Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dolls from 3 Generations

These are my oldest dolls---both were gifts from my grandmother Vivian Maupin Long. My Grandfather Roy Long brought the one with the purplish hat and striped skirt from France to my Grandmother Vivian after World War I (sadly, her arms and legs are no longer attached---she needs to be restored). The one in blue might be older, but Mother said Vivian bought it as a restored antique doll from some shop that was in her neighborhood---the head is German porcelain but the body is 1940's composition. Mom said Vivian loved dolls!
This doll belonged to my mother Louise Wicker Long. It's a real Depression doll with a cloth body. All of the clothes look like a child (my mother?) made them. I love the fabrics---they are so 2008!
When my father LeRoy Long returned from World War II, he brought a Japanese doll and a porcelain tea set home to me (one of the cups broke over the years).
This doll was given to me by Maupin/McKay relatives. It's a Skookum doll which was made for tourists. For more information on this type of doll, click here. The Maupins were a railroad family with relatives in Texas. I just heard on Antiques Roadshow that vendors used to come to train stations and sell "Indian" dolls and artifacts (this doll was made in a factory), so I suspect one of them brought it home after a trip to Texas.

This is all that remains of my favorite dolls---Storybook dolls---I had at least 10 of them. I'm not sure why I have Little Red Riding Hood---she wasn't a favorite of mine. I think Vivian or Lena (my step-grandmother) Long crocheted the dress for me (one of my nicknames as a child was "Little Red Riding Hood"). However the Bride doll was my favorite---she is pretty tattered, but her eyes still blink.

To read more about another doll in my collection, go to my blog "Almost a Baby Boomer" for Dec. 23.

Friday, December 26, 2008

G.D. Morgan, Sr. Christmas 1983

Dave's parents Grover and Eloise (Fry) Morgan were transferred to Arcadia, California in 1971. They loved it so much that they decided to retire out there. They tried coming East for Christmas one year, but sat huddled in front of the fireplace most of the time. After the Christmas visit of 1975 (pictured below), they encouraged (sometimes paid for) each of us to go out there for Christmas.
I loved going out there for Christmas (which we did 2 or 3 times), but we couldn't always manage (two babies were born in early February). So, they did have a few Christmases without any of us. But, they managed to establish a new holiday tradition!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Cards from George and Nell Fry

These are wonderful Christmas cards from Dave's Uncle George (Buddy) Fry and his wife Nell.

The card above must have been sent in the 1980's (judging from the note) but it is from a sketch Dave's brother Harry did in 1973 of the Alderson home in West Virginia . (Alice Alderson Fry was Dave's maternal grandmother)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jimmy's Christmas Moon

These Christmas memories are from my brother James Long:

During the grade school years we would go to the American Legion Christmas parties at Gibson School. They had a Santa who handed out gifts with name of each every good little boy. Since we went with the Kesson boys (Frankie, Bobby, and Tony) there was sure to be mischief…so much for good little boys. While leaving the Christmas Party Dad looked up and pointed up at the moon showing me my first lunar eclipse - December 19, 1964. I remembered thinking…some day we’ll all be able to go to the moon.
(l-r Steve Adams, Jaclyn Long, James Long)
At age 10 I had out grown the American Legion parties and got to go to Adult Christmas parties.
(l-r Lena Long, Steve Adams, Jane Long, Rose Long---all playing charades)
The best ones were at my Uncle Ron and Aunt Rose house. I remember they served Italian food, had cool Mediterranean furniture, played Charades, and served wine from straw covered bottles (Chianti)….nothing like the Honey Ham, playing Candyland, maple colonial furniture and Morgan David wine we would have at home.
(l-r: Ed Rogers, Jane Long, Norma Long Rogers, Louise Long, Jaclyn Long)

(l-r: Harry Provost, Jane Long, Jaclyn Long, Steve Adams)
But the coolest thing was watching the Apollo 8 mission on TV on December 24, 1968 -Christmas Eve with my Uncle Ron. That night I not only saw the moon, but also saw the full view of planet earth in the emptiness of space.
My Uncle Ron, a chemist, had been working on the coating for the exterior of the space capsules. I asked Uncle Ron would we ever land on the moon….he handed me one more present and said “in a couple of years”. The present was a book called “Astronauts” And he was right …The USA achieved John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

And this year....... I’ll be eating Italian food, playing Dominos and drinking Chianti under a Blackmoon on Christmas Day.

