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Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

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Disregard the child (me) making a silly face in the photo. Look at my surroundings. Okay, I was clearly spoiled. Look at all that stuff! Regardless, I enjoyed every single one of those objects and toys, and I took care of them.

The blackboard is where I wrote “lessons” for my dolls. From an early age, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. Now, I realize that I didn’t really have a calling to be an educator – at least not to children. Back then, that young girl would not only draw – with colored chalk (my favorite!) – but write math problems and spelling words! Some of my dolls got very good grades but others not so much!

The record player was a favorite of mine. I listened to kids songs on my 45s (remember those?) which are held in my record organizer. I learned the words to Ferdinand, Farmer in the Dell, and so many more! I loved singing along with my favorite songs. I also used it to play “Read-Along Stories.” Back in my day, some books came with a 45 to be played while you looked at a story book. “Turn the page”!!

I loved my doll house! I received that for my birthday, and it gave me hours of play time! I handed it down to my oldest two daughters for awhile before it got stored in the attic. Last summer, as we gathered all of our belongings together to pack, give away, or trash, the doll house came down from the attic. I had forgotten that it was up there. I don’t have any granddaughter’s to pass it down so I let it go in the trash. All the furniture and dolls were lost eons ago.

Seeing the electric candle in the window tells me that this photo was taken around Christmas time. See that ceramic dachshund on the window sill? Today, my daughter has that – along with its twin and another one.

The Mary Poppins game was a favorite board game. I liked it so much that my grandparents bought one that they kept at their apartment for me to play with – along with their great-grandchildren. My kids were able to play with that game for quite awhile. Like the dollhouse, the game had seen better times so it was left behind when we moved.

Next to the doll house, was my table and two chairs. I spent hours sitting at the table writing and drawing. I also held tea parties there. At one point, someone (I don’t remember if it was me or my niece or nephew) spilled water on the table causing the laminate to buckle. I do remember at least one time when I was sick, that I got to eat my lunch in my room at my table!

On the wall is a Hummel wooden piece of art. I believe that it is wrapped up and in a box stored in our basement right now.

Those curtains are pretty colorful! As with most of the draperies in our home, I believe my mom made those.

The bookcase holding my record player, books, and games was white with trains. When mom and I moved from the house to a townhome in April 1977, that bookcase went to the basement and held more books, photo albums and other stuff. It was still in there when my mom passed away.

This photo makes me sentimental because each of those objects and toys gave me so many hours of creative pleasure as a child. Some even made me happy seeing my own children use them. What photos of your childhood playthings makes you smile?

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Infant_boy's_cap,_bib,_and_shirt_set_probably_for_christening,_England,_1675-1725,_linen_tabby_with_lace_-_Patricia_Harris_Gallery_of_Textiles_&_Costume,_Royal_Ontario_Museum_-_DSC09373

When I was about 6 or so, I learned that my dad wasn’t the youngest of seven born to Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore. A sister had been born a year and a half after him. I was told her name was Maxine. She had died as a baby.

Fast forward some 30 plus years when I started in depth research on my family history to a letter I received from my dad’s sister, Marie. I had contacted her to obtain all the names, dates, places, etc. of all the immediate Amore family. If anyone would know birthdays and anniversaries, it was my Aunt Marie. I sent her a list of names for her to fill in the blanks. That’s when I discovered that Maxine was born Mae Maxine Amore on November 19, 1922. I also learned that she died the same day.

mae maxine amore death record

It wasn’t until a few years later, that I discovered my dad’s baby sister was stillborn. She was buried the very next day. Her grave at South Lawn Cemetery in Coshocton, Ohio doesn’t have a marker. The cemetery book only lists her as Infant of Lloyd Amore. The Ohio Department of Health lists her name as “Stillborn Amore.” How very sad that Mae Maxine doesn’t have an official name in the books nor a headstone. She’s not even buried in the same cemetery as my grandparents.

Recently, I found a For Sale ad in the December 9, 1922 edition of The Coshocton Tribune that was heartbreaking.

for sale ad

My grandmother, Ella, was parting with the brand new outfit she had hoped to dress the newest member of the family in. I don’t know if she was asking the same price she paid or a little less, but $7.50 for a new baby outfit back in 1922 was a lot of money – especially for a large family. Perhaps, she realized that this would be her last baby, or with each child, she purchased one new article of clothing.

