November 26, 2019

Grandma Elling's Autograph Book

This autograph book that belonged to the young girl, Ida Spoering, was such fun to browse. Ida was born on 5 February 1890, as noted on the inside cover. Thehe earliest date found on the pages of this book is 1902, I believe, making her about 12 when she began to collect her autographs from family and friends.

Her pastor, Rev. Boomgarden, signed and later in her life, he solemnized her wedding with Albert Elling.

 The last photo shows the signature of Emma Elling, Albert's sister, so obviously the Spoering and Elling families knew each other and socialized. 

Now, if anyone can translate the German...

Family Treasures - Aunt Eleonore

Aunt Eleonore had some intriguing items to show at our family treasures get-together. The first photo below was the autograph book of her mother and my grandmother, Ida Spoering Elling. It was so special that I will devote the whole next post to it.

The lovely amethyst brooch belonged to Eleonore's aunt who was eventually the second wife of Albert Elling, Kate Spoering Tietje Elling. 

  And lastly, the mantel once was in her parents' house and now it adorns the mantel of Aunt Eleonore's home. She has had it repaired a few times, the first technician stating that it was older than 1913. Once again, it could have been a wedding gift to Ida and Albert, considering the date. It is a seven day clock and Aunt Eleonore remembers her dad winding it each week and now she does the same. The carving is superb and its slow tick a soothing sound.

This blog post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on June 16, 2010.

Family Treasures - Aunt Alma

Aunt Alma came to our family treasures get-together armed with kitchen tools and a very precious prayer book that belonged to her dad, Albert Elling.

Aunt Alma stated that in the last year of his life, her dad expressed a desire to go to the German church service and my dad, Rudy, said he would take him. The program from that service is shown in the top photo above and it was tucked into the prayer book. It appears to be the last service of the year, and perhaps Christmas.

 She told how her dad was always reluctant to learn English, but her mother Ida, who had gone through third grade, taught herself English using the Toledo Blade. Grandpa Elling liked to go to the German church services. He used his German prayer book, shown in the second photo above, faithfully. 

 We didn't get to talk much about the kitchen tools, but now as I look at the photo, I wonder what the first tool on the left is! Any guesses?

The post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on June 11, 2011.

Family Treasures with Aunt Lorna

Aunt Lorna bravely lugged two large framed prints to our recent family treasures get-together, as well as a platter!

The print above is a brilliantly colored one of The Lord's Prayer. In our discussion, we wondered if it could have been a wedding gift to Grandpa and Grandma Elling, as all the aunts remembered it always hanging in their home as children. This would date the print to the early 1900's, as our grandparents were married in 1913. We could find no markings on it at all, but the colors and illustrations are still beautiful after all these years.


 The second print was identified as Jesus at the temple. Strangely, Aunt Eleonore had the same print hanging in her home, and both Lorna and Eleonore thought they had gotten it from their parents' home. So...that's a mystery that will probably never be solved!


The platter with the bright blue trim was part of a set of dishes used in Grandpa and Grandma's house on a daily basis. Alma could remember making pancakes and stacking them on this plate. Alma stated that once her mom asked her if she wanted to make pancakes or milk a cow and Alma chose cooking the pancakes. The pancakes would then be topped with sorghum syrup or homemade apple butter. The platter is crazed and stained, but as far as anyone could tell, it is the last of the dishes to survive. Aunt Alma said she saw a cream and sugar set to match this pattern at a flea market and bought it because it reminded her of her mom's dishes.

A Lovely Lunch with Aunts and Uncles

Originally, this post appeared on the Elling Family Blog on May 22, 2010. Since that time, we have lost some of these very special folks, but the memories remain.

Don, Jane, Dianne
At lunch today...
Alfred, Ginny, Don, Jane, Dianne
Alma and Lorna
Louise, Eleonore and Ron

Alfred and Ginny Elling

I thank God that I have been blessed with such loving, sharing aunts and uncles. This week we met for lunch, along with visiting cousins, Jane and Don, for a tasty lunch and then a "show and tell" of family heirlooms.

