Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holidays from long ago

We all know the saying - “where does the time go?”  And it has never been more apparent than it is this year as I look back at holiday cards from my very early years.

Since I was only 11 days old on Christmas 1954, my parents probably didn’t have an opportunity to get a photo to put on their cards.  In those days the process to get photos on your holiday cards was much more involved than the almost instant cards of today.  Back then you had to take a photo, take the film to be developed, wait a few days, pick up your photos, decide on the pose you wanted to use, back to the store to order a card, wait a few more days (or weeks), pick them up and then – finally – it was time to address the cards and get them in the mail.  So it wasn’t until 1955 that I first appeared on the holiday card.


By the following year, 1956, it looks like Dad took a few shots before deciding on the perfect photo for the holiday card. 

1956 A


My mother always told me that she hated the letter “I” and wanted to spell my name without it.  Looks like she was trying it out here!

A few years went by and somewhere about 1958-1959, we had grown up quite a bit.  Not sure if this photo was used on the holiday cards that year but it’s a cute photo even without the card.  Look – Santa and I have matching watches!

c 1959

A few years later, little brother joined our family and now it became more difficult to pose three kids.  But somehow Mom & Dad managed to get it done.  I think this must have been 1963.  There must have been a typo on the card so Mom wrote a “C” over the incorrect letter and the spelling experiment must not have worked because I’m back to Debbie.

c 1963

It looks like the following year, 1964, little brother was still wearing the same sweater – way to recycle, Mom!  And my name has changed again – this time the confusion was removed and I’m just Deb.


By the following year we’d found a new place to take the annual photo.  And finally, my name is changed to Debi, the spelling that I use today.  I wonder what we were drinking?


Since we lost Mom this year and cleaned out the home my parents lived in for over 55 years, looking at these photos is bittersweet.  So many memories come flooding back and all I can think of is “where did the time go?”

Happy holidays from long ago – and today!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Grandma was a dancing machine

One thing I’ve learned from going through my grandmother’s scrapbook is that she loved to go out and she loved to dance!  Well, I’m not 100% sure that she loved to dance but I do know that she went to a lot of dances and fortunately for me, she kept a lot of mementos from those special events.

The invitations, bids, and dance cards just amaze me.  Now I realize that by today’s standards these items would be pretty boring but in 1912, these were amazing!  Look at the beautiful writing on this dance card.

Ball 5_17_1912

Someone must have spent a lot of time putting this together.  It took me a minute but can you see the 1912 in the ‘block’ of green ink?  Here’s the inside that shows the dance program.

Ball Inside

Some of these names, Carleton Best and M. Pugh, are familiar to me.  She danced with Carleton three times – wonder if she (or he) was smitten?  And here’s her description.

Ball Description

So we know the date was May 17, 1912 and we know she didn’t go with anyone.  But it looks like she danced the night away!

And then there’s this one.

Madeline Work's Dance

These are hard to read but I can pick out Elbert (dance #3) who was the brother of her BFF, Hallie Hitchcock.  And again, a few dances with Carleton (#1 and #9) and even Howard (#2 and Extra #1).  What in the world would Extras and Extra Extras be? 

Madeline Work's Order of Dances

And here’s her description:

Madeline Work's Description

Ooooohhh, she went to the dance with Carleton.  I sure wish I knew the date of this dance – was it before May 17, 1912 or after?  And just what does “had a pretty good time considering” mean?  Did she not like Carleton after she got home?  Did he not pay enough attention to her?  Come on, Grandma, inquiring minds want to know!

And then there was this dance given at Eleanor Phelps’ house.

Eleanor Phelps Dance

Now this one really took some time as the blue paper was cut out and glued to the front.  That’s a lot of detail and must have required a bunch of patience.  And the inside:

Eleanor Phelps Order of Dances

Oh boy, looks like Earl was penciled in a lot on this dance card and poor Carleton was only on there once.  But wait – what’s this?

