Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween through the years

The last few days have been filled with costumes and excitement from kids as they get ready for Trick-or-Treating.  I’ve seen a lot of witches, super heroes, and ballerinas and it reminds me of the years and years of costumes that have come before us.  So here’s some fun from my family.

My grandfather, Sig Levy, had quite a comedic side to him that I don’t know that I ever saw.  But here’s some photos to prove it!

Sig Costume Bottom Middle
Sig Levy – front row, middle
Date unknown

Looks like he enjoyed dressing up.

Sig Costume

I looked through my dad’s baby book hoping to find some photos of him dressed up for Halloween.  I bet one day I’ll run across some but for now, I’ll have to settle for this photo of he and Mom dressed up for some occasion.

Gordon and Gerry 1981
Gerry (Martin) and Gordon Levy

I found lots of photos of Halloween costumes with my sister in the Family Photo Album – you can some of them here and here.

Here’s a cute one that didn’t make it into the Family Photo Album since the album ended at my brother’s birth.  But here is an awfully cute little pilgrim!

My beautiful picture

Even my husband and I got into the act in 1979 – what a stud!  I might have to sleep in the guest room tonight after sharing this!

Ron_Debi 1979

Of course the kids then became the star attractions.  Here’s a few of them growing up.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture
1977 – I made the costume!

In 1978 we had a new little one and I remember dressing them up in these cute little bunny costumes.  Dad was in the hospital that Halloween recovering from a heart attack and we were able to take the bunnies for a visit.  What a sight to see one bunny hopping down the halls while the baby bunny sat in Grandpa’s lap in his wheelchair. 


Later that year we went to the Dickens Fair in San Francisco.  While not Halloween, we did decide to dress in character that year for some extra fun.  Little sister stayed home.


In 1979 Daughter #1 decided she would take after Mom and Auntie and be a cheerleader.  And she will be happy to know that while not an “E Box”, she started that tradition early with an “E” on her sweater!

Erinn 1979
I’m not sure what they were trying to be here but looks like they were having fun.  Those two would sit in that playpen together for hours while they played!

Megan Erinn 1979

1980 found us in a new state – Washington!  Halloween wasn’t the same weather wise as we’d left in California.  I learned pretty quickly that long costumes with rain and lots of steps to the front doors didn’t mix so well.  But at least we were able to recycle the witch costume!

Erinn_Megan 1980

Now the pictures start getting a little more scarce (I’m sure I’ll come up with them some day) and a little out of order but I think I have the majority of them right.

Hope the cat doesn’t eat the mouse!

Erinn Megan c1983
Butterfly and Princess

Megan_Erinn c1984
Baby and Ballerina

Look – we recycled another costume.  Actually, we recycled two costumes as the cheerleader is wearing my high school cheer leading outfit!

abt 1985

Erinn Clown
Clown - 1988

Daughter #2’s 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Baker – what a perfect costume she wore!

Megan Mrs Baker c 1988
Punk rocker and Mrs. Baker - 1988

And that’s where the evidence seems to have dried up.  Daughter #1 and I were just talking about the worst Halloween costume and she remembered when she was in about 6th grade or so when she dressed up as a bag of jelly beans.  A clear trash can holding a bunch of balloons with a person wedged inside.  Cute costume until she hit a rose bush and balloons started popping as she trick-or-treated through the neighborhood.  Sure wish I had some photos of that!

Hope you have a safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Not driving horses

I know it’s happened to all of you.  You look at something over and over and over again and then, for whatever reason, you look at it again and see something new.  Case in point is this photograph of two gentlemen in a carriage.


Not much to go on, right?  So I just kept pushing it aside until today when – duh – I turned it over and saw this.


Oh look at that – and in my grandmother’s handwriting, no less!  Abe and Gus Gunzendorfer, Father and Uncle of Mildred Loraine Levy, Taken about 1890.  That all makes sense.  But not driving horses?  These guys look like they’re driving horses to me.

So I enlarged the photo so I could get a good look at them and saw this.


Nice looking men but are they Gustave and Abraham?  Grandma, what does “not driving horses” mean?

Here’s photos of Abe and Gustave from the late 1800s.  Are they the same people?

