Not long after my retirement from the CT State Police in the late eighties, my wife and I relocated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and settled in the Village of Allen.
The home we purchased was originally owned Beverly and Laura Hitch, parents of Richard Beverly Hitch. Richard would be one of the missing crew aboard the USS Greyback, lost at sea off Okinawa on February 27th, 1944.
Richards mother, Laura Hitch would at one time turn this home into a Boarding House. It’s been said on Sundays past, you could smell the fried chicken cooking on the stove as you passed by on Allen Rd. Laura Hitch was often seen on the overhanging roof sweeping Sycamore tree bark as it shed each year. I would soon do the same after we moved in. We, like Laura, would entertain the public a year after moving in, turning our home into a Bed & Breakfast.
It is my and other family members belief, along with guests, who have felt the presence of others in the home. We have always thought that presence was Laura Hitch herself. Now that the resting place of Richard has been located, I can only wonder, was he there with us also? Ghosts, Spirits? Stay tuned, sometime soon I’ll expound on these super natural meetings.
Just last week after the Grayback was located, our town Scribe, Melissa Bright sent out the following email to the Village Mailing list. With her permission I attach that email. Melissa, you need to start a Blogging life.
Dear Allen Family – because Allen IS FAMILY –
Today we honor all veterans, but on this day there is news about a specific Allen veteran. Richard Beverly Hitch, son of Beverly and Laura Hitch, and brother to Thornton Hitch, was lost at sea during WWII aboard the submarine U.S.S. Grayback, where he served as an Electrician’s Mate 1st Class. Today there is a report that the Grayback has been located. All these years, it was unknown where it lay. Recently, a Japanese amateur researcher discovered a single-digit error in the latitude and longitude of where it was believed the Grayback went down. Using this information, the Lost 52 Project, which hunts for missing ships, found the Grayback in June off the coast of Okinawa, where it went down on February 27th, 1944. The Grayback was on its 10th mission, and was among the 20 most successful subs in the U.S. Navy in terms of enemy ships destroyed. It is reported that her career was ended that day in February when a 500 pound bomb made a direct hit on her conning tower. When these lost ships are found, they are usually considered hallowed ground, the final resting place of the sailors who went down with them. There has been no mention of any attempt to recover remains. If I can get away from work for a few minutes, the church bell will ring at 11:11 a.m. this morning. There are markers in Richard’s memory, Punchbowl, the National Cemetery for the Pacific in Hawaii, and also here in Allen with his family, under the cedar tree in the Eastern end. At At 5:30 this evening, we will lay flowers at Richard’s marker in the Allen cemetery. Anyone who is interested is invited to come. Richard was 28 years old when the Grayback went down. Here is his photo from Findagrave.com:
During the American Revolution, many important political discussions
took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the
founding of the Marine Corps.
A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun
Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able
to fight for independence at sea and on shore.
The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.
As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became
Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular
patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They
began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.
Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th, The Marine Corps Birthday, with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines.
On Monday November 11, 2019 we celebrated Veteran’s Day, honoring all who have served in the Military.
On November 11, 1919, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:
ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN
The White House, November 11, 1919.
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggression’s of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.
With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.
Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.
To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.
Growing up in the South of New Jersey, Exit # 3 of the NJ Tpk. was my geographical reference point. I was quite familiar with the Jersey Devil. The below is from https://weirdnj.com/
The Jersey Devil
While this one is not a “ghost” story, the tale of the Jersey Devil has withstood the test of time—and for good reason. Stories of the winged beast are truly terrifying. But who or what is the Jersey Devil? According to Weird NJ, the infamous creature haunting the Pine Barrens is the child of Mother Leeds, a Pines resident who conceived her thirteenth child in 1735. At the time, Leeds had no idea how she could care for (let alone afford) another kid and so, in exasperation, she raised her hands to the heavens and proclaimed “Let this one be a devil!” Leeds got her wish. Moments after birth, her healthy baby boy grew horns and claws and bat-like wings. Legend has it the “devil” then killed his mother before attacking onlookers.
