Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Travel Journal: July 7 2013 Sunday: Wallingford

Sunday...and a chance to worship together!
Sue's church was fairly new and was adorned with modern beauty.

The Cross atop the church shone in the morning light.

Inside the vestibule was a large baptismal font, its surface flowed with  watery images.

So different from traditional Catholic church style, yet incredibly peaceful and reverent.

The stained glass was at the back of the church atop the Stations of the Cross.

I really liked the interpretation of the tabernacle light. above the communion element holding tabernacle box.
It speaks of God's Glory reaching to the four corners of the earth to me.

The symbols of resurrection, the phoenix and the butterfly were used to adorn the altar.
The service included many beautiful hymns.
Old hymns always make me they did this time too.
The solemn reverence during the service was deeply satisfying.
While the Catholic tradition has not been part of my family's spiritual life for four generations, I recognized that many, many generations of my Irish forefathers bent their knees and honored Christ in Catholic manner.
I recognized that before the Reformation, my English and German relatives would have practiced their faith in the Catholic Church as well.
I hope their prayers were answered in that the Lord has been faithful to all our generations, and the name of the Lord is praised in my generation as well.

I liked the animation of  the gestures of the Christ sculpture on the church lawn.
Sue told me one sly parishioner had commented that if Christ came back from heaven looking like that, no wonder his disciples didn't recognized Him.
I had to smile...
After Mass Sue took me to the Wallingford cemetery that held the remains of my great grandfather's brothers.

My great grandfather's younger brother, my great, great uncle I believe.

Peaceful grounds.

Well, not EVERYONE was set on having a peaceful resting places I guess.
Party on, Mrs. Baldy!

Another great, great uncle, with a lost little one.

Sue and I are convinced that somewhere in the much older Catholic cemetery my great great grandparents John and Ellen Brosnan are buried.
(Sue's great grandparents...)
A massive tornado swept through the area in August of 1878; newspaper articles published about the tornado noted that tombstones in the Catholic cemetery were broken and the nearby Catholic church was destroyed.
We know John was deceased by that date and as a practicing Catholic, he and his wife were without a doubt buried somewhere in the Catholic cemetery, most likely in the very back area.
We think their headstone(s) may have been ruined by the famous tornado.

I found it quite interesting how often the older grave stones included reference to the area in Ireland  where the person was born.
Family genealogist lucked out with that bit of permanently etched information.

Next we drove about the Wallingford downtown and I noticed the train station.
The date let me know that this would have been the place where my great grandfather and great great grandparents would have arrived in Wallingford in the early 1860, and most like would have waited there for area travel from then on.


I had had the opportunity to ride a train into the Manheim Germany train station where my mom's  great grandmother embarked and began her trip to America in the late 1870s, followed by my mom's grandparents in the 1880s.
The nice thing about train stations:  Once train tracks are put down, they are rarely moved, and the train stations likewise remain constant.
If one can figure out where one's family lived in the 1800's one can usually identify the railroad line and station that they used when they traveled.

There probably is a photo of the original station somewhere.
This station was probably used by my great grandfather as he left Wallingford for travels north.

How the tracks may have looked then...via a touch of sepia.

Oh what excitement they must have felt as they came rolling around the bend into a new life.

Sue took me to the church that was her family's church growing up.

I do love tall church spires.

A much more "traditional" Catholic church style; quite similar to the art style of the Cathedral in Salt Lake.
I know church's sometimes update their art work; I wonder if this art work was the original.

So beautiful.
The more I look at this photo the more elements I see.
And I wonder how many elements I miss by not having an expert to explain symbolism.
I've learned over the years that worship related details are not random at all.

Baptism font.
I asked Sue to explain the Paschal candle colors; she explained the traditions associated with the candle during the Easter season, which includes a service baptizing and welcoming new church members.

I never get tired of seeing Bible stories told in stained glass.

A church upbringing has given me the references needed to understand what is being portrayed.

There are so many people without the slightest idea of Biblical stories now.

Such a great loss, spiritually, culturally, and artistically.
I do know that the Bible, like stained glass, needs Light to be fully revealed.
I pray for more Light for our times...

It was past lunchtime.
Sue had a place to eat in mind.
It was restaurant in an old building; only the ceiling tiles remained from the original interior.

The building was where Sue's father had had a grocery store for years and years.
Sue had a painting in her dining room which showed the street, and Brosnan's food store as it was when she was a child.
Later Sue showed me a newspaper article about her dad, Robert Brosnan.
 The modest man was praised for his kind manner and years of service to the community, he passed away in 1986.
We had visited his grave and Sue's mom's grave earlier in the day.

Peeking around the restaurant's neighborhood...
Love bowed window fronts.

