30 January 2009

The Family Historian: Me!

Meet my great-great grandparents:
Alice St.Clair & Winfield Scott Sterner -
born in 1840's. Pic taken approx. late 1860's

Some recent "Digi - Play!"

I have always been fas-ci-nated with my ancestors ever since I was a child.

what were they like?
where did they live?
how did their lives differ from mine?
what were their struggles?
whose NOSE do I have?
what was it like to live without electricity?
and why is great-grandmother's rocking chair SO SMALL?

I was a piece of work! (my poor mom)

At 3 years old I begged my grandmother to tuck me into bed with stories of what it was like when SHE was a little girl! Lucky me! So, whenever my brother and I came for a visit, she would lull me off to sleep while fondly recalling her childhood days! (The picture, above, is of her mother's mother) Born in 1893 in Lynchburg, VA, my grandmother Alice had 7 siblings, sadly 2 of them died when they were young, a few chickens and a nanny who cooked for the family and helped with all those children! "Nanny" as she was affectionatly called, remained with them for decades, until she retired. Grandmother's father was in the furniture trade, which is why he moved to Lynchberg with his young, but growing family. When Alice was still very young, his ambitions required them to move again and they travelled to Philadelphia where he became a very successful businessman. (see "freehand freedom" post for a link. His business still exists TODAY!) She told me wonderful stories of this large, happy family and two parents who were very much in love. Weekly dinners with extended family were their custom and because of that, my mother (now 85) can recall in vivid detail, many of Nanny's special dishes. Among them fried chicken, peas with fresh cream and bread pudding.

Random web pics: 1929 Packard all-weather Town Car. A house in my grandmother's childhood neighborhood - Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA

Those memories along with stories of a lifestyle entirely foreign to me, such as, "How The Butler Was Caught Stealing Daddy's Liquor" (and how mother was horrified when she found out he fired him on the spot). "The Christmas That Daddy Surprised Mother with a Packard." And the ever popular "Why People Thought Mother Was A Catholic" (because her driver parked the car in front of St.Mary's while she was at the library.) I had the kind of bedtime stories that little girls dream about. I'm sure this laid the groundwork for my childhood dreams of fairy tales and princesses!

Standing in front of my grandparent's house - 1958.
Close-up of the inquisitive one! Middle name: Alice.
Namesake of the storyteller, my grandmother Alice
and of my gr-great grandmother, Alice - above.

The only reason I am in posession of such a TREASURE TROVE of information... is because I have always asked!

1 comment:

Aimeslee said...

Being a fellow scrapbooker and family genalogist, I always enjoy your family tree posts! This one is awesome, and I love your digiplay. xoxo