Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

 Me on Christmas morning, 1959, at 7913 Cedel in Houston, Texas.

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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Eve

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 24 – Christmas Eve
How did you, your family or your ancestors spend Christmas Eve?

In previous years I wrote about Christmas Eve traditions for my parents and in my family of origin.  I'm drafting this post up on December 22, because I suspect I'll be wrapping gifts and/or making coffee cake on Christmas Eve.

This has been a weird Christmas for me.  At this point I'm still not sure where we are going Christmas Day.  I had so much going on this year that I did not even get a tree put up this year.

Here's what Christmas Eve looked like at 7913 Cedel in Houston in 1959.  My parents must have taken this photo after my sister and I were asleep and Santa came with his haul:


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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent Calendar: Loved Ones Lost & Sweetheart Memories

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

Given that it's almost Christmas and I am still running late (on this blog and on holiday preparations), I'm going to catch up by covering two prompts in one post today.

The prompt for yesterday was:  December 22 – Christmas and Deceased Relatives
Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?

In previous years, I wrote about how various family holiday traditions remind me of my deceased relatives..

The prompt for today is:   December 23 – Christmas Sweetheart Memories
Do you have a special memory of a first Christmas present from a sweetheart? How did you spend your first Christmas together? Any Christmas engagements or weddings among your ancestors?

In previous years, I wrote about some of the gifts my sweetie gave me when we first met - way back in 1979, 1980, and 1981.  He still gets me wonderful Christmas gifts - usually an unusual piece of jewelry.  Here are some examples from 2006:
Left:  malachite and painted jasper.  Center:  Painted jasper.  Right:  mother of pearl and tiger eye.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.
   

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Music

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  For this post only, I'm going to re-post from 2010 - because I forgot to do so in 2011, and this was a good post!  I've edited it a little bit.

Still running a little behind - the prompt for yesterday was:
December 21 – Christmas Music What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?

Although I had a record player, I can't recall if my parents had one - probably not with five boisterous kids around to bump it and scratch the records. We probably listened mostly to the radio, and mostly to vocals by popular singers of the day. When I got a CD player sometime in the 1980s, some of my first Christmas CDs were collections of these performances.

When I was six, the Catholic Mass was still said in Latin, and I still love to hear "Adeste Fideles" and my favorite, "Veni, Veni Emmanuel".

I don't remember going caroling as a child, but when my son was little, I went with a church group to various nursing homes in the area. My church choir did a performance of Messiah, and somewhere along the line I attended The Nutcracker ballet.

I don't think I could name just one favorite Christmas song. Rather, I have favorite Christmas albums. Most of them are instrumentals, and the 20 I like best are pictured at the top of this post. I like Narada and Windham Hill collections, Tingstad and Rumbel, Mannheim Steamroller, acoustic guitars, saxophones, dulcimers and harps, and old-fashioned music boxes.

The good thing about instrumentals is that I can stand hearing them a lot over the longer-and-longer Christmas season. Not so with the vocalists. I pretty much limit listening to them to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I only have six favorite albums, pictured below. In some cases I bought the album primarily for one particular song on it (Kathy Mattea's "Emmanuel" and the King's Singers "Gaudete," for example). The Carpenters and The Moody Blues are among my favorite groups (and if Gordon Lightfoot had ever done a Christmas album, I would have bought it). As for Bing Crosby - well, that reminds me of what my family listened to when I was growing up. I especially love his duets with the Andrews Sisters.

(This was originally published December 21, 2009; repeated December 21, 2010; and revised slightly this year.)

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent Calendar: Religion - Chrismons and Jesse Trees




It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

Still running a little behind - the prompt for yesterday was:  December 20 – Religious Services
Did your family attend religious services during the Christmas season? What were the customs and traditions involved?

In previous years, I wrote about Advent and nativity scenes.  Today, I'm going to write a little about Chrismons and Jesse Trees.

Chrismons are Christian symbols representing Jesus Christ.  The term chrismon comes from the Latin phrase "Christi monogramma", meaning "monogram of Christ." An example is the Chi-Rho monogram (the fourth one in the top row in the photo below), composed of the first two letters in Greek of the word Christos (Gk: chi, X = ch; rho, P = r).  The meaning has expanded to include other traditional symbols of Christianity.

