one day become the center of Mexico City.

 

Back in the 1930s, as today, colorful trajineras, open air wooden gondola-like boats covered with elaborately decorated arches, glided lazily through some 110 miles of canals, offering tourists and Mexican families on weekend outings a chance to convivir, or enjoy one another’s company.

Tall and graceful, Juniper trees line waterways in Xochimilco.  Postcard, 1930s, Mexico.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

Phil and Benita and their friends, John and Mary Coates, probably spent an idyllic afternoon here. Always living in the moment, they would have laughed and told stories, feasting on a picnic lunch and reclining on the long wooden benches of their trajinera. As the hours passed, they would have bought flowers and souvenirs and enjoyed the music coming from passing canoe-like chalupas.  Maybe Phil and John would have even hired a group of mariachis to serenade their wives with a love song such as Agustín Lara’sVeracruz,” and the two couples might have found themselves dancing in that carefree way that travelers do when the boundaries of time and language and space melt away into a languid infinity.

 

A quiet moment on the waters of Xochimilco.  Postcard, 1930s
Mexico.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.



To read the other installments in this series, please click on the links below:

Part One: Postcards from Mexico

Part Two:  Taxco/2014/07/those-places-thursday-postcards-from-mexico-part-2-taxco/

 

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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

Travel Tuesday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 4: Tracing Phil and Benita’s Footsteps through Mexico

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

Three basket weavers smile obligingly at the photographer in “Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexican People.”  Photographer and location unknown, circa mid-1930s.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.
The black and white photographic postcards my great uncle and great aunt, Phil and Benita (“Aunt Detty”) McCormick purchased during their 1937 vacation to Mexico are so many and so artistic that they seemed worthy of their own series here. 
 
In the absence of a written itinerary of Phil and Benita’s travels throughout that country, these postcards have provided us fascinating clues to where they went and the places that were special to them.

 

Map shows Aunt Detty and Uncle Phil’s travels, as
indicated by the postcards they bought.

 

Man and burro, location unknown.  Mexico, 1930s.
From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

And what about the back of the postcards, you might wonder.  Do they contain any writing?  Were they ever sent to anyone, or were they simply kept as artistic souvenirs? Oh, the stories they might yield, if only…

 

Ah, yes, if only.  Well, dear reader, for now they will remain unanswered questions – due in part to my own action, or lack thereof.

“Charro and China Poblana” depicts
couple in the typical dress of Puebla.
Location unknown; Mexico, 1930s.
From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s
scrapbook.

You see, some years ago, Uncle Phil and Aunt Detty’s daughter, Jane (McCormick) Olson (my first cousin once removed), loaned me the scrapbook of her mother’s memories. Aunt Detty had obtained the book, originally a large salesman’s sample album of Christmas cards, from my parents, who sold advertising specialties at the time.  She repurposed the book into a scrapbook in 1982, removing the samples and gluing her photographs, postcards, and memorabilia onto the pages.

 

Over time, the glue began to disintegrate, loosening some of the items (thankfully for archival purposes) from the pages. One of the postcards was among the loose items, and I was able to pull it back slightly to examine it further.

 

It turned out to be a postcard Aunt Detty had sent to her two children, Phillip “Buddy” and Jane, both of them 10 years old at the time. On it, she wrote briefly and tenderly that Mother and Dad were having a great time but were looking forward to seeing their darlings soon.

 

 

There may have been more correspondence on the back of the postcards. However, out of a combination of respect for Jane’s property and a fear of damaging the items in the scrapbook, I resisted the urge to peel back or remove anything else. Instead, I took photographs of the contents, which we see here. Thank goodness for cameras!

 

Woman selling clay pots.  “Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexican People,”
location and photographer unknown, Mexico, 1930s.  From Benita
(McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

The scenes in these miscellaneous postcards could have taken place anywhere in Mexico.  The general descriptions on some of them refer to the subjects as “Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexican People,” but on the face of the photographs there is no other information as to their location.  The exception is the postcard below, captioned “Jefatura de Operaciones, S.L.P.,” or the  the operations center of the state capital city of San Luis Potosí.  The north-central city’s famed colonial architecture may have been the reason Aunt Detty and Uncle Phil visited there.