Louise Miller Fahringer

Each daughter or daughter-in-law brought something that they now have that was once owned by parents, Albert and Ida Elling. It was such a good time, and my pen was working constantly as I tried to record the stories surrounding each item. 

Those stories led to other stories...well, all I can say is, "Stay Tuned" for a series on their family treasures.

Alma Hicksted and Lorna Hausch
Eleonore and Ron Glanz

November 24, 2019

Cousin Correspondents - Mamie and Steve

 Steve and Mamie Hicksted first adopted two greyhounds in 1996 and have since become great fans of the breed. Steve and Mamie graciously have contributed this story to the blog, telling of their annual trek to Dewey Beach, Delaware, where greyhound enthusiasts gather every year.

"It was March 15 of 1996 when we adopted our first two greyhounds. We actually thought, "What are we doing? We must be a little insane." The truth is, it was the best thing we could have done. In so many ways, it has changed our lives. It has given us the opportunity to meet so many new people who also might later on adopt a grey because of the impression ours made on them.

Image result for greyhound clip art freeDestination: Dewey Beach, Delaware. The bags are packed, the van is all fueled up and it's time to load up. Our three greyhounds will have the rear third of the van to look out the windows or lay down. A full divide is set up to keep the little ones from going back to entertain the big ones or the other way around. Of course, padded dog beds are beneath them, so their ride will be cushy. Next we load and place in separate crates our little ones - an Italian greyhound, a Cairn Terrier and our Yorkie. Many times I have been asked why we take them all with us and I reply, "Do you leave your little kids behind?" Then I tell them that all K-9s are welcome to vacation during the Columbus Day weekend activities at Dewey Beach, Delaware. We have made the yearly trip there nine times. So much to see and do there, whether it's greyhound related or just to go on our own to see the many sites in and around town.

Seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time was so awesome, and it still is every time we arrive. Being just a block away, it is a short walk to the sand and the waves. We know it's where we will see many friends that we have made who also share the joy of greyhound ownership. Our morning starts with a jaunt on the beach , walking along the calm waters and hoping to see dolphins swimming close by. Then after exercising along the sands and getting tired of walking, , we tell the greys, "I know you're tired and want to go back to the room to rest." Hey, they don't know it's really us who are tired and who need that cup of coffee and snacks.

We look over the schedule of events for the day and decide which ones we want to attend. Even though we know most of what is going to be told, we still like to take in some seminars. Several vets bring their greys, too, and give talks on how to improve the health of the dogs. 

 One of the fun nights is when the greys get to dress up and be judged by the crowd. People come up with lots of crazy ideas, but a grey will never be embarrassed. One of the neatest ones we saw was greys all dressed up in Wizard of Oz costumes- Dorothy, Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man and they had a little dog as a Munchkin. 

Image result for greyhound clip art free Another fun time is Biscuit Night. The dogs are given canine yogurt and biscuits as the owners bid on neat items at the silent auction. It is a good chance to see friends and talk over the happenings from the last year. Of course, sometime during the night, someone will start the "ROOOO." Since greys do not bark much at all, they have a tendency, when in packs, to "Rooo." It's a laugh when they all engage in their ROOO Time.

Of course, the trip is not complete without making the rounds of the town of Rehobeth Beach just a few miles away. On Saturday and Sunday, the stores there have sidewalk sales. Many visitors from the states and other countries do their shopping there, hoping to find a bargain. It is especially nice to see the reaction of others as we walk the greys down the sidewalk. Of course, there are others doing the same, but it's cool to have grown-ups come up and ask if they can pet your dogs.. Oh, how the greys take advantage of it!

It seems like vacation just goes by way too fast. As we pack and get ready for the 625 mile trip back to Ohio, our memories again will be good ones. Saying good-byes to friends and scratching the heads of the greys, we wish a safe trip to others heading out, too. After about an hour on the road, it seems one of the dogs will ask, "Are we home yet?" Get comfy, only sixteen hours to go.

