It has been a really long time since I have done a Bits and Bobs episode. But I wanted to be in touch without having to come up with a real blog post, so here it is.
As I have been working on my ancestry (mainly at Ancestry.com) it is interesting to see how many of my relatives and ancestors served in the military. My dad, many uncles, and it turns out my 5th great grandfather, Joseph Waters, was a sergeant with the Connecticut militia in the Revolutionary War. Yes, that’s right, I’m a Daughter of the American Revolution. When I was poking around on Fold3.com for records related to his service I discovered paperwork filed by his son in the 1850s to get the pension funds that were owing to his mother (Jospeh’s widow). Not only were those documents fascinating to read, many of them being affidavits by octogenarians who had known Joseph and could vouch for his service and his offspring. Anyhoo, as I was reading them I realized that the son filing the petition was not on my tree. His siblings (like Erastus, Ozias, and Russell) were, but there was no Epaphras G. Waters on my tree After verifying that he was indeed Joseph’s son and brother to my 4th great grandfather Russell, I searched for records related to Epaphras.
Not surprisingly there are not a lot of Epaphras Waters out there so it was easy to find some things. What I discovered was that Ep (as I call him) served with the New York militia in the War of 1812. At first I was dubious because the name was slightly off and his date of birth meant he could only have been about 13 at the time of his service. But there was no way it could have been anyone else. Then I found a payroll card that showed his rank as “Drumm’r”. Off to Google I went, sure enough some Drummer Boys were as young as seven although most were in their late teens. They helped send signals and communicate information to the troops. And my 4th great uncle happened to be one of them. How seriously cool is that? I think I find that more interesting than if he had been a general. It makes me want to write a novel about him.
Apple Paltrow has nothing on my ancestors
As I have been doing my ancestry research I have come across some really interesting names. It is a good thing my childbearing years are over or I would have progeny getting beat up in school left and right. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order (although Roxy Miles is John’s favorite).
Roxy Miles (1789-1873)
Temperance Waters (1739-1804)
Eliphalet Ball (1680-1686)
Rejoice Plaise (1616-1677)
Elizabeth Wapples (1618-1669)
Habiathia Pye (1578-1681)
I’m not a total fraud
One of the reasons I didn’t have the mental energy to do a real post was that I squeezed my brain really hard to come up with a ‘review’ of Anita Brookner’s Fraud that wouldn’t make me look totally stupid. I also updated my guide to Brookner’s London where I’m creating a gazetteer of all the London place’s that appear in her 24 novels. The problem is that I’m only halfway through my chronological re-read of her books and at the rate I am re-reading them (1 to 2 a year), it is going to take me about six more years to finish the gazetteer. I really need to speed that up. I also realize that I need to have not just a list by location but also one by book. I’m also getting distracted by the fact that I want to actually put the plot all the locations on a map.
Like me, if you are a fan of Ruth Reichl’s wonderful, foodie, memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, you have been afraid to pick up Reichl’s first novel Delicious!. Well, I finally picked it up last week and was quickly drawn in. At first I found some of the writing too similar to her memoirs–which works very well in her memoirs–and it made me cringe a bit. But then I kind of let go and started to enjoy it. A young woman moves to NYC to be an assistant to the editor of magazine Delicious! magazine (No doubt somewhat modeled on the fabulous, but defunct Gourmet magazine of which Reichl was the editor). I start to love her new foodie friends as much as she does. And then Delicious! closes down but our heroine, Billie, is kept on to keep providing ombudsman services for the magazine’s recipe guarantee.
But then, get this, she finds herself alone in the mostly empty old mansion that was the magazine’s headquarters and ends up discovering the library that had been locked up for years and includes a secret room full of correspondence from the 1940s. I could have peed my pants. CAN YOU IMAGINE? A neglected, old, private, food library, with a card catalog, and files of letters, and did I mention she had the place to herself all day and got paid for it?! I mean hello.
But then again, about half way through it began to get less and less joyous as my willingness to suspend disbelief was overcome by one too many crimes against plausibility, believeability, and reasonable plotting. IF, you can overlook these things you might want to read it. If you are more like me, you could stop at about 150 pages and be as happy as you could ever be with this book.
I still love Ruth Reichl to bits. But you should read her memoirs if you have never read her before.
You might be interested in the Iris Murdoch map that a chap has created as inspiration for your Brookner one https://irismurdoch.info/ and what fascinating information you’ve managed to collect. I like Roxy best, too, I think!