Friday, February 24, 2017

Remembering What it was Like to be a Kid Again

Games and Toys and Treats and Good Fun

Fannie had a chance to read a new book on the website. It's entitled, Now, When I Was A Kid..." by Dan McGuire.

Dan McGuire grew up in Chicago, in the "good old days".  Cook County had many neighborhoods.  But, most of the kids played the same games, sang the same songs, watched the same television shows and ate the same candy, no matter what neighborhood they lived in.

Cops and Robbers, Kick the Can, Statue Maker, etc. are just some of the games played in the areas where families lived on tree-lined streets.  Comic Books were bought with earned allowance money, and traded between friends.  Some kids had roller skates, others had bikes and some even had scooters. Nothing seemed to stop anyone from trading their favorite ride for a chance to try the wares of the other kids.  That's how things were back then, in the good old days.

Mr. McGuire lists all the great things that kids and families did way back before the technology of today took over our lives.  People talked to each other.  They used land line telephones.  They walked over to each other's home to have a chat.  Nothing like today.  And, Fannie loved reading about it all.

What life was like back then seemed to be so much fun, and much less stressful than what life is like today.  Riding trolley cars, driving to the Drive-In outdoor movies, Movie matinees with free all sounds wonderful.  In the winter, there were snow angels to make and people brought their used real Christmas trees to an area where they were burned in a bonfire, complete with parents carefully watching the children, and serving hot cocoa.

Paperboys rode their bicycles to deliver newspapers...what a great job to have!  Graduating from a tricycle to a bicycle was big news in the family.

And then there were the Kiddie Parks.  Oh, yes, all the rides were so exciting.

Now, When I Was A Kid, by Dan McGuire, 2008, Back When Books
The time between the 1930s and the 1950s was the era of streetcars rides, porch sitting and long play days.  The country came out of a Great Depression and embraced the Baby Boom.  Housing starts outside of big cities escalated. Tree-lined streets with pretty little houses, each with a garden of flowers and or vegetables seemed to dot the land just outside of the bustling city limits.  Starry night gazing from the backyard was safe and fun.  And kids were sheltered from any bad stuff, enabling them to enjoy just being kids.

Fannie so loved this book.  She plans to make a list of all the neat things that Dan McGuire mentioned in his book.  This year, when school lets out, she plans to check each activity off her list as she experiences each and every fun activity.  If you read Dan's book, I bet you will too. heartily recommends this book for anyone of any age.  What a great book for a grandparent to share with their grandchildren.  It will start conversations that may never end.  And, isn't that exactly what we need right now?  Fannie thinks so. She awards this book with Three Paws Up and Three Woofs

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Berks County Biography: Frieda Researches Her Parents

As you may know, Fannie was an orphan pup found in the flooded areas of Kentucky six years ago.  She was taken in and fostered until she came into our lives at the age of 8 weeks.  She does not remember her mother, and never met her father.  So, she can relate to this story, told by Frieda Fritz Stiehl.

Alfred and Agnes: The Story of My Immigrant Parents was published in 2016 by Masthof Press.  It is now in the catalog of, 

The author, Frieda Fritz Stiehl, grew up on a dairy farm in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  She researched the past history of her parents, Alfred and Ages, and prepared this biography.  She tells the story of her German immigrant parents who experienced political and social events of the 20th century that pressed them to seek a better life outside of Germany.

After Alfred and Agnes passed away, Frieda realized how little she actually knew about her parents.  She had so many questions to ask of them, but they were not there to give her any answers.  We all go through that stage when a family member dies.  We wish we had that one last conversation with them to get the story of their lives, and learn about what happened to shape them into the people that they became.

Frieda Fritz Stiehl, like most of us budding genealogists, started from what she knew to be true.  Then she started her investigation into the lives of her parents.  She uncovered dark secrets and tells the family stories that had been past down to her.  She also discovers that some of the stories were just lore, and half truths.  But what was real were the struggles that her parents had to endure.  They had dreams, and actually achieved some of them.  And, as usual, to get what  they wanted and needed in life, they had to pay the price.  Sacrifice and love, Optimism and hardship, Big dreams and picking up oneself from failure...that what this story is all about.

This book has a list price of $38.00, with 314 pages, color illustrations, hard covered.

Fannie gives this book Three Paws Up, just for the way that it touched her heart and encouraged her in the quest for digging for her roots. Maybe it will inspire you to pick up your family history and dig deeper for the real stories that you never knew.