Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stella Leonard Block

My mother was born on October 26, 1929, in Jersey City, New Jersey. She was the younger child of Henry Dietrich Block (1885-1934) and Grace Boynton Leonard (1896-1985).

Henry Block was a pharmacist. A clipping indicates that Henry's brother, John G. Block, also had a business in Jersey City. Their sister, Mina A. Block (1877-1969) was my mother's "Aunt Mina" and her favorite "real" aunt. Mina, who divorced after a brief marriage and a baby, gave the baby son to others to raise so that she could become a nurse. A caption written by my mother next to an "awful" picture of Aunt Mina reads:
She referred to us thrugh future yrs. as her "little family in Maine". She provided us all "the extras" we wouldn't have had.

Their parents were John C. Block (1836-1903) and the elder Mina Block (1841-1894).

Grace Boynton Leonard (Grace Block), my maternal grandmother, was my only grandparent alive during my lifetime. She was born July 18, 1896, and died in August 1985 in Bath, Maine.

My mother and her brother, Frederick W. Block (1927-2005), grew up in Bath, Maine. Their mother had been a schoolteacher prior to her marriage to Henry Block. I believe the family must have moved back to Maine from New Jersey after Henry's death.

The children were raised Baptist. Stella's liflong interest in religion and scripture was passionate and complex, and this must have been apparent even in her childhood. A certificate from the Corliss Street Sunday School, dated May 1939, records that she memorized the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the 23rd Psalm, and the Books of the Bible.

My mother's first marriage (to James J. Cousins, Jr.) lasted from November 1948 through September 1956.

At some time in 1957 she must have joined the Unitarian Church in Hartford, Connecticut, where she met my father. They are pictured together in a color photograph dated December 1957. An undated roster of that church's Young Adult Fellowship (probably from 1956 or '57) gives religious curricula vitae for its members ("belonged to the Baptist church originally"; "attended Baptist, Lutheran, and Christian Science churches"; "started as a Unitarian, got a taste of the Lutheran, Congregational & Episcopal churches and returned to Unitarianism", etc.). Among the names are the following:
Kenneth McLintock, 21 Goffe Street, Meriden, Conn.
"Ken" has been in the Hartford area for about 6 years. He was previously affiliated with Christian Science and became Unitarian last year. His interests include music and reading.

Stella Cousins, YWCA - Hartford.
Stella is originally from Bath, Maine, and has been in Hartford for 5 years. She has had a Baptist background. Her interests include music, books and chocolate ice cream.

They were married on August 24, 1958.



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