Monday, March 15, 2010

Johnny Jones and Virginia Ryan

It's been a real adventure blogging about my Dad's siblings: Edith, Charlie (Bud), and Bob. Now I have the privilege of writing about my Dad and Mom -- Johnny and Ginnie.

Dad was the 4th child born to Fred and Norine. He was born on September 30, 1920 (at least that's what we always thought). His birth certificate says that he was born on September 20th, but his mother insists that it was a typo and she ought to know -- she was there. The family count was now one girl, and three boys.

Johnny was ten years younger than his older sister, Edith. I know how this can be as I am 10 years older than my brother, Dan.  The picture is cropped from the picture of "The Perfect Family" picture posted in an earlier posting.

 Dad attended school at Highland Elementary, right across the street from his home at 2424 Eastern Ave. (now Riverside Dr.).  My cousin, Fred Breving, told me that he remembers seeing water founts in the back of the school that were designated for "Colored" and "White".

I have no doubt that Dad loved growing up on the river.  We have that wonderful picture of him in his canoe that he would take out into the river and ride the wake of steamboats that passed by. He had to sell the canoe when he married our mother so that she could buy a sewing machine.

As a young man of his generation, Dad had to go to war.  He spent the war in England loading bombs onto planes.  He never really discussed much about the war, but England was constantly being bombed by the Germans during the war and the Allies returned the favor.  There must have been some lighter moments as one of the pictures that survived the war was one of Dad with two local dogs.
(I think we all inherited that gene).

In this picture, Dad is the one in the upper right hand corner.

Mom and Dad met after the war.  The Newman Club, a Catholic social club for college students, sponsored a boat ride on the Island Queen to Coney Island.  One of Dad's best friends, Bob Kroner, was the President of the organization and invited Dad to come.  Thus my non-Catholic father met my Catholic mother.

Mom and Dad dated and got married on January 24, 1948 at St. James Church in Wyoming.  It was cold and snowy that day in stark contrast to January 23, 1947 when Bob and Mary got married.  Mom and her sisters got married between January and June of 1948.  Her sister, Evelyn, actually got engaged first, but she felt that Mom, being the oldest sister, should be the first to get married.  It was a busy time for Virginia Ryan because she sewed all of the bridal and bridesmaids gowns for all three weddings.

Of this marriage were born seven children: Kath, Tom, Tim, Karen, Ted, Dan and Don.  Dad, whose primarily worked as an electrician at the Environmental Protection Agency, worked additional part-time jobs to support his family of nine.

We lost our father at the age of 57 to cancer.  Our mother married two more times -- first to Dick Godar who also died of cancer, and then to Frank Klug.  Cancer also took Mom shortly before her 72nd birthday.

We often reflect that our parents would be so proud of us.  They both believed in us and believed in education.  I could write an entire blog on my immediate family -- and perhaps eventually I will.  Just know that all of us were blessed and continue to be blessed by being born into this family.

To view of photoshow with pictures of our parents, go to: Johnny and Ginnie Photoshow

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