Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Trees

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past six years (2009 through 2014), and this year, the prompts and their sequence are the same as the last two years.  Due to some pressing needs to get some other projects done (like gift books for my parents made out of the previous years' blog posts), I'm going to link to the appropriate post from 2014 (which also links to older posts, when applicable) in the prompt title, and add a relevant photo.

The prompt for December 1 - Christmas Trees
Pape family Christmas tree in 1965, 8015 Sharpview, Houston, Texas

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Motivation Monday: Happy 6th Blogiversary to Me! (Tomorrow)

I started my blog six years ago tomorrow, on December 1, 2009!  This is my 944th post.

The photo is of a Gresham family birthday cake, from the late 1940s or 1950s.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: AstroWorld

From June 1, 1968, through October 30, 2005, my hometown of Houston, Texas, had an amusement theme park called AstroWorld. It was across the 610 Loop from Astroworld, the original home of the Houston Astros baseball team (and the "Eighth Wonder of the World").

 My family must have visited sometime in the first few months of the park's operation, because the next two photos are from slides processed in October 1968:

The photo above was shot on the Astroway, an aerial tramway over the park. This view is heading from the "Oriental Corner" section of the park (with one of my favorite rides, the "Bamboo Shoot" log flume water ride added in 1969, and the "Black Dragon" spider ride) to the "Alpine Valley" section.  In the background, you can see "Der Hofheinzberg," the man-made mountain named for park developer Roy Hofheinz.  This was the site of the Alpine Sleigh Ride, and a portion of the "Le Taxi" (later Antique Taxis) motor cars went through the mountain as well.

In the photo below, also from the summer of 1968, you can see another early attraction, the "Mill Pond" water bumper boats, at the base of what was originally called the Skyrama (later the Astroneedle, a double-decked gyro tower) in the Western Junction section of the park.  I'm pretty sure that's my dad, Fred Pape, in the bumper boat, probably with my youngest sister Mary.  Another favorite ride for me was the Astrowheel, a double Ferris wheel in the original Modville section (renamed International Plaza at the beginning of the 1977 season).

In the photo above, taken in the summer of 1970, you can see the Astroway and the  Astroneedle in the background. The next photo is from ten years later, and exactly 35 years ago today, when my friends (from left) Audrey, Annette, and Ardis (on the far right) and I went to AstroWorld during a get-together over the Thanksgiving break.  We're posed in front of the 1895 Dentzel carousel (called the Alpine Carousel) in the Alpine Valley section.

In 1975 the Mill Pond was removed and was replaced by the Gunslinger, so that's what we rode on November 29, 1980, above.  The Black Dragon had been moved and renamed the Razzmatazz, but was gone by 1978.  The Texas Cyclone, a wooden twister roller coaster modeled after the famous Coney Island Cyclone, had opened in June of 1976, so we rode that in 1980 (next two photos).

I moved to the Seattle area in 1984 and my dad was transferred to the Dallas area in 1985, so I'm not familiar with any rides or attractions added in the last 20 years of the park's life.  I do know the Astrowheel was closed in 1981, the Alpine Sleigh Ride in 1984, and the Astroneedle in 1999 (and removed the next year),  Corporate naming rights had an effect in 2001 when the Bamboo Shoot was renamed The Ozarka Splash.

AstroWorld closed in 2005.  Some of the rides, such as the Gunslinger, found new homes in other amusement parks, but others, such as the Texas Cyclone, were simply demolished.  Despite its prime location, the land still lies vacant today.

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

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.