Chrismons are done in the Christmas liturgical colors of white (symbolizes God's perfection and purity) and gold (refers to God's majesty and glory), and sometimes silver.  You'll often find a tree decorated with Chrismons and small white lights in churches.  At the top of the page are photos of some examples of Chrismons (and here are the meanings for these and others).
Mosaic of 1. Jesse Tree 01 -- Stump of Jesse,
2. Jesse Tree 02 -- Creation, 3. Jesse Tree 03 -- Adam & Eve,
4. Jesse Tree 04 -- Noah, 5. Jesse Tree 05 -- Abraham,
6. Jesse Tree 06 -- Isaac, 7. Jesse Tree 07 -- Jacob,
8. Jesse Tree 08 -- Joseph, 9. Jesse Tree 09 -- Exodus/Passover,
10. Jesse Tree 10 -- Moses, 11. Jesse Tree 11 -- Rahab,
12. Jesse Tree 12 -- Joshua, 13. Jesse Tree 13 -- Ruth,
14. Jesse Tree 14 -- David, 15. Jesse Tree 15 -- Solomon,
16. Jesse Tree 16 -- Elijah, 17. Jesse Tree 17 -- Micah,
18. Jesse Tree 18 -- Ezekiel, 19. Jesse Tree 19 -- Jeremiah,
20. Jesse Tree 20 -- Isaiah, 21. Jesse Tree 21 -- Jonah,
22. Jesse Tree 22 -- Ezra, 23. Jesse Tree 23 -- Maccabees,
24. Jesse Tree 24 -- Angel Gabriel,
25. Jesse Tree 25 -- John the Baptist,
26. Jesse Tree 26 -- Mary, 27. Jesse Tree 27-- Joseph,
28. Jesse Tree 28 -- Birth of Jesus, all by Eric Westra / CC BY 2.0
A Jesse Tree tells the story, through symbols, of the genealogy of Jesus. It's a poster or a tree (real or otherwise) in the church or home, which is decorated during Advent with ornaments representing these ancestors of Jesus, as well as prophets and other Bible stories, leading up to the Christmas story.  It functions as a sort of Advent calendar, but with a more religious view.

It's based on the Tree of Jesse often seen in art, which originates in the Bible's Book of Isaiah, 11:1: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."

Like a tree with Chrismons, there is no one way to do a Jesse Tree.  For one thing, the length of Advent varies from year to year (it's NOT just December 1-24!).   I've included two examples of sets of symbols or ornaments that I found in Flickr.com, and you can see there are some differences.

Jesse Tree / Avondale Pattillo UMC /
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Mosaic of 1. tree of jesse, 2. coat of many colors, 3. noah's ark, 4. star, 5. lamp, 6. harp, 7. nativity, 8. fish, 9. toolbox, 10. crown, 11. apple, 12. lamb, 13. tent, 14. fire, 15. bundle of twigs, 16. ladder, 17. rose of sharon, 18. 5 little stones, 19. loaf of bread, 20. 10 commandments, 21. wheat, 22. donkey, 23. shepherd's staff, 24. mary, 25. lion, all by twentysixcats /
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.
  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Shopping at the TSGS Exhibits

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

Still running a little behind - the prompt for yesterday was:  December 19 – Christmas Shopping
How did your family handle Christmas Shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve?

I've written about Mom's Christmas lists in previous years.  This year I'm going to write about some cool shopping ideas I saw among the exhibitors at the Texas State Genealogical Society conference in Fort Worth back on November 1-3.

The Paper Tree (with the cleverly named website GrillYourGranny.com) makes beautifully illustrated family trees, with up to 8 generations, for you to fill in and display.  They even have one tree you can have designed to order, with up to 7 generations, including children (up to 6) and grandchildren (up to 6 per child).  Some of the images are also available for purchase on CD, so you can use them on t-shirts or other items. 
Creative Family Tree creates custom family trees of different types that incorporate photographs or silhouettes - check out the arboretum!
Heritage Makers provides online software for making all sorts of keepsakes with your digital photos:

A neat idea I saw at this booth was a deck of heritage playing cards that had photographs and fun facts about various ancestors.

These three booths had some really neat stuff for Christmas shopping for any genealogy buff.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at  http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Stockings

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

I'm running a little behind - the prompt for yesterday was:  December 18 – Christmas Stockings
Did you have one? Where did you hang it? What did you get in it? Do you have any Christmas stockings used by your ancestors?

I wrote about some family stockings in past years - here's another one:



Breathless' oldest daughter Kim made this stocking for her oldest daughter Holly (and no, Holly was not born around Christmas time!).

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.
  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Advent Calendar: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

I'm running a day behind, but I have another good reason.

The prompt for yesterday was:  December 17 – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

In past years, I wrote about my dad's memories of Christmas growing up in Evanston, Illinois (also my birthplace) in the 1930s and 1940s.  This year, I'm going to write about (ugly) Christmas sweaters.

I've spent much of my working life in schools and libraries, where one MUST have one or more (preferably pretty) Christmas sweaters (or sweatshirts, or vests).  I could never see the point in spending a lot of money to pick up a really nice sweater I'd only wear a few weeks out of the year - even when I lived in a climate (Washington state) where one could actually WEAR a sweater around Christmas time.  One day a few years ago, though, I found one at a thrift shop (at left):
I think this sweater was given away because the red thread used for outlining trees and making their trunks had begun to run, and the stitching around the sleeves was frayed (see detail, inset top above).  Not to mention it's got lots of stains.  However, it's a lightweight sweater, which means I can actually wear it around Christmas - sometimes - here in Texas.

My other ugly Christmas sweater is one I got just last year, from my aunt (above right).   I almost turned her down, as she is much shorter than me, and the sweater is SO ugly - I mean, what are these (inset bottom, above)  supposed to be, penguins, or snowmen?

Today at work we had an ugly Christmas sweater contest.  The runner-up (below left in red) embellished a (pretty ugly to start with) sweatshirt with flashing lights, and pom-poms around the neck.  The winning sweater (below right) was completely homemade, with tinsel around the cuffs, tinsel and pom-poms at the neckline and hem (and on the tree, and all over), and little tiny presents under the tree and on one shoulder, and a gift decoration as the star of the tree.  I don't think this sweater is ugly - I think it's quite beautiful!  I would wear it!
A pretty sweater with the runner-up ugly sweater

The winner!

My sweaters were so ugly, no one wanted to take a picture of them.  I took the pictures of my sweaters using the mirror in the restroom.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas at School

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 16 – Christmas at School
What did you or your ancestors do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

I've written about stuff I did in school for Christmas in the past - here is something Eric made in school, in 1993 or 1994:

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at  http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent Calendar: Holiday Happenings

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 15 – Holiday Happenings!
Often times December to mid-January birthdays and anniversaries get over shadowed by the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year holidays. So we’re going to shine a spotlight on those family members and ancestors this time around. Select one or more December to mid-January birthdays and/or anniversaries on your family tree. Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys and gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples.

My post in previous years was about my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape (1902-2000), who was born December 23, and my cousin Donna, who got married on January 2.  This year, I'm writing about my sister-in-law, Frances Ann Gresham Beug, whose birthday is December 27.

The photo at left was taken in or before October 1945 in Washington, D.C.  My husband, Mark Gresham, is about four years old, and Ann (as she is known) is less than a year old.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at  http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blog Caroling: For unto us a Child is born

The incomparable f o o t n o t e M a v e n invited all the Geneabloggers to go Blog Caroling!  You're supposed to post your favorite Christmas carol.  WHAT!  Favorite!  But I don't have just ONE favorite!  Ah well, that means I can participate in Blog Caroling every year, with a different favorite each year!

This year, my choice is "For unto us a Child is born," a chorus from Handel's Messiah that is simply verse 6 of chapter 9 of the Book of Isaiah.  Recently, I posted about singing this 25 years ago. 

I wish I had a video or digital recording of our performance - but I don't.  Here are the lyrics:

For unto us a Child is born
Unto us a Son is given
And the government
Shall be upon His shoulder
And his name shall be called
Wonderful
Counselor
The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace.

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

Advent Calendar: Food Gifts

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 14 – Fruitcake – Friend or Foe?
Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?

