Tuesday, January 30, 2024

A Flamingo in Leominster, Massachusetts for Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed in Leominster, Massachusetts. 

While traveling on Route 2 in central Massachusetts we stopped at a visitor center and found this delightful flamingo weathervane.  I knew immediately that we were in the town of Leominster because of this weathervane.  Growing up in central Massachusetts in the 1960s and 1970s, every kid knew that those plastic, pink lawn flamingos were made in Leominster!  

Leominster was known as the Plastic City.  Many plastic products were produced there, not just pink flamingos!  The artist Don Featherstone created the first pink flamingo in 1957, and had his design manufactured by Union Products in Leominster.  It immediately became a pop culture hit.  In 1996 Featherstone won an Ig Nobel Prize for Art. Union Products closed in 2006, and the molds were purchased by a factory in New York who still sells them.  Factories in Leominster manufactured Foster Grant sunglasses, Tupperware, toys, and other plastic items. 

Plastic, pink flamingos were despised and also beloved by homeowners. Some believed that if a neighbor put out a pink flamingo then their own home would lose value. Others embraced the kitsch, and put out flocks of flamingos.  Leominster has made the pink flamingo part of it's local history, just like Johnny Appleseed, who was born in Leominster in 1774. Every June 23rd "Pink Flamingo Day" is celebrated in Leominster at Monument Square, by proclamation from the city hall.   

It's too bad that this two dimensional weathervane is gilded in gold instead of painted pink.  

For the truly curious:

Wikipedia "Plastic Flamingo":   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_flamingo   

Yankee Magazine "Last of the Leominster Pink Flamingos":   https://newengland.com/yankee/flamingos/  

Smithsonian Magazine "The Tacky History of the Pink Flamingo"  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-tacky-history-of-the-pink-flamingo-18191304/    

A previous blog post about Leominster's Johnny Appleseed:  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2013/08/on-trail-of-johnny-appleseed.html   

Click here to see over 500 more Weathervane Wednesday posts!     https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/search/label/Weathervane%20Wednesday 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Flamingo in Leominster, Massachusetts for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 30, 2024, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2024/01/a-flamingo-in-leominster-massachusetts.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Maria Josefa Garcia Martin, Madrid, Spain, Tombstone Tuesday

 Today's "tombstone" was photographed at the Cementerio Sur in Madrid, Spain.


(English translation)
BORN 8 JULY 1934

Maria Josefa Garcia Martin is my mother-in-law, who died a few months ago in Madrid, Spain. Everything about her final days was a strange experience to me.  Her home care, her hospital care, her funeral arrangements, her final resting place, and the legal bureaucracy of settling her estate in a foreign country were overwhelming not just emotionally, but also physically exhausting.  We finally were able to see her "tombstone" when we visited Madrid for her funeral mass.

In Spain, and in many European countries, the deceased is laid out for visitation (velatorio) at a tanatorio within a few hours of death, and buried the next morning. The remains are not embalmed.  There is no delay, and the funeral mass (for Catholics) is held a month later in the church. The tanatorio funeral director arranges for all the legal paperwork and for the burial place. 

There are several very large public cemeteries in Madrid, and the public tanatorios are enormous, handling dozens of funerals at the same time. It is an amazingly quick and streamlined process.  Cremations are not common, but are available. Usually just close friends and family attend the velatorio, and attendance at the mass held later is much higher.  For Maria, friends and family from all over Spain came to Madrid for her funeral mass in December at the neighborhood Catholic church.  

Cemeteries are completely different in Spain from cemeteries in New England, especially in the urban areas.  Most people in Spain have insurance which pays for the funeral and final expenses including a gravesite or niche in a columbarium.  Niches are by far the most popular, since family gravesites are rare and expensive.  Niches are rented in five or ten year increments, or even rented for 100 years.  At the end of the rental agreement you may extend the rental or the body is exhumed, the niche is cleaned out and rented again. Since the body was not embalmed, there may only be bones. These remains are reburied in a common burial ground or ossuary. 

If an American dies abroad, the US Embassy can provide a CRODA certificate, which serves as a death certificate along with the Spanish death certificate. A CRODA certificate will help with settling the estate and legal matters back in the United States, such as social security or life insurance, and it is neccessary if the remains are being taken back to the US (including cremains).  CRODA is a Consular Report of a Death Abroad.  The embassy staff in Madrid was very helpful to us both when Vincent's mom died, and also years ago when his father died and we had to bring his ashes back to the United States. 

You can see that the columbarium at the Cemeterio Sur had walls four niches high.  Rolling ladders were available for placing flowers.  Vincent bought some poinsettias and left them at his mother's niche.  