Sure we can always foster a grey until it finds a home - what's one more in the house? Really, it's trying to pay back for all the love and affection that our greys have given to us. We have visited many race tracks. It's kinda fun to watch a race or two, but the real enjoyment is when we visit the track adopting center and see the greys up for adoption and talk to the reps. Once, after getting to know a trainer, we were permitted a visit to the kennel. Wow, we saw seventy-five greys in their separate crates filled with shredded paper for comfort. I thought taking care of ten was a major chore at times, but that was a full time job, seven days a week.

I just hope that the two that sleep in bed will give me a little more room and let me stretch out once. we sacrifice for our canine buddies, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Hope you enjoyed our dog tales! Steve and Mamie"

Steve also sent along an article telling about Betty White's visit to Dewey Beach. Even though dogs weren't supposed to be allowed where she was speaking, she had some sneaked in so she could meet them. We all know Betty White as an advocate for canines!
Thanks so much, Steve and Mamie.

 This originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on March 8, 2010.

Happy Birthday #85 to Ginny


Thanks to each of you who sent (or will still send) happy birthday wishes to Ginny to help celebrate her 85th birthday today. Thanks for sharing your love. 

Here's Mom getting ready to play the fun game "Bananagrams" when we visited in October. I love this photo showing her gorgeous blue eyes, natural strawberry blonde hair, and great smile.

Sending warm hugs and love across the miles to you, Mom!     Jane

Liberty Center - A Long Time Ago


 This old post card is probably from around 1908-1910. If one could date the vehicles, a more accurate date could be had. 

 Recognize anything on the street? I think the viewpoint is looking north down Main Street. A closer look on the right shows the cinderblock type garage building and The Bee Store. Note on the left what looks like a hitching post. The electric poles are placed along the dirt street. Some of the buildings remain today.

The Maumee Overflows in 1913


 In March of 1913, Ohio experienced record heavy rains, causing flooding throughout the state. Some called it "Ohio's greatest natural disaster." These postcards depict two sites along the Maumee River in Napoleon.

 I thought this was particularly interesting because my grandparents, Albert and Ida Elling, were married on March 13, 1913 and the flooding occurred March 23 - 27. I wonder if they were affected by it at all. Did they witness the destruction? 


 Check out this site for more photos, some film footage and commentary:

Winter Thoughts - Turn of the Century Style

I'm always on the lookout for old postcards or photos of local interest. These finely dressed gents are sitting on the ice floes of the Maumee River at the Damascus Bridge, probably in the early 1900's. Don't you love the fellow with his hands on hips in the background? (He does resemble the "Monopoly Man.")

Today the wind was just a little colder than before and it was getting dark by 5:30 - 6:00...and my thoughts regretfully turned to winter.

Originally posted on the Elling Family News blog on November 11, 2009.

Alma's 90th Birthday Open House

The Elling Siblings  -- October 11, 2009 -- Alma's Home

Open House for Alma's 90th birthday celebration

Back: Eleonore Elling Glanz, Louise Elling Miller Fahringer

Front: Lorna Elling Hausch, Alfred Elling, Alma Elling Hicksted

Top Photo:  Karla Panning (granddaughter) and Darla Hicksted Panning Aycock

Bottom Photo: Alma and Her Children

Back: Linda Hicksted Aschemeier, Darla Hicksted Panning Aycock, Jennie Hicksted Frost

Front: Roger Hicksted, Alma, Steve Hicksted

Top Photo:  Dennis and Linda Hicksted Aschemeier

Bottom Photo: Jack and Jennie Hicksted Frost

Top Photo: Cheryl and Roger Hicksted

Bottom Photo: Steve and Mamie Hicksted

Thanks to Marilyn Elling for taking and sharing these photos via Al and Ginny!

This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on November 2, 2009.

Guess Again?

How about this fellow? Anyone know who he is?
This photo was taken about 1936.

That's it for the hints.
Go for it.
You know him...sure, you do...or did...

Was that another hint?

Good job!  This is Rudolph Elling, brother to Paul in the previous post, and another son of Albert and Ida. 

This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on September 30, 2009.

Who is This?

It's time to dig into the box of photos again...and look what I found. Can you identify this mystery boy...girl...boy? The line across the forehead is actually a crease in the photo, not a scar!

