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Posts Tagged ‘stories’

The 11th Edition of Smile for the Camera is “Brothers and Sisters”. “Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world?”

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Mom (Mary), Glen and Genevieve

My mom was the third child born to Glen and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson.  Glen Jr. was the oldest, born in 1917, and Genevieve born in 1920.  The siblings had a baby sister born very premature in 1927 and who died at 6 weeks.   Mom always felt that her parents considered her brother the “golden boy” of the family and that he could do no wrong.  He was, after all, the oldest child and only son.  Mom and Aunt Genevieve were battling sisters.  One story I’ve heard is that when Mom had to wash the dishes, Aunt Genevieve would dry them but put them back in the “mix” to be washed.  When the two sisters got into it, my grandmother would sit them in chairs back to back and tell them they couldn’t touch each other or talk to each other.  And they they all got older, married, and had their own families.

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 Mom, John & Genevieve, Glen & Mary

This was probably one of the last photos taken of the siblings together before my Aunt Genevieve passed away in 1958.  My parents had been stationed in Japan since 1957 so Mom hadn’t seen her sister in at least a year.  As adults, the siblings visited each other for holidays and spent quite a bit of time together.  My mom and her brother grew very close especially after my grandparents passed away in the early 1980s.  Unfortunately, Mom lost her brother in June 2001 – just two months before she lost her only son.

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My sister, me, my brother

As the youngest of a family of three children, I felt more like an “only” child since my siblings were older than me.  My brother had been married 9 months by the time I was born and my sister was in high school.  A few years later she would be married and go on to have two children – who were more like siblings to me than my nephew and niece.  How I envied my brother and sister!  They had been able to live in Japan – not once, but twice!  They had gotten to grow up with our first cousins!  They had gotten to learn how to fly a plane!  What I didn’t learn until much later was how they envied me.  I got to live in the same house growing up, go to the same school, keep the friends I made and of course – have a swimming pool in the backyard!  My brother became the male figure in my life after my parents’ marriage ended.  How I did not like my brother telling me what to do!  My sister tried to be a sister but it was awful hard splitting loyalties between a young sister and her own two children.  She tried to mother me when I was an older teen but even that was difficult for her to do.  She wasn’t sure if she should be a sister, mother, friend or what.  We had many rocky moments in my early adulthood.  Even though we worked in the same area of the same building for the same company, it was very rare that we actually were “friends”.  It wasn’t until my first marriage ended that I realized what a treasure I had in my siblings.  Unfortunately my brother was several hundred miles away but my sister was still close.  We became much closer than we ever had.  Then she moved out of state – just when we’d “found” each other again and settled into a friendship.  Luckily as technology grew and we both became email “junkies” – there was hardly a day that didn’t go by that we didn’t email each other.  When she moved back to the area in the mid-90s, I’d spend hours sitting with her at her table just talking about everything and nothing.  We learned so much about each other that we hadn’t known before.  Once again she moved away but we remained close through email and ocassional phone calls.  The day she showed up at my house in March 2005 and told me they were moving back to North Texas, I think I cried continuously – out of joy – for days.  Even now it brings tears to my eyes.  I’m so lucky to have been blessed with such a beautiful, inspiring, and unique sister – who also happens to be my best friend.

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my brother – Jim

This was one of the last pictures I took of my brother – Thanksgiving 1998 – at our dad’s house.  Jim had moved away from our “hometown” area over a year before so he was even further away.  It was wonderful for both of us to share a holiday together with our dad.  Little did I realize that this would be one of the last times I saw Jim.  As I became older, he and I settled into a comfortable sibling relationship.  He was always one of the first ones to call me on my birthday.  Always quick with a joke or one of his “tricks”.  I could count on him to make me smile or laugh.  There was no laughing in August 2001 as he was deathly ill with pancreatic cancer.  There would be no more birthday phone calls, no more jokes, no more “tricks”, no more hearing him call me “sis”.  Now my sister and I have taken that mantle.  I don’t think we ever called each other “Sis” until after our brother departed this life.  I think that is our tribute to him and our hope that someday we can hear him call us that again. 

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My four kids were pretty close in age.  The oldest girls were 23 months apart, the next two were 19 months apart and then the last two were a little less than 5 years apart.  Traveling was always an adventure – especially after the youngest no longer needed to be in a car seat.  I had to be very careful who sat with whom and where the dog would end up as well!  The youngest and 2nd youngest shared a room and due to their ages being almost 7 years apart, they grew close.  However, they had their fair share of disputes.  They were like the Odd Couple – one meticulous – the other not!  The older three would play games together leaving the youngest one out.  They would all yell “He/She is touching/looking at me!”  Then they grew up.

