Tuesday, December 25, 2012

They Want To Be Found

"They want to be found." This is an axiom that genealogists repeat over and over as they relate the stories of the most unlikely places and occasions that have led to ancestral finds. This is one of those stories.

In thinking back over my recent post about Christmas during the depression and my Grandmother's steamed pudding, I continued to puzzle over why I did not have the recipe for her Hard Sauce or Lemon Sauce. Yesterday, I decided to take one more look at her two recipe boxes that I had carefully preserved. I quick search proved unsuccessful and then upon being summoned back to the kitchen, I knocked over the bigger box and noticed that there were a couple of recipe cards stuck in the lid blank side showing. I pulled the card out and "Eureka!" The card had two recipes, "Hard Sauce" and "Cottage Lemon Sauce". They are as follows:

Hard Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 t lemon juice or 2/3 t vanilla
Melt butter and stir in other ingredients.

Cottage Pudding Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 T cornstarch
1 t vanilla or 1 T lemon juice
1/3 c butter

Mix together sugar and cornstarch add watter. Bring to a boil add flavoring.

Serve either sauce over steamed pudding.

See, they want to be found! We'll be trying one or the other with our steamed pudding.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1920's Vintage Hand painted Coffee Set

Dear Aunt Edythe,
I'm your niece Betty Werst's daughter. Tonight while doing some research on the computer (our modern method of finding anything and everything), I happened upon an advertisement for a "1920's Vintage Rosenthal Resenthale Donatello Coffee creamer, sugar set hand painted by "Edythe C. Keckley - the American artist who carefully executed this work." It goes on to state that she was "perhaps a Kansas girl born in 1888, who died in 1963 in Agra, Phillips County, Kansas. Her lifetime certainly matches the period; her husband, Elvin L. Keckley, (originally from an Iowa family who emigrated to Kansas) was one of the first men drafted in Phillips County for World War I, serving as a corporal in the 353rd Infantry Regiment, part of the American Expeditionary Force."

It's great to have other people recognize your talent. Our family has carefully preserved the pieces of your hand-painted china that we inherited. We have always imagined that there is more out there. Each time my sisters and I visited and antique store we search for some of your pieces. This provides more encouragement to keep looking.

1920s Vintage Rosenthal Rosenthale Donatello
Coffee Set
Hand-painted by Edythe Colby Keckley
as advertised at www.worthpoint.com

We're all proud of you and your talent.


Christmas Traditions

Dear Grandmother Hoo Hoo,
As we get ready for Christmas, I am remembering the packages of holly and pine cones and fir boughs that you sent to our home in California. As kids, we were completely happy with 70 degree weather for Christmas, but I know my Mom really missed Newberg, Oregon, the farm and the Christmases of her youth. She always looked forward to your package and decorated our home with the greens. For her it was the scent of home, for us it became the scent of Christmas. I don't remember if I ever included gratitude for the greens in my Christmas thank you notes, but the packages were much appreciated.

Wish I knew more about the origin of your Christmas traditions. I know that you opened presents on Christmas Eve. My Mom always talked about how special it was to get her stocking Christmas morning because it would always have an orange in the bottom. She said that your sister Edythe Colby Keckley would send them from her store in Agra, Kansas. Aunt Helen says because there was no fireplace, she and Mom would hang their longest Lisle cotton socks on two nails on the back of the solid front door. My siblings and cousins remember a new front door with a window.

Aunt Helen remembers that they used to go with Kenneth down to the "back end of the place" to cut a fresh Christmas tree, always a Douglas Fir. If the weather had been bad and you couldn't get across the creek, then friends who lived up on Chehalem Mountain would let them come and cut a tree there. They would also collect mistletoe that Kenneth shot out of its host tree with a shot gun.

The Christmas tree was placed next to the twin front windows so it could be seen from the street.
Aunt Helen remembers years when snow had drifted up against the window and how pretty the reflection of the tree light shone in the snow. The girls strung pop corn and cranberry garlands, and placed clip-on birds as well as a glass "green and pink ornament shaped like a cabbage" on the tree. The last touch was the tinsel, in Oregon it was called rain, which made the tree shimmer with silver.

I'm sure that as a widow, raising two children during the Great Depression, it was difficult to put a lot of presents under the Christmas tree. Aunt Helen remembered 'Big Little Book' with Dick Tracy stories that they often traded with Marian and Bobby Nelson, the kids across the street. She also remembered one year Aunt Madge (Madge Colby Massey) sent two "Jolly Joanne Dolls" each complete with a trunk filled with clothing and accessories.

I understand that Christmas dinner was ham with scalloped potatoes and your special fruit salad with a whipped cream dressing (really wish I could find that recipe) and carrot steamed pudding with lemon sauce for dessert. I want you to know that your carrot pudding will be one of the desserts we'll be enjoying with our Christmas dinner. Ed and I will be joined by daughters Amanda, Colby and Colby's husband Chris and their 18 mo. old son Cooper. Next year there will be another baby at our table.  I wish you could be here to share the day with us.

Merry Christmas and lots of love,

Carrot Pudding
1 cup grated peeled white potato
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup currants (I substitute golden raisins if I can't find currants).
1/2 cup ground suet (I substitute butter if I can't find suet).
1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Mix all together, adding the flour a little at a time until mixture is stiff.
Pour into well greased pudding tins. Steam for 3 hours. Cool and turn out on to serving plate.
 Serve with lemon or hard sauce.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Remembering World War II

Dear Grandmother,
A shaking leaf on my www.ancestry.com account this morning led me to the 1940 census record for your sister Martha Marinda Allen Long. She was enumerated on 17 April 1940 in Tallahassee, Florida in the household of her husband Phelps W Long, with son Phelps Junior age 16, daughter Shirley V age 12, and cousin Lindsey Pappy. Her husband is the President of P. W. Wilson, Company which I believe was a department store in Tallahassee. Martha is working as a buyer for the store. Everything seems to be very comfortable for them.

Tallahassee, Florida via www.floridamemories.com


Yesterday, we marked the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I remember you explaining how your family had learned of the attack while celebrating Granddaddy's birthday at the Multnomah Club. I wonder how Martha's family learned of the attack.

Phelps enlisted in the Marine Corps, and went through Basic Training at New River, in North Carolina. I don't know if he finished high school or enlisted immediately. His enlistment date shows as 25 Aug 1942, so perhaps his mother was able to delay his enlistment until after he graduated. He was assigned to Company "I", Third Battalion, 21st MAR, 3rd Marine Division.

There are reports that say PFC Phelps W. Long, received a Silver Star for his actions during the Battle at Bouganville. I have not yet been able to verify that information. I do know that he was killed in action.

I'm sure you must have been terrified when your 16 year old son and recent graduate of Grant High School announced that he was enlisting in the U. S. Navy in June of 1944.

It seems your sister was never able to get over the death of her son. She died of pneumonia while visiting family in Memphis 21 April 1948 at the young age of 47. I imagine that no one could have anticipated the turn of events in eight years when they were answering the Census Enumerator's questions just eight years before.

His sacrifice is not forgotten,