This past weekend had the family taking a quick trip out to Connecticut to visit my grandmother for her 90th birthday party, a surprise celebration my dad and aunts have benn putting together for a couple of years now.
We flew up to Hartford on Saturday and rented a car to drive down to New Haven/Orange where I scored a room at the Courtyard Marriott for about 35% of the regular rate, thanks to Moreno’s tips on how to make Priceline work for you.
We met my dad who was holding a spot in line at Frank Pepe’s while the rest of the gang showed up. After some waiting, my aunt and grandmother showed up. I walked across the street and asked my grandmother if I could help a little old lady across the street 🙂 After about half a second, it registered who asked her, and I got a big hug for my troubles after we got to the sidewalk. She had no idea we were coming to visit. A little later on, my brother showed up as well, on his way to Dublin. We got a table and had some great apizza. After the meal, our waitress got up and announced to the whole place that it was Bev’s 90th birthday and had them all sing. My grandmother told them all that her brother was one of the early customers of the place, and that she and her cousin were sitting in nearly the exact same spot when the radio came on to announce that President Roosevelt had died. Turns out the waitress was Frank Pepe’s granddaughter and that it’s still very much a family business, and they were honored to still have some one of their early customers. My grandmother promised to be back for her 100th.
The following day, more extended family gathered for another surprise at the Norm Bloom & Sons quay. My grandmother had been told that we were going to visit a “maritime museum”. After a little resistance from her and some convincing on my aunt’s part that she REALLY needed to come with us, she saw the extended family all wearing matching T-shirts for the occasion. As she’s digesting this and more family are trickling in, we take her around the back of the building where she sees the Catherine M. Wedmore, her grandfather’s oyster boat, set up for a Sunday afternoon cruise and picnic. The last time she’d seen the boat was 1951. It was sold by the Wedmores to the Blooms in the 1960s. 84 years after her maiden voyage, she’s still working the bay dredging for clams and oysters.
We have family footage of a similar sunday afternoon picnic, from 1940.
A reporter from the Stamford Advocate came along and wrote up a story.
Once out in the bay, we dropped one of the dredges and scooped up a bunch of fresh oysters, which were shucked and eaten. In one shell we found a small crab about the size of a dime rooming with one of the oysters. The girls had lots of fun meeting their 2nd cousin Adam (my Cousin Jeff’s son), and my cousin Catherine and her hubby gave my grandmother one more surprise, that she was going to have a fourth great-grandchild in February.
Lots of pictures were taken. Pics to follow.