Abraham Gunzendorfer Ernest H Price Photog Pacific Grove
Abraham Gunzendorfer
Ernest H. Price Photographer
208 Forest Avenue
Pacific Grove

I don’t know the year this photo was taken but it doesn’t look to be the same man who is “not driving horses” in the photo above.

Gustave Gunzendorfer Jones_Lotz Photographer cropped
Gustave George Gunzendorfer
Elite – Jones & Lotz Photographer
838 Market Street
San Francisco, Cal.

Now this photograph gives me a little more to go on since I was able to find that the photographer operated on Market Street from 1878-1905.  So the time frame fits.  But is it the same guy who is “not driving horses” above?  Seems like a stretch to me.

So just what does “not driving horses” even mean?  Was there another photograph that Grandma was referencing and she wrote it on the back of the wrong photo?  I love it when she leaves me bread crumbs but sure wish she’d left a better trail this time.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

SNGF: How they met

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week is to describe how our parents met.  You can read about it here.  The timing was coincidental since I was looking through some things this afternoon and ran across my parents’ high school yearbooks.

My parents, Gordon Levy and Geraldine Martin, met at Fresno High School in, I believe, 1943.  I remember hearing stories about them meeting when Mom was a sophomore and Dad was a hot shot senior.  I don’t see Mom in the 1943 yearbook so I’m guessing she entered Fresno High School in the fall of 1943 after a few years living in Alameda County with her mother and great aunt.

Here’s the yearbook for Fresno High School in 1944.

And just like kids have done for years and will continue to do, having friends sign the year book was THE thing to do. 

My dad was involved in just about everything in high school.  In fact, that involvement gene stayed with him throughout his life.  He was happiest when he was busy – he must have been really happy in his senior year of high school with all of his activities and his new girlfriend.

Gordon Levy Sr Picture
The Owl, Fresno High School, 1944

I have no idea who Donald Levy is but I’ve run across his name before.  Perhaps a relative?  Or maybe just a friend?

Dad was the Student Body President in the fall of 1943.

Fall Student Body Officers

And somewhere during his senior year, he met a girl.  Apparently he was smitten as they stayed together until his death in 2005.  Looks like the underclassmen (people?) had group pictures taken for the yearbook.

Class of 1946
Geraldine Martin
second row from the bottom, third from the right

Dad was quite the track star and was known as “Flash” Levy due to his amazing speed (ha!).

Flash Levy

From the Owl:  “Levy, undefeated in ten races this season, turned in the best performance of the squad by running the 100 in 10.1 and breaking the school record of 22.4 in the 220 by sprinting the distance in 22.3.  He also anchored a victorious relay team to a win in the county meet in 1:33.6, and a disputed tie with Edison in the city meet.”

Track Team 1944
1944 Fresno High School Track Team
Gordon Levy, bottom row, third from left
Jim Bradshaw, bottom row, third from right

Jim Bradshaw, sitting to Dad’s left, was not only a classmate at Fresno High and Stanford University, but a friend for life.

I’m sure commencement on June 9, 1944 was a big event, especially since D-Day had occurred just 3 days before. 

Commencement 1944 page 1

Dad was the Valedictorian that year – what an honor.  I’d love to come across his speech “To Promote the General Welfare, to Secure the Blessings of Liberty”.  I’ll bet Mom was proud of her man!

Commencement 1944 page 2

Mom always said she didn’t “follow” him to Stanford University but I think it’s more than a little coincidental that they both graduated from Stanford and were rabid fans their entire lives.  She did tell me once, though, that more women were admitted during the war years as so many of the men were off to war.

I found one very sweet treasure in Dad’s yearbook – Mom’s message to him as he graduated. 

Dearest Gordon,

There isn’t really much I can write here but what I do will have to be O.K. I guess!  I guess at times I’ve seemed a little silly to you but I couldn’t seem to be any other way at the time.  I guess you got pretty disgusted with me when I acted like a little baby.  I suppose this is a fine time to say so but I promise I’ll never act that way again.  I don’t see how you’ve put up with me for so long – guess there must be a reason though!  I know I shouldn’t get mad so easily – I was always sorry the minute I did but was too stubborn to give in.

I guess even though I’ve acted like a little fool at times we’ve still had a lot of fun – at least I have.  These have undoubtedly been the happiest months of my life – I guess they always will be.

