Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday Revisited on Thursday

George, Kathryn and Bob

I love this photograph of my uncles and their cousin. I love it and I am jealous for this is how I would like to live life. Uncle George, Uncle Bob and Cousin Kathryn are completely at ease with each other. Heads gently touch and arms are comfortably draped around each other drawing them close together. Their smiles are genuine and warm my heart.

George was the oldest born in 1916. Bob was born in 1920 and Kathryn was the youngest born in 1923.  Life wasn’t always easy for the family. Challenges of the Depression didn’t dim their spirit. So much trouble yet George, Bob and Kathryn had so much to look forward to. Are they aware of the looming conflict of World War II? I don’t know. These three appear to be living in the moment.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Childbirth and The Chicago Bears

I was just reminded by John Tew of The Filiopietism Prism blog (see that genealogy is more than digging through distant past. History is happening right now and each of us is in the act of creating history of our descendants.  His reminder is the reason I decided to post the following story of my distant, but not too distant childbearing years. I hope you enjoy my history . . .

Childbirth and The Chicago Bears:

My husband and I are the proud parents of three adult children all born during various Chicago Bear’s football seasons.

The first intersection of my childbearing years and the Chicago Bears came one summer day in 1981. Six months pregnant and wearing heavy support hose, I attended an afternoon Bear game. It was a sunny, hot day and midway through the game, I became overheated. My father-in-law escorted me out of the stadium with the hope of finding some shade. It was in the shade of Soldier Field’s walls where we waited as my husband made his slow and premature exit from the game.

On Sunday, November 8, 1981, the Chicago Bears played the Kansas City Chiefs in an away game and won 16 to 13. It was the last year Neil Armstrong coached the Bears. Mike Ditka took the helm the following year and we all know what happened next.

While I labored away in the delivery room, my husband’s eyes were glued to the television screen and The Chicago Bears/Kansas City game. Did I mention that the doctor and all the nurses were busy watching the game too? Feeling neglected I asked, “Hey what about me?”

As I wrote my first draft of this little story, I gave credit to my husband for refocusing his attention to the birth of our first child. I shared this little story with him and he reminded that the game ended before our daughter was born. Our sweet baby girl was born the evening of November 8, 1981 weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz.

Twenty-two months later we were awaiting the birth of our second child. Now a Chicago Bear season ticket holder, my husband worried about me while he was attending the Chicago Bears games. He was so worried he felt the need to purchase a pager so that he could hurry home from the Chicago Bears game in the event I went into labor.

On Sunday, September 11, 1983, The Chicago Bears played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Soldier Field. My due date was September 29th. My loving husband kissed me goodbye and headed off to cheer his beloved Bears to victory pager in hand.  As it went, the Chicago Bears won the game 17 to 10. Their season eventually ended with 8 wins and 8 losses.

Sometime that afternoon of the game, I began to feel “something.” Was I in labor? Should I page my husband? I decided to phone my parents first. They weren’t home. I then called my in-laws. They weren’t home either. As a last attempt, I paged my husband and received no response. My 18-month-old daughter and I sat tight and waited for Daddy’s return later that afternoon. Boy, did someone get an earful that night!

Real labor pains began the next day. I had this little test that I did as my due date approached. I would put my hands under my tummy and wiggle my thumbs. Early that morning, my thumbs wiggled freely. My late afternoon, my thumbs couldn’t move. Our baby was preparing to be born.

I notified the doctor and was told to keep him posted on my progress. My husband returned home from work, I fed my little family dinner and immediately went into full-blown labor. My in-laws were called and quickly rushed over. There was no time to inform my doctor!

Meanwhile, in preparation for the long night at the hospital my husband headed upstairs to shave, I think he watched too many episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show because that is exactly what Dick Van Dyke did when Mary Tyler Moore went into labor and needed to go to the hospital.

Dave received a second earful, this time from his Mother.


Down he came with a half shaved face and remnants of shaving cream.

It was just about 7:45 p.m. when we backed down our driveway and headed due east towards the hospital. I was terribly worried my baby would be born in the car and urged him to “SPEED!”  I knew the baby was coming quickly and demanded, “DRIVE THOUGH THE RED LIGHTS!”

We pulled up to the Emergency Room, with car doors left wide open; Dave placed me in a wheel chair never unlocking the brakes and rushed me inside. A young doctor greeted us and began questioning me with his list of 100 questions until an experienced nurse approached. She simply asked, “Is this your first child?” “No,” I replied. She then commanded, “Get her upstairs!”

It was just like the movies. The nurse grabbed my wheelchair, unlocked the brakes and ran me through the hospital corridors straight to the Delivery Room. The obstetrician was notified and rushed to my aid. Lucky me, he was across the street in a meeting.

No time was wasted. Our son was born at 8:30 p.m. that evening and I still wearing my ugly red and blue plaid blouse. He arrived just a mere 45 minutes after leaving home. While I held my newborn, my husband found a payphone and announced the birth of our son to both sets of grandparents. My in-laws couldn’t believe the news for we had been gone less than an hour! Dave then went downstairs to close and lock our car doors.

While all my children’s births were memorable, this birth was THE most exciting. Needless to say, my husband, learned an important lesson, got rid of the pager and began taking his family’s needs more seriously.

The 1985 Chicago Bears had us all singing “The Super Bowl Shuffle” and as you might guess, I was expecting child number three. Two days before our third child’s birth, the Chicago Bears played the New York Jets in the Meadowlands. The ‘85 Bears won again this time 19-6.

Our third child was born December 16, 1985, though not as quickly as his big brother. There was no birth/Chicago Bear game conflict this time around.

