Monday, January 31, 2011


I do not remember having a favorite food, but I do recall plenty I did not like.    My mother cooked to please my father and he especially liked creamed any vegetable, including lima beans, asparagus and spinach.   I hate creamed vegetables even till this day. 

Sundays were roast days, beef, pork or chicken.  Mondays  were hamburger day and my mother would chop up raw onions and put them in the burgers,  I had to go thru them and pick out those disgusting onions.    I often wondered why my mother did not make me a patty with out the onions  for me.  

Tuesday it was baked chicken with mashed potatoes and I liked that meal.   Wednesday's it was pork chops and Thursday was meatloaf, with the same  raw chopped onions which I also picked out.    Friday was fish and french fries and Saturdays were leftovers or hot dogs and baked beans.  

I could always tell what I was having for supper because of the day of the week.   Other people would have spaghetti, lasagna , stuffed cabbage and city chicken but my father would not eat them.   Sometimes mom would sneak in fried liver and onions, which I also do not eat now.

Now I eat almost anything except for the creamed vegetables, raw onions, and liver. 

Friday, January 28, 2011



What do I remember.?  Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I remember an apartment on the second floor on Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh PA.   I have a vague memory of going up stairs and being in the apartment.   Is this where my parents lived with my grandmother?

I know when my father came home from the War my parents lived with my grandmother, or where we visiting someone else in this memory.

My parents bought a lot in Patton Township which is now MONROEVILLE PA   I know he researched this move for a long time, and he and my mother also designed the house.

My father had a cousin about his own age, Thomas O'Rourke, who was a contractor.   His cousin came and dug the foundation for the house.   If he did the concrete and foundation work for the house I do not know.   I do remember a pot bellied stove in the basement which served as the source of heat.   I can still picture my mother burning things in it, it was black and had a little door on the side.   I also remember there was a bathroom with a toilet and shower.  

After the foundation work was done we moved into the basement.  There was a shower and a toilet, which later were both moved to the back of the basement.  My parents had a laundry room and I think that this is where the kitchen was located.

My parents designed and built the house.   I think he was unsure if he could do it but his buddies at work said if others could do it so could he.     I remember the work that was done, the sawing, framing and I remember the smell of the plaster over a metal wire frame on the walls.   When he died I never found the drawings of the house plans, they would have been interesting.

I suppose I was a toddler because I have pictures of myself and they tethered me to the playpen.   The neighbor said she did not know what the new couple names were but she knew the child's name was Claudia. 

The house was a story and two-thirds.  On the first floor was a combination living room and dinning room.   Behind that large room was the kitchen and a bedroom.    There is a center staircase and two large bedrooms and one bath.    My father but in large closets, which are small by today's standards.   

The think that I remember was the outrageous color scheme of the front room.   They had painted the walls two different colors, a forest green and pink.    I thing think they should have researched color schemes a little more on that selection, or perhaps this was the time of aqua and pink refrigerators, in the early fifties I would guess.

I will look on the other computer and post the pictures to accompany this post.



I could post a picture of flowers everyday for a year, but it won't make this winter go away.    I seems to me that  we have been having snow in the Northeast since Thanksgiving.   Although I haven't gotten the blizzards that are along the East Coast, the snow and ice are  a daily finding.

I have not been doing anything on my research.   I would like to go to the Family History Center but  on my days off the center is closed due to the weather.   

I have set a goal for the month of February.   I have to get organized and I will start on Sunday. I have my papers in tote bags and boxes, it is a paper jungle but since I have only been doing my Genealogy for three years I have to admit that it is not an insurmountable task.  I also have a lot of paperwork on my computer, flash drive and external hard drive.   

After reading posts about making everything electronic I do not feel comfortable about not having paper records.   I feel that the electronic records have the potential for disappearing in nanoseconds or becoming lost or  flash drive and hard drive failure.

