Sunday, April 16, 2017

Homeward Bound

With that, it appears The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940 had come to an end.  Maybe abruptly, maybe not – I just don’t know.  There are so many questions I have about this trip and as I reflect on what I’ve learned, I may have created even more questions.  I sure wish I’d come across this photo album when Dad was still here so I could get some answers and talk about all of the details with him.

First, I look back at this itinerary.


From the photos and hotel bills, it seems as if the family turned around in Portland and then spent July 9 at the Coquille Hotel.  Why didn’t they go on to Seattle?  Although from the notation at the bottom of the itinerary it looks like Sig might have known this was a possibility. 

And as I went through the few items that were loose in the scrapbook, I found some clues.

Southern Pacific

Southern Pacific’s routes.  Look at that – the Shasta Route went from San Francisco to Portland.  Seems like that would be a pretty interesting trip for a family.  And on the back was this.

Southern Pacific Tickets

Total $99.  For what?  Did they actually make the journey by train??  All this time I thought they were in a car but now I think they were, in fact, on the train!

American Express

Look at that – $99 again.  That can’t be coincidental.

Tickets Itemized

And there you have it – $99 for 9 days.  So was the $99 for the hotels……or for the rail tickets?  I’m not sure but now I’m about 99% sure that they were on the train rather then in their car.  How cool is that?

I have to wonder how they returned to San Francisco since the scrapbooker didn’t leave me any clues.  I do know they made it back and spent some time with family.  In fact, in my boxes of photos I found another family photo where I can identify people more clearly now.

GordonLevy_Sherwin_MervynGunzendorfer_JacobGunzendorfer_IreneGunzendorfr_AlSherwin_RobLevy_LoraineGunzendorfer_SigLevy 1940

Left around the table, starting with my Dad, Gordon Levy, in front.  Carol Sherwin, Mervyn Gunzendorfer, Jacob Gunzendorfer, Irene Gunzendorfer Sherwin, Al Sherwin, Rob Levy, Loraine Guzendorfer Levy, Sig Levy.  Looks like Lois Sherwin was taking the photo.  Either that or Jacob’s wife, Edith. 

Another photo I found was the Potter Hotel, which is in Santa Barbara.  Seems like a likely stop as they traveled from Monterey to Hollywood.  Or maybe on their way back to Fresno.  Since there is no hotel bill, it was probably just a meal stop.

Potter Hotel Santa Barbara

One question I did answer was if the family visited with Abe and Birdie (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer during their time in Pacific Grove.  I figured they did but it’s nice to have proof with this photo of Abe from July 22, 1940.  And I can be almost certain that this was taken in the garden of their home.

Abraham Gunzendorfer 7_22_1940

And that’s the end of the line.  Thanks for traveling along on The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

We ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940 next headed to San Francisco.  Once again, the family stayed at The Clift Hotel, their favorite spot.  I have memories as a child of traveling the one hour or so from our house to San Francisco to visit our grandparents who always, ALWAYS, stayed at The Clift.

Clift Hotel

And, of course, they kept the hotel bill.

Clift Hotel bill

Whoa!  Six days in one spot?  Good to see they had their laundry done for a whopping $3.56.  And parking was just 75 cents!  It’s probably closer to $75 these days.  And a long distance call – who was there to call?  Oh wait, maybe they were checking in with their family who they were going to visit while they were there.

This was titled Sherwin’s lunch.  My grandmother’s cousin, Irene Gunzendorfer, married Albert Sherwin so this would have been their family.  Irene’s father, Jacob Gunzendorfer, was the younger brother of Loraine’s father (and my great grandfather), Abraham Gunzendorfer.

Sherwins Lunch

Finding this photo brought me back in touch with my cousins, Irene’s grandchildren, as I turned to them for help identifying the folks seated around the table.

As best we can tell, Inez (Jacob’s wife) is the woman standing and Jacob is the gent in the straw hat.  Next to Jacob is Irene (aka Lolly) and to her left is either her husband, Albert (aka Bump), or son, Mervyn.  Irene and Al had twins, Carol and Lois, one of which is seated on the left with the sunglasses and the other looks to be in the right hand corner.  Okay, we think that’s it. 