Operations Center, City of San Luis Potosí, Mexico,
1930s.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.













To read the other installments in this series, please click on the links below:

Part One: Postcards from Mexico

Part Two:  Taxco

 

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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Meeting John and Mary Coates

John Coates
Mary (?) Coates

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

Fun-loving John and Mary Coates, just who were you?

Caption reads, “John and lovely Mary Coates.”  1937, Mexico.  Exact location unknown; possibly Taxco, Guerrero?  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.
 
These photographs, from my great-aunt Benita’s scrapbook, tell us you were in Mexico in 1937.  You either already knew my great-uncle and great-aunt, Phil and Benita McCormick, before you traveled there, or you met them while south of the border. 

 

Mary Coates, 1937, Mexico.  From
Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s
scrapbook.

 

I have tried to learn more about you, searching the usual genealogy sources, such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and Mocavo.com, but the time frames and names don’t match up.  Still, I have a few theories about you, so please bear with me as I share them here.
 

Based on the note my great-aunt wrote under a photograph in which all of you were seated at a park fountain, you were American, but where were you from? If you knew the McCormicks before your trip, you might have come from either Illinois, Ohio, or Minnesota; otherwise, it’s anybody’s guess.  Or maybe you were simply expats, living in Mexico.

 

Whatever the case, it seems you and my relatives enjoyed one another immensely and spent a lot of time together.  You even hired a guide to take you to various places, including the great Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacán, about 30 miles northeast of Mexico’s capital city.

 

 
As I look at the picture of you and my relatives, I’d guess you were slightly younger than Phil and Benita McCormick.  That would mean you were born sometime after 1900.  
 
 
John Coates, hamming it up on a park fountain.
1937, Mexico, exact location unknown. From
Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.
John, you had the looks of a Hollywood movie star, with the character of a successful, self-assured, charismatic, and gregarious man who viewed life as a big adventure.

Mary, Aunt Detty described you as “lovely,” and you must have been that way inside and out. If a picture tells a thousand words, I think these photographs would say you were the counterpoint to your husband’s gregariousness. You seem outgoing, yet you also appear to be calm and poised and sweet.
 

I’m sure Aunt Detty loved spending time with you, sharing insights and impressions of your sightseeing excursions, and discussing your families back home.

 

Did you have children?  If so, maybe they or someone else who knew and loved you will find you here one day and enjoy these snippets of happy times shared so many years ago.  Maybe they will even share more with us, about you and your life together.

 

 
In any case, if they do find you here, I hope they will be happy to know that your friendship with my wonderful relatives, whether brief or long-lived, was treasured and remembered and treasured long after those serendipitous days south of the border.  
 
Here’s to you, John and Mary Coates.  Whoever you were, you were special to my great-aunt and uncle.  And for now, that’s good enough for me.
 
 
Left to right: John and Mary Coates, unidentified tour guide, and Benita and Phil McCormick. Caption reads, “4 Americans & Guide.” 1937, Mexico, exact location unknown.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

 

Left to right:  John and Mary Coates and Benita and Phil  McCormick.
1937, Teotihuacán, Mexico. From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

 

 

 

Those Places Thursday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 3: The Artistry of Taxco


Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)


Phillip and Benita McCormick, Mexico, 1937.
From the scrapbook of Benita (McGinnis) McCormick.
As we trace my great uncle and aunt, Phil and Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s 1937 visit to Mexico, let’s return to the colonial hilltop village of Taxco, in the eastern state of Guerrero.  They were fascinated by this charming place, aptly dubbed the “magical town.”

 

Cathedral of Santa Prisca, Taxco, Guerrero, about 1937.  Postcard; photographer
unknown. From the scrapbook of Benita (McGinnis) McCormick.

 

From the postcards Uncle Phil and Aunt Detty purchased here, it would seem at first glance that Taxco’s mountain setting and colonial architecture attracted a fair share of artists and photographers.

Having visited there myself on two occasions, I found it to be a memorable destination, adorned by striking white stucco houses with red tile roofs, hilly cobblestone streets, and exotic flowers and plants. Its zócalo, or main square, is crowned by a splendid Churrigueresque cathedral and is bordered by artisan silver shops bustling with tourists from all over the world.
 
