Category Archives: Vignettes Of Life

Welcome 2016


I is for Iris


In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, a messenger for Zeus and Hera who rode the rainbow as a multicolored bridge from heaven to earth. In ancient times, the Iris was considered a symbol of power and majesty, the three petal segments representing faith, wisdom and valor.

May I be like the Iris, representing faith, wisdom and valor. When the time comes I will ride the rainbow bridge from earth to heaven bringing messages to loved ones. May that time be long in coming.

I am Here.                           I am Loved.                                         I Love others with my whole heart.

My goals for 2015 were: The Percent of achievement are in brackets)

  1. A Positive Mental Attitude (99% )
  2. Listen to my body: Pace myself in all I do (85%)
  3. Exercise in moderation (walk dog)
  4. Make intelligent choices in my diet (90%)
  5. Make informed decisions (95%)
  6. Improve my genealogy skills (95%)
  7. Accept what I cannot change with grace (95%)
  8. Spend more time with family (95%)
  9. Encourage and support my family and friends in their choices (99%)
  10. Most of all Enjoy every moment life has to offer (99%)

I’m human, not perfect. I continue to strive to reach those ideals daily.

Happy, Healthy New Year to all my family and friends!

Remember to enjoy every moment of each day.

Ninja Buddy and I greet the New Year with a walk on a mild 36 degree morning with a light wind and cloudy skies. The snow covered ground reminds us it is winter after the above normal temperatures in December.

Only one goal for 2016:

Take each day as it comes with as much love and gusto that life offers.

Hugs and love.

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Filed under #365daysofJune, The Book of Me, Vignettes Of Life

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

#30memoriesin30days Day 28

Michael D. Butka

Michael D. Butka

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The past twenty-eight days I have been sharing all my positive memories. Life is not about only the happy times. Life provides challenges to help us grow as individuals and families. Today memory’s is about the good, the bad and the ugly side of cancer.

The GOOD is the support of family and friends. A husband, Michael D. Butka, who is at your side daily, taking a step down in his job so he could be at your side. A daughter, Tyna Butka, who helps you see the beauty in yourself when you hair is all gone. A son, Michael J. Butka, who is serving his county in the Air Force still calls you to let you know you are loved from a distance but there beside you in spirit.

Tyna Butka

Tyna Butka

Friends, Devine Derry Dames Red Hat Society, who take you out to breakfast on the day you decided to remove what hair hasn’t fallen out on your pillow each day. A decision is made they will have the honor of shaving my head.  A friend, Lynn Anderson, even decides to shave her own head in support of you. Even though you tried to convince her not to, because the holiday season was approaching.

Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson

Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson

A Medical team that is caring and supportive each step of the way. Some of that team were the same ones who cared for my mother in 2000. They remember her and shared those memories with me providing a comfort I’m not sure they fully understood they provided me.

The BAD is the many days of illness from the chemotherapy side effects. You have not energy to even lift your head off the pillow, to smile, to even visit with your loved ones.




Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy

The UGLY, is seeing your hair in large clumps on your pillow when you awaken in the morning. Having to deal with the cancer in your body, feeling like you have no control over what is going to happen to you.

YOU DO HAVE CONTROL of your mental attitude. I grab that control and held onto a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE during one of the rest times in my life. I helped me stay the course, to endure the discomforts and remember that life is full of surprises, good and bad, that make you stronger for it.

Treatment Complete

Treatment Complete Ringing the Bell of Success!


I AM more than A Survivor. I am a stronger woman, mother, wife, sister, and friend who will remain positive no matter what life offers.

I remember the loving support more than anything else from my cancer adventure. That is the way I will always want to remember that time in my life.

