Just Me

Just Me
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Friday, April 1, 2016

No April fool

 One hundred and thirty eight years ago today my Great Grandfather was born, It was April first, 1878. It was a Monday. This event occurred in East Hampton Long Island. His fathers name was Charlie and his Mom was Sarah. Before his first birthday his Mom would pass away giving birth to his sister, Jenny. Sadly Jenny wouldn't survive either and they lie side by side in the shadow of the old hook mill in the north end cemetery. Floyd, for that was his given name, went to live with his Dads sister. She had married John Mulligan and together they ran a country store. Gramp, as I would come to call him was listed on the census in 1880 as a boarder. Seeing that always makes me a little sad. To be thought of as a boarder at the age of two, I wonder about the dynamics of the family. Charlie, gramps father, went on to marry a Harriet McCann and have two daughters by her. He never came back for Gramp, although they all lived within a few miles of each other.
 Floyd Parker Lester lived in close proximity to Floyd street most of his life. I can find no evidence to support it but I believe Floyd street was in fact named for him. He lived for a while on a dirt lane after he was married. He had purchased a home, two horses and a wagon. That was the beginning of the Maidstone Taxi service. I have a postcard with his picture on it standing by his Taxi. Eventually one of the horses died and he couldn't afford to replace it. For reasons I will never really know this business failed. He lost his home and everything he owned. But I like to imagine that road was named for him, people saying, that is Floyds' street when speaking of his Taxi service.
 Fortunately Gramps wife Lucy, came from a prosperous family. Her father was a veteran of the civil war, a male nurse, and the town weaver. This man also did sales of some type but I have so far failed to uncover just what it was that he was selling. Agnes was his wife and her family were whalers and men of the sea. Captains and mates they were successful folks. Getting on in years they signed their home over to Great Grandmother Lucy. Now Floyd was excluded from ownership of this home. I can only assume it was because of his failure in business. He had, after all, lost his home when he couldn't pay the mortgage. Lucy was not to lose her home again ! She passed away in 1956 but the possession of the home went to their three daughters. By the mid 1960's one daughter survived them and sold the house, her father, Gramp was forced to find another place to live. He wound up living in a small mobile home about three miles from Floyd street. It was in this trailer that he passed away in 1968.
 I am reminded of his birthday because it is April fools day. As a child I didn't know much of this story. My own fathers mom, Clara, was Gramps youngest daughter. She passed a few days after giving birth to my father. Great Grandmother Lucy and Gramp raised him and his brother. Grandfather Elwood, my Dads dad, remarried and had two boys. They also lived just a few miles distant. Their Dad never came for them much like Gramps father never came for him. There are other similarities in the story. Knowing the stories I can't help but think there was nothing April Fools about any of that. Born on that day a series of events transpired over the next ninety years that were not " jokes " by any stretch of the imagination. I do like to believe that Floyd Street was named for him, even if it was just coincidental and not a formal honor bestowed upon him. His first home was on that dirt lane. The house he lived in subsequent to that was on the corner of that dirt lane and Springs Fireplace highway. Floyds' street is still there. One hundred and thirty eight years later and I think he is smiling, probably getting a laugh out of that. He may not of owned that house but the street is his, forever. No joking, it really is. No April fool here or there.