Thursday, December 8, 2022

Holy Day Feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8, 2022

My paternal Aunt, Mary Margaret Fallon, was born on this day December 8, 1926. She was named after Mary, the mother of God and her grandmother Margaret Veronica Heaney who was born on December 8, 1859. December 8th is the day that Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which is to say, that Mary was born without the heritage of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I ponder these little bits of religious history and data every now and again as I reflect on how Mary Margret’s father ( my grandfather) was excluded from the Catholic Church. Excluded due to his marriage to a divorced non-Catholic woman with a child from that marriage. And yet, he chose to honor not only his mother, Margaret Veronica Heaney, but also Mary, the mother of Jesus when his third child was born on December 8, 1926. I write about this in “He Didn’t Want to Work on the Railroad” pg 51. “ At about 12 years old, Dad asked his father why he didn’t go to church. His father’s reply. None of your business. ” “ He Didn’t Want to Work on the Railroad is available thru the author at or Amazon Prime. Search the author name: Janine Fallon Mower

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Pearl Harbor Day Reflection

Many of us will say that the 9/11 attacks were our generation’s Pearl Harbor. I worry that we will forget what happened at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Jack Fallon was greatly moved by the enormity of the attack on the U. S. Military Base. When I wrote his biography “He Didn’t Want to Work on the Railroad” , I included his recollection of where he was and what he was doing at the time he learned about the attack. An excerpt from “He Didn’t Want to Work on the Railroad” , pg 92 “ As Dad recalls, he and Shimmy were relaxing at the table after completing their meal, waiting for the waitress to bring their coffee. An especially entertaining musical piece played by Freddie Martin and his orchestra was on. The melody was from a classical concerto called Piano Concerto in B Flat. When retelling this story, Dad would frequently point out; it was one of his favorite pieces of music. He knew the song from its Ameicanized title, “ Tonight We Love” and if asked, he could sing it in his Irish tenor voice. When retelling this story, Dad noted very emphatically, the music stopped abruptly. They both paused, wondering why the music suddenly went quiet, the song not yet at its conclusion. After some static, a man’s voice apologized for the interruption and the announcer stated that it was felt that the patrons should be told the news that Japan had attacked the United States fleet at Pearl Harbor on this dayat 7:55 am Hawaiian time, December 7, 1941” An excerpt from “ One Marine’s Story Corporal John Fallon, U.S.M.C “ Pg 14 “ Dad was contemplating quitting Syracuse University at the time of our country’s declaration of war. If dad wasn’t in college, his selective service status would change and he would be eligible for the draft. One of his friends at Syracuse University, a fellow football player named Paul McKee talked to dad about signing up with the Marines in a reserve program of the U.S. Navy. If you signed up for a four – year stint, you would be deferred from going on active duty until you completed four years of college.” Both books are available thru the author at or Amazon, search author Janine Fallon Mower

Friday, October 14, 2022

New Goal- Unplug As Much as Possible

Got the bike out on the rail trail the other day. It was one of those beautiful fall mornings that required that I be outside in nature. I did have to pull myself away from the technology devices I have in my home. I’m glad I rescheduled all my computer work till another time.
I think we were ment to spend more time in natural surroundings than modern life and busy schedules allow us to. I’m learning to put time out in nature first with a daily walk, a seasonal bike ride, sitting in the sun at the fleamarket, gazing at the firepit in the back yard. Staying unplugged as much as possible, my new goal.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Remembering Winne Davis Fallon on her 100th Birthday - Recollections in Her Own Words

