Entrance, Ohio Military Institute

Having recently written about my mother’s high school experiences, I decided I should do the same about my father. I don’t have a copy of his high school yearbook. I just discovered that the school (which was a military institute) did have yearbooks while he was a student, but I haven’t yet found a copy. What I do have is several pages from his mother’s scrapbook showing pictures and handwritten notes about her son.

As I have written before, my paternal grandmother lost her first husband and then her second within less than 10 years. She had few job skills and little way to provide for herself and her son. She had moved from the family farm into Felicity, Ohio and that is where my father started school and went through elementary and junior high school. At the same time, she was frequently away from home doing nursing jobs and her mother, Elizabeth Boothby, took care of my father. Thus, the two of them showed up in Felicity Ohio in the 1930 federal census while my grandmother was in Cincinnati living in a tuberculosis sanatorium as a nurse when the census was taken. My grandmother was apparently exhibiting increasing mental problems during this time period, of what variety I am not sure. She was overly attached to my father, that I do know.

Clifford B. Salt, 1931

At any rate, when my father got to be high school age, several people (including a physician my grandmother worked for and my father’s aunt) recommended strongly that my father be sent to a local boarding school rather than attending high school in Felicity and living at home with his mother and/or grandmother. So it was arranged that he would attend the Ohio Military Institute in Cincinnati. In September 1931, 3 months shy of 14 years old, he started high school at Ohio Military Institute.

The scrapbook record shows that my father joined the fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma, played basketball for several years,

Basketball team, 1932-33


and was a good student who progressed through the ranks. I haven’t yet found out anything about the fraternity he joined, besides the name. There is a college fraternity of that name which is a chemistry and chemical engineering society but I don’t know that this is the same one. Based on Wikipedia, there do seem to be two different ones, but the high school fraternity isn’t any further described.

Newsclippings included in Carrie’s scrapbook show that my father won scholarship honors (not sure what that means exactly) and was promoted to

Award for best-drilled company


cadet captain. His graduating year he was selected best all-round cadet officer, and his company was the best-drilled. My grandmother was clearly very proud of him.

And now I understand where his stated activities and interests on his college application came from (“military drills and sports” as well as swimming, basketball and reading). I always thought the military drills sounded somewhat at odds with the college he applied to – Antioch College.  The interests in sports, especially swimming, and in reading were shared by my parents and likely some of the first things that drew them together.

Class of 1935

I recently found this clipping from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in a box of stuff I was sorting through.

 

The clipping is dated January 1942. I know this from the reverse side, which features a patriotic advertisement.

Here is a better picture of young Dan.

Whenever I look back on this time in history I am reminded of the hardships that families endured with men away and money and commodities in short supply.  The government needed money to fight the war and the budget deficit was soaring. With rationing and price controls in place personal savings rates were high. The government tapped these personal resources to finance the deficit and the war.  People of every economic status gave generously to finance the war effort.

In April of 1941 Series E savings bonds were initiated. The bonds were renamed Defense Savings Bonds.  People could purchase Defense Saving Stamps and paste them into albums to be exchanged for bonds.  $18.75 would buy a bond that would yield $25 at maturity. Stamps were sold in denominations ranging from ten cents to five dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The newspaper carrier boys’ defense stamp promotion was started by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in the September of 1941 and eventually included 900 newspapers and 150,000 carriers across the nation.

My cousin Dan sold 57,000 stamps, making him the ” Nation’s No.1 defense savings stamp salesman.”  I love his statement that “equal credit should go to the thousands of newspaper carriers like himself all over the country who’ve sold 40,000,000 stamps since The Bulletin inaugurated the plan in September.”

It sounds like cousin Dan should have run for public office.  He didn’t.  He moved to California and spent his working life in the growing entertainment industry.  He lives in the Los Angeles area now with his wife of 56 years with children and grandchildren nearby.

Facebook

I wrote more than a year ago (here) about finally edging my way into the waters of social networking by signing up on Facebook. I have had a number of positive experiences (and a few negative ones!) since then, and find myself thinking about whether there is a better way for me to use it for genealogical purposes. My negative experiences, by the way, have been with Facebook itself not with “friends”. (I tried to log in from a strange computer and then couldn’t remember my password and Facebook locked me out for a month or so. Did, finally, get back into my account; but not without a lot of frustration.)

