Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mosaic Monday - What's a Grandma to Do?

Anyone care to guess what I did this weekend?

Andrew at 4 weeks, 2 days

Roland and Andrew

Grandpa Bill and Andrew

Grandma Kathy and Andrew
I am participating in Mosaic Monday. To see other beautiful collages, click on this link.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Great Ohio River Flood of 1937

View of 1937 Flood Looking East on Eastern toward St. Rose Church
Seventy-five years ago today the Ohio River crested in the Great Flood of 1937.  Over a million people were displaced from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois.  My Dad was 16 years old when it flooded and yet I feel like it is part of my DNA.  Their house was directly across the river and the water got up almost to the second floor.  I heard stories of them using a row boat and going into a second floor window.

My Dad's house across from Highland School at 2424 Eastern Ave.

The area covered by the flood was extensive.  The Cincinnati Post published this aerial view.

At one point, the city even lost it's water supply as flood waters submerged much of the Cincinnati Water Works pumping station on Eastern Ave.  One East End resident recently told me that they gave everyone a half hour notice that the water supply would be stopped.  Everyone was instructed to fill containers, tubs and anything they had before the water was turned off.  He said that he was a child at the time, came in and saw the tub filled with water and decided to give his dog a bath.  Somehow he didn't get the message.

One of my favorite childhood memories was when Dad would take us behind St. Rose Church so that we could see where they recorded each flood's crest on the back of the church.

Although you can't see the numbering from this distance, imagine the 80' crest at the top of the white rectangle on the back of the church.  The river had a normal pool stage of about 13' in 1937.  Changes to dams in the river have increased the normal pool stage to about 26' today.  Recall that our earliest Joneses lived 250' of the southeast corner of that church.  Their house on the river bank flooded every spring.  Good thing they were long gone before this disaster.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is sponsoring a wonderful commemoration of the flood and its impact on Ohio and surrounding states.  You can check out their wiki here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The 64th Anniversary of Mom and Dad's Wedding

My mother and father were married 64 years ago today.  On a post I wrote a year ago, I talked about a movie called The Bride Wore Boots.  My mother always said she had to wear boots to her wedding.  Although I always felt like I had seen a picture of this, it wasn't until my brother, Tom, dug up a photo album containing Mom and Dad's wedding pictures that I was able to see that the picture was more than something in my mind's eye.

Hiding behind one of the pictures was a newspaper article from the January 24, 1948 Cincinnati Enquirer. In the clipping it says that "the mercury is sliding toward zero, perhaps five below. The wind not only chills bones, it freezes type."  The picture on the left shows ice choking the Ohio River.

The weather didn't seem to be negatively affecting the bride.  Her smile is so warm as she climbs the steps to begin a new life.

Since last year's post, four more great-grandchildren have been added to the Jones family -- two boys and twin girls.  The newest addition is my grandson, Andrew, born 8 weeks early on December 29th.

I miss them both so much.  Wish they were here to see this.

Virginia and Johnny Jones

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hats of My Ancestors

The theme for Sepia Saturday was hats.  I had so much fun featuring them in my previous post.  I thought it would be fun to combine some of these hats into a couple of collages.

Until I enlarged my grandmother's wedding picture, I had never noticed the detail in the hat worn by my Great-Aunt Florence pictured in the upper right hand corner.  What a beautiful hat and what a beautiful woman wore it.

I got a little feedback from the "guys" in my family wanting some equal time.  I didn't have as many pictures to choose from, but here are a few special hats.

Pictured clockwise are my grandfather, "Pop", my brother, Ted, three sailors including my Great-Uncle James Ryan and James Ryan himself.

I have to admit that there is no way I would EVER want to wear a hat, but there is nothing more elegant!

For examples of this and other collages, please visit Mosaic Monday at Little Red House.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sepia Saturday Theme - Hats

My friend Liz Stratton at Attics and Old Lace was excited to see that the suggested theme for Sepia Saturday was hats.  After reading her post, which incorporated music, I recalled that I had some pretty unique hats in my collection, too.  My grandmother, Virginia Vonderheide Ryan, was a  milliner or hatmaker before she married.  It was one of a few occupations including seamstress that was acceptable for young women to have.

