Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sibling Saturday: Peppermint Park and Wee Wild West in Houston, Texas, 1961-1969

 My step-grandfather, Wallace "Archie" Archibald (1896-1970), took a number of home movies of me and my siblings from 1958 through 1965.  One place shows up over and over - a small amusement park with rides for younger children.  I'm pretty sure it was called Peppermint Park.  Apparently there were a number of locations, but I think the one we went to was on the north side of Houston, off T. C. Jester, as that was close to where my grandparents lived at the time, and was a more pine-wooded area of Houston than some of the other locations (near Gulfgate Shopping Center on Interstate 45, and out in Sugar Land).  In the early years (1961 to 1964) my family lived in Spring Branch, which also makes the T.C. Jester location the more likely one.

I definitely remember the helicopter ride in the picture of me and my sister Karen from 1961, above.  A bar that you would push and pull raised your copter up and down.

The films also show kiddie boats that went round and round, a merry-go-round, a ride I think was called "The Whip" because it would jerk your car quite hard on a turn, and kiddie automobiles that ran on rails.  My youngest sister Mary is pictured on such a car below, sometime in 1969.  You'll note that the view is from inside a warehouse-like building.  Some of the rides were inside this building so that the park could still operate in bad weather.

As I got older, we also went to a park called Wee Wild West, which was on Westheimer Road at Yorktown.  It had some of the same rides as Peppermint Park, but also had fighter planes, a roller coaster, a train ride, and something called the Hook and Ladder ride (an old firetruck that drove around the park), which shows up clearly on one of the films.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Baby Shower for Regina Dietz Szpak, August 1990

In August 1990, I was en route from Madison, Wisconsin, back to my then-home in the Seattle area, and I spent a couple days with my Pape relatives in the Chicago area.  I had the opportunity to go to a baby shower for my first cousin Regina Dietz Szpak, pictured at right.  Her first child, daughter Courtney, was born at the end of September that year.

I stayed with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Lorrie Pape, and went to the shower with my first cousins, sisters Bobbie Pape Johnson and Judy Pape Schaller, pictured below.  Bobbie was expecting her second child, daughter Callie Marie who was born at the end of October that year.

Also at the shower was my cousin Shelly Dietz Sowinski, Regina's older sister:

Regina's other older sister, my first cousin Ruth Ann Dietz Zidek, was also there.  She's pictured below with her sister-in-law, her older brother Ron's wife, Cathy Sheehan Dietz, who'd just had her fourth child two months before:

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for my family.  I'm thankful that my dad is recovering from a serious fall last Sunday, and that I could go be with him in the hospital Monday and Tuesday and stay with my mother overnight.  I'm thankful for my husband who traveled with me there and provided emotional support for me and company for my mom.  I'm thankful for my siblings pulling together in this crisis and for cousins and aunts and friends who supported us in calls and visits and Facebook comments.  I'm thankful for my coworkers who were supportive and covered for me while I was gone.  I'm thankful for my husband's daughter and her family, with whom we'll be sharing the holiday meal today.  I'm also thankful for extended family in the Chicago area opening their home to my son, newly-moved to Chicago and unable to be with his family of origin this holiday. And I'm thankful for the daughter who made the cute little turkey above.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Uncle Bob and Aunt Lorrie with Grandsons, 1990

Uncle Bob and Aunt Lorrie (Paul Robert Pape Jr., 1926-2008, and Dolores Frances Olker, 1929-2005), with grandsons Brad and Grant, August 1990.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Memories from Uncle Bob and Aunt Lorrie for Mom & Dad, 1994

In 1994, in preparation for a celebration of my parents' 40th wedding anniversary in Fredericksburg, Texas, we asked friends and family to share some of their memories of my parents, Fred and Gerrie Pape.  Here is the response from Dad's older brother and his wife, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Lorrie.  A quote from it follows, referring to the 1955-1957 time period:

Lorrie remembers well the many times she and Gerrie took their walks down Morse Ave. with Terrie [Bob and Lorrie's oldest daughter] in her stroller. 

"After our walk we put her down for a nap and had our customary tea and windmill cookies.  One time while munching on the cookies Gerrie heard a thud in the next room.  We both went rushing in and found Terrie on the floor, having fallen from her crib.  Thankfully she was fine but talk about being concerned, grateful, and embarrassed all at the same time..."

She also remembers the darling blue dress Gerrie made for Terrie for her first birthday.  It was embroidered in red and white and she was so impressed it started her on her own sewing career.  What a savings that turned out to be as we had one daughter after another.

When Bob was away at meetings you were there in case anything happened and you wouldn't hesitate to keep Lorrie from feeling alone.  We also had some very LIVELY discussions at times and these too were fun.

