July 11th, 2012

Journey Stories is here!

When you hear the word “journey” what comes to mind? A road trip, moving to a new place, or overcoming an obstacle? This summer there will be numerous opportunities to explore the theme of “journey stories” as Cecil County Public Library is proud to partner with the Cecil County Arts Council and the Cecil County Historical Society to welcome the Smithsonian exhibit, “Journey Stories.”

Bernard PurdieWe invite you to share in the musical journey story of Bernard Purdie, who grew up in Elkton and went on to international success as the world’s most recorded drummer. On the evening of Monday, July 16, Mr. Purdie will share what he learned as a boy of Cecil County and the development of his skills and career. Click here to sign up.

On Tuesday, July 17, journeys of a very different kind will be shared by three diverse panelists that cover interesting time periods of the 20th century.  Bishop Basil Losten will describe the migration of Ukrainian immigrants to the Chesapeake City area in the early part of the century, where they settled to help work on the C&D Canal. They brought traditions and religion from their homeland. Olga Stavrakis will share the harrowing tale of her family’s escape from wartorn Europe after years of drifting from country to country in search of peace. Her father, Dr. Peter Stavrakis was forced to work for the Nazis and later helped his family escape the persecution of Stalinist Russia. The Stavrakis family escaped to America with little in their possession except hope. Learn this family’s harrowing story and their eventual settlement in Cecil County. Elkton Commissioner Charles Givens will then share his experiences in the educational arena through the civil rights era. Click here to sign up.

C&D Canal Chesapeake City MDIf the journeys of this panel capture you, consider attending two in-depth discussions on these topics.  Olga Stavrakis will delve into the details of her family’s escape from Europe and the hardships they endured, detailing the fascinating series of events that led to their arrival in America. She will speak at the Cecilton Branch Library on Monday, July 16 at 2pm.  Bishop Losten will offer an in-depth discussion of the Ukrainian community of Chesapeake City at a talk at the Chesapeake City Branch Library on Tuesday, July 17 at 10:30 am.

These events are only the beginning of the wide-reaching discussion of Journey Stories programs that will be offered from now until October. We encourage you to attend and invite you to share your stories. Call 410-996-5600 ext. 481 for more information or to sign up for any of our Journey Stories programs.

Get a sneak peak of the wonderful programs and exhibits to come by clicking here to see a gallery of historical Cecil County photos. Many thanks to the Cecil County Historical Society for sharing these gems. What programs are you planning to attend?


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May 24th, 2012

Memorial Day Memories

Albert DaviesBefore he was a hero, he was just a Chicago kid. The youngest of four and son to English immigrant parents, Bert was adored by everyone. His family used to tease that he was “Momma’s little bubby-mies,” a playful way of saying that he could get away with anything. No one seemed to mind.

Bert finished high school and worked as a purchasing agent. His brother – who, despite being older, idolized Bert – enlisted in the service in 1942 and was stationed in Detroit as a military policeman. Nine months later, Bert decided to do the same. He was just 24 years old when he joined the United States Army Air Corps. The family couldn’t have been prouder; Bert was going to fly.

“Hell’s Angels” was her name, an iconic B17 aircraft on a mission to bomb the U-Boat Yards in Kiel, Germany, and Bert was her 2nd Lieutenant. After a successful bombing, she was up against fifty German FW190s and Me109s. Around 12:30 in the afternoon, Hell’s Angels suffered a hole in the rudder and a stopped engine. Bert, and his 9 comrades on board, died over the North Sea.

This memorial day, I’ll be thinking of the men of the 8th Air Force 91 Bomb Group 322 Bomb Squadron. I’ll be thinking of my great-uncle Albert “Bert” Davies, a man who continues to be honored and loved in our family, though his story survives only through faded correspondence and the memories passed down to a generation that never met him.

This Monday, May 28th, the library will be closed in observance of Memorial Day. The long weekend is a perfect opportunity to meet with your family and tell the stories of the brave men and women who have died in service to our nation. If you’re planning to interview a veteran or those who remember the service of one who has died, consider consulting the chapters on interviewing in The Genealogy Handbook by Ellen Galford and The Genealogy Sourcebook by Sharon Debartolo Carmack. To read about the stories of brave Cecil Countians, be sure to check out Cecil’s Soldiers: Stories from the World War II Generation by Jenifer Dolde.

And if you’re interested in local history, make sure to check out the Journey Stories events coming to Cecil County this summer and fall.

The men in the group photograph are as follows: S/Sgt. Clyde B. Burdick; 1st Lieutenant William H. Broley; 2nd Lieutenant Albert H. Davies; 2nd Lieutenant Joseph M. Darmiento; T/Sgt. Lowell A. Dawson; S/Sgt. Edward H. Jones; T/Sgt. Edward K. Clyne; S/Sgt. Kenneth S. Greer; S/Sgt. Kenneth T. Donovan; Sgt. Edward S. Caspariello.

322 bomb squadron

Who will you be thinking of this Memorial Day? Please share below!


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