Fambly News

Celebration of Mom’s Life

In Stratford, Connecticut on May 21st, 2016

Nancy put together a celebration of Mom’s life  – reserved a room at the Blue Goose on Ferry Blvd in Stratford – A lot of people came – and – far from being a somber occasion – it actually felt like a celebration of a warm, intelligent, Loving and Understanding woman – Dorothy Eleanor Borden Wellington –

Let’s see how many of these photos I can load in here without blowing up WordPress

Charles, Sharon. Aaron

Sharon (center) and Charles (left) came from North Pole, Alaska – Sharon’s step son Aaron (right) didn’t quite have to travel that far to get here.

( I had the camera set on the ‘sports’ setting so it should have taken sharp photos, but too many of them came out blurry. Some because people moved and others – I don’t know. when one person is sharp and clear and another isn’t – maybe some of us are just plain blurry? )

Ellen, Nob, Nim, & Diane.

Ellen Majewski, Bob, & Diane P. Torres with me behind them. I forget who offered to take this photo.

Claudi, Kathy & Chip

I’m wondering if some people would rather not be identified – If that’s the case, I’m sure I’ll hear about it and I’ll remove their names from these captions – Here is my aunt Claudia and Cousin Kathy & Kathy’s Husband, ‘Chip’.

Kathy & Chip

Kathy and Chip –

Joe and Lori

Joe and Lori Hildreth – Joe wasn’t happy with the reflection from his glasses, but after he removed them, the next photo I took was one of those unexplainably unfocused shots I hinted at above.

Cody & Westley

Nancy’s sons, Cody & Westley Aylward –

Jenny, Dawn, Cody

Diane’s daughter Dawn (center) with Cody (right) and Cody’s sister Jenny smiling to the left. Nancy and Ellen Majewski are looking at photos in the background.


Dawn’s daughter (and I think she was Mom’s first Great-Gradchild) Daisy – alone for a second while Dawn was busy – Her father Sean was just out of the photo to our right.

Chrystal & Val

Chrystal (left) and her mother, Val, (My second cousin, My father’s first cousin – Maybe I should avoid confusing anybody and not try to explain relationships here?)

Cousins Mike and Rick

Slightly out of focus Mike Toronto and ‘Santa Rick’ George – Mike’s our first cousin, Rick’s our second cousin, Val’s brother.

Deb & Jaimie

Cousin Debra ( nee Austin ) and Deb’s daughter Jaimie – and Jaimie’s son – ( Up here in Canada it is not cool to name ‘identifiable’ minors – If Deb or Jaimie come back to me and tell me it’s okay, I’ll include his name here.)

George & Bev Newell

One time Neighbors and long time friends, George and Beverly Newell.

Ray & Carol

Mom’s sister Carol (right) and her husband, Ray. Her daughter, Lesley and her husband were there too, but my beautiful cousin Lesley was one of those whose photos inexplicably came out terribly blurred.

Sharon & Tyler

My sister Sharon and my brother’s son, Tyler – another slightly blurred photo.

Sharon, Ellen & Elaine

Sharon with our ex next door neighbors, Ellen and Elaine Majewski. (I forgot what Elaine’s married last name might be.)

Pat and Marry Ellen.

Mary Ellen Skawinski (right) and her ‘significant other’ – Pat. Mary Ellen’s mother, Lisa, was there and either managaged to stay behind me when I was looking for people to photograph or had very pure Leprechaun blood and never showed up in any photos. Which is a shame – Lisa is a beautiful person inside and out. (and so is Mary Ellen) Lisa’s other children sadly couldn’t make it. The whole family became very close to us after they moved to Connecticut from Oklahoma in the late 1980’s.

Mike & Nob at work.

After the Dinner and Celebration, we went to the graveyard where Nancy’s husband, Mike and our brother, Bob, set the beautiful stone that Nancy and Mike chose and had engraved – in place with some of Mom’s ashes. Sharon and Nancy also planned to put more of Mom’s ashes in Shelton at her parents – our grandparents – graves. Here Mike and Bob were sweeping the dirt from the stone and levelling the earth around the new stone.


