Friday, December 31, 2010

Courthouse Christmas: Hamilton County, Hamilton, Texas

photo by Nicolas Henderson, fables98, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license
Like Hood County, Hamilton County's courthouse is being renovated (above), but only the exterior.  It has been in pretty bad shape (see photo on the left), with paint peeling on the columns, so the work was much needed.  It's quite different now with a cupola on the top that apparently was only briefly there after its last renovation in 1931.  The Texas Historical Commission grant for the renovation required that the cupola be included, but there's been some controversy locally about that, since the cupola was only on the courthouse a short time.

Nevertheless, the lighting for the cupola is quite dramatic (below right), and I can see this as a focal point for future holiday decorations!

The courthouses I've featured this week are in towns we pass through regularly, when we head south to see family in Austin or meet my parents for lunch in towns between ours and theirs.

Historical marker text for Hamilton County Courthouse:

"Before era of this impressive courthouse, Hamilton County's government was housed in stores, a rustic school, a former livery stable, a 2-story building with top floor especially designed for a courtroom, and briefly in a saloon. Fire razed two of the early, improvised courthouses. First permanent one, built 1878, also burned in 1886.
In those days, outlaws were so numerous that guards were hired to protect visiting judges.
This 1887 structure of native limestone, quarried 2 miles east of Hamilton, remained unchanged until it was remodeled in 1931.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2004"

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Courthouse Christmas: Hood County, Granbury, Texas

This is my town.  The courthouse is currently undergoing renovation, hence no lighted star on top (which you can barely see in the small photo below left), or strings of lights running from the top (below right, as viewed from Shanley Park behind City Hall, one block north and west of the courthouse).
This year downtown merchants and local associations decorated trees at each corner of the courthouse square.  The one above seemed most appropriate for my photo - it was done by Preserve Granbury and features photos of historic homes and buildings in the city.  You can also see the garland and red bows on the construction fence.  One of the decorators of the tree below was my friend Dianne Rawls Davis, owner of Merry Heart Tea Room and Stringfellows restaurants.

Text of historical marker for Hood County Courthouse:

"Fifth courthouse on this site. Erected 1890-1891, this handsome building is a Texas version of the French Second Empire style. First courthouse (1867) was a 1-room log cabin housing county records, lawyers and land agents' offices, and mail station. It was succeeded by 3 stone structures. Contractors Moodie and Ellis and architect W.C. Dodson built this native stone edifice. The clock tower, added after completion, was reinforced with steel in 1969. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1970"

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Courthouse Christmas: Blanco County, Johnson City, Texas

Photo by Jack, jmtimages, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license
My own photo of this courthouse came out rather blurry. This one is almost identical, except that when I took mine this year, there were less lights on the top of the courthouse (in particular, not on most of the chimneys).

Historical Marker text for Blanco County Courthouse, Johnson City, Texas:

"Designed by San Antonio architect Henry T. Phelps, the 1916 Blanco County Courthouse was the first permanent courthouse built after the seat of government moved from Blanco to Johnson City in 1890. Serving as contractor for the project was stonemason James Waterston, who had come from Scotland to Texas in 1883 to aid in the construction of the state Capitol. The Classical Revival limestone structure features Doric columns and a domed cupola. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1983"

Johnson City was not always the county seat.  Reconfiguration of the county (with additions from and subtractions to surrounding counties) resulted in Johnson City being closer to the geographic center of the county than the former seat, Blanco.  A courthouse built in the latter town in 1885 was abandoned just six years later when Johnson City (not surprisingly, founded by relatives of former president Lyndon B. Johnson) won a hotly-contested election to become the county seat.

text only © Amanda Pape - 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Courthouse Christmas: Burnet County, Burnet, Texas

This is a more modern courthouse (built 1937), but I like the way they string lights all around straight down from the flat top.  The "card" in front of the tree says "Merry Christmas from all Burnet County Employees."