This photo is on a postcard given to me by Minnie Elling, Grandpa Elling's sister, on our first, last and only meeting. The postcard is unused and says Minna E. on the back and then the name of the child.

The photo was taken about 1915 - 1916, I would guess, and that should be a huge hint for you. Write your guesses in the comments and let's see who gets this one right!
*Click on the photo to enlarge for a better look.

Ok...the requested hints -
Hint #1 This person died in the 1960's.
Hint #2 This person could play the accordion.
Hint #3 There are at least three cousins with the
same first name.

The winning guess was Dana; this is Paul Elling, son of Albert and Ida. 

This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on September 27, 2009.

The Big Surprise on September 22

Once upon a time, back in the early 1950's, a lovely, young woman named Donna and her handsome husband, Rudy, eagerly awaited the birth of their second child. (The exact year will be withheld because...well, I'm going to be in trouble anyway for this post, so why make it worse?)

On Saturday, September 22, the mother-to-be checked into Heller Memorial Hospital in Napoleon, OH, thrilled to be there to welcome a second child, hopefully, almost as perfect and intelligent as the first one had been. (Ahem.)

Finally, the moment of birth arrived and a beautiful little girl entered the world. But what was this? What was happening? Another baby, you say? Yes! In moments, a little twin brother presented himself.

The parents had no idea that two little ones were waiting to be born. In those days, the mother-to-be was sedated during labor and of course, the father-to-be was banished to the hospital waiting room to await news of the birth. No ultrasound images gave them prior insight and, apparently, the doctor had missed the second heartbeat. Imagine the parents' astonishment when they heard that they were the parents of twins!

Their mommy and daddy decided to name the new babies Connie and Ronnie, but a wicked nurse (according to Donna) said that Ronnie wasn't a REAL name and it would have to be Ronald. And so it was recorded for posterity. The two little babies were quite small and into the incubator they went for awhile before they were allowed to come home.
 Image result for twins clip art free

Daddy built them a special crib that they could both sleep in and it sat in the family's living room. Mommy used to report that the little darlings took turns wailing all day and all night long.

Their antics as they grew to toddlers kept their parents and watchful big sister very busy. On one particular day, they both decided it would be fun to turn the spigot on the fuel oil tank that sat outside and then bathe themselves in the "great" smelling liquid. Mommy was not too happy with them that day.
But now they have grown up and Tuesday marks their birthday. You understand that I can not reveal a specific age, but let's just say...well, it's over a half century. How's that? If you get a chance, wish them a happy birthday. You can find them in the Elling blue book!

Happy Birthday, YOU TWO!

This post first appeared on the Elling Family News blog on September 20, 2009.

Wow! What a Reunion!

The Roots of Our Family
Lorna, Louise, Ron, Eleonore, Ginny, Alfred, Alma

After a year in planning, it's hard to believe that our family reunion is over. We were astounded at the turnout - 110 estimated! I didn't get to talk to near enough people! Time flew by from the first words of the German table prayer to the water balloons and photo shoots at the end.
Aunt Alma's 90th birthday was recognized with crown, cake, memories and singing. We found a couple potential comedians in the crowd - one in pink and one in know who you are!

Door prizes were won by the following:
Coffee and mug - Roger Miller; Peony soap and lotion - Mamie Hicksted; Pamper Your Feet/Contagious Joy Basket - Deb Hausch; Home Movie Night Basket - Nancy Giesige; Pumpkin Reed Diffuser/Primitive Candle - Alfred Elling; Catch Phrase Music Ed. - Cindy Fritz; Fishing Pole - Clay Byers; Bob Evans Barbeque Basket - Quintin Doroquez; Ohio Star Yellow/ Blue Tablerunner - Teresa Miller; Mystery Box (which had 3 packages of Ohio chocolates inside) - Russell Hausch; Beach Basket - Terri Fedderke; and Elling Tablerunner - Vickie Elling

 Eleni, Vickie, and Connie just before the Rudy-Donna family's group foto shoot...candid shots are my favorites!

