Monday, March 23, 2015

Pulling a Thread ~ 52 Ancestors Challenge Week 12

I am ridiculously late joining the 52 Ancestors Challenge!  Here I am with my first post at Week 12!!!  The theme is SAME and I chose the althernate theme....going with two ancestors with the same first name.  

It all started with a little book.

 My mom let me have this book years ago and it was packed away in a box of children's books when we built our home in 1998!  I forget what I was looking for that led me to that box recently, but I came across these little books.  I had always assumed this book belonged to my mom and her sisters as it was inscribed "to the little Franz girls, with love Aunt Lydia."   Looking at it this time, I realized the date was completely wrong for it to be my mom and her sisters.  I wondered if her Aunt Lydia had an Aunt Lydia.  The thread pulling began.

Searching at I began to look for Lydia Franz without success.  I changed my thinking, and looked for Lydia Stotz, my mom's Grandmother's maiden name.  The thread came easily!  I found her in census records and passport applications!  She was sister to my German Great Grandmother.  I showed my mom her passport application and picture  and my mom was amused.  When my mom was about 13, her aunts commented that she was going to be  "big like Aunt Lydia."  On her Naturalization petition, she is 39 years old, 5'9" and 190 pounds.  At 13, my mom was broader shouldered than a few of her brothers.

I discovered Lydia in the 1910 census as a servant in the home of Brooks Adams (grandson of John Quincy Adams) and his wife Evelyn. They were living in the Beacon Hill section of Boston and five servants are listed in the census: three Irish women, one English woman, and Aunt Lydia who is German and employed as the seamstress.  She is 30 years old.  Her sister Pauline is married and living not far from Boston with three boys ages 16, 13, and 12 (my grandfather), and four girls ages 10, 8, 5, and one month old.  The baby in 1910 is named Lydia!  One more girl would be added to the family in 1912.

In the 1920 census, Lydia is now seamstress for the Koshland family, a merchant in the Wool industry.  This family has a home on Beacon Street in Boston as well as a summer home on the coast in Beverly, Massachusetts.  She accompanies them on their travels and I was thrilled to find a picture of her on her passport application in 1924.  She is 44 years old and 5'9".
 The Koshlands are German and were from California before coming east to Boston.  They leave their homes after the crash of '29 and live briefly in a hotel in Boston and then in a hotel on 5th Avenue in New York City during the mid 1930's through 1940.  At some point they return to California and in 1944 she and her employer die within a few months of each other.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Answers that Shake

Hard to come up with a title for this one, but I need to write it down so I remember.   Dark February with all its snow and a husband working endlessly long hours seemed to be plunging the babyMomma into a stagnant muck of despair.  We should know after Amber that the dark, suffocating grief comes back as anniversaries loom.
   (The babyMomma took a class in NYC the end of February a year ago, feeling confident to leave Charlie in good hands.  Charlie was sick while she was away but seemed to get better.   Near the end of March he was sick again and God took him home a week before Palm Sunday last year.  Charlie's second memorial service in Pennsyvania was held the night before Good Friday and the pastor made the connection that Charlie had been born on Christmas Eve and here we were during Holy Week celebrating the end of his life.  His first memorial service was held the day before Palm Sunday.  All this back story that I get bogged down in.
I'd been praying hard in February for the babyMomma, for motivation to get in better shape physically as she is now owner/teacher of a ballet studio and needs to rid herself of baby and grief weight as she is an example to students and to protect herself as she dances en pointe. Within a week, she was invited to dance in a production of "A Tale of Three Trees"
She was told she was the only one who hadn't auditioned, they just called and asked her to the role of Mary.  "Just a light easy dance, dancing with the tree that becomes the manger for Jesus."    Hard in and of itself, having had her own precious boy when we celebrate the birth of Christ.  I was just amazed as I had been praying for motivation and here comes an invitation to dance and work hard to learn the dance and work with a teacher/dancer she admires and looks up to.  A few weeks into rehearsal, she discovers there is a bit more dancing, a scene involving the cross when everyone else follows Jesus off stage and she has to throw herself at the cross.  This is a tough role for her emotionally and she is my tough, strong on the outside baby girl.  I do not think the people she is working with are quite aware of how hard this is, how close to Charlie's anniversary this is.  The performance is the Friday before Palm Sunday.  Another layer to all of this are the questions people ask who do not know anything.  The people who ask if Zoe is her first baby ....  she says no, Zoe is her third.  .....  and she leaves it there and they smile and say "wow, you must be busy."  She does not want people to feel uncomfortable or to answer that question in front of little ones because that usually leads little ones to ask if they are going to die.

I am grateful and amazed by God's grace and mercy.  He has given her this opportunity to work hard, to have other focus and diversion, and to maybe reconnect herself with her Lord and Savior who loves her very much even though I am sure she and her hubby must find it hard to really believe at times.