City of Burnet Historical District marker outside the courthouse reads as follows:

"The first courthouse was of board construction and erected after the county was organized in 1854.  It was destroyed by suspected arson in 1874.  The second courthouse was built of limestone and served until 1935 when it was razed to build the present one.  This granite courthouse was completed in 1937.  Considered ultra modern at the time, it was the pride of the county.  It was restored in 2002 and listed on the National Register of Public Places."

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Courthouse Christmas: Lampasas County, Lampasas, Texas

Historical Marker text for Lampasas County Courthouse:

"After the Texas Legislature created Lampasas County in 1856, official business of the county was conducted from a variety of spaces and buildings. Land for the courthouse square was set aside when the town of Lampasas was platted in the 1850s. In 1882, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad extended their tracks to the county seat, bringing significant growth and prosperity to the area.

In 1883, the Commissioners Court, with county judge W. P. Beall presiding, hired Waco architect Wesley Clark Dodson to design the new courthouse. The building contractor (Kane Brothers) and the stone contractors (T. Lovell and Company) executed Dodson's plan, completing the building in 1884. Reflecting influences of the Second Empire and Italianate styles of architecture, the Lampasas County Courthouse features a central clock tower, arched windows and a mansard roof. In 1884, the Commissioners Court authorized the city to place a Seth Thomas clock in the tower.

Since its construction, the courthouse has been a focal point for city and county activities, including local festivals. Floods in 1936 and 1957 damaged the building, requiring repair and reconstruction. Today, the stately Lampasas County Courthouse remains an outstanding example of the golden era of courthouse construction in the state. It continues to serve as an important symbol of the county's growth and development and as an influence on the historic character of the county seat."

photo © Amanda Pape - 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Courthouse Christmas: Somervell County, Glen Rose, Texas

Historical Marker Text for Somervell County Courthouse:

"Built 1893. Late Victorian style. Native limestone construction.

County was organized in 1875 and named for General Alexander Somervell (1796-1854), Texas soldier, colonist, and statesman.

Court was first held in an old store across road from Barnard's Mill. A log cabin (1 block w) was used later. Third courthouse (first on this site) was finished in 1882 but burned in 1893, along with many valuable records. Present structure has a fireproof vault.

Registered Texas Historic Landmark - 1963"

photo © Amanda Pape - 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Playing Bingo on Christmas Day, 1966, 8015 Sharpview, Houston, Texas. Clockwise from front left: Sister Jean Marie Guokas, Geraldine Guokas Pape, Mary Pape, Karen Pape, Mark Pape (I think - could be Brian Pape).

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/24

December 24 Prompt:
Christmas Eve-

How did you, your family, or your ancestors spend Christmas Eve?

Ha! I'm still PREPARING for Christmas on Christmas Eve! Amazingly, this year I finished my shopping yesterday, so today I could concentrate on baking cookies and wrapping gifts while listening to holiday music.

My dad tells me that growing up, his family opened their gifts on Christmas Eve. They would usually go to Grandpa Massmann's house, who would take them out for some kind of distraction while his servants played Santa and put the gifts under the tree.

Mom's family opened gifts on Christmas Day, so when she and Dad married, he adopted her customs. I don't remember anything special happening on Christmas Eve while I was growing up, except attending Midnight Mass when I was older.

Mark and I opened our gifts to each other tonight, as we travel to McKinney tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with Mark's daughter Kim and her family. We will see my parents and aunt (and possibly others in my family of origin) after my son Eric arrives on December 28. He is spending Christmas with his dad in Oregon.

Eric's father and I separated when Eric was ten. Our custody agreement specified how the Christmas holidays were spent, and in alternating years, Eric was with me on Christmas Eve (until 1 AM Christmas Day, after the midnight church service). I think this led to being comfortable celebrating on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - or both.

Below is a picture of Eric with a gingerbread castle he made during his sophomore year in high school, in a world history class. It was the last class day before the holiday break, and they HAD been studying the Middle Ages! I think that castle became part of our household decorations until I moved back to Texas in early 2006.

Merry Christmas to all!