But wait!  There are two other people in the photo which my cousin couldn’t identify and as I looked closer, I realized that the back of the head is Sig’s and the young man on the right taking a drink is my dad’s brother, Rob Levy.  Looks like they all had a really nice meal and I’ll bet they had a good time visiting.

And a few more of the family.

Loey & Carol

These are the twins, daughters of Irene (Guzendorfer) and Al Sherwin.  Carol and Lois?  Or Lois and Carol? 

I remember all these names – in fact, we actually visited with them in San Francisco several times and, I’m told, saw each other on vacation in Washington D.C. and/or New York in the early 1960’s.  But with all of that, it wasn’t until recently that I figured out that we were actually related.

This one was titled The Board. 

The Board

There’s an empty chair – was that where my dad was sitting?

After 6 days in San Francisco, that’s all the photos they took.  Or at least the only ones they included in the scrapbook.

And then they were off……


Say what?  Someone was trying to get creative with the word RODEO.  I had to laugh that they started to write it in a straight line and then erased it in order to get more creative.  Another entry on the page tells me that they were at the Salinas Rodeo.

And look at this – Fresno was represented!  That must have been fun to see your home town in the rodeo.  So, of course, they took a photo!  You can barely see that the Fresno Sheriff Posse was in the 2nd row.

Fresno Sheriff Posse

And more photos of the rodeo.

Rodeo Crowd

Hi Yo Silver

Rodeo More Horses

Again, boring photos.  These wouldn’t even make the cut in our photography of today.

And then it was on to other hotels.

Forest Hill Hotel bill

Pacific Grove makes sense – I’m sure they spent time with Loraine’s parents, Abraham and Birdie (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer.  6 days’ charges in the cafe – a grand total of $12.45!

The Forest Hill Hotel was built in 1926 and was the only hotel in Pacific Grove at that time.  It was a five story, 100 room hotel which was an immediate success.  In 1954 the hotel was purchased by the Methodist Church and converted into a retirement home, now called Forest Hill Manor.

Forest Hill Hotel
And then farther south to Hollywood.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel bill

Another 6 days and not a single photo?  I’m guessing someone got bored with the scrapbook.

Look at that – the Hollywood Roosevelt is still there today and has quite a history.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Some notable guests of the hotel, which opened in 1927.
  • Marilyn Monroe lived at the hotel for 2 years early in her career.  It is said that she and Arthur Miller, her third husband, met in the nightclub.
  • Shirley Temple learned to do her famed stairstep dance routine on the hotel steps.
  • Montgomery Clift stayed here for 3 months (room 928) while he filmed From Here to Eternity.
  • Errol Flynn is said to have developed his recipe for bootlegged gin in a tub in the hotel’s barber shop.
  • Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable (swoon!), Carole Lombard, Mary Martin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Prince, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie have all been guests in the hotel.
But the most interesting fact, and one that my daughter might need to research further, is that the hotel is rumored to be haunted and has welcomed ghosts as visitors.  Some involve celebrities who have stayed at the hotel while some involve a little girl in a blue dress named Caroline.  There have been reports of cold spots, photographic “orbs”, and mysterious calls to the hotel operator.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Time to turn around

The Levy Family Motoring Trip of 1940 made it to Portland……and then, it seems, they turned around.

I’m not sure where these photos are from and they aren’t very good ones, at that.  But it’s still fun to see some of the sights and to know what the family found interesting.


I wonder where this coastline is?  I can safely say it is in either Oregon or California.

This is an interesting photo – were they tempting the buck with a treat above his head.


Just like the caption said, this one is pretty cute.  Not just the deer but the cute young man (my dad) with it.


And another unknown location.  All I know is that it is a ‘small inlet’.  Thanks for the clue, Scrapbooker.

Small Inlet

These photos are pretty boring.  I’ve learned over the years that most photos that don’t include a person or a special place mean nothing many years later.  These are no exception.

More Coast


And this one is just weird.  What in the heck is this creature?

Front or back

By the looks of this postcard, they seem to have made it back to the Redwood Forest. 