This summer, when I’m in Ohio and can (finally!) visit my dad’s hometown of Coshocton, I plan to go visit the gravesite of his baby sister and let her know that even though she didn’t take a breath on earth, she will always be remembered as a part of the Amore family.

SOURCES: 
Death Record: Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Citing Stillborn Amore. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.Ohio Department of Health. Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002. Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH, USA; digital image, accessed 18 Mar 2016.
Newspaper Ad: Ancestry.com. Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) [database on-line] 9 Dec 1922, pg 5, Col 1, Citing Ella Amore. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Coshocton Tribune. Coshocton, OH, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper, digital image, accessed 18 Mar 2016.
Photo of baby clothes: Infant boy’s cap, bib, and shirt set… , Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, Royal Ontario Museum, Daderot, 20 Nov 2011, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. Accessed 18 Mar 2016.

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In the mid to late 1960s, my parents and I traveled to Pennsylvania and then to New York. My dad’s sister, Marie (Amore) Werkley lived in Philadelphia so we visited her after we had toured the Hershey’s factory. That was before OSHA and health safety laws prohibited people from walking through the guts of the chocolaty preparation areas. We were thisclose to the huge vats of milk chocolate. For a very young girl who never could say no to chocolate, that was a huge thing!

Hershey, PA

Hershey, PA

Seeing the birthplace of our freedoms and walking through the streets once trod by the Founding Fathers was too complex for my young mind to comprehend. Luckily, I was able to do that again as a teen when it meant more to me.

Gene & Aunt Marie in Philadelphia

Gene Amore & Marie (Amore) Werkley

In New York, while my dad was at a work seminar, Mom and I shopped, went to Radio City Music Hall, shopped some more, walked in Times Square, and shopped some more! Mom’s favorite daytime drama was “As the World Turns” and it was filmed live in front of an audience. Oh, how she wanted to see that. I was one year too young to be allowed in as part of the audience – even though it was my fault that she watched soap operas. Back then, no one thought anything of sitting a child in front of the television in order to complete the daily chores – and in my mom’s case, doing some sewing. So while I watched the shows, she got caught up in them too!

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While in New York, we visited the sister of my uncle’s wife. She, her sister, my uncle and mom all grew up together in present day Fairborn, Ohio. Irene and her husband lived on Long Island.

We took a faerie boat ride out to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. We never landed but just saw the beautiful gift from France from the boat. I still get goosebumps whenever I see film of her – and in the case of the last scene from the original “Planet of the Apes” – it terrifies me. On the way back to Manhattan from Long Island, my dad took a wrong turn and ended up in Queens. I had fallen asleep in the car and when I woke up – some three hours later – we were pulling in to the parking garage of our hotel!

I loved that trip and remember so much about it – including being a little sea sick on that boat ride!

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Spring Flower CollageAs I walked from the shop garage this morning at 6:45 a.m. toward the house, I looked over at the daffodils and saw yellow buds. These were planted by my mother-in-law years ago and just some of her flowers that still bloom here at the farm.

Today, with spring in the air and Easter right around the corner, I thought I would post a collage of flowers that have been part of my life.

The large photo is a shot of an Easter Lily. My parents had these planted underneath the picture window of the home I grew up in. The orange flower in the middle along the right side is a shot of the canna lilies that grew alongside the driveway at the house in Texas. My sister had received the bulbs from our dad. She had thinned out her plants and given me many. The iris below that one came from a bulb I bought when my youngest daughter was a young child. Below that one are the zinnias I planted after we moved to Missouri last summer. The bottom corner is of the rose bush that always overflowed with blooms each spring. It was in the backyard of our Texas home when we purchased it in 1988 and is still being cared for today. Next to the roses is a photo of the Resurrection Lily that sprang up mid-summer here at the farm.

I hope you will enjoy this burst of color as much as I do!

(Photos taken by Gene Amore or Wendy Littrell – original / digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use)

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green park

My parents, brother and sister called Green Park apartments in Tokyo, Japan their home for a short time when they lived overseas in the 1950s. Built around 1953, the complex had everything families would need under one roof – a post exchange, a movie theater, club for teens, etc.

For more information about Green Park, please visit Green Park photo essay featured on the Japan Brats website (which is also a very cool site to peruse if you happened to spend a lot of growing up years in Japan as a military brat – I’m looking at my sister here!)

