Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beach Memories

Most every Albert family member has distinct beach memories from many Sunday visits to Kinney Shores, Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Vicki described some of her memories when she commented on my last post:   "The slightly damp musty smell of the garage under the house with it's shower, workbench and shelves of pickles. The smell of the petunias over flowing the front window boxes by the stairs. The smell of the salt. Also the gritty feel of the sand as you descended the stairs to the beach". I do not currently have a picture of the beach house but I did find two pictures of Memere and Pepere on the beach shown below. The black and white picture may have been taken before they started their family. Here's a lesson: always date your pictures. Unfortunately, most of the pictures I have already collected for family history are undated.
Memere and Pepere ran a tight ship at the beach. Their primarily traditional roles were clearly defined. Memere took care of the cleaning and cooking and Pepere did the handy work mostly outside and in the cellar.  Who can forget Memere's warm tomato soup on a chilly day by the ocean? Another tight memory is Pepere's stash: a ready supply of bottled sodas in racks stored in the basement much to the delight of his constantly visiting grand kids. It's hard to imagine Memere and Pepere ever spending time alone because they so much loved their extended family.  
What are your beach stories from days gone by at Kinney Shores?  
NOTE:  If you have any pictures taken outside on the lawn from our many Sunday afternoon family get-togethers, please send them to me. Also, I am still looking for any pictures of Pepere's parents.  This blog is a great way to share memories but it's also a way to gather missing pictures. If I get enough pictures related to specific blog posts, I will post a link so they can be viewed from the blog.  Pictures can be sent (preferably in JPG format) directly to my email which is shown on my complete profile. Thanks to Diane for sharing her beach pictures.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Meaning of Grandfathers

Pepere and Family at the beach

Talking about one's grandfather can be a fun exercise. What did Pepere mean to you? To me, he was the kind of person who I greatly admired as the patriarch of the family but I most liked him because he had a down-to-earth quality. I remember he took his work very seriously and always looked and acted professional yet at home on the weekends, he was as casual as the average Joe. I have this image of him walking around the beachhouse in shorts and a tee shirt snacking on peanuts with the Red Sox playing in the background. In both personas (business and personal), the quality I admired the most about him was he'd always make the people around him feel important. He was never self-absorbed. Maybe this one quality most explains why he attained the high level of success and respect that he did. I couldn't end this post without sharing a letter he wrote to me when I was around the age of twelve. I kept it all these years as sort of a testament of his personality and as a great example of how important he made me feel. The scan quality is low so I have translated it below.

Hi Craig,
You must be pretty special for Pepere to write to you because Memere usually does all the writing. But you had  such a good report card that I just had to congratulate you and also to send you $1.00. If you keep on getting good ranks all the time, you will probably be President of the United States when you get out of college. Pepere and Memere are very proud of you - keep up the good work.
PS I'm also enclosing $1.00 for Paula. She had a very good report card too.
-Pepere and Memere

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Auguste 'Gus' Albert (1900-1982)

There has been no figure as respected and loved in my family than my grandfather, affectionately known as "Pepere". He was not only loved by his family but also by the community he created as the owner of a clothing store in Westbrook, Maine. He seems to have been born as a natural business man. Soon after his mother died at the age of eleven, he was knocking on the doors of local businesses on Main Street asking them if they needed any help. His mother's death forged a sense of independence and probably spurned a desire for connections with other people. During these early interactions with local businesses, he must have presented himself in a kind, genuine manner with an intense sociability which certainly carried into his adult life.  He was hired as a child to work as a clerk at Benoits which was a large clothing store at the time.  About ten years later in 1923, he and two other friends opened up their own store called The Men's Shop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


         Adam and Ouida Siulinski
My name is Craig Adam Siulinski. I am named after my paternal grandfather whose parents emigrated from Poland around 1900. I have a lot of work to do in order to locate the Polish town where Adam’s parents (Albert and Bessie) came from. It will most likely require a visit to upstate New York to search the repositories in the area of Schenectady which is the town where my grandfather grew up. Adam moved to Portland, Maine in the late 20’s and met the woman to be his wife named Ouida Dykeman recently transplanted from New Brunswick, Canada. It was here they raised their family and this is the area I am from. My birthplace was Westbrook, Maine located ten miles from Portland.

Today I live in Oakland, California – a much diversified suburban area of San Francisco. I am lucky enough to live down the street from a great resource for genealogy, the California Genealogical Society. Besides research and education, this organization is invaluable for the networking that occurs with other members. My genealogical research began in 2007 when I attended a monthly genealogy meeting in the complex where my brother lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Thanks to Carl, Ann, Ken and Richard for sparking my initial excitement in genealogy!