Thursday, July 30, 2009

Square Dancing

I am jumping even further into the future - the late 50's or early 60's - and adding another family. My old sweetie and I were square dancers for many years, and we had such fun times and made such great friends and it was cheap entertainment. We danced in Illinois, Iowa and the Kansas City area where you could dance every night of the week and at any level you could master. We didn't go overboard on that, however. We did get into some of the more difficult dancing but not "challenge". Square dancing was also great exercise. Most of the gals made their dresses and I was no exception. I have pulled gathering threads on three tiered skirts by the mile! I also made a couple of shirts for Ray to match my dresses. This was one of them. Making shirts was not such fun especially the band under the collar and the opening above the cuff. We wore crinoline petticoats and ruffled pantaloons - and the guys wore western shirts, bolo ties and carried little fingertip towels to wipe their foreheads. Ray also had some nice short boots that he wore. As evident, I danced in my mocassins most of the time. This all sounds corny, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Many wonderful times were had at square dances! (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Working at Ben Franklin - Summer of '44

Skipping ahead to the summer of 1944 when I worked full time at the Ben Franklin Store in Chillicothe. Here is the entire staff posing for a picture. The store changed hands that summer and Mr. Lee, the gentleman behind the cosmetics counter, became the manager. He used to say he got me with the store - along with the other ladies, of course. I had the hardware counter which was at the very back on the same side, and I so wanted to change. However, they told me that was the "romance" counter because all the men came there. Now, really! It really was fun working there. My buddy, Wilma Lee, in the polka dot dress, had the cosmetic counter.
Darlene, Anna Mae and Mrs. Lee are in the back row, and Goldie, little Alice Lee, and Carol are in front. Looks like I have a hairbow and really white shoes! Ben Franklin's was still open when we moved back to Chillicothe in the mid '80's and was still a lot of fun to shop. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Steamboat Columbia

When I saw this picture of my mother standing by the Illinois River with the Steamboat Columbia in the background, it triggered a memory of her telling me about the steamboat sinking and many people being drowned. Neither she nor any of her family were aboard that boat, thank the good Lord. I decided to google the Columbia - and there it was. Isn't this age of technology awesome? I saved the story then printed it out and scanned it. The tragedy happened on July 6, 1918 and there were 400 to 500 people on the boat.

It is interesting to read the article (click to enlarge) and realize the difference in responding to emergencies today compared to then. It speaks of a special train bringing all available doctors to the scene and a train taking the injured to hospitals.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July

Looking through the pictures, I found several that were taken in the winter when the snow was on the ground.

Here is a cute one - my Aunt Leah, looking very pretty with a short haircut and new short dress sitting on the front porch next to a Christmas tree. She looks like a flapper! I wish I knew the story on this one - have no idea why there was a tree on the front porch.
And here is a cute picture of my Aunt Nelle and Nan, my mom, standing out in the snowy street in front of their house. On the back of the picture Nelle wrote a note and named the fellow who was in the background saying he just would not get out of the picture. The Pearce girls are looking very pretty.

I am certain that the young lady on the sled is Aunt Leah at a younger age. The photo was taken right in front of their home.

And here is Maggie, my grandmother, in her hooded cape, standing out in the back yard in a deep snow. My grandparents took a trip out west and were at Lake Louise in an undetermined year. This picture was from that trip. Looks cold and snowy. There were two couples - and the other fellow is the photographer. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Day in the Park

There are quite a few pictures of the Pearce family taken at Glen Oak Park in Peoria. I think it was a popular place to spend a Sunday afternoon. It was within walking distance of their home and I can remember my grandmother walking me over there when I was little. I can remember a monkey house, birds that called out "Five O'Clock", and the conservatory.
These pictures are in my other blog, but they should be here in Pieces of the Past, also. As I was doing a post for my first blog, I realized that I had three pictures of Mom in the same outfit and knew that they were all taken the same day and needed to be together. This one is of my mother, Nan, and a friend admiring the flowers in the conservatory at the park. Posing beside some greenery, Nan is looking very sweet in her lovely outfit.

