Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Frank's Place

I did not get to write a post for my blog last.  I really thought I could do it, but ran out of time.

Ray and I were in Warsaw, Illinois.  We came to check on our family cottage "Frank's Place" and visit my cousin Ruth who lives in Keokuk, Iowa.  Ruth has written a few posts for this blog...telling about how my great grandparents immigrated here from Sweden.  Her mother, my Aunt Amanda, was with the family on their journey to start new lives in America.

Our cottage sits on the Illinois side overlooking the Mississippi River.  Warsaw is a really small town...1,600 population.  Hollywood could use Main Street as a time period location for a Prohibition Era movie.

Sidewalk in Warsaw, Illinois

Main Street, Warsaw, Illinois
  Ray says he could imagine John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde shooting their way out of the bank, jumping into black Fords and roaring off with their ill gotten gains.

Hill-Dodge Banking Company

So...any film producers or directors...if you are looking for a quiet town for a movie site...check out Warsaw, Illinois.

Farmer's Bank in Warsaw, Illinois


When we arrived on Monday we found some of the tiles in the kitchen hanging from the ceiling....water stained...oh no...a leak in the roof.  No one had stayed here for over a year, so we were prepared for some minor stuff...but not the roof!!!   (We did find a person who will be able to put on a new roof...just happens to live down the street and knew my Uncle Frank.)  There were also dead bugs in piles below the windows. Yuk!  Most of these were Japanese Beetles, box elder, flies, and wasps or mud daubers.  I was glad that I brought my Dyson vacuum as I was able to suck up all of the bugs Monday evening.
View of Mississippi River from Warsaw, Illinois

Most of Tuesday was spent cleaning the bathrooms, kitchen, cleaning out the refrigerator, and pulling vines that had crawled up the sides of the house, and a quick clean for the rest of the place.  The animals had a feast last night with so many stale crackers, old cheese and other food that I threw out.

So...that is my excuse for not posting anything in the blog last week.  I will put a few pictures of the area on here.  A red headed woodpecker was sitting on the clothes line post...but my picture was taken from inside through the screen...so it is not very good.
Woodpecker ready to fly.

There are lots of birds and other wild life that wander through the yard...and the feral cats have even made paths as they go from house to house....so its a great place for photography...and also star gazing.

Baltimore Oriole

I like "Frank's Place."  It belonged to my Uncle Frank and we have furnished it with a lot of family pictures, funiture built by my grandfather, and paintings done by my grandfather and Uncle Frank. 
Dining Room (Uncle Frank's picture on wall)

My Grandparents and Uncle Frank

Looking into Living Room from Dining Room (My Grandfather's old fishing pole on wall)

Part of Living Room
I wish it would get used more often, a house needs people in it to be alive or it becomes old and worn down...just like our bodies...if we don't keep in motion we get stiff.  
Feral Cat...and Its Path

For a few years a group of archaeologists would stay at the cottage while they were digging at a secret location...later announced to be Fort Johnson from the War of 1812...that was just a block from here.  But that is another story...so will stop and post some pictures of Warsaw and the cottage.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another Maxine Story

Maxine's Graduation
Since Sunday was Mother's Day I thought I would write another Maxine story.  I think I will tell a little about her first job.  Maxine graduated from high school in 1936...right in the middle of the Great Depression.   Somehow she got a job at the Keokuk Box Factory.  She told me that they made things like regular boxes, ice cream containers and paper plates (I didn't even realize there were paper plates back then...but learned that they have been around since 1904). 