This is post 24 (and the final one) in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 24, 2009; slight revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/23

December 23 Prompt:
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?

I first met my sweetie 31 years ago, in 1979. That Christmas, I believe he gave me the large dark ring at the top in the pictures below, because the pictures are cropped out of larger photos taken in January 1980. The ring was sterling silver with a large malachite stone in an unusual shape. I wore it for years, until the stone fell out somewhere.

The photo at the top of this post is of his gift to me in 1980 (I think). It's a brown leather Coach bag that I STILL use today.

The photo below is of me in my sweetie's Christmas gift from 1981: a gorgeous angora green sweater dress. I remember wearing it to a New Year's Eve party that year.

My parents say they spent their first Christmas together (1954) in an apartment on Irving Way in Houston, Texas, that was "crawling with bugs." Dad was still stationed at Ellington Air Force Base. He was released from the service in April 1955, and then my parents moved to Evanston, Illinois, where they lived until I was about 9 months old, moving back to Houston early in 1958.

I'm not aware - yet - of any Christmas weddings or engagements in my families, but Mark's nephew got married on Christmas Eve last year.

(This is post #23 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 23, 2009; slight revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/22

December 22 Prompt:
Christmas and Deceased Relatives-

Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?

We didn't visit the cemetery, and I don't remember doing anything in particular to honor deceased family members at Christmas, but I know I think about family members who have passed on. For example, I think about my grandmothers, Nana and Nani, Elizabeth Massmann Pape and Sara Wolfe Guokas Archibald, when I make Streuselkuchen coffee cake and eat Christmas dinner respectively.

The photo above was taken at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois, by one of my Streff cousins before the graveside service for Nana on January 19, 2000. Nana passed away on January 13. I was fortunate enough to see her a few weeks before, around her 97th birthday on December 23. I was a single mom living in Washington state at the time while Nana lived near Tampa, Florida, and this trip would not have been possible without the assistance of my cousin Tom Streff who, as a pilot with American Airlines, was able to obtain a low-cost ticket for me both to see Nana and to go to her funeral in Chicago later.

This imposing monument is a result of my great-grandfather, Frederick Massmann, who at one point in his life was president of the National Tea Company and was rather wealthy. He is buried here along with my great-grandmother Elizabeth Dienes Massmann, son and daughter-in-law Alfred and Agatha Burke Massmann, Nana and Grandpa Paul Robert Pape, grandson Paul Robert "Bob" Pape Jr. and his wife Delores "Lorrie" Olker Pape, and granddaughter Rose Mary Pape Dietz and her husband Ronald Dietz.

(This is post #22 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 22, 2009; slight revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/21

December 21 Prompt:
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 is post #21 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by; originally published December 21, 2009.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/20

December 20 Prompt:
Religious Services-

Did your family attend religious services during the Christmas season? What were the customs and traditions involved?

Growing up Catholic, naturally we attended Mass every Sunday (and usually every Friday at Catholic school). When my son Eric was little, we attended the Lutheran church (back then the church of his father). At both we observed Advent with the lighting of the wreath. I also remember some midnight services, and passing the flame from individual candle to candle.

Another custom in my family has been setting up a Nativity scene. Somewhere in the 1960s, my mother bought a beautiful Lotte Sievers-Hahn (1908-1987) hand-carved wooden set made in West Germany, pictured at the top of this post. I believe we started out with just Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, but over the years more pieces were added. By 1968, we had the stable, Three Wise Men, a camel, cow, deer and fawn. By 1979, when the photo above was taken, we had added two shepherds, a number of sheep, and an angel. We also got rather clever setting it up, using books to create "hills," hanging the angel and a star, and adding a light behind the stable for dramatic effect. My parents still have this Nativity scene and say it's worth about $400. Apparently you can still get pieces for it.