I do not know, but cannot help but believe that my grandmother assisted in the design of her wedding finery and that of her bridesmaid.

Roy Ryan, Virginia VDH Ryan, Val Vonderheide and Florence Ryan

My maternal Great-Grandmother, Anna Moser Vonderheide, was pictured with this beautiful hat. I imagine that this picture was taken around 1898 when she married. Although I have no reference point for the one at the right, I imagine it was about the same time period. Pictured below is a fabulous hat worn by my paternal grandmother, Norine Jones.

Norine Jones, Paternal Grandmother
Fast forward to the 1960s and my mother is pictured with other members of the P.T.A. promoting a variety of hats.  I imagine that this was in conjunction with a fashion-show fund-raising event.  My mother, Virginia (Ginny) Jones, is pictured in the upper left.

One of my favorite pictures is one picturing my Great-Uncle, James Ryan.  He died aboard the U.S.S. Virginia of diphtheria while the ship was docked in Boston.  I'm sure his parents cherished this picture of their eldest son who died at such a young age.

James Ryan
Thanks Sepia Saturday for such a wonderful prompt.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things We Take for Granted

Those who know me know that I am interested in people from different cultures and life experiences.  That is part of my attraction to travel.

Last night, my husband and I invited one of his friends over for dinner.  This man is a holocaust survivor with an incredible mind, great sense of humor, and a positive outlook on life.  I have been trying to better understand the Israeli/Palestinian history and wanted to hear his opinion on this topic.

In keeping with his wonderful sense of humor, Lou described one of his initial experiences upon arriving in Cincinnati not long after World War II.  Despite being multi-lingual, English was not one of his languages.  He and his wife were relocating from Paris, France where they had briefly owned an apartment.  He took the $1000 proceeds from the sale to a downtown bank.

Knowing that he could not speak English, Lou approached the teller with the cash in hand and simply said "buch".  This is the German equivalent of "book" and Lou was fairly certain the teller would understand that he wanted to deposit the money and have it recorded in a savings account book.  (Only us older folks remember these).  Imagine his surprise when the teller handed him an electric iron!

Lou didn't know what to do, but immediately handed the iron back to the teller, trying to explain that he didn't need an iron. The teller handed the iron back to Lou.  Each was getting more and more frantic as the line lengthened behind him.  Finally, the teller asked if there was anyone in line who could speak a foreign language.  Luckily for all, a German-speaker stepped forward and translated for the teller.  The iron was a free gift for opening an account and they just wanted him to step to the side while they printed up his new bank book that reflected his deposit.

Lou was so relieved. He couldn't imagine facing his wife with the news that he had traded their life savings for an iron they did not need.

It made me consider, once again, how much I take for granted.  Despite my love of travel to foreign countries, I have rarely been confronted with not being able to communicate because of my lack of knowledge of THEIR language.  I travel with the knowledge that I will always be able to find someone who knows English.  Think for a moment of how you would deal with having your entire family killed, having fought and been shot three times as a soldier fighting the Nazis, been relocated from one country to another because no one wanted you, and finally coming to Cincinnati and trading $1000 for an iron.  I don't think I would come through such experiences with such class and humor.  I'm proud to know him.

Note:  Lou tends to keep his story to himself, but gave me permission a year ago to share part of his story on the blog.  You can read about him here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Evelyn Ryan and Charles McCafferty

Wedding of Charles McCafferty and Evelyn Ryan

I am fortunate, at my age, to still have two siblings of my mother who are still with us -- Evelyn and Jim.  Family historians know how fortunate they are to be be able to have a "fact checker" who can help ascertain whether or not a story is fact or fiction.  My Aunt Evelyn does that for me.