OK, even when I posted on this topic in the past, I talked about OTHER food gifts.  Here are some more:

This year, Mark's sister and brother-in-law in New York sent us a gallon of 100% pure organic Vermont maple syrup!  Yum!  I made pancakes right away!  His other sister and brother-in-law in Washington state sent salmon they had smoked themselves!  Yum!  Had some of that right away too (it ships quite well).

The box in the background is one of the Children's Home Society of Washington apple boxes I used to send to my parents in Texas when I lived in Washington.  They used them for storing Christmas ornaments.  Recently they downsized their Christmas tree, and passed a couple boxes down to me. 

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Advent Calendar: Holiday Travel

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is: December 13 – Holiday Travel
Did you or your ancestors travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?

Growing up, Christmas was always at our family home in Houston.  In 2006 through 2009, we went to Austin; to McKinney in 2010.  Last year we stayed home in Granbury, visiting some of my family at my brother's ranch near San Saba a few days after Christmas, and to Mark's daughter's in McKinney a few days after New Year's Day.  Still don't know yet what we will do this year.

We also started a new tradition last year:  a cruise out of Galveston, in the week after New Year's Day.  Last time it was on the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, January 8-15, 2012.  This time it's on the Disney Magic, January 4-12, 2013.

At left, is a view of the sunrise in the Caribbean on January 9, 2012, from our Mariner of the Seas "hump" cabin #9320 - in the part of the ship that protrudes to the side in the photo at right.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

 

Advent Calendar: Charity/Volunteer Work

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

I'm still running a day behind, and hope to catch up later today.

The prompt for yesterday was: December 12 – Charitable/Volunteer Work
Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?

In past years, I've written about my paternal great-grandfather, Frederick Henry Massmann (1975-1948), and his investiture in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great for his works and generosity in the Roman Catholic Church.  Today, I have some news articles about that event:
from The New World, 27 May 1932, page 3

from the Chicago Daily Tribune, 31 May 1932, page 8
Yet another article from The New World, a newspaper published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, from May 29, 1931 (page 1), shortly after Massmann had been named a "K.S.G." (Knight of St. Gregory), described him as follows:

"Frederick H. Massmann, prominent Catholic layman, is widely known in the work of the Chicago Holy Name Society and the Catholic Salvage Bureau.  Mr. Massmann is a member of the executive committee of the Holy Name Society and was recently elected president of the Archdiocesan Union [of parish Holy Name Societies].

His activities in the field of business and banking have made him a valuable personage in furtherance of the vast program of the Holy Name Society.  In addition to his work as first vice president of the National Tea Company, he is a director of the Central Trust Company of Illinois and a director of the Philip State Bank and Trust Company.  Mr. Massmann resides at Lunt and Ridge avenues."

The article at left from the May 31, 1932 Chicago Daily Tribune (with accompanying page 1 photo below) had this description of the ceremonies the previous day:

"During the benediction pronounced by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas P. Bona, Eagle scouts bearing American flags were grouped about the altar.  More than 2.500 scouts, representing 200 troops of the entire archdiocese were present."  Massmann was also very active with the Boy Scouts in the Chicago area.

As for the Holy Name Technical School (now Lewis University), the establishment towards which Massmann contribured $5,000:  

"When completed the school will have 12 buildings on the 160 acre tract...It is expected that the first class will be organized during the summer.  Already several thousand applications for admission have been received.  From these about 500 worthy boys will be enrolled.  They will be housed, fed, clothed, and taught a trade.  The age limit for admission is 14 years.

The school will be maintained by the Holy Name society and by revenue from the Catholic Salvage bureau."
from the Chicago Daily Tribune, 31 May 1932, page 1

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.
 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Calendar: Singing "The Messiah"

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

I'm still running a day behind, and hope to catch up tomorrow.

The prompt for yesterday was:  December 11 – Other Traditions
Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?  Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?

In past years, I wrote about my dad's family celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6, and lighting the candles in an Advent wreath my son made.  A new tradition for me is listening to a recording of myself and the choir I was in singing Handel's Messiah - 25 years ago.