June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig

June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig

Here are a few poems I wrote during my 2005-2006 Cancer Adventure



Cancer Fear

May the fear, sadness and anger

Be subdued by the comforter

A Positive Mental Attitude


Mind Wandering after Diagnosis



Time-saver efforts

Energy conservation

How many doctors

What diagnosis

What options



Waiting forever


Bio Feedback


Chiropractic adjustment

Doctor appointments galore

Inner strength

Self confidence

Husband’s acceptance

My acceptance

Body image

Surprise breakfast calls

Head shaved

Friend support

Wig choice fun





Cancer List


Mutilation                                           Surgery

Poisoning                                            Chemotherapy

Burning                                                Radiation

Fatigue                                                 Sleep

Nausea                                                 Hydration

Vomiting                                              Medications

Diarrhea                                               Diet

Anger                                                    Acceptance

Sadness                                                               Short lived

Hair loss                                               Wigs

Low blood count                              Isolation

ONCO Study                                       Care-giving

Positive mental attitude                               Healing




Rise early, take meds, shower and check e-mails

One hour later eat, take more meds and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Forty-minute drive to chemotherapy

Check in, labs, results, doctor appointment

All before a four-hour treatment

Medication one hour before eating

Trying to keep food down

To prevent nausea, vomiting

Maybe a week without symptoms

It starts all over again

Unexpected surprises occur

Cards, people visit, daughter calls

A stuffed animal from a friend or two

A smile from across the room

Can you remember their names

Marge, Janet and Monica are a few


Radiation End Nears           


Six more boosts to go

The end is just so

The time just flew

Enjoying morning hue

Travel thirty minutes to and fro

Five times a week

The radiation did seek

Excitement of journey’s end

Fear did suspend

Happy days here again

Self-time around the bend



Waiting for Treatment End


Here I sit glancing at faces

Reading, thinking, glaring spaces

Radiation treatment number fifteen

Nineteen more waiting in between

Sad eyes, smiling eyes, quiet eyes

All waiting to say goodbye

The ringing bell

The end does tell



Cycle of Life Season of Death


The season of life overlaps

The season of death

Death is a release, a flight home

Sufferings end, pain free

You can walk again

Trapped in a body is a

Death in itself

To be free is the life of hope

Comfort measures are for the family

Our comfort is to be free

We suffer for loved ones at least

Through one cycle of treatment

But when is enough, enough

Quality verses quantity of life

Can only be decided by thee



Regaining Self


She found solace in her photography. It was her way to deal with her cancer. The treatments had ended. She was waiting to find out if she was in remission. The wait is the worse part of cancer or any illness. The not knowing takes a toll on even those with a positive mental attitude. She was of the belief in a positive attitude, focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t is the best way to recovery.


She and her dog would take daily walks around her new surroundings. They had moved across the river to another southern New Hampshire town after the completion of her treatment. Her husband’s and adult children’s relief when the house sold can best be described in her daughter’s statement; “Now there won’t be a third death in this house. You are going to survive.” Her mother and nephew had both died in that house. She was the caregiver of her mother when she was dying of cancer. Eighteen months later, on Halloween night, her nephew went into cardiac arrest. CPR was immediate and non stop even when the ambulance arrived within a matter of minutes. The hospital doctors told the family that unless he was at a hospital where cardiac surgery was performed, her nephew couldn’t have survived. He was in between two cardiac surgeries. The doctor had said he was doing well two days before.


She had felt the presence of her mother and nephew. She had smelt their scent when their spirits were near. This provided her with comfort. She had been aware of spirits surrounding her since childhood. The eldest female of her mother’s line all had the gift. The gift was being able to sense the spirits, of being aware of another dimension of support from past family members. It was how she knew when things would be fine or when a rough patch was ahead. She would hear a voice or smell their scent when they were near. She had felt alone during her cancer treatment because the voices and smells had left her. The support of her family couldn’t give her the same reassurances that the support from past family members could.


She knew this happened to her mother during treatment as well. The chemicals in the body prevented the gift from getting though. She felt the gift would return as it had with her mother. The voices and smells were there supporting them both and guiding her mother home. Her photography played an important part in her healing and getting to know her new surroundings. The comfort of focusing on something concrete helped her stay positive. She had remembered coming to the town of her new home as a child to visit relatives but could never remember the specifics of where or who, only that the visits stopped when she was six years old. She decided that if she became familiar with her surroundings, maybe the fifty-two year old memories would return.


She spent the evenings with her husband, watching their Monday shows. After eating they would watch the recorded shows. At nine o’clock they would watch their nightly shows together. This routine varied slightly during the week. After watching the recorded shows she would watch her shows on Lifetime Movie channel or Food Network channel. Her husband would watch the recorded late night’s shows from the night before.


