First Night

Mum!, Mum!” June shouted in frightened tears as she burst into her mother’s bedroom.

“What!” “What’s wrong?” Mum questioned as she was jerked out of her deep sleep.

“Something’s wrong with John. He’s just laying on the bed shaking. Not responding. I don’t know what’s wrong. What to do.”

Mum jumped out of bed and the two of them rushed back to the other bedroom.

After being processed out of the Navy on November 11, 1945 John was anxious to return to his wife and newborn son. While John was serving in the Navy some 8,500 miles away in the Pacific Theater his son was born on August 14, 1945 – the day the war ended – and he had not yet had an opportunity to meet him. His son was given his name – John Harwood Boston.

He desperately wanted to be with his wife for the birth of their child, but his request for leave to his captain was met with “You have to be there for the laying of the keel, but not for the launching of the ship”.

Even though it was not an ideal situation for June with John away and meant making sacrifices to be pregnant and give birth without him, she was truly grateful to have become pregnant while on her honeymoon. She felt if this day had not come and John had not made it home from the war, she would at least always have a part of him with her.

June after their marriage had continued to live in her mother’s, Mary Lucy Elizabeth (Boehmer) Hamilton, home. It was located in the Crafton Borough of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Actually, it was owned by the Duquesne Light company, the employer of her late husband Samuel McClelland Hamilton. The company allowed Mary to continue to live there after Sam passed away a couple years prior on March 6, 1943.

So after arriving home, John moved into his mother-in-law’s home to join his newlywed wife and son. It was there in that home that events began to unfold and be revealed which would change his life forever.

As they entered the bedroom, Mum observed John on the bed having violent, uncontrolled movements and recognized immediately he was having a seizure.

“John’s having a seizure, June”.

At that June grabbed onto her mother in a desperate hug seeking some comfort in the situation. Her mother felt her trembles as she returned her hug in an effort to offer comfort.

 She continued, “He’s safe on the bed. We just need to wait until it’s over.”

It’s extremely frightening for the young newlywed to be witnessing her husband convulsing on the bed. They are essentially helpless for the only thing they can do is wait it out.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 1

The prompt for week 1 is “start”. When I reflect back on my start in genealogy and family history, I can’t recall the three Ws – Where, When, and Why of my personal start on this journey. I have a collection of papers that my mother saved and passed on to me when I was leaving home to start out on my own. I believe a lot of mothers have such collections of their children’s papers that they save over their childhood years. So, in my collection were some very old papers written in my early elementary school days. Written on some of that very first tablet paper you’re given in school. You remember the yellow, wide ruled paper of those early school years? Some of those tablet pages contained what had to be my very earliest “family history” stories; although, I wouldn’t have called them that at the time. They definitely represent my start in family history. Those early stories were a collection mostly of family stories I heard around the dinner table especially over the holidays when extended family would make a visit. I grew up in an era when family would visit and communicate sitting around the dinner table together, enjoying a meal as a family. And as a young boy, I decided to write those stories down that I heard told by the older members of the family. So that I’d always remember them and never forget. They are a part of who we are as a family. Our struggles, our triumphs, and our humorous adventures that allow us to laugh at ourselves. All part of our families’ unique history.


Those stories are told through a child’s mind and in a child’s style of writing. I must admit reading those stories again after being put away for all these years brings a smile to my face. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the family sitting around the table telling the stories. Most of those family members I can picture in that setting have passed away. Those stories would have gone with them if they hadn’t been recorded. It’s up to us to record those stories so that they can endure forever. They are an integral part of our family and its family history. If we don’t record them, future generations are not going to discover them through a Google search or in the basement of a courthouse in some dusty boxes.


It’s up to us to record these stories to be included with our family history. Let’s “start” today to make sure they’re preserved.