The gist of the issue for me is this: I first signed up so I could stay in touch with the younger generation of our family, most of whom repeatedly said to me “those pictures are on Facebook”. That use of my Facebook site has worked wonderfully. I can see all the family pictures and comment on them when I want to. I can even share my own pictures. As I got more practiced using the site, I also wanted to connect with other family members, “cousins” of all varieties and have started to do that. So far all of these connections have originated with me, that is, I went looking for people.

However, because it is my personal site, I have tried to be very careful about privacy and so have tried to keep my posts and photos as contained as possible by only letting friends (people already in my friend list) see them. I know that I am limiting myself in terms of others being able to find me by searching for the family names I post periodically. (I assume you can do this in Facebook. Guess I should find out.) For example, I try, whenever I have posted something on this blog, to put that on my wall so everyone who is interested can go look at what I said. Assuming that names mentioned in a wall post can be searched, I am going to try making those posts public, to see if anyone finds me.

I also recently started playing around with making a page in Facebook for the Genealogy Gals. Until I figure out how to use the page, however, and decide with Judy what it should have on it, it will remain unpublished.

screen capture of the Syracuse group on Facebook


The very best is that I discovered a group, thanks to cousin Nancy, called Jewish Community of the 15th Ward, Syracuse, New York (click on the name to go see the front page of the group). This is a new group, in existence for just over a month now, with 88 members last I looked. (There were 68 I think when I joined, so you can see it is growing.) The purpose of the group is to share memories and photos and information about the old 15th ward. This neighborhood doesn’t exist physically any more due to the construction of a major highway and general urban renewal. The group is active and there are some wonderful photos and images already. Everyone is also very helpful in making connections or answering questions.

I haven’t actually verified whether my husband’s family lived within this neighborhood, that is the actual boundaries of the ward, but they certainly were part of the Jewish community from their arrival in about 1905. That makes them latecomers compared to some of the Jewish families, but puts them in the middle of the pack compared to many others. I am hoping my sister-in-law will join the group and that we may find new “cousins” as well. So far the group has shared the recipe for potato latkes originally submitted by one of the aunts to a Hadassah cookbook in the 1960s, and I’ve been told about a handwritten pickle recipe from another aunt. I also found out about a book from the Arcadia series of picture books about places, which I have ordered and await impatiently. What a treasure trove!

I have a number of pictures and documents that I plan to share with this group. I don’t want to step on cousin Nancy’s toes, so will try to be careful not to share pictures we have because she sent copies to us. And before I share any studio photographs I will check up on the copyright issue. I seem to remember that photos taken before a specific date (or over X number of years old) are in the public domain, but I want to be certain.

Twitter

The other social networking site I use is Twitter. I also originally signed onto this thinking that the younger generation in the immediate family would adopt it as a communications channel. I was the only one there for a very long time, but they’ve started to join in.

So, I am on Twitter as an individual and follow several of our fellow genealogists. The question for me again is separating the personal family stuff from the more general genealogical. As far as I know tweets cannot be directed to only some people.

Judy put the Genealogy Gals on Twitter too (yay, Judy!!) and both of us can access that account. Please notice the “follow us” icon on the bottom of the left menu. I suppose the answer to my own question is that I should use the Genealogy Gals account for general genealogy stuff and my personal account for staying in touch with individual family members or friends. I don’t use it much anyway since I’m often not doing or thinking anything I feel the need to share in that way. Too, I haven’t added using Twitter to my cell phone abilities, so there are many times when it isn’t easily available to me.

And, finally, there is a useful new posting by James Tanner over on familysearch.org that summarizes social networking for us genealogists. This post, plus the first comment capture it all.

I started in once again on everyone’s perennial New Year’s resolution–get organized.

The same thing happens every year and every year I forget the reason I failed to get organized.

I started going through old files and then–”Hey, look at this!”

