Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summers in Rome - The 4th of July

It will soon be the 4th of July -
Thinking back to the 1930's-40's and my childhood spent in Rome, Illinois. Our family was getting by but there was never much money for a lot of extra things. Despite that, I remember my childhood fondly and don't remember ever feeling depressed or envious of others for having things that we didn't have. It was a fact, though, that in the little town of Rome, almost everyone was in the same boat so there were only a few families that lived in much nicer homes and were able to give their kids more. Back then, of course, there was not nearly as much "stuff" to want. The things we have to choose from today blow my mind and I think it must be harder today for a family struggling to get by than it was way back when. Everyone has more clothes, more toys, more electronics, etc., than we could have ever imagined.

I am thinking the Fourth of July and how we celebrated. There was never a lot of fireworks nor do I remember going anywhere to see displays. We did have a few and my absolute favorite was the cap gun with the rolls of caps to load into it and shoot to your hearts content. It made a decent "bang" and smoked and smelled like gunfire. I thought those were such fun - but I am sure no one has them anymore. And, for the life of me, I can't remember whether or not we got them for our kids! Will have to ask them since I am sure they would remember. We were never exposed to anything violent when I was a child since there was no television, video games and the movies were very different than those of today. We would play "Cops and Robbers" or "Cowboys and Indians" and that's where the pretend shooting took place. If you were the one "shot" you fell from your horse and expired with much flair and dramatics but not for long as you got right back into the game. What a different world it was then.
Sparklers! How fun were those? How magical to swing them around in circles and watch the sparks fly. The last time - which was a few years ago - I had a sparkler it was pretty wimpy compared to what they were when I was little. Or maybe I just remember them as being much, much better. Kind of like the way I remember how candy bars used to be so much better than now!

And the snakes! Loved those also. Great fun watching that big old black ash grow and grow and curl and break.

As for the firecrackers, I was always kind of afraid of them. I would put one under a can with the wick exposed, light the wink with a punk (is that the word) and turn and run. Fun to see the can fly in the air. I also recall some little, bitty firecrackers that were all together and we would light the wick and how it would pop, pop, pop! Were those called ladyfingers? Asked and answered - just googled them and that's what they were.
Enjoy the Fourth of July!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mary Anne's Sampler

Mary Anne Wiley as an adult.

In the early 70's when we were living in the KC area, my late husband's mother came to visit and brought with her this old sampler that was done by Ray's great-grandmother in 1843 (she may have been his great-great-grandmother) when she was only 10 years old. What a treasure! I am pretty sure it is in the original frame with the original glass which is kind of wavy and a little pitted. I read in a book about some of the old samplers having very sad verses stitched on them since in that era life was hard with much illness and not the miraculous cures we have nowadays. This is no exception. The verse little Mary Anne Wiley stitched was......
My age it is now half a score
And I perhaps shall see no more
Remember death to all is nigh
Youth as well as aged may die.
Alas I am an orphan left
Now of parents I am bereft
Now oh Lord I look to thee
Each of thy orphans help to be.
We once were six in a family
In deaths cold bed thou hast laid three
Lord teach us to improve each day
Ere thou dost call the rest away.
Yea in thy love remember me.
Mary Anne Wiley 1843

She then stitched in her mother's birthday, her birthday, etc. Notice the way that she would start a word and not have room and then just continue it on the next line. I have posted closeup pictures of that part of the sampler, also. I think this is one of the most precious things I have ever seen. There is also a picture of Mary Anne as an adult along with her sampler. I hope you enjoy this lovely bit of the past.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday

Here is the Rock Island Rocket, a train that made daily trips between Peoria and Chicago prior to 1950 and it went right through Rome, the little town where I grew up, and Chillicothe, a bigger little town to the north. Quite a streamliner, as I can remember calling it. You could kind of tell time by when the Rocket came through. I do remember one heading north somewhere around 5:00 p.m. and one coming south around 9:00.

My brother e-mailed this postcard to me when he saw that I was posting them on Friday with the postcard group. The card was sent to his wife and sister when they were little girls back in 1944.

