Tuesday, July 24, 2012

 Some of the others are gaining on it, but they are still dwarfed by Little Shop of Horrors
 The marigolds are finally thriving -- rain helped tremendously!

We had rain and thunderstorms yesterday and in the night -- the first truly "beneficial rain" we've had in quite a while. Hail was predicted in some places, and the lightening was terrific at times (almost had forgotten what it is like! See here) but we didn't sustain any damage and the plants loved it. I ventured out this morning and took the top two pictures of the tomato patch. It's a little soggy (not as much as it would be if we were not in such a dry spell otherwise).  Assuming it is a dry day, later I will check to see if there are any green beans to be picked. They were on the cusp of being ready Sunday night.

I am reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. A friend gave me the book for Christmas (I didn't see him until early July so that's when he actually gave it to me). I had to sit in the waiting room at Albany Med yesterday while Bob was having a test (he's fine) so I took my Kindle and started it.  So far it is an easy read, almost a page turner. My only criticism is that there are too many sentence fragments. They are intentional; that's the style. I follow that form myself sometimes in creative writing, but in this book it is excessive, and the fragments often come in a string, such as: "He stared into the dark. Squinted his eyes. Searching for movement. Turned slowly. Blinked." (This is not an actual quote, btw -- it is my approximation, but not that much of an exaggeration.) I am taking the train to Buffalo for a few days next week, and I plan to finish or at least make a dent in it then, so I'll have more to say after that trip.

Something I have been intending to share here but keep forgetting, a few weeks ago I received an email at my university account* about this blog post from 2003. Myrtle's great grandnephew was doing genealogy research on his paternal ancestors, and all he could find about her was my blog post. One piece of information I got from him is that her maiden name was Pemberton.

I wanted to help out, so my mother and I talked about Mimmie's stories, went through old pictures, and checked census records, and found that Lawrence McSpirit is listed as 13 years old in the 1910 Census (the page is dated May 11). Myrtle McSpirit's dates are March 9, 1905 - February 8, 2003. This is from the Social Security Death Index.

Ma said that Lawrence had moved from Hurley to Albany for work. This was at some point after the Ashokan Reservoir was constructed. He met his wife Myrtle in Albany. She also remembers that Mimmie said Lawrence disappeared after being paid on a Friday. His body was found sometime later in the Hudson River. The speculation was that he had been robbed, murdered, and thrown in the river. His father came up to Albany to identify the body and make the funeral arrangements.

The picture is of Alice McSpirit Krom (Mimmie's younger sister). The little girl on the left is her daughter Frances. The little girl on the right (blond hair) is Myrtle, daughter of Lawrence McSpirit and his wife Myrtle. Frances was born in October 1927. Our guess is that this picture was taken in the early '30s; Frances was probably 4 or 5. Myrtle looks to be about the same age. My mother remembers Mimmie telling her that this photo was taken after Lawrence's death. Little Myrtle stayed in Hurley for a while with her grandparents and Aunt Alice.

I wonder what happened to little Myrtle; all we know is Mimmie's note, where she wrote "married and living in Albany." This summer I will try to do something I have been thinking about since 2003, which is go to the Albany Rural Cemetery and visit the mother Myrtle's grave.  Perhaps Lawrence is there too.

*It's interesting that when strangers email me because of this ejournal or the Gully Brook Press website, they nearly always google my name and choose to contact me through the university, rather than the AOL or gmail email addresses I have listed here -- and this is true not just of academic and consulting inquiries, where it might be expected, but of correspondence of a more personal nature as well.

Later: I decided to do another knotweed assault. But the guy who cuts the steep part of the hill behind our house already did it!  He's awesome. So I just had to pull the stray ones that were coming up in the curcurbit patch. It was a humid 90 degrees, so I especially appreciated not having to weed whack the rest of the battlefield.

And: the weird round bruise on my shoulder from July 4 that turned into an itchy insect bite after a day and eventually went away has returned! Not the bruise but the itchy welt, exactly the same size and in exactly the same spot. What is it with me and freakin' bugs?

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