Eleanor Phelps Description

What?  She didn’t go?  So how did this dance card get filled up?  And none of these names are in my grandmother’s handwriting so did she have them sign the card after the fact?

Grandma, just about the time I get you figured out you throw me a curveball!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Senior Ball 1914

After a brief hiatus, I’m back to my grandmother’s scrapbook!  And the next page shows memories from the Monterey High School Senior Ball, 1914. 

My grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, was a junior and her brother, Wilton, was a freshman so both would have participated in this event. 


And once again, DANCE CARDS!  Here’s the cover – someone was quite an artist and this almost looks like an original drawing.  Would someone have hand drawn each cover?


And inside, we can see my grandmother’s dance card was quite full.

Order of Dances Order of Dances 2
These are difficult to read since they were written in pencil and are now almost 100 years old but once thing stands out to me – she danced the waltz with ‘Lacey’.  As I learned when I wrote about the Salinas High School graduation in 1914, this may have been Dean Lacey, future husband of her friend, Dorothy Streining.  It is clearly the same writing on both dance cards.  Hmmm, I’d love to know more about the connection between Loraine, Dorothy, and Dean Lacey.

And she danced the Grand March Waltz, Two-step, and Good-bye Everybody Waltz with her date, George Hunter. 


So George was from Salinas, too? 

And it looks like Loraine helped organize the Senior Ball as she worked on the Door Committee.  I wonder what her duties might have been – collecting tickets, perhaps?  Speaking of which, just what does someone on the ‘dressing room’ committee do?

Seniors to be Guests

All in all, it looks like the Ball was a great success!

Great Success

Congratulations, Grandma, her friends, and even her little brother, Wilt, for preparing such a splendid event!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

At Home

No wedding and honeymoon would be complete without writing about the first home – thankfully, my mother did just that!

At Home

At 555 Forest, Apt 3 Palo Alto, California after September 10, 1950.  Our first home – a lovely furnished apartment: Living-dining combination, kitchen, bedroom, bath & enclosed patio where we can roll the roof back and sun ourselves.  I lived here for over a month alone – but it is infinitely better with Gordon.  And then of course Fluffy (alias Snicklefritz) shares the apartment with us – or do we shared with her?!  Returned to find the place in perfect order, courtesy of Rob & Pat – with poem left behind.

I always remember that poem and thought it was such a creative thing to do. 

Welcome Home

Gerry & Gordon -

Greetings, chums!  (see dictionary)
Here are helps to keep you merry.

This note of gifts we herewith leave
Lest, questioning, you should grieve.
Now check against Pa Levy’s list
And see if anything is missed.

We’ve cleaned and dusted, scoured and mopped
And over boxes nimbly hopped,
So if love takes up your time
The windows will not lose their shine.

Word of caution we would add
So burglars cannot make you sad.
For bathroom window (don’t be shocked)
Get a handle, keep it locked!

Have fun & keep your romance bright.
We’re tired now, so good night!

Pat & Rob

I can just imagine the things they left behind.  Somewhere in the back of my brain I remember they had stocked the kitchen with essentials.

And here’s the famous Fluffy as a beautiful silver Persian kitten.  The date on the back of the photo is September, 1950 so I’d bet they got her right when they returned from the honeymoon. 


I haven’t run across any photos that I can identify as 555 Forest but here’s one courtesy of Bing.

Forest Avenue

It’s fun to think of my parents living in their very first home – I wonder if it looked like this when they came home for the first time as Man and Wife.

Gerry and Gordon at home 2

Thanks for joining me as I remembered the wedding of my parents 63 years ago.  And that’s a wrap!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Wedding Journey

It’s time for the honeymoon - and how nice of mom to describe it for me!

Wedding Journey

A lovely trip to Carmel where we spent a wonderful week at the Highlands Inn.  While there we visited many interesting places the most beautiful of which was the Point Lobos State Park.  Also saw the Carmel Mission, the Monterey wharf, historic points in Monterey, Big Sur (what a flop!), Seventeen Mile Drive, museums and others.  We had a marvelous time.  Even got a chess set and spent several enjoyable hours learning the game.  Our cabin had a fire place and we were able to toast a few marshmellows [sic].