The quartet of ladies that spent the afternoon at Glen Oak also included my Aunt Nelle, the girl sitting on the right side of the bench. I don't know the lady standing next to Nan.
(Click to enlarge)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Sionilli - Post 1

I will switch families now and post some of the Pearce family. They had a cottage north of Peoria in the little village of Rome. It was the Sionilli - Illinois spelled backward. This is a picture of that cottage, but those are not the Pearces - at least not my grandparents and family. I recognize no one so don't know if these folks were company, former owners or future owners. The picture is here for the cottage itself. There are a lot of photos of the family enjoying life on the Illinois River. This was only about 25 miles north of Peoria, but back in those days you can be sure that was quite a jaunt. Roads were narrow and cars slow.

Here is a photo of my Aunt Nelle, the girl on the right, and she has coralled her brothers, Ham and Ed (Ed really looks like he doesn't want to have his picture taken and has better things to do) and is holding them for a photo taking session. I don't know the other girl. My Aunt Nelle has an air about her in all of the pictures that is very classy, I think.

A group swimming and playing in the waters of the Illinois River with a steamboat in the background. Nice picture. More cottage pictures will come in future posts. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Long Ago Ball Game

Take me out to the ball game! There certainly was a good crowd at the game somewhere around Rome or Chillicothe, Illinois, many years ago. Look at the great automobiles! And it is amazing how dressed up the fellows walking across the field are! No blue jeans and t-shirts with all kinds of messages on the front. My, my, how times have changed!
Play Ball! Dad is the middle fellow in the back row. The second player in the back row was my sister's father-in-law, another Charlie. The fellow on the end is E. A. Lawson whose General Merchandise Store is in a previous post. Third from the left in the front row is my Uncle Carl, Aunt Carrie's husband. I see an "R" on the sleeves of a couple of the fellows toward the left of the picture. Go, Rome!My father all ready for the game.

His two sisters, Barbara and Caroline, with their husbands, Joe Thorne and Carl Kirk Aunt Carrie and Aunt Barb.
Dad, Carrie and Barb.
Caroline, my grandmother, with Aunt Carrie. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Two Families Unite

I will jump forward a bit and show these pictures of Nan and Charlie after they had met in Rome, Illinois.
This picture is at a ball game that will be shown in a later post. Of course, I can't say if this was before Mom and Dad were married or during their courting days. Dresses were shorter and so was hair.
This picture is in my other blog, but it is one that I just love. Mom gingerly holds a duck that got in the way of Dad's shot. He loved hunting and fishing and did much of it. It looks like they are very much smitten with each other, and I would assume this was taken during courting days. I have always thought the lady walking up the hill is my grandmother, Maggie, but of course don't know for sure. Probably came down to see the duck!
Here is the marriage license. I know they did not have a big wedding and remember Mom telling me both witnesses were men. Closely looking at the original license, I see that they were George and Frank. As mentioned before, my parents were the same age by two or three months and were 27 when they married.
So now the Pearces and Caroline and Felix's families are connected. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Dad's Family

My father worked on a farm in Rome, Illinois, that was owned by the Benton family. Here he is ready for a day's work with a very large wagon and a nice team of horses.
There are so few pictures of his family that I have ever seen. Dad is the fellow on the left with his hand in the air. Standing to his left is a very pretty lady that just might be Lillian, his first wife. The fellow next to him is Joe Thorne, husband of dad's sister, Barbara, who is standing just in front of them and his other sister, Carrie, in the front of her. The little older lady with the big grin is my grandmother, Caroline. I think at least two of the remaining girls are also sisters, but it's only a guess on my part.

