title Oswego

This is a story of three brothers whose nicknames were Pie, Bernie and Vinnie. They grew up in Oswego, New York, and loved its small-town setting on the south shore of Lake Ontario. They were close as brothers and looked out for one another as they went through the usual process of making friends at Oswego High School and emerged into life that followed. Not long after Vinnie graduated from high school, World War II broke out. Pie and Bernie both went into the service, Pie as an officer in the Air Force and Bernie as a storekeeper in the Coast Guard. Vinnie had a job with the railroad, an essential position, so he was exempted from military service.

In the subsequent years, all three young men were married and started families. Pie married Mickey and stayed in Oswego, Vinnie married Shirley and lived about two hours away, in Norwich, NY, and Bernie met Katheleen in the Coast Guard and they settled in South Bend, Indiana. Every second summer it was the tradition for the brothers to get together, usually in Oswego, where their parents, James and Isabel also lived. This was the time when the children of each family could get to know their cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. There would eventually be ten children in all. The gatherings were a biannual event that the kids looked forward to and those busy times left them with many family memories.

In 1961, Bernie and his wife Katheleen were divorced. A consequence of the divorce was that the family no longer made the long drive from South Bend to Oswego to see Bernie's extended family. Nor did any of the New York family drive west since Bernie was no longer in the picture there. Years went by and the South Bend cousins lost touch with their family in New York.

It was several decades before Pat, one of the three South Bend children, was able to make contact with Bridget in Oswego. For decades, Pat and Bridget exchanged Christmas cards, passing on bits of information about their respective families. In 2019, Mike and his sister Pat, of the South Bend clan, started musing over the possibility of having a reunion to be reacquainted with their New York family. They communicated with Bridget, who was very positive towards the idea. Bridget started providing contact information on the family members and the families began to communicate. It was decided to have a reunion in Oswego in September of 2020. A hotel was chosen where the travelers could stay. Then, Covid hit, and the plans had to be cancelled.

Around March of 2021, it was decided to try the reunion again, and plans were established for a gathering in September, 2021. The three western cousins had not seen their eastern cousins for sixty-two years, and in the case of Nora, never, since she was not born yet. The following is a photo vignette of the gathering as it took place over a four day weekend. As it turned out, Vinnie's "kids," Bob and Sharon, were not able to make it due to family health issues. Pie's oldest, Peggy, was unable to attend either. However for the other seven cousins, and five of their spouses, it was a time that was interesting, exciting and moving.

 

Half the fun is getting there.

The Studebaker logo was, "half the fun is getting there." Well, maybe. Here, Don and Pat on their trip from Washington to New York.

 

Beacon Hoetl Pat Mike Kathy

Pat, Kathy and Mike at the Beacon Hotel in Oswego.

Beacon Hotel

Mike and Kathy (Mike's wife) in the hotel's comfortable lounge.

 

Marina Oswego

The first cousin that Kathy, Mike and Pat met was Bridget, who came over and gave us a tour of Oswego. It was Pat and Bridget who kept the contact going through many years of Christmas cards and they were thrilled to see one another again.

 

Oswego River

Here we visit the Oswego River, which, in the distance, flows into Lake Ontario.

 

Cormerant on the Oswego River

A cormorant keeps watch for inattentive fish which might drift past the island.

 

Pie's House

Just around the corner from the Beacon Hotel is the home where Pie and Mickey raised their five children. Pat and Mike were anxious to see this house where they had played so may times with their cousins. The home itself has been modified, but the surroundings are familiar.

 

Grandparent's house

The other house that they were anxious to see was the home of their grandparents, James and Isabel. This is where they usually stayed when visiting Oswego.

 

St. Mary Assumption church

When in Oswego, the family would attend St. Mary Assumption Church. This too is a place which brought back memories.

 

title- meet and greet

 

 

Billie's meet and greet 1

On Thursday evening, Billie and wife Joni invited the clan over for a Meet and Greet. Here siblings Pat and Tom on the right are reacquainted with their cousin Billie and with Joni.

 

Mike Nora Kathy Joni Billie

Mike fills in history with Nora, Joni and Billie.

Pat and Nora

Pat gets to know Nora. Nora was born after the last visit.

 

pizza 2

George (Bridget's husband) gets to know Tom.

pizza

Patrick, on the right, arrived on his long drive from South Carolina.

 

Stories

As the evening wore on, the conversation moved beyond the perfunctory questions of where one lived and what one did, and the family began to share the salient stories which punctuate a life experience of many decades.