Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Memories

How often have you heard someone say, "Christmas just isn't what it used to be now that the children are grown." A lot, I bet. It's true, most of our Christmas memories are wrapped around family gatherings, finding just the right gifts for our children and then watching their faces as they see them on Christmas morning.

While we can't go back and have things the way they used to be, we can remember those days in our minds and with our photographs.

Here are two of my favorite Christmas photographs. The first, taken in 1968, is of my daughter, age 18 months, with her best buddy, Monkey Joe. She wagged that stuffed monkey around for years, sometimes strapped on her back.

This photo is from 1971, the year my son was introduced to race cars. Who knew this little purple vehicle would inspire him to drive a much larger - and faster - race car when he was barely 16 years old. His 4 year old sister is holding her treasured Mrs. Beasley. I love this photograph.

Good times. Good memories.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Memory

A. Lavern Croft Joyce Workman
7 July 1919 - 4 December 2006
Photograph From July 1936

Gone But Not Forgotten

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders Fields

Photograph of underground bunker where John McCrae, Canadian, worked at Essex Farms, near Ypres. Photograph by McKayla Jerome Bohanna 2010.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trip to Colorado Springs

I think the first real vacation trip my family took was in the early 1950s when we visited relatives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Uncle Oakley, my dad's brother, had a week off work so the adults decided to pack both families (all eight of us) in the car and drive more than 1,000 miles across country non-stop. I don't know how we all fit into the car, but I do not remember being uncomfortable. At some point on this trip, I slept on the ledge under the rear window ... or so I recall.

There didn't seem to be a lot of conversation among us, but Uncle Oakley kept me giggling as he waved and said, "Hi, Joe" or "Howdy, Sam" to what seemed like every person we passed. We must have taken food with us as the only time I recall stopping at a restaurant was for breakfast. This was a rare treat as breakfast was something you had at your own kitchen table instead of sitting on a stool facing a counter. If I recall correctly, this special meal consisted of a bowl of corn flakes and a glass of milk.

Only one untoward incident on this trip remains in my memory. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in Kansas, we ran into a dust storm. Maybe that was the reason for our stop for breakfast.

Once we arrived in Colorado Springs, Aunt Lena and Uncle Hebbert treated us royally. I can just imagine how excited they must have been to have eight extra people to feed and entertain, but that's what relatives did for each other. There must have been a lot of catching up on family news, especially between my mother and Aunt Lena. Not only were they sisters-in-law, but they were also cousins through the Bebout family and had grown up near each other in Kentucky. They were close then and remained so until both died in late 2006.

I don't remember if we did a lot of sightseeing or not, but do recall we visited Manitou Springs and had a family picnic at Palmer Park. The photograph above was taken in the yard of my aunt and uncle in Colorado Springs.

The trip home was probably uneventful after almost a week in Colorado Springs. That may have been the first vacation my family took, but parts of it are still vivid in my memory.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

St. Meinrad and Grandpa Meinderding

Grandpa Meinerding used to talk about being sent by his parents to St. Meinrad Archabbey seminary to become a priest. According to his stories, he entered at age 14, but I do not know how long he stayed. At any rate, he left not only St. Meinrad, but also the church. He married and raised a family in Poseyville, Indiana.

A couple of days ago, we decided to drive by St. Meinrad while on our way to French Lick. Located in southern Indiana since the 1850s, the grounds of St. Meinrad are beautiful. For some reason, though, it was hard to visualize Grandpa Meinerding in these surroundings. It is much easier to picture him sitting on the side porch, waving at people walking to the post office across the street or sitting in his favorite chair in the living room watching television.

I'm not related to Grandpa Meinerding by blood, but by love and I did love him as much as my own grandfather. He was often grumpy, but he loved his family fiercely and spoiled his grandchildren every chance he had. He loved to tell stories of their childhood antics.

I think he was pleased when we borrowed his first name to give our son as a middle name. Grandpa's full name was Edwin Aloyisous Meinderding. When our son was little, we told him he had been named after Grandpa Meinderding and his full name was Timothy Edwin Aloyisous Meinderding Jerome. So, whenever anyone asked his name, that's what he told them. I think he was a little disappointed to learn his name wasn't nearly as long or as impressive sounding as we had said.

