Monday, October 31, 2011

Matrilineal Monday: Mom's Elementary Schools

The prompt for Week 44 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Elementary School.  I'm going to continue the theme and talk about the schools my mother Gerrie Guokas Pape attended for kindergarten through seventh grades.

Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?

Mom started school at kindergarten in fall 1934 at St. Mary's in Austin, just south of the State Capitol. At that time my grandfather Charles Guokas was appointments secretary to Governor Miriam Amanda Ferguson.  When her term ended in January 1935, the family moved back to Houston.  St. Mary's still exists today, but is now called Cathedral School of St. Mary

Back in Houston, Mom finished kindergarten at St. Joseph Catholic School and also went there for first grade.  I think the First Communion picture below was probably taken during that time.  I think Mom is the girl on the second row diagonally up to the right from the candle bearer on the right, with her face turned to her right.  Interesting, her older brother Charles is also in this picture (he's the boy in front of the white doorway arch on the left), as is her younger sister Jo Ann (not receiving her First Communion, but--appropriately, since she later became a nun--dressed as an angel, with a crown on her head, on the upper left, to Charles's right):
However, this being the Depression years, hard times hit the family in 1936-1937, and Mom went to the local public school, Crockett Elementary, near her grandfather's home at 1717 Shearn (where they were living at the time) for second grade.  At the end of her first semester there, she was promoted to third grade, so she essentially skipped a year.  Crockett Elementary still exists at the same site, but has been in a new building since 1980.  (Listen to their cool marimba and orchestra band on that web page!)

Mom went back to St. Joseph for fourth grade, and graduated from seventh grade there in 1941.  At that time the school only had seven grades, and high school started with eighth grade.  While St. Joseph Catholic Church still exists, the school closed some years ago.

ETA 12 May 2013:  I now have copies of Mom's report cards, and need to make some corrections.  After finishing kindergarten (then called primer) at St. Joseph's, Mom went to Crockett Elementary in 1935-36, where she started in first grade, but was promoted to second grade halfway through the year, and to third grade by the end of the school year.  She then went back to St. Joseph's for third grade in 1936-37.  I believe the First Communion picture above is from that year. 

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Mark's Schools, Grades 1-7

The prompt for Week 44 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Elementary School.  I'm going to continue the theme and talk about the schools my husband Mark attended for first through seventh grades (and a little bit of eighth grade too).

Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?

Mark went to Travis Elementary in Corpus Christi, Texas, for first grade and the first semester of second grade.  The school still exists today, although in a newer building.  In January 1949, his family moved to the Myrtle Grove area of Pensacola, Florida.  Myrtle Grove Elementary, placed in service in 1936, was Mark's school for the rest of second grade through sixth grade.  Here's how it looks today:
I found a picture among the many that Mark's sister recently gave me, that I think might be the same school (I think Mark might be kneeling on the far right):Mark describes the area as being fairly rural when they lived there, but Pensacola seems to have grown up around it. I looked for three of their addresses on Google Maps street view, and only one looks like it might have in the late 1940s and early 1950s. So I suspect the population of the school has changed as well.  The school did undergo some renovations and additions in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Mark started middle school at W. A. Blount Junior High School, also in Pensacola.  He attended this school in seventh grade and for the first six weeks of eighth grade, before his family moved to Guam.  The school was closed in 1982, although the building still stands today.

I love the way school pictures were done at Mark's schools - having the year printed on the front of the pictures is so convenient!  I believe the reason there is no second grade picture was because of the family's mid-year move; before photographs were taken at Travis Elementary, but after photographs had been taken at Myrtle Grove Elementary.

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

Sentimental Sunday: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: K-8 Schools

The prompt for Week 44 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Elementary School.

Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?

Except for kindergarten, I went to Catholic schools, which generally go through grade 8, so that's what this post will cover.  I went to three schools:  Ridgecrest Elementary, a public school, for kindergarten; St. Jerome School for first grade, and St. Francis de Sales School for second through eighth grades, all in Houston, Texas.We lived in the Spring Branch area of Houston when I was in kindergarten and first grade. St. Jerome, our parish, did not have a kindergarten in 1962 (the school had just opened that year), so I went to public school. I don't remember much about Ridgecrest, except that it was close to home. According to the Spring Branch ISD website, Ridgecrest was built in 1953 and replaced in 2009-2010.  My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Knott, I got to wear a lot of dresses my mother made, I learned to tie my shoes there, and got to take naps.

