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If you need to catch up on Part One and Part Two, I’ll wait . . .

So now the time had come for the next leg of my journey – my dad’s hometown of Coshocton, Ohio. Coshocton is located in west central Ohio near the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and just under 3 hours from where we were outside of Dayton. Knowing the horrible traffic and road construction of I-71 and I-70 through Columbus, I chose to spend most of the drive via the country. We headed toward Xenia and then north to Columbus on 70 but went around the city eastward. Before reaching Zanesville, we headed north and then east on 16. As we drove through Newark, I pointed out the Longaberger Basket Building to my grandson. He just had to get a picture as we passed by!

I had left my cousin’s house earlier than planned so we arrived at our hotel before noon. Even though the hotel check in was later in the day, they had our room ready for us so we got our luggage and settled in. Then we set out to explore a bit. We headed toward the courthouse square and passed the Presbyterian church where my grandparents – Lloyd Amore and Ella House – were married in 1903.

presbyterian-church-coshocton-collagePresbyterian Church (left) and Chapel (right)

We walked around the square while we were there. The Coal Miner’s Memorial is dedicated to all those men who worked in the mines and those who lost their lives. It was very important for me to see as not only did some of my dad’s cousins work in the coal mines but so did my grandpa Lloyd Amore. The Bicentennial Time Capsule is special to me because a letter was placed in it from my Great-Uncle, Rev. Isaiah H (“Zade”) Amore. The front page of the November 21, 1976 edition of the Coshocton Tribune reports: In his letter he states that Coshocton has been good to him and has taught him how much people need one another. Rev. Amore strikes a humorous note in his letter, as he often did in the sermons that made his ministry so successful, when he concludes with “I have had my share of weddings and funerals.” Uncle Zade had just celebrated his 100th birthday and due to health reasons, he was unable to be present at the ceremony that day. I am thrilled that in the fall of 2076 someone will open that time capsule and read his letter! The Coshocton County War Memorial is a part of other memorial markers in front of the courthouse. (Photo of the square below.)

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Bob Evans restaurant was right next door to our hotel, so we went there for a late lunch. My grandson was excited that they had double chocolate hotcakes on the menu (wait a minute, I thought we were there for lunch?)!

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After lunch, we headed just around the corner from our hotel to Historic Roscoe Village. I wanted to do a quick check on things just in case we weren’t able to do the tour later in the week. Many years ago, my dad sent me some photos from his last visit to Coshocton. On the back of one, he wrote “Coshocton General Store, some of my brothers and sisters were born upstairs.” That picture has been posted here on the blog quite awhile ago. When we walked in the store, I told the lady at the counter that my grandparents had lived in the upstairs room in the early 1900s and some of my dad’s siblings were born there. She was very excited and told me there were antiques for sale in the upstairs room so I could go up the steps and stand in that same room. After we came back down, we did a bit of shopping and my grandson bought a ball cap before leaving. I stood across the street and took photos of the store. However, and this made me feel sad later – the photo my dad had sent to me and labeled the General Store was not, in fact, correct. I did take a picture of the correct building later – even though I never went in and upstairs – mainly because I was still under the impression that it was the General Store where my grandparents’ home had been.

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In the photos above, you will see the picture my dad sent to me, then the one I took of the General Store, and finally of the Roscoe Village Suites – the correct building. (I am not sure why I didn’t look at the picture on the blog before deciding I had the right building – let that be a lesson learned.) I can take comfort knowing that my grandparents and great-grandparents probably did shop at the General Store even though I now know that they didn’t live there.

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I captured more photos while on our walk down Whitewoman Street through Historic Roscoe Village. After we left, we went up the hill in Roscoe and passed the home I believed to be where my great-grandparents, William H and Mary Angelina (Werts) Amore lived. Up from their house was the Roscoe Cemetery. I drove through but didn’t see their graves. It would be the next day when I would spend more time at the cemeteries in the area.