Not only did she describe it, but there’s pictures!

This must be the cabin she describes.


I’d heard about the Highlands Inn as a child but never pictured it looking like this.  I’m sure it was very peaceful and romantic.

And here’s mom at the door – Malcom must have been the name of their cabin.


And here’s Dad sitting on the porch.


I wonder what Mom was taking a picture of.

Taking pictures

Could it be this?

Fish Fleet
Fish Fleet at Monterey

Mom looks so happy here.


And last but not least, Mom in her “honeymoon garb” (that’s what Dad wrote on the picture).  Even though I know that brides usually have new nighties and such for the honeymoon, you don’t often see them in the photos!

Honeymoon Garb

And that’s all I want to know about that :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Best wishes for a long and happy life together

Now that the ceremony is over, it’s time for a pause - first with the flower girl, Sandra Dick.  This picture is so sweet and just like any little girl would be, Sandy was probably so excited to be dressed up for the occasion and no doubt was dreaming about the day she would be a bride.


And then it was time to read the notes of congratulations that came pouring in!

Reading Telegrams

And the next page of the Bride’s Book shows the telegrams they received.  Telegrams were so popular back then but aren’t used anymore.  I can imagine it was very exciting to receive a telegram.

Again, my grandmother wrote the address on the telegram, probably so that my mother could send a note of thanks at some point.  Having an address will give me good information to research in the future.  Interesting that just a few years ago all of these names wouldn’t have meant a thing to me but now several are familiar.

Heartiest congratulations and best wishes
Cecile Cohen Leah Jacbos
Congratulations and best wishes on this very happy day with many more years
to follow
May Cerkel Marks

It’s hard to see here but someone, probably my grandmother, tried to fix the spelling from Jacbos to Jacobs.

Heartiest congratulations.  May all your days be as happy as this one.
Gussie and Paula Levy
Sincere and hearty congratulations.  Long life and happiness.
Mrs. and Mrs. K Simonian

Here’s a special one – Aunt Bella was Bella Steen Benas.  Bella was my grandmother’s cousin and was married to Max Benas, brother of my grandfather’s mother.  This is my first example of a cross over where my grandparents’ relatives married each other.  I’ll never know for sure but my gut tells me that Bella and Max were the individuals who introduced my grandparents.

May your wedded life be one continuous honeymoon
Aunt Bella

Uh-oh, here’s another example of relatives marrying each other.  Lionel Benas was the son of Max and Bella Benas – his wife, Hesper Hertz, was the daughter of Bella’s sister, Myrtle Steen, and Harry Hertz.

May your marriage lot be years of happiness and love
Hesper and Lionel Benas

We both congratulate you on this wonderful occasion and wish you a
long and happy wedded life
Louise and Jerry Riese
My sincerest congratulations and best wishes for your continued happiness
Al Mendelson

Lionel Traube was the brother of Natalie Traube Gunzendorfer, wife of my grandmother’s brother, Wilton Gunzendorfer.
Our love and best wishes for many years of happiness
Lionel and Ella Traube

And here’s another Levy mystery.  My grandmother added Mr. and Mrs. Melville Levy, 1037 N. Fulton, Fresno.  Need to add that name to my research to-do list.

Sincere wishes for much happiness.  Sorry cannot be with you
Levy’s and Markovits
Congratulations to you and young couple wishing all abundant happiness
Ethel and Arnold Friend

And this last one is appropriate for two Stanford grads, although I don’t know who Indian Ray is.  Since back in those days Stanford’s mascot was the Indian, I wonder if this has something to do with the mascot.

Congratulations and best wishes for all the years to come and keep the cardinal waving
Indian Ray

I’m sure all of the people who sent congratulations to my parents in 1950 had no idea their telegram would still be out there today.  Who knew?