Friday, March 30, 2012

The Women in My Life

     March is Women's History Month and  I would like to mention and honor the women who have made a difference in my life.

     Of course, we all think of our Grandmother's and I am no different.  My grandmother on my Mom's side was Hazel Jensen Brossoit.  She and my grandfather had 5 children in a very small house.  We spent many a day there, both with and without my parents. While in grade school, Washington Elementary, if my mom was not home at lunchtime, my sister and I would walk the few blocks to grandmother's house for peanut butter sandwiches.  She was one of my first Girl Scout Leaders, having meetings down in the basement and afterwards allowing us to go up and watch cartoons on the color television set, which none of us Brownies had at home.  She grew many varieties of flowers and taught me how to arrange them, which led me to working at a local florist after high school.  She baked bread and cookies and would invite us over to help with the baking chores.  I still use her pie squares and apple dumplings recipes as they are the best.  She ironed in the kitchen to the soap operas on the radio and canned tomatoes and pickles in the small pressure cooker on the stove.  In her later years, she didn't can as much but would come over to our house and can with us.  Her last canning was when she joined us for putting up pears in late August and she passed away in October.  I still use her pickle recipe and some say she could pickle herring like no other.

     When we would go over for dinner, as the folks all relaxed in the living room, she would let us go through her jewelry box and rearrange the contents and wear the necklaces and play "Grown-up".  We would set her hair with curlers and play "Beauty Shop."  Her and Grandpa taught us how to play "500" and cribbage and "I Doubt It". We played "Button-button" and would hide a button and tell us if we were "hot or cold" in looking for it.  She played the piano by ear while my Grandpa played the fiddle/violin.  She was the "Bookmobile Lady" and we shared a love of books.  I remember her giving me my first adult chapter book to read about marionettes and sharing the knowledge that we both read "Mandingo."  She taught me how to knit, made mittens or afghans for all of the grandchildren.  I still have my afghan, a pink number that was the same color as my bedroom when I was a teen.  It has been washed too many times but I cannot bring myself to throw it away.  But I never acquired the knitting habit.  Or crochet.

     She would always tell us "that it would get better before we got married", and taught my sister how to drive and hold a cigarette like a lady.  She belonged to the secret society of "Royal Neighbors" ladies who would gather monthly for a meeting and play cards. I was invited once to fill in when they were shorthanded.  Later in life, her and Grandpa would go to estate sales and Mom and I would go with.  We came home with many a treasure, some which I still have today.

     We often reminisce about Grandma and how she was a lady, never spoke ill of anyone, accepted all who came to her door and made everyone feel welcome.  I aspire to carry on those traits.

     My grandmother on my Dad's side, Ethel Rozella Marie Nascher Glewwe, was totally a different kind of lady.  Where Grandma Brossoit was Danish, fair skinned and a strawberry blond, Grandma Glewwe was dark-haired, larger boned, and larger than life to me.  She ran a tight ship.  We knew what was expected and where we could/could not play.  She had a wooden spoon that hung in the kitchen and if we acted out, she would threaten us with it.  I remember thinking how she liked my older sister better, because she was always scolding me.  (It was never because I did anything wrong.  Hee-hee.) 

     Grandma Glewwe was a seamstress.  She had a sewing area in her bedroom.  Her bedroom was a magical place to me, partly because of the sewing area and partly because of the furniture.  The dresser was large and dark with a marble top, a hairbursh vanity set, and looked Victorian and seemed like a princess' bedroom.  But back to her sewing.  She made matching outfits for my sister and I.  She made aprons for everyone.  I have a pink checkered apron that goes to the floor that I wore in a college production of "Oklahoma".  (Do you see a recurring theme of pink?)  And she made Halloween costumes.  Our first that I remember was for ghosts, made out of old sheets, with machine sewn mouth and eye holes.  She had "Little Bo Peep" and a clown and George Washington and many other pieces.  The costumes were kept upstairs in the crawl space in large, round, wooden cheese containers.  They smelled of mothballs and were the best!  I still have those costume boxes and I still make costumes for all of my children, even now that they are grown.  We had sleep overs with cousins in the basement, played office at Grandpa's desk and watched in wonderment when she would wring out the wet clothes in an old-fashioned washer/wringer machine

