Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘family heirloom’

The different ways that family history and genealogy intersect with other aspects of the culture is growing. But I think this project might be a first for family history.

Broad Street Magazine, which publishes nonfiction narratives in a variety of genres, has begun a six-week series of feature articles on six poems from my family history poetry and flash prose chapbook Kin Types. Each article publishes one poem and then provides information on the research that went into the poem. Included are family photos, historical records, and old newspaper articles.

An introduction to the series can be found here. SERIES INTRODUCTION

The first feature article is Family Laundry: “An Account of a Poor Oil Stove Bought off Dutch Pete,” by Luanne Castle

 

Read Full Post »

My father knew I loved family heirlooms, so he used to give me items as he came across them.

These are some of his mother’s costume jewelry with the jewelry box they were in. My grandmother always loved jewelry, but I only remember her wearing pearls (both cultured and costume) and diamonds and rhinestones. She may have worn jet, but I am not sure.

The items on the bottom row are button studs. They work like buttons in a buttonhole, but are removable. These are usually used for men’s tuxedo shirts.

On the second from bottom shelf are two hatpins. I remember those nasty little things from my childhood. You wouldn’t want to sit down on one by mistake!

I suspect most of my grandmother’s jewelry came from Marshall Field & Company at State and Washington in Chicago. That’s where my grandmother worked as Head Fitter for many years.

When I got married, it was only a year after my grandmother passed away. Her only daughter (who had three boys) sent me the wedding pearls Grandma had given her when she was married in 1955. They came in a Japanese black lacquer box. Aunt Marge did not wear them for her wedding portrait or on the day of her wedding.

Aunt Marge

I am quite certain that my grandmother would have made her dress.

Read Full Post »

I organized my paper files into bins by family branch. It struck me again how “up in the air” I am with most branches. So many leads, so little time.

And then, on top of documents and photos, there are a few objects to catalog. My assumption is that family heirlooms are definitely part of family history and genealogy. They can give us clues to the lives of our ancestors, and they also can make us feel closer to them.

This bowl was given to me by my grandmother shortly after I married. It was “in the family,” but that is all I know. If anybody in the family remembers seeing it in a cabinet or in use, please let me know!

It’s about the size of a serving bowl, but slotted. From searching Google, I think this is a dessert bowl or a serving bowl. It’s probably Prussian or German. Did it come from the “old country” with Grandma’s grandparents (who were Prussian) or was it purchased in the U.S.? I can’t figure out the mark on the bottom and don’t know what the nub thing is on the bottom either. It’s beautiful and different from the typical floral patterns seen online.

Another family heirloom is the ice cream scoop from the Zuidweg candy and soda shop at the corner of Burdick and Balch in Kalamazoo.

That’s a lot of ice cream scoops. But which one is from Adrian Zuidweg’s soda shop? Right! It’s the top one! My husband got a little carried away by locating other scoops on his visits to antique malls!That’s my great-grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, behind the counter. He had owned a fish market and then he switched over to this shop. In the 1926 Kalamazoo City Directory he is listed as “confectionery,” which means that he owned a sweets shop! He died in 1929. I believe my grandfather then took over the candy store and branched out into being a service station. In the 1935 City Directory Grandpa is listed under confr (confectionery) and filling station and the same in 1937, but by 1939 only the station is listed: ZUIDWEG’S SERVICE STATION.

Look at the sweet little metal tables and chairs in the photo. In front of Adrian do you see the cone-shaped metal cup/bowl with a paper liner? I remember those from my childhood. And is that a straw holder? In the back of the photo are glass bowls of candy and a window with little half-curtains and a trimmed valance. Do you think the ice cream is behind the counter where Adrian stands? Or is it somewhere else? What is the round black “pot” in the foreground on the right side?

Have you thought about the family heirlooms you might have laying around the house?

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

When I was in an antique mall, I picked up a clown doll. I do have a doll collection, but this clown didn’t fit the collection. I had no idea why I wanted it.

I’m not afraid of clowns, although some of these recent clown news stories could unnerve me if I experienced them. But when I got in the car with my “new” doll, I looked at it and said to myself, “Why did I want you?”

A week later, I was going through some old photos (as you know I do that a lot) and discovered this photo of myself at age two with my grandmother, my cousin Michael, and a doll.

Although it’s not the exact doll, it’s pretty close–even with the same markings. The one I found has a younger, sweeter face, whereas the one in the photo has a more mature face.

Did I have some memory of this doll that made me buy the one at the antique mall? Or did the experience of the earlier clown prepare me for a sense of familiarity when I saw the one for sale?

Was that my cousin’s doll–or mine? And who bought it?

Photos can be a mystery years later, even when you’re in the picture!

This post was inspired by Mary Louise Eklund’s post on Wednesday last week.

Read Full Post »