Skip to main content

Happiness Exudes - Favorite Photo #52 Ancestors

 It is difficult to find just one photo that can be labeled as the favorite.  Growing up I remember wrestling with the old suitcase that held all of the family photographs.  It was always fun to sit down with Mom and sort through them, looking and listening, as she told me stories.

There were so many little photo booklets and loose photos in that suitcase and each one told a story.  They spoke of growing up poor.  They spoke of family picnics.  They spoke of sailors and soldiers.  They spoke of backyard parties in the fall, with a fire in a metal barrel for warmth, polka music playing and people dancing.  They spurred memories like the special diamond ring that Dad made me from a firefly when I was three or four.  Oh, how it sparkled!

How in the world does a person select just one photo?  As I think about it, a person doesn't have to have just one favorite photo and just maybe because I am struggling to find just one, I am that person.  Maybe I am destined to sort through the images and tell the stories I was told...maybe it is time.

When the suitcase was opened, I would always go for the special photo that was rolled and had a ribbon tied around it.  The picture exudes happiness.  It is of my pretty mom when she was about fifteen or sixteen.  It is one of my very favorite photos.  

I love how thrilled Mom looks modeling her new skates and skating skirt!  Who wouldn't be?  A skating skirt that would really twirl when spinning.  Look at all of those layers.  Pretty fancy, I think.  Don't you just know that she is anxious to try it out and be the star at the roller rink?

Mom loved to skate.  It was what she did when there was any extra money and free time.  Mom grew up poor so it was a really big event to be able to go skating.  It was an even bigger thing to get skates and a skating skirt!  It is highly doubtful that there was money to purchase the skirt.  It would have been a frivolous expenditure for the family.  Most likely, Vivien and her mom, Millie, made the skating skirt.  Millie made most all of their clothing and Vivien was learning to sew.  I just love the multiple layers of gathering and all of the repetitive colors of the layers.

When I was growing up we lived fairly close to the skating rink and for a quarter we could go to the Saturday Matinee.  Mom would go with my brother and me.  She taught us all about skating and even showed off a time or two.  On one of those Saturdays I learned to skate backwards.  I thought that was really cool, but, what I would have given for my very own skates and skating skirt.

Mom is Vivien Gean Steffey.  She was born at home on 10 December 1926, the ninth and last child born to William Coonrod and Millie Mabel Pierce Steffey.  When Vivien was born, the oldest child, her brother, Boyd, was 20 years old.  She was welcomed into a very large family!

A very large family always has stories.  There are stories of adventures, stories of love, and stories of accomplishments.  All are tucked away in the suitcase.  All are waiting.

The suitcase is at my house now.  It is tucked away still waiting for the day when the latch will open; and photos will spill out, all anxious for their story to be told.


Popular posts from this blog

Disaster Strikes Joseph B. Shaner Family #52 Ancestors

It was late December 1887, and a typical winter day for Joseph B. Shaner and family in Cowansburg, Pennsylvania.  The snow was banked against the house and streets were slick with patches of ice. The holidays were behind them and the family had settled into their usual routine.  Rebecca got up early to make lunches as family members readied themselves to brave the cold outdoors to make their way to work or school. Joseph headed to the Coal Mine near Lash Post Office.   Rebecca’s day had started like any other.  She did some laundry, cleaned the house, baked some bread and prepared a pot of beans for dinner.  Later that day she heard a shuffling at the door. Joseph was on a stretcher! Fellow miners carried him indoors. The men quickly explained that he had been injured in the mine.  Dr. J. D. Milligan attended Joseph that same day, December 29, 1887, stating that Joseph had been crushed by a piece of slate that had fallen on him. The family stayed with Joseph night and

He Answered the Call #52Ancestors

Since I was a little girl, my favorite picture has been of my dad during World War II wearing a pith helmet.  I had seen many pictures of soldiers and watched many war movies with my dad;   in my mind his headgear in the picture was unusual.  It certainly didn’t match anything I had seen unless the soldier was British.   I thought he was so young, handsome, and distinguished in that helmet! George Dickson Altman was the eighth of ten children born to Samuel Kunkle and Mary Jane Eck Altman.  He was born 27 February 1926 in Wegley, Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, PA.   George registered for the draft on 30 June 1942.  He was eighteen. This was a man who wanted to fight for his country and was determined to join two of his brothers and a sister in the fight. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Multiple Registrations ,  The National Archives, Pennsylvania, citing George Dickson Altman Fold 3 [database on-line] https

Twists, Turns, Mysteries and Adventure - The Walldhauer/Walthour Family in Germany, Part 2

Times were hard. It was the winter of 1738 and Charles Frederick became the new Margrave of Baden-Durlach, Germany. A new ruler.   Charles Frederick (1728-1811) Portrait by Johann Ludwig Kisling, 1803,_Grand_Duke_of_Baden New rulers were frequent and their religious policy was defined by “Cuius regio, eius religio”, a Latin phrase, (whose realm, his religion,) meaning the religion of the ruler dictates the religion of his subjects. Disagreement and war about religion was frequent and constant. As Protestants and farmers, the Waldhauer family, and the community living in Baden-Durlach, Germany, were struggling to survive. Even though it was after the Thirty Years War, the  Margravate of Baden-Durlach was still trying to recover from the heavy damages that had been incurred. Fortunately, the area of little towns, Karlsruhe, Durlach and Pforzheim, was in the lower part of the Margravate and was Protestant. While, the peasants