The factory was located at the bottom of a big hill close to the Mississippi River.  Mother lived at the top of the hill across from Bluff Park overlooking the river.  It was a beautiful scene...but during the winter was quite treacherous to walk down the hill.  In fact the street was often closed in the winter for kids to sled ride.  This did not deter Maxine. At the end of the work day she would pick up a discarded box and carry it home.  The next morning she would ride the box down the hill.  I can still hear her describe that ride:

"We had some bad winters that year and after falling a number of times trying to get to work I thought how much easier it would be to take a sled down the hills...but then I would have to store it someplace and drag it back home.  That is when I thought about using a box as a sled.  Everyone laughed at the idea...so of course, I had to try it.  The first time was a learning experience...I realized I needed to lean right to turn the corner...but it had to be at just the right time...and I couldn't take the turn too quickly.  I'd sit on my knees inside the box and guide it by holding the flaps and leaning far right when I got to the bottom of the hill.  That is where I had to turn the corner and ride down another hill...and then make a left down the last part of the hill to the factory.  I did this so often the guys at the factory would wait to see me come flying past. 'Here comes Mackie!' they would shout and help me stop."

No picture of her on a sled...so here she is on a bike.

One of Mother's jobs at the factory was to make ice cream carton lids.  She and her friend, Rhoda, had a system where they could work really fast...the more lids they made...the more pay.  But sometimes there was a break in the assembly line and they would have to wait.  At one of these times, Maxine drew a picture of a fashionable lady on one of the lids and put a short note: "Write back and let me know where this lid traveled."  Then she put her address!  This is not the picture she drew...but it is similar to it.
A picture Maxine drew.

I can't believe she did that....but that was the innocence of that day...and in her upbringing.  She was surprised when a few months later she received a note from some man wanting to come visit.  He liked her drawing and thought it would be nice to meet.  Panic!  She told her parents what she did and the family kept watch to see if anyone would appear...but nothing happened.   Needless to say...she did not put her address on any more box lids.

Mother said she learned a lot from working in a factory...but knew that was not what she wanted to do the rest of her life...she was only 17 so had years ahead...but sure liked having money to buy pretty outfits to wear.
Maxine (on right) dressed in costume she made for a play.
Her next job.....well, I will write about that another time.  But it was where she learned to make great hot fudge sundaes!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Ohio State University Commencement with President Obama Speaking

I started to write about my day on Sunday...when Ray and I drove to Columbus to go to The Ohio State University Commencement.  We were fortunate to know a graduate and had tickets to attend.  But the post got way too long and so I will try again.  In short...we were glad to be invited, not only to see over 9,000 students graduate and be among 60,000-70,000 guests...but to hear President Obama. 

In spite of many minor annoyances (I think the Minor Annoyance Fairy was spending the day with us...such as dropping my underwear in a sink full of water...dropping a spoon in a crack by the stairs while feeding the kitties, dropping the hose getting sprayed while putting fresh water in the bird bath, McDonald's forgetting my straw as we stopped for road food, one small detour....)  we made it to the stadium by 10:00 AM and met our friends who saved us great seats.  We had a perfect view of the podium, and I took many pictures.  Here are a few.
President Obama before delivering his address to the graduates and guests

No matter what politics you may follow...I think that having the President of the US speak at your commencement is an honor.  While sitting in the stadium I did a lot of people watching.  I heard that some people had brought a big sign saying something negative...I think it was about Obamacare...but I did not see that sign.  It could have been behind me in C deck.  That is the only thing I have heard negative about our President.  Most people I observed were excited and talking about how great it was to have the President there.

I liked his speech.  He talked about how the students need to follow these two things:  Participate and Persevere.  He spoke about citizenship and its responsibilities.  It was a fine speech for a commencement with enough humor scattered through to balance the serious message.  The crowd was enthusiastic and responded with loud applause many times. 

President Obama was given an honorary doctorate of law from the Ohio State University.  After that, he donned an OSU baseball cap bringing loud cheers from the crowd.

I feel fortunate to have been able to be there.  I am glad that our country has a great leader in President Obama.  There are times he has disappointed me...but on the whole...I feel he has overcome many obstacles...not only to become the President...but to lead us.  Thank you, Sharon, Dan and Jon Harris for inviting me.

I could say more...but have decided to add some of the pictures I took.
President Obama saying good-bye.