Chickenhouse Chronicles—-Genesis

A few months after my mother, Barbara, died in 2010 I discovered a time capsule—including my grandparent’s urns— locked in the chickenhouse on our old homestead in northern Minnesota. (I stopped calling her Mom the spring of 1962. In 1960 she had been committed to Fergus Falls State Hospital—we children had been sent to foster …

First Thanksgiving Rememberance 1937 Thanksgiving Celebration, Brussels, Belgium

After my mother died in 2010 I discovered this church service bulletin tucked in a mouse-stained scrapbook, locked in the Chickenhouse on our old family homestead in northern Minnesota, USA. Holland played an important part in the first pilgrims–Separatists from England’s religious persecution. Apparently those roots were still celebrated in 1937. Are they still celebrated …

Chickenhouse Chronicles: 1950 Holy Land Visit

  My great grandmother, Katherine Thomas Philips, had a younger sister named Alice, who married Edmund Garstin.  They had two daughters: The eldest, Martha “Pattie” Thomas Garstin, born 1888, died in a mental institution, Normansfield Hospital, Teddington, in 1935. The second daughter, Eloise “Emily” Thomas Garstin, was born in 1889 and died in 1970. Eloise, a name …

Chickenhouse Chronicles: WWII Letter about my Grandfather’s Ship sinking

I discovered this terribly water-stained letter in a packet I am currently reading. The tone of the letter seems fatalistic. Frederick Pierce, the author, has a son on a coastal patrol craft in the Mediterranean—perhaps one of WWII’s famed PT Boats. Fred Pierce is my great uncle, an elusive link to our past. The Pierce family …