This remembrance should have been posted before or on Halloween, once again, however, Life got in the way.
One thought going back many years ago, in the mid-fifties I’d say, is the following:
There were train tracks going through our town back then. These tracks ran the breadth of South Jersey from Camden to Atlantic City, with many spurs running from them in north and south directions. One such spur even went to the north into the Pine Barrens.
On this day I was walking the tracks with a few friends in early fall. Just days prior, it had been reported that a murder had occurred in the area around Chatsworth, a town that is kind of the Capitol of the Pine Barrens.
One of the three or four of us began talking about the incident as we headed back home from Hadden Heights. The sun was setting to our front, and the early fall darkness was setting in. Someone even mentioned the killer could have hopped a freight out of the Barrens. I remember all of our imaginations running a bit on the wild side.
As you come into Audubon, there is a lean-to built to protect commuter passengers in foul weather. Someone surmised that the killer from Chatsworth could be holed out in there. To this day, I can remember passing that lean-to very quickly. Dinner and the safety of home were calling.
Whenever I return to that town of my youth and pass that intersection, E. Atlantic and Chestnut streets, I can still remember that fall day.
A while back I posted a commencement address by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Each month in a local paper, our daughter Kathryn posts an article on Population Health. When I read the article, I got all chest puffy and proud of my daughter’s material as well as learning that a family Sunday Night gathering was remembered. I feel Admiral McRaven and my daughters post kind of go hand in hand.
In case you didn’t see my McRaven post, here is that excerpt. Here is a part of the commencement address to the graduates of The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014 by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack — that’s Navy talk for bed.
It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
So, I grew up in Connecticut, one of three children of a State Trooper and a nurse. One of my best memories was of Sunday nights. My dad would work on preparing for the week. My dad would get out his badge, his belt buckle, and his rank. He would then ask us all to get our shoes lined up. We only got one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year, and they were usually leather.
My mom would get her white uniforms out. He would lay all his uniform parts out on the floor. He would get out the ironing board, take out his brass cleaning kit, his leather kit and proceed to wax, polish, and iron. He would shine his brass until it glistened, polish our leather shoes until we could see ourselves in the toes, and then iron his uniforms and my mom’s.
Sometimes he would teach us how to do it, other times we just sat and talked with him about our day. It was a labor of love, and also pride for himself and our family. When I joined the Air Force, I continued that ritual, polishing my boots, ironing my uniform…. Today, I still polish my shoes and iron my clothes, preparing for my week.
We are all so busy. We move throughout our weeks driven by kids, family, jobs, community commitments, friends, and so much more. We rarely get a minute to breathe. What I have found, is this simple act of taking time to prepare makes a difference and allows some of life’s chaos to turn into calm. Taking a break to plan can have a positive impact on our well-being. It gives us time to pause and look ahead.
What if all we were able to take a pause, one day a week and prepare? What could we accomplish? We could plan a few lunches or dinner meals at home, avoiding fast food drive-throughs for a day. We could plan time to talk a walk, exercise at the gym, ride a bike, maybe spend time with family or friends. We could even make time to plan for our health. We could schedule an annual physical, a mammogram, flu shot, or much-needed colonoscopy if we need one? What about a few minutes to check any prescriptions and make sure they aren’t about to run out?
Think of how much money we could save, the stress we could lower, health we could improve. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” What would it hurt, to stop wishing for life to slow down, and instead, plan for it? Maybe try it this week, stop for 15 minutes and write down one thing you plan to do for yourself, then DO IT. Let me know how it goes!
Once again the Rooster is ever grateful for another family member making my Blogging easy. I share with you the most recent Blog of grandaughter,, Captain Samantha Berthiaume-Davies, USAF. Thanks Sammy.
20 years ago due to an airplane malfunction 20 Washington State Air
National Guardsmen lost their lives on Geilenkirchen Air Base.
I had great plans to write this post on Monday night. Then on
Tuesday I planned to write it, but from a very different angle. Today, I
finally have some time to sit down and try to do this post justice.