A little bit of genealogy: 

Maria Josefa Garcia, born 8 July 1934 in Orbaiceta, Navarra, Spain and died 11 October 2023 in Madrid, Spain.  She married Vicente Rojo, son of Moises Rojo and Anacleta Benito, on 9 January 1960 in Madrid.  

Generation 1:  Jose Garcia, born 28 November 1908 in Bouza, Salamanca, Spain and died 3 December 1994 in Madrid, Spain, married on 8 September 1933 in Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain to Maria Consuelo Martin, born 11 November 1908 in Villar de Ciervo, and died 29 April 2001 in Madrid.  

Generation 2:  Sebastian Garcia, born 6 May 1878 in Fraga, Huesca, Spain, and died 22 June 1962 in Puerto Seguro, Salamanca, Spain, married on 9 April 1902 to Maria Ribero, born 4 June 1873 and died 21 January 1944.

Manuel Martin, born about 1880 in Barcelona, Spain and died 10 September 1971 in Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain, married 23 January 1904 in Villar de Ciervo to Josefa Rivero, born 23 October 1884 in Villar de Ciervo, and died 17 November 1937 in Villar de Ciervo. 

Generation 3: Celestino Garcia, born 25 May 1851 in Barba de Puerco (now Bouza), Salamanca, Spain, and died 11 February 1914, married on 1 December 1877 in Barba de Puerco to Joaquina Munoz, born 30 September 1858 in Puerto Seguro, Salamanca, Spain, and died 2 December 1893 in San Vicente, Badajoz, Spain.

Vanancio Ribero married Rosalia Montero on 11 June 1856 in Barba de Puerco (now Bouza), Salamanca, Spain.

Mateo Martin,  born in Vitigudino, Salamanca, Spain married Manuel Ventura.

Manuel Rivero, born 24 December 1850 in Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain, married Ofofila Gonzalez, born 17 January 1849 in Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain

Generation 4: Juan Antonio Garcia, born 8 March 1825 in Puerto Seguro, Salamanca, Spain, married Ramona Espinazo, born 15 June 1820 in Puerto Seguro, Salamanca Spain.

Bernardino Munoz married Ynes Zato, born 23 April 1834 in Puerto Seguro, Salamanca, Spain. 

Ambrosio Ribero married in 1813 to Ynes Martin

Antonio Montero, born 21 November 1809 in Barba de Puerco (now Bouza), Salamanca, Spain, and died 31 December 1845 in Puerto Seguro, Salamanca, Spain, married to Catalina Espinazo, born 25 November 1806 in Barba de Puerco. 

For the truly curious:

Consular Report of a Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad:   https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/death-abroad1/consular-report-of-death-of-a-u-s--citizen-abroad.html   

Cementerio Sur Carabanchel, Madrid, Spain   https://sfmadrid.es/cementerio/cementerio-sur-carabanchel  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Maria Josefa Garcia Martin, Madrid, Spain, Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 23, 2024, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2024/01/maria-josefa-garcia-martin-madrid-spain.html: accessed [access code]). 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A Sailor in Seabrook, New Hampshire for Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed in Seabrook, New Hampshire

We were traveling on Interstate 95 when we stopped at a rest area in Seabrook and spied this interesting weathervane above the visitor's center. This weathervane is a three dimensional sailor complete with a sextant and bell bottomed trousers.   I photographed the weathervane from outside, and then I was delighted to see this display inside the visitor's center!  

The information board reads "The New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts chose William Barth Osmundsen's proposal for a weathervane, entitled, Charting the Course for Seacoast New Hampshire. In his proposal, Osmundsn wrote: "As motorists from the Eastern Seaboard pull into the coastal Seabrook Visitor Center, they will be reminded that New Hampshire has a presence as a maritime state. Although we have a short coastline, the area has been a hub of shipbuilding, lobstering, and pleasure boating.  My 'Ancient Mariner' fixes a star point with the aid of this early sextant."  While the sextant is specif to the sea, it suggests the idea of helping all travelers, on both land and sea, reach their desired destinations."

For the truly curious:

Another blog post about a nearby set of weathervanes off Route 95 on the New Hampshire Seacoast:  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/06/weathervane-wednesday-sun-moon-and.html  

Click here to see over 500 Weathervane Wednesday posts!



To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Sailor in Seabrook, New Hampshire for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 17, 2024, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2024/01/a-sailor-in-seabrook-new-hampshire-for.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

What did Genea-Santa Bring? Christmas Books 2023

For many years I have posted the books that Genea-Santa has put under my Christmas Tree. Now that Christmas and Three Kings Day have passed, I am starting to read the Christmas Books I received this holiday season.  I hope that you enjoy this, and find a book or two you might like to read, too.  Here they are in no particular order.

