Monday, October 12, 2009

Almost 100 Years Ago

I definitely need a score card to keep track of my ancestors. We've all heard stories of past relatives and their antics and adventures. Of course the accuracy of those stories depends on the person sharing. Exaggerations become a part of literary licensing. Recently I have been trying to separate the reality from the fiction since I'm now on the other half of the lifeline.

With my mother nearing the age of 90 years old and her dementia becoming more noted, I think it's important that someone document our past. She has preserved several generations' memoribilia so that my generation and future generations will have some idea of what life was like, the hardships suffered and the fun that was generated from the simplest things. Tin pictures and printed pictures put faces to names and show the fashion changes as well as regional changes. Notes, cards and letters lend us personalities of those who wrote them.

This past weekend I resumed going through the memoribilia. I focused on my mother's mother, my Granny. As far as I can remember my Granny was very short, had gray hair, wore glasses and frankly looked old, but she was pretty. She was of German descent, very strick but I knew she loved me.

One of the most famous stories that I remember was when I was around 9 or 10 years old. You have to keep in mind that I was the fifth generation born and raised in our town so we, or rather my family, knew everyone. You could walk uptown and shop. Stores were only open six days a week and going to the movies only cost a quarter. Life seemed to have been much simpler back then. Television programs were in black and white and TVs were not in every household. There were pay telephones, friendly and helpful police officers and you were scared to death of disappointing your parents.

Anyhow my best friend and I went up to Woolworth's where they were having a balloon sale on banana splits. The idea was that you selected a balloon and whatever the price was inside is what you paid for your banana split. The prices ranged from one cent to 99 cents.

We slid up to the counter and each of us carefully selected our balloon. If you haven't guessed it, we both selected the 99 cents. The problem was that we were sure we wouldn't get a balloon over 25 cents because that's all each of us had. I don't know why we didn't tell the waitress that we didn't have enough money. We just let her go ahead and make up our banana splits and then sat there and thoroughly enjoyed them. I remember as we were getting down to the last bites that there was some worry about how we were going to pay but we kept eating.

Then the end came. The waitress placed the checks on the counter and we just looked at each other and then at her. Now we were scared. If she called our parents we would really be in trouble. However, I remember turning for some reason on my stool and what to my surprise should I see but the top of my Granny's head bobbing along on the other side of the aisle. I jumped down, ran over to get her, and explained our problem. She had just finished work and stopped in Woolworth's on her way home. I thought for sure Granny was going to ream us but she said nothing and paid our bill. We of course helped her carry her bags home.

So as I came across more clues about her past I realized I really needed to organize better then I have so far. I also thought it might help out others to keep records straight. So I made the following:

You can customize the family name. This is a one inch binder so I can place all the Dilks in one binder, the Haggerty's in another and so on.

My Granny was Florence M. Dilks and the following are some pictures of her at various ages along with her graduation announcement and program from the class of 1911.

Here she is how I remember her:

Granny attended the Old West End School in Woodbury , NJ until 1909 when the new high school located on Broad St was completed.

In September 1910 Granny's Senior class met.

There were only 18 students in her graduating class. However in December 1910, the high school burned to the ground leaving the graduating class without a place for graduation. According to her graduation announcement that didn't stop them from graduating.

Evidently the students received a customized program.

The guests received

I found the following article to be very sad but interesting.

If you'll notice in the paragraph above the graduates announcement, you'll see that Wellington Corsey was also a graduate but did not attend Woodbury High School nor was he awarded his diploma in a ceremony. We've come a long way since then.

The high school was rebuilt and ready to go by September 1912.

Since Granny was the corresponding secretary she was responsible for the rest of her life to maintain contact with her classmates. We have pictures of class reunions up through their 50th Class Reunion. Granny kept typed notes. In one of the notes for a reunion I happened to see "1st married" and it was her name. I read a bit further and it stated that at the conclusion of the graduation exit the band struck up "Here Comes The Bride"! I had to laugh.

Overall Granny had a hard life but she made the best of it. She's left many a happy memory for me to recollect. Actually both of my grandmothers left me with a wealth of happy memories.

Jessie Robinson

It's nice to take time to recall the influence my grandmothers have had on me. Naturally being an educator I can't help but think how this type of research, whether it concern the school, community or family, might be a great task performance project for students. Hmmm... I'll have to think about designing something like that.

Well, back to the puzzle of linking my relatives to my life.

Meanwhile have a Firecrackin Great Day!


Jasmine said...

Nice to have such great memories. I love the ice cream story. :) Do you still talk to the friend who went with you?

chubskulit said...

Oh my, you are so fortunate to have those memories kept! I love those old photos because they are more high quality than now. They last forever!

By the way, I am trying to generate some support for our daughter. I entered her into a Smile Contest, so if you could please vote for her (just once), the contest runs until October 31st. Your vote would be so much appreciated.

To cast your vote, please go to this link. Please look for Jillian Rylie Cottrill.

Thank you very much for your help!