Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Stories from the 1940s

Back row:  John Pape, Lee Pape, Charles Bleidt
Front row: Gretchen Reis Pape, Mary Jane Bleidt, Jack Bleidt
Jack's First Communion, May 17, 1936
Martha Pape Bleidt, March 1944

About two years ago, my then-81-year-old dad wrote down some memories about his first cousin Jack Bleidt for Jack's son, Bill (Jack died at age 44, when Bill was only 6).  There are some great stories there from the 1940s, which also just happen to tie into my 1940 Census hunts:

"Somewhere around 4th or 5th grade [this would be just before 1940], Jack and family [parents Charles and Martha Pape Bleidt and sister Mary Jane] moved south [from 2084 West Lunt Avenue, across the street from Dad's family] to [2043] Waveland Avenue [in Chicago]..."

This was in Illinois enumeration district (ED) 103-2860 (thanks to Steve Morse's Unified 1940 Census ED Finder; click on the images to make them larger):
"...Uncle Walt lived just a half block down from Jack's building. He lived in a large apartment with Uncle Dick (Richard Pape) and Grandpa Pape, your great grandfather John Pape. Uncle Walt had a coupe with a 'rumble' seat (an open seat in the rear, behind the roofed seat, which could be folded shut when not in use. It opened at the top and folded back. It was a real treat when he would let Jack and me ride back there.It was fun to feel the wind in my face and wave to people. Of course he allowed no standing up on penalty of no more rides...."

Here are John, Walter, and Richard Pape, around the corner from the Bleidts at 3618 N. Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, in the same enumeration district:
"...Jack and I decided one day to ride our bikes out to Wilmette to visit Uncle Lee and Aunt Gret (Gretchen nee Reis) Pape. I don't remember if we had our parents' permission. We had plain old 2 wheel single gear bikes. The trip was probably 8 to 10 miles, maybe more. It took us all morning and we were tired when we got there. Uncle Lee was working somewhere (he was a first class carpenter). Aunt Gret was home and she fixed us a great lunch complete with lemonade and homemade cookies. Uncle Lee came home early and we got to ride in his pickup truck. It was the first time Jack or I had ridden in a truck which was a lot of fun. They owned two adjoining lots with the house and garage on one lot. Aunt Gret had a huge well-cultivated garden which occupied most of the other lot. They grew lots of greens like lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, etc., and cooking vegetables like potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, etc. We had fun picking some of the ripe vegetables with her. I really liked the radishes. She also gave us some to take home. Around 5 o'clock we were going to go home on the bikes, but Aunt Gret had Uncle Lee put our bikes in the back of his truck and he drove us home. We were happy not only to ride home in the truck but, being tired, we appreciated not having to pedal those bikes all the way back to my house."

Lee and Gretchen Reis Pape were still at 210 17th Street in Wilmette, where they’d been in 1930 (they were also here in 1942, as this was the address on Lee’s WWII draft registration card), in ED 16-302:

Thanks to my dad's great memory, I had, if not the addresses, at least the streets or enough information to find these relatives on the 1940 US Census, even without a name index.  Once the 1940 US Census is indexed by name, it will be MUCH easier for everyone to find their relatives.  Indexing is easy and it's FUN!  Go to the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project site and find out how you can sign up to be an indexer, if you haven't already!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

[Disclosure:  As part of the1940census.com Ambassador Program, this post enters me into a drawing for a Visa gift card.]

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