My parents gave me a Nativity scene when I got out on my own, by 1982 when the picture to the right was taken. It's ceramic and the name "Cathie Byrnes" is penciled on the bottom of the largest piece, but I haven't been able to find out anything about her. Despite traveling to Washington state and back to Texas, it has survived intact except for the ears on one of the donkeys. Nowadays during Advent and Christmas, it resides on the mantel above the fireplace, where it blends in well with the limestone.

To the left is a photo I took in 1982 of the Nativity scene at my Uncle Ronald and Aunt Rose Mary Pape Dietz' home in Glenview, Illinois. The caption I wrote on it at the time said it was "in the Pape family for three generations." I'm not sure if that means it originally belonged to my great-grandparents John and Gertrude Kramer Pape, or if it came down through my paternal grandmother's family and originally belonged to Frederick and Elizabeth Dienes Massmann, or even to Fred and Regina Mattheis Dienes. All of them (except Elizabeth Dienes Massmann, born in Illinois) were German immigrants, so it is possible the Nativity scene was brought over from Germany. Unfortunately, this Nativity scene may have been left behind in an attic in Florida after my Aunt Moe (Rosemary Pape Dietz) passed away in 2007.

(This is post #20 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 20, 2009; slight revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/19

December 19 Prompt:
Christmas Shopping -

How did your family handle Christmas shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve?

Christmas shopping. Ugh.

Obviously not my favorite thing. I'm not real big on gifts - receiving or giving them. I don't start shopping on Christmas Eve, but neither do I finish shopping early either.

My family of origin handles Christmas shopping via lists. Somewhere around the time the youngest outgrew Santa, we all started making lists of what we wanted. The lists would be circulated among the other family members and we'd indicate what we planned to buy. If your list was planned carefully (nothing too outrageous, stuff everyone could afford), you would get everything on it.

My family still does this today, although I only participate for Mom and Dad. Mom makes this particularly easy. My parents live in a smaller town and Mom does a lot of catalog shopping. She makes a list (at the top of this post), noting item numbers, price, where you can get it, the website and phone number. She also cuts out pictures and descriptions of the items from the catalogs. Dad assembles those onto additional sheets of paper (like below) and repeats the info about where you can get the items. He then e-mails the list and pictures to me and my siblings around Thanksgiving, and we e-mail each other saying what we're going to get her.

Since I now live in a small town and also do a lot of catalog and online shopping, I find Mom easy to buy for. Dad is not quite as detailed, but there is usually at least one thing on his list that I can easily get for him. I don't make any lists for myself because I really don't want or need anything.

In 2010, we're spending Christmas with Mark's daughter and her husband and their seven children (yours, mine, ours). I've got some little things for everyone that I hope they like, plus something else for each that I hope they like even better.

(This is post #19 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 19, 2009; slight revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/18

Prompt for 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 did have a Christmas stocking, but it may not have been until I was about 13. The picture above was taken in 1970, I believe shortly after my siblings and I decorated the felt stockings Mom made for us. They are lined up in our birth order, so mine is on the left, followed by Karen's, Mark's, Brian's, and Mary's. I do remember that Brian and Mary were fairly young when we got the stockings as Karen and I actually did the decorations on theirs, so it may have been earlier than 1970 (but no earlier than 1964).

To the left and right are pictures of Mark, Brian and Mary looking in their stockings on Christmas mornings in 1971 and 1973 respectively.

We didn't have a fireplace growing up, so the stockings were hung from a drawer in an etagere in the living room while they were empty. They were too full to stay hung there after they were filled, so I think they were laid out on a coffee table.

I don't remember exactly what we got in them. I think there was tangerines, walnuts, and candy, and little unwrapped gifts that were small enough to fit in them. By 1979, even our basset hound, Barney, got his own stocking filled with doggy toys and treats.

My husband Mark still has his stocking from childhood. His mother, Jewel Moore Gresham, made it for him when he was little (maybe around 1944?) and saved it for years. He found it among her things after she passed away in 1994. It hangs above our (unused) fireplace today, flanked by Eric's and my store-bought, fuzzy red stockings with white cuffs, with our names in green glitter glue.