The first thing I have to do is move my records and findings into my daughters old room, since she has moved on after finding a job in November.    If she moves back I will help her find an apartment or house in which to live.  But she really LOVES her job and that is good news.  

Did you every wonder about your ancestors and their jobs?   My ancestors who all lived in the Pittsburgh area worked in the steel mills.   When you read about the conditions of the workers and the accidents that happened it is downright scary.  Even today people are injured and killed at work, but back them the safety rules were nonexistent.   We are much better today thanks to the government rules and regulations.

Another decision I have made is to retire and this will happen this Spring.   Maybe that is why I am hating this winter and I am looking forward to the change of season.



Saturday, January 22, 2011





Actually I think I have cabin fever.  This has a lot to do with the cold temperature outside, which is 3 F.   I do not have the motivation to calculate the Centigrade, but I suppose it would be about -15 C or so.   Goodness, that sounds even colder.....Right now I am thinking spring.   I can see the morning paper on the driveway, but I do not want to get up and go outside and get it because I have to get dressed up like a kid for sledding.

One of my goals for today is to start organization of my papers and files..   I have things semi organized and I need to initiate my plans.   My daughter got a job and had to move so I am moving my Genealogy items into her former room.  I need to get my files into a file cabinet and print some things that I have downloaded on my computer.

I need to set up the printer and go through my old emails I have saved.   These emails are things that I did not think related to my family and research but I saved them just in case they prove to be related  as I moved along in my research.   I suppose I should put them on my flash drive too.  

I joined the ARMSTRONG COUNTY HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY  I mailed the application earlier this week, I am still on my search for Jacob and Mary Bowser, who are my husbands great great grandparents.    I am hoping with some guidance and fresh ideas I can go to the County Courthouse and find the answers to my questions.   They reopen in April, the Society that is, I am sure the Courthouse is open.   I have been wondering if this is common across the country that the Historical Society and Genealogical Societies close for the winter.  

So, for today I will sit a read a few blogs and wait for the motivation to get out from under my afghan and off the couch, where I am semi recumbent with my feet propped up on a pillow and sipping a cup of tea.....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011



I graduated from Nursing School in 1968 and I needed a car.   I got my learners permit at the age of 16 and failed the test and then the permit expired and I did not renew it.    I think this had a lot to do with the fact that upon driving my dads 57' Chevy I hit a Sycamore tree and crushed the fender.   I was afraid of driving. 

In 1968 I needed something that was reliable and inexpensive.   I looked at the new Camaro and Mustang, but my father told me that they would not go in the snow.   So I looked at the VW Beetle.   I remember that they were going when everything else was at a standstill.   I do not remember 4 WD or AWD in the mix but I am sure there were some available, perhaps a Jeep.    My car payment was $59 dollars a month and my parents had to co-sign my car loan.

I purchased a light blue Bug and my only problem was it have a four on the floor manual transmission, there was no other transmission option.   My fathers Chevy had a manual transmission so I was familiar with the shifting.   The car cost about $1900 and had a ten gallon fuel tank.   That car did go in the snow and at the time the gasoline was thirty three cents a gallon and I could fill it up for about three to four dollars.  I never got stuck in that car.

The only problem was that the defrosters never worked worth two cents, but my father, who was retired at the time, and I was single, would be up in the morning and would start my car and scrape my snow on the days I went to work.  Thanks dad.....

We had a Wire Haired Fox Terrier, named Casey who would sometimes go for rides in the car.   One day my parents went to the local shopping center and were walking back to his truck.  Casey spied a young women opening the door to her light blue Bug and the dog jumped inside.   My dad apologized to her and she laughed when he told her of his daughters car and how the dog would go for rides in my Bug.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



When I was a kid it seemed to me that winter last a long time.   Initially I had a sled and later a metallic    disc and we would go and slide down the snow covered hills at a great rate of speed with no thought of how would we stop at the end.

