Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Potential of Ebay

There is good news and bad news.  I have "saved searches" on eBay just in case something related to my ancestors might come up.  It hasn't been working the way I envisioned when I saved them originally. My fantasy  dream is that an old photo, family bible, or document relating to the civil war service of an ancestor will be up for sale.  Nothing so exciting or rare as surfaced yet.  I get daily messages about items that  have me baffled as to how they could even relate to my saved search terms, but . . . I left them because every now and then something pops up that is related despite the usual too high for my budget cost.  I have passed on a sterling spoon with an engraving of Mt. St. Clare school in the bowl because almost $50 seemed like way too much.  It has been re-listed several times and is currently still for sale.  I did bid on and win a postcard of Frankfort High School, and I have a family photo, generously shared by my cousin, of my grandfather with his high school football team standing on the front steps. I loved seeing the rest of the building.  It was only $8 so this was an easy decision.  Recently, however, a celluloid pin with a photo of the Kansas State Agricultural College (later Kansas State) football team of 1905.  As I zoomed in, I could see my grandfather, Carroll Walker, sitting in the front row.  Now this I had to have!  Since I never follow sports, I had no idea that Kansas State had such a good football team this year. I am sure that influenced the bidding.  I placed a bid for what I thought was the astronomical sum of $20.Instantly I was outbid.  I paused, and just watched it for the next few days until it was about to end when I took a deep breath and bid another $5.  Instantly outbid again.  Oh well, it was not to be.  Do you know what little pin, smaller than 2 inches in diameter, finally sold for?  $73 plus shipping!

I was patting myself on the back for keeping a clear head, when a 1906 Kansas State Agricultural College yearbook pops up.  Oh no, I had never seen one this early so again I placed a bid. Really, I'm the high bidder??  Now, I wanted it badly.  The high bid did not move until the day before it ended.  I had been outbid.  Sadness descended, but the next night as it was an hour from ending, I placed another bid . . . outbid . . . I added a few more dollars . . . outbid.  With a minute left, I decided on a final bid.  I would go no higher since I was already over my initial limit, and with that keystroke became the new and final high bidder!  Other slightly later KSAC yearbooks were selling for $90 on eBay . . . I did not pay that much but unless you go to eBay and look it up, I will keep secret my final bid.

The book is fascinating and one of the most interesting photo is the one of the yearbook staff.  The annual is in wonderful condition, with no writing or missing pages.  I treasure it.  Of course, my favorite page is the one with my grandfather sitting in the front row with the football team. But . . .now I need the 1907 version when he was a senior!
Carroll Walker - Front row second one in from the right side
 I encourage you to take a chance on eBay,  just don't get carried away by it. Even with a "saved search" it takes patience to weed through all of the junk, but it is easier.  I am still waiting for a 1942 Providence High School (Chicago) yearbook to show up. . . someday.  If you have an ancestor who was a student at KSAC during 1906, let me know, and I will gladly send you a scan of any page you want.

A few days later, I discovered that complete scanned copies of Kansas State yearbooks are online at:   I think I would still like a 1907 copy, but it is wonderful to see Grandfather Walker mature from a freshman to a senior.  I wish I knew the names of the other players but they don't identify the individual in the photos. Also, it seems that you are not able to save individual photos except in a very low quality.  Of course, you can purchase them, but I have not investigated the cost.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ancestor Images

I admit that I am particularly fond of old family photographs.  A photograph somehow makes my unknown relatives more real. . . their relationships, their homes, gardens, and taste in clothing all jump off the paper (but more often the computer screen) and burrow their way into my heart.  I often find myself stubbornly peering into the face of an unidentified relative as if I expect them to speak up.

I have photos that have been passed down to me, photos that have been generously shared with me, photos from newspaper articles, and discovered on the internet.  I even have a mugshot from Leavenworth federal prison.    But as I was walking through my bedroom the other day, I noticed one of my favorite trio of images of my children.  They are silhouettes that were cut one summer day in August at the Amish Acres Craft Festival in Nappanee, Indiana.

My oldest son Scott was shirtless on that hot summer day. His cowlick visible

My daughter Wendy wearing her hair in the braids she wore most days
Paul, my youngest

The silhouettes were done with my children standing sideways in front of the artist as she stared at them for a few moments, then looked down at the paper as she cut.  No light projecting their shadow onto the paper, just the practiced eye and skill of the artist.  She caught their image perfectly. . . for only $3 each.

For a number of years, I was a vendor at this and other craft shows in the region, but my children loved Amish Acres.  They would help me carry and set up my booth, and then spend hours at the festival when it started . . . occasionally helping me in my booth. They checked out all the other craft booths, reporting on their favorites, they played in the pond, joined the audience for the folk singers or puppet shows, but at closing time they would head over to the homemade ice cream booth for a free cup of ice cream as they cleaned up. 

Do you have silhouettes or alternatives to photos in among your family images?  Perhaps an watercolor portrait, or a caricature drawn by a sidewalk artist on vacation? 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your Voice Counts

It is 26 degrees this Indiana morning and frost covers the ground. My alarm went off at 5 am, and I groggily grabbed my work clothes and dressed before I had my coffee.  My husband had the car warming as I pulled out my winter coat, filled a travel mug with coffee and grabbed my purse with my identification inside.  Off we went to our local voting place to stand in line outside with the other early voters.  No matter what time works for your schedule today, I hope you will let your voice be heard .  It is a privilege that should not be taken lightly.

Ed Kennelly, theater manager with granddaughter, Margel Walker ca 1951 
Remember to Vote