(Post #18 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by; originally published December 18, 2009.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/17

December 17:
Christmas in Evanston, Illinois, 1929-1951

Prompt: Grab Bag/Author's Choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmas past!

I showed my dad (almost 81 at the time) the list of prompts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, then had a hard time keeping up with my notes on everything he remembered!

Dad is the grandchild (or great-grandchild) of German immigrants on both sides, and he can remember real candles on some of their Christmas trees. He knew people that strung popcorn and cranberries alternately in garlands. He also remembers beautiful glass ornaments from Germany on theirs and his parents' trees.

Besides the Streuselkuchen I mentioned in the holiday foods post, he remembers prune and raisin coffee cakes, stollen, and eggnog. His mother, Elizabeth Massmann Pape (my Nana) also made tons of Christmas cookies, including pfefferneusse, which he remembers being rather hard to bite into. They'd have 10-12 boxes of different kinds of cookies, including cut-out and iced cookies and ones with baked-in goodies. Dad remembers helping as there were extra cookies for the helpers! His favorites were chocolate ones dusted with confectioner's sugar.

Because my Grandpa (Paul Robert) Pape was an insurance broker, Nana (Elizabeth Massmann Pape) sent out a lot of Christmas cards, and they received a lot too, which were put on display. Likewise his parents would have a holiday party for these customers, and Nana would hold one for the relatives too.

He remembers they had outdoor decorations, but mostly just around the door. The weather wasn't always conducive to putting up a lot more than that.

He remembers visiting Santa Claus in department stores, but as mentioned in the post about other traditions, Santa also came on St. Nicholas Day. Dad said his Grandma (Elizabeth Dienes) Massmann used to go to Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett for toys and other gifts - Dad worked for them one summer.

As for holiday travel - Dad remembered Christmas in 1951, when he was a navigator cadet at Ellington Air Force Base outside Houston. The Chicago area received tremendous snowfall that December and getting there for Christmas was going to be a problem. He said Colonel Lee released planes, and two were going to the Chicago area. He managed to get into O'Hare (this was back when it was being used by the Air Force and wasn't the commercial airport it is today) when all other Chicago area airports were closed.

Mom likes fruitcake - Dad does to a point. One of his summer jobs was working for Casey's Fruitcakes in Evanston during World War II. An exact amount of dough had to be put in cans in which the cakes were baked, sealed, and then sent to servicemen overseas. He said the amount of dough had to be just right in terms of weight.

As mentioned earlier, Nana's birthday is December 23. Dad said she insisted on having a separate birthday party and presents, not combined with Christmas. He and his four siblings would pool their money on shopping for their parents' gifts, with his older sister Betty usually purchasing Nana's, while he and his brother Bob would get Grandpa something like fishing line (or a new reel when they were older).

Of course, growing up in the days when the Catholic Mass was entirely said in Latin, I'm sure a lot of Christmas carols and Advent hymns were sung in Latin, too.

The photo at the top of this post is of a postcard of the Evanston City Hall (a hand-colored photograph) that I bought in an antique store in Granbury, Texas. It's undated, and it's hard to read the postmark (in Chicago, Illinois), but my son thinks it says 1907. That would correspond with the type of postcard it is (undivided back with some writing space on the front, which were made December 24, 1901 through at least March 1, 1907) and the one-cent Franklin stamp on the back (which was introduced in February 1903). Postcards could be mailed for one cent until 1952 (except November 2, 1917 - July 1, 1919, and April 15, 1925 - June 30, 1928 when the rate was also two cents). You can see the building in the backgrounds of this 1902 photo of the Rood Building housing the Lord's store next door, and this supposedly 1896 photo of Fountain Square in Evanston (actually taken 1893-1895 based on the location of Lord's).

