Saturday, May 28, 2011

Come On In ... The Water's Fine !

Posted by Picasa

When you talk about getting in the water, you're talking about my father's side of the family. Naturally, growing up in Maine, we have access both to "the beach," by which we mean the ocean, but also the lovely lakes all around us. My love for being near the water comes directly through my dad, who came by it honestly, from his own upbringing.

His mother, my grandmother Mattie Seavey, who grew up in the East Deering neighborhood of Portland, Maine, and, who remembered swimming as a child in the tranquil waters of Casco Bay, loved to swim and always had her suit and bathing cap ready to go at a moment's notice.

As a young woman, she worked at the Poland Spring House, and probably took off with her girlfriends for a quick dip in the nearby lake when she got off the switchboard. Here are a couple of her scrapbook pictures taken from around that time, in the swimsuit styles of the 1920s:

Posted by Picasa
Grammy Seavey (Mattie Leighton) on the left 

Posted by Picasa
Grammy Seavey (Mattie Leighton) on the right

Later, she and my grandfather, Howard Seavey, spent a lot of time at Woods Pond, in Bridgton, Maine, where he had grown up. Here they are, drying off before heading back home, probably in the 1940s:

Posted by Picasa
Howard and Mattie Seavey

My dad loved the water and was a strong swimmer, both in the frigid waters of Casco Bay, and in the many lakes he fished and swam in. Here he and my Aunt Polly, his younger sister, are, probably at Willard Beach in South Portland, around 1935 or so:

Posted by Picasa
My dad, Dick Seavey, at Willard Beach, circa 1935

Posted by Picasa

My aunt, Polly Seavey, at Willard Beach, circa 1935

Memorial Weekend marks the beginning of summer for many families.

Time to get out that suit!

((Written for the 4th Annual Swimsuit Edition of Carnival of Genealogy))

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Bittersweet Union

When this couple "had to" get married around the turn of the century, it took a trip to New Hampshire to tie the knot. The whole episode was hushed up all around, and there were doubts over the years about whether it had really taken place. One small proof existed, however, and she was my grandmother.

You see, Mark Leighton and Alice Lovell were cousins. Mark's mother Lillian and Alice's mother Louisa were sisters.

The 1900 Portland, Maine, Census shows that they lived together at 221 Sherwood St., in the East Deering neighborhood of Portland.

"Lillian Leighton, Head of Household, age 35
Maude Leighton, age 17
Mark Leighton, age 14
Mattie Crilley (Lillian's mother), age 56
Alice Lovell, age 16"

Five years later, in 1905, Mark was 19 and Alice was 20, and Alice was pregnant. The child, my grandmother, was born January 5, 1906.

I am fortunate to have in my possession the original "Certificate of Marriage," and have been able to corroborate it with another record of the marriage, from New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947.

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Both Mark and Alice went on to re-marry, Mark in 1921 and Alice in 1909. Both of them had large families their second time around. My grandmother, Mattie Louise Leighton (1906-1987), was left to be raised by her maiden aunt Pauline. Because she was older than her step-siblings, they assumed/were told she was their aunt.

A bittersweet wedding tale to be sure.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day - The Moms I Remember

Posted by Picasa

I love multi-generational pictures, and this one is a wonderful remembrance for today.

From left to right: my mother, Marilyn Louise Bustin Seavey, holding my sister Robyn, my paternal grandmother, Mattie Louise Leighton Seavey, My maternal great grandmother, Melvina Jane Hamilton Bustin, and my maternal grandmother, Harriet Cheney Smith Bustin. And, yes, that's me in the front!

Given the ages of Robyn and I, I would guess this was 1957, and I believe it was at 24 Mayfield St., Portland, the home of Harriet and Ross Bustin. Robyn was born in March of that year, and Mom always had us baptized on the Mother's Day after our birth, so this could be Mother's Day 1957!