She was having what she calls a “down period.” She would have very little energy and slept almost around the clock except to take out her dog. She had been doing this through most of her treatment. She would spend a day walking and photographing then having to sleep a few days away. She kept hoping that it would resolve once treatment had finished. She was trying to stay positive. She was hoping the gift would return. She was hoping to feel the past family support again. She is still waiting. Five years later. Why isn’t what we have enough?


This post is 10 year since my last treatment for cancer. I want people to remember to look for the positive in life and in death. Yes, even death can be a positive, when one in trapped in a body that causes pain daily and doesn’t allow you to walk. It set you free to walk without pain. Death doesn’t mean you want it to come before its time but the understnading that when it is time you will greet it as a old friend and release yourself to freedom it offers with grace and dignity. Life is a cycle we all go through, we are born, we live, we die. What we make of that time is what we choose to be remembered by. I want to be remembered as a person who met life head on with a positive mental attitude, strength, love and caring for all who touched my life. Even those who touched it briefly in a time of crisis.


Day Lilly

Day Lilly

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#Wk2GenealogyDoOverBlog: Self Obituary Interview


Genealogy Do-Over Week # 2 Self-Interview or sorts

I know what I wrote is presumptuous. It’s how I roll.


  1. What do I want people to learn about me?

I want people to know that I’m a lover of life, a survivor, but more than just a survivor, I grasp the positive side of life. I am a person who sees the glass half full not half empty. Family always comes first.

If I had to write my own obituary it would go something like this:

The Silent Reaper spread his wings over our community of Merrimack, New Hampshire, last night and took to his home above our beloved neighbor and friend, June Lee Stearns Butka. Mrs. Butka, although strong in mind, she was weak in body for a great many of years, suffering from multiple other health issues, including breast cancer, succumbed to her final sleep at the Lord’s side. June was born 23 August 1954 New London, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, the daughter of Nelson William Stearns and Shirley Beatrice Pease, who are waiting to greet her on her final journey home. Her brother William Nelson Stearns will also greet her at her parent’s side. She is survived by her husband, Michael Daniel Butka of Merrimack, New Hampshire; daughter Tyna Butka; her significant other Josh  of, Massachusetts; her son Michael  Butka, his wife Jennifer Butka and her grandson Blake Butka of Wisconsin; her sisters Vickie of , New Hampshire; Marjorie of  New Hampshire; Eleanor of Oklahoma; Susan  of New Hampshire and brother Nelson  Stearns of  New Hampshire.  She is also survived by 14 nieces and nephews, 7 1/2 grand nieces and nephews, multiple cousins (9 first cousins) and her sisters in life, not by blood, Claudette Dufrense of Australia and Crosleen Powell of  Texas.


She attended grammar school in Monmouth, Maine, Lynn, Massachusetts, and Saugus Massachusetts; she attended middle school at Emerson school Saugus, Massachusetts. She started her high school years at what was the new Saugus Junior High School transferring her freshman year to Pembroke Academy in Pembroke, New Hampshire during a freak October 1969 Blizzard where she graduated in the last class before the school became public. She attended the first drug and alcohol counseling program at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Hanover, New Hampshire during the mid-70s, continuing her education, at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Hospital School of Nursing, Concord, New Hampshire until the illness of both her parents sent her home to care for them and her younger siblings; graduating from New Hampshire Technical College, Portsmouth, New Hampshire with a diploma in Nursing. June was a lifelong student taking courses at various Colleges in the medical field, Human Service administration(Springfield College) and in later years online expanding her knowledge of genealogy, history and whatever else grabbed her interest.

On 20 April 1978  Sherrill K Moulton, Justice of the Peace of Kittery, Maine united June in marriage to Michael Daniel Butka. They move within three months to Randolph, New Jersey for the next 6 years, giving birth to both her children, before returning to her native state of New Hampshire for the reminder of her lifetime.