For my sister's Christmas memories click here. For my Christmas memories click here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vivian Maupin Long letter, Dec. 26,1945

This was a Christmas card my dad got from me---the brown on the left had my footprints on it---knowing Mother, she had bought the card and took it to the hospital in November when I was born! So, the footprints were probably done by the hospital staff. She was always thinking ahead!

(This letter is in pencil, so I transcribed it below)

St. Louis Mo
Dec. 26, 1945
Dear Son:
I will write a few lines today. I have been sick--had the flu. I had 103 fever, was pretty sick for a few days---was in bed.

Norma & Bud & Steve, Louise & Jackie, Bob & Max and Bob, Mary, Dad and Ronnie was here for dinner. the babies was so cute together. Little Jackie is a real little girl. She sure looks like you. she has big eyes like you. [photo from Feb. 1946---L-R: Norma and Steve, Maxine and Bob, Louise and Jaclyn. Bob was in a shadow---I couldn't make it any better]

Billie and her husband came over and got Louise and Mr. Wicker. Still it was not completed without you.

Uncle Hal and Aunt Mattie, Junior and Sadie and Jerry came over last night. We had a nice Christmas.I guess you might be home before you get this letter. I hope so.

Max & Bob are still with us. They are waiting on the house. Mary got her dad a brown leather chair for Christmas. It sure is nice. Well, Lee, next Christmas we will be all together. I will close.

Love from all

[Billie is my mother Louise's sister and Mr. Wicker is my maternal grandfather. Mattie Maupin McKay was Vivian's sister---Hal was her husband, Junior and Jerry were her sons, Sadie was Junior's wife. Max (Maxine Long Delaney) was my father's sister. His other siblings mentioned were Norma Long Adams Rogers, Mary Long Wassmund and Ronnie Long]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Families, Two Traditions

[l-r Vennie Watson Wicker, LeRoy Long, Jane Long, Louise Wicker Long, James Long, James Wesley Wicker]
When Dave and I spent our first Christmas together, we realized that we came from two different cultures. Both of our families were starting Christmas at about the same time. We went to my parents, the Longs, first. As usual, it was a free-for-all, with a flurry of paper---it was all over in an hour! Pictured above (1959) was pretty typical---PJ's, wrapping paper everywhere, mom in her hairnet, grandpa in his undershirt.

After the "Long Christmas" (which was pretty short), we went to Dave's parents--the Morgans. They had just started Christmas---the gift unwrapping (one at a time!) lasted the ENTIRE DAY! Everyone was dressed up, acting all polite and adult---I was in shock!

These photos are from 1947---could the family look anymore perfect? Click here for some of Dave's memories which would NEVER have happened in my family! My dad was the biggest kid of all---he was the instigator---tossing presents right and left. I think Dave and I hit a happy medium, but I don't think Dad ever understood the concept of just two presents at a time!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alfreda Fry Morris Christmas Letters

Dave's Aunt Alfreda was the Queen of Christmas Newsletters. She was Eloise's older sister who lived in Hinsdale, New York for many years before moving back to Princeton, WV to live with her brother Phil.
Below is a sample of one of her newsletters---always chatty and full of details---we all suspected she kept a journal to have so many details of her life. Double click on the newsletter page below; use the back arrow to come back to this page.
The newsletter above is from 1977; the excerpt below is about the 1975 Fry Reunion which was a cruise to Bermuda.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dave's Christmas Memories

In 1952 or ’53, when we lived in Cincinnati, Mom [Eloise] had gotten tired of us boys – in past Christmases – constantly picking up, shaking and “weighing” each present under the tree that was addressed to us. We’d do this for what I guess seemed to her like hours [or, maybe it really was..].

So, for that Christmas, she said that the presents for us boys from Mom and Dad would be randomly numbered [except we didn’t know that term], starting with 1 and ending with the total # of gifts for all 3 combined. And on Christmas morning, as we opened the presents one at a time, she would tell us three – in order – what our next present number was.

Sounds like a plan – except that she misplaced the list before Christmas morning. The only thing she could do then, was to look at each gift and try to remember from its shape and from the wrapping paper [but the paper was the same for a lot of them], who the gift was for. Seems to me she missed it on most of them – so after we opened each gift, before we could ooh and ahh over it, she would tell us who the present was really supposed to be for! [The disappointment level was pretty high on a lot of them, when we found out it wasn’t for us after all!]

That was for sure the ONLY Christmas where we had numbered presents.

Another memory that stands out for me was when I was 6 or 7 years old, in Princeton. They let me SLEEP IN, in my bunk bed [Harry had the lower bunk], on Christmas morning, after everybody was up and opening presents. I still have no idea why they did that – but I was a bit put out [OK, more than a bit…].