I was asked to help with the execution of the memorial service. This
being my first event of any scale I was on edge. 75 people had flown
from the US to honor their comrades and family members lost on Jan 13,
1999. There was a 20 minute ceremony and a lunch that I was responsible
for. Though the weather didn’t cooperate, the entire day went off
without a hitch.
I didn’t realize how much of myself I had invested into the event
until Tuesday morning. We forgot Ana’s book bag at the house (thanks to
Zed for running home to grab it), forgot my cell phone at home (a whole
day without a cell phone is hard), after my shower from the gym I
realized I hadn’t brought boot socks or an uniform shirt, oh and I left
my hat in my car so I got to do that walk of shame.
As I walked out the of gym in a smelly uniform shirt, with no hat on,
and ankle socks I saw the school bus pull up. At that moment I just
needed a hug from my girls. I got two amazing hugs before they headed
off to school with their pony tails wagging behind them and went back to
my car to figure out what had just happened.
Why was I in tears at 830am over such trivial things? It was then I
realized how much effort I had put into this event to ensure the family
and friends of ESSO 77 had a memorable time. For some of them this was
the first time they had ever been to GK and for others the first time
they had been back since their squadron mates had passed away.
It was also then that I remembered the importance of hugging those
you love and making sure they know how you feel. And finally, it was
when a new friend tapped on my window to ask if I was ok and gave me a
So to ESSO 77, thank you for your service to not just the nation, but
serving with NATO means you’ve provided service to the world.
Yesterday we found ourselves at daughter Kathryn’s house for an early dinner of Chili. We also got a free meal the previous night and played some single deck Pinochle. Jeff and the Rooster were partners and we got our butts kicked two games to one. One of our losses was by more than 100 points, 120 is game, ouch!
This blog is not about Chili, Pinochle or eating at the daughtersthough, it’s about something fishy. With Jeff off to work in our nations capitol for a few days we extended an invite to Kathryn and granddaughter Abigail & cousin Rachael for dinner tonight. We do that a lot when Jeff’s out of town and traveling.
So, Kathryn asks, “what’s for dinner Granny?” Me wife says, Cod Fish. Kathryn asks why do we put fish after the Cod? “Well, it could be Cod Cakes I say”. We also put fish after, Cat, I mean, would you ask someone to come to your house for cat? We put the fish after Tuna, Sword and Gefilte, don’t we? This led me to realize we put Brazilian & Sea prior to Bass. Should you be eating Drum, it’s color coded, Black or Red? Eldest daughter comes out with some strange thought provoking stuff now and then. Do I have you thinking? Are these prefix and suffix foods?
Tomorrow morning I’m having Bacon Pig with my eggs for breakfast, chicken eggs of course. What are you having for dinner tonight? Are these prefix and suffix foods I ask?
As long as we have the La carte de vins the girls will be happy, bon appétit.
4 cod filets, about 1-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
1 c. cherry tomatoes
1 lemon, sliced, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, smashed but not peeled
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400° and pat cod filets with a paper towel until dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, cherry tomatoes, lemon slices, garlic, and thyme.
Brush a baking dish with olive oil. Pour tomato-oil mixture into dish, then nestle in cod.
Bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 15 minutes.
Serve garnished with parsley, more lemon juice, and pan sauce.
When the wife and I say we want to go home, the place we always refer to is, Connecticut. We especially loved Connecticut in the fall. We would go to football games in Storrs on a Saturday and watch Uconn back in it’s Yankee conference days. They’ve gone big time today playing D-1 athletics in a big stadium in East Hartford. They happen to be loosing a lot lately also.
We loved watching the tree’s turn colors. Our old neighbor’s, the Anderson’s, had a giant Maple that would turn the most beautiful shades of oranges and reds.
Not the same tree, but it could be a twin.