These are all silly things to be writing here but I had to get them said somehow  Now that I have I guess that’s all there is I can write  Good luck!!

All my love – Gerry

I’ll bet when Mom wrote those words more than 70 years ago, she never thought about her daughter reading (much less transcribing) her message.

I haven’t found a picture of Mom and Dad together during high school (YET) but I have found some cute photos of them individually from that time frame.

Gerry Martin c 1945
Geraldine Martin

I’d like to figure out where she was standing but, so far, I haven’t run across the address of 1441.  I just love the preppy plaid skirt!

She looks so playful here, which is not a word I would have ever used to describe my mom.

Gerry Martin 2 c 1945
Geraldine Martin

And one of Dad.  Nice slacks!

Gordon c1945
Gordon Levy
c 1945

I don’t necessarily know the story of how my grandparents met, but I have the letters they wrote back and forth as they were courting.  And I wrote about their engagement here, including the letter my grandfather wrote to Grandma’s parents asking for her hand.  And I even have the letter they wrote back!

Thanks for the blogging inspiration, Randy!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What the heck is a Cash Carrier?

Sometimes as I go through the many boxes of family treasures I run across something that I’ve looked at many, many times but this time, for whatever reason, it really piques my interest.  I come from a long line of newspaper ‘clippers’ and as it turns out, this practice goes back for more than 100 years.  Check out today’s newspaper clippings.

Cash Carrier 4_28_1992 Monterey New Era
The Monterey New Era
Thursday, April 28, 1892

And on the other side.

Cash Carrier 10_22_1892 Monterey Cypress
Monterey Cypress
October 22, 1892

Looks like my great grandfather, Abraham Gunzendorfer was an inventor!  I’ve written about his younger brother, Jacob Gunzendorfer, and his amusement apparatus invention here – looks like big brother Abe might have taught him a thing or two.

So, of course, I had to see if Abe’s cash carrier was ever patented and it looks like it was.

Cash Carrier Patent
The collected works of Sir Humphry Davy…Discourses delivered before the Royal societyElements of agricultural chemistry, pt. 1 (Volume 7)
Editor:  John Davy  Publisher:  Smith, Elder and Company, 1893

It’s hard to read but it was patented on November 15, 1892 and is patent number 486250.  So of course I searched more and found the patent.

Cash Carrier Sketch
US 486250 A
Filing Date May 25, 1892
Publication date November 15, 1892
Inventor Abe B. Gunzendorfer

The description of the patent is much too long to include in this blog but here’s an excerpt:

To all it may concern

Be it known that I, ABE B. GUNZENDORFER, a citizen of the United States, residing at Monterey, Monterey county, State of California, have invented an improvement in Cash-Carriers, and I hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the same.

My invention relates to that class of cash carriers in which the car is propelled from one end of the track to the other by means of a sudden force applied at either end.

My invention consists in the novel construction, combination, and arrangement of parts hereinafter fully described, and specifically point out in the claims.

The objects of my invention are to provide simple and effective means for receiving and locking the car at the end of the line, releasing and immediately projecting it on its travel, regulating the power of the propelling device, adjusting the track to any suitable inclination, and locking and releasing the cashbox in the casing.

And it goes on to get more and more technical but since my brain doesn’t work that way, I started drifting off even though this was my GREAT-GRANDFATHER! 

And then I looked on Wikipedia for a brief description and found that “cash carriers were used in shops and department stores to carry customers' payments from the sales assistant to the cashier and to carry the change and receipt back again.”

Okay, that makes sense since Abe’s father, Ferdinand Gunzendorfer, owned a store in Monterey called The White House which I’ve written about here.  Could they have taken in that much cash in the early 1890’s to need a cash carrier? 

So I checked out some photos I have of the interior of the store and don’t see anything like that.

White House Interior
Lots of stuff in there but I don’t see anything that looks like a cash carrier.  A little closer.

White House Interior Cropped

And for good measure (and because I love this photo), here’s Ferdinand in front of the store.  Nope, nothing there.

White House Ferdinand Cropped

So while I don’t see anything to show that they ever used Abe’s cash carrier in the store, it’s pretty cool to think that he invented it.  I’m thinking Abe Gunzendorfer was a smarty pants!