My great grandparents were Henry and Emma Drayton. They lived on Yetman Ave in Raritan Bay Park in Tottenville, Staten Island, NY in the early 1900s. Their daughter-Mary, married Wilbur Begerow and bought a home across the street to be near her family. My grandparents, Wilbur and Mary lived in their home at 573 Yetman Ave. until they passed on in their old age.
Wilbur and Mary had 5 daughters. My mother used to tell us that after her parents had their 4th daughter, they thought they might not have a son and so named her - Harriet. After they had their 5th girl, (my mom), they must have been certain they would not have a son, because they named her - Henrietta. She was never fond of her name... Fortunately for Wilbur and Mary, they had their 6th child-a boy and named him Wilbur, Jr. (See photo). It was very common in those days to name children after their parents and grandparents to carry on their family names and to give honor to them. (Only, it's very confusing having so many ancestors and relatives with the same name!).
My mother-Henrietta "Etta", grew up on Yetman Ave in the 1920s and 30s. She loved her family and the town of Tottenville and had a happy childhood. (See her with letter " T " and her swimming medal photos). She shared many fond memories with us about her life growing up in Tottenville. The Begerow family was very close! Even after she and her siblings grew up, married and had children, they spent many happy and fun times together. (see Begerow Picnic Photo). My mom learned good family values. She was taught the love of God and His son-Jesus and she sweetly taught us these same values. (thanks mom and God!).
My mom married my father-Fred Kleine and shortly after, my dad was drafted into the Army and went to Iwo Jima. (See photos of both of them). My dad and 6 of my uncles (from NY) gladly served our great Country during WWII. My grandfather served during WWI. Tottenville and I were very blessed to have such strong and caring men in our lives! (Thanks dad, grandpa, my uncles and all those who served and still do serve!).
This turn of events affected our families greatly! My grandparents, aunts and my mom had to stay behind to raise their children and take care of the home front while these great men helped to keep us safe! My mom was always very proud to show us the old photo with the Flag she had displayed in her window during those years. It meant that you had a loved one in the service. (see Flag photo). Many towns created billboards and signs in honor of our brave Soldiers. Tottenville created one which listed the names of those serving. It had my dad and uncles, names on it, during those years. Thanks Tottenville! (See Photo of it). My mom cherished the photos she had of her pointing to loved ones names, as she held her children in her arms. Linda-at Tottenville History, shared how there was a picture of this WWII Veteran's Roster displayed on the wall at Bedell Funeral Home. (Thanks Linda!).
I was not born until after WWII but, I cherish all these wonderful photos and memories! Like my mom, I spent many happy days enjoying family on Yetman Ave. Two of Etta's sisters and their families moved to Yetman Ave. So it seemed to me as if we owned Yetman Ave. When I see the 1940s Begerow Picnic Photo, I get such a warm feeling inside! It brings back fond memories of the fun picnics we had in the vacant lot next to my grandparent's home with all my many cousins and relatives. These loved ones are my most cherished treasures!
Some of my other fond memories were at the end of Yetman Ave at Raritan Bay. We spent many days swimming and playing there! This is where I first discovered my "Diamonds!" I reveal these in our published nonfiction book: "A Pail Full Of Diamonds!" (A Treasure Hunt For Those Young At Heart). ISBN 1-4137-8919-6. We tell of New York's "Diamonds" in Chapter 24 and 25.
I can still picture the first time I saw a disgusting horseshoe crab lying dead on the shore. I was NOT fond of that smell. Yuk! What strange creatures they are! I especially love the sight of old wooden pilings standing crookedly in water, that I see occasionally, because, it brings me back to my memories of the pilings that were left standing in Raritan Bay back in those days. Are they still there...? I wonder...
Oh! The Treasures that you possess, Tottenville! (Do you know it?)
We moved to south Florida where I spent the rest of my childhood growing up. (As told in our first book). My parents have passed on but, I?ll never forget how they loved us, and NY, and taught us to love others, and... how to "treasure" life! You can read about this part of our lives in our published nonfiction Sequel: "Discovering Mysterious Precious Metals and Gems!" (A True Story About Secret Loves). ISBN 1-4137-9905-1
I'm married now and have my own family and even grandchildren. Like my folks, I have taught them those same loving values and faith in our loving Lord, and... how to cherish these treasures!
A part of my heart will always be anchored in you-Tottenville! Thanks for the cherished memories!
Thanks, Sheila-Anne for preserving them for all to see! You're the greatest!
Margie D. Mears
Both books are published by: www.PublishAmerica.com