Book of Me, Prompt 20: The Feel of Home

[This is the 20th prompt in the Book of Me, Written by You Series]

We all know that home is a place with walls and windows.  It’s where we live.  But, what does home feel like?  For me, home is a place I feel secure.  It’s the place that I can sing in the shower and no one will give me a bad time about it.  It’s where my messy computer desk hides my various genealogy and writing projects.

Home is comfortable.  It’s where family can come over and put their feet up on the couch and have a good chat.  It’s where the kids (and me) can get down on the floor and play board games.  It’s where my silly dog attacks her stuffed animals.  It’s not a showroom or museum where you are afraid to get things dirty or where things are too fragile to touch.  It’s where I am most comfortable.

Home is with family–right now that is my Mom, me, and of course, my dog.  I don’t think I would feel at home without my dog.  Most of my life I have owned one.  They are an integral part of feeling at home.  There’s nothing more homey than sitting on my bed in the evening with my Nook on one side and my Jack Russell Terrier pushing herself in between me and my book.

I guess the feel of home can mean a lot of things.  To me, it’s a place of comfort and security, where there is laughter and serious contemplation.  And, there is always time to watch the antics of a certain 9 lb. dog.


Book of Me, Prompt 19: I Miss My Aunt Julie

This is another entry in the series Book of Me, Written by You.  This entry we are to write about someone we miss.

It would be easy for me to write about my Dad.  He died in 2010.  I’ve written about him extensively on this blog.  So, today I’ll write about his sister, My Aunt Julie.

Aunt Julie was constantly in my life.  She was always over our house visiting.  I remember her at family get-togethers.  She and my Dad were close.

I was the type of child that learned early to stay away from the adults.  I was always off playing with my siblings, cousins, or friends.  I wasn’t the type to be chatting with the adults, even relatives.  I guess I was intimidated.

So, my Aunt Julie holds a special place in my life.  She was the first adult outside my parents that I could really connect with.  I was always chatty with her.  She was one of the kindest, honest, most down to earth people that I ever met.  Someone you didn’t feel had a negative bone in her body.  She was much like her mother, my Grandmother, in that way.  Never heard her say anything bad about anyone.

With today’s modern technology, meeting up on Facebook with relatives, and texting, it may seem odd that the reason my Aunt and I connected was philately.  Yes, stamp collecting.  This was back in the early 1980s.  People didn’t have computers let alone the ability to print postage.

My Aunt was the one who got me interested.  I had pen pals and was somewhat fascinated by the stamps that came on my envelopes.  But, I didn’t start collecting until my Aunt started telling me about her collecting.  Then, it blossomed from there.  We both ordered stamps online and would share what we had bought at our visits.  We bought the same Scott US collectors book, too.

My Aunt and I made a connection.  It was through those afternoon visits that I began to learn some of my Aunt’s life story (some more I learned from my Dad).  And, it was then that I learned that people aren’t black and white.  My kindhearted Aunt loved watching wrestling on TV and once told me she would have liked to have tried out for roller derby.  This same Aunt, my Dad told me, could have been a concert pianist.  How’s that for a variety of interests!

My Aunt died in her 60s of Cancer.  She died right around Thanksgiving. I do still miss her.  But, my memories are happy ones.  She was the type of person who left you feeling better having been around her.


What’s wrong with these ages?

I thought I would do something nice for some cousins this weekend.  As some of the Azorean church records are online,  I thought I would look through them and find some of my great and great great aunts and uncles.  I was able to locate Francisco de Boa Ventura in Sao Jose, Ponta Delgada fairly easy.  This, of course, encouraged me to go further.

Most of these records are not indexed and as one would expect are in Portuguese–a language I don’t really know, but have learned the basics for vital record reading. It is a painstaking process of going one record at a time.  This is fine when someone like Francisco actually knew what year he was born.

But, I’m trying to find Alexandrinha (Jose) Pacheco.  Alexandrinha has two different birth dates and a multitude of birth years.  I have found her born anywhere from 1866 to 1877.  Hey, at least I have the village!  I know she was born in Ginetas.

As I’m looking at the data I have for her family, I begin to suspect something is not right with the numbers.  The family went to Hawaii in 1882.  Alexandrinha is listed as 5 years old in the passport entry. I have her father born ca 1839 and mother born in ca 1841.  Alexandrinha would have been born ca 1876 if the passport is correct.  That would make her mother 35-36 when she was born.  I’m fine with that, although, I am suspicious that there were no other children listed with them.  Portuguese families were rarely small.

Now it gets tricky.  They had two children in Hawaii.  Manoel was born in 1884 and Jacinta was born in 1891.  That makes 14 years between Alexandrinha and Jacinta. That means their mother was 50 when Jacinta was born.

I supposed she could have been giving birth at 50.  What really bothers me is the amount of years before Alexandrinha was said to be born.  I find it hard to believe they didn’t have any children until they were in their mid 30s.

But, there is another problem.  If I am to believe Alexandrinha was born in 1876 and 5 years old when she got to Hawaii, then I must also accept that she was 12-13 when she married Antonio Pacheco in 1889.  Antonio was 35-39 at the time.  That means there could have been as much as 27 years between them.  I know there were older men, young teen marriages between the Portuguese, especially if the man was married before (he was) and he had children (he didn’t as far as I know).  I have seen marriages where the bride is 15.  13 seems very young.

So, now I must think about this.  I’ve already gone through 1876 and 1877 with no luck finding Alexandrinha.  I supposed I could make an attempt at her parent’s marriage certificate, but what year would I look in?  It could be anywhere in the 1860s or the 1870s.

I think for now I should go look for someone else.  Until I have a much firmer set of dates, or an index, this would be like finding a needle in a haystack.