Sunday, August 31, 2008

Grandmother's Quilts

Our Family
Our family is like a patchwork quilt
With kindness gently sewn
Each piece an original
With beauty all its own
With threads of warmth and happiness
Its lightly stitched together
To last in love throughout the years
Our family is forever.
(Author: unknown)
Quilt made by
Eva Belle Deneau Hanaway
About 1901-1910
Quilt made by
Arlene Guinee Turnbull

My mother Arlene often spoke lovingly of her grandmother Eva Belle. She loved Eva very much and had a close relationship with her. Eva gave my mother a quilt she had made in the early 1900's, when she was a young bride. My mother cherished this quilt and when she passed away in 1998, I really wanted it. As luck would have it, my sister Carole received this wonderful heirloom.
Now, my mother was a quilter too. She didn't make many, but those she made were absolutely beautiful. She rarely used her sewing machine, for she preferred every part be handmade. They took months to make, if not longer. I was one of the lucky few who she made a quilt for. She originally only made them for her grandchildren. At the time I had no children and really wanted one. I remember when she told me she was going to start one for me and asked me what color and design I wanted. Her favorite color was green and I too liked that color, so I told her to use any shade of green and any pattern she liked. It turned out spectacular and I will always treasure this heirloom.
I can't tell you how many times I begged my sister for my great grandmother Eva's quilt. I am not ashamed to say I begged and pleaded for it. I asked for it all the time. My sister wouldn't give it up. In time, I quit asking and whining about it. Years went by (and I really do mean YEARS too!) and the quilt wasn't mentioned or even looked at anymore. But, trust me, I never forgot about it. Last year my sister Carole surprised me with it for Christmas. I was actually at a loss for words and of course there were lots of tears and hugs! There is one little catch...if I should die before her, it must go back to her, which I whole heartily agreed to. I have it hanging over an old rocking chair in my home, for my own little "show and tell" story for my guests. The one my mother made me comes out for special occasions. Hmmm, I have eight children so I don't know who will end up with my quilt from my mother. I just hope they will appreciate it for all the love that went into its creation and all the memories it holds.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mackinac Island

Well, I finally figured out the correct way to post a slideshow on my blog using my Mackinac Island pictures. I won't admit how long it took me either. I had no problems in the past with Flickr, but decided to use Photobucket this time. Glad I did too.
Last week several of my children and I went to Mackinac Island in Michigan. I absolutely love to spend time by water! We had wonderful weather as you can see and a great time. Working in both an academic and a public library, I couldn't help but visit the Mackinac Island Public Library which is small but very nice. It is a great little library, wonderful building and beautiful grounds facing the lake. I imagined myself curled up on one of the Adirondack chairs looking out at the lake right outside one of the library doors. I felt a light breeze and the warm sunshine on my face. I have some of my genealogy notes in my lap just waiting to be reviewed.....oh wait, that's right...I was DREAMING....back to life....
We took the bikes around the island which is always fun. I didn't really enjoy the climb to Arch Rock but once there the view is outstanding. There must have been over two hundred steps to get to the top and with bad knees, I couldn't wait to get back to the bikes! The trail around the island is about eight miles, so it doesn't really take too long. There are plenty of spots to stop and rest and relax and perhaps take a little dip in the water. Be prepared the water is a bit chilly!
Of course, my favorite part was visiting the fudge companies. I couldn't walk out of Murdick's Fudge without buying about three pounds of delicious, creamy and oh, so fattening (like I really cared!) fudge. So, all in all it was a great trip.
Now, where did I put the rest of that fudge?

Mackinac Island Vacation 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The ride of a lifetime....

My mother-Arlene Turnbull
Grand Canyon
April, 1985
Photo owned by P. Taylor
Vacations are times to take a break from your job, rest and relax, and have fun. Oh, and if you traveled with my mother you always took a ton of pictures. I believe after she retired from her job her camera became a permanent appendage. She took a ton of pictures, mostly slides, most of which I now have in my possession. She loved to travel and especially enjoyed roaming Arizona where she resided for almost twenty years. Before I became a mother myself, I would spend at least two vacations each year with her traveling the USA.
My mother who didn't believe in the words "I can't", was an adventurer! She feared nothing. One of our more daring trips was certainly taking the mule ride to Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon. Yep, you read that right. You see that animal my mother is petting, well, that is NOT a horse, nope, that's a MULE. Mules are bigger than horses. Of course, I didn't know that until our trip. We had taken a number of trips to the Grand Canyon but always said we would take the mule ride the next time we visited the Canyon. The next time came in April of 1985. I was really excited too! I thought it would be a blast riding down the trail on a little mule, kind of like a donkey right? Wrong. Really, really wrong.
The trail guide arranged us by our height and because I am a bit height impaired (as my children say!) I was directly behind the guide and my mother was behind me. That worked out great. I kept my focus straight ahead and upwards, for if I looked down I couldn't see the trail that my mule was walking! It was really narrow in many areas and yes, I prayed that "Abe", my mule stayed on the trail. Although the scenery was breath-taking, it was a long way down to the bottom. Oh, did I mention I have a fear of heights?
The picture doesn't show how much she challenged me to try something new, like taking a trip on a MULE. It doesn't show us almost crying in fear, laughing and congratulating each other that we made it to the bottom of the canyon-it had to be easier going up, right? The picture doesn't show us taking in the beauty of the canyon with all of it's life and color and splendor. But, I remember. The memories are there, each and every time I open up a photo album and revisit the trips I took with her. Wow, I am sure glad she was MY MOTHER!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Reconnecting.... through a published family tree on the internet

Stephen & Cecilia Wozniak
Wedding day
February 11, 1925
Original picture thought to be owned
by L. Pick and family

Several years back as I was searching Rootsweb I input the family name of Wozniak. There were thousands of Wozniak families. I was really shocked, I knew it was a pretty common Polish name, but I never imagined that there would be so many. I am part Polish and have Wozniak, Sawicki, Ziolkowski, Wiezcorek, and Polus families in my family tree.
I started putting in first names and found a pretty good match on a tree with the name Stephen Wozniak, which was my grandfather's first name. The tree listed the same number of children that my grandparents had had. I couldn't believe my luck. The birth and death dates seemed to be correct. I was fascinated that it really seemed to be MY grandfather. He died when I was less than five years old. Plus my mother and father had divorced when I was very young so I didn't really have a lot of information on my father's family. I obviously remembered some but I had not really been in touch with any of my father's family in many years. We just simply seemed to drift apart as some families do.
But now, here was an opportunity for me to possibly reconnect. I was going to do what I could to make that happen. I emailed the owner of the published tree, told her how I thought I might be connected to Stephen, gave her some information I did know and asked her a couple of questions. I was so delighted that she responded to my email message. She was not related to me but her cousin was married to my first cousin. What a story, what a little miracle! She said she would contact her cousin and pass on my information. Several weeks later I did indeed hear from my cousins. We have stayed in touch via email to this day. I was further blessed because my father's sister and I have been in contact with each other too.
My relatives have shared family names and family pictures with me. I have begun to research my ancestors as well. I have connected some names and added more. I have visited cemeteries and requested vital records. Slowly this branch of my family tree is growing thanks to someone posting a family tree with the name Wozniak on it. I was lucky enough to have found a real connection. More importantly, I have connected to living family! What a great gift!

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!