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gaffeygazette

In 1953, my dad had already been in Japan for several months. Now, it was time for my mom, brother and sister to make the journey. They boarded the USNS General Hugh Gaffey for the trip over the sea from Seattle to Japan. Following are bits of my mother’s letter diary she wrote.

June 10, 1953
Well, will start our daily diary on board ship.
June 9 – We were up at 5:00 A.M. at the Hostess House. Had our bed check at 6:00. Bags were picked up at 6:30. Then we went to breakfast at 7:00 A.M. Had 2 hrs to wait. At 9:10 we boarded buses to take us to the pier. Everything went according to schedule. At 10:15 we unloaded, rec’d our passports and went aboard.
Mom Ann Mike on ship
After looking over our cabin & stowing away some of our packages we carried aboard, we went up on deck. Our cabin is on B deck which is 2 decks below. Have nice quarters. It was very interesting to watch people coming aboard as we were among the first to board. The band was playing. We took several pictures of the dock and band & people coming aboard.
We pulled away from the pier promptly at 11:00. Stayed on deck for awhile, then went below. We are on 2nd call for mess so our hrs are 8:00 A.M., 11:45 and 5:15.
In the afternoon we had to go to a meeting and also had a fire & boat drill. We don’t stay below too long at a time as I guess the depth and rocking of the ship makes you squeamish.
We went up on the sun deck and watched the sights. We are traveling the great circle route which is by way of Alaska. Our ship travels 29 knots & goes faster than you realize. At 7 o’clock I asked one of the Lt’s if we were out of the sound yet as we still saw land. He laughed & said what you see now is the Aleutian chain, stretching out from Alaska. The sun never set till 10 P.M. last nite & was beautiful. Also at 10 P.M. we saw the last touch of land. The children have curfew at 8:00 P.M. They have to be in bed by that hr.  We will only be on the water 9 sailing days but due to the time change will actually be 10 according to the calendar. I heard someone talking & they said we would skip Sat, but will wait & see, you hear so many rumors you’d be dizzy if you believe them all.
June 10 – It is now 11:15 and will soon go to lunch.  We were up at 6:30 and made ourselves presentable, at our breakfast or rather I did. Was raining this A.M. & real rough.  Was like riding the elevator.  The ship just pitches about.  The Captain announced some of the decks closed due to rough weather.  He expects to be out of this roughness in the next day or two. In the evening played canasta.  We have coffee hr at 9:00 so drank coffee & ate angel food cake & then retired.  The ships paper said we traveled 471 miles in the last 25 hrs.
June 11th – We sat our watches back one hr in the nite, and made it difficult to try to sleep. The sea is really rough today the ship just rocks from side to side & back & forth. We have run into considerable fog. Was talking to the Capt of the ship & he said this fog has put us back a day & they have changed course. He’s a very nice person & comes around & talks with everyone. We have slowed down to 15 knots & traveled 560 miles in the last 25 hrs. We have 2400 troops aboard too & I feel for those boys. They don’t have any privileges & have to stay either on the forward deck or aft. and have no protection. They are quartered on the same deck as we are but are in the center of the ship & very poor ventilation.
June 12th – We sat our watches back another hr in the nite, and are to set our watches back again tonite. We rec’d our declarations forms for customs at 8:30 this morning. It is quite a job to fill it out. Had another boat & fire drill this morning at 10:30. Tomorrow we pay our subsistence. It is much cheaper than we all thot. Is only 16.43 per person so will only come to little over $49.00. Here I was planning on $90.00. The trip across is cheaper than the trip from Ohio to Seattle.
June 13th – We ran into a storm in the late afternoon & tossed the ship.  Our port holes were latched down & our room was like a dungeon.  It is the Aleutian squall we are in.
June 14th – It’s Sunday & sure is rough.  The bow of the ship comes up out of the water & slaps down.  Still have our port holes latched down.  It is stifling in the cabin.  All decks are out of bounds as the waves are quite high & we toss about.
June 16th – It is Tuesday.  We cross the international date line yesterday afternoon.  So we missed Monday entirely.  The sea has calmed so our port hole is open.  Has warmed up & by grapevine we are 2½ days out of Yokohoma.  Boy this is a long boat ride, even tho I haven’t got sick I’ve seen all the water I want to for awhile.  It’s the monotony that gets me.
June 17 – Wed & just a few more days to go.  The day passed very fast for me.
Debarkation title
June 18 – Thurs & today & tomorrow before we get off this ship.  We will drop anchor late tomorrow afternoon about 20 miles off shore & then Sat morning will dock. It is getting very hot. We ran into a squall last nite & they latched down the port holes & brother we roasted. I’m sitting here in my slip trying to cool off. Will write more tomorrow.
Fri June 19th.  This is our final day sailing.  Will drop anchor sometime this evening.  Also we are to see land about eight tonite, sure will be good to see the good solid land (even tho its Japan it’s better than all this water).  The steward was telling me it’s a sight to watch the husbands come storming up the gang plank.  They are to come on by alphabetical order there’s no stopping them.  I’m going on deck to watch them & take some pictures then will rush down to the cabin.
Sat – June 20.  This is the great day.  It seems nobody slept much in the nite.  Saw land for the first in 9 days.  We had stopped around midnight & was sitting outside the harbor.

