The title of this post refers to my great-aunt, Gertrude Silver, and I struggled to decide if the title should be a statement or a question.  I think I need a new punctuation mark, because the answer is a bit of both.

I’ve written about Gertrude and her husband Sam before.  Here is a brief synopsis.

 sam dandy

Sam Silver was 18 or 19 when he fought in the Spanish-American War.  When he left the army he went to New Orleans where he met the very young Gertrude Eliach.  Sam was about 23 and Gertrude 14 when they ran away to San Francisco and may have married.  At this point in the story my unromantic, pragmatic sensibilities say, “Gertrude, young, foolish, believing she was in love.”  And what of Sam?  My best-case scenario is youngish, equally foolish, maybe in love.  Worst-case scenario, hm, I’d rather not go there. This is not a story I expected to end well.  But here’s the thing, Sam and Gertrude stayed together for 22 years, until Sam’s death at the age of 41.  They had four children, only one of whom, Joseph, survived until adulthood.  Gertrude’s father died a few years after the marriage and by 1910 Gertrude’s mother was living with the couple.  She lived with them the rest of their married life.  Even the cynic in me has to say, “If that’s not love, what is?”

That’s what I knew until recently.  I put Gertrude and her son Joseph on the back burner and moved on to other genealogical challenges, but Gertrude was always on my mind. Her story seems so moving and so sad.  An elopement that seemed likely to end quickly turned out to be the story of a couple who lived, loved and struggled together through hard times and so much sadness until Sam’s early death.  I needed to know what became of Gertrude and Joseph.

Here’s what I learned.  Gertrude’s mother, Libby, died in 1935.  Gertrude and Joe buried her in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.libby eliach grave

In 1934 Joseph married Beryl Reilinger. According to the 1940 census Joe and Beryl lived in a guesthouse run by Beryl’s parents.  Their block in Los Angeles seems to be a long row of boarding houses and guesthouses.  The couple had a son, Stanley, who was four years old in 1940.

Gertrude married again in 1966 at the age of 73.  She married Louis Philipson, also 73.  The California Marriage Index lists the marriage twice with Gertrude listed as Gertude Chertin and Gertrude Eliach, her maiden name.  There is an asterisk next to the last names. Was Gertrude married three times?

Lou and Gertrude had seven years together.  Lou died in 1973, leaving Gertrude a widow once more.  Gertrude died in 1980, she was 93. Sam must be gone by now too, but their son Stanley is likely still alive.  There are lots of avenues for me to explore, but I doubt they will answer my real question.

I want to know if Gertrude was happy.  No, I want to know that she was happy, but I suppose I can live with the answer no matter what it is.  I need to find Stanley Lee Silver or I need him to find me.  I need to hear about his grandparents.  I know Stanley was married for a few years.  Are there children, Sam and Gertrude’s great-grandchildren?

Stanley Silver was my father’s name too. Stanley, where are you?

 

 

Easter is pretty early this year and I’ve been remembering the new Easter outfits we all had every year. From the time I can first remember, and likely even before that, my sister and brothers and I had new outfits for Easter. For my sister and me that included coats, hats, gloves, pocketbooks, shoes, and dresses. In my family besides my parents, there are 5 of us, all born in just under 7 years. My sister is exactly 16 months older than I am. So that meant new outfits for 5 children plus two adults (or at least my mother, my father had business suits he could wear). This was in the 1950s and early 1960s, and for all but the last year or two my father was the only wage-earner. So with money being tight, many of our clothes (at least for my sister and me as well as my mother) were homemade.

I’m pretty sure that it started with our Grandma Cena (our mother’s mom) making clothes for us. She was an amazing seamstress and came from the time and place where women made most of the family clothing. Moreover, for the next 5+ years after I was born our mother was busy taking care of infants and toddlers, so I am guessing that Grandma continued to contribute in this way. We lived just far enough from Grandma and Grandpa that we didn’t get to see them very often so she couldn’t help out in other ways. It was always exciting when a box arrived from Grandma with new clothing. From the time I was about 7 or 8, however, Mom made our Easter outfits with Grandma continuing to whip up accessories and outfits for other times.

Margaret and me, 1950

Margaret and me, 1950

The earliest picture I have come up with so far is from 1950 when I was not quite 3. I don’t remember these outfits but have a half memory of getting the hats. Mine had navy velvet ribbon around the outer edge and I think we helped pick these out ourselves.

me and my big sister, June 1951

me and my big sister, June 1951

The first one I remember was a white dress with a separate organdy pinafore. My sister’s dress has been less clear in my memory’s eye, but I know for sure that it wasn’t scratchy like mine! I would often wear the pinafore by itself if it was hot, and it was stiff fabric that scratched. I don’t know for sure that these were Easter outfits but I’m pretty sure they were. This picture of the two of us in these dresses refreshed my memory a little about these dresses and confirms that we both had pinafores and that the pinafore was worn by itself on occasion.

Margaret and me, 1955

Margaret and me, 1955

By 1955 my mother was going all out on our outfits. That year she and my sister and I all had pink poodlecloth (that was what she called it) jackets. It was very cool and grown-up feeling to have jackets just like Mom’s. Our dresses were navy, and had permanent-pleated skirts and lace on the collars and appliqued to the fronts. In the picture you can also see the crocheted purses that Grandma Cena had sent (I think they were new that year).

The year after that (either 1956 or 1957, I think) we wore the jackets again but had blue dotted-swiss dresses with cummerbunds and lace on the tops. I’m guessing Easter might have been later that year, since the dresses

Margaret and Pat, maybe 1956

Margaret and Pat, maybe 1956

were sleeveless. Of course, we wore our Easter dresses to church and Sunday school all spring and summer.

About 1960

About 1960

The last Easter picture in this series shows my sister and me as young teenagers. By that time she and I were both making some of our own clothes and I suspect that my sister made this Easter dress for herself. I was in a shy phase about having my picture taken and so was making faces that day.

© 2009-2014 The Genealogy Gals All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright