Thursday, January 27, 2011

Home: Those Places Thursday; 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

front of 8015 Sharpview, Houston, Texas, in 1985
The 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History prompt for Week 4 is Home:

Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?

The house where I did most of my growing up was 8015 Sharpview, Houston, Texas, in the Sharpstown area on the southwest side of the city.  We moved into the neighborhood in the summer of 1964, when I was seven years old.  It was a brand-new house in a growing neighborhood.  I remember Dad having to plant grass, and having no fence and no trees at first.

The house wasn't especially unique for its time, at least not initially.  Sometime after we moved in, my parents painted all the exterior wood trim a pale orange.  They also spelled out the address on the front of the house, rather than using numbers:

When we moved into the home, my parents were expecting their fifth child, and this house was a step up in size from our previous home - four bedrooms instead of three.  Later, sometime after my maternal grandfather passed away in 1967, my parents used some of the inheritance to add a new master bedroom onto the  back of the house.  (See below--the original brick of the house was no longer available so the brick of the addition doesn't match.)  The former master bedroom was made into a hall (to the new master) and into a new bedroom, so my sister Karen and I were able to have separate bedrooms. 
back of 8015 Sharpview, Houston, Texas, in 1985
My parents lived in this house through the summer of 1985, when Dad was transferred to the Dallas area.   The house was still there a few years ago when I visited Houston, and (from what I can see) the house looks much the same in Google Maps.  The tree out front (on the left) is HUGE now.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Video: Our Pape Ancestors

Totally inspired by Amy Coffin of We Tree, to the point where I used the same music - mostly because I did not have time to search for something else! I needed to do something for a "film festival" my library staff was doing this past Wednesday. I knew Amy before she became a genealogy goddess, so I knew she was only human like the rest of us, and I thought - if she can do it, I can do it too! I did the first draft of this video in two-plus days, using Windows Movie Maker. This was my very first video (although I have done a number of Powerpoints and Animotos). I posted it in my "Family" group on Facebook (started by my cousin Tom) and got lots of helpful suggestions and positive feedback from my cousins and sister. I made a few changes and here it is. Let me know what you think!

(Warning: It's 3.5 minutes long and has music. Also, enlarging the above video to full-screen makes some images blurry. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, the viewer below should work - let me know if it does not!)

© Amanda Pape - 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

My First Car: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Cars

The 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History prompt for Week 3 is Cars:

What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.

I'm pictured above with my first car, a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, that I bought in the spring of 1977.  I was a student at Texas A&M University, majoring in Recreation and Parks, specializing in historic site interpretation.  I was the team leader for a class project where we were designing five exhibits and a slide show for Independence Hall at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, about 30 miles from campus.  I'd also applied for a part-time job at the park, so I really needed a car.

Fortunately a classmate (he was president of the Recreation and Parks Club; I was reporter-historian) had just received a new car from his parents as a graduation present, so he sold me his Camaro for $300.  The car did not look all that great from the outside - the maroon paint was dull - and the car had no air-conditioning, but John had kept meticulous records of the maintenance he'd performed on the car, and it ran like a dream.

Sad to say, in 1979 the Arab oil embargo hit - that was the era where we had to wait in lines at gas stations for increasingly-pricey gas that may or may not be there.  The Camaro got very poor gas mileage - maybe 13 miles to the gallon - and with my frequent trips back to Houston and other places to visit friends and family, plus the lack of AC, I started looking for a different car.  On Christmas Eve 1979, I bought a brand-new beige 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit, one of the first made in the USA.  I sold the Camaro to one of my younger brothers (I can't remember which one), who wrecked it not too long after.

The Rabbit had lots of problems through the years, finally reaching the point (again, around Christmas) in 1987 where it would cost more to repair it than it was worth.  We got a brand-new 1988 Toyota Camry wagon (also maroon, also un-air-conditioned, but this time a standard transmission), which I drove until I moved from Washington back to Texas in January 2006.  I gave it to my son, who sold it to his dad, who is still driving it today.  I now drive a 2002 white Toyota Camry sedan (automatic, AC) that my family helped me find at a great price.  I'm thinking about getting a Toyota Prius, perhaps later this year.

I don't remember a lot about the cars my parents drove.  I do remember a dark green Chevrolet station wagon with three bench seats that we used on many family vacations.  I often rode in the front seat as navigator when my dad drove on long trips, since my father's driving made my mother nervous, which in turn bothered Dad.  I believe this is the car in which I learned to drive.  My dad tried to teach me to drive his smaller standard-transmission car, but I had a hard time letting the clutch out smoothly (Mark will tell you I still have problems doing that).

Mark says his first car was a 1950 Studebaker that his father bought while living in Guam in the late 50s.  Mark rebuilt the engine, and used fiberglass and putty to fill rusted holes, then painted the whole thing with green Derusto paint.  Unfortunately it was too expensive to bring back to the States from Guam when his family moved back in the early 1960s.
The car Mark had that I remember most is a 1979 blue Buick Century Turbo Coupe!  This is what he was driving most of the time when we first dated, 1979-1983.  It had a distinctive logo that made it easy to find.  I loved that car! The 1998 red Ford Explorer he drives now--not so much!

© Amanda Pape - 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Ancestral Name List Roulette

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has come up with this fun activity for a cold, drizzly evening:

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a grandmother, or yourself, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

My grandfather Paul Robert Pape would be 114 if he was still alive.  Divided by 4, that rounds up to 29.  Number 29 in my ahnentafel is a great-great-grandmother, Margaret Melzina "Maggie" Carroll.  I wrote a post a while back with all the facts I know about her.  Two bits of trivia:  my grandmother Sara Wolfe shares her middle name, and Maggie is supposedly descended from the famous Carrolls of Maryland, although I don't have any proof of that yet.

If I had used my other grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas, he would have been 107, which when divided by 4 rounds up to 27.  Unfortunately on my ahnentafel, that would be his maternal grandmother, my unknown great-great-grandmother in Lithuania.

© Amanda Pape - 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Houston Snow: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Winter

The 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History prompt for Week 2 is Winter:

What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

Growing up in Houston, Texas, we really didn't HAVE much of a winter. I lived in Houston from our move there in early 1958, nine months after my birth, through my high school graduation in 1975. I was home occasionally while in college over the next few years, through my move to Corpus Christi, Texas in early 1979, until moving to Washington State in late 1984.

If we had snow in Houston, it was a REALLY BIG DEAL. Indeed, I can only remember two significant snowfalls growing up. The photos above of me (the first one) and of my sister Mary, as well as the next two below (of the snowman we built in the backyard, and Dad with our basset hound Bismarck) are from 38 years ago today, January 11, 1973, when two inches was officially recorded according to the Weather Research Center.

Apparently we had a couple other snowfalls that year, each 1.4 inches, in February, but I don't remember those, nor do I remember various incidents of trace snowfall in the early 60's. What I DO remember is Houston's second biggest snowfall (to date), 4.4 inches, on February 12, 1960:

The pictures show my sister Karen and I building a small snowman on the driveway and riding our trikes there, but I don't remember this. What I DO remember (and it is my earliest memory, from age 34 months) is sitting on the white vinyl living room couch, I think between Mom and Dad, that evening, watching more snow fall on the snowman in the backyard (photo below) that my sister and I helped my parents build.

By the way, Houston's largest recorded snowfall was February 14-15, 1895, when 20 inches fell! Here's a photo of that amazing event.  My great-grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas, was living in the Houston area at the time.

The only influence I remember winter having on our family's food choices was the likelihood that Mom would serve oatmeal or Cream of Wheat on the mornings (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday school days) when we would normally have cold cereal on warmer days. (Tuesday and Thursday were soft-boiled egg days.)

© Amanda Pape - 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

 Here we are, more than a week into the new year, and I'm finally getting around to goals for 2011.

I have so little time to work on genealogy and family history that I don't want to set myself up for failure with goals that are too ambitious.  However, I do think I can commit to participating in my friend Amy Coffin's latest series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History, where each Friday we'll be presented with a writing prompt for the upcoming week, to "write down the details of your own life," in Amy's words.

Amy had a great series last year (my first full year with this blog) called 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy, but unfortunately I was not able to participate in it as much as I would have liked.  I seem to do better with personal family history stuff like the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and some of the GeneaBloggers daily blogging prompts like Wordless Wednesday (not-so-wordless in my case) and Sentimental Sunday - anything where I can post old photos!

I did the post for last week (a quick addition to a 1962 New Year's Day photo I'd already posted), and I'm working on the prompt for this week.  I hope to have it up on January 11, the 38th anniversary of the event in some of the photos I'll be posting that day.

© Amanda Pape - 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

That's me in the center, with my siblings Mark and Karen.  I'm guessing this was taken on New Year's Day in 1962.  Mark was 17 months old then; I was almost 5, Karen was almost 4.  It could have been New Year's Day 1963, but then I think baby brother Brian (born July 1962) would have been in the picture.

ETA:  My friend Amy of We Tree has come up with another "52 Weeks" Genealogy series (will try to post on that more tomorrow), but the prompt for this week is: New Year's Memories:

Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?!

Well, this is an easy one.  We eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.  Usually I've had to start cooking dried peas early on New Year's Eve, but this year I used frozen fresh peas, so Mark started cooking some ham hocks last night, and when they were done (around 10 PM) I added the peas and some onion to the cooking water.  Lastly, I added some chopped-up ham just before midnight.  We each had a spoonful after watching the downtown Dallas festivities on TV - then went to bed!  We've been continuing to nibble on them all day.

© Amanda Pape - 2011