Saturday, January 6, 2018

Family Nostalgia

Maybe it's the time of year or maybe I have been looking at too many old photo albums lately but I sometimes smile and other times feel sad when I look at my family's lives from the 1950's and 60's. Yes, it was a simpler time and yes, we spent a lot of time with family. We always felt loved even when we were disciplined.
The holidays brought so much cooking activity to the kitchen with plans for what had to be done each day in preparation. My grandmother did much of the Italian cooking at home. She would bring these huge pots on Sunday with the gravy and meat. We children were expected to help out with cleaning chores beforehand and then setting the table for the big day, serving our aunts and uncles and then washing all the dishes and pots. Our house was the center of most of the activity, since my parents had the most children, five to be exact. I always marvel that our home wasn't the largest, nor the most beautiful but it was the gathering place.
I have to say I did not like all the work but I enjoyed the fact that we would all be together.
My mother, who was ahead of her time, bought a dishwasher in the 60's , when no one had one. Her motive was to lessen the load for my sister and me as we were the dishwashers on holidays and every Sunday. It was a big help to us.
Those get-togethers were full of laughter and family talk. We children were expected to keep silent about what the adults spoke about. Always the eavesdropper, I listened intently and did keep it to myself. We were too busy anyway to say too much as we were the oldest of all the cousins and working in the kitchen serving and cleaning up.
Still, I have fond memories of these meals. Some sort of pasta was the first course along with meat balls and bracciole. Then a roast and potatoes was served with a large salad. Mom always made her own dressing of a mixture of olive oil and wine vinegar, sometimes too strong. Then the desserts and coffee were laid on the table, usually from a bakery that one of my aunts and uncles brought. Espresso was brewed on holidays in those tiny cups and served with zambucca.
The other interesting picture in the albums were of birthday sheet cake. It seems that in a big family there were almost always a birthday to be celebrated. No one was ever forgotten.
When I was in the later years of high school, I kept asking my mother if we could change the time of these dinners so I could go to the beach with my friends. My grandfather had a strict rule that dinner was always @ 1:00 PM on Sunday after Mass. He did not want to budge but my mother prevailed and it was changed during the summer. I felt blessed because my grandfather set certain rules so this was a small victory and I don't know how my mother was able to persuade him! But it worked.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Captain Henry Green, a Whaler

Happy to announce a book signing at the Dolphin Book Store in Port Washington soon. Captain Henry Green was an ordinary man who let an extraordinary life. He grew up in Sag Harbor, a very active whaling town in the 1800's. He worked his way up from a lowly "green" hand to a sea captain. Later, he became a dairy farmer in Peconic. What happened along the way is amazing.
www.rosemarymckinley.com    books available on amazon and b&n.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Inline image 1Southold Town has a 4th of July parade every year for the past 22 years. It is a lovely tradition and two different years, we have      had one of our granddaughters pose as Lady Liberty. The girls were thrilled to be that character. It is wonderful to see so many people line the streets of the town and wave flags and smile. This is small town America and one I am truly proud of.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Captain Henry Green

Goodreads icon 100x100 I am about to publish an historical fiction novella about Captain Henry Green, a whaler from Sag Harbor, New York. Henry was an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life. His whaling life was one of adventure and overcoming hardships of being at sea for a year or more at a time. Yet, he, like many other sea captains, led a full life on a ship and later on land. However Henry was involved in spotting the Amistad, an infamous slave ship, and being a part of the Gold Rush.
Sag Harbor and whaling in the 1800's seemed to go together, so this book depicts life there and what it meant to be a whaler.

I have spent two years researching this interesting man. I went to visit Sag Harbor just to see where he lived and walk the area to get a feel for life back then. I could see why whaling and the sailing vessels took over the town. Standing on the Long Wharf and looking out over the water reinforced to me why it was a whaling center. I could smell the sea air and feel the mist as I walked around. A beautiful place to be back then and today.





101 Glimpses of the North Fork and Islands
The Wampum Exchange

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas

Christmas
I don't live back in the 1950's and 60's but it does comfort me to think back and savor those days when life was a lot simpler.
My mother loved Christmas and surprising people with gifts of love. All the hiding and wrapping must have been hard to do with a big family, such as ours. My mother enjoyed every minute of it.
Instead of buying us socks, underwear and pajamas in Sept, she wrapped them up in December. When we woke up Christmas morning, we thought we had so many gifts! Each of the five of us had a tall stack of presents. Mom wrapped everything, even stocking gifts. It was all so exciting that morning.
Christmas Eve dinner was also anticipated and savored. I didn't even like fish but that was our tradition and that's what we had. Of course, the dessert--pieca dolce, a cheesecake, made from a family recipe was worth the wait. Knowing we would see our cousins and aunts and uncles made the evening special.
Being allowed to stay up late and attend Midnight Mass was a treat, even though lack of sleep made us bleary eyed the next day!
We have tried to keep many of the traditions alive. We still have several fish varieties for this dinner and the children exchange gifts. The excitement is palpable for the little ones and they do enjoy seeing their cousins. Most of all I do miss my parents and their excitement about this holiday. My fond memories keep me smiling and remembering the good times.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Old Burying Ground in Southold

Displaying image2.JPGThe Old Burying Ground in Southold is the oldest English cemetery in New York State. I am just one of the volunteers helping to restore the headstones.