     Grandma G had a three-season porch in the back.  We would spend many hours playing there and outside in the backyard.  It was a small back yard with a very tall hedge that shielded the view from the neighbors.  She also had a large vegetable garden and would grow lettuce.  She would serve lettuce leaf salad, my Dad liking it best with just sugar sprinkled on top.  And she had a large rhurbarb patch, where we would grab a piece and eat with suger.  She also grew hollyhocks in the side garden and lily- of-the-valley in the front.  But she was best remember for her birthday cakes.  Oh they were special, because they were layer cakes with banana filling and "Seven Minute" frosting that would firm up and be like candy.  But the best surprise were the wrapped-in-foil "charms" that would be hidden inside.  Maybe a penny that would speak to your future poverty, or a dime.  Sometimes it would be a button or a game piece from the Monopoly game.  Each piece of cake held one surprise and it wasn't until much later that I found out how the charms were "baked" into the cake.  She also made the best applesauce this side of the Mississippi River.  She always said that the best applesauce came from free apples.  I know that the best applesauce is still homemade and I can 3-4 bushels of apples every year.  To go with the cheesebuttons that I learned how to make standing beside her in the kitchen.

     I came to realize how much like my grandmother I really am.  Especially now that I have blogged about her.  I remember the last conversation that I had with her while she was in the hospital.  I came in from teaching religion class and we talked about teaching kids about God and the Lord's Prayer and how we both taught the same things.  Different religions, same calling.  She too, was a Girl Scout leader, a religion teacher, a community volunteer, mother to many and matriarch.  I follow in her footsteps as well.

     Other women who made a difference in my life - my piano teacher when I was in 4th grade, Violet Barr.  She not only taught me the piano, but the organ as well and the guitar.  By the time I was twelve, I was playing the organ for Sunday masses and the guitar on Saturday nights and sang at the ones in between.  She encouraged my love of music and using it for service.

     And there was my art teacher in high school, Phylis Anderson.  School came easy for me, I don't remember really applying myself to study or do much homework.  My grades got me by and I had many friends.  But my passion in school was drawing and painting.  She taught us all how to really see the body and draw from live subjects (our fellow students).  My final oil painting, a copy of Ruben's "Two Sayters" was not quite right.  We were to be judged by our peers as well as Ms. Anderson, so the night before I took home my painting and reworked it.  At class the next morning, she wanted to give me a "C", but I felt that I deserved an "A" as did my all my classmates.  She taught me how to stand up for what I deserve but to also work hard for the reward.  I did get that "A".  I thank her for pushing me to be a better artist.

     And I also thank my other art teacher, the one who taught me everything about using watercolors, Ginnie Adams.  She was a local artist and she encouraged me every step of the way, not so much with instructions on "how-to", but more of "how much" I reminded her of her younger days and pushed me to keep on painting.  She has since passed away, and I haven't picked up a brush in over two years.

    At not least, but first, my own mother Joan Adele Brossoit Glewwe.  We have had lots of adventures together.  She always believed in us.  She taught me how to sew, cook, can, sing lullabies and care for babies, play games in the car to pass the time, make lists so as not to forget to pack something we might need, and how to wallpaper.  We've shopped, lunched, went to ceramics class together, played the piano together, wrapped presents late into the night and she has taught me how to make the perfect bow.  I learned how to dress for any occasion, set a table properly, host any party and have the best garden on the block.  She has allowed me to rearrange the furniture for every season and have the biggest Christmas display indoors and out.  She is my father's best friend, closest confidant and doesn't let sickness or mishaps slow her drive and spirit.  We've read the same books, corrected each others works and loved the best we could.  I recently came across an email that my sister wrote to her about ten years ago.  The sentiment still works for the both all of us.

"Dear Mom,

Yesterday, while on the phone, you said something that surprised me.  You told me that I was a better mom than you.  That is so untrue and I need to tell you why.

Everything I know about parenting I have learned from you.

1.  Never use bad language and always be a lady.

2.  Love your grandchildren unconditionally.

3.  God is love.

4.  When your child walks into the house, always smile and say hello with such warmth that they know they are the most special person in the whole world.

5.  You always listen to me, no matter how many times I complain about the same thing.

6.  How to mend clothes, cuts and broken hearts.

7.  How to cook with love.

8.  How to always make room for one more at the table.

9.  How to always have good friends no matter how old you get.

10.  How to keep a marriage strong and how to work at it if it's in trouble.

11.  How to never give up when you believe in something strongly, be it an opinion, a cause or a person.

12.  Always try to look your best, take care of your body, your grooming and your clothes.

13.  Gifts made from the heart are the best.

14.  It is okay to laugh at yourself.

You have taught me us all that and much more.  Never doubt the influence you have on us all.