Yokohama harbor
At 8:30 had our money changed.  Then back on deck.  We couldn’t take pictures till we were 300 yds from the pier.  We had a good spot along the rail.  Finally we could see the sponsors & band in the distance.  Seemed the ship would never get to the pier.  I started taking pictures of the band just as we nosed into the pier.  I spotted Gene right away.  They were all standing on a high balcony.  I started waving & finally he spotted us.  He used the binoculars so he could see us close.  He also was taking pictures as the ship was pulled alongside.  Gene was smart & started downstairs.  He got up to the gate so he could be one of the first on board.  All the passengers on board had to go to their cabins so the sponsors could find you.  He had a staff car & driver to take us to where we were going.  Went thru customs.  I’ll bring this diary to a close for this time.

(Photos: Mom, her roommate Ann and my sister on the deck of the USNS General Hugh Gaffey. Photographer: Jim Amore. Digital image scanned from original slide by Wendy Littrell; Scans of ship’s newspaper, originals in possession of Wendy Littrell; photo of Yokohama Harbor. Photographer: Jim Amore. Digital image scanned from original photo in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use.)

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Blog Throwback Thursday

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I’ve realized that I just can not do Wordless Wednesday posts because I always have something to say about a photo. I picked the photo above for Throwback Thursday not for the person (me at a very young age) but the items captured by my father when he photographed me.

A few years after this photo was taken, my dad built a bookcase to separate the entry way of our house from the living room. He also laid laminate tile on the floor so the carpeting on the upper left side of the picture had to be taken up. The new couch next to me was black and orange. Mom was never crazy about the color but she liked the way it sat so she had it recovered in a burnt orange color. Some forty years later, that same couch was where family sat mourning her death. A couch that no one wanted and no one could haul off. I wonder if someone is enjoying it now almost seven years after she died or if it ended up in a dump somewhere.

The dining chair now sits in my home in Missouri – along with the table and other chairs of the set. Who knew that when this picture was taken back in 1965 that I would know exactly where that chair was going to end up?

The table between the chair and the television sat under my vanity for a very long time in our Texas home. Inside – where once was magazines and needlework books – were wooden Disney characters from Bambi. Those figures had graced my bedroom wall as a young child. Now, they are packed away.

That old black and white television set was the only TV in our house. Many times when the TV would get a “snowy” picture, Dad would climb on the roof to adjust the antenna. I would stand at the open door while he moved it around so that way I could relay what was happening on the TV as Mom watched to see if a picture was coming in. I’m not sure what commercial was on the televison when Dad snapped the picture but obviously whatever medicine it was “effective as codeine!”

Many years later, that TV set was put in the basement when we got a brand new color television! But we still had to get up out of our seat and cross the room to change the channel!

When I see pictures of objects that were familiar to me as a child, I always feel a sense of nostalgia. For me, genealogy is so much more than searching for ancestors who have come and gone. It is a history and what transpired within the lives of those people to make them who they were. Such is it for me. Remembering how I felt at certain points in my life – and the objects and places around me – is part of my history. My kids and grandchildren will not know details about why a particular place, or thing, or moment in history is important to me unless I tell them. And tell them again. And again.

Have you shared your memories and history with your family?

(Photo by Eugene J Amore; original slide and digital version in possession of Wendy Littrell – Address for private use)

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