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa "Roy" Claus

This photo was taken of me when I was 4-5 years old---it was at a department store---probably Famous-Barr (Macy's now). But, I was about the right age for the story below that was in my "Baby Book":

According to Mom, I noticed his shoes---so despite the beard, costume and mystique of Santa, I looked at the shoes and knew who he was! The worst part was my cousins heard me. Mom said everyone (aunts and uncles) was pretty unhappy with my astute announcement. I'm not sure if the party was at Aunt Mary Long Wassmund's or Aunt Mary Walton Long's.

I'm sorry I don't have any photos of my Grandfather Roy Long as Santa Claus--maybe one of my cousins has a photo. But, here are my grandparents Vivian (Maupin) and Roy Long (with me about 18 months) I did inherit the bells that Grandpa used while playing Santa---my grandson Eli has already enjoyed playing with them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two More Reed-Farncombe Family Stories

These are both from Kathleen Weaver, our Wisconsin cousin who initially contacted me about William Reed's identity. To read this, double click on the document. To come back to this page use the back arrow.
As with the other "Family Stories", there are some things that are true and some which probably aren't. We don't believe William and Mary were married in St. Thomas Virgin Islands although they may have lived there. Pauline Reid(pictured below) is an English cousin descended from William Reed/Farncombe's brother Edward. She has seen the church records and says they were married in St. Thomas, Winchester, England. Below, Pauline is standing beside the grave of one of William Reed/Farncombe's brothers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mary Reed Farncombe

This photo is of Mary Reed Farncombe---Annie Reed Maupin's grandmother, William Reed/Farncombe's mother. We have so many stories about her. . .some are true and some probably aren't.

We think she was born in Malta in 1801 and believe her father was probably in the military, too. We are pretty sure she was Irish---she visited siblings in Ireland and William Reed/Farncombe (when he first arrive in the United States) stated he was from Ireland.

According to a family story, Mary Reed married young (15 years old)--May 1, 1816 to William Farncombe who was in 35th Regiment. Although we thought she was married in St. Thomas Virgin Islands, an English cousin saw the marriage records.

Monday, December 8, 2008

William Reed/Farncombe (AKA Holcombe)

[Photo is of Pyecombe, Sussex, England---where William Reed/Farncombe---father of Annie Reed Maupin--- was from]

As I mentioned in a previous post, Carol Keller whose husband is the great-grandson of William Reed/Farncombe had a document that she'd received from one of his cousins. Some of it has no basis in truth (as far as we know), but some of it may in fact be correct. We haven't really checked it all out, yet.

"Genealogy Report Taken From Original Dated 1861 in London, England Reed-Holcombe [Carol and I think someone mis-understood the name Farncombe]

Sir Edward William James Reed-Holcombe born Sept. 20, 1830 at Sheerness, England. At age 23 was designer of various vessels for the British until he denounced Royalty in Dec. 1856.
[William Reed/Farncombe was not SIR anything and his birth was not accurate either. He was, however, a blacksmith/engineer and did emigrate from England in late 1856 or early 1857]

One brother remained in England.
[seven out of nine siblings remained in England] Sir Thomas German Reed-Holcombe born at Brighton June 27, 1817---died March 1888.[none of this is accurate excepting the family was from around Brighton, England]

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Farncombe and Reed photos

Kathy Weaver, in Wisconsin, sent photos which her family had of 3 of William Reed/Farncombe's siblings. Seeing those photos was all I needed to be persuaded that her story was true. The first photo I saw (above) was Kathy's ancestor Mary Farncombe DiVall. I was shocked at how much she looked like my aunt---Mary Long Wassmund. I sent the photo to various people and said, "Who does this look like?" They all said, "Mary" The Mary above would be Mary below's great-great aunt.

The one thing that Mom always talked about were Annie Reed Maupin's light blue eyes.
Here is her aunt Elizabeth---her father's sister:
The last recognition I had was William's brother Edward Farncombe:
Not as similar in looks as the women, here are his great-nephews Walter and Harry Maupin (sons of Annie Reed Maupin):
And, great-nephew Ralph Reed son of James Reed (son of William Reed/Farncombe)
And Charles Maupin (Harry's son)

The photos were pretty convincing that William Farncombe did indeed come to the United States and change his name. Carol Keller, married to Williams's great-grandson did find the document she'd received from a cousin (now deceased) which confirmed the story. Come back in a few days for that installment.