Viola, Verna and Roger, you have heard about my birthplace
and have seen pictures of it, but you ten grandchildren and
eight great-grandchildren (one, finally, a girl!) haven't
heard and some of you are still too young to hear or read.
On June 15, 1905, I was born in the same bed and same house
in which my mother had been born, in Mt. Carmel, Connecticut.
If you look at my birth certificate it says I was born in
Hamden. Mt. Carmel is part of Hamden. The house had been
built by my grandfather, Orrin Root, after he was discharged
from the army after the Civil War. One wing he made into
a store where he refused to sell alcohol and it was stated
so on his bills. At the time we lived there the street was
called Roots Hill. Now it is Todds Hill.
Mother and Dad were married after Grandfather died so I
never saw him. When I was two years old I attended my first
birthday party there. I don't remember it, but just a week
ago I found a clipping from a newspaper telling about it.
Two of the children at the party were a brother and sister,
Clarence and Julia Joyce (1). The last time I was in Connecticut,
about 1979, a cousin gave me their names as people who might
remember my grandfather. We spent one afternoon with them
and Clarence told of going down the hill to the store and
Grandfather would always give him a piece of candy. I wish
I had known then that we three had been at the same birthday
party over seventy years before that.
Mother suffered terribly with asthma so we were advised
to leave that climate. Everything was auctioned and we left
Connecticut for Defiance, Ohio, where Mother's Aunt Orpha(2)
lived, as well as several cousins. On the way we stopped
in Cleveland to visit Charles and Sadie Root(3) and their
family, more cousins. To this day I remember an act in the
they took us to. The dancers were dressed in Dutch costumes
and looked like the girl pictured on the Dutch Cleanser
cans. And we sat in the upper balcony. Over the years I've
had dreams about being in that upper balcony and running
down the steps. Just as I got to the railing and was about
I'd awaken with a pounding heart.
The Stoners(2), more cousins, lived on the next street in
Defiance and I could run across the alley to their home.
a little older than I, but always included me when the neighborhood
boys and girls played outside.
(1) Clarence and Julia Joyce are also distant
cousins, descended from Eliza (Hitchcock) Joyce, sister
of Hazel's great-grandmother, Emeline (Hitchcock) Root.
(2) Aunt Orpha (Thomas) Bowers was the sister of "Jennie"
(Thomas) Root, Hazel's grandmother. The Stoner's were descendents
of another sister, Sarah (Thomas) Stoner. (There were a total
of 15 children in the Thomas family! Maybe that is why Jennie
(Thomas) Root firmly believed in a one child only policy.)
(3) Charles Root's father, also a Charles Root, was the
brother of Orrin Root, Hazel's grandfather.
Dedicated to "one, finally, a girl!" Kali.