Monday, May 26, 2008

Old Time Music Calendar and Beyond

"The Foolish Pride Three" pickin' and jamin' on the streets of Kensington, MD. "Johnson boys were raised in the ashes/ Didn't know how to court a maid/ Turned their backs and hide their faces/ Didn't know where to put their feet/ Oh oh, the Johnson Boys ..."

Pickin in the Park; May 2008
We need to start a Pickin in the Park in Monroe, NC. This is how to do it:

Here are links to some of my favorite Old Time Music and Dance Festivals for the Summer:

May, Fiddler's Grove, NC

June, Annual Fiddler's Convention, Mount Airy, NC:

July, usually the week before Clifftop Old Time Music Jam at Tom Phlegar's Farm, near Pembroke, VA. (no website)

August, Appalachian String Band Music Festival, better known as "Clifftop", WV:

August, Galax Old Time Fiddler's Convention:

Old Time Dance and Music- in general, with great links:

And now, closer to my home pickin' and dance parlor, but unfortunately with many broken links (where did they all go?):
Have a nice summer Uncle Mudd!

P.S. We need to get a Home Page on the Internet; so we can compete with neuveau bands like the Reed Island Pickers (trees or music?). Trees can be found at 715 Peacock Dr., Hillsville, VA 24343. Read more at their site:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Different Kind of Pedal Cycle

I was thinking earlier this year that I would like to test drive the recumbent tricycle. While on my present trip, I was going to stop by a bike shop in State College, PA, which I found on the Internet that advertises such vehicles. Y'see, I am getting sort of old and I feel a little unstable on the traditional bicycle especially because of the torn cruciform ligment in my right knee. It's really becoming quite arthritic. If I go down ... No, ... WHEN I go down, I certainly don't want to break a leg. Just the other day, I braked my bicycle to a stop and tried to dismount the bike before it fell over, but it did fall over and with me on it. My pants had wrapped around the seat. I only scraped my knee- this time.

So, when I saw this gentleman riding what looked like a tricycle on the C&O canal towpath, I had to stop him and take a closer look. His tricycle is very unique. I would love to have one, but I don't think I could find one on the market. I learned that this tricyle was purchased about 25 years ago at a bike shop in College Park, Maryland. It was designed and made by an individual in England named Bob Jackson. I will have to do a little more research, but at least I have a picture to show of this one-of-a-kind cycle. It would be difficult to describe in words- especially the colors.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

F. Scott Fitzgerald, buried in my hometown, Rockville, MD

Now that I left the place years ago, I am discovering all kinds of interesting things about my old "home towns" of Rockville and Bethesda in Montgomery County, Maryland. I used quotation marks because so much has changed about this rapidly developing area that I can hardly recognize the place. I don't know where Betheda ends and Rockville begins. I can't find the old movie house, Gifford's Ice Cream Parlor, or Peoples Drug store on the corner. (Later, found out Giffords was rebuilt in another part of town). And I definitely wouldn't hitch-hike into town any more. Nevertheless, some things have remained unchanged- thankfully. For example, yesterday I drove through the mass of gnarled traffic and "Do not ever park here" signs to Saint Mary's Catholic Church in the center of downtown Rockville. The historical sign on the church building stated it was the first and oldest church in Montgomery County, build and dedicated in 1817. A banner on the road mentioned that F. Scott Fitzgerald was buried in the church yard. Sure enough, F. Scott, his wife, Zelda, and several members of his family are buried in the church yard (see image above).

Francis Scott Fitzgerald's book, The Great Gatsby, was required reading in my Freshman English Class at University of Maryland. My Gosh, if my English professor had only told me that Fitzgerald was buried in my backyard, I might have gathered enough interest to REALLY read the book. I am not sure why it was required reading. I believe it had something to do with a new literary style of writing. The story itself didn't seem to me to be very remarkable. Perhaps, I'll have to take another read of the book.

By the way, the quote from Great Gatsby which is inscribed on F. Scott Fitzgerald's tombstone would be a great starter for a book on family history or genealogy:

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"

I believe that means we can't escape our past. Try telling that to my married children. Hey, now I know why it was required reading.

A new, larger, modern St. Mary's church was built beside the historic church (see image below). A demolition permit was obtained to tear down the old church; however, I group of concerned townspeople fought and won the right to preserve the old church. Thank you perservationists.

Post Note: After a little library research, I learned that Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was named after his great grandfather- a lawyer who penned a poem about the attack on Fort McHenry by the British around 1817. The poem was put to song, "The Star Spangled Banner" which later became America's National Anthem. The Lawyer-Poet was of course, Francis Scott Key. Fort McHenry should be the next stop on my hometown or rather my home state tour.