What this occasion is, I don't know, but it looks like they were off to have some fun. Cut off at the right of the picture is my grandmother. I believe there are at least two aunts there, also. Who the girl with the flowers around her neck is I have no idea but wonder if there was a wedding. Wouldn't it be nice if people wrote down names and dates on pictures? Eventually no one knows anything about old photos. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Some Unknown Subjects but Fun Pictures

I don't know Anna - I assume she may be my grandfather's neice - but I think she is adorable in her finery. Her hat is absolutely wonderful and I am sure she will show up one day on Funoldhag's fashion Friday even though she is here now. I don't think that is a live bird!
Nor do I know little Corrine - but she is so cute and all dressed up that I thought she deserved to be posted here for people to see. You can tell she feels so pretty in her lovely outfit - what a sweet little girl. I love her shoes.
Three more ladies in gorgeous outfits that are a mystery to me except for the one on the right who I think is a very good friend of my Aunt Nelle. I am pretty sure her first name is Ruth and she shows up in quite a few of the pictures I have. Looks like there are quite a few other ladies on the porch of the building in the background. That may be the big shelterhouse that overlooks the Illinois River on Grandview Drive Park in Peoria. It looks like you can see through it. And here is Ethel - another stranger to me but someone who was in the Pearces' lives. My brother scanned the back of the picture, also, and Ethel is lamenting the fact that her outfit is kind of out of style. Fun reading what was going on in a person's mind way back then.
Thought you might enjoy these even though I don't have an explanation of who these lovely ladies are. The clothes are so wonderful - although I am glad dressing is much more casual today. Sometimes it is actually a little too casual. Enjoy!! (Click pictures to enlarge)

Rome, Illinois

This is the little village of Rome, Illinois. I grew up here, but these pictures are quite a while before my time and would have been taken when my parents were young. My mother's family had a cottage just down this road and my father worked on a farm up the street from the house and little store, E. A. Lawson's General Merchandise. They, of course, met when mom's family stayed at their cottage. Pictures of that come later.This would be the "hard road" that went all the way to Peoria - probably 20 to 25 miles which was quite a little trip in those days. Note the planks across the ditch from the homes. There were no sidewalks ever in Rome - except for one in front of the school - so none of us ever learned how to rollerskate! The Rock Island Railroad went through town and you were either a "river rat" or "lived on the wrong side of the tracks". We were river rats. Just a little humor!
A post card showing the same area, plus another house and a car heading south. I will label this one for Nan and Charlie's Family - my mom and dad because this would have probably been about the time they met. They didn't marry until November of 1921 when they were about 27 years old, and I, the firstborn, came along seven years later which was rare for that day and age.(Click to enlarge)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Pictures of Charlie

Here is my dad, Charlie, with an unknown woman and two unknown children. On the back of the picture is written - "I wonder whose feet Peg is looking at? (Charlie's?) I fear your arm is out of place." So, Peg must be the little girl looking down at his feet. The other child and pretty lady are a mystery.
My dad and another lady - also unknown. I think he may have been kind of a lady's man, don't you? Dad actually was married before he married my mother. His first wife was Lillian and she died after they had been married just six months. Very sad. She was said to have died of "consumption" which I think may have been tuberculosis. So, I am always wondering which of the women in several of the pictures is Lillian. She was actually an aunt of my brother-in-law. Her sister was someone we knew well and I showed her some of the pictures but she did not know if any of them was Lillian. So it's something that will be a mystery.
Here's Charlie kicking up his heels with his jaunty straw hat on.
I am kind of thinking "Lyle Lovett" here only Dad is much better looking. He is with his brother-in-law, Joe Thorne, in this photo. (Click pictures to enlarge)