My mom, Winnie Davis Fallon had somewhat of a nomadic life in her early years. Her mother, Ruth Bickner Davis, though divorced, led people to believe she was a widow with two young daughters. After living in Kingston for a few years, Ruth found work at a boarding house in Westkill, NY. ( c 1933) Winnie writes “ mom got a jo with these people who had a very nice house. I remember looking at pictures that were daguerreotypes. Flo and I walked to school. I remember looking at a totally rundown house along the way with the most beautiful yellow roses growing alongside. When we first went up to Westkill I remember riding thru “ the notch”. This was a long dirt road. One lane only. If you met another vehicle one had to back up to a passing place.
Ruth and her daughters were only in Westkill for one summer season. Winnie notes ” Then we moved to Kleines on MacDaniel Rd in Woodstock NY. ( c 1934) I can honestly say I had more fun as a kid living there. There were lots of kids. Evelyn and Marion were Flo and my age and the Reynolds kids were there for a time. Their father worked in the butcher shop in Woodstock. Their mom was a MacDaniel. “ She goes on the recall “ Uncle Charlie was the one we giggled at the most. Whose uncle I don’t know. He had his own room downstairs with an outside entrance. Anyway, he’d sunbathe nude out back behind the lilac bushes. The same place we dumped the slop buckets to kill the poison ivy.
“ She continues, “ “mom, Flo and I lived in the cabin across the road from the Kleine’s house. It was just a cabin, no inside walls. There was a common area for the whole unit. ( one room). No running water, no toilet, no heat. We heated by the woodstove in the kitchen. John the Norwegian handyman used to start the fire for mom. One day he got the fire going and closed the oven door. We left it open for more heat. When we came home from school and mom from working at the main house, we opened the oven door for warmth and there was our cat. Baked.
C 1941 After high school graduation, Winnie Davis went to Troy NY to live with family friends Gladys and Howard. Within a few months she returned to Woodstock, and as she writes, “ I came home and worked at the Irvington for a while. Saturday nights were square dance nights. The bar was in the far corner and the whole outside walls of the room were tables. I made thirty to forty dollars on a Saturday night. Very good for those times. I saved up a hundred bucks and took off for California, footlocker and all. My trip across country was by bus. I paid $ 75.00 for my fare and had $ 15.00 left when I got there. Each large terminal had showers, so you could clean up. Thru the south west Native Americans would board the bus out in the boonies to get to town. They had no access to showers. Once in L.A, I stayed with a couple from Woodstock who had a small baby. I couldn’t get a job because I wasn’t yet twenty-one. So, I called my dad and told him I was in L.A. and he came and got me. Dad helped me with my driving and I got my licensee in November 1941. Mom and Flo followed me out. Mom and I went to L.A. to look for work. The first place we stayed in was in the Hollywood area. One evening we took a walk downtown to the Hollywood and Vine area. We were flat broke and went in to one of the radio stations. We got in to see a show. I got chosen to participate and won twenty-five silver dollars. We went out of there crying with joy. While in L.A., “ my mom got a job working for Sally Rand. ( Ruth had known her from her Woodstock Playhouse days) She was doing house keeping for her mother. Flo and I went along. The house was in Glendora California. One night Sally came home and she was going out on the road the next day, leaving at 5 am. Did I want to go along with the show? They’d teach me to dance along the way. God, was I scared. I went, and the first stop was Las Vegas. I drove her four-door tan Lincoln Continental convertible. What a car. So wonderful to drive. C 1942

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Three Amazing Days Celebrating My Role as a Genealogist, Biographer and Storyteller


What a great way to spend my time these past few days.  Hanging out at the Best Western in Kingston at the annual conference held by the Association of Public Historians of New York State. 

I sat in on a talk by Taylor Bruck, UC Archivist and City of Kingston Historian titled What is Historic About Kingston.  Then, Bill Merchant gave a talk about Marginalized Workers on the Delaware and Hudson Canal.  To top the first morning off, I listened to Bryan S. Thompson speak about The Fry Family Black Pioneers of Gouverneur. The afternoon session was an excellent presentation by Richard Heppner Town of Woodstock historian and JoAnn Margolis archivist on the topic of Augusta Allen and the Woodstock Dress- One Woman’s Rise above Hardship within the Woodstock Art Colony.  Lastly, Stephen Blauweiss presented a synopsis of his latest project- Woodstock: 100 Years of the Counterculture through Arts and Music.  

Tuesday morning I decided to listen to Jordan Jace Education Director of the NYS Archives Partnership  Trust  titled The Historian’s Role in Expanding the Historical Narrative in the K-12 Curriculum.  I walked away from this session with a few ideas for the Historical Society of Woodstock. Then I sat in on a very dynamic panel discussion led by staff from the Southeastern NY Library Resource Council.  The over arching idea was how to make virtual exhibits thus taking history to more people in an online format.  To cap the morning off Christopher Carosa gave an informative talk about how to get your message out to the media.  Now, if I could only put some of these suggestions into action!  The afternoon was spent on a walking tour of the Stockade District.   We visited the Stockade District: the Matthewis Persen House, the Friends of Historic Kingston, The Old Dutch Church, The Firemans Museum and lastly, the Senate House Museum and  a tour of the Senate house.  I had almost four miles on my fit bit by the end of that day! Admittedly, my mind was spinning with wonderful ideas. 

