Category Archives: Charboneau

From the Archives: Dad Joins the Journey

Sepia Saturday 572. From the archives: In honor of my dad this Memorial Day weekend, here is a blog from the archives, originally posted in May 2014.

This Memorial Day, I’ll be remembering my dad Norm Charboneau — a WW II veteran and my enthusiastic travel partner on many family history road trips.

“Where are we going this time, Mol?” he would quip when I visited him and Mom each summer.

Dad joins the ancestral journey

Dad joined the journey in 1992, and for years we combed upstate New York together, or strategized by phone, in search of our elusive ancestors. But it wasn’t always that way.

Family photo circa 1946 of Norm Charboneau, 22, a U.S. Navy ETM3c. Scan by Molly Charboneau.

Dad grew up in the small Adirondack town of Otter Lake in Forestport, Oneida Co., N.Y., [1]Family Search requires free login to view documents. where he admired those in uniform — postal workers, bus drivers, train conductors — who saw more of the world than he did.

The first in his family to go to college, Dad interrupted his engineering studies at Clarkson University in 1944 to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Pacific until 1946 — as an Electronics Technician Mate, Third Class (ETM3c) — in the wider world he longed for.

My college years in the 1960s were interrupted in a different way when I gave up my studies and joined the peace movement to end the Vietnam  War. I was not sure I could ever heal the rift that caused with Dad.

Enjoying our shared heritage

But as years passed, we both mellowed. I eventually finished college and began researching our family. One day I realized that our time together was slipping away, so I called Dad.

“What would you say to a trip to Otter Lake, so you can show me everything and tell me all about it?” I asked him.

My dad, Norm Charboneau, at Otter Lake, Onieda Co., N.Y. (1992). On our first genealogy trip together, my dad posed in front of a line of pine trees that was planted decades before by his dad — my paternal grandfather W. Ray Charboneau. Photo by Molly Charboneau

Dad, who inherited the gift of gab from his mother’s Welsh-Irish side, loved the idea. And with that trip, the first of many,  he and I finally moved beyond what divided us and started enjoying the legacy we shared: family, ancestors, heritage.

Up next: Hoping to do some photo blogging to get my family photo collection scanned. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1 Family Search requires free login to view documents.

Recap and Reflections on “Endwell: My Early Teen Years” #AtoZChallenge

Recap and Reflections on “Endwell: My Early Teen Years” — Including all 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging from #AtoZChallenge. Thanks for joining me on the journey and commenting along the way!

Now that the April 2021 Blogging from #AtoZChallenge is over, I am happy to be among the winners who completed the online marathon — for the fourth time!

After a frenetic month of blogging six days a week, I’ll be relieved to return to weekly blogging as I continue to explore my ancestors’ lives and the research techniques I used to find them.

Endwell, N.Y., 1965: In our willow tree at age 15 — I had survived my early teens and was headed to High School. Photo by Norm Charboneau

Yet it was fun taking a deep dive into my early teens in Endwell, N.Y, during the early 1960s. Stay tuned — I’m considering a sequel about my late teens next year!


Below are links to my #AtoZChallenge 2021 posts about Endwell: My Early Teen Years, adding my story to the family history mix. Please check out any you may have missed. Comments are still open on the later posts and I love hearing from readers!

Malverne Rd. and Shady Dr. Home base for “Endwell: My Early Teen Years.” Photo: Amy L. Williamson (2020)


Busier than last year. Overall, I found this A to Z was busier than last year — in part because I went all-in on trying to comment regularly. The participant list identified genealogy and family history bloggers to help me focus my visits/comments — but I visited around a bit, too, making it a true blogfest!

Great camaraderie. Overall, I learned so much from the meaningful camaraderie and thoughtful comments I received — and from the blogs I visited. I was gratified by the positive feedback and parallel experiences that visiting bloggers shared. And it was nice to catch up with bloggers from previous A to Z Challenges.

Embracing memoir. My blog focuses on ancestral research — but it’s also important to include ourselves in the mix, leaving an online diary like the ones we wish our ancestors had left. That’s why I followed up earlier A to Z themes on my early childhood (2017) and my  elementary years (2020) with a series this year about my early teens.

Many thanks to everyone who visited, subscribed, followed and commented on Molly’s Canopy. You made my fourth #AtoZChallenge so rewarding. Please join me throughout the year as my genealogy journey continues!

Up next: After a brief break, regular blogging resumes at Molly’s Canopy. Please stop back!

 © 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Zip Code scares and Zap: A power outage! #AtoZChallenge

Z is for Zip Code scares and Zap: A power outage! Last of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix.

So much of a teenager’s life is in the hands of adults — and that was certainly true for me, my classmates and the kids on my block in the early 1960s.

Even where we lived was up to our parents — and that resulted in some Zip Code scares for many of us during Junior High.

Getting ahead in corporate jobs often required parents, mostly dads back then, to accept transfers to faraway places. So you might bid a classmate goodbye at the end of the school year — then return in the fall to find her gone, through no fault of her own.
Part of the IBM complex in Boulder, Colorado (1965-70). Getting ahead in corporate jobs often required parents, mostly dads back then, to accept transfers to faraway places. This resulted in zip code scares for many of us during Junior High. Photo: Boulder Library

“Where’s Sue?” you’d ask.

“Oh, she moved to Boulder, Colorado,” would be the reply.

Boulder was the location of a big IBM complex that many local dads transferred to — and quite a few of my classmates had pen pals there due to these surprise Zip Code changes.

My 1964 Zip Code scare

I arrived in Endwell in 1957 as a result of my dad’s General Electric transfer.

So I was familiar with the discomfort of being the “new kid” in second grade and having to adjust to an unfamiliar town, neighborhood and school.

I was definitely not eager to repeat the experience as a teen — yet according to my diary, a Zip Code change nearly happened when I was 14.

April 18, 1964. We might have to move to Utica! I hope not!

April 19, 1964. We might have to move to Phoenix, Arizona! Ugh! If Dad switches to IBM we can stay here! He wants to stay here, so he may switch! I HOPE SO!! I DON’T WANNA MOVE TO ARIZONA!!!!

Phoenix, Arizona (c. 1965). My Zip Code scare happened in 1964, when my dad was considering moving us to Phoenix, Arizona. I did not want to go — and was relieved when the move did not take place. Photo: Pinterest

In the end, neither move took place and my family remained in Endwell until my freshman year of college — when, alas, my siblings had to suffer the dislocation of moving to Syracuse, N.Y., during grade school and high school.

Zap: A power outage!

As my early teens drew to a close in 1965, a major event dropped the curtain on this phase of my life — and ushered me into my later teens and High School.

That event was the Northeast Power Outage of 1965. The video below shows how it looked in New York City — and we experienced it in Endwell, too.

At 15, I was talking on the phone in our dining room when the lights went out — and I remember looking across the Susquehanna River toward Vestal, which was normally dotted with house lights, to see only inky darkness.

The power outage was unexpected and massive — triggered by some electrical glitch in New York City, then zap New York State and beyond went dark.

Press & Sun Bulletin, Nov. 10, 1965.

And with that, my early teens drew to a close. When the lights came up, daily life resumed — and a couple of months later I turned 16.

Happily, I had survived Junior High and my early teens, and I was headed to High School — where new and different experiences awaited on the road to adulthood.

Congratulations to my fellow A to Z Challenge bloggers and many thanks for joining me on this year’s journey! Please leave a comment, then stop back on May 3 for “Recap and Reflection on Endwell: My Early Teen Years.”

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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