Here are the Markers for our father and mother, and above them our Aunt Phyllis and Cousin Glenn.

Family group in the cemetary.

Most of us in Union Cemetary – where I once hoped my father wouldn’t be upset about listening to daily announcements and role call at the Fire House where he worked for may years – about 50 yards away from the graves.

Nob, Ance, Sharon & Deb at the cemetary.

My brother, Bob, and sisters nancy and Sharon, and Cousin Deb taking photos of the group above (plus me) –

— I think it may be a testimonial to what a wonderful person our mother was (and probably still is) that almost no tears were shed at the celebration and even at the grave yard.

— There were other notable friends and relatives at the celebration whose photos came out too blurry ro include here – or maybe some of them had more purely leprechaun blood that the rest of us and don’t show up in photographs. (?)

—– Jim (added to this page on May 25th, 2016)


Heaven Has A New Angel — Dorothy Eleanor Borden Wellington — October 20, 1923 – April 8, 2016

tall guy with his arm around his mother's shoulders on a bridge with a river with waterfalls as backdrop.

Photo of me (Jim) and Mom (Gramma Dot) taken by Cathi Harris -probably in the summer of 2004 – at or very near the old Fergus Market, in Fergus, Ontario.

{{ April 8, 2016 — // +4˚C / 38˚F Dark, Damp and mostly cloudy in Atlantic Canada @ 11:59 pm — // Vicki (née Joyce)’s Birthday – 55th anniversary of the day Mom told me our baby sister, Nancy, was on her way – and 55th anniversary of our house catching on fire from a short-circuit upstairs on Huntington Road in Stratford, Connecticut. — }}

— She wrote her class song – was either the salutorian or runner-up to the salutorian at her high school graduation in 1941 – She told me when I was in high school that she was amazed that any of the ‘popular kids’ in her school would remember her being there, but that some had actually claimed to have been her friend in high school.

— She endured too many years of brutal brow beating and constant enraged verbal abuse during her 47 years of marriage to a 6 foot three-inch 250 to 300+ pound bully of a man. She put up with more from my father, her husband, than anybody could reasonably be expected to- and still stuck with him until his end, in 1995 – from his second heart attack, which came about after twenty years of disability and asthma due to work related hazards and not so bright life style choices. [ Stupid me – I had been out and happy for years and came back home when he got on the phone and said he needed my help – and I got sucked in, couldn’t buy a job for a couple years, then developed my own PTSD complications and couldn’t have held a job if I could buy one. So I spent the last two years of my father’s life as one of those unpaid home health workers you hear a lot about these days. After he died I gradually recovered to the point where I began by doing volunteer work at a local Community Based Radio Station – WPKN 89.5 FM in Bridgeport, Connecticut – and video production at the local public access video studio in Bridgeport. and then Part time work, painting houses and doing web work and clerk work for a Yoga Center in Hamden, Connecticut. ] — Mom aged at least fifteen years in from of me in those last couple years – My father was nothing like an ideal patient. I was afraid she was going to leave us before he did. But when he did go, even though we had twenty years of knowing he could go any time, any day – it tore us both inside out. I went to sleep the night he died listening to Mom’s breathing through a baby monitor and as I fell between wakefulness and sleep I could swear I heard a voice saying, in time to her breaths – “Dot Lives! Dot lives-” I dreamed that night that I came down stairs from meditating in what looked like a converted store front apartment with more rooms upstairs. My sister Sharon was there, smiling and Mom was half asleep in a wooden rocking chair, aware enough to smile at me and wearing what had to be her favorite blue bathrobe and warm slippers. I thought that meant that Mom would live in some kind of arrangement with Sharon and me being there, maybe I had an apartment upstairs? As it turned out, Mom went to Alaska and lived with Sharon for a couple years after Dad died, came back east when Sharon’s second husband, Gary had a job offer that brought them to Maine. The job turned out to be something that couldn’t actually support the family of the guy who owned the company, and Gary, Sharon and four boys would have starved if they tried to make that go – They went back to Alaska, And Mom went with them – Volunteered as a ‘Foster Grandparent’ at a grammar school where Sharon was a Teacher’s Aide – She told them she could only do this temporarily and as soon as she could afford to – she would be going back home to Connecticut. – The Principal called her into his office on her birthday – Told her to sit down, he had to go over some issues with her performance – tried to look stern and scary – then sighed and smiled and said, “All I can say is – you’re perfect for this kind of work – and we wish we knew what we could say or do to keep you here-” Then said he was going to walk her back to class – When he led her into the hallway, Every child in the school was there sitting in a half circle and they all called out at once, “Happy Birthday, Gramma Dot!” and all came up and handed her their hand-made birthday cards and got a special hug. Mom went home with Sharon and cried happy tears reading all the cards and the next day at school announced, “Well – ya got me – How can I leave after this?” and spent some of the happiest years of her life making a real difference in the lives of young students who needed her help and who loved her, while she loved them back and kept telling me stories about her favorite kids and every one of them was her favorite. She told us then, that she’d always wanted to be a teacher, but when she’d grown up and gotten married, everybody told her she couldn’t do both, she could either be a wife and a mother or a teacher. She opted for the wife and mother path.

