Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sentimental Sunday

 At left is my mom and below is her twin sister, a few minutes older. These are their high school graduation photos.


Remember those socks filled with chalk that children used to swing around on Halloween? Mom's Halloween memories weren't very positive because one Halloween she was socked in the mouth with a sock filled with rocks. Although she had a few sets of front teeth put in over the years, replaced as dental techniques became better, she always had to be careful what and how she ate. She even had to be careful how she kissed!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Those Places Thursday - European Band Tour

Edgar James Wood, born in Cleveland, OH, spent his summers in between college semesters touring Europe with a band. They'd get hired to play on an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic and then pick up gigs as they moved around Europe. This is a poster from 1926, when Edgar was playing in Dick Bowers' Band. Although they didn't make much money, they did have lots of adventures and see the world. Decades later, Edgar (my late father-in-law) was still talking about his summer band tours and cruise dates.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: James Edgar Wood

James Edgar Wood was a builder in Cleveland Heights, OH, around the turn of the century (the sign, at right of the bicycle, is the giveaway). This is one of the homes he built. A mystery: Is the woman with him his wife, Mary Slatter Wood? Anyway, James's proficiency in carpentry has been inherited by later generations--at least 4 generations at current count.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday - Busted Because of a Coal Road

A Black Sheep Sunday story. My dad, Harold Burk (right, above), worked his way up to sgt in the US Army during WWII, in charge of getting some supplies to certain Allied troops fighting in Europe. He was frustrated that he couldn't easily deliver coal to the barracks in a heavily wooded area, and with the weather getting very cold, and no official way to get the coal to freezing troops, he took matters into his own hands.

He ordered a tank (or heavy truck, not sure which) to knock down some of the smaller trees and create a narrow road that could then be used for transporting coal to the barracks! Higher-ranking officials weren't happy because they feared the narrow road would tip off enemy planes if they spotted the route, and my dad was busted, losing at least one stripe. But he always felt the men would not have survived the winter without some fuel for the stoves, so he made their day-to-day welfare his concern. Is this a Black Sheep story? My husband doesn't think so, but maybe that's because all ended well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grandma, Upper Sandusky, and McGuffey's Reader

Years ago, my husband's parents gifted him with a beat-up old book, McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader (revised edition). These days, McGuffey's is available for free, online, from the Gutenberg Project.

The book itself is too fragile to scan, unfortunately, so no picture here. The book has huge sentimental value because it belonged to my husband's grandmother, Floyda Steiner McClure, who used it in school in Upper Sandusky, OH, about 1890-91.

Interestingly, Floyda practiced her shorthand on the endpapers at the back of the book. She also scribbled some math sums back there. No highlighting in the book, of course. This is a family treasure because it connects us to older generations in a tangible way. How else would we know that Floyda read Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Lord Byron, and more?

I'm still researching Floyda's ancestors, specifically William Madison McClure and his father, Benjamin McClure. Lots of McClures, but so far, no hint about where William Madison McClure's family came from. Any descendants out there?  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cousins--More Than Names on My Family Tree

I suspected that there were more 2nd cousins out there: In my great-grandmother's obit, I counted the number of great-grandchildren, of which I'm one.


One big reason I started this blog is so that cousins and other relatives could find me--and now Cousin Lois has done just that. We're excitedly exchanging family stories and talking over old times. I'm delighted to catch up with Lois's news and learn, through her, about more cousins scattered around the country. Wonder of wonders, Lois even has some treasured heirlooms that belonged to our great-grandpa.

So many cousins to meet, so many stories to tell, so many family connections to make. Here's to great cousin connections!