The old buildings are still going strong.

Back to driving about...
I think this was the Episcopalian church.
My great grandfather became a Congregationalist at some point in his life.
We suspect he distanced himself from his Irish roots as he grew his business as an inventor.

My great grandfather's brothers worked in the silverware industry.
Wallingford is home to Wallace Silverware and International Silver, as well as the Oneida silverware company.

By mid afternoon we went out of the downtown area and into the nearby countryside.

It was plenty hot outside and back home; what better way to pass some time than by visiting the local area winery?

We ordered a glass and enjoyed seeing out over the vineyards on to the distant hills.

The winery was open to customers bring picnics and parties to their building.

One family had brought along two very new babies.
This sort of family gathering would never fly in Salt Lake City!
After leisurely sipping our wine, we headed home for a while before heading to our next event.

Now a few years back I had been looking for various ancestor's names on a library database known as ProQuest  New York Times.
When I entered my great grandfather's name, up popped several articles.
This one was from July 24, 1886, and was covering the social scene at Cottage City, the "middle class" area of Martha Vineyard back in the day.

Apparently hoards of beach front vacationers that long ago week were visiting a nearby ship wreak.
Boating over to the wreak was touted as "a delightful sail..."

Unlike July 2013, the July of 1886 had hardly any hot weather at all.

And what did the seaside vacationers enjoy during their stays?
"rounds of entertainment, hops and yachting and theatre parties may be expected.  A bowling club has been organized...a pleasant german was given at the Sea View parlors on Thursday evenings."
(I have no idea what a "pleasant german" giving might be.)
Anyway, Cottage City apparently was the place to be!

It took some close reading but finally I found my great grandfather listed as staying in the Sea View House.
(A faint smudge line to the right of the names is in line with the listing of C.J. Brosnan, Springfield.
He was apparently still a single man.)
I mentioned to Sue that I wondered where Cottage City was and if the Sea View House still stood.

Wouldn't you know it?
Sue had a book that covered the history of Cottage City!
Included was a photo of the Sea View House.
Doesn't that look like a grand place to stay for some time at the beach?

And a photo of the street seen from the Sea View House as it looked about ten years before C. J. Brosnan's stay.
The Sea View burned down about a decade later as did another of the larger hotels.
The town never recovered its sea side summer retreat glory.
I later found an online book of old photos of the area.
Guess great grandpa was a beach-y kind of guy!
While I looked at the book, Sue was packing us a picnic for us to enjoy at the lawn concert at Choate Rosemary Hall.

Now I had never heard of  Wallingford's "rigorous boarding and day school for grade 9-12" named  Choate Rosemary Hall.
But I had heard of some of its alumni...whose pictures were seen on a board near the ladies room.

The school is well known in the east.

The notable alumni board was quite large...I only snapped photos of those folks whose names I recognized.

So this is where these folks went to high school.

(Eric Javits is best known to me for his millinery skills.)

It was warm outside and cool inside so I took my time peeking around the accessible areas of the art center.

Cool keyboard!

Outside more and more red, white and blue clad locals were gathering on the lawn.
Sue's friend Mary Lou joined us, bring a dessert to share.

 Wallingford summer tradition:
Rosemary Hall Concert on the Lawn.

Some of the school's buildings looked quite old, while others were stunningly modern.

The small orchestra began playing pop music, at term that come from the "popping" sound of corks being freed from bubbly wine as opposed to shorthand for "popular".
(Or at least that is what one write up said...)
Show tunes were a hit, but the highlight when the orchestra invited veterans to come line up in front when their military branch's theme song was played.
The crowd clapped and cheered as veterans young and old went forward.
Flags were waved, and everyone sang along with the patriotic music.
It was a perfect way to finish up an Independence Day weekend, small town style.

To be continued....


Vee said...

It strikes me what a varied experience you enjoyed. Not too much of any one thing so as to make it ho-hum. You really have learned a lot of family history.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment, the painting is not of my dad's store, it is a painting done of a street in Ireland by my Godfather (and your cousin!) Tom Ribadeneyra.

Pondside said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, Jill. I find it particularly moving to walk down the streets where my ancestors walked and, like you, I have been enjoying online research. Your time in Wallingford sounds lovely - particularly a concert on a lawn!

ellen b. said...

It really must be fascinating to be able to trace your ancestors here and see the places they worked and walked. Very cool. So nice to have a personal guide to the area, too.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

It strikes me that you were blessed on this visit with a truly fantastic tour guide, your cousin Sue, who certainly kept you entertained and informed in all manner of pleasant ways.

Judy said...

How fun to get a glimpse of the places your ancestors lived, worshiped, went to school and were buried...and to have your personalized tour guide.