Barbara & John McGraw


Mom (far left) in the wilds of Kenna, New Mexico. Dad (2nd from left) in the wilds of Fairview, New Jersey.

They met and the rest is.... the reason for this website


Click on the links below to follow the "Family Tree".
Actually, I'm creating more of a pictorial "Family Shrub" in a bad need of shears.

Barbara McCombs John McGraw


Click on a photo to open a high resolution pdf suitable for printing.

John and MaryMom and Dadall

maguiretomKev and Joyce

 



When Mike and I were filming "Card Counting - The Definitive Blackjack Course" (2008) and staying at Sue and Bob's, we took an afternoon off and went to 296 East Browning Road to visit our childhood roots.

Sadness

296 East Browning Road

Nothing remains! All gone!! It made me sick!!!

I found some photos that I remember of our home.
click here

I remember:

Sue, Mike email your memories (Em is in the baby walker):


After a snowfall, Mike and his gang, Chickie Ruff, Frankie Barker, The Twins, Angelo and Charlie, et al, would give me a 10 minute head start and hunt me down. I loved it. We had 10 acres, the neighbor 10 acres, and then just open land. They never could track me down.

We had great games of "Kick the Can". What did they do to the big Spruse trees on the front lawn? And the big trees! Gone!
That's were the twins lied, I think. "I see Angelo. No, I'm Charlie."
The game started with a can between the the two Spruse trees on our front lawn.

After intensive toilet training, I would always run back to the house to pee. Mom told me, "you don't have to do that, you're a man, and you can find a place to do it outside." Shortly after, Mom looked out the window and I was pissing on the telephone pole in front of the house. I think it's the one in the current photo. My DNA is on that pole. Mom then got more specific.

The Pea Shooter Wars: Mike, me and neighborhood gang all got pea shooters. (a straw and uncooked peas). We waged great battles throughout our land. Then one day Emmett stuck a pea up his nose. His breathing became very irregular. Dad had to rush him to the emergency room to have the errant pea extracted. When Dad returned all pea weapons were collected and destroyed. The boy was a menace! (read Sue's account of the Girl Scout cookies)

Third base by the cess pool. The grass was greener.

The trench we built to get water to the ball field.

That's where Dad invented, "Hide the Hat".

Mom woke us up every morning by coming into the room and saying, "Good Morning Merry Sunshine".

Dad had no tolerance for self pity. If you came to him with a problem that he thought bordered on self pity his reply was always the same: Ussy Bussy Boo

The cat is Gretie, I don't remember the dog's name. - Steve


so sad...I loved that house and visited you all more there than on Windsor Ave.  My grandmother lived almost within walking distance (but no one walked then)  She lived on Gloucester Pike which turned into Browning Road.  I remember the woods next door and the tree fort you boys built.  The woods seemed endless and we played there for hours.  I remember the kitchen had the same long table and bench against the wall I think was also at Windsor.

I also remembered playing board games for hours over there in the living room off the front door.  That's so funny, as Sue recalled, I do remember sliding the games under the sofa!  I remember playing one game that went on so long that all you boys left and Sue and I were sitting there by ourselves. - Mary Maguire


Browning Rd. was a good house.  It is sinful taking that land and building houses in the name of "progress".
 
I loved the terrific sledding, from the side yard down the hill to see who could make it the farthest ( to the cesspool area where there was no snow:) or off the back over the stone wall ( that jump was pretty high) and down to the shed.
 
I remember falling down the back kitchen stairs (which were hard wood) in my tap shoes ( ruined my career :)  or going upstairs where us kids slept and finding the cleaning lady asleep on one the beds ( I'm sure it's the one who left my favorite dress in a mud puddle when I gave it to her daughter, I still hold  grudge :) or when Mom was "Cookie Mother" for my scout troop. All the cookies were in our front enclosed porch and Mom's bill at the end of the sale was over $100 ( this is during the time when the cookies were .50) because Emmett would go in open boxes and eat a few out of each, so of course Mom had to buy the opened boxes.  Some things never change.
 
Remember the front eves that on the inside of the house made tunnels that Mom used for storage but we used for forts or hide and seek and the marathon Monopoly games and we just pushed the board under the couch ( Steve always won so no one wanted to play with him :)  Raffle was one of our dogs, named because Mike won her at a raffle at Sacred Heart, but she was only days old so Mom and us had to feed her every few hours with an eye dropper.  I"d "kill" one of my kids if they did that to me now :) 
 
Let's have a game of "kick the can" at OBX actually I like the treading!  - Sue

Browning Rd. memories: Sue's letter got me started and the photos really ignited them.
 
