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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It’s All in the Will, When There is a Will! #52 Ancestors

Wanting to be independent but feeling trapped, third great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Waldhauer (1796-1862) was resolved to find a husband. She had a good mind. She could read. She could write. She was also pretty but she didn’t have choices. Finding a husband was what was expected. It was 1815 and a woman’s role continued to be limited to finding a husband, having children, taking care of the children and submitting to their husband for their entire life. Elizabeth had a different expectation of what her life should be. She wanted to be on her own and have financial independence. She did not wish to have to marry to be economically safe and protected. Yet, it was unthinkable for a woman to remain single. Society scorned and pitied single women. She had no choice. She had to find a husband. John Krack/Crock, (1771-1824) was a farmer and a widower. It is most likely that John’s wife passed away soon after the birth of their daughter in 1814, as deadly infections following the

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

We Come From A Long Line of Coal Miners #52Ancestors

We come from a long line of coal miners in Pennsylvania.   Coal mining began in the Pennsylvania colony about 1760 at a place called Coal Hill, across the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh.  Coal was extracted and then moved by canoe down the river to Fort Pitt.  From these beginnings coal became a big industry through the centuries. Coal mining boomed in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries.  It was used to power steam engines, generate electricity and heat buildings.  Many of the men in our family mined coal from their arrival in Pennsylvania in the 1700s through about 2014 when cousin, Butch,  retired as the last Altman coal miner. We come from a long line of coal miners in Pennsylvania.  As a very small child, I remember my dad, George Dickson Altman, coming home with a white hard hat that had a light on it and his face was covered in black grime.  I remember his dusty boots and beat-up lunchbox.  He worked for John Carr Mine at Edna #1. In the 1910 U