Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Travel Tuesday: Lithuanian Chicago - The Balzekas Museum

I finally have time to write more about my week in Chicago, Illinois, in early August, 2017.  My husband and I took the train there and visited my son, but as he had to work most of the time we were there, we also did a genealogy grand tour.  For four days, we visited areas in and around Chicago related to my family - the northern suburbs of Wilmette and Evanston, the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park / West Ridge, and the southern neighborhoods where Lithuanian immigrants settled in the early 1900s.  As we were staying in the southern Lincoln Park area near my son's home, I also walked to a couple churches and drove by some other site in Old Town and other areas.  So, for the next few weeks, I'll be posting a lot about what I saw.

I'm going to start with what was actually our second full day in Chicago, Tuesday, August 8, when we drove down to the early Lithuanian neighborhoods.  To get oriented, our first stop was at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture.


This museum is located in a former hospital at 6500 South Pulaski Road, a main thoroughfare in south Chicago.  It was founded in 1966 by Stanley Balzekas, Jr., in a different location, next to the former site of the family's automobile dealership in the Brighton Park neighborhood, where many Lithuanian immigrants lived.   In 1986, it moved to its present location.  The year 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the museum, as announced on attractive banners both inside and outside the building.


The museum has a number of permanent exhibits, my favorite being the Women’s Guild Room, which features Lithuanian folk arts: items made with amber, Christmas decorations and Easter eggs, dolls, and traditional Lithuanian costumes and textiles. I will have a number of pictures of these in future posts.  I would have liked to see the Children's Room, but it was not open the day we were there.



A semi-permanent exhibit on “No Home To Go To: The Story of Baltic Displaced Persons, 1944-1952” was on an upper floor of the museum.  The museum also offers genealogy research, special events and folk art classes, and an annual tour in Lithurania, as well as a gift shop.

© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Church Record Sunday: Sister Jean Marie's Sacramental Records

Recently I stumbled across some unindexed records at FamilySearch.org for Catholic churches my mother and her ancestors were parishoners of in Houston, Texas. Using some indexes built into the documents, as well as some paging to appropriate dates, I found records for a number of relatives. 

Here are the sacramental records for my maternal aunt, Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie) Guokas:


Above:  When checking the handwritten index in the records at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, for Baptisms, 1924-1939 (where I would have expected my aunt's baptism to be), I found the note above:  "Guokas, Jo Ann, record will be found among baptisms conferred during May 1941." 

Below:  Baptism record, on December 9, 1928, the last record below.  It's difficult to read, but it notes that she was baptized on the date of her birth, September 12, 1930, at St. Joseph's Hospital by Rev. Thomas J. O'Sullivan.  In the far right column, it further notes "Private baptism administered in St. Joseph's Hospital.  Ceremonies supplied in St. Joseph's Church, May 16, 1941."  Her godmother was her aunt Pauline Guokas (Felicijona Černaitė) Guokas (1878-1953), wife of her paternal grandfather’s brother Joseph (Juozopas) P. Guokas (1869-1933).



Above:  First Communion at St. Joseph Catholic Church, May 8, 1938.  Jo Ann's record is at the bottom.  

Below:  Confirmation at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, May 18, 1941.  Jo Ann's record is at the bottom, and her confirmation name is Eleanor.  A Mrs. S. D. Tinney was apparently the sponsor for all the girls.



© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday: Bud and Betty Streff

My Streff first cousins had a memorial service to bury the ashes of their parents, Frank James "Bud" Streff Sr. and Elizabeth "Betty" Mary Pape Streff, in the family plot at All Saints Cemetery in Chicago on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The weekend turned into a great family reunion!  A while back, my cousin Marianne was able to stop by the grave and take this photograph of her parents' newly-installed grave marker, which I have added to Bud's and Betty's memorials at FindAGrave:


photo by Marianne Streff Gustafson


© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Church Record Sunday: Mom's Sacramental Records

Recently I stumbled across some unindexed records at FamilySearch.org for Catholic churches my mother and her ancestors were parishoners of in Houston, Texas.  Using some indexes built into the documents, as well as some paging to appropriate dates, I found records for a number of relatives.

Here are the sacramental records for my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape:


Above:  Baptism at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, on December 9, 1928, the second record above.  Godparents were Frank O’Rourke and what looks like “Mrs. Agnes Wolfe.”  This could be either her aunt Agnes Guokas Payne, or her aunt Annie Volce Wolfe, wife of her grandfather’s brother Shannon Wolfe.

Below:  First Communion at St. Joseph Catholic Church, May 9, 1937.  Mom's record is at the bottom right.  Her older brother Charles Guokas III also received his First Communion this date; he is #9 in the left-hand column.


Left: Geraldine Guokas on her First Communion Day, May 9, 1937.


Below:  First Communion class at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, May 9, 1976.  Gerrie is on the second row of girls from the front, about the sixth girl from the right, and two rows above and just to the right of the right-most candle-bearer in the front.  Her older brother Charles Thomas Guokas III (1927-1999) is the left-most boy on the second row from the top, in front of the light-colored stone framing the doorway.  Geraldine's younger sister Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie) Guokas did not have her First Communion that day, but was selected to be one of the angels - she is the one on the left, same row as her brother, with a crown on her head.  (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)


Above:  Confirmation at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, May 15, 1938.  Mom's record is at the bottom left, and her confirmation name is Mary.  Her high school friend Vera Barbosa Stowell is just above her on the list.  A Mrs. T. A. Breed was apparently the sponsor for all the girls.