But Taxco wasn’t always bustling.  An ancient town that dates back to Aztec times, at one time it was surrounded by silver mines that fattened the coffers of several prospectors and facilitated the building of Santa Prisca Cathedral by its most prosperous miner.  Sadly, many of the mines were destroyed during the 1810 War for Independence from Spain, while other mines were depleted of their precious metal. The events precipitated the decline of the town’s economy and eventually, its population, by the mid-nineteenth century.
Taxco, Guerrero, about 1937.
Postcard, photographer unknown.
From the scrapbook of
Benita (McGinnis) McCormick.

It was not until the early 1930s that Taxco was reborn, thanks to the arrival of an American artist named William Spratling. He established a silver design workshop featuring pre-Columbian motifs that he designed and trained local artisans to create.  Spratling’s techniques and creations attracted worldwide attention, establishing Taxco as an artistic and cultural center and silver capital of the world and earning him the honorary moniker as the “father of Mexican silver.”  

A few short years later, visitors began flocking to this remote town.  It was not an easy place to reach; travelers had to endure narrow, steep, and twisting roads to get there.  ut the effort was well worth it, and artists, photographers, and tourists alike were inspired to record the rewarding sights with their cameras, paint brushes, and pens.

Aunt Detty and Uncle Phil probably spent a few days here, exploring the winding streets and filling their senses with the many sights, sounds, and smells..  If there was an artists’ class here, Aunt Detty, her blue eyes twinkling, would have been the first to sign up for it. Uncle Phil, in his trademark tweed jacket and beret, would have grinningly stepped into a small shop, Spanish phrasebook in hand, eager to practice his Spanish with the local residents.  
 
The McCormicks’ own striking presence would have turned the heads of many a Taxquenian. Despite the increase of tourism in this part of Mexico in 1937, foreign tourists (Americans were referred to as güeros, or “fair-skinned”) still were not seen frequently but were regarded with open and mild curiosity.  My aunt and uncle did not mind at all.  They viewed the attention as an avenue toward new friendships and discoveries.  

 

Women and children at communal baths, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico,
about 1937.  Postcard; photographer unknown.  From the 
scrapbook of
Benita (McGinnis) McCormick.
 
Of all the postcards Aunt Detty and Uncle Phil brought back from Taxco, this last one is my favorite. It depicts a group of indigenous women and children washing clothes in a communal pool.  Their expressions suggest mild surprise at the (unknown) photographer’s presence, maybe even puzzlement over his choice of them as his subjects. His skillful composition draws us into the center of the  scene.  He juxtaposes the simple and lightweight dress of the women against the stark worn walls of the buildings, the wavy pattern of the tile roofs, and the passive waters of the pool.  The effect turns this otherwise routine act on a languid day into something very special, inviting us to take part in the ritual.  
 
Aunt Detty, who lived anything but a routine life, would have loved the raw beauty in this scene.  I don’t remember that she ever painted anything quite like this, but some of the female subjects in her later paintings bore expressions that were reminiscent of the purity and simplicity of the women in this picture postcard.  I have no doubt that she was moved by the beauty of Taxco and its people, as well as by the resurgence of artistic expression during the town’s rebirth. 
 
 
To experience the “Magical Town” of Taxco and its surroundings, as as it looks today, you can view this promotional 2011 video by clicking here.  




To read the other installments in this series, please click on the links below:

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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

Those Places Thursday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 2: Taxco


Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

 

Cactus prickly pear vendor, possibly from
Taxco, 1937. From Benita McCormick’s scrapbook.

Without having them here to share their itinerary with us today, we must rely on the postcards my great aunt and great uncle, Benita and Phillip McCormick, saved in their scrapbook from their 1937 vacation in Mexico to show us where they went and what they saw.

Benita we called her “Aunt Detty” – an artist in her own right, had a keen eye for composition, and she chose her postcards carefully.  Each one in this collection is itself a  photographic work of art, giving us a glimpse into the much simpler life in some of the more rural areas of Mexico in the mid-1930s.  

