Category Archives: Laurence [Di Lorenzo]

Peg: My mulitasking mom #AtoZChallenge

P is for Peg: My mulitasking mom. Sixteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

My mom Peg was also career building during my early teens (1963-65) — but unlike Dad, she had other pulls on her time.

So Mom developed her School Music Educator career more slowly — while also meeting the demands of motherhood, an active social life and volunteer work at our church and a local hospital.

Our family circa 1964. That’s me,14, standing behind Mom,38, with the rest of our large family. Somehow my multitasking Mom managed to skillfully balance motherhood, work, fun and volunteering in a way I did not fully appreciate in my early teens. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Mother of five: from teen to toddlers

At home, Peg was a no-nonsense mother. Caught up as I was in my early teen world, I sometimes bristled under her demands to keep my grades up and to generally behave myself at school and on the block (enforced by occasional groundings).

But looking back, I am now amazed at all that she accomplished while simultaneously raising five children — who in the early 1960s ranged from a teen to toddlers, as shown above.

Back to teaching

Once my brothers and I were in school, Mom commuted to Ithaca College at night for her masters in Music Education — and also substitute taught in the Endwell public schools.

Sheet music, metronome and a flute-like recorder. There was always a metronome ticking away at our house to keep time for our music lessons. Mom coupled motherhood with building her career, getting her permanent music teacher certificate in 1964 and returning to teaching when my sisters were still little. The flute-like recorder was one of Mom’s favorite instruments, which she continued playing until well into her senior years. Photo: Pixabay

After Mom finished grad school, my sisters were born and she was back to homemaking again full-time. Nevertheless, she made sure to get her permanent music teacher license, which was awarded in 1964. And while my sisters were still little, she resumed teaching in the local parochial schools.

Life of the party

Yet it was not all work for Mom — who was then in her late 30s. At a Malverne Road reunion a couple of years ago, our across-the-street neighbor told me an entertaining story about what Mom and the other mothers got up to during their weekdays at home.

Moms cocktail hour. At a recent block reunion, a neighbor told me, “Peg called around and said she had seen a recipe for a new cocktail and wouldn’t we like to try it?” The moms had such a good time they secretly repeated their cocktail hour on occasion. And here I thought it was only the kids on our block who were sneaking around to have fun! Graphic: Pixabay

“Peg called around and said she had seen a recipe for a new cocktail and wouldn’t we like to try it?” she told me. “So after our husbands left for work and the children were in school, Peg had us all over one afternoon and we had a great time with that new cocktail!”

Such a good time, in fact, that they secretly repeated their cocktail hour on occasion. “And we made sure to clean up and get back home before our husbands and children returned,” emphasized the neighbor.

Well, well. And I always thought it was only us kids on the block sneaking around to have some fun!

Volunteer work

Peg (Laurence) Charboneau (c. 1964). School photo of Mom during her Endwell teaching years. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Yet even with teaching and raising a family, Mom also found time for volunteer work.

For years, she used her music skills to lead the choir at Endwell’s Christ the King RC Church — and thus expanded her social life.

I  still remember the friendships Mom made with couples from church who came over to play board games with her and Dad — laughing and carrying on and keeping us kids awake until all hours!

Mom also served as a Pink Lady hospital volunteer one night a week — and she had to stand up to Dad to do it, because he thought she should be getting paid.

Multitasking Mom

In short, during my early teens my mom Peg was multitasking long before the word was invented — and doing it in a balanced way. A bit of homemaking, a bit of work, a bit of fun, then giving back with some volunteering — yet all the while incrementally building the School Music Educator career she would eventually return to full time.

Up next, Q is for Questioning everything. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1865: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s unique arrival in the U.S.

Sepia Saturday 555. Seventh  in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner (1844-1924). Scan by Molly Charboneau

My immigrant great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner appears to have arrived in the U.S. from Germany circa 1865 — at the end of the U.S. Civil War.

Based on her 1 Aug. 1844 birth date, she would have been 21 at the time.

Alas, I have thus far been unable to locate a ship record that would give me her exact year of immigration — so that research continues.

https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/90711902/
German emigrants for New York embarking on a Hamburg steamer (1875). My great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner was among the throngs of emigrants who left Germany for the U.S. in the mid 1800s in search of a better life. Image: Library of Congress

However, in various censuses Christina or a household member gave her immigration year as 1864 or 1865 — and her obituary supports her arrival around that time.

Discovering Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s Immigration Year – Sources: FamilySearch (censuses) and research files (obituary)
Year Source Name Details Imm. Year
1900 U.S. Census Christine Stoutner Number of Years in the U.S. – 35 1864 (penned) 1865 (estimated from years in the U.S.)
1910 U.S. Census Christina Stoutner 1865 (penned)
1920 U.S. Census Christina Stoutner Naturalized in 1866 (Penned) 1865 (penned)
1924 Obituary – Gloversville Morning Herald, 17 May 1924 Mrs. Christina Stoutner “a resident here for about sixty years” circa 1864 (estimated)

An intriguing immigration story

Yet perhaps the most intriguing information about Christina’s arrival in the U.S. comes from an oral history interview that my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau did with her Aunt Margaret (Stoutner) Rothbell — my maternal grandmother’s younger sister — in the mid 1990s.

Below Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s name is a notation that says “landed in the U.S. the day Lincoln was shot.”

Mom sat down with her aunt, took out a blank sheet of paper and sketched a family tree of the Stoutner line based on what Aunt Margaret told her — a hand-drawn chart I have copied, consulted and annotated over the years.

And below Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s name Mom made a notation that says “landed in the U.S. the day Lincoln was shot.” Well, how about that!

