Monday, May 30, 2011

Military Monday: Memorial Day 2011

In honor of Memorial Day 2011 I thought that I would write a little about my grandfather, Vincent "Budd" Haskins.  He served in World War II.  He was in active duty from May 23, 1944 until January 23, 1946.  He was a Seaman, First Class in the United States Navy.

His initial training or boot camp took place at Sampson Naval Training Center which is located in Seneca County, NY.  I didn't learn that this is where he did his boot camp until today when I started asking questions about his military career and started looking at documents and pictures.  Interestingly enough this old naval base is less than 45 minutes from my house and is now a State Park with a museum.  We will soon take a visit to check it out!

After his time in Sampson he went to a Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island and then went on to Portsmouth, Va.  He was on the then newly commissioned  USS Shangri-La. from September 15, 1944 until November 25, 1944.  He was on the ship's maiden voyage. While on board he worked in the boiler room and was assigned bunk and locker number 52.   After his brief time on board,  he was stationed at the US Naval Operating Base in Trinidad BWI.  Here his main job was helping to pull seaplanes out of the water.  Rumor has it he stole or "creatively acquired" as I like to say a large tractor from the sea bees.  As the story has been told, the tractor made his job easier and he was able to pull a plane up on to the beach in less than a minute.  I'm not sure exactly how much of this is true!  I plan on actually ordering his military records to get more of the specifics. Needless to say he served his country proudly and helped to protect the freedom we enjoy today.  I do know that he was awarded the World War II Victory Medal.   Happy Memorial Day Grandpa.


Monday, May 9, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Spring

Spring. What was spring like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

When I think of spring....................I think of daffodils, lilacs, lilies of the valley, little league, birthdays and Easter.

Easter meant chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, Sunday church with a new spring dress and Easter brunch with the family.  On Easter Sunday the Haskins family would go to Cinelli's in Sodus for brunch.  It was one of my favorite family outings.  We would all get dressed up and go our for a fancy meal.  Grandpa would order us Shirley Temples.  I also remember getting pumpkin ice cream pie for dessert.  There was one year that it was especially muddy and our big Green Ford LTD got VERY stuck in the mud.  It took the whole kitchen staff to get the car out.  There was mud everywhere!!!

One of my favorite things to do when spring arrived while I was growing up was to go look for the daffodils that were up and over the back hill behind my grandparents house.  I still like to do this but it is harder to find them now, the brush has grown up making it more difficult.  After the snow melted and things started turning green during the weeks between April and May you'd wait for a warm weekend day to take a hike up over the hill.  It was still a little muddy but it was always fun to try to locate the exact spot of the patch of daffodils.  They are located down in a gully back in the thatch.  It was always such a joy when you spotted them.  You'd pick a small bunch to bring back with you; still one of my favorite sights of spring time.

I live very close to Rochester, NY.  So spring also means lilacs and the Lilac Festival.  It is by far my most favorite festival.  I love just getting to walk around Highland Park and smell the fragrance of massive amounts of lilac bushes.  In recent years this has become how I like to spend Mother's Day, however this year the festival doesn't start until the week after Mother's Day.