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WWGeezer

Falling into the Rabbit Hole- Family History

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One of my passions is history and particularly family history. 

This is not the "map every family member back to Adam and Eve" kind of thing.  More about story telling and preserving the artifacts that exist in the family and document the last couple generations.   I keep a family website where I post things, tell stories etc.  Recently my sister gave me a Memory Book of my grandmother's from her high school days.  It spans from 1917 to 1922.  During that time she was a young teenager. Her father died suddenly and a brother died six months later.  Her Mom moved from Kansas City to Chicago live with her mother.  Three years of this drove her nuts, so she packed up here three kids and took a train to Los Angeles.   The Memory Book had envelopes with addresses so I was able to trace that path on Google Maps and amazingly enough all the homes still existed.  My brother had scanned a vintage photo album from my grandmother's childhood and sure enough I could find family photos in front of those same houses so I knew I got them right.

Thought I would share the journey a bit ( first one is Kansas City, second is Chicago, third is Los Angeles)

House1_1500R.jpg

House2_1500R.jpg

House5_1500R.jpg

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And than just to show some of what was in the memory book, an entry from a schoolmate ( the gal on the right looks like trouble to me....) and filled out Dance Cards ( so if you ever said "My Dance Card is kinda full", you now know they really exist.

Intro0_1500R.jpg

Photo1_1500R.jpg

Events2_1500R.jpg

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I love the historic vs current view of homes. Especially when they are tied to family. I love old images of my grandparents home, and deeply regret the home had to be sold after grandma passed, when I was 18. The family who bought it treated it well, added a large addition to the main dining room area and building a larger two and half stall garage, replacing the original that was barely large enough for one car. On a better note, I was invited into the home once, and instantly felt the nostalgia kick in... outside the back windows there's a hillside, always in shade due to how the topography created a slight valley there. Wild mint grows alongside a natural spring emanating from the hillside behind the house (always caused trouble in the spring snow melt, lol), and leaves a wonderful minty aroma in the house when the windows are open. I'll never forget the way that lovely scent filled the house.

The KC home looks to be mostly untouched, just fewer trees and a better sidewalk/step to the front door.

The Chicago home... Man, I wish that big awning was still over the small porch. In the newer photo you can see how large the mounting bracket for the awning was, a large semi-circular pattern on the front of the building. The hand railings were far nicer in the older image as well... Sometimes city life takes a toll on buildings. Really like the child in front of the porch area in the old image. Knowing that he (? I think?) is a relative you may have met far later in life, very cool indeed.

The LA home has gone through a lot of minor changes. The large main floor windows have been changed, as well as the entry way. The front zteps were far more ornate in the older images. I can't help but wonder why the two small second floor windows have given way to three parallel but uneven windows. That had to take some doing to reconfigure. 

My grandmother's sister (Aunt Eleanor, always loved her spirit!) once showed me some of her college dance cards. She gave the fellas letter grades after each dance, and she liked to tell stories about how badly her future husband danced. He was killed at Anzio in the spring of '44, less than a year after they were married.

 

... anyways, thanks, Tom. Your passion for family history certainly ignites much of the same in me. 

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Sandy I noticed all the architectural stuff too.  I assume the big red x on the house next door means the city has condemned it.  I seem to remember similar signage after flood damage to homes.  Really interesting to see the evolution.

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Great pics, I also noticed the red x and also the boarded up windows on the main house.

I love before and after photos of places gone by..I would love to see if my grandma's house is still there, it was built in 1897 in Brea California, allot of my childhood memories take place in that house.

Unfortunately I don't have the actual address of the house.

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