Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Rite of Passage

Yesterday, I picked up my granddaughter to take her to her voice lesson and, as she jumped in the front seat, she opened her folder to show me that she brought her "learner's permit" with her.  "I'm all legal, if you want to let me drive home." she said with an "I love you grandma" smile on her face.  "We'll see."  I replied evasively.  In the end I gave in because grandparents are always suckers when it comes to their grandchildren.  I even let her drive on the highway for a short way before we made a right turn (I love her, but I'm not crazy) and turned down the back road to her home.   The best compliment was when she told me how great it was because this was the longest she had ever driven, and that I don't yell at her.  Oh. . . . . .she must be referring to her father, my son, who totaled our car two weeks after he got his license when he slid sideways on the ice into a railroad crossing gate.  I can still remember my husband's scream  shock when he went to the garage and saw it.
  This made me start thinking about cars and family. As Americans we love our cars.  I grew up in a central Indiana town that had many of the local citizens employed in a nearby auto factory.   When the new models came out, they were a constant topic of conversation.  My all time favorite will always be the Mustang.  I love seeing the cars in my family photos.  They really add a sense of time and place unlike homes that are static over time. Everyone has photos with family standing next to the family car ready to start a journey, whether just to Sunday church services or a longer family vacation.  A teenager getting their driving permit is both frightening and exciting, but tinged with a sadness that they are growing up. Cars and family are intertwined.

    I would like to share a few of the photos of my family with their cars and also a few short stories, because all genealogists know it is the stories that bring family history to life.

In the center back seat is "Auntie" Anna McDonnell, sister of my great grandmother Mary McDonnell Kennelly,  with Mary Kennelly , the youngest of my grandfather's sibling, in the middle in the front.  There was no way that Auntie was going to let Mary go unchaperoned!

My great grandparents Anna Mae Allen Moldt and Edward Thomas Moldt.  I love the chains on the tires.  I have a vague memory of stories about a car with a rumble seat.  I wish I could see if this car had one.  Can anyone identify what model/make this car is.  Are those bloomers DaDa Mae is wearing?

My mother, Gloria Kennelly, as a child. The year was around 1929 since she was born in 1924 and looks about five or six in this photo. Funny, I never noticed before how much my brother, Dahl,  looks like her in this photo.

My youngest brother, Dahl, loves anything with a motor.  He can also fix anything with a motor.  He definitely got all of the handyman genes in the family.  In his wild  younger years he had a bright orange car and his red hair and freckles made his nickname, "Orange Peel" a natural.

 During the mid-sixties, my brother, Flip, asked his favorite girl to the Senior Prom.  In those days, proms were held in school gymnasiums and decorated with tissue paper flowers and crepe paper streamers by members of the junior class.  For this big event, he asked to use the family car and was told that he could take the truck.  With great indignation, he said he wouldn't go if he had to drive the truck so he called his date and told her he wouldn't be able go because he couldn't get the car.  He never mentioned the truck possibility.  But this girl was not giving up and told him not to worry, that she could drive and so she did.
She picked him up in her family's truck!!

I took my driving test in a 1949 Ford with a manual transmission.  I can't find a photo of that exact car so one taken from Google images will have to do.  I wasn't allowed to take my test until I could drive a stick and change a flat tire.  My dad didn't think you had any business driving if you couldn't do both of those things. When he took me out to "practice" driving, I knew we would always go by way of the Orestes hill.  I just prayed that there was no one behind me at that stop sign as I slipped back while trying to get the clutch just right. Yet, I don't remember him ever yelling at me.  I have used both of those skills, and I passed my driving test the first time I tried, unlike my brother, Flip, who took three attempts to pass.  I try not to mention this too often - loud giggle!  Luckily, he doesn't read this blog.

My youngest son with his first car, purchased after he graduated from college.  It is a Porsche that he bought used from an ad in the newspaper.  It had always been his dream to own a Porsche so he couldn't believe his good fortune to find one used at the very moment in time that he was looking.  I was flattered when he asked me to go with him to look at it. This invitation became clearer when the seller asked if he wanted to take it for a drive, he lowered his head and mumbled that I would have to drive it because he didn't know how to drive a stick!  I loved it.  He bought the car, and then I had to teach him to drive it.  But a Porsche is not meant for northern Indiana weather, and I am sure he was the only Porsche owner to buy snow tires for the car.

