Tuesday, December 15, 2009

News from Harrisburg, Arkansas 1933

Harrisburg, Arkansas, Dec. 29, 1933---I love that my grandfather's name is printed at the top of the newspaper "Wes Wicker." There were several articles that my mother had under-lined or drawn around with a pencil.
Louise Wicker (#5) was 13 years old when this newspaper was printed. The photo above shows her in 1932 with a group that won 4th place in ???
I can remember Mom talking about "Shorty" whom I think was "Big-Daddy", a man who was like a grandfather to her (all 5' of him).
Pictured above is "Big Daddy" with Jane, his granddaugher Barbara, and me.
This is another photo of Louise in 1932 (second row, third from the left).
I'm pretty sure Mom was in this 7th grade class.
Harrisburg High School in 1930's

This photo is from 8th grade---Mom has the X above her, although I don't think this looks much like her (other than the hair)
This is about a 7th grade prank which Mom probably participated in.
This was their neighbor---the Matthews-- whom Mom thought was "well-to-do" with her friend Jessie as a servant. Not marked in the newspaper is a small blurb "Bruno Redman was over from Waldenburg Saturday." I'm guessing that this was Jessie's future father-in-law because Mom always said that the Redmans were German.
I'm not sure of the date on this photo. But Mom couldn't be much more than 15 in this photo with Billie at 12 or 13.
I love the ads in the old newspapers and magazines. At the top was a listing of the movies showing at the Jonesboro theater, then ads from a few local stores and for the "new Ford V-8"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Louise's Christmas Memories

Several years ago, my daughter Rebecca gave my mother Louise Wicker a book to record her memories. After a year or two, Mom returned the book to Rebecca who typed the memories to share with all of us.
She said on another page:
I was always in pageants, plays at school. I had just started school (no, I was 7 years old) and was in a play. My mom had made us flannel sleepers (all kids). I came off stage and Molly [a family friend] told me my dad had been hurt and my mom had to leave.
My grandfather Wes Wicker had many leg injuries. One injury was from racing horses (when Mom was a baby), but in his later years he operated heavy road-building equipment and I believe one had turned over and crushed his leg.
Louise often mentions "Jessie" who was just a little older than Mom, but was a servant in the Matthews' home. My parents stayed friends with Jessie and her husband Albert Redman until the Redmans died. Mother loved the irony that Jessie who had been a servant married Albert Redman who became a wealthy rice farmer in Arkansas.
While I don't have any photos of Mom's Christmas trees, I do have photos of her grandchildren decorating a freshly cut cedar tree with popcorn and cranberries at her house.
They hand-made ornaments, decorated the tree with lights, but we always called it the "Christmas Tree for the birds" since they snacked on the decorations.
Other Christmas memories Mother shared:
One thing we had at Christmas night was fireworks, roman candles, sparklers. You see there was no such thing as all these lights.

Our [Christmas] celebration was always at home. Mother was a great cook and the highlight was always our dinner fruit salad. Lady Baltimore cake [recipe here] and Dad made eggnog for the adults that came by.

One Christmas, Billie wanted a Mickey Mouse watch. Of course, I thought I was too old. I got a standard. They were hid and I rooted until I found thembefore Christmas. To this day, I love Mickey Mouse watches (that I thought I was too old for)

[The best Christmas] was the year I got my first pair of roller skates and 2 pair plaid stockings (long that fit on supporters). It was a warm Christmas. By evening, both pair of stockings were gone but I had my skate key around my neck on a string.

No matter how little money there was as children (the Great Depression-no one had money) but dad would barter; they always made Christmas special--Molly, Pearl and Ann helped. So Billie and I were special. We never felt we didn't want what other kids had [actually, I think she means the opposite]
For more about Molly, Pearl and Ann (the Everette sisters), click here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pearl Harbor

Last year, I wrote about our visit to Pearl Harbor in 2007. This year, I was cleaning and organizing "my stuff" in the basement and came across the book from Mom and Dad's visit to Pearl Harbor in the 1970's.
I glanced through the book and recalled Mom's story about several of her high school friends dying at Pearl Harbor.

I remember her saying how moving it was to see their names on a memorial plaque.
As I'm thumbing through this book, I see this section under-lined and I wondered why. It couldn't have been the ship Mom's friends were on because it didn't sink in Pearl Harbor.
Within a half hour of wondering why that was underlined in the Pearl Harbor book, I found this magazine and almost pitched it. Mom had written "Keep!!" on it, but I can't keep EVERYTHING.

Fortunately, I saw the post-it note and turned. Dad had written a note in the margin "I was here at this time" over a letter to the editor about the Aug. 12, 1945 bombing of the USS Pennsylvania.
Thanks, Dad! I don't think I need to tell anyone, that I'm crying----Dad may be dead, but his spirit still lives and I think he guides me even more than I realize in my sharing of family stories.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mary Long about Mary Long

My great-grandmother Mary Celecy Reiter McKee Long is remembered by her grandsons David Long and Bob Guinther as a stern woman that they were a little afraid of. Although she had been married before and had two children, her children and first husband all died---she is buried with them in Bethlehem cemetery.

