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Archive for the ‘On This Day’ Category

On this date 79 years ago, my brother was born in (present day) Fairborn, Ohio. Back then it was Fairfield – Bath township to be exact – because Fairfield and Osborn had not merged yet. My brother was the oldest child born to my mom – and the only child born out of her brief first marriage to Leslie Lovejoy. A marriage that I knew nothing about for many, many years. Their son, (birth name) Leslie James Lovejoy was born on January 2, 1940 after at least two days of labor for my just turned 18 year old mom.

Jimmie (as he was known) was a handsome fella – adored by his maternal grandparents. It was Jim who gave our grandmother the moniker of Nana. And it was Nana who took care of Jim for the first few years of his life while Mom became a working mother and figured out what she was going to do about her less than ideal marriage.

On June 22, 1946 in Berrien county, Michigan my brother was adopted by my mother’s new husband (my dad), and his name was legally changed to James G. Amore. It was known that “G” stood for Glen after our maternal grandfather Glen but there was just an initial. When my parents married just before Jim turned 4 on December 3, 1943, my brother called his new dad – “Daddy Gene.” It wouldn’t be until Jim was about 16 when he would re-meet his biological father and meet his younger half-sister.

If Jim were still living, he would be turning 79 today – which for me is mind-blowing. I often wonder how life would have played out if he had not had pancreatic cancer and passed away on August 31, 2001. I can’t call or write him yet I know he is with me. I miss you, Jim.

(Original and digital image in possession of Wendy Littrell.)

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Flickr_-_USCapitol_-_Signing_of_the_Constitution

As broadcast legend Walter Cronkite would say: “You are there.” Perhaps, you aren’t or weren’t there, but were any of your ancestors?

In 1787, delegates from seven of the newly created states traveled to Philadelphia to begin deliberation for revising the Articles of Confederation. The result was historic – The Constitution of the United States.

Were any of my known ancestors living in the area in 1787? My four times great-grandfather, Adam Goul (1761-1845), had arrived in Pennsylvania around 1773 and in the first census of the United States, 1790, he was living in a small area called Kingsessing in Philadelphia. It is quite possible that he witnessed some of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention out and about in the Philadelphia area during the four months they were hashing out our government structure. Adam may have spoken with some of the men there and saw General George Washington from a distance. My newly found Lewis ancestors were living in Delaware county, Pennsylvania putting them right next door to Philadelphia. Perhaps at some point, one of them came across one or more delegates.

What would have been the feeling of the residents of Philadelphia besides being war weary from the Revolutionary War? Were they aware something so important was taking place just down the street? What were the newspapers reporting? And given what our country has seen at many political conventions, were there protesters outside the building that would come to be known as Independence Hall? And just what would today’s media sound like if all the technology of today was around back then?

 

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia twice – once when I was a child and another the summer before my senior year of high school. At each visit, I stood in Independence Hall gazing at the area where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. That whole city is full of history and through my ancestors, a bit of mystery as I wonder if Adam realized that he was in the middle of the most important events in our country’s narrative.

Top Image: Wikimedia commons – public domain.
Two bottom images: Original and digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.

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Gene Amore; December 1969; 53 Cherry Hill Dr, Beavercreek, OH

Today marks the 95th anniversary of my dad’s birth. He’s no longer here to celebrate a birthday. He passed away on December 3rd – ironic because that was the day he and my mom were married in 1943. Ironic because they were divorced in 1973. It was also the day of my baptism in the early 70s. The funeral home that handled the arrangements was less than competent and never published a correct obituary. To honor my dad, I’m posting the full obituary – without worry of copyright infringement because this is the first time it has been published. I wrote it the day after he died. As the family historian, I’m like that. Yet, this obituary only gives a short snippet of who my dad was in life. It’s the first time since he’s been gone, that I’ve been able to publicly write about his life. I’m hoping to tell you more about the man I knew as Dad in the next few weeks.

Eugene James Amore (“Gene”) passed away at Tri-County Nursing Home in Fanning Springs, Florida on December 3, 2015 at the age of 94 from complications of a stroke and pneumonia. He was born to Lloyd W. Amore and Ella Marie (House) Amore on April 4, 1921 in Coshocton, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings: Gertrude Shackelford, Gail Amore, Marie Quirk, Paul Amore, Norman Amore, Bervil Amore, and Maxine Amore; son James G. Amore; and stepson Edward Mottl. He was also preceded in death by his wives, Dorothy (Thackston) Amore and Florence (Smith) Amore. He is survived by his wife Joan Bateman of Chiefland; daughters: Michele (Bill) Broughton of Bonham, Texas and Wendy (Charlie) Littrell of Mendon, Missouri; stepdaughters: Joan Michele of Ocala and Gail (Bob) Kane of Tarpon Springs; stepsons: Tom (Debbie) Mottl of Bellview and Pete (LaVonn) Bateman of Houston, Georgia; grandchildren: Patrick (Toni) Newhouse, Penny (Shannon) Cornelius, Brian Amore, Shannon (Phil) Haney, Teresa (Alan) Coleman, James Sumner, and Jasmine (Ivan) Hammon; seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; numerous step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Gene enlisted in the Army Air Corps on November 16, 1939. In August 1942, he was assigned to Reykjavik, Iceland to train as an airplane mechanic with the Air Transport Command and returned to Coshocton in December 1943. From there he went to Milwaukee, WI; Great Falls, MT; Tachikawa AFB in Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; and Panama City, FL. He retired as a MSgt from the US Air Force in 1960. He was employed in civil service – transportation and logistics at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside of Dayton. He retired from civil service in 1972.

