That Cape man who allegedly embezzled $5+ million
With a name like Windle, you shouldn't swindle, because you're too "Googleable"
It's amazing what ordinary people (like me) can dig up on you if you have a Googleable name like Windle. By "Googleable," I mean uncommon. Meaning, if I Google my own name without geographic qualifiers, the results are all about the 12,000 other Julie Brooks in the USA and not about me.
Fascinated by the story in today's Cape Cod Times about Jeffrey Windle, the 41-year-old resident of Harwich who was arrested by the FBI for stealing millions from his company and is suspected of stealing between $200 - $400K from his church, the Congregational Church of South Dennis, I immediately began my digital digging. I was curious about this man's unfortunate family (suspecting that there is no way a man with this much money would be single.)
A search of the property tax assessment records for the town of Harwich for Mr. Windle reveal that his 7-bedroom, 6.5 bath house in Harwich is assessed at $1,895,000 and was purchased in 2004 for $1,904,000 by E & S Realty Trust, located at 346 Trotting Park Road, in Dennis. A search of the same records for the town of Dennis reveal that Jeffrey Windle and Jeannine Windle purchased the 3-bedrooom, 1.5 bathroom house (complete with lawn jockey) in 1996 for $145,000.
Googling the perhaps unsuspecting Jeannine
Googling the perhaps unsuspecting Jeannine Windle reveals that she was the president of the Ezra Baker School's parent-teacher committee (back when they lived in Dennis) and that the Windles were benefactors of the Harwich Mariners and served as a host family for two players on the Harwich Mariners (hey, why not use those 7 bedrooms for a good cause.) Jeannine was thanked in the Harwich Elementary School newsletter for helping out with a kids' art show.
Jeannine is also named on the incorporation documents for E & S Family, LLC, incorporated in Florida. Googling Jeffrey's name, the first search result is in connection with his church he is suspecting of looting, the South Dennis Congregational Church . However, his name has been scrubbed from the page since Google indexed it. Also, Jeffrey is mentioned as a defendant in a lawsuit in connection with several boats.
This is certainly a tragic and intriguing (to me at least) story of a man who drastically upgraded his and his family's lifestyle, allegedly through embezzlement, over the course of four years. Am I the only one with the rudimentary skills required to do the above Googling? Of course not. Am I the only one who Googled the Windles? Of course not. We live in the information age, like it or not, and it's all out there.
Chatham prefers 8 "affordable" units on 1.3 acres over winter boat storage
Brewster & Orleans prefer a sub-division over a small horse farm
By Walter Brooks, a.k.a. the Blogfather
I was speaking with Barnstable author Alexander Theroux last week upon his return from Estonia where he said he found the only native population ruder than his fellow Cape Codders.
We both decided that this phenomenon is the result of the Cape's re-population by washashores like ourselves rather than the old Cape Codders who were taciturn but polite.
Cape Codders are a fair people - they never speak well of one another
The latest two examples of our native cussedness which leap to mind are these.
The former Fougere's Nursery property on Route 28 in Chathamport was bought in 2002 by the owners of Ryder's Cove Boatyard as a place for storing boats in the winter months.
The property for decades has been used for a landscaping business with all the dirty trucks and other equipment typical of that business parked between piles of loam and wood chips, as the photo above taken yesterday shows.
Boats, whether at sea, at mooring or in a backyard are beautiful things, but the neighbors thought otherwise and stopped Ryder's Cove from making a reasonable use of their property.
It will now be auctioned off under an H20 permit request to build eight units in three buildings on 1-1/3 acres. The neighboring snobs will get exactly what they deserve - eight families (hopefully with lots of loud kids) of modest mean instead of those horrible stored sailboats which would only be on the property in winter anyways as they watch their tax rate rise to service their new neighbors.
It's even worse in Brewster and Orleans
The other example of unneighborly arrogance is shared by both Brewster and Orleans.
Mark Nickerson is a young home builder who wants to house twenty horses on forty acres he bought along Route 39 near the Brewster-Orleans town line.
The scene above show what the property looks like along the road. He cleaned and landscaped the forty acres for pastures and trails, and as you drive by it looks like a bucolic parkland. But the neighbors don't like horses and the bureaucrats in Orleans want to flex their muscles to show their power and suggest that horses are a hazard to the water table but forty or more new houses would not. I guess the up to eighty families who might occupy that same land will wait till they get off the land before they use a bathroom to relieve themselves.