Our War Veterans

Image: Memorial for WW I Veterans of Washington City, District of Columbia. Inscribed at base: "Dedicated on Armistice Day, 1931, by Herbert Hoover, President of the United States. Within the corner-stone are recorded the names of 26,000 Washingtonians who when the U.S. entered the War answered the call to arms and served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard."

Today, I added a new page to my Father's branch, genealogical web site. I plan to list all veterans who served their country in war times. It is a project still under construction. But, in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day, here is what I have gathered so far.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

World War II Monument and Register of Veterans

World War II monument on the Washington, DC, mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. South end of the elliptical monument memorialized our military engagements in the Pacific Arena.

Yesterday, I drove down to the Clara Barton Parkway near Washington DC, and parked my car near Lock 7 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. From there I bicycled about 7 miles to the Lincoln Memorial, rounded it and continued to the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool. Here is situated the Nation's WW II memorial to Veterans. Behind me in the picture below is the registration building where one can contribute information on the veterans in their family who served in WW II (or apparently, other military engagements). The information is on computer and indexed by name, and is also available on the internet at Contributors are individuals or organizations such as the American Legion. On the computer, I typed in our family's Gailliot surname and the following data was provided. The information was contributed by my Uncle Edward A. Gailliot:

Charles [Anthony] Gailliot. Worked as a Pattern Maker at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC. Deceased 1948.

Charles [Joseph] Gailliot. Signal Corps 13th Air Force. Repaired radios on 13th Air Force aircraft B-24s and B-25s.

Joseph Stolarczyk Bailey, of Binghamton, New York; U.S. Navy; Honored by Brother-in-law, Mr. Edward Gailliot; Activity: Stationed in the Pacific Theator on the U.S.S. Barataria, AVP-33, Sea plane tender. [From the Registry's web site]. Joseph Bailey was the husband of my aunt, the former Helen Rose Gailliot.
Bob Kramp in front of the Registration building at WW II Memorial in Washington, DC.
A colorful scene along the Cheasapeake and Ohio Canal at Fletcher's Boat House on the banks of the Potomac River. The bicycle/ recreational trail is to the right of the canal. At this point, the trail consists of two lanes, one gravel, the other paved. It is also at the junction of the C&O Canal trail (Cumberland, MD, to Rock Creek in Georgetown, DC) and the Capital Crescent Trail (local 10 mile trail).

Bartholdi Fountain- Been there; got the picture

Bob Kramp in front of the Bartholdi Fountain, Washington, DC.
In a previous entry, I uploaded a picture of my great grandparents, Henry C. Gailliot and Franceska, nee. Dumoulin, and my grandfather, Charles A. Gailliot, standing at the foot of the Bartholdi Fountain in Washington, DC, in the year, circa 1918. The dome of the Nation's Capital was shown in the distance. Today, the fountain is still in Washington, DC, but is located a short distance from where it was 90 years ago. Now, the fountain is in a triangular park, southwest of the capital, BEHIND the National Botanical Gardens, between Independence Avenue, First Street, and Washington Ave. It has been described as Washington's best kept secret for a place to relax and enjoy a sunny, warm day, while viewing a collection of the world's most beautiful flowers.

Incidentally, the dome of the Capital can still be seen from the park, but it is obscurred by a large tree in these pictures.

The Bertholdi Fountain, or sculpture as it could best be described because it is dry, was designed by Frederic Bertholdi. He was born in Colmar, in Haute Rhin, Alsace. My great grandmother, Franceska was also born in Alsace, but in Bas Rhin (lower Rhine), in 1871, and now I wonder if she didn't make the trip to the fountain because it was associated with one of her fellow countrymen. Bertholdi also designed the Statue of Liberty which the Alsacian immigrant, Franceska Dumoulin, might have seen on her arrival in New York Harbor in the early 1890s. It's no wonder that Bertholdi and his works were popular among my immigrant ancestors.

Surrounding the Bertholdi Fountain are gorgeous plants in peak bloom, such as this example of a Peoni- and they are labeled for the world traveler: Paeoni lactiflora, "Westerner", Butter cup family, Ranunculaceae.

Mother's Day 2008

What would Mother's Day be without pretty mothers and pretty flowers. Happy 88th Mother's Day Mom.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Gailliot and Austel Families tour Washington, DC (vintage photos)

Henry C. Gailliot (sitting, left) and his wife, Franceska, nee. Dumoulin, and their oldest son, Charles A. Gailliot, pose in front of the Bartholdi Fountain with the Nation's Capital dome in the far background. The date was about 1918. I understand the Fountain has been re-located, but it is still in sight of the Capital. In the next week or so I plan to be touring Washington, DC, and one of my destinations/ projects is to take a picture of myself sitting on the ledge of the fountain. The straw hat is optional of course. I believe there is a word for that style of hat. Help me out here.