She married Thomas H. Long (above) who was a widower with three children. She then bore him another 8 children (6 boys), so I imagine she needed to be stern to keep all of those children "under control."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letter from Charlie Lalumnondier

Above is my dad's cousin Martha McKay Lalumondier with her husband Charlie. This is at my grandparent's place on Flad. Martha accompanied my mother to Portland, Oregon early in 1945 by train so Mom could see Dad before he shipped overseas. Mother promised her that if she got pregnant and she had a girl the girl would be named after her. Well, I didn't get the name "Martha", but I did get her middle name "Ann" added to Dad's name: "LeAnn".
Again "Mart" is Martha McKay and "Arkie" is my mother Louise Wicker Long (her nick name because she came from Arkansas). The photo below was taken when dad was home which Charles mentions, but I'm not sure when. One of the interesting parts about this is that he warns Dad to stay out of the "P.T.'s" made famous by John F. Kennedy. P.T's were patrol boats armed with torpedos---they had to get close to the enemy and then fire. They had a great risk of being blown up before that happened.
He, too, mentions Bob and Gladys expecting. Charlie would be the uncle of the baby. He also mentions Charlie Maupin who was Dad and Martha's cousin. Below is another photo of Martha with one of my mother's friends Rosemary behind her.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Letter from Bob McKay

Although I don't have a photo of Bob McKay (that's his brother Junior), the woman on the right is his wife Gladys Wilson McKay. To the left is Martha McKay, Maxine Huskey Maupin and my mother Louise Wicker Long (Arky) Double click on the pages below if they are too small to read.
Bob was one of the few of dad's Maupin cousins in the Army. His wife, Gladys, was pregnant with their first child Michelle and was living with my mother in an apartment.
The second page urges Mom to go to Chicago where Dad was stationed. He thought it would be "just like being on a second honeymoon."
The third page tells about how much he's looking forward to fatherhood. I don't really know who Alice is in the letter.
The last page says that "Aunt Viv" (my grandmother) wasn't feeling well and "I truly love her and you could never find another mother-in-law like her." The article below is about Cpl.Bob McKay, his brother Cpl. Jack E. McKay and their cousin LeRoy Long.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LeRoy Joins the Navy

The story was that Dad went into the military relatively late because he worked for the railroad which was important to the war effort. But, I think this classification is for "family hardship" which in 1942 could only mean that he was married.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Letter from Junior 1944

(Vennie Wicker on porch, Hampton Adams, Norma Long Adams, Junior McKay)
Hal Floyd McKay SK 2/c was my Dad's cousin "Junior". They were about the same age. Apparently Junior had been in the Navy for some time---the letter says he "hasn't seen the states in 20 months." Since he says that's it's like spring all year round, I'm guessing he's in Hawaii since I know Dad saw quite a number of his Maupin/McKay cousins there---even waving to one as their ships passed.

Mostly the first page is talking about the women who write him and his drinking habits.The second page talks about my Aunt Maxine (pictured below) and her husband Bob Delaney. Junior says he had intended to get married when he go home but his sister "Mart" told him "what the score was." The "Charles" he mentions was Martha's husband Charles Lalumondier. I remember Mom saying that Junior had sent grass skirts and thought there were photos of her wearing one, but I can't find them.
Hampton Adams, Junior McKay, Norma Long Adams
Maxine Long Delaney, Louise Wicker Long

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grace Maupin McKay

Lorraine McKay and Grace Maupin McKay with Chris (?) 1980's California
I never knew "Aunt Grace" because she lived in California. My parents did go out to visit with her in 1987. With the renewal of their relationship, Grace and her daughter Lorraine sent these photos to Mom and Dad.
Unfortunately, there are no names on the photos. Pictured above is Lorraine with her husband, probably.
On the back of the photo above, it reads, "Jenny before Chris was born."
My mom did sit down and tell me a little about Grace in 2003:

Your sister Jane is a lot like Grace in personality. Grace lived in Grandma's house [after Henry Maupin died?]. She stayed aloof from the family---the other sisters were very close. [I think Mom meant Grace and Jane are in their own little worlds---not a negative "aloof".]

Grace married Harvey McKay, Uncle Hal's uncle. Harvey rejoined the Navy in WWII, and they went to California. Vivian used to say, "I wish sister Grace would come home." Grace came home when Vivian died. Why couldn't she come home when Vivian was living? Grace put Harvey first not her family. Your dad and I visited Grace in California in 1987 and saw Lorraine, too. Lorraine had one boy who was dark and another son who was adopted. Her brother Don lived in northern California.

Grace had breast cancer, Lorraine, too. All of Vivian's sisters had breast cancer. [as have two of my aunts]
To my knowledge, none of these women died of breast cancer. Grace died in San Diego California in 1991 and is buried with her husband Harvey McKay in Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery.L-R: Lorraine, LeRoy Long, Grace, Louise Long and ???
Aunt Mary Long Wassmund added:
Grace and Mama (Vivian) "roomed together" as girls. It was their job to fix their father's breakfast each morning. Grace would push Mama out of bed so she would get the breakfast started. Grace took voice lessons and had a beautiful voice. Mama took piano lessons.