The Nickerson property is a credit to his good taste and a far better use of forty acres than another subdivision. In fact, it may be the best possible use given the price of gas which rose to $3.42 a gallon yesterday at a nearby station.
The owner says he complied with all laws and regulations and will never give in, and anyone who knows Mark Nickerson also knows that is a formidable threat.
He'll get his horse farm, but this writer can't help but wish he would bless my town with his farm and apply for a permit to Orleans and Brewster to build about eighty affordable units on the Route 39 land.
The neighbors there deserve it.
Below are the recent stories in the local press about both these properties.
And here are only a half dozen of them
Say it ain't so, Monpo, you ain't lost your mojo
In a recent comment on our newest blog, The Savvy Thrifter, our eternally ironic wit Monponsett whimpered, "Soon... I'm gonna be like the 10th prettiest blogger here or something.... and when that happens, I'm gonna lose a lot of my Mojo."
Anyone who follows Monpo's comments knows there is little likelihood of her ever losing anything except her patience with fools and knaves, but her alarm made me take a quick look at the women who blog here, and we have to admit they are a comely lot.
I only have room for the six above, but if you scroll down the blog pile you'll see many, many more who manage to match wit with beauty, and below we offer the links to those shown above and all the rest of our women bloggers who have photos on their blogs.
To be fair...
One commenter suggested we also show you the women who blog in the "old media" like the CC Times. They don't have a half dozen, so we included all the women writers of columns AND blogs to get six. They are by row: Kitty Baker, Alicia Blaisdell-Bannon, Cynthia Stead, North Cairn, Med Burton and Debbie Foreman.
It's the difference between the new and old media in a snapshot. Below are ours.
And the rest of our women bloggers:
"Everything in moderation - even moderation." - Mark Twain
New York Times story on Sunday reveals a darker side to New Media
The headlines on the story in the technology section of Sunday's New York Times screamed:
In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop
and the story went on to relate so apparently anything, even writing a blog, can become so obsessive that it injures ones' health.
After a fairly tame intro which we'll spare you, the story continues;
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.
To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic... "I haven't died yet," said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him and four employees. "At some point, I'll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen"... New York Times.
Anyone who was reading newspapers back when television started eating away at the revenues previously owned by newspapers will recall similar horror stories about "the Boob Tube" and it's harmful effects on viewer's health, both physical and mental.
"At some point, I'll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen."
- Michael ArringtonAnd yes, even water can kill you if you drink enough of it, we suppose, but it is still amusing that "The Old Grey Lady" NY Times can get so alarmed over bloggers pecking away at their PCs.
Of course, it might be because the NY Times' ad revenue is dropping daily, down 10%. In fact the entire newspaper industry is getting ready for the trash bin of history. According to the Newspaper Association of America, revenue from ads in printed newspapers dropped 9.4 percent for the year ending March 31, the biggest drop in any year since 1950, the period charted by the association.
Even on bulcholic Cape Cod, the local daily manages to put down the new media as the newspaper itself is being offered at fire sale prices by its new owner Rupert Murdoch. The local daily disses blogs with a daily house ad which proclaims "There are millions of blogs on the web... Some are breaking big stories. Others are unapologetically spreading rumors and lies."
The New York Times' tale adds this cautionary note;
"I haven't died yet," said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him and four employees. "At some point, I'll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen."
Or as they say in Bulgarian, blogodarya, which mean thank you. Turn up your sound and listen to it here
Stuff White People like
Blogger starts in January, book deal by March
We don't promise our Cape Bloggers a rose garden or even $300,000 book deals, but despite the problems the old media has with them, blogs already enjoy the readership and national prominence which the mainstream media enjoyed a decade ago.
This virtual news(paper) is little more than a mega-blog itself with over 150 local bloggers writing for us. Many have prospered, most spiritually, a few with huge media attention and even a couple with money.
The local daily still disses blogs with a house ad which proclaims "There are millions of blogs on the web... Some are breaking big stories. Others are unapologetically spreading rumors and lies."
Gee, can we survive with that much abuse?