My score, my copy of our recording, and the program for our performance (which I designed)

Now, I'm no singer.  I have an alto voice, but tend to drift to singing the soprano line because it's usually the melody and the melodies are better known.  I can't read music, except to tell if a note goes up or down (and how long to hold it).  I can't tell an A from a C or an E or a G, and I certainly couldn't sing one of those on command.  I was in a choir in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, but I wasn't very good then either.

However, I always wanted to try singing The Messiah, and friends and family talked me into joining our small church choir, which was going to attempt this.  At the time, I was attending a small Lutheran church in Washington state (my ex-husband was not Catholic).

We had a charismatic choir director, Bill Williams, who managed to recruit 10 sopranos, 10 altos, 5 tenors (one female), and 9 basses, out of a congregation of about 200.   Some donors in our congregation came up with the money to hire professional soloists and musicians (friends of Bill who did it for very little).

We practiced for months before our performance on December 20, 1987.  Bill was very patient with beginners like me, and had us do lots of exercises to strengthen our voices and stamina.  You certainly needed stamina to get through the three-plus measure coloraturas or trills in "For unto us a Child is born,"  my favorite piece in this work, and other choruses.

The night of the performance, the sound system and lights failed not once, but two times, into the overture.  The first time, Bill quipped, "Probably the most brief version of The Messiah ever performed," which got a big laugh, adding "This is what we call the era of modern technology...now we know why Handel doesn't live in this era."  Some lights were turned off, but the sound system failed again.  This time, he joked, "It took Handel - what was it? - 24 days to write this," again generating lots of laughs, adding, "I suppose some of you are probably tied up between now until after the first of the year...at this rate, it's going to take us 24 days to play it."

Then he said something that helped those of us in the choir who were by now quite nervous:  "This is the third time though.  You know it's very encouraging that this should happen in any program right out of the starting box, because it gives confidence to the choir and...soloists and musicians...they realize it can only get better."

And it did.  Since then, every year, I listen to the cassette tape recording Bill made for all of us of that performance (yes, I still have a cassette tape player at home and in my car).  I get chills when I hear we altos start the first chorus with "And the glory, the glory of the Lord..."

By the time we reach the end of that chorus, and in every chorus thereafter, I am crying, amazed that yes, I did this!  I sang The Messiah!  And we sounded (and still sound) really good!

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Gifts

 It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.


I'm running a day behind, and you'll see why in a minute.

The prompt for yesterday was:  December 10 – Christmas Gifts
What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?

I answered the second question in previous years when I wrote about AM Christmas and PM Christmas growing up.   This time I'm going to talk about my new favorite gift to give.

It's a Blurb.com BookSmart® blog-to-book!  I made two of these last year for my parents (since I had two years worth of posts at that time).  This year I made just one, with one year's worth of my posts (that are relevant to them).  Check out this preview of my book:



Mom is 84 and Dad is 83, and it's hard for both of them to use the computer to follow my blog.  Mom in particular was my inspiration for starting this blog.  They loved the blog books I gave them last year - so it looks like this will be a new gift-giving tradition for me.

One thing though - I need to start making the book at Thanksgiving, not December 1.  I'm kind of a perfectionist about layout (former yearbook editor!) and I spent all day yesterday (I took vacation from work) finishing this book to upload it in time to take advantage of a 20% discount and less-expensive  shipping.  Hence this post being a day late!

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent Calendar: Granbury Candlelight Tour

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:   December 9 – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

In past years I wrote about holiday activities in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I lived in my early and mid 20s.  This time I'm going to write about a holiday activity in my current home town, Granbury, Texas.

The Historic Granbury Merchants Association holds the Candlelight Tour of Homes and Historic Sites the first weekend of every December.  Last year I was able to visit a number of the sites.  This year, I was only able to tour the interior of one, but it's a house that's piqued my curiosity for some time, as it's practically at the end of my street:

The Heavenhill Guest House is located at 620 E. Bridge Street in Granbury (Bridge is the street that runs along the north side of our courthouse, about half a mile away).  Deed records the owner recently found date the property to at least 1889.  The two front rooms (kitchen and living area) have walls made of scrap lumber that came off shipping crates out of boxcars at the Granbury Depot.  Planked floors and beadboard ceilings are also original to the house.