It was great having you around for the two years that you lived in Chicago after you were married.  We only wish it could have been 20.
Undated photo of Paul Robert "Bob" Pape Jr. and Dolores Frances "Lorrie" Olker Pape.  The sign in the background indicates they are likely at a Bureau of Reclamation site, possibly in Texas.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: My Godmother, Aunt Lorrie, and Me

My Uncle Bob (Paul Robert Pape Jr., 1926-2008) and Aunt Lorrie (Dolores Frances Olker, 1929-2005) came to visit my parents in Houston, Texas, in 1959, when we were living at 7913 Cedel.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: My Godfather, Uncle Bob, and Me, 1959

My Uncle Bob (Paul Robert Pape Jr., 1926-2008) and Aunt Lorrie (Dolores Frances Olker, 1929-2005) came to visit my parents in Houston, Texas, in 1959, when we were living at 7913 Cedel.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Six Flags Over Texas, 1966

Yesterday my husband and I were in Arlington, Texas, at the convention center there for a photography trade show. (We just bought a new digital single lens reflex camera last week).  I didn't realize the convention center was so close to Six Flags Over Texas, the amusement park.

Six Flags Over Texas opened in August, 1961.  The original park was divided into six separate themed areas for each of the six governments that have controlled Texas in its history:  Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.

I've only been to Six Flags once, in July or August of 1966.  We lived in Houston, a good four to five hours away.  My maternal grandmother and step-grandfather, Nani and Popo, Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997) and Wallace Franklin "Archie" Archibald (1896-1970), took my sister Karen and I on a trip there.

I'm guessing we spent two nights in the area, because I imagine we spent a whole day at the park.  I only have these two pictures from the trip.  This first one was among the slides Popo took that my brother recently scanned and sent to me.  I think this was a carriage set up as a photo op prop (notice the wheels don't touch the ground) in the Confederacy section - you can see something that looks like this carriage in a 1966 map of the park near Naler's Plantation House.  I'm pretty sure that is the recreated Fort St. Louis in the France section on the right in Popo's photo.  Today, these two park sections have been combined and are called "Old South & France," and apparently Fort St. Louis is still there as a backdrop for a display on the theme park's history.

I had just gotten my first camera (a Brownie) that year, probably on my birthday, and as film and developing were expensive, I didn't take many pictures.  This is one of the better ones, shot from the old Astrolift cable cars (removed in 1980).  This photo shows some of the then-seventh section of the park, Boomtown, added in 1963. At the bottom right, you can see one of my favorite rides, the Runaway Mine Train (just called Runaway Train on the 1966 map, and just Mine Train today), which had just opened that year.  See the slightly curved hole in the lake (Caddo Lake) near the middle of the photo?  That was where the train emerged after traveling underground, a first for a roller coaster.  On the far right edge of the photo, you can see where the roller coaster goes underground after exiting the Ace Hotel and Saloon (unnamed until 1974).  This ride still exists today.

You can also see the Caddo Canoes on the lake.  They had been moved from the Confederacy section (where they had been installed in 1962) to Boomtown in 1964.  I don't remember doing this attraction, which involved guests actually paddling large "Indian war" canoes around the man-made Caddo Lake.  This ride was removed in 1983.

My other favorite rides in the park were El Aserradero, ("the sawmill" in Spanish), the first-ever log flume ride, added to the Spain section in 1963 and still exiting today, and La Salle's River Adventure, which operated from 1961 to 1952, and featured animatronics and a colorful spiel.

Some great sources for information and photos about Six Flags Over Texas and its history are The Guide to Six Flags Over Texas, ParkTimes, and Ken Collier's postcards and 1966 Six Flags Cookbook sites.  A complete view of the 1966 map is here.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Visit with Nana and Grandpa Pape, ABT 1966

My brother recently scanned a number of slides from the mid-1960s - I'm not sure if they were taken by my parents, or (more likely, because my parents are in some of the photos but he is not in any of them) by my step-grandfather, Wallace Franklin "Archie" Archibald (1896-1970).

These three were taken some time before December 1966, the date stamped on the slides, when they were processed.  I think this is in our den in our home at 8015 Sharpview in Houston, Texas, but I can't remember a visit from my dad's parents, Paul Robert Pape Sr. (1896-1970) and Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape (1902-2000), so I can only say the photo was likely taken sometime between the summer of 1964 (when we moved into that house) and December 1966.

From the left:  Mary, me, Brian, Mark, Paul, Elizabeth, and Karen Pape.  I have NO idea who the two little girls on the right are.

These two pictures (the one above and the one below) look like preliminaries to the first photo in this post.  Above, my sister Karen appears to be getting up so Nana (Elizabeth) can sit down.  And my baby sister Mary isn't in the picture yet.  Below, Dad (Fred Pape) seems to be encouraging Mary to stay in the picture.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Happy Veterans' Day, Dad!

This picture of my dad, USAF 1st Lieutenant Frederick H. Pape, is from December 7, 2008.

Below is a close-up of Dad's hat, which he obtained when he was part of the Ex-Military Flyers Club in Fredericksburg, Texas, an "organization of former and present armed service members with service in military aviation" that met the third Wednesday of every month for lunch and a program.

Dad pinned the last set of his navigator wings that he had from his uniform onto the hat.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.