Neighbors would bond while splitting firewood to burn in our stoves through the coming fall and winter. The smell of smoke would permeate in the air from those stoves. Ghosts and goblins would run through the local cemetary dating back to the 1600’s. On All-Hallow’s-Eve, back in the day when the children were young, this was a place which holds memories for a lifetime. With the coming of darkness, thoughts ran wild for those sitting on the stones, while stories were told. At times even the adults were taken aback with the frightful image of a translucent ghost moving among the headstones in the rear of the cemetary. Yes Vi Cordner, you pulled a good one on us that year.
Bamforth Rd. cemetary, Vernon, CT
I helped coach a midget football team back in the day, the late 70’s. We always had a travel game to Portland, CT. On the return home from the game we would stop at the old cider mill in the town of Glastonbury. We would walk among the trees. we could smell the apples on the ground, and the Buzzing of the Bees that never bit you in that time of the year. All those adventures are rekindled in my memory as I write this post. A few gallons of the finest Apple Cider would be purchased that day, along with a half basket of apples. Once back home, a tasty apple pie would not be far behind. Take a deep breath in from your nose, can you smell it baking in the oven?
Glastonbury today has many farms and agricultural resources, just click on the site below to view them.
Connecticut is also home for the last steam powered cider mill in the U.S.
From their web site, I cut and paste to you, Clyde’s Cider Mill:
Welcome to B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, WHERE TRADITION IS VERY IMPORTANT
Clyde’s Cider Mill is located in the small village of Old Mystic, CT. B.F. Clyde’s started making Hard Cider in 1881.
The apples for our Hard Ciders and Apple Wines come from local orchards and are pressed into juice here at our Mill. The juice is then pumped directly into oak casks in the Mill’s cellar, where it is fermented and ages for up to 3 years. Our Ciders and Apple Wines are still, in keeping with the tradition of cider makers of long ago.
Tradition is very important to us here at Clyde’s. In 1898, Frank and Abby Clyde built the Victorian style building and purchased the machinery still in use today.
We are the last steam powered cider mill in the U.S. today. In 1994, Clyde’s was designated a National Historic Landmark.
We are open from September thru late December. With our cider press operating in the Fall.
Take a StepBACK IN TIME
A visit to Clyde’s Cider Mill is like stepping back in time. Come see the only steam powered cider mill in the U.S..
We start our season in September with our hard ciders and apple wines, jams, jellies, local honey, maple syrup, fudge, and what many people call “The best sweet cider on Earth”! Also available in the Fall are apples, apple pies, pumpkin bread, gourds, Indian corn, pumpkins, candy apples, kettle corn and apple cider donuts.
So take a break from the ordinary and come visit a National Historic Landmark and see the 6th generation of Clyde family making cider just like B.F. Clyde did in 1881.
Yesterday, daughter Sarah called early to ask my take on Hurricane Florence. During part of my Marine Corps life my MOS was 6811 back in the day. The below gives an overview of the career field from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/
The METOC OccFld is the only earth science related OccFld in the Marine Corps. The METOC service OccFld is responsible for collecting, assessing and disseminating METOC intelligence relevant to friendly and enemy force strengths and vulnerabilities for the planning and execution of operations necessary to characterize the battlespace. This includes atmospheric, space, climatic and hydrologic intelligence for use in the production of Tactical Decision Aids (TDA) and METOC effects matrices. The METOC OccFld is comprised of MOS 6821, MOS METOC Observer, MOS 6842, METOC Forecaster, and MOS 6852, METOC Impacts Analyst, and is progressive in nature.
Marines entering the 6800 OccFld will complete formal training and receive MOS 6800, Basic METOC Marine and will participate in routine METOC service function while training for a designated MOS within the OccFld. As their skill enhancing training progresses, they become eligible to attend further formal MOS instruction. Billets include assignment to MEF, MEU, Intel Battalion, METOC Support Team (MST) , Marine Wing, Support Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station and Facility, TECOM, CBIRF, NMOPDC and instructor duty at MARDET Keesler AFB, MS.