It was on one of those beadboards, in the hallway, that the owner found a penciled inscription: "Josephine Heavenhill + Little Louise Miller Jan. 1 1897 Cross of the Heart."

There is a Josephine Heavenhill, who was born in Texas October 6, 1889, and was living with her parents and five siblings in Runnels County, Texas, on the 1900 Census. She earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Texas in 1916, and a master of arts from Columbia University in New York City in June 1921 (where her thesis was entitled, Country Life in the Literature of New England, 1866-1914).

Josephine lived in Abilene from at least 1928 to at least 1942 (where she was city editor for the Reporter-News and dabbled in real estate), and in San Angelo from at least 1949 (where she worked at The Book Center) to at least 1959.  She died in Tom Green County (where San Angelo is located) on May 29, 1965, and is buried with her parents and older brother at Northview Cemetery in Winters, Texas (in Runnels County).

However, I can't find any indication that Josephine or the Heavenhill family actually lived in Granbury, so I'm not sure how the board with the inscription got there.  There were a number of Miller families living in Granbury in 1900 (according to the census), although I can't find a family with a Louise.  There is one with a daughter named Lucy L, born October 1894, but no addresses are given on the census.  So who knows how the beadboard got here?
The owner's write-up for the tour brochure indicates the back part of the house might not be original to the site - perhaps it was moved here from somewhere else, where Josephine and Little Louise might have been, or the beadboard was from another home.  The house was last occupied in June 2001, and the current owner's mother bought it as an investment in 2002 (she owns the antique store behind it).  The current owner has done extensive innovations to the interior, and operates it as an unhosted guest house (two bedrooms, two bathrooms) for overnights or day use for photo sessions, parties, etc.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Cookies

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 8 – Christmas Cookies
Did your family or ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

MMM, cookies!  Recipes and a picture for some of my favorites are in my posts for this prompt for previous years.  We still have some of the Chocolate Swirl cookies around from Thanksgiving - they're pictured above, in some of my collection of decorative holiday tins.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Calendar: Holiday Parties


It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 7 – Holiday Parties
Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

In past years I wrote about and included pictures of Christmas and New Year's parties I attended 1976-1980.  This year, I am posting some photos from my parents' trip to Chicago at Christmastime, 1953, after they got engaged.  They were both living in Houston at the time (where my mom, Geraldine Guokas Pape is from, so Dad - Frederick Pape -  had met her parents).  This trip was made so Mom could meet her future in-laws.

The photos were taken at my paternal grandparents' home at the time at 2093 West Lunt Avenue in Rogers Park.  In the small photo at the top, the man on the far right is my paternal grandfather, Paul Robert Pape Sr. (1896-1970).  We're not sure who the man is between my parents.  My mother thinks it is George Kaiser, who was Dad's best man at his wedding.  My dad thinks it is his brother-in-law, Jim Hedger (1933-2010).

The photo at left was taken in December 1953, probably at the same time and place as the others.  It's of my godparents, Aunt Lorrie (Dolores Frances Olker, 1929-2005) and Uncle Bob (Paul Robert Pape Jr., 1926-2008).  They were also engaged, as they got married a few months before my parents did, in June 1954.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent Calendar: Santa Claus


It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 6 – Santa Claus
Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

My post for this prompt in previous years included pictures with Santa for me and my sister Karen, and my son Eric.  This year, I thought I'd include some Santa pictures for my three youngest siblings.

Above left are Brian and Mark probably around 1965, and above right are Brian, Mary, and Mark, probably around 1967.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Calendar: Outdoor Decorations

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 5 – Outdoor Decorations
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

As noted in previous years, I grew up with subtle and understated outdoor decorations, and have continued that with my own homeMy town of Granbury, Texas, tends to go all out.  This year they acquired another piece of property, the Langdon Center near the historic courthouse square downtown, which used to belong to my employer.  Now the parks department has yet another canvas on which to work its electrical light art:
The City of Granbury has greatly enlarged the back patio of the historic A. P. Gordon House

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Cards

photo courtesy cousin Bill
It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 4 – Christmas Cards
Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

I wrote about my and my family's card traditions in previous years, and also showed some old cards from Mark's parents and paternal grandmother.  I also wrote about a Christmas card from my relative, the architect Ewald T. Pape (1894-1976) that was in the collection of his first cousin, my great aunt, Martha Pape Bleidt (1890-1981).