— Everybody knows this life is too short. Everybody knows it has to end some time. I keep screaming that our pets should be immortal. Our loved ones should be bullet proof and immortal. But we all know the end has to come some time. This universe often seems to have been ingeniously designed to prove to us that we would much rather be in heaven.

— Skype – Mom was delighted by the ability to see and talk to her children and friends on Skype. My baby sister, Nancy, a recently retired Physical Therapist – let us know on Monday that she’d talked to Sharon and Mom wasn’t doing so well. Nancy jumped on a plane and flew to Alaska to be there. I got on Facebook and tried to tell everybody I knew what was happening with Mom. [ Turns out one message to one cousin never actually got sent, whether I missed when I clicked the ‘send’ or ‘post’ button or whatever happened it was sitting there asking me if I really wanted to leave that page when I shut the browser down a couple hours ago so I could write this – and as it faded into the ozone I realized the reason it tried to warn me that maybe I shouldn’t leave that page, was because it hadn’t been sent, whether I had been absolutely sure it had been or not. ] — But, anyway – Nancy got there, and Mom rallied – They asked me if I wanted to Skype and yes, of course I did. Mom was there, looking tired, but responsive and aware and giving me hugs and sign language “I Love You”-s and she’s had a problem speaking for the last year or so, atrophied tongue or something. She couldn’t swallow all that well either. When she tried to say something and my sisters thought they knew what she was saying I asked if she needed to write something down and she nodded, yes – she did – they found her some paper and a pen or pencil and she wrote down, “I don’t feel good.” And I told her to go rest, do what she needs to do, we will be all right – and she gave me another hug and another sign language “I Love You”. And they ended the Skype session.

— The next day, Thursday, Nancy sent me Instant Messages that Mom had a bad night, she couldn’t sleep, couldn’t hardly breathe, kept using a machine to get liquid gunk out of her lungs. And then wouldn’t eat her last two meals.

— When Nancy got up to check on her at 2 something am this morning, Alaska Time – she was gone. Nancy said she’s at peace. One of my cousins can’t stand the phrase, “Rest In Peace” but in this case, that just might apply. Of course we face some stupid b.s. as money grabbers try to convince us that we need to give them money in order to comply with b.s. laws they pushed for and then spend extra money because we don’t want to just let them do what they want to do and then send us the astronomical bill for it. Believe me, when these guys want to get to Heaven they will face a huge mob of angry people with spiritual clubs and hammers and slings and arrows that even Shakespeare couldn’t imagine.