It's hard to believe Grandpa Meinerding has been gone 40 years. I hope we continue to keep his memory alive for many more years. Sometime I will tell you about Grandma Meinerding, who "sat upon her dignity."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Reddick and Mary Ann

One hundred and forty five years ago today Reddick Smith married Mary Ann Wolstenholme in Davidson County, Tennessee. They were my great-grandparents.

Reddick had enlisted in the 6th Illinois Cavalry and later served in Co. H of the Illinois Infantry. He was captured and served some time in Libby Prison. He did not return to his home in Hardin County, Illinois at the end of the war, instead settling near Goodlettsville, Tennessee, where he married Mary Ann Wolstenholme on 2 August 1866. Reddick and Mary Ann remained in Tennessee until shortly after 1870 and then moved north to Hardin County.

Reddick died 14 April 1913 and is buried at Central Cemetery in Hardin County. Buried beside him without a tombstone is Mary Ann, who died 7 January 1933.

I am proud to wish them Happy Anniversary today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

R.I.P. Dear Aunt

Herman R. Croft Sr. and his children, James H., Dennis, Oakley,
Melva, Lavern and Herman R. Jr. Croft

They are all gone now. The last of the children of Herman and Nettie (Vaughn) Croft has passed away. Aunt Melva, age 90, was buried today next to her first husband, Buck, in the cemetery near her home. Her health had been failing, but whenever asked how she was, she always answered, "Fairly well. I can't complain." And she didn't complain. 

When asked, Aunt Melva told stories of growing up in her family - the hard work and how strict her mother was. What she never knew was that many of the stories she told me had been related to me by my mother years ago. The events in the stories were the same, but the main characters were different. In Mother's stories, she was at the center of the action, but in Aunt Melva's stories, she was the lead character.

I will miss Aunt Melva. We talked on the phone weekly and I will miss those visits, but the memories will remain. One of my memories involves the The Mustard Jar

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Herbs and Spring

Several days of temps near 80 degrees with plenty of sunshine have fooled us into thinking Spring is here. Last summer's heat and drought combined with the harsh cold of this winter have taken a toll on my herbs. All of my lavender plants perished, with the exception of one little sprig, as did the rosemary.  One bright afternoon last weekend, I cleaned out the dead plants and gathered up the leaves that had blown over from the neighbor's tree. Bare spots here and there begged to be filled.

Knowing that our lovely warm weather will take a back seat to a second dose of winter starting tonight, I stopped at the garden center and bought two pots of herbs - one of my favorite lavender and the other of rosemary. Surely these herbs will prevent Winter from hanging around very long.  The herbs can't be planted in the ground or placed in pots outside yet, but just seeing them sitting on the kitchen counter lightens my mood and reminds me that Winter doesn't stay forever.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Capturing Memories

I captured a memory this morning. It was something my mother told me in the early days of my obsession with genealogy. At the time, I wasn't wise enough to explore the clues and then the memory was forgotten.

What she told me was this. As a young man, my father would go to the post office in our little town on this side of the river and talk to Civil War veterans about their experiences. How cool was that? My father actually knew Civil War veterans, but I never thought to ask what they had told him. Did they tell him where they served or if they were injured? Did they tell him how they felt to leave their families or how it felt to come home after the war? I know Our Town had a number of men who served in the war - one or two even served on the Other Side. How I wish I knew who my father listened to and what they told him.

Lots of people are Sons of This or Daughters of That and some are even members of several of these groups. Why, I even know one person who is a Daughter of the South and also a Daughter of the North. Maybe she wants to be safe just in case fighting breaks out again. Honoring your dead ancestors is an art in some areas and I guess my honoring will take the form of learning everything possible about them, but realizing they were ordinary people of their time.

Now, back to the subject at hand. Take a minute, think about stories your parents or grandparents told, review any notes you took and try your hand at capturing some memories. And then transcribe those memories for your children.