My first grade teacher at St. Jerome was Mrs. Rose Jackson.  I learned to read, write, and spell with the "Spalding Method" (The Writing Road to Reading, by Romalda Bishop Spalding).  I also remember the death of John F. Kennedy being announced in class.  St. Jerome School still exists today, but I'm not sure what has changed there.

In the summer of 1964, my family moved from Spring Branch to Sharpstown, just a few blocks from St. Francis de Sales.  This was also a new school, opening that year.  I have many great memories of my years here, which I've written about in previous posts.  I still contribute money to the school and receive the Valiant Voice newsletters for alumni.  I've bought books for the library at the annual school book fair (via e-mail with the librarian), and there are still book plates on books in the school that I bought and donated back in the 60s.  At least, there were during my last visit in 2004.

The school has changed some since I graduated and moved away from Houston.  A new church was built, and the old church became the gym and parish center.  It was interesting to read that the office area was recently revamped to look more like it did back in 1960.  The neighborhood too has changed, and the school is more diverse.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wedding Wednesday: Francis Edward and Jewel Moore Gresham, 1940

October 26, 1940, Corpus Christi, Texas. - © Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Thanks, Miss Smith!

The prompt for Week 43 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Worst School Subject.

What was your worst or least favorite subject in school and why? 

Although I loved school, there were a few subjects I didn't care for, primarily because I wasn't very good at them.  I'm not very good with my hands, so handwriting and art were always a struggle (not to mention, I'm not artistic).  In high school, I wanted to learn the skill of typing, but I didn't want a low grade to affect my grade point average, so my solution was to take the course in summer at the public school.  The grade wouldn't transfer to my Catholic high school.  I got a B, and developed appendicitis at the end of the course.  I'm convinced there was a connection (but very glad today that I know how to type).

My grade school started teaching Spanish in fifth grade.  I think it was required.  I don't have an ear (or a tongue) for languages, but I'm glad I stuck with it in junior high and high school.  I made it through Spanish V my senior year and placed out of all foreign language requirements in college.  I can read Spanish fairly well and understand a lot if it's spoken slowly.  A Spanish "fiesta" near the end of eighth grade was a highlight, as a bunch of us went to the home of my friend and classmate Lisa, whose Mexican grandmother made masa (tamale dough) from scratch.  We spread the masa on corn husks, filled the tamales, and steamed them for our fiesta.

Music was another tough subject for me.  I can't read music, and I can't sing my part (I am and always have been an alto) without drifting off to join the melody line.  I wanted to join the band in fourth grade, but gave it up after only a year.  I wanted to play flute or clarinet, but by the time I met with the band director, all those spots were taken, and I got talked into the cornet.  I hated it and I hated to practice.

It's interesting what a difference a single teacher can make.  My music teacher in sixth grade was Mrs. Carino, and I was inspired to join the choir that year.  We did two performances.  There was another choir in eighth grade, but the music teacher didn't inspire me, so I did not join.

Physical education, P.E., is another good example.  I'm not athletic, I'm not even particularly coordinated.  But I had a wonderful P.E. teacher through much of grade school who encouraged us to get involved.  I wasn't good enough to win the Presidential Youth Fitness Award (85th percentile), but I WAS good enough to earn a Youth Fitness Achievement Award (50th percentile) on the Youth Fitness Test.

Miss Smith, though, encouraged us to TRY and do our best. In seventh grade, I swam on the swim team. We only had one meet (there weren't that many Catholic schools in Houston with girls swim teams), and I only got two fourth place and one sixth place ribbons, but I won an athletic award ribbon that year!

In eighth grade, I swam again (second place in backstroke).  I also tried out for volleyball, and made the B team. I think everybody who tried out who wasn't very good made it on the B team, but it didn't matter. I remember one game where I served 15 aces in a row. I also joined the pep squad, Miss Smith's invention to let all interested girls cheer for the junior high football team, even if they weren't pretty enough or popular enough to be cheerleaders. Miss Smith was great about having interesting "spirit ribbons" made up to thank her teams, like those to the left and right (detail from the bottom of the ribbon on the right is at the beginning of this post).

Thank YOU, Miss Carolyn Smith (she's retired, but a friend on Facebook), for many exceptional years, and for inspiring a lifelong interest in health and fitness.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy birthday to my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape - she is 83 today! This picture was taken when she was about 17 years old, and a freshman at the University of Texas in Austin.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Talented Tuesday: 52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy: Favorite School Subject(s)

The prompt for Week 42 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Favorite School Subject.