She worked in various cities and towns throughout New Hampshire, as well as in Morristown and Dover, New Jersey. She began her medical career with Mary McKerley, founder of the McKerley Nursing homes, as a companion in Pennacook, New Hampshire. Do to a disability she ended her nursing career of over thirty five years with the Rockingham Visiting Nurses Hospice Program on 10 Sept 2001 to her great sadness. June provided care from birth(Parkland Medical Center, Derry New Hampshire Maternity Ward in the mid 1980’s) to death. Her favorite saying was “I did from birth to death including the nuts and bolts in-between. Now I’m finding my roots.”  She was very active in the communities where she lived. She served as a member of various human service counsels, Red Hat Society, Nursing Societies, American Red Cross instructor, an advocate against child abuse, for early cancer detection, a participant in the inaugural Breast Cancer 3 Day-60 mile walk against Breast Cancer for both New York City (a Media Walker) and Boston, Massachusetts (crew coordinator.) She also volunteered for various charities including Miss Derry, Miss New Hampshire, and Wolverine Football Association at the local bingo hall or answering phones in the office for Miss New Hampshire. Even in her youth she was a member of her local church, Rainbow Girls, a 4H member and participated in displaying her creations at the Topsfield Fair, Topsham Massachusetts and in later years at Deerfield Fair Deerfield New Hampshire where she won various ribbons.

Mrs. Butka was a kindly neighbor, always ready with a cheery word of greeting and ready to assist others whenever the need was there. Although not able to visit as much as she liked she was always happy when friends and neighbors called, her door was always open to everyone. June Butka was the symbol of what a friend really is.

Funeral Services were held at the Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen New Hampshire surrounded by her family and friends. In lieu of flowers the family requested that donations be made to your favorite local charity in her honor. They wanted to continue her tradition of giving to those in need, it did not matter to her where the need was, and she would support them as much as she was able. Please pay it forward in her memory, as she paid it forward in her lifetime.


June Lee Stearns Butka

June Lee Stearns Butka


Filed under Genealogy, Genealogy Do-Over, Photography, Social Norms, Vignettes Of Life, Writing

Stale Bread, Fading Sweet Peppers, and Chopped Onions makes what?

Stuffed Peppers and Squash

My local grocery store is only quarter mile down the road. I like to shop the clearance racks before planning my meals for the day or the week depending on what I find. I last blogged about the Vegetable Stew, Stuffed Mushrooms and Chili. Yesterday I found Sweet Green and Red Peppers for .99 cents. I purchased two packages providing me with four peppers. I sliced one package of the sweet peppers yesterday for dipping into my Tahini. I still have some slices left for the week.
Todays purchased included a whole chicken for $ 2.50, two pounds of Riblets for $2.00 (both in the freezer for another day,) two bags of Goose Valley Rice and Bean Fusion for 1.00 each and two pound “Fresh” Strawberries $1.99/package. My total purchase for these items was $7.49; include the sweet peppers from yesterday a grand total of $9.49.

Now the major decision; what will I make with these items. I washed and slice the strawberries in half. Packaged them into one cup serving containers for my husband lunches. I looked into the refrigerator to see what I had for leftovers. I found, one cooked chicken sausage, one third cup chopped onions and a half loaf of stale bread.
My first thought was stuffed peppers using the two remaining peppers, one package of the rice and bean fusion and the leftover onions for my half. I added the chopped chicken sausage to the other half.
Add three cups of water the rice and bean mixture, three ginger Chai tea bags and a dash of ginger honey vinegar (or spices to taste) to a saucepot, bring to boil. Remove tea bags. Cover and turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chai Tea, Rice and Beans

Cut the tops off the peppers, set aside, remove pulp, and discard. Cut large peppers in half place each half in a ramekin. Cut the good part of the pepper from the tops and dice.

Sweet Bell Peppers

Add the diced sweet peppers and diced onions to 1 teaspoon of butter and one swirl around the fry pan with olive oil.

Saute Peppers and Onions

Sauté until al dente. Remove from heat. Dice cooked chicken sausage set aside.

Chopped Chicken Sausage

Drain rice and bean mixture; let set for 5 minute. Fluff mixture.

Rice and Bean Mixture

Add vegetables to rice and bean mixture. Fill two halves of the peppers with mixture.

Rice, Beans and Vegetables

Add chopped chicken sausage to the other half of the rice and beans. Fill the remaining two peppers. Set any leftovers aside, for now.