The story in Sunday's New York Times on the right relates the latest triumph of this new new medium. A Google News search for the blog author's name, Christian Lander, brings back 15 stories in the past two days. A search for the blog's name, Stuff White People Like, brings back 43.
Like any good blog (substitute newspaper or magazine column here) Lander uses wit and irony to make his points which the old media mistake for racial slurs and bigotry. A current post on his site asks the eternal white parent's concern:
Should white children be allowed to drink wine?
The text begins - White people need to learn about wine as soon as possible. Not learning until college puts them at an inherent disadvantage to Europeans and white children raised abroad. It is strongly recommended that children learn about wine regions, vintages, terror, and tannins in elementary school to give them that all important leg up when they reach college...
Of course the old media is so PC pot bound it could never understand thoughts like Lander's and those of most blogger except when the old media fossils decide to write a blog for their own newspapers which turn out to be even worse than their regular print columns.
"A man is known best by his enemies rather than his friends." - Mal HobbsWhile our local daily ignores cc2day and its bloggers except to diss them, precious old media like Cape Cod Voice manage to mention us, but never seem to get the name of website correct. In the current self-absorbed edition they refer to us as Cape.com which is a former Internet Service Provider which sold out to Fall River company last year. Please, don't anyone correct them, we can't afford their approval.
All this is, of course, greatly to the advantage of new media like ours. As a wag said during the 1970's, "if Nixon's Attorney General had said he loved smoking grass, the kids would all stop the next day", or as the late-great publisher of The Cape Codder opined, "a man is known best by his enemies rather than his friends."
By Julie Brooks
I want to thank the Blogfather for allowing his blog to be the vehicle to share this over-the-top review of Alberto's Ristorante in Hyannis written by my nine-year-old son (grandson of the Blogfather), a 4th-grader at Eddy Elementary School. The teachers have been doing a wonderful job with teaching the kids to write descriptive stories, and below is his latest assignment: a fictitious account of him and friends eating at Alberto's. My son has in fact grown up eating at Alberto's and knows the food well, usually ordering the chicken parm. You've heard the term "unembellished truth?" I think "embellished truth" best describes this review ;)
My birthday feast
Text by Will Brooks
It was time for the party! My ninth birthday, it was. Everybody stood motionless, gazing incessasantly at the midnight black Lincoln Town Car limousine snaking its way down our winding stone driveway...The ride over with, I strode out and took a look at the restaurant. A red brick classical Italian building with an awning over each polished window bearing the words "Alberto's Ristorante" stood before me. I stood, gaping in awe at the fine masonry constructing the captivating exterior.
Inside was a different story. I thought things could not look better in this world, but I was wrong, Expensive silver chandeliers hung from the richly carved ceiling. Pristine white tablecoths blanketed dark mahogany tables, pillowed on a softly carpeted floor. Plush leather took my weight as I sat. It was time to eat.
The menus arrived. Custom-designed fonts spelled out the delectable food available at this fine establishment. Covered in soft leather, the menus caressed my hand. With the luxurious feel of silver, I held my fork firmly. Ordering chicken parmagiana, I prepared for a meal. My main dish was here before I could count to three.
Top-end chicken sat atop fine china, blood-red sauce blanketed the meat in buttery paste. Swirling and twisting angel hair wormed its way into the mouth-watering picture. Slowly, ever so slowly, trying to preserve the image in my alreaady occupied thoughts, I reached forward, with fork in hand, toward the chicken. I stabbed the prongs deep down into the fleshy meat. Plunging the knife daintily across the meaty flesh, cutting like butter. Hesitantly, I pulled the sliced meat up to my watering mouth. For a second, I was completely and utterly dazed.
The lightly seasoned meat burst with an amazing explosion of vivid taste. Stringy cheese added an extra zing, and the smell was simply delightful, with dreamy fragrances wafting through the restaurant. Inhaling slice after slice of chicken, I was totally stuffed with luscious food, as a turkey would be on Thanksgiving Day.
It was time to leave. My dreams were filled with luscious images of food passing by. Then, I ate the meal all over again in my mind. I woke to the restlessness of my brain forcing me to think that, "This would be good story material."
