Where It All Began

When I first moved into my apartment in 2010, I didn’t realize I would be living just a few blocks from where both my maternal and paternal grandparents once lived. My mom’s mother spent her early childhood on East 116th Street and Pleasant Avenue, just a stone’s throw away from what is now a Target, while my dad’s parents both lived in the upper East 90’s.

As my family drove me home this Christmas, riding past the very familiar sights of 96th Street, my dad reminded me that his parents got married at a church I see almost every day between Lex and Park Avenues. A ways back, I wrote a blog entry about the library my dad’s mom Jessie went to as a child that is currently my neighborhood library. (A library I have now lost 2 books from, sorry NYPL!) Directly across the street from that 96th Street branch is St. Francis de Sales Catholic church, where they were married. I decided to take a peak inside today …

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Jessie Daley and Andrew Campbell tied the knot in 1941. I don’t have a photo handy of their wedding day, so I’ve included this one of my grandmother dancing with my dad at my parent’s wedding 40 years later in 1981. The next time I’m at my Aunt Rosie’s house (seen here on the left), I will stockpile some old photos to post about.

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After their wedding, they moved to the Bronx and later to Bellerose, Queens and had 6 children: Drew, Jane, Anne, Rosie, Thomas (my dad) and Edward. Andrew worked for Westinghouse Electric and Jessie was a housewife. Unfortunately, they both passed away before I was born. I would have loved to have heard stories about the changing neighborhood and the fact that a 2nd Avenue subway is STILL being worked on.

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While I may not be a churchgoer, I was immediately taken back by the beauty of this place. From the stained glass windows to the intricate Stations of the Cross carvings along the perimeter, there was an abundance of art to take in.

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St. Francis was built in 1903 and, naturally being my father’s daughter, I was interested in learning more about its history. The original parish was started in 1894 in the first floor of a house on 100th Street but soon proved to be too small and was moved to its current location.

I am eager to look through pictures from my grandparent’s wedding day and set them side by side the pictures I took today.

Until the next time!

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