(We) love you very much.

So to the women of my life, you have made me who I am today.  Thank you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sharing Memories - Afraid of the Dark

On the  Olive Tree Genealogy Blog the  Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for this week of March 2012 is "Things That Go Bump in the Night".    She told a story of how her brother had hid under her bed and after she retired for the night, he got up from under the bed and put his hands around her neck and pretended to .... well you know the rest of the story.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

What is it about older siblings and the desire they have to inflict terror upon their younger sister or brother?  I, too, have that sister.  Back when we were kids, Saturdays were for watching TV.  Cartoons in the morning and if the folks were busy or out for the day, the neighbor girls would come over and we'd dance to American Bandstand.  But on some Saturdays we would watch the movies on TV.  Sometimes they were about Aladdin and his magic lamp or Hercules or other magical heroes.  But the ones that frightened me were the monster movies of the '50's and '60's.  Frankenstein, Wolfman and the most frightening of all, The MUMMY!  You know the scene, where it's during the night and he is shuffling down the hallway to where the heroine is sleeping.  And she awakens to find him looming over her and she faints, allowing him to pick her up and shuffle off (to Buffalo?)

My biggest fear was that the mummy would come to take me away during the night, and no one would be able to save me.  Our house had a long hallway that had my parent's bedroom on one end and a T-square layout at the other, leading into a bathroom, a bedroom or the kitchen on the other.  But in the middle of the hallway was the doorway to one small bedroom, mine.  I used to share this room with my sister, but somehow I think she had graduated to a basement room by this time and I had the room to myself.  I went to bed that night, dreading the darkness and sleep, knowing beyond a doubt, that The MUMMY was going to make a visit that evening and steal me away.

I remember laying on my back in my twin size bed with my arms straight over my head, but positioned under the pillow so no one could see that they were not down by my sides.  I had a tight grip in the headboard, confident that the MUMMY would not be able to break that hold and steal me away.  The hallway light was on and my door was slightly ajar so that the light would not keep me awake but I also would not be in total darkness. 

I remember trying to will myself to stay awake, but worked very hard on my breath control so as to sound like I was asleep.  Then I heard it!  The step-shuffle that only a MUMMY can make.  Step with one foot, dragging sound of the other, step, drag, step, drag.  The sound came closer and closer to my door and I felt that I was destined to die that very evening.  The steps stopped right outside my door, and ever so quietly the door was pushed open.  I would not look as I knew it was the MUMMY.  If I only kept really still, maybe he would go away.  But no, the creature came to the side of my bed, touched my sheets and I SCREAMED!  My sister, Rae, laughed and laughed.  I cried.  And it took many years to forgive her.

March 19 - Caroline Brossoit Remme

     My great aunt, Caroline M Brossoit was the third child of Alexander and Sophie (Trepanier) Brossoit.  She was born on March 19, 1886 in Argyle, Minnesota.  The 1920 census lists her as a single, 33 year old still living at home with her parents and 2 youngest brothers, Armand and (my grandfather) Omer.  Her occupation was a dressmaker from her home. 

     By the 1930 census she was married to Clarence Remme, who was 14 years her junior.  In the 1930 census she was a homemaker with a 3 month old daughter, Orella and husband, Clarence was a clerk in a cigar store.  I have not found many other records for Caroline.   

     What stories I was told was that she lost her leg to diabetes and had a wooden leg with a shoe attached.  My mother recalls that all of her life, she knew of the wooden leg so it may have happened soon after her marriage.  My only recollection was that after my great aunt's passing, the wooden leg, which was rather dark and primitive looking, was in the rafters of my grandfather's garage and we often made stories about it.

 Caroline passed away on October 7, 1966.

Happy 126th Birthday!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Can You Come Out and Play?

     It has been awhile since I visited Olive Tree Genealogy Blog, but today I stopped in for a visit.  Her prompt is "Welcome to Week 11 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012. This is our third year writing our memoirs and childhood memories for our descendants."  She wrote about "Indian Leg Wrestling" and how her husband had no idea of what she spoke.

Sharing Memories - Games We Played

     I have to laugh.  My siblings and I also grew up "Indian Leg Wrestling".  It was one of my favorite ways to pass the day as I had strong legs and would usually win.  Being a girl and strong, I also wrestled with all of the boys in the neighborhood, especially the Jerikovsky boys.  Think we stopped when I was around thirteen and the wrestling got too "close."