The Boston Massacre: A Family History, by Serena Zabin, 2020, was intriguing to me just because of the title.  Professor Zabin is the chair of the history department at Carleton College, and she also co-designed a video game about the Boston massacre. This book promises to tell a new slant to the story. I can't wait to read it! 

Several years ago I heard a lecture by the author of this book, They Sawed Up a Storm: The Women's Sawmill at Turkey Pond, New Hampshire, 1942, by Sarah Shea Smith, 2010.  The book outlines the wonderful story of women who were recruited as lumber jacks during WWII, to use the fallen trees from the Great Hurricane of 1938.  Turkey Pond is a local landmark in Concord, New Hampshire, with a historical marker commemorating these women.  Their contribution to the war effort was used for building ships and other important materiel to help win WWII.  I've been meaning to read this book for years, since hearing the lecture.  Now it's my chance! 

In December I went to Spain for my mother-in-law's funeral mass.  A dear family friend from Malaga, Spain (in Andalusia) told us about this book SS Heliopolis: The Immigration of Andalusians to Hawai'i, by Miguel Alba Trujillo, 2020.  He thought I would appreciate this story, especially with my family tree having branches in Hawaii at the time of this event (1907).  Our friend in Spain told the author about my interest, and the author surprised me with this book just in time for Christmas.  I've already read the first few chapters, and it looks like an interesting story of desparate immigrants moving from Europe to a completely new and different culture for survival. 

A few years ago, when the COVID pandemic hit, we fled to AutoCamp in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, for a weekend in an airstream camper.  We had a wonderful time exploring Cape Cod, and while relaxing by the camp fire I read parts of this book, which was on the bookshelf inside our camper.  I never finished the book before we had to leave Cape Cod. Last year Santa brought me the wrong book.  So I searched for it online. Santa Claus found it first, and it was under my Christmas tree this year.  Natural History Essays, Henry David Thoreau, 2011, includes his essay about his walk to Mount Wachusett from Concord, Massachusetts, which fascinated me since I grew up near the mountain and climbed it many times on Girl Scout hikes, blueberrying, and riding the ski lift. Now I can read the rest of his essays in this volume!  

This is a strange history book, but fascinating to anyone interested in the ocean, Lego, or pollution.  Adrift: The Curious Tale of the Lego Lost at Sea, by Tracey Williams, 2022 is the story of the sixty-two containers that fell of a cargo ship in 1997.  One container held over 5 million pieces of Lego (coincidentally they were all ocean themed pieces of Lego).  Soon after the accident people on several continents began to find these Lego bits on their local beaches.  I thought Vincent would enjoy this book, and he is already half way through it!  There is also a Facebook group for fans of this Adrift story, where they post photos and stories of their beachcombing Lego finds.  This will be a fun history to read. 

For the truly curious: 

Christmas Books 2022


Christmas Books 2021


Christmas Books 2020


Christmas Books 2019

To Cite/Link to this Blog Post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "What did Genea-Santa Bring?  Christmas Books 2023", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 9, 2024, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2024/01/what-did-genea-santa-bring-christmas.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain for Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was spotted above the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain.  There are three identical weathervanes on the two spires and the main dome above this cathedral.  

The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Royal of the Almudena is opposite the Royal Palace.  It is not as ancient as many other cathedrals in Spain.  Construction was started in 1883 and it took 100 years to complete. It was dedicated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II.  The royal crypt inside contains many members of King Felipe VI's family and the nobility.  The king was married in this cathedral, too.  

We were visiting the Royal Collections Gallery museum when we spotted these weathervanes.  This museum is brand new, and it just opened this year. There was a fantastic special exhibit of royal transportation vehicles, including many royal coaches and several early automobiles.  There is also a museum inside the cathedral. 

The weathervanes above the cathedral are very simple.  The large vane is a simple banner with the initial MA for Maria Almudena.  There is an elaborate scroll work cross above the vane, and a gilded ball below. 

For the truly curious:

Wikipedia Almudena Cathedral- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almudena_Cathedral   

Other Madrid weathervanes featured at this blog:

Madrid Air Museum -  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/madrid-spain-air-museum-for-weathervane.html  

Our Lady of the Angels, Madrid -  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/a-church-in-madrid-for-weathervane.html   

Gas Station, Madrid -  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/a-gas-station-in-madrid-spain-for.html  

San Antonio, Madrid-  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/06/weathervane-wednesday-family-church-in.html  

San Jeronimo, Madrid-  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/03/weathervane-wednesday-7-headed-dragon.html  

Click here to see over 500 more Weathervane Wednesday posts!   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/search/label/Weathervane%20Wednesday   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 3, 2024, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2024/01/almudena-cathedral-madrid-spain-for.html: accessed [access date]).