Sunday, June 24, 2012

School Girl Days

Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer
c. 1915
As graduation ceremonies are being held across the country right now, it seems appropriate that I discovered a gem this morning.  This memory book was the property of my paternal grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer!

There are so many details in this little memory book that bring her years as a young girl so vividly to life.  Her classmates are all listed and each autographed the book - Mary Pittman Salterbach, Helen Cole Thompson, Hallie Agnes Hitchcock, Grace Layton, J. Meyrl Pugh, Howard Hatton, Maude Sophia Scudder, Louis G. Vierra, Luis F. Wolter, Alta Irene Lyoue, R. Deane Smith, John Ebert Hitchcock, Clayton Philip Salterbach, Karl Dayton Klaumann, and Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer.  The classmates are also listed on the commencement announcement which also includes Wilhelmina L. Clark - I wonder why she didn't sign the book?  Was she absent the day Loraine took her book to school?  Were they not friends?

Here's a page from the book.  What a historic photo of Montery County High School in 1915.  Loraine even added the '15' in gold felt, probably because the school colors were white and gold.  It also shows that the motto was "Duty and today are ours" and the school flower was a white carnation.

Here's the bid, as we used to call them, for the senior ball. 

Inside it shows the order of the dances, starting with the Grand March-Waltz, and next to each dance the young man she danced with signed the card.  Her date was Harry McMahon but I don't see on the card that he even danced with her.  It doesn't look like Harry was in the same class - I wonder who he was? 

The dance was held on Friday evening, June the Eleventh, at eight-thirty o'clock at the Hotel Del Monte.  I'm not sure why Loraine's mother, Bertha Gunzendorfer, is listed on this invitation.  Maybe because she was listed as a Patroness she actually invited the students?  And it says the invitation needed to be presented at the door.  I wonder if they returned the invitations later so they could be saved as a memory or if this was a duplicate.

And here's the announcement for the commencement exercises.

As I'm getting ready for a "big" reunion in a few weeks, I can't help but think about my grandmother's graduation from high school 97 years ago.  I can only imagine how excited she was to get out into the world and start her life.

And I have proof that she did, indeed, graduate - here's her diploma!

Both the book and the cover for the diploma are in a velvety suede type material. 

Loraine was a beautiful woman and I'm honored when I hear people tell me I look like her.  As I've found more and more of her belongings from her early years, I am beginning to feel a bond to her that I've never had before.  She really was one of a kind.

I wonder if this was her dressed up for her Senior Ball.  Or since she didn't have a formal wedding, maybe it is her wedding photo.

Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer

I'm so fortunate that my grandmother was in my life until I was nearly 30 years old - what a gift!


  1. Lovely photos. And what a treasure to find her high school scrapbook!

  2. That was a true gift, having had her in your life for so long. What a beautiful post!

  3. Great post! How fun that you found her memory book! Your grandmother really was a beautiful lady. The photos of her are lovely. Thanks for sharing.