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Archive for July, 2017

I dug into the bottom of a file drawer and pulled out a book I forgot that I had. It was put together by the Kalamazoo Gazette and featured photographs sent in by individuals of Kalamazoo from the past up to the early 1960s.

My grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, is listed as one of the contributors, so I went through and tried to find the photos he might have sent in.

Definitely these two photos. The little boy in the check dress and straw hat is grandpa himself. And the little girl on the hammock is his cousin Alice Leeuwenhoek.

Those are the relatives sitting on the front porch. Gosh, I own that photo! I didn’t realize that was Richard Remine (though I can see right now that it is, of course, him)–or his children Therese, Harold, and Jane either. It would fit that the two little girls are Alice (next to her grandma Alice Paak) and Therese. With Harold behind the children. But Jane doesn’t really look old enough in this photo. According to my records, Jane was 14 years older than Therese. Something is off here. That big gap in age between Jane and Therese bothers me, and it always has. And if you recall when I wrote about Frank and Jane Tazelaar, I had been confused for awhile about if there had been 4 Remine children and 2 girls of similar names.  This photo must be somewhere around 1901, based on the assumed aged of the 3 little children. Jane was born in 1881 and is not 20 here!

The known people: back row is Aunt Jen DeKorn Leeuwenhoek, Richard DeKorn, Richard Remine. Front row is Lambertus (Lou) Leeuwenhoek, Alice Paak DeKorn, and then the little girl next to Alice definitely looks like Alice Leeuwenhoek, Jen and Lou’s daughter. It would seem plausible that the three other children belong to Richard Remine, but Jane could not have been that small.

What else? Here is Harold Remine big enough to go fishing at Long Lake. The other photo is not from my family, but it does show off a great collection of hats!

This is the Ladies Library building that Richard DeKorn was the mason contractor for.

But I don’t think that is one of our family photos.

One of these photos could have been taken by Joseph DeKorn and been submitted by Grandpa. It is very similar to the ones that I own.

Take a look at the captions for the downtown views. Does it make sense? It doesn’t make sense to me for some reason.

Most importantly, Grandpa autographed this book!

Here is a bonus photo. It isn’t from my family, but isn’t it a cool reminder of the kitschy business architecture popular in those days?

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You might remember reading a post about Grandpa’s girlfriend before Grandma in “Grandpa’s Girlfriend.” I noticed a later entry in the Memory Book where he was asked if his mother liked Grandma. He wrote that she never liked any girls he dated, but that she “accepted” Grandma. As well she should. By then, Cora, Grandpa’s mother, was dying (the spindle cell cancer that was in her death certificate that I posted the other day) and he was devoting his life to taking care of her. He didn’t have a job at the time. When he married Grandma, she not only helped him take care of his mother, but she worked full-time as a teacher, as well, that first year.

Another person that was important to Grandpa was the person he identified in the Memory Book as his best friend: Clarence Pettiford. He wrote, “Clarence Pettiford had good values and was nice to be around.” When I was a little girl and Grandpa was still living in the same neighborhood–and had his Sunoco Station there, too–Clarence also still lived in the neighborhood.

The way I knew Clarence was that Grandma and I would walk “uptown” to the downtown bank with the service station deposits–or take the bus if the weather was rainy or too hot. We would always stop and visit the man I thought was the most important banker in the elegant bank at the corner of Burdick and Michigan. He was known to me as “Mr. Pettiford,” and he was always so very nice to me. I thought he was such a fine gentleman in both the way he acted and his tall distinguished appearance. When I got older, it was a little surprising to me to learn that he was in charge of security, rather than the head banker.

Grandpa wasn’t able to attend high school because he was blind in one eye, and it caused him a lot of distress. But Clarence did attend Kalamazoo Central High School, and I was able to find a  photo of him in the yearbook. I apologize for the quality of the photos–they are from the Delphian and not the best quality.

 

This photo comes from this page in the 1932 yearbook:

You can see that Clarence was quite the athlete. Grandpa also loved sports, but he would get sick from following the ball because of his bad eye. You can read what happened to his eye here. Clarence was about 3 years younger than Grandpa, but maybe the nearest boy who wasn’t a relative. Grandpa had about 7 boy cousins who lived nearby, but I imagine it was hard to be an only child and hang around with 7 boy cousins who were all brothers.

Back to Clarence: he lettered in football in 1930. He must have been 19 at the time. And in 1932, he must have been 21. The age is a little off, I know, but there might have been reasons that we don’t know. My other grandfather, for instance, immigrated from Europe when he was fourteen, and he was still playing football and declaiming in Glee Club for his high school when he was 21.

In this page, Clarence is the manager of the intramural team:

Oh my, did you read what it says about the Intramural Team? It’s for boys not talented enough for varsity or the reserve team. Yikes. Did they have to spell it out like that?

This blog post is a little tribute to the memory of Clarence Pettiford, a talented gentleman.

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This isn’t Kalamazoo history, unless you consider that Kalamazoo is pretty darn close to Chicago. My paternal grandmother, Marie Klein Hanson Wakefield, was from Elmhurst and Chicago, Illinois, and for much of her work life she was the head fitter at the 28 Shop at Marshall Field & Company at the corner of State and Washington in Chicago.

That was a job that took a lot of talent, and it was a pretty cool job. She fitted celebrities, as well as other wealthy customers of the store. She designed clothing for some, and she was asked to move to Hollywood to work for the movies as a costume designer (which she turned down).

When she retired, Grandma was given a pittance (IMO) monthly retirement and a book about the story of Marshall Field & Company.

The book was on our bookshelves when I was a kid, and I devoured the history of department stores in Chicago, which is a subject I still find fascinating.

And I still have the book today.

Is it just me or do you think that this generic inscription is a little too little for the years my grandmother gave away her talents to the company?

It’s fitting that my first real job (outside of family business) was with a department store in Kalamazoo–Jacobson’s, where I (what else?) fitted gloves (see the image on the book cover). Yes, pun intended.

 

 

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