View From My Kitchen Window
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Pearl Harbor Day Reflection
Friday, October 14, 2022
New Goal- Unplug As Much as Possible
Thursday, October 6, 2022
Remembering Winne Davis Fallon on her 100th Birthday - Recollections in Her Own Words
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.