Rice, Beans, Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Place the pepper filled ramekins into the pan you used to sauté the vegetables. I added a half cup of frozen squash I had on hand to roast with the stuffed peppers. Cover. Place in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes. If serving immediately cook until fork tender. If going to be re-heated cook until the fork meets resistance. This will prevent over cooked stuffed peppers. Squash should be fork tender, as well.

Ready to Bake

Now to use the stale bread and remaining rice and bean mixture.

I had six slices of stale bread; two of which were the end pieces. Remove crust of four slices of bread, as shown in photograph. Set crust aside. Flatten each slice of bread. Place once teaspoonful of rice mixture in center of bread. Fold bread in half. Place them in the non-stick portion controlled brownie pan. If you don’t have a portioned control brownie pan use a cookie sheet.


Take the two end pieces and reserved crust; cube them into quarter to half inches pieces depending on what type of container you are cooking them in.

Bread cubed

In a separate mixing bowl combine two cups milk, (I use almond milk,) and four slightly beaten eggs. Add one teaspoon vanilla, fourth cup good old grade a maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice (your spice of choice here). I like the pumpkin pie spice because it has mace, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the mix. Mix the ingredients until well blended. Set aside.

Bread pudding base

Add the cubed pieces of bread to the portioned control brownie pan. It can over fill a bit because with the milk mixture is added the bread absorbs it and shrinks down.  Carefully pour the milk mixture into each section, until the bread stops absorbing it. I sprinkle Craisins on top (you can use raisins.) If you have leftover milk mixture pour it into vegetable sprayed ramekins.  Sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice on the top pf the bread pudding and custard mixture. Place the brownie pan and ramekins onto a cookie sheet that has a little water covering the bottom.

Ready to bake bread pudding

Today’s meals for $1.99, leftovers and pantry staples provides four servings of stuffed peppers; four servings stuffed sandwiches, eight servings bread puddings and three serving of custards. Squash for another meal or as side dish with Stuffed peppers.

Rice and bean stuffed sandwiches with Tahini and sliced Sweet Green Peppers


Stuffed sandwich



Bread pudding with Craisins yogurt purée and sliced strawberries.

Bread Pudding with Craisin puree



Stuffed Sweet pepper with side of roasted squash.

Stuffed Peppers with squash

The original recipes were my mother’s Shirley Beatrice Stearns, tweaked by me, June Stearns Butka. My tweaks are in parenthesis. I also use the portioned controlled pan for cooking. I reduce the time by about ten minutes and add more cooking time if needed.

I hope a future descendant or two of mine find these recipes. Make them and adjust them to their taste with my best wishes and love.


Butka, June Lee Stearns, Reeds Ferry Historic District, Merrimack, New Hampshire. 11 Mar 2014

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Filed under Photography, Recipes, Remembrances, Uncategorized, Vignettes Of Life

What’s for Lunch?

What is a person to do with Stale Italian Bread

Stale Italian Bread

Two Tablespoons of Tahini Spread

Tahini Spread

Four lonely Cherry Tomatoes

Lonely Cherry Tomatoes

1/3 cup of Grated Cheese

Grated Cheese

And a solo Sweet Yellow Pepper

Italian Bread Pizza

You make a Pizza, of Course.

Nothing goes to waste if I can help it.

This may not be a typical genealogy post; I know if I was a descendant and I found one of my ancestors recipes that showed creativity, thriftiness and something I could try. I would be doing the Happy Dance.

What would you do?

Here is my citation for future generations.

Recipes created by June Stearns Butka on 7 march 2014 to utilize what was found in her refrigerator when deciding what to have for lunch.

Her residence at the time was the Historical Reeds Ferry District, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

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Genealogy Organizational Challenge

Genealogy Organization is a Challenge

Old School Files

Old School Files 

My partially organized files.


I spent Saturday with two very organized people, Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee. Their “Getting your Genealogy Groove Back” Boot Camp. It was a very information and helpful presentation.

I spent Sunday attempting to familiarize myself with some of the organizational tools they discussed. It was a mixture of “old School” and new Technology, at least new to me.

This morning I spent it organizing the old school way. My thoughts were, How can I use the new technology if I don’t have myself organized with what needs to be entered into the computer program.