I also plan to bicycle around the District of Columbia mall and along the C&O canal.

A few entries ago, I mentioned that the Franciscan Monastery, a few blocks away from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, was also one of the favorite tourist destinations of the early Gailliot family. The following photo was taken at the replica of the Grotto at Lourdes (France), which is located in the garden of the Franciscan Monastery. Sitting on the bench is Henry C. Gailliot and his wife, Franceska, on the left, and his son's mother-in-law, Mrs. Rosa Austel, nee. Friedrick, on the right. I believe it was taken on the same trip on which they visited the Bartholdi fountain, about 1918. Mr. and Mrs. Austel were in town to attend the baptism of the families' first grandchild, Helen Rose Gailliot. The "modern-day" photo of the Grotto with me standing in front of the iron gate was taken about 1999. As you can see, not much has changed in 80 years. I plan to revise and make additions to this entry in my blog in a few days. I will be leaving in a few hours to drive up to the Washington, DC, area to visit Mom on Mother's Day, and I hope to find out more about the sites and visits of my ancestors to Nation's capital.

About 20 years after these photos were taken of my great grandparents, a book and a movie were pulished regarding the miracles which occurred at the actual grotto at Lourdes, in sourthern France. Entitled, The Song of Bernadette, the 1942 book became a popular best seller and the 1943 movie won four Academy Awards, including a Best Actress Award for Jennifer Jones.

Henry C. Gailliot sits on a bench between his wife, Franceska, on the left and Mrs. Rosa Austel, nee. Frederick, on the right. In 1918, the group visited the replica of the Grotto at Lourdes (France) on the property of the Franciscan Monastery, Washington, DC.

I visit the replica of the Lourdes Grotto to see what my ancestors enjoyed over 80 years ago on a similar visit.


Frederic Bartholdi in Wikipedia

Bartholdi Fountain and Park in A View on Cities

Public Photos of Bartholdi Fountain posted on Flickr

St. Bernadette of Lourdes defined in Wikipedia

Friday, May 9, 2008

Survivors and supporters Walk for the Cure

Hooray, let's celebrate- Survivor of prostate cancer, almost 9 years. This evening I walked with other brave survivors of cancer. All types: breast, colon, lymphomas, prostate, testicular, pancreatic, brain- for just a few of those represented. I talked to a young man, 21 years of age, who had a tumor excised from his brain. He had radiation and chemotherapy at UNC Raleigh, NC. Today, he's essentially blind in one eye and has to use a walker to keep his balance, but tonight he was courageously "walking for the cure" on the same walker. He's also a sophomore in a local college. And I say without a doubt, he's inspiring.

All the survivors had the honor of leading off the fist lap around the 440 yard track at Indian Trail High School. Many care givers, friends, family, and loved ones lined the track to give us a big cheer and a non-ending applause. I was thankful for them and their support and most certainly their many prayers. It felt good to be alive. But, the battle continues.

There were a lot of folks who came for the "Walk for a Cancer Cure". The parking lots were quickly filled. So I parked several hundred yards down the highway. I saw another man pull off the main road onto the shoulder and park his car. He told me that he hoped he wouldn't get a ticket for where he was parked. He introduced himself as Kilgore from Monroe.
I responded, "Gilmore?" as if I was unsure I heard him correctly.
"No, Kilgore"
"I believe I've seen that name on some political signs around town", I said. And I asked him if he ever ran for office.
He said he had been the mayor of Monroe for the last four years. I was surprised and a little embarrassed that I didn't recognize him, or even know the name of our town's mayor. But how often do you actually see the Mayor except in big cities- on TV? How often to you care? I asked him if I could take his picture. He paused for my camera and then walked quickly to the podium where it turned out he was the guest speaker. Bob Kilgore, a sort of approachable politician- for what that's worth- but he can give a good talk on raising funds for cancer research.

And no, he didn't get a ticket.

Bob Kilgore, Mayor of Monroe, North Carolina.