Gene had his pilot’s license and while living in Japan, was a member of the NCO Aero Club. He enjoyed listening to Country and Western, singing karaoke (especially “That’s Amore’”), and playing keyboard. Gene was raised in the Salvation Army and the Nazarene church. As a young man, Gene took after his older brothers and had a paper route in Coshocton. He played the trumpet in the Salvation Army band as a youngster. He was a Golden Gloves boxer in Coshocton in the late 1930s.

Gene and Joan were married in 2003, went on a cruise and spent time traveling to visit family. They were regulars at VFW Post No. 5625 in Chiefland, Florida and the Suwannee River Moose Family Center 325 in Fanning Springs, Florida. Gene was a Life Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8532 in Coal Hill, Arkansas. Up until his stroke on October 12, Gene regularly fed the birds (and squirrels) in his backyard, mowed his lawn, and took care of little things around the house. His daughters, grandchildren and family members have always remarked on Gene’s sense of humor, positive attitude, and longevity. He will be remembered with love, affection, and admiration from not only his family, but a whole host of friends and extended family.

Gene did not want any services. His ashes will be interred at Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio in July 2016. As a remembrance, raise your glass to him.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In celebration of my daughter’s and son-in-law’s third wedding anniversary, I’m posting a photo from the wedding.

(Digital image in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use.)

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santaya

True? False? Somewhere in between?

Those of us who were alive and cognizant of the world around us on September 11, 2001 surely do remember that morning, what took place, where we were and what we were doing, and how it made us feel.

For me it is not only a remembering of that September morning but of the loss of my brother less than two weeks before. I also remember how just years prior to 9/11 that my husband had flown on each of those doomed flights during the days that he traveled very frequently – almost weekly – for business.

Here are my previous posts beginning with the first: Remembering Those Lost; My Thoughts on 9/11; Reflections on September 11, 2001; and Anniversary of the Last Day of Normal.

Today, I’ve put the flag up as a way to honor all those who have lost their lives on 9/11, who were first responders, and those who have been lost due to the war on terror.

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The Library of Congress’ Today in History page reports that on this day in 1918, the “American Expeditionary Forces…launched its first major offensive in Europe as an independent army” led by General John J. Pershing. My family has a connection to “Black Jack” Pershing in two different ways. As seen in the photo above, my grandfather met the General in the days of WWI when Pershing inspected my grandfather’s squadron. In a letter to my grandmother back home in Indiana, my grandfather mentions the inspection and meeting. Pershing is the first man in uniform from the right (not standing on the car) and my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, is the third from the left.

The second connection is through my husband. Pershing State Park in Linn county, Missouri lies across US 36 – 16 miles from my husband’s father’s farm. Each time we drive that road, we see the signs about Pershing and the Park.

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Today, September 10, marks the 13th Anniversary since the last day the United States was “normal.” I am not really sure what I was doing on September 10, 2001 specifically. I dropped my son off at the high school – not sure if I took my daughter or if she caught a ride with her friends. I took my youngest to middle school. It was a Monday so I went to work at my church. And I was still fresh off my trip to my brother’s funeral in Alabama. There were still sad moments during the day. I worked my three hours and went home to grab lunch. More than likely, I turned the television on to watch the rest of the noon news before one of my daytime shows started. I’m sure I fixed dinner that evening after my husband and kids were home from work and school.

According to USA Today’s online article “The Day Before,” items that the American people were reading about or watching on the news concerned the trial of actor Robert Blake, suicide bombings in Istanbul, Michael Jackson’s first live concert in quite awhile at Madison Square Garden, and President Bush’s trip to Florida. It was by all accounts, a day just like thousands of days that had come before. But that would all soon change.

Just like those alive on December 7, 1941 or November 22, 1963, we all know where we were and what we were doing the morning of September 11. I’ve written before of my memories and thoughts. Before we realized it, whatever we considered “normal” was gone. For many days the airspace over my house – close to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – was silent. Growing up near an air base in Ohio and living in my present home for so long, airplane noise had always been normal for me. The silence overhead was eerie. People walked around with a look on their face as if they didn’t know whether to be sad, confused, or angry. Everyone wanted to talk about it. Most of us were glued to our televisions as those horrific scenes were played over and over again and listened to the stories of those who had escaped from the towers, the Pentagon, or had heard their loved one’s last words via a cell phone high above a Pennsylvania field.

When the airlines began flying again, instead of the “normal” sounds above, I would look up and wonder if there would be another plane right on the heels of 9/11. What used to be normal for travelers had all changed. There was a list of banned items, new rules and restrictions in place for luggage, and no way to see your loved one’s off in the terminal just before boarding. When family would fly in to D/FW in order to catch another flight somewhere else, there wasn’t any way that I could go visit with them until they left; it just wasn’t allowed anymore.

Children grew frightened. The American people pulled together – at least for a short time – because it was OUR country that was attacked; OUR people were killed; OUR airlines were hijacked. Churches were packed with people looking for answers and praying for the nation.

And normal now? Homeland Security Agency – part of the government that didn’t exist 13 years ago today. Pat downs, luggage inspection, and getting body scans at airports. New vocabulary has entered our lexicon: Al-Queda, Taliban, “weapons of mass destruction,” ground zero (meaning where the twin towers once stood), and the war on terror. Children born after September 11, 2001 (and some that were young) will never know a world of “normal.”

This is a sad anniversary – the Last Day of Normal.

 

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