Chickie and Vinny; Malloy brothers-Eddie and Frannie; Joe and his half brother Eddie Dee, we called him Dirt; Ralph, he lived in the new house past the woods by the drive way;; Charlie Smith and his little brother who was killed by a hanging accident, my first funeral and casket;Gary and of course, Frankie Barker and dog Blackie.
 
The dog in the picture was Laddie, a Collie. Raffle came later and was part Beagle.
 
Dad throwing the ball for all the sports.
 
Mom in the kitchen and the good smell coming in the back door.
 
Seeing the back steps where Gertie brought birds and mice. Cleaning the mess with a brush and Lysol.
 
The greenhouse where Uncle Tom fermented cherries and grapes in vats for his wine making venture. What smell!
 
Jumping off the shed roof and Uncle Bob jumping off Sue's balcony.
 
The previous owners left a huge lawn tractor in the shed. It was used to cut the field. I was assigned to use it. I weighed 50lbs and it had to be well over a 100lbs. It had scissor blades and cut about a four foot path. My hands were higher than my shoulders as I gripped the two handles. Engage the clutch and it took off. I had to break, jump up on the handles to raise the blades so I could pivot to turn. Mom planted an ornamental tree surrounded by flowers on the left side of the  front yard. One day I lost control of the monster and cut down the tree. Accusation was that it was on purpose because I resented having to dig the hole for the tree. Mom gave up on that flower bed. 
 
Slipping on the hardwood steps coming down from the upstairs and having the wind knocked out of me.
 
Making a crystal radio by winding copper wire around a toilet tissue tube, connecting it to the radiator by my bed and listening to the Phillies game well past bed time.
 
The basement flooded often and we had to sweep the water into dust pans and fill buckets. I have a vague memory of an electric shock incident with a machine. I think Sue was involved.
 
We moved there in the summer before I started third grade. Sue, Steve and I were still at Sacred Heart. I was responsible for getting them on the bus, public transportation, from Kings Hwy down the Black Horse Pike to Browning Road. Sue sat still but Steve wandered all over. One day Sue and I got off and Steve was still on the bus as it took off down the Black Horse Pike. I chased the bus down the road screaming. I could see him ending up in Lawnside or beyond. Mind you, I was in the fourth grade and Steve had to be in first.
 
St Francis started a school up to grade four. I remained at Sacred Heart in grade five. Since bus tickets were expensive it was deemed that I would walk home. Today that would be considered cruel and unusual. Mom and Dad would be up on child abuse charges. I would be in therapy and we all would be placed in Foster Care.
 
Throwing the ball against the chimney. Sometimes it went over the fence into Mr. Fabian's garden.
Steve and I knocked heads going after a ball and it split my mouth open. It was a Sunday afternoon and they took me to Our Lady of Lords for stitches. An intern did the job incorrectly. My top lip had a huge bulge in it and I could not close my mouth properly. I had to hold my head sideways to drink or else milk would stream down my chest. Several years later I had surgery to correct the problem. ( Pete-- We missed a malpractice opportunity.) 
 
In the back on the left was a stone barbecue pit. We used it to burn leaves. One time I got poison ivy smoke  in my eyes, nose, and  throat. I was real sick for a week but since then I have an immunity. It doesn't bother me.
 
The car parked in the drive way was Dad's. Mom parked in the garage. I spent a lot of time sitting in that car. In the morning I was sent to the car to get the engine warmed up before Dad left to take me to school and him to work. I was always late for school. I had to go to Reverend Mother Agnes William's office for a late slip to enter class. I was stoic, never blamed Dad and took the scolding. One day she she used the rubber ruler on my palm. I told Mom. The next morning Dad storms into her office shouting, "Hit me! Hit me!" I was sent into the hallway as they were shouting and a priest came running down the hall. From that point on I got to school when I got to school and went straight to class avoiding the principal's office. Although I will say that I was on time a lot. I learned that we started the day with a prayer and the Pledge.
 
Sledding, kick the can and forts in the woods.
 
I am ready for OBX.
 
Mike

 



FYI: I found the image of the house today by going to:

vpike

It's an incredible site. Type in your address.


 

Mom and Dad had their first fight over this ashtray. They lived in a small trailer, Dad sold houses. They couldn't afford a house. While Dad was at work a door-to-door salesman stopped by and sold Mom this ashtray for 15 dollars. Neither smoked. 15 dollars was alot of money in 1947.
You can visit this ashtray at Kevin and Joyce's home in Montana. (Neither smoke)

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