So, today instead of New Year’s resolutions (do I hear you saying thank God?) we have an amalgam of things vaguely related to health and healthcare that made me go, “Hey, look at this.”

I have written before about epidemics and their effects on our families. On a recent visit my sister-in-law brought some things her mother had stored away. One was this page of clippings about the death of relatives in Sprague, Washington. Three members of one family died within three weeks during a flu outbreak in the winter of 1928 and 1929.

Mary McDonald McHugh was born in 1872, the daughter of Patrick McDonald, N’s great-grandfather. She was my mother-in law, Marian’s aunt. I think my mother-in-law may have been a favorite niece and Mary a favorite aunt. Among the things my mother-in-law kept was this dress, crocheted for her by her Aunt Mary. It is about 100 years old now and looks like new, a tribute to my mother-in-law’s ability to organize and preserve.

Mary was the first of the family to die on December 29, 1928. Her one year old granddaughter, Harriet died two weeks later, followed a week later by Harriet’s ten year old sister, Dorothy. Virtually every member of the family contracted pneumonia following the flu and many were hospitalized in Spokane, a 50-minute trip now, longer then.

When one year old Harriet died her sister, her mother, and her aunt were also patients in the hospital.

It is difficult to imagine losing your mother and two children while you are suffering through a potentially life threatening illness yourself.

The other item I found is from my side of the family and a happier keepsake. It is the contract my mother signed with the pediatrician when my brother was born in 1942. The doctor promises to visit once a week for six weeks and again at two months. In addition my mother will bring the baby to the doctor’s office once a month for checkups and vaccinations for the first year. My mother promises to pay Dr. Grossman $45.00 in installments. On the reverse side is a list the payments she made, 14 in all, mostly for three dollars initialed by the doctor.

When I cleaned out my mother’s house I found every utility bill she had paid since she moved into the house in 1954, every card she had ever received and a host of other things that made me crazy. On the other hand I also found this contract and my father’s elementary school photos and my early report cards. So, while I never quite seem to get organized, I am grateful that I have so much to organize.

drawing of McKinley High School, Richard Cook

I was reminded about high school yearbooks in a conversation at our recent family Christmas get-together. A while back I started thinking about the possibility of getting yearbooks for my parents – or maybe even my grandparents – as another way to fill in information about their lives. I went looking on eBay (thank you Lisa Louise Cooke!) and discovered that my mother’s high school yearbook might be obtainable. Mom, Elizabeth Ann Denman, graduated from McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio in 1936. She attended her 50th reunion in 1986, even though she was physically pretty restricted, and had a wonderful time reconnecting with classmates.

I started looking on eBay, and found a copy being auctioned, but wasn’t successful at my bidding. I was so disappointed! I kept my eBay search going, and finally this fall another one came up. And I got it! (I felt like I had won the lottery.) Of course it arrived just as Real Life was heating up, so I haven’t had much time to really go through it. Until I got reminded, at Christmas, of how much information might be in there.

So I got it out and spent some time going through looking for all the activities she participated in. The resulting picture of her senior year in high school captures both my mother as a young woman and provides a glimpse into what high school life was like in the mid-1930s in Ohio. This was the midst of the Great Depression, which had a particularly large impact on Canton, and which my mother talked about on occasion. Her father was lucky enough to have a job with a Chicago meatpacking company which he kept through the Depression although his salary was cut in half. The family lost their house and moved back into a rental, but between Grandpa Lyle’s job and Grandma Cena’s ability to make do, they managed.

Mom went to Lehman Junior High for the first 2 years of high school and then everyone got sent to the big downtown high school, McKinley High School. This was a pretty large school – bigger than the ones she had been at in the past, having about 4000 students for the three class years, and over 900 in her senior year class.

L-R: Elizabeth, Virginia, Jayne, and Sylvia, June 1936

She was particular friends with three girls: Virginia Dorland, Sylvia Frantz, and Jayne Puncheon. They had many of the same interests and participated in many of the same school activities. And they were all very active. Mom had the following listed in her yearbook description: National Honor Society, Booster Club, Friendship Club, Leaders’ Club, Choral Club, Swimming Club, French Club (she was secretary), Girl’s Service League (she was vice-president), and Volleyball. I only listed the ones she was active in her senior year. The descriptions of the clubs comes directly from the 1936 McKinleyite. In addition to all of these, Mom continued to be active in Girl Scouting throughout her high school career and finished her Golden Eaglet award.