Many of us in the Blogging World have hobbies, of course writing is the paramount one. We have Train, Food, Travel, Religion, Health and Beauty, and countless others. I guess, for the past fifty years Weather could be called one of my hobbies. I do not make it the quintesential topic of my Blog however. I am quite happy that on Thursday late and Friday I will be some 400 miles to the north of where Florence is projected to hit.
So, back to daughter Sarah who is really into weather. We will chat often during pending storms, a lot of the conversation surrounds the – What if’s? In years passed, we’ve had family pools as to where something will make landfall. Where will Florence land?
It is now 10:25 AM, September, 11, 2018, a new forecast and conditions upgrade will come out in thirty minutes. If you are in that Cone of Doom, take heed and prepare. I wish for you a safe riding out of the storm, don’t forget to check on the elderly.
Sarah came by for a visit this morning and we chatted about the storm. I can not help to think back to seventeen years ago. I was heading home from the dentist and Sarah called me, “Poppy, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center”. So much has changed in the world since that day. We remember 9/11!
If you haven’t been out to the Roaring Springs Ranch, or really this part of Oregon, you need to find a way to make it out here. Each time we come out I am reminded of the beauty of it. This trip out was a little more relaxed than normal because I have no ties to anyone but my family right now. We have out-processed from Tinker and have yet to in-process to our temporary duty at Maxwell AFB.
We began this leg of our trip with a much needed nap. The kids played with all of PaPa and Grandmas toys while Zed and I enjoyed some sleep. After waking up we had a date with 11 bulls. After getting them loaded in a trailer we drove 3.5 hours and dropped them at a ranch who would be leasing them for the summer. Along the way we stopped at Dairy Queen (more popular than McDonald’s out there) for dinner and ice cream. You’ll see that ice cream is a common thread for this trip. Once dropping the bulls we headed back towards the ranch and spent the night in the apartment over the office in Burns. On top of running the ranch Stacy also runs a co-op of ranchers who make up Country Natural Beef. They supply beef to places like Whole Foods, Blue Apron, and Burgerville. The next day we woke early, picked up kid horses and finished the drive to the ranch.
The kids enjoyed riding horses, helping PaPa work cows (it’s AI season currently), and riding toys. Zed and I are storing our four wheelers at the ranch while we’re in Germany and they bought 2 little motorcycles for the kids. Mia mastered the one without training wheels while Ana claimed the one with the extra help. Zed taught the kids how to climb rocks (I missed the photo op). It was great to see him in his element and sharing that with the kids. While we were there the ranch was hosting an AI school. Those who take part in the school learn something new and Stacy gets a few more hands to help out. Ana also adopted a calf and it was her responsibility to feed it each day.
One of the most fun days was when we enjoyed a trip to Fields for burgers and shakes. The kids (Jonah and Dallen (brother #3) had made it out and joined us) climbed trees and played in the mud while we waited for our food. This is another most stop when you come to visit the ranch. We then headed out on four wheelers and motorcycles to enjoy the reservoir.
While there Zed found a nest, where two of the eggs were beginning to hatch. The kids insisted we stay until they were out, but we explained we couldn’t wait that long and had to go see Sadie.
On the drive back, 3/5 kiddos fell asleep and we met up with Wes (brother #2) and Sadie. That night the couples went into town and enjoyed a benefit dinner for the boys’ high school English teacher.
The final day on the ranch we took a Steen’s Mountain tour and truly enjoyed the south eastern Oregon landscape.
One of the many gorges along the Steen’s. There should be some snow still visible on the peaks, but it wasn’t a great snow year.
This looks out over the historic Riddle Ranch.
Mia and Ana attempting to throw rocks into Wild Horse Lake. The angle of the picture deceives the eyes. Ana’s right foot is hanging over a sheer face that drops a “couple” feet.
Behind Zed and me is the Alvord Desert.
We concluded the tour with a stop at the Frenchglen Mercantile for some ice cream. The ability to easily come to the ranch for a break is going to be missed while we’re in Germany. It will be an amazing treat to be welcomed back to.