Below:  Marriage at Annunciation Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, September 11, 1954.  Witnesses were Norine Moreland Valicek and George J. Kaiser Jr., and Rev. Felix J. Penna performed the ceremony. Gerrie’s mother’s name is wrong (it should be Melzina Wolfe Guokas),  as is the date of baptism (it should be December 9, 1928).


Below:  Geraldine Margaret Guokas and Frederick Henry Pape (1929-2017) leaving Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, after their marriage ceremony on September 11, 1954.



© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's Foot Locker

Something I wish I'd asked Dad more about, while he was still with us:



I think this is the Air Force foot locker of my father, Frederick Henry Pape (1929-2017).  I think it was in the garage of every home he lived in afterwards, and I think filled with tools.  The original handles broke off, so he improvised with rope, and also added a drawer pull to make it easier to open.



© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sentimental Sunday: Today Would Have Been Dad's 89th Birthday



Frederick Henry Pape, about age 5 (1934).  Not sure of the location, but I left the buildings and the car visible in the background of the photo.


© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

End of an Era: A Time to Mourn

It's been a little over 12 weeks since my father, Frederick Henry Pape, died, and now I will finally have some time to really process his death.  His funeral on November 14 was rapidly followed by Thanksgiving, a care plan meeting at my mother's memory care facility, her subsequent eight-night hospitalization with pneumonia starting on November 30, her discharge to a skilled nursing center for rehab (where she still is), and during all of this, the need to deal with all of my parents' possessions in the duplex they were renting in Austin.

The lease for said duplex expires today. I have spent every weekend this month in Austin working to clear out items (that were not claimed by family members over the Christmas holidays) through direct sales, consignments, storage, donations, and recycling/trashing.  I'd leave my home at sunrise Saturday morning, drive three hours, work until dark (lighting in the duplex was poor as lamps disappeared), visit my mother at the skilled nursing center until her bedtime, then sleep at the duplex (the last two weekends on a cot) and work Sunday until I needed to leave to get home before dark.

This past weekend I stayed an extra day, as on Monday, I cleaned the inside of the oven and refrigerator along with the entire garage (thankfully cleared out of all items by my brother Brian, who has been a huge help in this whole project), while my parents' long-time housekeeper thoroughly cleaned the rest of the duplex interior. 

It now truly feels like the end of an era, and time to mourn.  My sister Mary currently has Dad's cremains, and set up this lovely little memorial to him in her home.  My memorials will be in this blog, as I share more memories and photos as I go through the process of grieving.




© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Kodachrome in Korea II



Last month, while cleaning out the study of my late father, Frederick Henry Pape (1929-2017), I found a paper bag containing a number of Kodachrome slides from the early and mid-1950s, taken during his time in Korea and also in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.  Kodachrome is extremely stable, and the color on these slides is near pristine.  I'll be sharing some of the images over the year.

Unfortunately the mounts on the slides do not have any processing dates, but I know this one was taken sometime between October 9, 1952, and March 7, 1953, because that is the period when he was in Korea with the Air Force.  This is Dad in front of his tent, #19, also known as the "Sans Nookee Tee Pee." Dad said it was "the only tent with a red door in tent alley," because his pilot partner, Captain Milton C. "Milt" Royles, had painted it that color (I posted a photo of him and my dad in front of this tent in May 2014).

The two Korean women may have been "house girls," who were paid to do such tasks as keeping the tent clean, laundry and ironing, and running errands.

© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Kodachrome in Korea II



While cleaning out the study of my deceased father, Frederick Henry Pape (1929-2017) last month, I found a paper bag containing a number of Kodachrome slides from the early and mid-1950s, taken during his time in Korea and also in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.  Kodachrome is extremely stable, and the color on these slides is near pristine.  I'll be sharing some of the images over the year.

Unfortunately the mounts on the slides do not have any processing dates, but I know this one was taken sometime between October 9, 1952, and March 7, 1953, because that is the period when he was in Korea with the Air Force.  The Bengal tiger painted on the B-25 plane was the emblem of the 37th Bomb Squadron, of which Dad was a member.  Dad is standing just below the navigator/bombardier's station, which was in the nose compartment of the B-25.


© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Kodachrome in Korea, late 1952.


Last month, while cleaning out the study of my deceased father, Frederick Henry Pape (1929-2017), I found a paper bag containing a number of Kodachrome slides from the early and mid-1950s, taken during his time in Korea and also in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.  Kodachrome is extremely stable, and the color on these slides is near pristine.  I'll be sharing some of the images over the year.

Unfortunately the mounts on the slides do not have any processing dates, but I know this one was taken sometime between October 9, 1952, and March 7, 1953, because that is the period when he was in Korea with the Air Force.  Here, he is standing next to the sign for the 37th Bomb Squadron (L[ight]) Headquarters, the "Home of the Royal Bengals," at K-1, the Pusan West Air Base in South Korea.

I've cropped out much of the background in this picture to emphasize Dad, but the background is the same as in the black-and-white photos in an earlier post on this headquarters, so that further narrows the photograph to the last quarter of 1952.  According to a history of the 17th Bomb Group/Wing (of which the 37th Bomb Squadron was a part),

During the October to December [1952] time frame, the 17th moved from K-9 [Pusan East] to K-1 (Pusan West) to allow for the resurfacing of the K-9 runway from PSP to asphalt. The Wing returned to K-9 on 20 December having flown uninterrupted through both moves.


© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.