Instead in the wee hours of January 26, 1986, my husband headed off to the New Orleans for the Super Bowl XX game. What the heck! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The 1985 Bears ended their season with 15 wins, 1 loss and a Super Bowl victory. We will never forget the Refrigerator Perry, Walter Payton’s Sweetness or The Punky QB.

My parents joined the kids and I as we watched the Chicago Bears defeat the New England Patriots 46 to 10! My husband had the time of his Bear Fan life.

Our family of five was complete. There were lots of football games, but no more Super Bowl wins. Eventually, the season tickets were sold, repurchased, sold and then repurchased again. My husband enjoyed a few more years in comfortable Club Seats until they were sold for the final time.

Depending upon how the Chicago Bears are playing, He is now happy to watch or not watch Bear games from the comfort of our home. It was a fun time even though I was really, really mad at my husband that Sunday in September of 1983.

My loving husband has approved this story and by the way, those babies have grown into Chicago Bears Fans.

Two of my Bear Fan babies!

Go Bears!


Friday, October 25, 2013

World Pasta Day

Macaroni, the Pasta of my Childhood!

Today is World Pasta Day! Did you know that? I didn’t until my visit to the Geneabloggers web site revealed new blogging prompts. Now this is my kind of holiday! Rigatoni happens to be my pasta of choice. It is strong and firm and holds up well with my red pasta gravy. Yummy!

I think back to my childhood days when the word, pasta, didn’t exist. Back in the day, macaroni made its way to our kitchen table at 1625 Lincoln Avenue. To be exact we consumed Creamette’s elbow macaroni or spaghetti.

One dinner from my childhood was Mom’s Quick Spaghetti, her early variation of today’s 
Spaghetti ala Amatricana. Quick and easy was key! She would sauté onion and bacon, add a can of tomato sauce and once the spaghetti was cooked dinner would be just about ready.

I was not a big fan of her quick spaghetti but in our household, we ate what she prepared for us without complaint. Several years ago my husband and I were lucky enough to take a vacation to Italy. I distinctly remember sitting at a small restaurant tucked in the corner of Rome’s oldest market, Campo de’ Fiori, where I ordered Spaghetti ala Amatricana. The first bite of dinner told me I was eating Mom’s Quick Spaghetti with just a slight variation of ingredients. Grazie, Mom!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday’s Tip

My simple tip of the day is to begin with what you know! Gather your evidence, cite your sources and keep a research log. This practice will help you develop good research practices that will stand the test of time.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Those Thursday Places: Spruce Street

Real Estate has been on my mind lately and reminds me of a real estate opportunity that offered a genealogical twist. Several years ago I had attended a luncheon where my mother’s best friend offered the comment, “Your Grandmother’s house is for sale.”

Mom’s friend, Grace, lived close to my paternal grandparents’ home. After considering what her comment I realized that I would love to see my Grandma’s house just one more time. I took a drive by Grandma’s Spruce Street home only to discover it wasn’t for sale! Instead, just two doors down, my maternal great grandparent’s home was for sale! I quickly made an appointment for a showing.

Now for a bit of history . . .

William and Julia Danker, married 4 April 1896, were general farmers in the rural community of Riverview just south of O’Hare International Airport. They raised their only child (my grandmother), Henrietta, on their Touhy Avenue farm. Sometime between 1910 and 1920 William and Julia made the move to Spruce Street where they remained for many years. I have yet to check on the Spruce Street property transfers and it is something I definitely must do to understand relationship of the house story and my family story.

William, Henrietta and Julia Danker

Great Grandfather William Danker died 7 September 1939. His death record confirms Des Plaines (formerly Riverview) as his place of residence; which is the location of his Spruce Street home. At the time of the 1940 census Julia lived with Henrietta’s family in Chicago most likely a result of William’s death.

It is unknown exactly where Julia lived during the 1940s and 1950s. Did she remain with her daughter’s family in Chicago? Did she return to her Spruce Street home in Des Plaines? 

Julia’s 1949 death and Henrietta’s husband, William Dollen, 1950 death caused Henrietta and her two children to move back to her parents’ Spruce Street home. Curiosity is killing me. Did Henrietta inherit the Spruce Street house? Probate and property records should answer the question of home ownership. Now there is one more research project for me!

The Dollen Family now lived in the Danker house a mere two doors down from my paternal grandparents and their four handsome sons. Love was in the air on Spruce Street for my Mother swept her front porch clean just long enough to catch my father’s eye.

Mom and Dad were married and had their wedding reception in the Danker/Dollen Spruce Street home. Nine months later I arrived and spent my early months of life in that same Danker/Dollen Spruce Street home.

It was quite a treat to walk through my first childhood home that housed four generations of my Mother’s family all because of the comment, “Your Grandmother’s house is for sale!”

The Living Room

The porch my mother swept clean has been enclosed.

A small alcove that may have been my nursery.

The second floor with original flooring and walls.

Kitchen & Pantry

My very tall and happy real estate broker.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Wondering where my little blog is going next….

What to do? What directions to go? Just a bit confused about the next step in my blogging journey. My friend, Mo, has a wonderful blog titled Mocadeaux. Mo’s desire is to celebrate life’s gifts. She has a great idea!

Mo has attended blogging workshops and classes. Her work has paid off for is current and perky. Yes, it is full of life!

So my biggest question is how to make my genealogy blog current. Genealogy leans to the past and find myself leaning to the future.

Leaning in,


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday

John O’Donohue

This grave marker belongs to John O’Donohue. Though he has passed on, John is very much alive in the hearts of those who lives are guided by his words. John was a Catholic priest, a poet and an advocate for social justice. He is someone I am just getting to know.

May peace be with you,