My Dad's Family

Here is a picture of my father, Charlie, with two of his friends in November of 1913. Dad is the good looking fellow on the right. There are not very many pictures at all of him in his early years. Charlie came from a large family - his parents, Caroline and Felix, were German and met on the boat coming over to America. They were married August 22, 1875, in Peoria, Illinois. According to a family history that a cousin sent my brother--"It has been said that sixteen children were born to Felix and Caroline, but, only ten recorded."
Another picture of my father in 1912. This time he is on the left smoking a cigar.
Dad's siblings were Anna, Felix (birth not recorded - and it is said he died at age 17 while ice skating on the Illinois River), William, Josephine, Emma, Ida, Barbara, Dora, Charlie, Carolyn, and Minnie who died at age 9 of whooping cough as Dad told my brother Bud. My dad's father, Felix, died when dad was 12 years old. I have some memories of my grandmother, Caroline, who died when I was ten years old. She was blind and lived with Aunt Carolyn in her later years.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What a Great Automobile!

Here are all the Pearces except for Nelle (and she is probably taking the picture) ready to go for a ride probably on a Sunday afternoon. In the back seat is Nan, Leah, Grandma and Ed.
Grandpa and Ham are in the front. Note the pretty carriage like lights under the windshield.
(Click to enlarge)

The Pearce Siblings

Anna "Nan" Elizabeth Pearce, born December 29, 1894, and Nelle Martha Pearce, born
November 14, 1893Nan, Harry Arthur Pearce, born February 24, 1900, Leah Aileen Pearce, born September 28, 1901, and Nelle. It's a shame there is a flaw in the picture so that we can't see all of Leah's pretty little face.

I love this picture! Mom has lost one of the buttons on her coat. And look at the shoes - how long they look. Nan and Nelle look like maybe those shoes hurt their feet a little bit! Such cute little girls.This picture was always referred to as "The Stairsteps" and the new little one on the end is Edwin George Pearce born November 9, 1903. The age span between the eldest and youngest is ten years. Nan and Nelle are just a little over 13 months apart. This is another wonderful picture. (Click to enlarge

Inside 319 Behrends Avenue

The piano in the living room with a lacy scarf covering the top and family pictures displayed. Would love to be able to read the names of the sheet music. I think one of the pictures is one of my mother, Nan. When my brother sent this, he said there was a note on the back that he thought Nelle, the eldest child, wrote saying she paid $150.00 for the piano and made $5.00 per month payments. I remember "playing" the piano until my grandfather would get kind of tired of the noise and give me a little pinch!
The parlor at Christmas time. This probably was sometime around 1915, long before I was born. However, I do remember that old Victrola that you wound up and put the little arm with the needle in it down on the record. There is the Christmas tree covered with some sort of snow. The floor lamp is just wonderful!! And there is a dog on the floor - cannot remember anything about that little fellow. The little oval picture on the left side of the window is just like one I have but not the same one. It is Whistler's Mother and has a poem about "mother". Through the years, I have collected a lot of old pictures with poems and it all started with one that I found in my mother-in-law's things called "Married Life". I love those pictures and would find them in antique stores and shows. Also found a few at auctions. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Pearce Family

Here is the family that lived at 319 Behrends Avenue. Nan, my mother who is the second child, is on the left, and next is Maggie, my grandmother. Standing towards the back is Leah, next to the youngest in the family. Then my grandfather, Dan, and Ed, the youngest child. Nelle is the eldest and then Harry "Ham" who was the third child. This was probably taken sometime around 1915, but I cannot say for sure. (Click to enlarge)

319 Behrends Avenue at an Earlier Time

Earlier pictures of my grandparents home. I am thinking that of the two pictures in this post this must have been a later one since it looks as if the street is paved and the trees are gone.
Here you can see the dirt streets that run beside and in front of the houses, although there are sidewalks. This was probably before automobiles or before many folks had them. The garages or buildings behind the houses were really big and all looked like barns. An alley ran behind the garages and I can remember that my grandmother found an old sweeper someone had put out for the trash. She brought it home, fixed it and used it. I also can remember seeing her sitting on the upstairs windowsill with her feet hanging inside the house and that is how she washed the upstairs window-----most likely had her "dustcap" on, too. (Click to enlarge)