The Girl’s Booster Club

“…the Boosters participated in all of the outstanding school activities. The year was a successful one and the Boosters were kept busy contributing their share to the advancement of ideal school spirit….total membership of more than 700, which was nearly double that of former years.” Appointed as chairmen for activities were Sylvia Frantz, Virginia Dorland, and Elizabeth Denman. Among the activities were pencil-selling contests in support of the football and basketball teams. There was the annual big party in the music room, with the theme of Nursery Folk Frolic. At that party there were prizes for various costumes, a walk through the “Land of Make Believe” where everyone saw snapshots from a Booster girl’s day, a dance review and a playlet and a mock football game. The Boosters faithfully supported the basketball team, having a section reserved for members and pulling stunts on opposing teams.

Friendship Club

“To face life squarely, to find and give the best” is the motto of the club. Their aim is to help those less fortunate than themselves. There were a total of 350 members this year. They made a large donation to the Scholarship Foundation fund and to the community fund. Baskets for the needy were prepared at Thanksgiving and Christmas. With branches in surrounding schools, there was an inter-club council played a large part in this club’s activities this year. There were dances, parties, two conferences, a white elephant sale, a faculty tea, a mother-daughter banquet, and an open house. There were meetings every two weeks through the whole year. There were interest groups for dramatics, music, nature, knitting, arts and crafts, and first aid.

Girls' Leaders' Club

Girl’s Leaders’ Club

Leaders’ Club had a membership of 80 girls, who had to have an 85 in gym and passing grades in all other subjects in order to be eligible. There were tryouts in the second six weeks [I assume this was a grading period.] based on a letter each one submitted telling why she wanted to join the club. At the tryouts each had to give a speech on “Why I Want to be a Leader” and was graded on that speech plus her athletic ability. Those unanimously chosen by the old members of the club were given probationary status until after initiation, when they became full fledged Leaders. Membership in this club meant spending two extra periods a week assisting teachers and those in classes who needed help. There were also activities: a formal dance at Christmas; a picnic in the spring that included the students’ mothers; an informal dance in the spring; and a demonstration at the gym exhibition that was “the highlight” every year. They also helped put on two sports competition games: a basketball game and a volleyball game.

Senior Choral Club

This is a large musical group that gave concerts and special programs “constantly through out the year.” They put on the Mikado for 2 nights. They did special concerts for civic organizations, vesper services, and a district teacher conference. Their final performance was at the commencement exercises.

Girl’s Swim Club

This club included endurance tests and competitions using different strokes and diving contests. There were about 28 members.

French Club

Eligibility for this club required a grade of 85 or better in French. Mom was elected secretary in her senior year. Activities included monthly meetings, a Christmas entertainment, a Mardi Gras celebration on February 26, and a picnic later in the year.

Girl’s Service League

The members of the league participate in many services. They are girls who had maintained a 90% or better through their three years of high school, selected while juniors. This year they aided students while changing classes in September. At Thanksgiving and Christmas they put together baskets with food and clothing for needy families. they visited a home for the aged. They ushered for a Parent Teacher convention. They were “Big Sisters” to all new juniors and sophomores. Social activities included an informal dance in December and a party in May for new members. Officers for the year included: Elizabeth Denman, vice-president and Sylvia Frantz, treasurer.

Elizabeth Denman, senior picture

When I read these descriptions I don’t see any direct reference to the effects of the Depression, but I do see a value placed on scholarship and on service to others. I also see characteristics of my mother that continued into her adult life and most of them for her entire life. She was concerned about the welfare of others. She was interested in being a leader, in the service of helping others or promoting things she believed in. She loved nature and the outdoors and using her body physically, playing a variety of sports and continuing physical activities like swimming as long as she could (before Real Life intervened).

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