       Other games to pass the day/evening was to gather up the kids in the neighborhood after supper and play "Kick the Can."  There were 15-20 of us around the same age so there was always a game going. Our family was always the last ones to eat supper, as our Dad came home after the other dads in the neighborhood, so our friends would gather around our front yard and make lots of noise until we came out to play.  Sometimes they would even help us do dishes so we could get outside sooner.  Our neighborhood homes were all ramblers built in the early '50's with square yards and small trees and no fences in the back yards.   It made it easy for us kids to run and hide as the area was 5-6 back and front yards to run in.  Very few homes had a window air condidtioner and even TV was not that big of a deal so we all would gather outside at night.  Some parents would gather at the neighbor's house and play cards, or sit in the kitchen and visit while we ran.  Kick the Can is not so much fun now, with plastic coffee cans or bags.  You don't get that metallic clang as the can tumbled along the driveways, alerting everyone that someone had made it back and got all of those who in "jail" free. 

     Another game we played was "Captain May-I?"  I think it was because we all had front steps to sit on and sidewalks to advance on.  The premise was that one person was the "Captain" and all the other players would line up and wait for direction to approach the Captain's spot.  The Captain would tell you to move forward or jump or do some other silly movement.  It was the player's job to ask permission to do so, or "Captain, May I?"  If you moved and forgot to ask you had to go back to the beginning.  (It sounds like this game was made up to teach manners!)

     I also remember putting on plays for the neighborhood.  Not a written, you know the name of kind of play, but the "here's some cast off clothing you can play with - go make up a play" kind of show.  Or we would take bed sheets and pin them to the clothesline and make tents.  Now most people don't even have a clothesline.

     What was your favorite game to play in the neighborhood?

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 8 - Wesley Paul Glewwe

My Great Uncle Wesley Glewwe was born on March 8, 1914.  He was the youngest son of Henry and Martha Patet Glewwe of South St. Paul, Minnesota. 

As a teenager he worked at Glewwe Grocery Store and when the business was sold in the early 1930's, he left the family business and went to Rasmussen Business School.  He joined the SSP Fire Department and a few years later, went to work for the police department.  He worked his way up to chief investigator when he left to work as a special agent for the FBI.  He became known for his expert marksmanship and was awarded a gold medal for his perfect score on the pistol range.  He wound up in Wisconsin where he got married and raised three children. 

Eventually Wesley and his family moved back to Minnesota. When Wes retired he returned to one of his first loves, woodworking. Of course, this also gave him the time to help his nephew, Rollin, remodel his home in 1976 when they moved onto Wentworth Avenue.  I remember when Grandpa and his brother,  Uncle Wes, would come over every day to work on remodeling projects and would have to stop every day at 10 AM for coffee with milk and something sweet to eat.  Wes always had a pencil in his shirt pocket and stories to tell.  I was in awe of the things my Grandpa and Wes could build.  They never had written plans except for the ones that they drew themselves and it seemed that there was nothing they couldn't build.
In 1986, Wes was interviewed by Popular Mechanics about his wood shop and his clocks with all of the handmade wooden gears.  Wesley built over 500 clocks in his lifetime, selling them for hundreds of dollars. One such clock was made for a local dentist in town, which hung in his office for many years. Years later, this same clock became available, and has returned into the family where is hangs in the corporate office of Roadware Inc. Wesley passed away in March of 2000.

Happy 98th Birthday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 6 - Betsey Cushman Lyman

     When I first started on my trail of finding out about ancestors, I was always looking for that one trail that would entertain my family, astound my friends and give me bragging rights. Funny how after searching many leads, putting in many hours, reading other genealogy blogs and watching WDYTYA, your appreciation for the mundane, the ordinary becomes even more important. Everyone has a story and it is our job to find it. Still....

      imagine how excited I was when following a trail for my son-in-law's maternal side of the family, I came across a misspelled name, followed a hunch and found the connection (backed up by records from to Betsey Cushman.

