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Mother's Day Walk

After spending time on Mother’s Day with my wife, mom, mother-in-law, my wife’s grandmother, my sister and sisters-in-law — and honoring them as best I could — I decided to go for a walk last night about an hour before darkness set in.

Perhaps inspired by the “I Remember Grandma” feature that we ran in the Life & Arts section on Sunday and partly because it was the first Mother’s Day since my Gramma Anna Hosley Lane passed away, I decided to head down to Hudson View Cemetery in Mechanicville, about a 20-minute walk.

My grandmother, who died on New Year’s Eve, was a constant presence in my life, which I touched on in our Sunday feature story. I just wanted to pause at her grave for a few minutes to remember, to say thanks, to honor her in some small way.

During the walk down, I thought about how my other grandmother, Clara McBride, used to kid me about how lucky I was that I was born — because my father was the youngest of 10 kids and what if she had stopped at nine? That got me to thinking about all the other moms on the family tree, who were responsible for me being here and those on my wife’s side of the family without whom my kids would never have been born.

I decided to make my outing a quick pilgrimage, visiting as many grandmothers as I could before dark.

After leaving Gramma Lane’s site, I tried to find her grandmother, Helena Fox Pilling. Though I had found that burial site once before during a genealogy kick I was on, I could not locate it last night and decided to move on. I headed toward Col. Elmer Ellsworth’s monument, because I have ancestors resting a stone’s throw from the Civil War hero. On opposite sides of the roadway, I paused to pay tribute to Annie Morrow McBride (my father’s grandmother) and Mary Tunnard Morrow, her mother.

Next, I headed back toward the main entrance, where my Gramma Lane’s mom, Irene Mawbey Pilling is buried. Nearby is her mom, my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Gagewy.

That would have been it for the night. I would have had to start walking home to get there before dark, but my daughter texted to say she was driving into town and could pick me up if I wanted. So I decided to head over to St. Paul’s Cemetery.

In about 10 minutes, right at the entrance to the cemetery, I was at the grave of Margaret Whalen Ahern, my wife’s great-grandmother. I cut across the lawn to visit my Gramma McBride’s site. I paused to reflect on her life and growing up next door to her. I seem to recall that her mom, Sophie Nowak Wojtowicz, is buried toward the back of the cemetery. I took a quick look where I thought that might be, but was unsuccessful. With darkness setting in and my daughter arriving, I made one last stop, to see my wife’s grandma, Mary Ross DeChiro. I remembered how she made me feel like such a big part of her family -- even before my wife and I married -- and how she adored our son.

Maybe I’ll make this walk a Mother’s Day tradition. Only next time I’ll go earlier, so I can honor more of the “moms” who made it possible for me and my kids to be here.

Tom McBride is The Gazette's assistant features editor.

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