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And became FRIENDS!  After a rocky start at young adulthood and their relationships with one another, I start smiling when I think of the brother finding out what a great oldest sister he had or the youngest and oldest sharing confidences or the fact that they call and email each other more than they do me!  I remember the day a long time ago I told them that someday they would be friends and the looks they all gave me!  

Three generations of “battling siblings” all turned into relationships of Best Friends Forever.  What a wonderful family legacy that is!

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kreativblogger

One of my new readers, Sheri, of Grandma’s Stitches awarded me with this KreativBlogger Award!  The rules are fairly simple:

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those sites on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

Since I haven’t seen this pop up on any other blogs yet, I’ll nominate my 7.  They are:

1. Jessica Oswalt of Jessica’s Genejournal. Jessica has tagged me and awarded me with many awards so I want to reciprocate!
2. Terri at The Ties That Bind. This is a new-to-me genealogy blog and I’ve enjoyed reading Terri’s posts!
3. Dorene at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay. Dorene and I are more than likely very distant cousins through our Connecticut House ancestors!
4. Becky Jamison at Grace and Glory – I enjoy her posts about her parents and her ancestral findings.
5. Ernie Margheim of Ernie’s Journey’s. Ernie is Becky Jamison’s father and has his own blog! Ernie reminds me of my grandfather with some of his stories and the way he writes! Right now Ernie is out of pocket for awhile so he can have surgery and recover. Good thoughts to you, Ernie! (Perhaps Becky can tell her Dad we are all thinking of him!)
6. Suzanne Coleman of Growing up Genealogy. I recently discovered this blog about growing up surrounded by genealogy.
7. Lee Drew of Lineage Keeper. Lee posts the contents of several letters on his blog that are very interesting! This is another blog that is new to me, and I hope will become new to you as well!

I want to thank Sheri for awarding this to me!  I hope you will go visit Sheri and the other nominees and show them some love!

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Kathryn Lake Hogan, of LOOKING4ANCESTORS offered a Fun Friday challenge that dares us to comment on at least 10 blogs – some favorites and some new.

I’ve been catching up on my genea-blog reading and trying to comment on those I’ve read.  This is my list:

1. footnoteMaven on the post Maria Bash and the Spirit Hoax

2. Creative Gene on the post Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

3. The Educated Genealogist on the post Practicing What I Preach

4. Heritage Happens on this post It Tickles My Funny Bone (A new blog to me)

5. In My Life on this post The Green Chair (A new blog to me)

6. Life’s Journey on this post Japanese Cherry Trees around the Washington Tidal Basin (A new blog to me)

7. Thomas 2.0 – Genealogy on his list of Surnames. Thomas new blog is new to me although I greatly enjoy reading Destination: Austin Family

8. Walking the Berkshires on this post Halcyon Days

9. Moultrie Creek on this post Land of the Trembling Earth

10. Genealogy Traces on this post Lucy Puckett and Cowart Children Die From 1918 Influenza (New to me blog)

So I urge to you go check out these blogs and the posts and please leave comments where ever you visit!  Care to leave me a comment?

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My dad remembers his mother’s youngest brother with fondness.  Born Alva Lester House on May 9, 1886 in Coshocton County, Ohio, he was the youngest of James and Frances (Ogan) House’s eight children.  Somewhere along the line, he acquired the nickname of “Doc” even though he went by his middle name, Lester.

 

Lester and Mary Lucy Besser, daughter of Isaac Besser and Mary Thornsley, were married on June 13, 1908.  Lucy, as she was known, was just over 16 years old.  On February 28, 1910 their first child, Arthur Joseph House, was born in Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton County.  On April 16, 1910 the couple and their son were enumerated in the James E. House household living at 423 N. Eleventh Street in Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton County.  Lester is working for a pottery company as a kiln worker, possibly at the Pope-Gosser China Company located on Seventeenth Street.

 

 

Lucy’s mother, Mary Lucy (Lucy) and step-father, Noah Deeds, lived on the same street at house number 336.  Lucy’s father had been killed in a coal mine accident when she was still a child. 

 

Four days after the census taker left, little Arthur came down with pneumonia.  At just two months old, he contracted meningitis and died on April 29, 1910.  Lester and Lucy faced their first tragedy as husband and wife.  The baby was buried two days later in South Lawn Cemetery in Coshocton. 

 

 

Two years later, Esther Annie House, was born on April 7, 1912.  She lived only 18 hours before dying of lobar pneumonia. She was buried next to her brother in South Lawn Cemetery. 