Thumbs up to Mike Norden, our MC; Janet Fedderke's grandchildren who carefully chose door prize winners; Don Haas who filled about 250 water balloons; all those who generously donated so our expenses would be covered and they were; all the folks who helped with the clean up and in a hundred other ways that day and our happy, little committee who had fun putting this together.
Celebrating Aunt Alma's 90th Birthday
It was a joy to see Aunt Alma's face light up when we sang "Happy Birthday" to her a few weeks ago...even though her REAL birthday is not until October. Aunt Alma has been a huge help to me in gathering the genealogy of the family; her memory is terrific. After the reunion, she came up to me with another idea to help me identify an unknown person in one of the vintage photos I have. She and I have gone on a road trip to past Elling homes and into cemeteries where she can point out tombstones and recite how this or that person was related to the family. Because of Aunt Alma, I have seen the house where my dad was born and together we visited the graves of two of her infant siblings. She is a storehouse of knowledge about her family.
How wonderful is it to reach the ninth decade of life? With pleasure, we commemorated Aunt Alma Hicksted's upcoming birthday. She is truly a gift to the family.

Just a quick Thumbs Down to the U.S. Navy who punished a whole unit for one man's misdeed, causing cousin John to miss the reunion for which he had arranged his leave many months in advance. 
Thanks to all the kin who traveled from far and near to be together with this loving, extended family. We'll get some photos up online soon so that if you want copies, they will be there for you.

It was exciting to receive this favorite reunion photo from Sue Boysel - such a happy picture, isn't it?
Sue says, " I sure loved this pic of Mom (Lorna), Aunt Louise, and Aunt Alma. My grandsons just thought it was so funny that they were all drinking beer. What a great time we all had that day!! We will sure never forget it. I think it should be a 2 day event next time, but let's not wait too long. Love to you all!"

This is a compilation of blog writings from the previous Elling Family News blog, first published in August, 2009.

Child Labor

It's like this...Grammy babysat four days this week. We had cut, colored, pasted, sung, read, played cars, played little people, taken bike rides and walks. Grammy had just run out of ideas. We had even cooked! A new recipe - Chicken Parmagian with Zucchini Noodles. (Hey, one gets desperate as the zucchinis pile up on the counter! ) 

So I announced a work morning. Note the intense look on the faces of my little workers. It was serious business. Watering the poor hosta. Sweeping the deck. And my personal favorite, getting the little spots off Grammy's carpet. By the time we came to this task, little Abe was not quite as fact, he had become somewhat listless. Is he awake?

They are good little workers and had not one complaint.
So we hit the ice cream shop this afternoon. No complaints there either!

(This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on July 24, 2009.).

November 23, 2019

Momento Mori

I'm sure you are wondering why I have posted such photos.
Well...they are part of our family history...and I actually just came upon them several years ago through a distant cousin who lives in Colorado. Later, Aunt Eleonore told me that she remembered those photos hanging on the wall in the top photo in her parents' (Albert and Ida Spoering Elling) bedroom.

 Do I have your attention?

These photos show my great-grandparents, Katharina Floke Spoering and Hermann Heinrich (Henry) Spoering at their death. Katharina died in April 1925 and Henry in March 1917.

It once was the custom ... and still is in some areas of our world ... to take photos of the dead. This postmortem photography was called Memento Mori - " Remember thy Mortality." This custom was most widespread in the 19th century, but hung on in some areas until about 1940, depending on local customs. It was a way to remember the deceased and in the earliest days, before photography was affordable and common, sometimes it was the only photo taken of an individual.

Katharine's photo, we can assume, was taken in her own home. The photos on the wall are of her and her husband. I have located a copy of her portrait photo, but not his. We can see that an undertaker was involved by the setting of the floral arrangements and the fact that the casket sits on an undertaker's carriage.

Henry's photo has been cut around, taking out the background area including the casket lid and the room. We can assume that it was probably taken in his home, however. His casket appears to sit directly on the floor. Near his waist lies a photo. I've tried to enlarge that area, and I think I can make out two small children, but I'm not sure. Affectionately, "Father" was penned onto the photo, probably by Lydia Spoering Loudon whose descendant provided me with these photos.