This is not a postcard, but a picture of the old Rock Island depot in Chillicothe that is now a railroad museum. Happy PFF which is hosted by Beth at http://thebestheartsarecrunchy.blogspot.com/ (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Before my mom met my dad, she had a boy friend who she referred to as "Carney" which I am quite sure was his last name. I think the expression on her face in this picture is just priceless.

Carney pops up in the old pictures quite a few times. Here with someone else who must have been a guest at the Sionilli, the Pearces' summer cottage in Rome just north of Peoria along the Illinois river. I have done several posts on the family's times at their cottage.
Here are Nan and Carney standing near the cottage and you can get a glimpse of the sign across the roof that was the nametag of their place.

The young couple in a nifty old car. I don't know how long they went together or anything else about Carney, but it looks like they were a nice couple at least for a while. I will do a post one of these days on my first boyfriend. (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day to the Dads

This is my father, Charlie, several years before I was born. With him is my cousin from California, Ken, who was visiting that summer. I actually cropped two people from this picture - my uncles Lambert and Harry - but I do think the picture is in a earlier post here so you could see them if you would wish. Dad is looking very sporty with his high top boots, fishing rod and and hat with the brim turned at a devilish angle. Ken's outfit is super cute, too, and his hat's adorable. Here's to all dads everywhere! How we love them. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday

Happy PFF

Two more of the old postcards - these refer to Lake Crescent and Pyramid Peak and in some of the remaining cards they mention Washington. In looking around a little bit and after seeing in the second picture that it looks like they are laying tracks, I found references to Spruce Railroad Trail and I have copied it here. This could be photos of that project and there are still more which I will post in later weeks if you are interested. I note a woman in the first picture. Some of the pictures coming show mess halls, etc., so it seems like they were living in a camp. It was way too early for the CCC which I thought might have been the situation.

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Spruce Railroad Trail
View of Lake Crescent from Harrigan Point
4 miles
Olympic Peninsula
Elevation Change
+/- 20'
Trail Difficulty
Year round
Lake Crescent
The Spruce Railroad Trail (sometimes called Lake Crescent Trail) is a
rail trail located on the shores of Lake Crescent about 20 miles (32 km) west of Port Angeles, Washington. The trail follows the former Port Angeles Western Railroad grade along the shores of Lake Crescent. Built during World War I to transport spruce from the western Olympic Peninsula for the aircraft industry, it was completed in 1919, a year too late for its intended purpose. The trail is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) one way, and trailheads exist at both ends. The trail is fairly level in most spots and could be hiked by most amateur hikers. Points of interest include the remnants of a railroad tunnel, a bridge that spans a bay called Devils Punch Bowl, and Harrigan Point.

This might be the origin of these pictures. I did not scan the backs since there is no information on them. (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Birthday Girl

I think this is Liz Ann, the daughter of Betty, who was featured in a post a few days back. Betty is the sister of my aunt Del who was married to mom's brother, Harry "Ham". They took Betty in when Del and Betty's mother died. This picture was with the ones of the little girl in the long dress. Don't those cupcakes that are frosted all over look absolutely yummy? I swear they look good enough to eat!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birthday Party from Long Ago

On this day back in 1953, our family gathered to celebrate two birthdays - one turning 2 and one turning 82. Our daughter, Sherry Kay, was born on my maternal grandmother's, Maggie, 80th birthday so Maggie was turning 82. We were in our backyard in the little house we lived in that was right across the road from the Illinois River. Posing for a picture are my sister, Jo, Ray's mom, Clemie, my mom, Nan, my dad, Charlie, birthday girl Maggie, and my dear aunt, Leah.
The new wagon holds the other birthday girl and on one side is Ray and the other side is me. I am just starting to wear maternity clothes since there will be a new little sibling for Sher by years end. Happy Birthday, my dear daughter!! I'm so glad we had you! Mom

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pictures from Ray's Side of the Family

This group of photos has pictures of some of Ray's uncles - on both sides of his family. With his paternal grandmother are two of his uncles - the one on the left I believe is his uncle Wilbur (Cotton) and on the right is Art.
This fellow may be Charlie, an uncle I never met. He was a farmer in northern Illinois and I don't think he kept in touch with the rest of the family that all lived in the Chillicothe area.That was back in the days when couples married, settled down in their home towns, had families who also settled down close to their families. An entirely different world as compared to now.