In the photograph above the top bind holds my webinar folders that still need a little tweaking. They were mixed in with the folders in the lower draw. The lower draw is now organized with my family folders only. I have decided to continue my Surname way of organizing.

The major Surnames for each of my family lines include the sub-surnames by married. I organized this way as a reminder of who married into the family line and where. (To date I have 99 surnames in total, with 349 shaky leafs on Ancestry to research.)
My husband Major Surnames are:
Parental side:

Maternal side:

Misc.: Two Unknown Surnames (one for each line) I still need to verify before adding to my list

My Major Surnames are;
Paternal side:

My Maternal side:

Computer Files to date

My computer files to date

Now I’m off to organize the familiar computer technology I currently use. I will take the save items and place them into the correct family line folders in the same manner I did with the old school files. Once this is completed I can then take one old school folder and one computer folder; compare the information and enter it into the research log that I learned about during “Boot Camp.” Once I have entered all my research, I will find the gaps I have in my family tree. Those gaps will become my “To Do” List.

Yes, it is time consuming to organize these records. In the long run I will be saving time. I have already found duplicate name records with different information in them. I will be able to grab the correct file, find the information I’m looking for without hunting and pecking throughout my paperwork or computer. I will set up my Research Log by major surnames: Consistency, Organization and staying with what is familiar will be my organization tools from now on.

Thank you Lisa Alzo at and Thomas MacEntee of Hack Genealogy for all the little tidbits of information on how to organize.

Bye for now. I’m off to organize and get ready to Post my next #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog about Arthur W. Place, my great grandfather, one of my great grandmother, Tina May Hutchins, four husbands.


Filed under Boberick Surname, Butka Surname, Chase Surname, Dula Surname, Fletcher Surname, Genealogy, Kotch Surname, Liptak Surname, Maseowski Surname, Nelson Family Tree, Nelson Surname, Pease Surname, Photography, Stearns Surname, Uncategorized, Vignettes Of Life

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Post #1: Tina M. Hutchins (1874-1949)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Post # 1: Tina M. Hutchins (1874-1949)

Amy Crow issued a challenge this January, 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. Her premise was to write about a specific ancestor each week. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, or a research paper as long as it focused on one ancestor.

I am coming late to the challenge that was posted four weeks ago.  This challenge falls into several of my New Year goals I set for myself:

  1. To LEARN as much as I can about my ancestors
  2. To LEARN the best way to organize that research
  3. To LEARN how to publish my findings
  4. To CORRECTLY document that research

No story is to small is Amy’s Crow’s motto. I agree with that motto with a caveat; the story needs to be accurate as possible.  The story that is Tina’s was started several years ago when I was attempting to write about the Women in my life that gave me strength.  I have included an excerpt from my first draft below. It is my way of introducing Tina to you. The story was based on an interview I had with my mother before she died in 2001. I loved listening to her tell me about my ancestors over the years and decided to write those stories down for our family history.

Now to the caveat part and the reason for my blogging in this manner about my ancestors. A story should entertain you with the facts to the best of your knowledge. This story was based on my mother’s knowledge as she believed it to be. You will find after you read the story why this is a research blog posting. In other words my “To Do List” for Tina M. Hutchins.

Women of Strength-My Legacy: Part One

Through the years I have been taught a lot from the strong women in my family my great-grandmother, mother, my aunt, and from my daughter. I will tell the story of these strong women in four parts. I will start with my great-grandmother Florena-Tina Marie Hutchins

Although the strength I learned from my great-grandmother was from verbal telling of her story by my mother and letters to her. The letters were lost in house fires over the years. I will do the best in the telling of Florena-Tina’s story as I remember it.

She was the second child of ten born to a Welsh mother, Sarah Abbey and English father, Benjamin Hutchins in the small rural town of Corinna, Maine on the one hundred twenty-third day of 1885. 3 May 1885 was a typical early spring day. Light frost in the morning, localized mist and patches of fog slowly departing making way for the sun by days end.

She spent her childhood on a farm five miles from her school. The elder children learned how to carry and shoot a gun for food and protection from local wildlife as they walked their siblings to school. The school was located in the center of town so that all families had equal access. The chief industry of the town was a manufacturer of cotton wrappings.