Photos like this were popular in their time and proudly displayed in homes. Some photographers advertised that they would take this type of photo as a special service, usually charging significantly for it since the photographer had to go to the subject within a limited time frame after the body was prepared for viewing. They also knew that, in some cases, this might be the only photo of a family member that would exist.  It was a different era where mortality rates were higher and grief was dealt with in different ways. These photos were treasures to the families...and still are.

(This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on July 21, 2009.)

Another Blast From the Past

Does anyone know what year this photo was taken?

The Elling Siblings - l to r - Rudy, Louise, Eleanore, Lorna, Alma, Alfred

(greyhound guy guessed this photo was taken in 1968- 69)

November 19, 2019

Memories of Childhood

 I read with sadness today that Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela's Ashes, died. In Angela's Ashes, McCourt told the true story of his childhood, mostly in Ireland. As Mr. McCourt states, "When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood; the happy childhood is hardly worth your while."

With an alcoholic father who drank up whatever small earnings he did make from odd jobs, Frank's family was often living "on the dole" in very substandard conditions. Lacking food or any kind of health care or even the lowest form of hygiene, it is a wonder that Frank survived to become a rather renowned teacher of English in the high schools of New York City. Angela was his mother, a woman who miraculously survived the early deaths of some of her children, her husband's abuse and neglect, and her poverty.

Our book club read this book a few years ago and we had a rather lively discussion over the characters. After reading it (and getting over my anger at Frank's father), I felt so thankful for the childhood that I had. I have to disagree with McCourt - I think a happy childhood is worth a great deal. I'm not sure we have to suffer as Frank did to appreciate and learn from our childhood days.

Most of us can say we always had a warm bed and shelter and food to eat. I didn't go to lessons of any kind, I didn't travel all that far from home much, and I didn't have a myriad of toys or clothes, that's for sure. I knew I was loved, not only by my parents, but by my wonderful extended family as well. And isn't that the most important thing that children need to know? I think that is what saved Frank - his mother's love.

Frank McCourt survived more than any of us can imagine. He didn't give in to the external forces that could have easily swallowed him or turned him into a bitter man. There's much to be learned from his story. I'm ready to read it again.

A Vacation in Three Movements

Just so you know... I LOVE vacation, especially if it includes some travel. On the other hand, my DH doesn't really get enthused about leaving home. On every vacation in our 36 years of marriage, he has admitted that he's had a good time, but agreeing on a vacation is always a point of contention. So I plan and make reservations and arrangements and he eventually a point. For this trip, I packed for ten days; he packed for five. I had gradiose plans of whale watching north of Quebec; he had plans to do no such thing. So, here's our vacation of five days in three segments:

Part I - We went to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario. It used to be known as a Shakespearian Festival, but has long ago opened its repertoire to other plays. I have been here probably five or six times, usually with students and once with my book club. It is a whole different thing to come here without worrying where and what students are doing and do we have them all? and who isn't in his/ her room? and who ran out of money? and why isn't Horatio at the meeting place on time?
I could tell that the recession has hit this theater town in a very unforgiving way. The streets and the shops, usually bustling with tourists, were virtually empty. I called two days ahead of time for a room and tickets and got a reasonably priced room and great seats. That wouldn't have happened a few years ago.
My goal was to choose something that my DH would really enjoy, so I chose "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," a classic comedy that didn't disappoint. He and I both were laughing out loud throughout.
Stratford is six hours from our home...not a bad drive. Of course, now a passport or "the card" is required to cross into Canada.
Stratford, Ontario town hall