Our late dinner was spent at McDonalds – grandson’s choice. Then we went back to the hotel to just rest and relax. The next day – Tuesday – was going to be one filled with tons of walking up and down hills.

Next – meeting new cousins and visiting ancestral graves.

 

 

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This is a continuation of Part One so please go to that if you haven’t read it yet.

July 9 – I woke early in order to go to Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in New Carlisle, Ohio. I wanted to visit the graves of my mom, maternal grandparents, uncle and aunts. Before I did anything, I posted birthday greetings for my son on Facebook. As I looked at my list, I decided to go visit my dad’s grave one more time. The ground had been put back, and it appeared as if it hadn’t even been touched. The sun was out and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. I spent time talking to Dad before saying goodbye and heading east on Route 40 (National Road) toward Glen Haven.

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I was a bit disappointed that my grandfather, Glen R Johnson, did not have a flag placed at his grave but many others did. Since he is buried in the Veteran’s section, I would think there would be a high probability that his would not be overlooked. Only my mother’s grave had flowers as my sister and I make sure we order a silk arrangement every spring. It was a shame that the others did not have flowers. (Photo above: upper left clockwise – “J” – the Johnson plot, my uncle and aunt Glen R Johnson and Mary Van Tuyl Johnson, my mother Mary H Johnson Amore, my grandparents Glen R Johnson and Vesta Wilt Johnson, my aunt Lois Evelyn Johnson, and the four gravestones.) I spent quite a bit of time there talking to Mom and my grandparents. Then I took my leave and headed toward Fairborn in Greene County close to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. My grandparents raised their family in what used to be Fairfield until the town merged with neighbor Osborn to become present day Fairborn. I wanted to take a picture of the home where my mom spent her youth. Unfortunately, not only was the street torn up and barriers marked “No Thru Traffic” were in place (which I disregarded!) but the trees in the front yard of the house made it impossible to take a good photograph. With a police vehicle at one end of the street and too many cars in the driveway, I didn’t think it would be proper to stop the car, get out and try to get a good camera shot so I just turned around and left. This – below – is what the home looked like many years ago.

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After returning from my morning journey, my cousin and I hit the local supermarket. I wanted to purchase items that can only be found in the Dayton area – Mikesell’s potato chips, Esther Price candy, and also some Buckeye candy. Think I bought enough chips? (As of today, we’ve eaten all but two bags!)

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After our grocery run, my grandson and I bid goodbye to my cousin and went over to her mother’s (my first cousin) for the remainder of our Dayton visit. I enjoy our conversations. She and her late husband had been very sweet to me when I was a child, and I was flower girl for their wedding. The food she fixed for our supper was delicious.

July 10 – my grandson and I left before 10 a.m. to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force just off of Springfield Street in Dayton. The museum is very special to me as the Caquot Balloon hanging in the Early Years Gallery is similar to the balloon my grandfather worked with in the Signal Corps during WWI. He and several other balloonists and those of the Royal Air Force helped to locate the balloon for display in the museum. He had also donated some artifacts. Another family history fact: when the museum moved from the Base located off of Broad Street in Fairborn to its present day location, my dad was in charge of the logistics of moving all of the equipment/aircraft/etc. Fun fact: I’ve visited the museum more since I moved away from Ohio than I ever did as a kid!

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Following our full day at the Air Force museum, we traveled back toward my hometown and stopped one last time at Ritter’s for frozen custard before heading over to my other cousin’s house for a visit. The evening back at our hostess’ home was spent catching up on laundry and more conversation. We tried to cram in as much as we could in our chat. For all too soon, it would be time to hit the road in the morning for the next leg of our trip – one I was very much looking forward to be headed!

Next – my dad’s hometown!

(All photos – digital scans and originals in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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fireworks

July started off with a bang! Just like many families around the nation, we went to a local park to watch the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. We are also fortunate to live amidst cornfields and rural areas and can shoot off our own sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other types of fireworks. For me the holiday was full of mixed emotions since I knew that just two days later, I would be on my way to Ohio to have my dad’s ashes interred – and – I would see cousins and begin the genealogy adventure that I’ve been waiting to do.

July 6 – Started very early in the morning as my fifteen year old grandson and I finished loading up the car to begin our trip eastward. As we neared the Mississippi River to cross in to Illinois, the sky was full of gray clouds. We drove through Springfield in the rain which turned to sprinkles close to Decatur. By the time we arrived in Brownsburg, Indiana, the sun was out, and it was time for lunch. We arrived at my cousin’s home located south of Dayton before 4:30 p.m.

Our first evening together since the summer of 2010 was full of laughter and catching up. Her two boys are a year older and a year younger than my grandson so the boys disappeared to play video games in the basement. We had a great dinner and then in the late evening, she told me that we needed to go to Bill’s Donuts. Wait a minute – a donut shop – at night? Let me just say that every town across the United States needs one of these places that are open 24 hours! It appeared to be the local hangout for not only teens but families. Picture the very best ice cream shop you’ve visited – but instead of ice cream, it’s donuts! We left there with a baker’s dozen of a variety of sweet treats for breakfast (some of them were still left at breakfast the next morning too!). On second thought, it’s probably not a good idea for one of those to be close to where I live!

July 7 – I used the Keurig coffee maker for the very first time and then headed to the cemetery in order to sign all the necessary documents pertaining to my father’s ashes and the interment. With some heartache, I left the ashes with the cemetery office in order for them to have everything ready for the next morning. After having them in my possession for six months, it felt odd that he wasn’t coming back to the house with me.

For lunch, the boys thought my grandson and I needed to see what all the hype was over Rapid Fire Pizza – so off we went. I love pizza – and I especially love pizza that I can create just for me! Think Subway – but pizza! I absolutely loved this restaurant and this is another place I believe all towns should have (well, on second thought . . . – see my response about Bill’s Donuts in above paragraph!)

That evening was our cousin get-together at Marion’s Pizza (more pizza!!!). We were missing a few but did have a very enjoyable time. Luckily, even though some left after eating, I was able to spend some time chatting with my three first cousins (children of my mom’s sister). This time, I was the one who asked the questions. I wanted to know more about my aunt – as their mom – instead of my mom’s sister. They shared some stories that made me see Aunt Genevieve in a whole new light! I didn’t realize that she pulled pranks and had a wicked sense of humor!

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My 3 first cousins and myself

marions-pizza-7-july-2016-family-gathering-judy-karen-wendy-ann-marie2 My first cousin and 2 first cousins once removed

July 8 – cousins all met at the house where I was staying and followed each other to Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio. When we arrived, I noticed that the gentleman who was handling the arrangements had set up a nice table to hold the container of ashes. They had even placed a flag next to my father’s headstone since he was a veteran. It was a wonderful gesture, and I was very touched. My dad didn’t want a memorial service so I knew that our time was going to be brief. A few of us recounted a couple of stories about my dad, I read the obituary I had written, and then we drank a toast. My dad’s drink of choice was vodka and lemon-lime so some of us (adults) either got a small amount of vodka or both vodka and sprite and the three boys got the soda. We raised our glasses (dixie cups!) and said good-bye. I think my dad would have approved.

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When we left the cemetery, we headed back to the Dayton area to have lunch at Frisch’s (Big Boy). I can’t begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to this lunch because my favorite sandwich is the Swiss Miss – a hamburger pattie on a rye bun with swiss cheese and tartar sauce. Can not get this sandwich anyplace else except Frisch’s!

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My cousins, grandson, and myself at Frisch’s Big Boy

After lunch, my grandson and I took off to drive by important places of my childhood. I had a list of addresses and with the help of a loaned GPS, I knew there wouldn’t be any problem finding them. We stopped by my childhood home in Beavercreek, the townhome where my mother spent the last 32 years of her life, two houses my maternal grandparents had lived, and my three schools.

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My childhood home – left (1960s) and right (July 2016)

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One of my grandparents’ homes in Dayton (left – 1950s & right – July 2016)

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My mom’s former townhome

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My grandparents’ house in Kettering, Ohio.

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My elementary, junior high (now a middle school), and high school

When I pulled through the parking lot of my high school (which is now the “back” of the school even though it faces the road), I was pointing out windows of the classes I had been in and what the new parts of the school were when a man came to the car and asked if he could help with anything. As soon as I told him I was a graduate and showing my grandson where I went to school, he had me park so he could give us the nickel tour since so much of it has changed.

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The picture above is of the auditorium from the stage. When I was in high school, we couldn’t perform any theatrical productions there because we did not have such a marvelous stage or auditorium. We had to travel down the road a bit to the elementary school. I’m a tad bit jealous that not only is the stage wonderful but the dressing rooms are pretty nice as well (sure beats getting in costume and make-up in the girls restroom!) Before we left, I had to take a picture of my grandson with our school’s mascot – Bucky Beaver.

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From there we headed to our favorite frozen custard stand just down the road from my high school – Ritter’s Frozen Custard. When my mom was living, and we would visit her, this is where we all liked to come on warm summer evenings. We’d all order our frozen treats and sit on the stone benches at the tables. Good memories.

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Next – the rest of our adventures in Dayton before heading to the second leg of our journey.

(All photos, digital scans are property of Wendy Littrell; address for private use.)

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baby mary

By the time I was born, the only set of grandparents still living were my mom’s parents – Glen R and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson. Forget about great-grandparents. My grandmother had four siblings still living: John and Clifford lived in Oregon, Nellie lived in Washington, and Clarence lived in Indiana. John Wilt died before I was old enough to meet him. As far as Clifford, I don’t remember meeting him but I may have as a small child. I knew Nellie from staying at her home in Washington when my parents and I toured the western states and because Aunt Nellie and her husband John Lilly visited Dayton many times. I also remember visiting Uncle Clarence in Indiana almost every year.

It wasn’t until I was almost a teen, that I even learned that my grandfather had an older brother who had died young as well as a younger foster sister, Eva. Apparently, everyone thought Eva had died as well (later I found out that Eva outlived my grandfather). But it never dawned on me until many years ago, even when I had seen her gravestone, that my grandfather had a baby sister named Mary who died before she celebrated her first birthday.

Several days ago, Ancestry published three new databases – Indiana marriage, birth and death records. I immediately began going through them for any new or correct information. Mary appeared on the 1910 census and the Indiana death index (no images) listed her date of death as July 1910. The search term of Mary Johnson 1910 did not bring her up. I tried various ways to find her until I gave up and just entered the month and year of death. Finally, her death certificate was located under Marry L Johnson (her gravestone reads: Mary A Johnson). She is buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson.

Mary died at home – 432 W. 17th street – in Anderson, Indiana at the age of 8 months and 14 days on July 17, 1910. The cause of death was listed as brain tumor and contributory cause was cholera infantum. I had to look that up. Merriam-Webster online defines it as “an acute noncontagious intestinal disturbance of infants formerly common in congested areas of high humidity and temperature.” I am left wondering if the brain tumor killed her or if she had become so dehydrated that her condition deteriorated rapidly.

An interesting thing to note is that my mother’s sister, Genevieve, died from a benign brain tumor. My aunt’s tumor was not cancerous but it was inoperable and 48 years after her baby aunt breathed her last, so did my Aunt Genevieve.

I am also left to wonder if my mother was named after my grandfather’s baby sister. I never heard him speak about his sister or how he felt at her death. He had just turned 11 when Mary was born so he was old enough to remember her short life.

Years ago, I found a crate of large pictures. One of them was of a baby that my mom thought was baby Mary. I don’t know if it is but I have included it above. It seemed that for so many years, she wasn’t talked about. Perhaps my Grandad thought about her when he lost his own daughter, Lois Evelyn, at just six weeks old or when Aunt Genevieve was so ill. But documents pertaining to Mary’s short life have been found – she did live, she did breathe, and she was loved.

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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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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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“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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