Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't ya hate when that happens?

So. The other day I was looking for pictures to include in the dad book, which will eventually be a lovely shelf companion for the mom book. And I happened to find a few items for the mom book.

The mom book... you know the one... that's right, the one that was published last month.

The items found, while not key to my mom's overall childhood story, would properly have been included in the mom book. They won't fit into the dad book at all. I might be able to make a place for them in the Evelyn & Rosmer book someday. But really, they should have been in the mom book.

Family historians, has this happened to you? Or does the dread of this ugly spectre keep you from making your own family history books?

Genealogy-blogging has surely served to fill the gap for me, that gap between having lots of info and the illusive certainty that I have all the info I'll need for a book. With a blog, you can delete, redo, add more later... it's like a river. It flows, it changes, it adapts. But you can't hold it in your hand. A book is more like a rock. It's solid, permanent. You can hold it, keep it, and return to it because, barring catastrophic intervention, it will be just the way you left it.

The case for real books is strong. Unlike a genealogy blog, it doesn't remain in existence at the whim of any service provider. What's more, and this applies to e-books as well as blogs, a real book doesn't require any supply of power or technology to enable the reader to use it. All you need is eyes.

Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to have a genealogy blog too. Coming up at this one, I'll be sharing the items that missed out on their spot in the mom book.

My mother lived in Hollywood for several months during WWII, just after she turned twenty-one. Today's entry is a letter written from my mom to her mom. It's part of a series of Hollywood letters I included in the mom book, but was not kept with the others. Below the page images, I'll include a transcription with a little annotation to explain the threads that tie into topics from previous letters.

February 9, 1944
Dear Mom,
     Helen is in Hollywood now. She arrived at 4:30 A.M. yesterday morning, and she is rooming in the house next door. She's there now, and I'm writing in between our conversations. [Helen was my mom's best friend. She had been living in northern California but decided to move down to Hollywood.]
     Mom, don't bother to bring my spring coat. If you put all of my clothes in your suitcase ~ you won't have any room for your own. And I think I can get along without that coat for awhile. By the way, how is my room looking these days? I kinda' miss it! [My grandma Evelyn was planning to take the train from Detroit to go and visit her daughter. What she should pack was an ongoing topic.]
     When you send your luggage ~ send it here in my name, and if I'm not home when it arrives, the manager will take it in. Also, send on a couple of blankets, 'cause we have very few. Then we can send them back again when you return.
     San Luis Obispo is about 200...

 ...miles north of here. It will take about 4 hours on the train, and she'll have to change trains here in L.A. so you will both have to get off in the Los Angeles station. I think the fare from here to there will be about $4.00 or $6.00 round trip. [The "she" my mother refers to is her sister Bonnie, who planned to visit her husband Karl who was stationed at San Luis Obispo. See Karl's letter at the bottom of this post.]
     If she wants any other information, perhaps she can get it at the station there in Detroit.
     And say, you'd better save some of that clothes money you're spending. I think you might find something out here that you'll want to buy.
     Do you remember I mentioned that I was sending you something to go with your navy blue dress? Well, I've decided to keep it here until you come, because it's breakable, and it might not get there all in one piece. So you see, you'll have something to look forward to.

     What's this I've been hearing? You're going around telling important people like Miller and Jim that you are coming out here after me? That's a fine thing to be saying? You see, I hear all the latest gossip even if I am clear across the country.
     Well, Mom, I'm going to close now. It's getting late, and my hair still has to be washed before I go to bed. Helen is going to give me a deluxe shampoo ~ or something, so until later . . .
     Love to you,


The letter below appeared in a previous post about Karl Parker. It was written from Karl to my grandma in late February of 1944 and addresses the question of Bonnie traveling to California to visit him while Evelyn was visiting my mom.

(click to enlarge)


Dorene from Ohio said...

Fascinating! You are so lucky to have these items!

T.K. said...

Don't I know it, Dorene! It's so interesting to see all these bits and pieces come together to create their picture of the past.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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