Karen Hansen, Adult Services Librarian at Evanston Public Library, answered my query about the building:
According to Evanston: A Pictoral History, the city broke ground for the City Hall building in 1891. In 1946, the building in your postcard was sold and the former Evanston Country Club building was designated as the new City Hall. The old City Hall was razed shortly afterward during the same year. So...the building would have existed at least for part of the time your father lived in Evanston. I hope that helps you fill a gap in your family history!
Debra Gust, Image and Licensing Specialist with the Curt Teich Postcard Archives at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois, wrote to me,
This is a very early Teich card, the number on it is 94. Because of the undivided back we know that it was printed sometime before 1907, but I cannot give you the exact year. The one we have in the collection was postmarked 1905.

(Post #17 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 17, 2009; major revisions were made this year. Thanks also to digital image expert Jennifer Lafleur for additional links to images and articles.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Happy Holidays 2010

The photos in the Animoto were mostly taken at the Walkway of Lights along Lake Marble Falls in Lakeside Park in Marble Falls, Texas; some were taken at Hamilton Creek Park in nearby Burnet.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/16

Prompt for December 16:  Christmas at School -
What did you or your ancestors do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas pageant?

Well, of COURSE I was in a Christmas pageant! I went to Catholic school, after all. I was Mary, mother of Jesus in third grade. In sixth grade I was in the school choir (along with my 5th-grade sister Karen) - snippets of the printed Christmas program are above.

Once a photographer from the Texas Catholic Herald came out to take the photo at right of my 8th-grade class lighting the candles on an Advent wreath. It was published December 18, 1970. I was very tall in 8th grade and you can see me in my dark-framed glasses at the upper left of the photo.

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school that held a formal Christmas Dance at a classy location each year. Being an all-girls school, of course the girls asked the guys to the dance. I invited someone each of the four years, but was turned down by the guys I invited in my freshman* and junior years because they were (supposedly) going to be out of town the dates of the dances, which fell in the week before Christmas. We girls bought a "bid" to attend the dance which resulted in a lovely engraved souvenir like the one at the left.

(*The guy I invited freshman year is at the far right in the windbreaker in the newspaper photo above.)

(Post #16 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 16, 2009.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/15

Prompt for December 15 -
Holiday Happenings!

Often times December to mid-January birthdays get overshadowed 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 in your family tree. Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys or gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples.

I think every family has lots of birthdays (and a few anniversaries) that fall during the Christmas holiday period. I'm picking a few from the early 1980s just cuz I have some photos of these events.

My paternal grandmother, "Nana," Elizabeth Massmann Pape, was born December 23, 1902. The family decided to throw a big 80th birthday party for her in 1982. At that time she had five children (all married), 28 grandchildren (many married), and 9 great-grandchildren, and most of them were able to come to the party in the Chicago area. A lot of the grandchildren, one of their spouses, and one great-grandchild are in the photo at the top of this post - I'm not going to try to name them all!

The photo at right is also from that 80th birthday party, and pictures Nana with her five children, from left, Elizabeth "Betty" Streff, my dad Fred Pape, Paul Robert "Bob" Pape Jr., Marilyn "Beete" Hedger, and Rose Mary "Moe" Dietz.

On January 2, 1981, my cousin Donna Pape married John Jajich, also in the Chicago area. Donna is just a few weeks younger than me, and her parents, Bob and Dolores "Lorrie" Olker Pape, are my godparents. We're all pictured at left. Donna had come to Texas for a long vacation the previous January, so of course I had to go to her wedding!

The days after the wedding were fun too. Donna's brother-in-law, her sister Terrie's husband Mark Zitzelsberger, celebrated his birthday a few days later. In the photo below, surrounding Mark are Terrie (pregnant with first child Lisa), Aunt Lorrie, my cousin Judy Pape Schaller, and me.

That same trip, I cross-country skied for the first time in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois. That's me pictured to the left, and Judy and Uncle Bob in the photo below right.

All of these photos are especially meaningful now because Nana, Aunt Lorrie, Aunt Moe, and Uncle Bob have all passed away. I miss them, especially this time of the year.

(Post #15 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 15, 2009;  minor revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/14

Prompt for 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?