My neighbors had a empty lot and it was on a hill and we would slide down and crash into the hedges at the bottom.   We would never have thought of sliding out into the street.

My one brother, who will remain nameless, incase he reads this post, was the only one injured during sled riding.   He hit a  tree and fractured his femur.  

My father loaded him up in the back of the 57' Chevy station wagon and took him to the emergency room.   He was admitted and the next day he was placed in a HIP SPICA BODY CAST    He was immobile and spent the next two months in his bed which was relocated from the upstairs bed room to the dining room.

The school district sent a tutor out to teach him so he would not lose time in school.   It seemed like an eternity to me but I can not imagine how it felt to him.

I am glad he hit his leg and not his head because that would be a tragedy.



I am hoping to get back in the swing of things.   I have been awarded the Ancestor approved Award by two people. The first was from family Tree Gal and from Nancy from My Ancestors and Me.  I have tired to connect to pick up the award but Blogger tells me that the post does not exist.   Somehow I am not surprised I seem to have  perpetual computer trouble.

I have been spending time with my daughter in upstate PA and I am glad to report that she LOVES her job.   I have also been working and shoveling snow.  Me and possibly millions of others are tired of snow and winters icy grip.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


New Years Day was a nonevent for our family.  We went to Church, being Catholic it was required. 

My earliest memory was somewhere in the early 50's looking at the Sunday comic papers and there was a cartoon with the depiction of the Old Father Time and a young New Year.   I remember asking what did that mean.

I do remember that I was sitting in the living room and it was ablaze with light.   I should do  a search and see what day New Years Day was in the early fifties and find exactly what year it was.  My thought is it was in the early fifties because I was able to read at that time.

My mother always made the traditional sauerkraut and pork.   What she did was to cook the pork roast or kielbasa in the roasting pot and smother it with sauerkraut and cook it to death.  Then we would have mashed potatoes and not an ounce of gravy, but they would put the sour sauerkraut juice on the mashed potatoes.  Boy did I hate that.

Many years later when Chuck and I were dating, his mother would cook a roast pork and cook the sauerkraut separately and make the gravy with the drippings from the roast.  That was Nirvana for me.   Why did my mother not do that?  I have yet to figure it out.

Today, thanks to Lois, I cook my pork separately and makes mashed potatoes and gravy.  The sauerkraut is drained and then I add raisins, a chopped up red apple, a few pearl onions and a few tablespoons of brown sugar.   You drain and rinse the sauerkraut and mix all the ingredients then cook it at 350F for 30 minutes.   It is not overly sour and quite tasty.  I will add a vegetable and cranberry sauce.   Very good.

I must add an addendum to this post.   I did a search and the New Years of January 1, 1950 the day fell on a Sunday.  I would have been 4 1/2.   My question is now, was I able to read????  I guess I was not in school, but I do remember that New Years Day



This morning I was up early and reading the newspaper and a tiny tidbit of information jumped out at me.   To most people it would seem inconsequential, but to me and many of you it is of utmost importance.

The kernel of information was that on today, 1 January 1892,  ELLIS ISLAND opened it's doors. 

This was written in today's issue of  PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE   Almanac (On This Day January 1) 1892 The Ellis Immigrant Station in New York formally opened.

Although my great grandparents Patrick O'Rourke Ellen Mortel, Thomas Dowd and Bridget Naughton came from 1872 thru 1888 my German relatives, including my mother, Gerda Schridde came via Ellis Island.

They all had left to find a new life and better conditions for their families.  Would we have the courage to do that today.

Chuck and I had moved to Korea and Yugoslavia  for his work. I knew at the time I would be going back home.  I should write about my travels, and  I do  not know  why I am procrastinating.  I suppose it is my nature to procrastinate

Perhaps this should be one of my goals, but I need to get going and scan thirty years worth of pictures.  I would like to add them to my story of I have done.    Looking at it now, it would be a treasure for some descendants one hundred years from now.

Happy New Year.