Oh, to be young, skinny, and unconcerned about calories, cholesterol, carbs, or cost ;)
The Sins of my youth explained, or at least, excused
or are coincidences simply God's puns?
I think it only fair that my dear readers be advised concerning what a complete cad and libertine I was in my misspent youth.
On the other hand, misspent may be the only profitable way to fritter away this unchained time.
These critical thoughts rose up this week almost like an unwanted pustule as I read my Alumni bulletin from Culver Military Academy on right.
Most of my friends (both of them) know of this ill-considered and asinine move born out of my youthful enthusiasm for armed combat. After all, I was ensconced quite comfortably in the ivied halls of Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut in the 1940s. But World War II was raging, and I convinced my parents that I should transfer to a military academy where I could earn a commission and thus fight the naughty Nazis as an officer, if not a gentleman.
Loving fools that they were, they allowed me to choose my new prep school, and I picked Culver on the dull plains of Indiana, a state I have avoided like the plague ever since.
All this may seem quite harmless until I tell you two facts;
One such who graduated a year ahead of me was George "Damned Yankees" Steinbrenner. And yes, George was as a big a snob and lout as a teenager as he became in adult life. Even worse, he was in The Black Horse Troop whilst I was a mere infantryman.
Be careful what you wish for
Be patient, dear reader, I'm almost at the worse part.
You see, I hated that school with a passion, and believe that Culver made me the man I became. I have been rebelling against its discipline and regimen ever since, and it surely explains why I became a Beat Poet and a voluptuary shortly after graduating.
The (rather good) wages of sin
Luckily these same characteristics helped me become a successful newspaperman, and I have always been secretly proud of the fact that I survived four years at Culver until the latest alumni bulletin arrived this week.
It contained an article in the magazine Elite calling the school a meritocracy but also extolling its most famous alumni.
I was not on that short list.
But Osterville's Bill Koch was.
That's Cape Cod's Bill Koch in the middle photo at right above the author. He is an America's Cup winner, billionaire oilman, wine and art collector in the extreme, and also the major underwriter of my personal bête noire the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.
What an ironic juxtaposition that Bill Koch. our Nantucket Sound wind farm's greatest financial detractor, should have shared the same education as myself, the wind farm's most clamorous promoter.
But what an unholy trio of "Culver men" we represent - Steinbrenner, Koch and Brooks. It does make one remember the adge, "Coincidences are God's puns."
Rafio the Mad Monk is alive and well and living on Cape Cod
or, how a newspaper man morphed into a beat poet and morphed back to a member of this inky trade
By Walter Brooks, a.k.a. Rafio
I read this week that I had died. It made me recall Mark Twain's famous retort upon reading his obituary, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
You see, I was once a beat poet and owned a coffeehouse named "Café Rafio" at 165 Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village. In a new book on the Beat Generation there are references to my death in 1964.
I didn't die. My replacement and identity-stealer did.
You, dear reader, probably know me as the editor and publisher of capecodtoday.com or as the Blog Father and as the founder of Best Read Guides, which is among the largest networks of tourism magazines in America.
But my wife and oldest friends still call me Rafio and my grand kids call me Papa Raf.
After Taft School, Culver Military Academy and UConn, I went to work as a newspaperman in 1951 at the Naugatuck, CT Daily News the week a week after my father died at his desk at the Waterbury, CT Republican-American. My next gig was at the Greenwich, CT Time fololwed by a NYC ad agency. However, I had always been an artist and wrote poetry during this period, so by the late 1950s I chucked it all and moved to Greenwich Village in 1957. I always assumed I was rebelling against those four years at Culver coupled withe the usual Brooks' resistence to authority (a forebear fought agaist King George in 1776 as well).
I set up my easel on 6th Avenue and Waverly Place alongside the other street artists and started earning a living sketching portraits of tourists
I tried reading my poetry at several coffeehouses and was given a permanent gig at the Café Bizarre reading my typical beat, protest poems of the era like this:
My country, tears for thee,
Land of mediocrity,
To thee I sing.
Land where my brothers died
On the Red Chinese side,
From every atom fried;
In the 1960s Greenwich Village was still an Italian neighborhood. The beatniks hung out at coffeehouses along 4th, McDougall and Bleeker Streets, while the cross streets like Thompson and Sullivan were almost a forbidden Italian territory for us rebels.