Redwoods Again

And then on July 10 it was back to The Eureka Inn.  And just like any good Levy would do, of course they had to keep the bill.  This time they were in rooms 357 and 358 and they wired someone – wouldn’t it be great to know more about that?

Eureka Inn Bill

Apparently they forgot that they’d already bought this postcard and included it earlier in the scrapbook.  Now that’s the sign of a true pack rat!  I wish I knew the story behind the “kennels”.

The Kennels

And then it was on to Benbow…..again.


While not the exact postcard from above, it’s pretty darned close.  Maybe they thought this return trip was sparse when it came to memorabilia.

Now we get to see the Benbow Docks.  Looks like a nice spot to relax and read a good book.

Benbows Docks

And last but not least, what would a stop be without a copy of the bill?  Interesting that one room was $6.00, the other was $4.50 – wonder which was which.  And can you imagine feeding a family of four dinner for $5.00 and breakfast for $3.00?

Hotel Benbow Bill

I found this on the back of the bill.  Were they keeping track of all the charges, figuring out their bank balance, or just what?  Boy, wouldn’t they have loved a calculator or an Excel spreadsheet?

Hotel Benbow Bill Back

Heading farther south next time where they’ll stop for a visit with some family.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Next stop – Portland!

The Levy Family Motoring trip of 1940 continued north to Portland.  I think the scrapbooker was quite taken by the Columbia River. 

The whole setup

This is clearly a purchased photo of some sort but it’s interesting to see what things looked like in 1940.

And here’s my grandmother, Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy, in front of the Vista House that can be seen in the photo above.

Loraine Columbia River Vista House

Once again, stylish clothes with a hat to match.  One thing I remember about my grandmother is that she was ALWAYS dressed to the nines!

I did a quick search to see if she was, in fact, standing in front of the Vista House and to see if there were many changes.  Looks like those are the same windows.

Vista House
Photo by Frank Kovalchek
This photo hits close to home since I live in Washington – Dad was so close and little did he know his daughter would one day live here.

Across the water

This seemed to excite the scrapbooker.

Harnassed Waters

And then I turned the page and saw this.

It began to get tiresome

Ha!  Not sure if it means the trip was getting tiresome or the bills that were on the page.

Coquille Hotel Bill

$6.50 for one room.  They must have decided to share that night.  Wonder who they called for 80 cents?

Here’s my dad in front of the Coquille Coffee Shop.  Being that he never drank coffee, I wonder what he ordered.

Gordon Coquille Coffee Shop

And then another bill from the Hotel Benson.  Same date – July 9.  Must be an error as I’m sure they weren’t in two places at once.

Hotel Benson Bill

I’m guessing they stayed here for 2-3 nights – I can’t imagine $36.00 for one room.  Glad they were able to get their laundry done!

I looked to find some photos of the hotel and sure enough, it is still around today.  I can imagine it was just as fine in 1940.

Photos by Sporst

Last but not least was something titled “Don’t Peek”. 

Dont Peek

Of course, the first thing I had to do was PEEK!

American Express Confirmation

Looks like they wired ahead on July 8 to make their reservation for the following night.  Could they have changed their reservation from The Benson to arrive on July 10?  I had to laugh that on the back of the “Don’t Peek” things, someone wrote “It was the siliest thing of the trip”.  What was silly?  Wiring ahead to change/make a reservation?  The fact that someone wrote “Don’t Peek” knowing the first thing anyone would do was, in fact, PEEK?

On to the next adventures!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

And now I’m 6!

Photo by Jessie Pearl

Wow, where has the time gone?  I’ve been blogging for 6 years!  How is that even possible?  I’ve come across some amazing discoveries during these last six years – ‘finding’ cousins, discovering my 3x great grandfather in an unmarked grave, documenting my grandmother’s scrapbook from 100 years ago, and learning so many details about my ancestors’ (and my own) lives.  It has been such a rewarding journey.