 

 

Not but a little over a month later, as the couple were enjoying some time at the home of Lucy’s mother and step-father, Lucy Thornsley Deeds, fell out of her chair by the window of her home and died of a heart attack.  The woman was about 42 years old.  Once again, Lucy had to overcome a loss and wade through her grief.

 

 

 

The couple finally had a child they could nurture when Georgia Evelyn House (referred to as Evelyn her entire life) was born on March 11, 1914.  Their joy continued as a healthy son, Jarold House, was born two years later on May 26, 1916.  Unfortunately the year previously, Lester had lost his mother, Frances (Ogan) House, to pulmonary tuberculosis.

 

Lucy wasn’t in the best of health as the family had lived in Colorado about a year but returned to their hometown on account of her health.  The family also lived in Dennison, Pennsylvania where Lester worked in the shops but returned to Coshocton in September 1919. 

 

The 1920 US Census taken on January 8th, shows that the couple is residing, once again, at 423 North Eleventh Street with Lester’s father, James. The census taker must have asked for the first name of occupants as they are listed as James E. House (head), Alva L. (listed also as Head), Mary L. (wife), Georgia E. (daughter), Jarold E. (son).  There was also another child – one still unborn – as Lucy was pregnant.

 

A little over a month later, the young mother contracted the Spanish flu, which had been the cause of a worldwide pandemic that had begun two years previous and would continue for several more months, then pneumonia set it causing labor.  It is unknown how far advanced the pregnancy was, however, the son that was delivered on February 14th, was stillborn.  Lucy died the following day.  The baby was buried with Lucy next to the other two children, in South Lawn Cemetery. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lester had to pick up what was left of his family and move forward.  His small children were also ill with the flu but would go on to recover.  He had to move beyond his loss and grief.

 

Part Two: How much more loss and grief can this famliy withstand?

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Audio Tapes

In the 1950s when my parents lived in Japan, they bought a reel-to-reel tape player and recorded oral letters which they sent to my grandparents in Ohio.  There weren’t many that survived as they were erased, recorded over or became so bad no one could understand what was recorded on them.  Those that did survive were compiled into CDs by my cousin and sent out to those of us who were there.  I really wasn’t there as it was many years before I was born.  I’m on one or two tapes that were recorded at my dad’s family reunions. 

Yesterday I received these seven CDs in the mail and hurriedly put one in to listen.  I had never heard my sister as a young girl or my brother’s voice as a young man.  All of them – including my parents – sound so young.  Then today I listened to another CD that included the voices of my grandparents. 

To say that this is like Christmas for me would be an understatement.  I’m hearing people whose voices I haven’t heard in many years.  Even though I have dozens of handwritten letters, there is something to be said to actually hear family speak about their day to day activities.  I hear the excitement of being in a new country, the sadness of being so far from family, the laughter from being silly, and the fear when my aunt became very sick.

My cousin probably doesn’t really understand just how much these CDs mean to me.  It’s a piece of time that will never come again – yet it’s been captured forever in the lilting words of my family.

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Last week, Tim Abbott from Walking the Berkshires posted a challenge that asked, What were the 10 most influencial albums of your formative teenaged years? I’ve read several genea-blogger posts and know that once I list the music that shaped my life as an adolescent, I’ll appear as the teeny-bopper I really was!

So without further ado:

  • Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies & Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Barry Manilow – Tryin’ to Get the Feeling
  • Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic & Get Your Wings
  • Osmonds – The Plan
  • Rick Springfield – Wait for Night
  • Bee Gees – Saturday Night Fever & Spirits Having Flown
  • Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive
  • Original Soundtrack of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
  • Original Soundtrack of the Who’s “Tommy”
  • Kiss – Alive & Destroyer
  • Elton John – Elton John & Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Bay City Rollers – It’s a Game
  • The Beatles – White Album

Okay – so there are actually 18 albums!  I also had a few singles that shaped my formative teenage years:

  • Led Zepplin – Stairway to Heaven
  • Cher – Dark Lady
  • Rick Springfield – Weep No More
  • Bay City Rollers – The Way I Feel Tonight
  • Kiss – Beth
  • Eagles – Hotel California

See, told you – teeny bopper!  The albums, I’d hear at least once a week & the singles – probably every day!

In all fairness, I enjoy most types of music (just not behind country 100%!)  Music has always been a big part of my life.  My favorite morning is to put on some music, pick up a good book, pour myself a steaming cup of coffee and settle in to enjoy the music of my youth.

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For a Picnic!

Bill at West in New England has posted WELCOME TO THE PICNIC!. There are 20 different posts and they all have some very interesting (sometimes amusing) information! I urge you to go check out the stories!

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