— But –

— Our usually hyper insistent and needy pets have been amazingly quiet and supportive today. Like they know what happened.

— And. — There has been an amazing outpouring of Love and Sympathy in social media and email. Zuckerberg’s spy machine really is good for something positive. It’s amazing how much love and good feelings can come through the stupid freakin internet.

— And I should try very hard to end this on a positive note. Yes I am weird and yes I have had dream-contact with relatives who have passed before and I am looking forward to happy conversations with my mother, who will probably look like a twenty year old next time I see her – Angel wings or not- I’ve already been talking to her – telling her that if there’s anything I can do to help her adjust to her new level of existence, just ask –

— The following photos were uploaded to facebook by our Cousin, Mike Toronto :

Mom on a swing in 1943

Mom on a swing, in black and white – from 1943 – Photo uploaded to facebook by cousin Mike Toronto.

— heart – heart – heart – heart – heart —

Mom in April of 1943

Another photo that Mike Toronto shared with us. This one of Mom as a nineteen and a half year old, is dated April, 1943. The background looks like the big old garage that was behind the Borden Family home (a huge, green-painted Dutch styled house with a gambrel roof, a living room that stretched for about 30 feet? – the entire front of the house – And a big wide front porch that I remember my grandfather enclosing with screens when I was around 6 to 8 years old. They also had a huge (deep) back yard with grass that they didn’t bother trying to cut regularly until they got their first power mower.)

— My grandfather – my mother’s father, used to say he was happy to have a lot of his children’s friends in their home on a lot of evenings. Mike’s mother was an accomplished pianist and when the young women were in their teens and early twenties, a lot of impromptu gatherings centered around the piano and Aunt Bev playing the hits of the day while her friends sang the lyrics. My grandfather often said he would much rather have them singing in his living room than out on the streets where they might get into trouble. The really sad thing about my grandfather is, during World War II, when he had his own oil burner manufacturing business. He played by the rules and did his patriotic best to help the war effort by not ordering any more parts and equipment than he absolutely needed. His competitors took advantage of this by hoarding everything they could get their hands on and when the war was over, laughingly ran him out of business. He became very sour, and when I knew him, he was an unhappy tyrant, loudly complaining about every little thing that went wrong in his life. My mother grew up with him as a benevolent, happy person. Her youngest sibling, Carol, knew him as a screaming dictator who wanted to control everyone in his family.

Bev - Grace? - Mom

Left to right: Aunt Bev [Beverly Borden Toronto], Aunt Grace? [I thought it looked more like Aunt Carol – and Mom , posing on the carpet at what has to be their old family home at 1856 Main Street in Stratford. The house was converted into a multi apartment structure after Grandpa and Gramma Borden sold it to buy a Motel and restaurant in Vermont in 1964. I can’t tell what year this was. { Thanks to Cousin Mike Toronto Again }

Large Family grouped around a sofa in 1956.

This is a shot of the Borden family – most likely around Christmas Day, 1956.This would be the south side of the living room with the piano just out of sight to our left. Front row, left to right: Aunt Beverly – my sister Sharon, who, if this was 1956, would have been 5 years old – Me [Jim] I would have turned 7 years old in September – And Uncle Bob [ Robert Henry Borden Jr who was born on February 5th, 1934 and was the first sibling in that generation to shuffle off this mortal coil – I forgot when, but that would have been in the 1980’s, I think ]. Back Row: Left to Right, Aunt Carol, [ sitting on the arm of the couch ] – now the sole surviving sibling, [ Born December 28, 1939 ] Mom- with Diane Beverly Wellington on her lap [ Diane was born on November 10th, 1956 and died of Cancer in March of 2007 ] Grandma Borden [ Dorothy Brooks Borden – her birthday was August 25, and her father William Brooks who was born “Willie Brooke” in (Huttersfield?) England, { and accepted the fact that they changed his name as a six year old when he landed at Ellis Island } worked in a factory all day and taught stringed instruments in the evening. He had an orchestra that was all women, who played various venues and altered my grandmother’s year of birth on a couple documents so she could play her mandolin with the orchestra before she was legally old enough to do so. Near the end of her life, my grandmother wasn’t sure exactly how old she was, because she had three birth certificates with differents years listed. ] My Grandfather, Robert Henry Borden [ His birthday was May 18th I’m not sure what year. He died of a heart attack in the early 1970’s I think ] – & Regina Gregor Borden, Uncle Bob’s wife – her birthday is February 26th, I’m not sure what year, but she was 19 years old when she became engaged to my uncle and my sister and I were a sensation dancing something like a waltz at their wedding reception. Mike’s father told us we were the cutest couple on the floor. My father came along and told me I hands my hands wrong and was supposed to have her hand in my other hand. ].

