Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Virginia Ryan at St. Margaret Hall

Virginia Vonderheide Ryan moved into St. Margaret Hall in Obryonville in 1973.  In October 1976 they published a newsletter where Grandma was featured as the Resident of the Month.  It held some interesting information that I'm sure we would have never known otherwise.  Here is what it said:

Many people have bad habits:  most people have good habits, but few people make habits!  It all started when she was eight years old.  her mother gave her a piece of material, a needle and some thread . . . and she's been sewing ever since.  She has designed and made everything from wedding dresses, band uniforms, school uniforms, altar cloths, priests' vestments and nun's habits.

Her name is:  VIRGINIA RYAN

Virginia was born in Covington, Kentucky to Mr. and Mrs. Vonderheide, who also had a son . . . but Virginia was definitely her Daddy's pet.  And she loved to ride.  When she wasn't riding her father's knee, she was riding her St. Bernard dog, Guy, or their horse.  She still loves to ride.

When Virginia was five, the Vonderheide's purchased a home and shoe store in Elmwood.  One of her classmates all through St. Aloysious School was a certain Roy Ryan . . . but it took an "old maid" Sodality President to make the young couple realize they were meant for each other.  They have 44 wonderful years together.

Life in the Ryan home was a picnic!  Just about every Sunday, weather permitting, they would pile children, food and drinks in the car, and away they'd go.  They lived in a huge house in Wyoming with three girls and a boy:  Jim, Virginia, Evelyn and Florence (who died and left 6 children).  When the grandchildren came, they even would charter a bus for a family outing.

The Ryans were avid card players, and belonged to several clubs, but most of their efforts were geared to children and ultimately, 25 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren (the record here at St. Margaret Hall). 

Their downstairs playroom was fully equipped to cook for and serve at least 35 people, which happened at least every holiday, and sometimes between.  Then Virginia would back 100 rolls not to mention the other goodies.  She had one certain basket, and when the grandchildren saw that, they would squeal with delight, for it always held pecan rolls . . . 10 dozen!!!!

Christmas was especially outstanding.  There was great excitement when erecting the crib set (hand made by Roy) on the front lawn.  The figures were 6 ft. in kneeling position.

After 25 years in Wyoming and when all the children were married, the family moved to Amberley Village for another 25 years, but the family rituals continued.

Virginia came to St. Margaret Hall three years ago.  She still makes all her own clothes, not to mention wedding dresses for her grandchildren, Purcell band uniforms, vestments and nuns' habits.  She also does all the mending for the residents on the third floor.  If her hand is not holding a needle, it is holding a rosary or a telephone, for she keeps in close touch with her God, her family and her friends, many of whom are nuns.

Virginia is just about the busiest resident at St. Margaret Hall and just about the most giving.  That's why she is just about the happiest and also just about the nicest!!!!

Pictured here are Virginia, Evelyn and Florence showing off the three different styles of bridesmaids dresses Grandma made for the three girls' weddings.

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