As mentioned in earlier posts, my mother and her two sisters all got married between January and June of 1948.  They were part of the group of post World War II brides and veteran husbands who were responsible for the "Baby Boom."  I am part of that generation.

My brother located a picture album filled with 8 x 10 pictures of the wedding of all three girls.  Some were completely new to me.  I've decided to put some of them into collages and make them part of the family history record recorded in this blog. Evelyn and Charlie will celebrate their 64th Wedding Anniversary in April. They are the parents of four children, 21 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Bridesmaids were Florence Ryan, Virginia Ryan Jones, and Clara McCafferty
The men pictured include Roy Ryan (father of the bride), Jim Ryan and John McCafferty

The Wedding Party

In this collage, the picture on the top left includes Marie Metz (aunt), Beatrice McCafferty, Charles McCafferty, Evelyn Ryan McCafferty, Virginia Ryan, Roy Ryan and August Vonderheide.  The wedding party included John McCafferty, Jim Ryan, Jim McCafferty, Charles McCafferty, Evelyn Ryan McCaffery, Virginia Ryan Jones, Clara McCafferty and Florence Ryan.

Note: If you happen to like photo collages, check out additional ones on a wide variety of topics at Little Red House.  Mary Carroll offers bloggers an opportunity to share their latest collages with others as part of Mosaic Monday.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ian Meets Andrew

Yesterday my newest grandson, Andrew, was one week old. Now that he is tube-free, my daughter and her husband were allowed to bring Ian to the hospital to meet his younger brother. He was not allowed to come into the NICU, but his parents were able to alternate holding the baby at the window so that Ian could at least see him. My son-in-law sent us some pictures and I just had to share them. Ian was given a "Big Brother" shirt for the occasion. In the first picture you can just see Ian's anticipation. In the second, it is apparent that he seems to be happy with the result.

Roland and Andrew

Monday, January 2, 2012

Winter Rivers

I was watching the local news here in Cincinnati and they reported that one of the reasons residents cite for why they like living in Cincinnati is that we have four seasons.  I count myself among those.  I am not satisfied if it is a "mild" winter without at least one or two good snowfalls.

We have had really strange weather in Cincinnati this year.  In an area that experiences about 44 inches of rain annually, we had more than 70 inches.  We always have at least some snow in December.  Today is the first day with we've had more than a dusting.  It is beautiful right now.

The collage above includes three pictures taken from the Little Miami Bike Trail -- one of my favorite places in the world.  My husband and I ride our bikes along it as frequently as possible.  The picture in the bottom left is a view of a bend in the Ohio River taken from the location of my Dad's first house.  It was torn down to build Columbia Parkway, one of the primary east-west corridors in Cincinnati.

Winter can be beautiful!  I intend to enjoy it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary - January 1, 2012

It was a quiet day in Lake Wobegon.  Bill and I had considered going away for a few days to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, but the unexpected yet welcome birth of our second grandson, Andrew, made us postpone any thought of a getaway.

So what to do.  Bill and my daughter are huge fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.  The book was made into a movie which was released last week.  We decided a nice movie followed by dinner out would be a great way to celebrate.  The city was alive because the Bengals were playing for a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. 

Cincinnati Skyline

For those not familiar with the geography of Cincinnati, Ohio and Kentucky are separated by the beautiful Ohio River with Cincinnati on the north side of the river. The best views of the city are from the Kentucky side.  The day started out in the 50's but the temperature steadily fell with winds gusting up to 30 mph+.  Due to all of the rain we've had this year, the river is really up.

The movie was great!  We definitely came away feeling like it was worth the price of admission.  We followed up the movie with a nice dinner at the Claddagh Irish Pub located right on the river at Newport on the Levee.  Coffee and a cookie at the Barnes and Noble bookstore finished up the night.

25th Wedding Anniversary
As we were driving home, the snow flurries were quite heavy, making us feel grateful that our little getaway had to be postponed.  I can't believe it's been 25 years!  On to 2012!

Note:  If you are interested in our wedding story, click on the link to the right that discusses New Years Day 2011.