Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Glistening Sun Catcher

Hanging in the window of my kitchen is an array of stained glass sun catchers placed in just the right position to bring into my kitchen a kaleidoscope of colors for me as the sunlight streams through them. Suncatchers are amazing little things and are so pleasing to the eye.

One sun catcher delights me more than its beauty. Whenever I gaze at it, I am immediately taken back years to my own mother’s kitchen, where it also hung, enchanting her with the same beautiful rainbow of colors. This sun catcher is shaped like musical symbols and reminds me of the love for music that existed in my mother’s life throughout my childhood and hers.

When my mother was a child, her mother taught her how to play the piano, but her love of music continued beyond that. She was always a part of a church choir and took the time to teach her own children how to play the piano. Later in life, she became a member of the “Melody Bells”, a large female barbershop group. She would spend hours practicing and participating in many competitions, bringing much joy to her life and all those who knew her.

Music was so important to my mother that she carefully planned the program for her own funeral. When that day came, the “Melody Bells” sang her favorite song, “On Eagles Wings.” Her memory and love of music live on through her children and grandchildren. Today many of them are either in choirs, singing groups, or learning to play the piano. But I am particularly blessed, for I inherited the musical sun catcher!

Dedicated in memory of my mother, Claire V. M. Brisson 1927-1998 


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Aunt Ozina

On January 25, 1995, I interviewed my Aunt Ozina to learn more about her. Ozina Cora Marotte was born on August 15, 1908, to Alphonse Arthur Marotte and Lovina Theroux on Aug. 15, 1908, she was the oldest of 9 children, with my mother, Claire Virginie Marotte Brisson, being the youngest with almost 19 years apart. 

She spent most of her life helping others and became a Registered Nurse in 1934. She also helped the Red Cross as a nurse.

Her father, had the first Model T that did not need to be cranked, and she learned to drive in it. 

She shared with me about her mother Lovina Theroux, and how she played the piano and had a green thumb. She would see a plant along a path that looked like it was dying, bring it home and nurse it to good health. When she got too old to have any more children she was very upset. Unfortunately, her mother passed away in 1945, Ozina had just turned 37 and had been married for five years to Eugene Baron, they were married 20 June 1940 in Mansfield, Massachusetts where they lived for many years.

Ozina was an accomplished organist, and in June, 1979 she became Grand Organist of the Eastern Star. 
Not having any children of her own, she was like our grandmother as Lovina had passed away before we were born. She outlived two husbands, Eugene Baron and Dexter Stripp.

She taught me how to knit, and crochet using string, and sew my own clothes by helping me make my high school prom dress. She made many sweaters and gloves for us over the years. Whenever possible, we would play cribbage and Scrabble together, go blue berry picking at her summer home, made the best blue berry muffins. We learned much about life from her as she shared of her own life experiences. Whenever we play either game, we always think of her and Uncle Gene. Eugene died in 1969, and she remarried Dexter G. Stripp on 16 September 1975, he died 22 January 1984.

She is missed very much and were blessed to have had her in our lives. She is buried at Spring Brook Cemetery in Mansfield, Massachusetts with her first husband, Eugene Arthur Lewis Baron, and her mother-in-law, Annie Baron Slater.

Remembered: Ozina C. M. B. Stripp 1908-1997   
Updated: 15 Aug 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

James Watt Robertson Banks: 1924-1998


James Watt Robertson Banks was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 15 January 1924 to Alexander Crombie Banks and Mary Isabella McEwen. He had an older brother William and his father was a painter. On 6 August 1925, the family sailed on the ship "S.S. Ballarat" and immigrated to Sydney, Australia. 

He attended Burnside Public School in North Parramatta, NSW and became an electrical fitter. He enlisted in the Australian Armed Services during WWII at the age of 18 in 1942 till 1946. He assisted in the defense of Darwin as a gunner. Darwin was bombed 59 times during the war. He was awarded the General Service Medal for being part of the defense to keep open the Australia's Northern gateway. He was awared the Commonwealth Service Medal, 1939-1945 War Medal and the Australian Active Service Medal. 

He returned home and worked as an electrical fitter, he also tested electrical appliances. He married Eva Irene Gimson on 4 June 1949 in Parramatta, NSW, Australia. Together they eventually settled in Guildford, NSW where they lived for many years. They had three children, their oldest, Les, is this authors' husband. 

After this author arrived in NSW to marry their son, he treated me as his own and was a wonderful grandfather to all of the children. When their home became too big, they moved to the Mayflower Villas. Jim was well known and an active member of the local Guildford and Merrylands Returned Service League, and his local church, he loved the Lord. He had the opportunity to visit James Simpson Lockhart Banks Taylor, a first cousin, in Queens, NY when visiting us in Rhode Island in 1993, it was an amazing visit. Hard to believe the resemblance.

His favorite saying when asked how he was feeling was "I feel with my hands" and a grin from ear to ear. 
While visiting in May, 1998, he passed away after a family get together. 

"Lest We Forget"

James Watt Robertson Banks: 15 January 1924-19 May 1998

Claire (*)

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