Street view of church, Taxco, 1937.  From
Benita McCormick’s scrapbook.

These postcards are of the mountaintop town of Taxco, in the southwestern state of Guerrero.  

Located about 100 miles southwest of Mexico City, Taxco is world-renowned for its silver mines and exquisite silver jewelry.  

Artists flock to the area to paint its picturesque colonial buildings, red tile roofs, and steep narrow cobblestone streets.  It is easy to imagine Aunt Detty, sitting at an easel with a palette of watercolors in the town square, or zócalo, while Uncle Phil strolls up and down the hilly lanes of the town. 

Street market, Taxco, 1937.
From Benita McCormick’s scrapbook.

Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

Wordless Wednesday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 1

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

“Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexicans,” reads the
caption at the bottom.  1937; from Benita
(McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook
.





My great aunt and great uncle, Benita and Phillip McCormick, were enamored of Mexico and bought quite a few postcards during their visit there, mailing a number of them to their son and daughter, Phillip “Bud” and Jane.  These first two samples begin a series of their artistic and historic collection.

 

Taxco, Mexico.  1937; from Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.


To read the other installments in this series, please click on the links below:
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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

 

 

Travel Tuesday: Vacationing in Mexico, 1937

 

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

Caption by Benita reads, “Phil & I at Fountain.”  Mexico, 1937; exact location unknown. From her scrapbook.

In the summer of 1937, my great uncle and great aunt, Phil and Benita McCormick, traveled from Chicago to Mexico for several weeks, leaving their eight-year old son and daughter, Bud and Jane, in the able care of close relatives back home. 

As the freight service manager for the Baltimore and Ohio (B & O) Railroad in Chicago, Uncle Phil enjoyed the enviable benefit of free rail travel for himself and his family.  Though we do not know the route they traveled, they might have taken one of the B & O’s “streamliner” trains, such as the Abraham Lincoln, from Chicago to Saint Louis.  From there, they most likely changed trains once or twice before arriving at their destination on one of the trains of the National Railways of Mexico. 

 

Timetable Brochure, National Railways of Mexico, July 20, 1937.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook. 





During their Mexican sojourn, Phil and Benita visited not only the capital, Mexico City, but also many Mexican villages. They fell in love with the country, and Benita took several art classes while there.

They traveled the country with a tour group, a safe way to travel in 1937 for those who spoke little or no Spanish.  Uncle Phil probably had some working knowledge of the language; when I was young, I remember he was always studying Spanish!  

In the photograph above and below, Benita and Phil sit contentedly in front of a lovely unidentified fountain.   The next photo shows them in front of the same fountain with their tour guide and a couple they met on their trip, John and Mary Coates. 



Caption reads, “4 Americans & Guide.”  From left to right:
John and Mary Coates, unnamed tour guide, and Benita
(McGinnis) and Phil McCormick.  Location unknown.
Mexico, 1937.  From Benita McCormick’s scrapbook.


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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully


Motivation Monday: Eight Years of Sharing Stories – and Here’s to Many More!

 

Eight years…can it really be that long?
My trusty Underwood typewriter, its ribbon now worn,
keeps  me company as I write.  A gift from my great-aunt
Detty, it once belonged to my great-grandfather Thomas
McGinnis, who used it to write an autobiography
of his adventures at sea.
Actually, it’s eight years and two days…171 posts, and 30,959 page views.
 
That’s right. According to Google statistics for this site, Many Branches, One Tree has had 30,959 page views since it debuted on June 21, 2006.
 
I remember my first post, a “welcome” message to my new readers and a hesitant dip into the world of family history writing.  For as long as it took to get started, it was a good thing I wrote that piece on the longest day of the year.
 
To be sure, 171 posts over eight years pale next to the number of posts written by some of my more prolific family history colleagues who impressively post a story (or more) every day.  By comparison, 171 posts works out to more like 21 stories per year, or almost two posts per month.  
 
At this rate, I won’t break any records.  On the other hand, despite the urgency I feel to write about the lives of the people who have paved the way for us, I also struggle to fit it into the balance of family time, work, and play. 
 