What was your favorite subject in school and why? Was it also your best subject?

I was one of "those" students who LOVED school, and thus just about every subject was my favorite and my best (I'll talk about the few that weren't next week).  As my favorite teacher taught English, it's not surprising that was one of my preferred courses.  I loved reading and writing, and for my senior electives in high school, I chose poetry and Shakespeare (the latter still a lifelong love).

I liked social studies, especially Texas history and any geography (I'm still fascinated by maps).  Math came easy to me, and I took every single math course my high school offered, including some interesting electives like "algebraic structures" and "conic sections, as well as beginning calculus.

I also liked science - mostly because of the school science fair!  I entered nearly every year, and in seventh grade, I was a winner!

My project was on the effect of minerals on plants, and I did an experiment, giving different plants different fertilizers and mineral supplements, and measuring the effects on their growth. Besides getting a nifty ribbon,

my name also appeared in a couple local newspaper articles, AND, as the first-place winner in a junior high division (biological sciences), I represented our school at the Greater Houston Science Fair*!

I didn't win anything at the big city fair, held downtown in what was then the Albert Thomas Convention Center**, but it was so much fun, and I learned a lot. So of course I entered the science fair the next year. I now knew how to make my presentation more attractive (remember, this was before the days of personal computers - everything was typewritten and/or hand-lettered!). I thought my topic, geotropism (now called gravitropism), and my experiment were even better than the previous year's.  However, the judges didn't agree, and I got second place - and did not go to the citywide science fair that year.

*now the Science & Engineering Fair of Houston
**now Bayou Place

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Birthday to My Baby Sister!

Happy birthday today to my youngest sister, Mary Elaine!

I received my first camera a few months before this photo was taken.  My baby sister became my most willing photo subject - which was probably a good thing, since, being the fifth of five children, my parents didn't take quite as many photos of Mary when she was little as they had of me, the oldest.

In this photo, taken in February 1967 when Mary was two-plus years old, she is recovering from a broken collarbone - hence the funny lumps under her shirt.  And - oh yes - she dressed herself in a striped shirt, plaid skirt, and pink corduroy pants!

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Those Places Thursday: 2093 West Lunt Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

Recently my cousin Terrie and her daughter Lisa checked out the house our dads and their siblings grew up in, at 2093 West Lunt Avenue in the Rogers Park area of Chicago. These photos are courtesy of Terrie and Lisa.

The house is on the corner of Lunt and Hamilton, and one record I found said it was built in 1927. That sounds about right. Terrie's dad, my Uncle Bob Pape, was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in January 1926. Bob and my dad's sister Betty was born next, in October 1927, but in nearby Evanston. My dad, Fred, was born in February 1929. They all appear, along with my grandparents Paul Robert and Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape, at this address on the 1930 census.  My dad says,
Your grandfather Pape had the whole attic refurbished into three rooms plus a bathroom with a tub...Your great grandfather Massmann built this bungalow along with his mansion which was one block [east] at the northwest corner of Lunt and Ridge Avenues...

In the picture of the west side of the house [below] there is one small window behind the front door [for a hall] where people could take off or put on coats which were put in a closet across the hall.  In this same picture you can see two large windows which were part of the good sized dining room. The kitchen then was directly to the [right, in the photo] of the dining room.
Dad says his and Bob's bedroom was the one on the second floor at the front of the house, in the photo below. He said this "was a good size room there which [Bob] and I occupied for many years until [Bob] was recalled into the Navy and I went into the Air Force during the Korean War....On the second floor in the same picture you can the chimney abutting another dormer which was on the second floor bathroom."  Their parents' bedroom was on the main floor, in the first (front) area that juts out on the left.  The bedroom shared by their younger sisters, Rosemary and Marilyn, is in the second (back) jut-out area.   Terrie says there is stained glass at the top of the windows in the front; I assume this area was the living room.
Below is a view of the back of the house. Dad says,
In the picture taken at the rear of the house, the two windows to the right of the back door were part of the third bedroom on the first floor. When we had a live-in maid she had that room. Later it became a guest room and Mom's sewing room.  Also in the rear house picture on the second floor, that dormer was part of your Aunt Betty's room until she entered RN [nurse] training at St. Francis Hospital [nearby in Evanston; the hospital where I was born] where she lived while in training. 