I know we received fruitcakes when I was growing up. I tried them, enough to know I don't like them. If someone gave me one today, I think it would be cruel to "re-gift" it, since I don't know anyone who likes fruitcake. (Well, I take that back - Mark says his mom made a fruitcake that was actually quite good.)

As for creative uses of fruitcake - I'm going to make creative use of this post and talk about OTHER food gifts.

I grew up in Texas, and live there again, but from November 1984 through December 2005, I lived in Washington state. For a number of years, my brother Brian sent me pecans from Pape Pecan House (no relation - I think!) in Seguin, Texas. One year he sent shelled pecan halves in a green ceramic dish shaped like Texas (which alas, broke in transit back here), but most of the time he send two-to-five-pound bags of shelled pecans suitable for baking. This was a great gift that I really appreciated, as the pecans froze well and I could make Pecan Puffs year-round if I wanted.

The pecans always arrived with recipes, like this one (right) for pecan pie. This one was so close to my mother's recipe that I just made the necessary changes. I've never been to the Pape Pecan House, but I need to go - they have The World's Largest Nutcracker Collection - over 6000 of them as of two years ago.
During some of the years I lived in Washington, we sent apples to my family in Texas. The gifts did double-duty as they also benefited the Children's Home Society of Washington. The packaging isn't so nice now, but I thought about sending the gifts to myself at times as the beautiful boxes they came in were perfect for storing Christmas ornaments. Plus, I understand the apples were better than any even we could get in local grocery stores. To the left is an article about the apple sales from the December 1, 1986 (a year we would have sent them) Spokane Chronicle.

Today we send Rio Red grapefruit (yum!) or oranges from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Mark's two sisters (in New York and Washington states) and his daughter in South Carolina. From them, we've received gifts of home-smoked salmon, home-grown walnuts, apples and pears, and dried fruits, all of which we really appreciate.

The photo at the top of this post is of pecans we've picked up in our neighborhood - lots of pecan trees in this part of the state! They are in a wooden dish that used to belong to Mark's parents.

(Post #14 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 14, 2009;  minor revisions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog Caroling: Veni, Veni Emmanuel

The incomparable footnoteMaven has 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 "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel," which really isn't a Christmas carol, but rather an Advent hymn...and one that, so far, I haven't heard yet this Advent at Sunday Mass.  Perhaps this weekend...

I've been a Catholic long enough that I can remember the days when Masses were said and sung in Latin - and you could study Latin at Catholic high schools.  I've always had a preference for the Latin versions of many common hymns and carols.  For "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel," that would be "Veni, Veni Emmanuel," an eighth- or ninth-century antiphon.

Today I went poking around on YouTube, and found this lovely version by Loreena McKennitt, one of my favorite artists, with gorgeous photographs of nature set to the music:
Loreena only sings four of the Latin verses; all seven verses, with their English translations, can be found here.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Advent Calendar of Xmas Memories 12/13

Prompt for 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 my family's house. There were seven of us, and my mother's two siblings had no children, and my dad's siblings and parents all lived far away (we were in Houston, Texas, and they were in the Chicago area and Rochester, New York). So no, we didn't do any traveling for Christmas.

Nowadays, Christmas is usually at my brother Mark's house in Austin. He and Debbie have the most kids (four) and the biggest house. When I moved back to Texas in 2006, we drove down there for Christmas Day.  I tried to drive back the same night. THAT was a mistake. Tons of deer along the road - very stressful. So now, we stay overnight. In 2007 and 2008, we stayed at the famous Austin Motel, but we didn't stay there in 2009, because Christmas was on a Friday and "weekend rentals must include Friday and Saturday." Kinda defeats the purpose of staying in an $80 room if you HAVE to stay two nights.

This year, we went to Austin for Thanksgiving, so we will be driving to Mark's daughter Kim's home in McKinney (about a two-hour drive) for Christmas Day, and spend it with Kim and her husband Mike and their seven yours-mine-ours children, plus Mike's parents and brother.  Looking forward to it.

(Post #13 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 13, 2009;  major additions were made this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2010