When she started school in 1881 the school was a boxed shaped 10 x 20 foot unadorned cabin with a fireplace at one end, a raised platform at the other for the teachers’ desk overlooking the student benches. The benches were placed by younger grades in front to older ones in back. The firewood was kept outside as was the outhouse. Over the years more rooms and teachers were added but the aroma of damp musty wood smoke and stinging of the eyes remained.

She was a progressive woman of her time. She continued her studies and received her Register Nurse degree in 1893. It was not common at the time for women to receive professional training to assist with birthing. She loved being a midwife but also enjoyed assisting the doctor in his full practice using instruments of the trade. She went on to work in a hospital. Later in life she provided care for her crippled daughter.

Around that same time she started practicing as a midwife she met and married her first of four husbands, Sidney Towle. They moved to a five acre farm in Dexter, Maine. Less than a year later she asked Sidney for a divorce.  He had an affair with one of her younger sisters who he married a few years later. They had five children. The story is told that my great-grandmother harbored not ill feelings towards them. She believed in forgiving and moving forward with her life.  I believe her strong religious conviction of turn the other cheek helped her make this decision.

About a year after her divorce she met, courted and married her second husband, George Spooner in 1895. They moved to the forest surrounded mud flats of the Casco Bay area in Freeport, Maine. George was an attorney who provided legal advice in both criminal and civil matters. She was happy there continuing her nursing practice establishing friendships, becoming an active member of her Baptist church. As an attractive young woman in her early twenties with soft long flowing black curls she made friends easily. She was of short stature measuring five feet. Her family teased her she was fifteen hands high and as strong as a horse. This gave her confidence in herself.  She travelled everywhere by foot and didn’t hesitate to help with any task needed.

One of the first thing you might say to yourself is why the name are different; Floren-Tina verses Tina. That was my first clue that maybe the information I thought was correct is not. I started verifying dates, marriages and family connections before I published my story. I named my daughter after my great-grandmother I thought. It turned out that Florentine was my great-great grandmother and Tina was my great grandmother. When my mother referred to Tyna Marie being named after her great grandmother, Florentina, she was referring to hers, not mine, as I had thought. My story has not been published because I found several other differences of information with the facts. The sense of who Tina M. Hutchins doesn’t change but the facts do.

My To Do List for Tina Marie Hutchins includes:

  1. Find the original her birth certificate
  2. Find marriage records- done
    1. Married George B Spooner on 8 May 1893 in Dexter, Penobscot , Maine by Fred E White, Clergyman
    2. Married Sidney B. Towle on 3 Dec 1899 in Garland, Penobscot, Maine under the name Tina May Spooner not Hutchins
    3. Married Arthur W. Place on 26 Dec 1907 Lowell, Penobscot, Maine under the name Tina M. Towle
    4. Married William Doyle on 4 Nov 1923 York, York, Maine under the name Tina Place
    5. Find documentation that she worked as a midwife
    6. Find death certificate
    7. Find verification of residence; partially completed
      1. 1874 birth in Corinna, Penobscot, Maine or Topsham, Sagadahoc, Maine
      2. 1880 United States Federal Census Brighton, Somerset, Maine age 6 dgtr
      3. 1893 marriage certificate Dexter, Penobscot , Maine as residence age 19
      4. 1899 marriage certificate Dexter, Penobscot , Maine as residence age 25
      5. 1900 United States Federal Census Dexter, Penobscot , Maine as residence age 26 wife
      6. 1907 Marriage certificate Lowell Penobscot, Maine age 33
      7. 1910 United States Federal Census Kittery, York, Maine age 36 wife
      8. 1920 United States Federal Census York, York, Maine age 46 widow
      9. 1923 United States Federal Census York, York, Maine age 40
      10. 1928 City Directories Eliot, York, Maine  age 54
      11. 1930 City Directories Eliot, York, Maine  age 56
      12. 1940 Untied States Federal Census Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire age 65 wife
      13. 1949 Heaven Found Millwoods Cemetery, Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire
      14. Is there a Last Will in testament documentation
      15. Land records

My goal is to answer some of these questions this week. Next week I will post about my Great grandfather, Tyna’s third husband, Arthur W. Place.


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