Part II - My plan was to go to Toronto, a great city with so many things to do. I had seen that the Dead Sea Scrolls were at the Royal Ontario Museum and I thought that would be interesting. My DH loves history, so that fit the bill. Anyway, I had a list of possibilities, but then we heard on the news that they were three weeks into a garbage pickup strike. Photos were shown on Canadian tv of mountains of trash on street corners and protests were taking place over all this. So we adjusted the plans to go to Niagara Falls, Canada first and then assess what the situation was later for Toronto.
I have heard often that the Canadian side of the Falls is so much better than the U.S. side. I'd say the view was better, but to get there, we had to walk through what I called "Las Vegas on Steroids." Again, the crowds were there, but not as much as I expected. It was a little too touristy for my taste, but it was beautiful to see. We had ridden on the Maid of the Mist several times, so skipped the soaking on this trip.
Back at the hotel, we saw that now arsonists were setting fire to trash mountains and dumpsters throughout Toronto. That settled it. Trip north no more.
Canadian Niagara Falls

Part III - We decided to drive to Sandusky and take the Jet Express boat over to Kelleys Island. Since I had researched the Ellings and learned that a couple of the immigrant daughters went there to work and one lived her whole life there, I have been curious to go. Lake Erie cooperated and was relatively calm for the 20 minute ride from Sandusky to Kelley's Island. Once there, we rented a golf cart so we could make the most of our time.
Dianne at cemetery on Kelley's Island, at the Pringnitz stone.

 First stop, the cemetery where I did locate the Mary Elling Pringnitz stone. We tried to locate their home. I had seen a photo of it, but didn't know the address (not prepared for this angle of the trip!) Of course, if someone decided to remodel it, I wouldn't have recognized it anyway. So we just relaxed, toodling along in our golf cart all over the island, enjoying the breeze off the lake and imagining what it would have been like to live in this isolated spot - especially in the winter.

Back home on the fifth day...just as someone had planned.

(This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on July 14, 2009.)

Summer Loves

After reading Emily's blog naming the things she loves about summer, I just had to create my own list!

I love the lavendar that is growing just outside the back door, along the deck. It looks great almost all summer and smells fantastic.

I love Sonic Cherry Lime-Aids. I have my sister, Connie, to blame for my addiction to Sonic's sweet drink. One summer we visited her family in Dallas, and she and I and our kids went on a mission to blow up all the toys they could use in the pool that evening. It was a stifling, breezeless, 105 degrees (or so it seemed) that day as we stood outside at the air pump at the gas station, trying to blow up a massive whale or dolphin and other toys and then stuff them in the van. We celebrated when we finished with a gigantic, ice cold, cherry lime-aid at Sonic. Liquid never tasted so good!

I love the casual dress - never having to bother with socks or hose. T-shirts suffice and short hair can be shorter. No jackets needed- just head out.

I love the simple cooking - the grill reigns and sandwiches and salads are the norm. It's too hot for baking and lasagna would just weigh heavily in the summer heat. Quick and easy is the mantra.

I love having fresh produce. The grandchildren are already asking for zucchini bread. We've just finished strawberry season and it won't be long until homegrown tomatoes and sweet corn will make the meal.
Our friend has delivered radishes and lettuce already and, yesterday, we picked our first cucumbers. Let the chopping begin!

I absolutely love vacation...just a change from the norm. Take me anywhere for a day or better yet, a week or two or three. I'm ready. I can be packed pretty quickly. Jim and I were talking about our travels over the years and we really can't remember a bad trip. Oh, there have been "experiences," but nothing that would ruin an entire vacation.

I can't swim a lick, but I love to be by the water in the summer. It just makes me "feel" cooler and calmer and ...lazy.

Lord, thank you for these summer days. Help me to greet each day with a positive outlook and an appreciation for all the wonders of the season.

(This blog post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on July 3, 2009.)

Playing Dress Up

The joy of dressing up and pretending to be "grown up" is one form of play that doesn't change, it seems. When I was very young, Mom had some old dresses, shoes and jewelry that she would let us use for dress up. We played house and store, dressed to the "nines" in our finery.
If a hat with a veil was involved, all the better. 

My grandchildren love the dress up box. The dollar stores, Goodwill and my own closet have provided the means for lots of imaginative play.

 Note the bracelets used as anklets in the photo above. And, oh, those shoes in the photo - they hurt my feet so badly! It was a joy to toss them into the box!


Have fun, kiddos! 

 (This post originally appeared on the Elling Family News blog on June 18, 2009.)