Remembering a landmark arrival

https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002717084/
1865: Pres. Lincoln’s funeral in New York City – removal of the body from the City Hall to the funeral car. On 14-15 April 1865, New York City was undoubtedly preoccupied with news of the president’s assassination — as historic newspaper headlines testify. Into this whirlwind of shock and sorrow stepped my great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner, fresh off the boat from Germany — at least according to my mother’s family history notes. Image: Library of Congress

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on the evening of 14 April 1865 and died in the early hours of 15 April — a cataclysmic event at the end of the U.S. Civil War.

New York City was undoubtedly preoccupied with news of the unfolding tragedy — as historic newspaper headlines testify. And into this whirlwind of shock and sorrow stepped my great-great grandmother Christina, fresh off the boat from Germany. At least according to my mother’s notes.

Yet because Lincoln’s assassination was so momentous, and the young immigrant Christina would likely have registered every nuance about her arrival in a new country — and because her story was passed down the generations, perhaps from her retelling of it — I find this story about her believable.

All that remains is to find the ships that came into the Port of New York on 14 -15 April 1865 — and locate a record from one of those ships that contains Christina’s name. But that is research for another day.

Up next: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner heads for Gloversville, N.Y. 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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Vacations and Visiting Relatives #AtoZChallenge

V is for Vacations and Visiting Relatives. Twenty-second of twenty-six posts in the April 2020 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Endwell: My Elementary Years”— where my genealogy journey germinated. Wish me luck!

Holidays and summertime still evoke memories of vacations and visiting relatives during my elementary years. My family often took to the road in our Pontiac station wagon — and I well remember our seating arrangement inside the car.

https://pixabay.com/photos/dunes-sand-dunes-sunset-boat-352593/
Beach and dunes on Cape Cod. For two weeks every summer General Electric, where my dad worked, closed down — and that’s when we made our annual family trip to Dennisport, Mass. on Cape Cod. Photo: Pixabay

My dad was a road warrior and generally in the driver’s seat. On long trips, my mom sat in the back seat behind him. Why? So she could be in reach of all of us kids if we needed something — or if we got out of line and required a firm hand. Also, she could tap Dad’s head as a wake-up call if he  seemed to be nodding off.

Up front, I rode shotgun with my brother Mark in the middle, Jeff and Amy were in back next to Mom — and Carol, alas, had to sit in a cleared spot in the station wagon’s trunk. And thus we traveled from Endwell, N.Y. to our various destinations.

Vacations

General Electric, where my dad worked, closed down for two weeks every summer — and that’s when we made our annual family trip to Dennisport, Mass. on Cape Cod. We rented a family-friendly wood-frame house withing walking distance to the beach — and it became our home away from home for a fortnight.

https://www.historicnewengland.org/explore/collections-access/capobject/?refd=MS028.01.012.019
Cape Cod souvenir matches. During college, my mom broke up with my dad before her family’s annual trip to Cape Cod. Then she thought it over and sent Dad some souvenir matches — and that’s how they got back together. Talk about serendipity! Photo: historicnewengland.org

I associate Cape Cod with my childhood — but later learned of an important family history connection, too. Mom told me she used to go there with her parents (aka Boom and Gramps) — and during college before one of those vacations she had broken up with Dad, who she was dating at the time.

“But while I was at the cape, I thought it over and sent your father a box of Cape Cod souvenir matches,” she said. “And that’s how we got back together. Can you believe it?” Wow, talk about serendipity!

The cape was a great place to vacation as a child: hot, salty days on the beach and cool, foggy sweatshirt nights; weekly auctions of little trinkets outside the camp rental office, followed by fireworks; eating fried clams at noisy Kream ‘N Kone — and one time even boiling a lobster for my sister Carol’s birthday.

Plus there were tons of other children — some also from hometown GE families — to hang out and play with. My siblings and I all still love Cape Cod based on our fun childhood vacations there.

Visiting relatives

Other trips — usually for weekends or holidays — involved visiting relatives and gave me a larger sense of family.

Family buggy ride (1956). A visit to my grandparents’ farm was always fun. Here, we ride in an antique carriage that my grandmother was likely planning to sell through her antique business. I am sporting ringlet curls my grandmother created with tied rags. Out of sight is my grandfather, who acted as the “horse” to pull us down the driveway. Photo: Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence

Visits to my maternal grandparents Tony and Liz (Stoutner) Laurence on the farm were always fun — and sometimes surprising, as illustrated by our brief carriage ride above.

We kids loved running around in the fields, splashing in the small nearby creeks, skipping stones on the pond and feeding grass to the cows next door. But there were family gatherings, too.

A summer gathering of my maternal Italian- and German-American relatives. Boom and Gramps, my maternal grandparents, often invited their families over from Gloversville, N.Y. for family picnics at their Altamont, N.Y. farm — giving me a chance to meet everyone during my elementary years. Photo: Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence

My grandmother was big on keeping family connected, so she would invite her German-American and my grandfather’s Italian-American family over from Gloversville, N.Y. for big family picnics on their Altamont, N.Y. farm — giving me a chance to meet everyone during my elementary years.

Dad’s North Country family

On separate trips, we drove north of Utica, N.Y. to visit my dad’s family — his three brothers, their wives and children and the paternal family patriarch Grandpa Charboneau. And sometimes, in the summer, we visited their camps in the Adirondacks.

Dinner with Dad’s family in New York’s North Country (circa 1962). I’m on the left in a red blouse in this photo of a dinner with some of Dad’s brothers, their families and Grandpa Charboneau. Photo: Peg (Laurence) Charboneau

That’s how — little by little, through these regular visits to faraway relatives — I became acquainted with my extended family during my elementary years.

Up next: W is for Weeping Willow: Our backyard tree. Please stop back! 

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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