"Where the beat meet to eat, and the square dare to compare"
After meeting my wife in Provincetown one summer, we returned to the village where we met a Jewish mobster who offered to partner with us and start Café Rafio. He was well connected with mobster Tony Bender whose patronage and protection was more valuable than any police protection in those years before the famous Knapp commission investigation of NYPD corruption.
I was sated with beat poetry myself by then, and never featured a poet while I ran the café. The entertainment was performed in a front window and featured the The Taylor Trio and stand-up comic Adam Keith when the other coffeehouses limited their entertainment mostly to poetry and folk singers.
In 1960, within weeks of opening, we had a line of people a block long on Fridays and Saturdays waiting to get in despite the cover charge. My slogan was, "Where the beat meet to eat, and the square dare to compare."
After the first year, my mafia partner said we had to expand to accommodate the weekend crowds. Since he knew the landlord, he said we could evict the super whose apartment separated Café Rafio from an open air courtyard in the rear.
The day we inspected the apartment, the ancient Italian super quickly figured out what we were doing and pleaded with my partner and I not to evict him.
With tears streaming down his face he explained that he and his wife had lived there since coming from Italy many decades before, that she had already had one heart attack and he knew that an eviction would surely kill her.
I told Sol Joseph, my partner, "the hell with it. We'll just raise prices or something to make up the difference."
Although no one ever really knows another person's motivation, I think it's safe to say that my refusal to evict led to my partner and I splitting. That was made painfully clear about a week or so after when a local thug named Gazoot came into Café Rafio saying Sol had sent him.
Gazoot beat the crap out of me and threw me out of my own café.
My wife Pat ran out into Bleeker Street screaming for the local policeman who had disappeared. In that neigborhood, the mob was the law back then.
A widow before she was a mother?
Patricia was eight months pregnant at the time with our first son, and I figured it was probably a good time to move on so she wouldn't be a widow before she was a mother.
As it turns out, I really did save my life because my replacement was killed within a year.
By then I shaved had off my beard and mustache and got a job at the New York Post in 1962 when it was the most liberal newspaper of the eight still published daily in New York City.
After getting that on my resume (leaving out the four village years), I stayed a year and moved on to the Amherst, MA Journal-Record before a young publisher named Bill Breisky hired me for his weekly, the Thompsonville, CT Press.
After two years at the Press, I applied at The Cape Codder in 1965 where I stayed for a dozen years, then moved to MPG Communications in Plymouth where I stayed for a decade. In 1988, I started Best Read Guides with Patricia and a friend, Steve Sullivan, both of whom had worked for me at MPG.
Death comes to Rafio at 2am
With me out of the picture, my ex-partner, Sol, needed someone who at least looked something like me to masquerade as Rafio after my swift departure.
Every artistic environment has its groupies, and the small beat movement was no different. In addition to the artists and writers, we harbored many jackals who hung around the herd looking for leftovers when the countless young female acolytes descended upon the village every weekend.
Death at 2am, Greenwich Village, 1962
One such jackal was a tall, bearded hanger-on named Von Ehmsen (on right), whom I hate to admit bears a strong resemblance to me at age 29. Sol hired him to play Rafio and soon the two of them made another tour of the super's small apartment behind the café.
Apparently my imitator Ehmsen had less heart than I, and the second time around he and Sol served the super with an eviction notice. But unbeknownst to them the old man had a plan of his own.
Since he had little else, Von Ehmsen had a Doberman Pincer which he took for a do-do run after closing the coffeehouse after 1am. A few nights after the eviction notice was served, the super accosted Von Ehmsen and his dog, and again begged to be left alone.
Neither history nor the police reports recorded the ersatz Rafio's reply, but knowing the man well, I always assumed it was something along the lines of "get the hell away from me old man."
Whereupon the super pulled out a very old revolver and shot Rafio dead.
I read about his death one lunch break at the New York Post while doing the crossword puzzle.
I guess it pays to be a half decent human being... the real Rafio is alive and well and living on Cape Cod.
If you remember that era, and Café Rafio in particular, or you're interested in more of this story, make a comment below. After Von Ehmsen was murdered, my old partner Sol (name withheld to protect the guilty) apparently sold out to Ed Gordon (photo right: in front of Café Rafio in 1964) and the café was shut down in 1965 according to artist Peter Crowley who worked there as the kitchen manager until 1964.