Debi, Mom, Uncle Bob & Reggie in the living room at 1856 Main Street in Stratford.

Mom holding cousin Debi Borden ( now Debi Borden-Miller ) with Uncle Bob and Aunt Reggie, probably in 1958. But – Robert C Wellington III – (our brother) was born on July 20th of 1958, Debi was born in March of 1958. Mom does not look several months pregnant in this photo.

Me Dad Sharon Mom Ricky.

Left to right: Me, Dad, Sharon, Mom & Cousin Ricky [ Patrick Conroy ] Most likely in the living room at 1856 Main Street again. Best guess might be 1956 or 57?

Dad, Me, Mom, Sharon -Christmas Tree.

Left to right : Dad, Me [ Jim ], Mom & Sharon at Christmas time [can’t guess the year] in what looks like Aunt Bev & Uncle Larry’s Living room on Laurel Street in the Lordship section of Stratford. Bev and Larry Toronto were Sharon’s & my God Parents and Mike’s parents.

Gramma Carol, Mom & Grace apres or avant cruise.

Grandma [ Dorothy Brooks Borden ], Aunt Carol [ Carol Borden Davidson ] Mom [ Dorothy Eleanor Borden Wellington ], & Aunt Grace [ Grace Borden Conroy ] on the pier in New York City – I believe this would be them returning from a cruise to Bermuda – in the 1980’s? – Another photo from Mike, { Thank You Mike! }

Mom and dad dancing.

Dad [ Robert Carlson Wellington Jr ] Dancing with Mom [ you can only see her back here ] at Bev & Larry Toronto’s 25th Wedding Anniversary party. I can’t remember what year this was.

4 women posing for a photo

I’m pretty sure this is the four Borden sisters in Florida – probably standing near a pool. Left to right, Grace (married Ed Conroy) [ birthday: June 29th ], Carol [ birthday: December 28th – married Raymond Davidson ] Beverly [ her birthday was October 2nd, she was married to Larry Toronto I remember their wedding, my father kept quietly ordering me to sit still – ] And Dot [ Mom, October 20, 1923 – April 8, 2016 ]

— I have to thank Cousin Mike Toronto for the above ten photos – some of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. ( A couple I might have tried hard to forget? 😉 )

— Thank You Mike! —

{{ 4:44 pm Atlantic Time on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 — Notably absent – so far – are photos with our sisters Diane and Nancy – and our brother ‘Nob’ [ Robert Carlson Wellington III ] – If anybody has some photos of them – especially with Mom – please let me have them so I can add them here – }}

Bob & Mom.

Bob sent me this one : “This was from a race in Niantic. I was amazed that she stood outside for 30 minutes waiting for me to finish, and of course didn’t complain about a thing.”
Sent from his iPhone

— Bob took up running for his health and it looks like Mom went to see him finish a race in Niantic, Connecticut the last time she was ‘back East’. Bob sent me this photo on Sunday after I sent him an emailed version of this article with the plea for photos from those who hadn’t been represented here yet. Cathi said, “That’s a wonderful photo!”

~~~~~ Jim

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