Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Aunt Josie story


Aunt Josie; 1886 – 1962 was married in 1904 at age 18.

“It seems that aunt Josie was quite the swinger for the times.  She used to sneak out on dates by crawling out the bedroom window, and down an apple tree, there at the house where aunt Nellie lived.   So eventually Josie married and had a baby. [I do not know if it had been a shotgun wedding.] Anyway, she loved dancing and was not about to let a baby keep her from it.  In those days, people would hire a fiddler, and roll up the carpet in the parlor, so they could have dances at home.  It was a bitter cold winter night, so Josie wrapped her baby to keep it warm and she and her husband, pushing the baby in a cutter, set out on foot for a party in ‘the shipyard.’ The ship yard was on the edge of Ogdensburg’s west end, on the river , of course, where ships were built at the time.  I don’t know where Josie and her husband (John “Major” Mastine) lived at the time, but from aunt Nellie’s house it was at least 10 blocks.  When they arrived and unwrapped the baby, the infant girl was lifeless and couldn’t be revived - - suffocated by the blankets.”


I can’t say if this story is true, I never heard a whiff of such a tale in my growing up years.  Aunt Josie lived directly across the street from my Oak Street house with her son John “Buck” Mastine and his wife Irene.  From as long as I remember, aunt Josie lived there separated from her husband “Major” Mastine who lived in the “shipyard.”)  I remember going with Buck to visit him on a couple of occasions. I spent a fair amount of time there at Buck and Irene’s, especially on nights when the sisters; Josie, Nellie, & Addie, would gather there weekly to play cards.  No name for the deceased child was mentioned nor can I find any grave marker for a deceased infant of the LaRock clan other than that of Willard whom I told you about last night.


If Josie was sneaking out the bedroom window at the house aunt Nellie grew up in I have to add this; there was never an apple tree at that house.  There were only 2 bedrooms in that house and one was the parents whose windows (2) opened out onto the front porch and the one window in the other bedroom opened onto the back porch.  I admit that memory can be an imprecise relater of facts but seems weird to confabulate an infant’s dying.



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