Late Entry.
My Cancer is a link to the blog of Leroy Sievers, fromer ABC News reporter, who died of colon cancer on Aug 16, 2008. I first heard of Leroy's battle with cancer and the blog he kept when he was chosen on Friday, 22 Aug 2008, as "Person of the Week" by ABC News. Leroy kept his blog on the web site of National Public Radio. He was first diagnosed about 2001, had surgery to remove the cancer, but then had a relapse in Nov 2005, afterwhich time he started his popular blog. From what I read of Leroy's blog, he was right on the money and wrote about how it really is.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cachets and First Day Covers

My father was fond of saying, "Well, you learn something new everyday", and I would add that some days you meet people who do the most interesting things everyday. Today, I learned that the CACHET on a First Day of Issue Cover is the graphic that often graces the envelope which is affixed with a first day of issue stamp. I had a hobby of collecting stamps as a kid. And even today, I will tear off every commemorative stamp I receive on a piece of mail and throw into a box. One of these days I will put them in a stamp album. So, when the post office issued a First Day stamp honoring newspaper boys years ago- about 50 years ago actually- I just had to have it because I was in fact a newspaper boy. And as the cachet suggested I was "devoted to the task of preparing myself to be a useful, responsible citizen" - I guess by delivering newspapers ... responsibly. Ahhh, the good old days.

Incidentally, this First Day of Issue cover was mailed to me in Bethesda, MD by no less than the President of the Washington (now defunct) Evening Star- Mr. Samuel H. Kauffmann. Inside was a congratulatory/ inspirational message from the man himself. During the summer, I supplemented my teenage income as a responsible citizen and golf caddy at the Chevy Chase Country Club, of which Mr. Kauffman was a member. Never caddied for him though. Can I use "caddy" as a verb? (I just did).

Getting around to my story, I replied to a query on the message board of the Clearfield County (PA) Historical Society. After a few emails and figuring out our genealogical relationship, my correspondent, Grant, told me that his past time- besides genealogy- was being one of about 600 cachet makers in the country. He even sent me some images of his work. Here, let him speak for himself:

"On the first day the US Postal Service releases a new stamp, they often have a special first day ceremony. But regardless, they do offer a "FIRST DAY OF ISSUE" cancellation for the stamp being released. Cachetmakers- beginning about 1945 or so- began adding graphics or related artwork to an envelope on which they affixed the new stamp (s). This evolved to the point today where there are some very elaborate hand-painted cachets. There are probably about 600 or so active cachetmakers. I joined their ranks last year when a stamp called Polar Lights was issued on October 1, 2007. Actually two stamps to this issue- one Aurora Borealis and one Aurora Australis. I met Per-Andre Hoffmann over the Internet earlier in 2007. Per-Andre is a professional photographer whose photo was used to create the Aurora Australis stamp. I had become intrigued with First Day Covers during the past 2 years or so, and decided to take the plunge and try my hand at producing one. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and so I have continued."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Visit to National Shrine of Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC

Well, Pope Benedict has visited America and gone back to his home in Rome. While he was here, I noted in the news reels that the Pope visited the National Shrine of the Virgin Mary in Washington, DC. Hey, I've been there. Though I grew up just outside the Beltway around Washington, I don't ever remember visiting the shrine. So, a few years ago, I decided to go downtown DC, and tour some of the Catholic sites that my grandparents used to visit. In my previous entry, I listed my grandparents and my great grandparents on my pedigree. Four of my eight great grandparents were Roman Catholics, that's essentially my mother's ancestors. When my aunt Helen was baptized around 1919, the Austel family came down from Braddock, PA, to Washington, DC, and joined the Gailliot family for the event. They also took the opportunity to tour one of the family's favorite Catholic sites: The Franciscan Monastery and its replica of the Lourdes Grotto. I have pictures of their trip. Matter of fact I was going to take my own picture at the Grotto and put it in my photo album next to that of my grandparents picture.

On the way to the Franciscan Monastery, I passed the grandiose Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and decided to take a tour inside and take some photographs with my new digital camera. The Shrine was built in the years after my aunt was baptised in 1919, and it took decades to build. During the Depression when money was scarce, school kids collected pennies and donated them to the construction. There are other facts about the Shrine that I learned from a brochure (it's around here some place). But now that I was into genealogy and family history, I was remarked by the statue of the patroness saint of immigrants. You didn't know there was one? Yes, she is St. Frances Xavier Cabrini as shown below. She was an Italian immigrant herself and was sent by the Pope to New York to minister to the thousands of Italians who were arriving in America.

Another Saint I have to admire, for she is certainly a Saint for our times, is Saint Kateri (Katherine) Tekakwitha. See below. She was an Indian who was almost blind and worshipped out in the forests. Though I am hardly that devoted to be considered a saint, I too find that I am closest to God when I am out in Nature, far from the maddening crowd. I believe that many of us in the future will be praying to St. Tekakwitha to help us save the environment. So pray, and work toward a smaller "carbon footprint"

Other References:
St. Cabrini
St. Takakwatha