This young fellow was a brother of Ray's mother. He is Sammy and he also was a farmer and lived just west of Chillicothe.

And here is another brother of Clemie's - Everett. Quite a picture of him with his curly hair and pretty baby dress. I think I have already posted a picture of Ray in one of his baby dresses. That was very common years ago. (Click to enlarge)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday

In pictures that were in my husband's mom's things, there are a lot of ones similar to these two. I cannot pick out anyone in any of the pictures and they are all on the old postcard backs sans writing. This one does have a flag on it so thought that would be appropriate for the upcoming flag day. And a Happy Birthday goes out to Beth on her birthday - how sweet that she would think people flew the flag for her day. Why would a little girl not think that?
There are other pictures with these vehicles featured - and I have no idea what they are. Some of the photos look like they could be army camps but I am wondering if this could have anything to do with the CCC which I vaguely remember hearing about. I think it put men to work after the depression building roads, etc., all over the country where they lived in camps. Anyone have any ideas? I will post more of the photos at a later date.

From the Pearces' Pictures But Who Are They

I have used almost all of the photographs that I have of Dan and Maggie Pearce's family and there were many of them. There are still some that I don't know if I have posted or not, but this one I am sure has never been in either blog. However, I don't know who these smiling people are. The woman on the right could be Nelle, but I cannot be positive of that. The one that is interesting to me is the fellow on the right with the jacket over his shoulder. I am seeing a U on his shirt - however, I doubt whether folks wore shirts with words on them way back when. His hat is set at a jaunty angle, also. There they all are standing in a field of weeds. Some of the faces may have been in other photos - I think I will check back and see if any of these young folks appear in any of them. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, June 7, 2010

This Has to be Some Kind of Cool

First of all, I apologize for the crack in the photo - I suppose there is a way to put it into my Microsoft program and blend it in and I will try and do that. In looking through the pictures, I came across this one of Bill, my son, and Bud, my brother. This was probably taken in the late 60's or so. I am sure Bill was feeling pretty darned wonderful just sitting at the wheel of that car. I am ashamed to say I don't know what the car is and hope Bud or Bill will clue me in. I think I might know but I'm not sure. It's a honey, though! Little brother is looking pretty darned cool, too, and I'm sure Bill was feeling that way about his uncle! (Click to enlarge)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Popeye the Sailor

From 1935, this old book of Popeye comic strips was in with things that Ray's mom had. In looking at the cover, I see that Popeye has a dress on. Guess I should leaf through the book and see why he is wearing a frock. He is still a tough guy!! Looks as if Ray embellished this page with some of his artistic endeavors. I thought at first that Bill, our son, may have done it, but we didn't have this when Bill was a little guy. He really did a lot of drawing and actually is very talented. When he was in grade school, he drew so many funny guys with warts and cigarettes, etc., and also great automobiles. In his college years, he was drawing cartoons featuring Chuck Roast. Although his dad didn't advance in his artwork much, Bill must have inherited the urge to embellish books and draw funny guys and cars from his dad. So nice to run across something like this little look into the past. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday

In September of 1949, Ray and I were married in Chillicothe, Illinois. That evening, lots of our family took us to the Santa Fe depot and saw us off for our honeymoon in Chicago. My Aunt Leah showered us with lots of rice so there I am sure all the passengers on the car we boarded knew we were newlyweds. We stayed at the Stevens Hotel which is now Conrad Hilton I think. They had an ice show in the Boulevard Room at the hotel and we went to see that one night. I still have the drink stirrers (is that a word?) which were blue ski poles with ice skates on the top. Here is the postcard showing the ice show and below is the back of the card.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Class of 1946

A little over 64 years ago, I graduated from Chillicothe Township High School in a class of 45 - 30 girls and 15 fellows, terrible odds for the girls. Our class has had reunions every five years in connection with the alumni association yearly banquet which is now held in June. Next year it will be our 65th. It is approximately an 8 hour drive back to Chilli and on my 60th, Sherry drove me over and went with me to everything. That was a lot of fun. So, will have to see how things are in 2011.

Here I am in my cap and gown with my dad. Dad is in his summer attire - the work pants and the undershirt he always wore. Looks like he took a break from some garden work. It certainly has been a long, long sime since these pictures were taken! (Click to enlarge)