The photo at left is of a card that was also in Aunt Martha's collection.  It's of my cousins, the four daughters of Paul Robert Pape Jr. (1926-2008) and Dolores Olker Pape (1929-2005).  I'm guessing, from other photos I have of them from around the same time, that it is from about 1970.  Clockwise from the bottom, oldest to youngest, are Terrie, Donna, Judy, and Bobbie.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Ornaments

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 3 – Christmas Tree Ornaments
Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

Someday I'll remember to photograph some of the homemade ornaments, but we haven't decorated the tree yet, and they are buried in the bottom layer of the ornament box--because frankly, they are pretty ugly.  I am not crafty.  Recently, my parents downsized their Christmas tree, and gave me a couple boxes of ornaments they no longer wanted.  I'd hoped to find something I'd made as a child in those boxes, but alas, there was nothing.  Either I never made anything, or if I did, it wasn't worth keeping, or else my parents are sentimental fools like I am and still hang the ugly ornaments their children made on their tree (like I do - I will have to ask the offspring if it's OK to post pictures of said handmade ornaments in next year's blog post).

In my post about ornaments from the past three years, I talked about the fragile glass "Old World" style ornaments we had growing up.  Today, I'm going to talk about the pickle ornament myth.

One of the ornaments that WAS in the box of ornaments my parents gave me was an glass sweet pickle ornament.  I bought this for my dad a few years ago because a little brochure that came with it (not pictured above) indicated its tradition described in the card attached to the ornament was German in origin.  Well, I have since learned that is all a myth, if anything an American (urban) legend rather than German, and probably developed by the ornament manufacturers themselves to sell more pickle ornaments.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent Calendar: Holiday Foods

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is: December 2 – Holiday Foods
Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

In my post about this from the past three years, I talked about the German coffee cake (a Streuselkuchen) I make, from a recipe that was taught to me by my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Massmann Pape, back in the 70s. She learned it from her mother or grandmother, I can't remember which.  I hadn't included a picture of the coffee cakes in past posts - but I have one this year!

The recipe calls for fresh cakes of yeast (not the dry "activated" stuff, although it's getting harder to find cake yeast) and the dough rises three times. The streusel is a mixture of brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, and real butter, with either some grated orange and lemon rind or some cinnamon. It takes all day but generally makes 6-8 coffee cakes depending on the weather (sunny dry days produce more coffee cake). I'll probably bake these December 22, 23, or 24 this year.  My dad gets at least a couple for part of his Christmas present, and most of the rest go to the family gathering in Austin for snacking on Christmas Day and the day after.


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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com
 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Tree

Okay, it's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories time!  I've participated the past three years (2009, 2010, and 2011), and rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:
December 1 – The Christmas Tree
Did you have a real tree or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree? What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

I've addressed the first three questions in my post for this date in 2010 (and 2009).  As for the fourth question, last year (2011) I wrote about a Pape family Christmas tree circa 1913-1917.  Check out the picture, as it has my grandfather Paul Robert Pape (1896-1970), his six siblings, and six of his first cousins who had recently immigrated from Germany.  I call it the "Christmas Cousins" picture.

In the historic little town I live in, Granbury, Texas, downtown merchants and local associations decorate trees at each corner of the courthouse square.  One of the trees this year was decorated by local artists:

"The tree's ornaments are part of a 100% fund-raising effort to support art in the Granbury middle schools and ninth grade campus.

'In the Spirit of Giving' 
is the theme of our creative tree.  

The works of art include stained glass, blown glass, glass and metal sculpture, painted wall art and mixed media creativity." 

Yes, those are chairs you see on the tree!  Close-up photos and details of the artwork are available on Flickr.

A silent auction is currently going on, and a live auction will be held at 6 PM tonight.

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

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Three years ago today, on December 1, 2009, I started this blog!  I've enjoyed sharing my family history and stories, and will continue to do so.  More in a future post about turning some of my blog posts into a book.  Photo below is from a family birthday.
 © Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.