Recently, I have read several blog posts encouraging each of us to remember to record the family history we are creating now and not focus only on the past while letting the present slip by. Sometimes, it is difficult to know where to begin, but every family has automobile stories and these are a few of mine.  Stories don't have to be long.  Just snippets of life to pass on to those that follow.  
Won't you share a few automobile stories from your family

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Michael McDonnell Falls From Bridge

Davenport Leader - Oct. 27, 1896


Michael McDonnell - St. Irenaeus Cemetery - Clinton, IA
Born October 26, 1869
Died October 22, 1896

Michael was a brother of my great grandmother, Mary Winifred McDonnell Kennelly of 2338 W. Washington Blvd.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

#@%& . .Why Can't I Comment on Blog Posts

  This has been a constant source of frustration to me.  I like to comment on the blog posts of other bloggers.  Actually, I have several times . . . and then watched as Whoosh, it disappeared when I press either preview or post comment.  I have tried to change the choice in the drop down menu.  I have tried on various blogs.  I have been logged  onto my blog and logged out. I have tried to comment on my own blog without success. I usually try a half dozen times until I start shouting at the computer.  Then time passes and I decide to try again with the same results.  The real frustration is that I have been able to comment in the past and have it show up.  Then this morning before I got to the shouting stage, I decided to search Google and see if anyone else has had this problem.  Silly question - of course there were others.  I pulled up several queries and the answers offered.  Mostly they suggested the "cookie" setting as the culprit.  I then wandered around  searched my computer settings until I stumbled upon located the "cookie" setting.  #@%& my settings were already set to accept third party cookies.  Now what?  Back to Google again.  This time I read several boards that had queries with this problem.  Some suggested that the bloggers needed to change their settings, but that didn't account for the fact that I had been able to post but now could not.  Many of the same answers were also offered, but I was starting to notice a pattern.  Hmmmmm . . .Everyone who was having difficulty was using Firefox.  Could it really be that simple?  This called for a test.  I changed my browser and went to a blog I follow.  I filled in the comment box and held my breath as I clicked preview.  Oh my gosh, it really was that simple.

 So now I know that when I read Dick Eastman's newsletter, I use Firefox, but when I want to comment on a blog, I use Internet Explorer.  I feel much better now.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Wild, Wild West. . . near Deadwood, South Dakota

Owen Jerome McDonnell -standing center

This post is courtesy of my wonderful double cousin, Mary Margaret mentioned in this blog before here, here, and here.  I think her passion for family history exceeds my own, and she has many wonderful stories passed on to her by her father.

Crook City Tale

My Uncle Ambrose McDonnell was born in Iowa in 1900. As a baby he was taken to the Black Hills in South Dakota by his mother and father.

Owen Jerome McDonnell knew there was gold in the Hills and with four other partners, he had purchased land in the old Cook City site. After my uncle was born, he brought his wife, Elizabeth Burnette Allen and baby to a land where he was sure to make his fortune.

Owen Jerome McDonnell and wife
 Elizabeth Burnett Allen
with their childrem
One day, he had business in Deadwood and he left his young wife at home alone. Nettie heard a knock at the front door and when she opened the door she was dismayed to see a scraggly old women standing there. Nettie was frightened and did not invite her in. The old women looked sick, dirty and Nettie feared she had something Ambrose could catch. Then the old lady spoke, “ May I have a glass of water? I would never harm a hair on the head of Sunny Boy’s child.” Nettie knew that was a nickname used for her husband. She gave the old woman a glass to get water from the well. While she stood in the door way, the old woman said she was walking to catch the train to Lead. Nettie knew there was a hospital there. The old lady smiled her thanks, turned and left down the street.

Crook City home

When Owen returned home and heard the story he told his wife that he thought it was an old friend, Jane. Later that week, they learned that Calamity Jane had gone to Lead and died. This story was told to me by my father, Ambrose’s younger brother, Owen James, many times and is a family legend

The photo at the beginning of this post is presumed to be Owen Jerome and his four partners.  I would love to be able to identify the other men in this photo.  If you can help identify them,  please contact me.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Uh-oh! Now I've Done It!

I didn't mean to do it. It was all done with the best of intentions -- really it was.

What did I do?  I asked my relatives who avidly occasionally read this blog, to consider writing a "guest" blog post.  In my past correspondence with family members, they often mention memories or information that is new to me.  I thought this would be a  no low pressure way to share their memories in their own words with all* of us. My request was for a post that could be from two paragraphs to two pages.  It could be a memory, a story about an ancestor, a recipe, a tradition, or anything.  I wrote that I would take care of uploading everything if they could just send me a Word document along with any photos or scans they want to include.  I was extremely excited about this idea.

While I have had no one reject the idea, I have had no responses AT ALL.  The total silence in my email is deafening.  I didn't mean to upset anyone.  I can take it.  You can tell me you don't want to do this. I love writing about the family, but it might not be for you.  But please, write back to me.  I promise I won't mention it again.

However, if you get the urge in the future . . . . . . . . . . . . .

* Note: The use of the term "all" refers to the six acknowledged and five unacknowledged followers of this blog.