So I write what I can, the best way I can, as often as I can.  And it comes down to this:  if you, dear reader, not only learn the facts about the people who appear on this site but you also can picture yourself in their shoes, in their predicaments, in their journeys; if you can feel the air about them and hear the rhythm of their hearts through their words and actions, then I have done my job.
 
Don’t ask me to pick a favorite story.  That’s like asking which of my three children I love the most. The answer is that each post is different, yet I feel attached to all of them.  Whatever I am writing becomes my “favorite” at that moment.
 
It’s easier to look ahead. My future plans are to explore my husband’s family, the Tullys, Barons, Hoppins, Makepeaces, Fays, and Rineys. It’s only fair that our children know more about my husband’s side of the family, a fascinating group of people with an amazing history.  Eventually, I will come back to my ancestors, as the McGinnises, Huescas, Perrotins, and O’Gradys still beckon for attention.  

Is there a book in here somewhere?  Some have suggested there is and have encouraged me to write one.  It is a tempting thought.

Lastly, my own children have asked me to write autobiographical pieces, so they will know their own mother’s stories.  I want to do this for them but am somewhat reluctant to do it here. We will have to explore the options.

Here are some fun statistics about this site.
 
According to Blogger, the five most popular posts until now:
 
1.  Family Recipe Friday:  Arroz con Leche, the story of my Abuelita (Grandmother) Catalina (Perrotin) Huesca’s comfort food, Mexican Rice Pudding, wins the prize for most views at 1,194.  If only there were a prize – I suppose it would have to be a dish of the real thing.
 
2.  Madness Monday:  Cold War Mania, about my family’s experience during the Cuban Missile Crisis and my parents’ decision to move us to Mexico.  That story has been viewed 505 times.  It was not viewed much when it appeared a year ago, but every day it seems to attract more readers.  I can’t figure out why.
 
3.  Remembering Mary Jane and Elizabeth Gaffney garnered 410 views. My best guess is that people liked my mother’s first-person childhood memories of her grandmother and great-aunt, who raised her during the Great Depression.
 
4.  Family Recipe Friday:  Abuelita’s Mexican RicePeople really like stories about food! This was another story about my grandmother’s cooking.  Well, she was known for her culinary talents and her warm way of making people feel loved. Whether it was cooking for my grandfather, their 11 children, her mother and sister, or the family’s guests at their hotels and restaurants in 1920s Mexico, her most important ingredient was the love she put into it – and that made it memorable.  363 views.

5.  Patricia Ann Fay, a biography of my delightful mother-in-law, was viewed 284 times.  I only wish she were still alive to see that, but at least my darling husband can enjoy the thought that his mother has touched many people’s lives.

 
Those readers, and more, come from all over the world.  Sitemeter, a visitor counter, counts the top ten countries, along with the number of readers in each:
 
United States     17,948
Russia                   5,099
Mexico                     794
Canada                     732
Germany                  637
France                      527
United Kingdom     511
Poland                      315
Ukraine                    210
China                       208
 
 
Readers are split almost evenly among the sexes, with 46% females and 54% males.  Though many are referred here by other blogs and websites (most of them genealogy-related), the majority come from Google searches, Pinterest pages, and the Geneabloggers website.  Some of the most popular phrases in Google searches have been:
 
cold war
many branches one tree
Schiavon
Conneaut Ohio
Nickel Plate Railroad Conneaut
Hyde Park
origin of Huesca name
Orizaba
Gaffney
 
It has been a joy to memorialize family members (and occasionally, close family friends) on this site and to hear your own insights.  Sometimes you offer thoughtful speculations and  share new revelations.  Sometimes you discover a common ancestor, or something our ancestors had in common with us.  The best times are when you rediscover family  you either thought you knew or never knew – or we discover each other.  It sends a chill down my spine every time.  You make this site worthwhile.
 
I am pleased and honored that you have taken the time to share your own memories and insights.    Sometimes, I have even had the thrill of meeting “new” cousins, from near and far.  What blessings you are!
 
Many thanks to all of you.  Whether we share a common ancestor or simply a common love of family, tradition, and a good story, I am grateful to you for reading, commenting, and even sharing this site.  
 

Now, let’s get back to those stories.


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Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully