Sunday, August 21, 2005

My Mother Was a Saver

I have just spent much of the last two days going through my Mother's little yellow box.
This delightful little box with a brass clasp and shiny brass innards houses her collection of newspaper clippings.
I have had a wonderful trip down memory lane reading some of the various news stories about weddings, births, showers, deaths, automobile accidents, family reunions, The County Bicentennial, and more. I have used the dated clippings to update my genealogy program with births and weddings.
The obituaries of my Grandparents and Grandaunts and Uncles were also included. I found that my Great Grandfather was the last living Civil War Veteran in the County. He served in the 29th Ohio, fought at Gettysburg, and died in 1913 at 72 years of age of pneumonia.
One of my grand Uncles was killed by a freight train, while walking along the tracks. He was dragged for quite a distance....and garnered large Headlines. Another grand Uncle, one I remember dearly, fell from a railroad trestle, and drowned in the creek it spanned, while making his way home. He was a very special Uncle. He was a teamster. Not the union, the Horses. He had a beautiful team of dapple grey horses. He hauled anything that needed hauling in the early days of the 20th century. His team appeared in every parade decked in bunting and polished highly. He and my Father took me to the barn to see the horses whenever we visited. When the family gathered at my Grandmother's, for happy occasions (usually every Sunday), and the men settled down to a little liquid libation and some card playing, and the little ones were piled like cordwood on the beds, and the ladies in the kitchen swapping tales and recipes, Uncle John would sit in the big old maple rocker with the pressed carved decoration in the center of the back, and watch the game. He didn't like to play. When I got restless, because I was a big kid and there was no bed space for me, he would take me on his lap, in that big old rocker, and rock us both gently while the game progressed. He smelled like tobacco, and Burma shave, and maybe a little horse, but he was warm, and kind, and he loved me. And I loved him. After he fell from the trestle and drowned (Some say he was pushed, and rolled for the large sums of money he often carried), he was laid out in the parlor of my Aunt's home. My Mom and Dad, and older Brother and I went to "see" him. It looked like he was in bed, but it was a big shiny metal box bed. My Mother said,"Go ahead you can touch him." So I took one of his big gnarled hands, the hands that had held me while he rocked. It was icy cold. His eyes were closed, and his lips stern. I realized then what dead meant. My dear Uncle John was gone. He wasn't here anymore...and I cried.. and I knew why my Aunt cried. But he still lives. As long as there is a memory alive he will live.
I was just over five years old when he died in 1939
Not all memories are sad. One funny one was about a Pet contest held at the Fonda School summer program. Children brought pets and prizes were given to the longest tailed cat, and the best groomed dog, etc. etc. My youngest won a prize for the smallest pet.....a caterpillar.. and of course his grandmother clipped the article in the paper, and kept it in her beautiful yellow box.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Just Beginning

Grandpa Joseph and Grandma Julia Wild Lachmayer in front of the house they built circa 1915

This is Grandpa and Grandma McGivern taken before the Senior Ball 1950

I think a lot about the past, and how fortunate I was to have such a happy childhood. I had parents who loved me, my brothers and sister, and each other. The depression was a hardship, a challenge, but it didn't dominate our lives. Hope did. "When our ship comes in" was a frequent statement at our house. We didn't wait at the dock, we enjoyed each day as it came.
We had three grandparents, who were very precious in our lives. Our paternal grandfather had died before our parents were wed, so we only had pictures of him. We had numerous Aunts and Uncles, all contributed a measure of love to our environment. Our father was one of five, our mother one of nine.
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