In the same picture the window to the left of the back door faced on the breakfast nook where we ate most of our meals during the summer. The kitchen was directly in front of the breakfast nook.In the shadowy area right below that window were the steps that led to the outside door of the basement. The basement ran the full length of the house and was furbished enough for parties or a great play area when we were young kids.
Dad also says,
The old 2093 Lunt Ave. house has not changed much in the last 53 years except the landscaping looks much better. There are more shrubs and flowers. The roof is different also. We had an old heavy Spanish tile roof. The tiles were made of a stone material which I thought would last forever but they were breakable...
In the middle of the back yard (most of which you see) there was a large sour red cherry tree. Another sour red cherry tree stood next to the garage. In summer time friends and neighbors would ask to pick some of the cherries in pails which they brought. The folks usually gave their permission.
 Terrie said the neighborhood was safe and clean. Records I found online show that this house has 1881 square feet and two bathrooms and a detached garage (not visible in these photos) on a 8,850 square foot (0.20 acre) lot.  It last sold in May, 1983, for $98,000, and is estimated to be worth $338,500 today!

I have a number of photographs taken outside this house in the mid-1940s that I will try to post soon.
View Evanston and North Chicago, Illinois in a larger map

Other family members lived very close by. Dad's grandfather John Pape and his third wife, Agnes Hedwig Burkhardt Reimer (about 1873 - 1937), lived at 1949 Lunt in 1930; while his other grandparents, Frederick and Elizabeth Dienes Massmann, lived at 7000 Ridge Boulevard (at the intersection with Lunt) for at least 1927 through the mid-1930s. Dad's cousin Jack Bleidt and his parents, Charles and Martha Pape Bleidt, lived across the street at 2084 Lunt in at least 1936. Nana and Grandpa (Paul and Elizabeth) were married at St. Jerome's, 1709 W. Lunt, in September 1924. And my parents were living at 2059 W. Touhy, at its intersection with Ridge, just a few blocks north of Lunt, when I was born in 1957.  Click on the pins in the map above to see these places today.

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wedding Wednesday: Lisette & Ben, September 10, 2011

 Congratulations to our nephew and his bride!

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

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Teachers

The prompt for Week 41 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Teachers:

Did you have a favorite teacher when you were growing up? What class(es) did this person teach and why did he/she make an impact on your life?

I liked a lot of my teachers, but I'd have to say my favorite growing up was Mrs. Rovello, my English teacher in sixth grade at St. Francis de Sales in Houston, Texas, in 1968-69.  St. Francis was unusual in that classes were organized to take advantage of a teacher's subject area expertise.  The fifth and sixth grade classes, four total, were paired up, with teachers assigned to a home room (which included teaching religion), and then classes rotated for science, social studies, math, and English.  We also had P.E. specialists (boys and girls) daily, and music once a week.  Mrs. Rovello had a fifth grade home room (possibly my younger sister's), but taught all the English classes for grades five and six.

Besides being pretty, Mrs. Rovello was my favorite because she encouraged creative writing.  This was the year I won a national essay contest and a local poetry contest.  We also used the SRA cards reading program, which I loved, and I think SRA had a writing program too.  No matter - Mrs. Rovello inspired a love of writing that continues to this day (probably why I love to blog!).

A little bit of searching on and Google revealed that Lily Ann Rovello is now Lily Ann Cunningham, and probably an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Arts and Humanities at the University of Houston - Downtown, who teaches primarily art history courses.  

I don't know if she'll ever see this, but if she does - Thank you for inspiring me!

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Francis and Jewel Moore Gresham Memorial

My in-laws, Francis Edward Gresham (1911 - 1990) and Jewel Moore Gresham (1914 - 1994), were cremated.  Their cremains are buried in a little garden on the property of my sister-in-law and her husband, on a hillside above the White Salmon River in Washington, overlooking Mount Hood in Oregon.  My father-in-law loved to fish, so this is appropriate.  Although both were born in Texas, they had lived in Washington state since 1960.  My mother-in-law was an avid gardener, and some of her favorite flowers are planted at this spot.  Nearby are vineyards, a fruit and nut orchard, and extensive vegetable gardens.  If my mother-in-law was still alive, today would have been her 97th birthday.  The stone above the cremains reads: 
Gone yet not forgotten,
although we are apart,
your spirit lives within me,
forever in my heart.
© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.