Betsey is the GGGG grandmother of my son-in-law Joshua. She was the daughter of William and Zerviah Handy Cushman. She was born in Brookfield, Orange Co., Vermont on March 6, 1795. Her Cushman line traces back to Reverend Isaac Cushman of the Mayflower fame. I have found relatives of the family who have become registered members of the Mayflower Society, but no one in the immediate family was aware that there was this connection. Maybe some day.
        But back to Betsey.  She married Cornelius E Storrs Lyman on March 17, 1814.  In the book,  Minnesota Beginnings - Records of St Croix County Wisconsin Territory, 1840-1849 p.331 it is written: "Mr. Lyman is of the seventh generation of the Lyman family that came over from England in 1631. He was born in Brookfield, Vermont, Aug. 11, 1792. He was married in Brookfield to Betsey Cushman and came to Illinois at an early date, whence he removed to Marine Mills, in 1842, where he kept a boarding house until 1844, when he removed to Stillwater, where he kept a boarding house until 1848. He then removed to his farm three miles above Stillwater, where, by industry and economy, aided by his faithful wife, he was able to build a comfortable home, in which they continued to live until at a good old age they were removed by death, which claimed them in the same year, the husband dying January, 1864, and the wife in April. They were members of the Presbyterian church from early life, and respected as citizens, honored as Christians. Mrs. Lyman was one of the excellent of the earth. Mr. Lyman had an inexhaustible fund of humor, and was rather fond of practical joking. Many of his jokes were of the rarest description. They left two sons, Cornelius Storrs and David Pride."

Happy 217th Birthday!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4 - Hamilton Kipp

     Today is the birthday of GGG Grandfather, Hamilton Kipp.  He was born in Burford Township, Brant County, in Upper Canada on March 4, 1837.  (For those of my family who have no idea where this is, it's in Ontario, somewhat near Niagra Falls.)  He was the son of farmer, Benjamin Kipp and Elizabeth Force Kipp.  Hamilton also farmed the land in Canada and when he was 25 years old he married a local girl, 21 year old, Orrilla (Lucy) Lewis.  A year later, they welcomed my GG Grandmother, Rosilla( 1863) who eventually married John G. Hymers, (whom I wrote about earlier this week.) 

     John had an older sister Eliza Jane Hymers who went to work for Hamilton and Orilla as their housekeeper.  Orilla and Hamilton had four more children, Ida Aramanda(1864), Andrew (1866), Charles (1869), and George Henry (1872).  Sadly, a year later,  Orilla passed away when she was 32 years old, leaving behind her husband and 5 childern under the age of 10. 

     Seven months later, Hamilton married his housekeeper, Eliza Jane.  They added six more children to the family, Orilla Jane (1874),  Elizabeth Ann (1876), Albert Hamilton (1879), Bertha Ellen (1881), Mary Isabella (1882), and Howard (1885).  Two weeks after Howard was born, the then almost four-year-old Bertha died of scarlet fever.  Two months later, on April 21, 1885, Hamilton Kipp died from dropsy.  He was 48 year old.

Happy 175th Birthday! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2 - James Alfred Goossens

My husband's grandfather, James Alfred Goossens was born in Paris, France on March 2nd, 1891. 

When he was two years old, he immigrated to the United States with his Belgian-born parents, Peter and Sadie (DeWall) Goossens and older sister Angeline.  They settled in Glenwood City, Wisconsin, adding another seven children to the family. 

James married a local girl, Margaret Lucille McGahn on June 10, 1919.  They eventually moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where they had their second son.  James worked for the St. Paul Public Works Department. In the mid 1950's, James was struck by car while working, passing away in 1957, never fully recovering from those injuries. 

Happy 121st Birthday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1 - John George Hymers

My great-great grandfather, John George Hymers was born on March 1, 1859 in Blenheim, Burford, Ontario, Canada.  He was the son of Francis Wilson Hymers and Elizabeth Rankin Morton. He grew up in Canada, eventually moving to Minnesota.  The 1880 Polk Directory had him living with his older brother Thomas, in a boarding house at 360 Rice Street, St. Paul, Minnesota.  He returned to marry his school sweetheart, Rozilla Kipp on February 21, 1882.  
They returned to St. Paul, Minnesota where John eventually found work as a fireman/driver for the St Paul Fire Department. The 1889 St Paul Directory lists John Hymers as a fireman/driver for Chemical #5.  He and Rozilla were living at 887 Randolph, St Paul, from 1889-1892, and then their name does not appear again until 1898, when the address is given as 801 Hall Avenue.  For most of their married life, they lived at 50 W. Belvidere in St Paul.  (excerpt from Lois Glewwe research 1980's).   In earlier posts, I wrote about my grandmother and her childhhood on the Kinkaid prairie.  She wrote about her memories of her grandfather John and how he helped them build their sod house and survive through the cold winters and very little comforts.  John and Rozilla had 7 children, 6 who lived into adulthood.
Happy 153rd Birthday!