I'll add chapters to this tale as the spirit moves me. The next chapter may be about the "longest-lived" heterosexual couple from Provincetown, or the second time my immediate successor was murdered.
[Editor's Note: We are aware that Cape Cod is a peninsula rather than an isthmus, but in the spirit of the Holidaze we allowed the BlogFather this lapse.]
A Cape Cod version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"
While everyone is familiar with this carol, few today know to what it refers. The Twelve Days of Christmas and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany on (January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. This period is also known as Christmastide or "Little Christmas.
At the end our our version starting here we offer the complete explanation from Wikipedia. Here's the final chorus for those of you in a hurry to finish your shopping;
On the twelfth day of Isthmus
my true love gave to me
twelve bloggers blogging
eleven state Casinos
ten gamblers gaming
nine cars acrashing
eight commenters commenting
seven turbines twirling
six web ads paying
five golden pings
four Gadflies grousing
three commissioners carping
two tourists spending
and a plover in a pine tree.
(With apologies to the original)
The Twelve Days of Christmas as a celebration and festival is old and steeped in traditions from Christian cultures around the world. For many, the idea of the 12 days as a length of celebration is based on a sequence of verses in the Holy Bible (Matthew 2:1-12), and a belief that it may have taken 12 days for the three kings (also called wise men or magi) to travel to Bethlehem. Over the centuries, differing churches and sects of Christianity have changed the actual traditions, time frame, and their interpretations.
In the Middle Ages this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season. Twelfth Night itself was forever solidified in popular culture when William Shakespeare used it as setting for one of his most famous stage plays.
In that time of the twelve days of Christmas, pagan traditions were often combined with the religious roots of the festival (as was the case for all seasonal holidays and feasts). Traditional roles were often relaxed, masters waited on their servants, men were allowed to dress as women, and women as men . Often a Lord of Misrule was chosen to lead the Christmas revels . Some of these traditions were adapted from the older pagan customs, including the Roman Saturnalia. Some also have an echo in modern day pantomime where traditionally authority is mocked and the principal male lead is played by a woman, while the leading older female character, or 'Dame' is played by a man. Often the Dame would be depicted playing sexually explicit roles.
The original American colonists brought their version of the Twelve Days over from England, and adapted them to their new country, adding their own variations over the years. For example, it is believed by many that the modern day Christmas wreath originated with these colonials. A homemade wreath would be fashioned from local greenery, and if fruits were available, they were added. Making the wreaths was one of the traditions of Christmas Eve, then they would be hung on each home's front door beginning on Christmas night (1st night of Christmas) through Twelfth Night or Epiphany morning. As was already the tradition in their native England, all decorations would be taken down by Epiphany morning, and the remainder of the edibles would be consumed. A special cake was also baked then for Epiphany (which some now call the king cake).
With the onset of more Americanized and secular traditions throughout the past two centuries (such as the American "Santa Claus", popularity of Christmas Eve itself as a holiday, and rise in popularity of New Year's Eve parties as well), the traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been largely forgotten in the U.S. This is also heightened by the commercial practice to have "After-Christmas Sales" begin on December 26th and run usually until New Year's Eve.
However, a small percentage of Christians of many sects have held on to their own favorite ways to celebrate, and those who choose to also have their own church to guide them in a spiritual way of marking this reverent holiday. Americans who celebrate various ways include secular Christians of all backgrounds, religious Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and those of the Amish and Mennonite communities.
Today, some celebrants give gifts each of the twelve days, feast and otherwise celebrate the entire time through to Epiphany morning. Lighting a candle for each day has become a modern tradition in the U.S., and of course, singing the appropriate verses of the famous song each day is also an important and fun part of the American celebrations.
Some still celebrate Twelfth Night as the biggest night for parties and gift-giving, and some also light a Yule Log on the first night (Christmas), and let it burn some each of the twelve nights. Some Americans also have their own traditional foods to serve each night.
As in olden days, Twelfth Night to Epiphany morning is then the traditional time to take down the Christmas tree and decorations. (The source for most of this material in from various Encyclopedia includung Wikipedea.)