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Written by Helen
When we would help to bring the vegetable bowls into the dining room table from the kitchen for dinner, Grandma would put a big pat of butter on them and whisper, "Don't tell Granny."
We visited Aunt Justine on the first Sunday of each month and any special occasion like a First Holy Communion or a baby's christening day. On a christening day Aunt Justine would bring the baby to the chapel altar and dedicate him or her to Our Lord's service after all the other nuns came to 'ooh' and 'aah' over the newest Jones family member.
I'll never forget one afternoon I decided to walk over to visit Grandma. The phone rang just as I arrived and Grandma started crying right after answering. I was so upset waiting for her to hang up only to find out it was Aunt Jacqueline and they were crying together over the death of a soap opera character!
Early morning visits with Grandma when I would meet her at 6 o'clock mass at St. Jerome's during Lent were so special. After Mass we would walk back to the house for a breakfast of poached egg and toasted Thomas' protein bread and chat together before I would trek off to the subway for my trip to Bishop's.
Summers in Stony Brook were always the best. Sometimes I would be able to drive out with Grandpa after he closed the store on Saturday night. There would be people sleeping everywhere, in all the bedrooms in Inglenook and on the pullout sofas in the living room. Then I could stay with Grandma, Granny and anyone else who didn't have to leave to go back to work on Monday morning. I can still remember waking up to the smell of Granny's coffee and burned toast in the morning. When I asked her why she ate the burned toast she would say, "It's good for your teeth that way."
Our days in Stony Brook were always so full. We never needed to have television or any special toys to keep us occupied. Mornings were spent walking to the village to get the mail and whatever groceries we needed. I always wanted to run to the post office so I could turn the combination knobs on the box to get the mail.
After our walk back up the hill Uncle Jimmy and I could keep ourselves busy playing "store" on the front porch. We would raid the pantry closet of soup and vegetable cans, pudding boxes and such and set them up with a "pretend" cash register on the little red bench Grandpa had made. Then after lunch, weather permitting, we would walk down the hill again to spend the afternoon at the beach.
On Friday evening we would walk to the railroad station to wait for Aunt Jane or Aunt Jacqueline to get off the train for their weekend at Stony Brook after their workweek. Of course, we had to wave to the engineer as the big steam engine started pulling in to the station and he would always wave back.
Often on Sundays we would take rakes and bushel baskets and wade out to the sandbars of Stony Brook harbor to rake clams. I loved gathering them but could never eat them. (Now I love them!) It fascinated me to return home with the clams and watch Grandpa open them on the porch and slurp them down right out of the shell!
I often think the reason I'm so happy living in Jamesport is because it reminds me so much of summertime in Stony Brook, having to get mail at the post office and walking down the hill to the beach.
Another great thrill in Stony Brook was hearing the horn from the Krug bakery truck at the foot of the steps at Inglenook and going down with Grandma to pick out bread, cakes and doughnuts.
Or the Friday we had a visit from Marcel and Doodie Elsie. I know it was a Friday because Granny got busy in the kitchen making a big batch of "gratzata" (phonetic) and applesauce for lunch since we couldn't eat meat on Fridays. I sat enthralled listening to Marcel speak with his French accent. It was so exotic!
The bowl that Granny used to mix that "gratzata" and teach me how to make crumbs and piecrust in is one of my most treasured possessions. Jim is always a nervous wreck when he helps to wash dishes after I've used it. He knows I would be heartbroken if he ever broke it!
Besides Inglenook, of course, were the times we stayed at the "Jareth" and slept in the "Wee House," and then there was "The Villa." It was very big and impressive. It had its own tennis courts, a private beach, and even a bathhouse. Uncle Jimmy and I spent so much time in the Villa searching through every drawer in every cabinet in every room convinced we would find all kinds of valuables or money hidden in them. Then we would run through each room pressing the butler buttons and run to the kitchen to see the room tag pop up in the viewer window on the wall.
The funniest event at the Villa was Aunt Jacqueline's engagement party when everyone dressed up in old-fashioned bathing suits and all kinds of outfits to meet Uncle AI's family for the first time.
There are also those very precious and meaningful aspects about being a part of the "Jones Tradition." From first grade each report card was proudly presented to Grandma and Grandpa for their inspection and praise.
The most Important time, though, was when I earned the General Excellence Award upon graduation from St. Catherine's and Grandma presented me with Aunt Justine's gold General Excellence Medal. I then had the honor of presenting it to my daughter, Jeanie, when she earned General Excellence graduating from Clinton Avenue Elementary School.
The tradition continues, as I can now look forward to my new granddaughter, Caitlyn, following in her Mother's footsteps and meriting the honor of wearing Aunt Justine's very precious medal.
I also recall as a young child in elementary school being so proud to tell everyone that I had two Great-grandmothers. All of the other children were lucky if they had two Grandmothers! Today my grandchildren are lucky enough to have Grandmothers, a GREAT GRANDMOTHER and a GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER!!!
Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Jones and their faith, love and kindness, the tradition and memories go on and on and on!