City of Kingston Historian Taylor Bruck on the left 

Outside the Matthewis Pearson House 

Mural of John Vanderlyn and Sojourner Truth 

Outside the Senate House 

To close the conference out on Wednesday I attended a lecture about Peg Leg Bates resort: The Legacy of a Black Resort in the Catskills.   I am to young to remember Peg Leg Bates so this was very informative.  Lastly, Karen McLaughlin Cuccinello spoke about her latest book Italian Immigrants in Upstate NY,  1875-1925.  I had lunch with Teri Reynolds of the Woodstock Cemetery Committee. We shared stories of our family’s Italian history in Kingston NY.  Lots of seeds for great ideas were planted at the lunch table.                                                

  There is an incredible amount of rich history here in the Hudson Valley and thru my biographical writing projects I will continue to do my part to add to the historical record of the people who have touched my life. 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Memorial Day Dedication to Joe Ashkar

Left to Right- " Greek" Matthews

Joe Ashkar, Jack Fallon. Maui 1944  

My Dad, Jack Fallon, was a private first class in the Marine Corps in the Pacific Theatre during WWII.  He served while his unit was on Roi- Namur and Saipan- Tinian.  After learning of his experiences, I’ve lovingly nick- named my Dad- a very lucky man.  He came home.

It is a very rainy Memorial Day weekend here in the north east this year.  The kind of day you want to curl up under the comforter and close your eyes, listen to the rain pounding on the roof top.  While resting in that in-between stage of consciousness, the name Joe Ashkar came into my mind.  He was a recruit that my dad met at boot camp.  They were in training together at Parris Island, Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton.  The two became good friends, in the short time that they spent together.

Dad and Joe had a few escapades together- one Christmas they were invited to a southern family home for Christmas dinner.  Dad was from Kingston New York and Joe was from Watertown New York.  There they were, an Irish Catholic, tall, dark haired and fair skinned and Joe, short of stature and dark of skin.  Dad recalled that he and Joe were worried at first, as they were in North Carolina in the 1940’s. However, their worries were for naught.  Joe was accustomed to explaining that he was dark skinned because he was of Syrian descent.

While at Camp Pendleton, the two friends had many a drunken escapade on leave in Los Angeles. They would hitch-hike into the city and explore all that the exotic neighborhoods in the city of the Angels had to offer.

While at Camp Pendleton, Dad had an offer to join a Transport Quartermaster unit- thus leaving his rifleman infantry unit.   In June of 1944- Dad’s quartermaster unit help combat load supplies on the Navy ship that was also transporting his friends and his former unit to the island of Saipan.

In his memoir- my dad wrote:

“On my first trip around our secure area on Saipan I came upon a Japanese bicycle in good working condition. I took it back to our area near the dump site. Every now and then I would take a ride.   When I heard that my old rifle company, I company, had been pulled back for some rest from the fighting, I road over to see some of my old friends.   It was then that I learned that my good friend, Joe Ashkar, had been killed. During some heavy fighting, Joe took over the manning of a machine gun when the gunner was killed. Joe was a rifle man, not a member of a machines gun crew, but he took the machine gun over anyway, firing continuously until he was shot fatally.  Speedway Tkacs told me that before we left Maui that Ashkar had received a “Dear John” letter from his steady girlfriend back in Watertown, N.Y.   A “ Dear John” letter was one in which a girlfriend or spouse sends a letter to a loved one telling him that she had fallen in love with another man and therefore their relationship was over”.

In memory of Joe Ashkar.  

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Exploring Woodstock History

February 18, 2021 Our favorite spot is till our kitchen, filled with sunlight, which fills us with hope. We are planning our one year pandemic anniversary for March 2021. Yes, we will gather with our loved ones- who are in our “ bubble”, to celebrate all things IRISH and to give thanks that we have been spared the pain of death caused by Covid 19 complications. I did a 170 day tour of duty as an essential worker, RN case manager, and then decided to retire. The decision was made partially due to the working conditions during the pandemic. However there was also an underlying dissatisfaction about the role that I had in case management. It was time to jump off the tread mill and see what else floated to the surface. Eventually, the grocery stores regained their abundance of choices. Now, there is more hand sanitizer available than we will ever use. We opened our flea market in July. Amazingly, Woodstock NY had suddenly become a safe haven for people fleeing the pandemic in the metro area. House prices have gone up; home sales in the region are fantastic- a true sellers market. The sidewalks of Woodstock are busier than ever. All we can hope is that store owners are making the sales that they need to in order to cover their rents and other expenses. Our Mid-Hudson region remains in Phase 4 retail. It’s been hard on restaurants, who haven’t been allowed to open to full capacity. We shake our heads when we pass by a restaurant with outside seating- in 30 degree weather- people are out, bundled up, “ enjoying” a meal with friends. I have started a new endeavor. Exploring Woodstock History with Janine Fallon Mower. I have uncovered so many notes and bits and pieces of information not used in all the local history books I have been involved in. Slowly, I am creating sort videos on specific local history topic. The videos can by found on our fleamarket youTube page. Mowers Saturday Sunday fleamarket. Subscribe to the channel and like the video. I will post on the flea blog- additional information and photos that pertain to the episode. I have local history books for sale. Contact me at to make a purchase.