Over those six years, here are my top 5 blog posts.
  • On June 16, 2013, I wrote about a Bittersweet Day, another Father’s Day without my dad.  I’ve probably looked at the post so many times over the years that it pushed it to the top of my posts but if I had to pick one to push to the top, this would be the one.
  • On March 8, 2013, I followed a Fearless Females blog prompt and wrote Is there a Diary?  Interestingly, I did later find a ‘real’ diary and wrote about that HERE.  
  • On February 16, 2016, I asked for some translation help for words on the back of a photo in What does this say?  I received lots of good suggestions – the power of blogging!
  • On August 17, 2013, as part of documenting my grandmother’s scrapbook, I wrote Grandma was a Party Animal.  While she really wasn’t a party animal, she did like to dance!
  • On April 27, 2014, I asked readers to Raise your Hand if you’d seen your mother, grandmother, or great grandmother pregnant.  I think I can say I’ve seen my great grandmother (at least a photo) pregnant!
Within the last few weeks, I’ve had another blogging success story which seems appropriate to share here.  I know we’ve all seen on the news a story of someone finding another person in order to share a family heirloom, photo, letters or the like and we are always a bit envious and wonder why that never happens to us.  Well, it DID happen to me!

A few weeks ago I received messages in several different locations (Facebook, WikiTree, and even my main office phone) saying:
I recently purchased a WW2 hat, case and pins from a Goodwill near me with the name Robert S. Levy lieutenant in it. My family and I think that this is a special and personal treasure that a family member should have. If I've done my research correctly, this would make you his niece. Is that correct? I would love to get this special treasure to the right person. Not sure if your uncle has any children or grandchildren that may want it? In any case if you would contact me I'd greatly appreciated it!
That’s right – Robert S. Levy was my uncle and my dad’s only sibling.  And this woman had his WW2 hat and wanted to return it to the family!

So contact her I did!  And it turns out that she did, in fact, have my uncle’s hat!  I asked her to send me a photo…..

Robs WW2 Hat

And the inside….

Robs WW2 Hat inside

And then I compared it to a photo I had of Rob in his hat…….



Next step was to contact my cousin, Rob’s daughter, to ask her if she wanted the hat.  Turns out she had been sorting things into boxes – one to donate and one to keep – and the hat ended up in the wrong box!  And off it went to Goodwill by mistake.  My new ‘friend’ was a hero – she had saved the hat!  I connected the two of them and the hat is now back with my cousin who, coincidentally, lives fairly close to my new friend.

I’ve since asked our hero how it was she came upon the hat, to which she responded:
I found the hat in the box at a Goodwill in Buckhead.   I like going there to find special treasures and I've found quite a few in the past.  I love finding artwork or vintage decor and doing research on it, so when I opened the hat box and pulled out the hat I knew it was old and that my kids would love to see a real army hat.  But after I looked at it closer I saw the card with Robert S Levy's name on it.  I knew that once I got home I would research.  I first found the article from the Fresno Bee in 1944 that had Robert’s name and Sigmund Levy’s name.  So I googled Sigmund Levy and found the wiki tree .  Your name was connected to that.  We were hoping to find a wife, children or grandchildren.  The pins were in the box too and we just felt that someone in his family should have this special treasure.  I have 4 kids and they all showed the hat to their friends.  They tried it on and saluted each other :)).  All of the kids kept saying wow, this is so cool!  So we were on a mission to get in touch with you!  We found you on LinkedIn and Facebook and then found your blogs about your family and read about them with Robert’s name hidden amongst some of your blogs.  We were like wow, that's him!!!  So yes, when you sent the pictures with the hat on him that was a full circle moment.  I felt like I knew your family history after all that!  I hope your uncle’s hat and pins stay safe and his grandchildren find a spot for this special piece of history.

And that’s where blogging has provided me with another success story and proves that just when you think it can’t happen to you, it does!  Thank you again to my new friend – I can’t thank you enough! So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last six years.  Just when I think I’m losing interest and have said just about everything there is to say (even though I have about 20 more scrapbooks left to go through), I get re-energized.

And while I don’t have a photo specifically of my 6th real-life birthday, this is a very special photo from when I was about that age.  My husband found it while he was scanning the thousands of slides my dad had and pulled it out of the archives.  Just maybe I was thinking about what would turn up in my family history so many years later!

My beautiful picture

And now on to 7!