This is the last of the early Wakeman stories told by Grandpa Lyle, for now.  Clearly one of the common threads in all of these stories has been F.A.’s entrepreneurial style.  He found a variety of ways, typical to a rural area to support his family over the years. This one is about the several things he did toward the end of his working life. This post is also the most heavily edited from Grandpa Lyle’s words. I have tried to keep his use of words and cadence while tightening up some of his digressions and pauses.

“One of the things that Father became interested in, or became involved in, was a vineyard. He had a certain amount of money left when he sold the mill and he purchased a small acreage, perhaps a matter of ten acres of ground from the Paul Hall family.  (I have been trying to figure out who Paul Hall was and where he fit in our Hall family, without success so far.) The Hall family was related to the Denmans through the Minors. Will Hall was a brother of my grandmother Minor and the rest of the family all called him Uncle Will, Uncle Will Hall. And to me he would be a great uncle. So Father purchased this ground — he loved to raise things and see things grow and he had his orchard on it, he still had his orchard. And he planted several acres of vineyard. Why, I don’t know. But something prompted him to start a vineyard of perhaps, let’s say there may have been six or eight acres. Or may have only been four. I cannot say. But anyway he bought that. That was following the sale of the mill and the fact that the mill burned after he had sold it is of no consequence to our family there.  (This is a story for another time.) So Father bought this area of ground and set out a grape vineyard which took several years before it came into production.”

“Part of this property was down on the flats along the Vermilion River and Father had sort of a camp ground. People would drive in there and stay overnight that wanted to. And there was clumps of bushes and he’d have a picnic table there. He’d have probably six or eight picnic tables there and he just called it Denman’s Picnic Ground. And up the hill there was an acreage, perhaps four, maybe three, maybe five acres that he planted into vineyard and raised grapes. And they came into harvest in just a few years and he would harvest the grapes and would take them to Dover, near Cleveland, to have them pressed into wine. And there wasn’t too much to tell about that except the the bit of humor from the fact that at one time some twenty years earlier he had been a very rabid prohibitionist. Wakeman was a dry community under local option and somewhere or other that had been discontinued in later years. And he had these grapes pressed into wine and with the help of his son-in-law, Fred Graves, they would take them to the wine press and he would have a few barrels of grape wine which he was able to sell retail from his residence in Wakeman. He had obtained the proper permit from the state that allowed him to do that. And occasionally people would come there and buy a gallon of wine which he would sell from his basement.”

“But in the meantime he was buying eggs from different people and would take them to Cleveland. He had certain customers there, among others Hotel Cleveland which was the newest and biggest hotel there. Father would take those eggs and they would be candled, hand candled, and h would guarantee the absolute freshness of every egg that he sold. And they paid him a premium to get Father’s special white candled eggs which they used for their three-minute boiled eggs. They bought cheaper eggs for the general use, for baking and for serving, frying and scrambling and what have you. But for any customer that ordered a three-minute boiled egg, you would get one of these eggs that Father had and he would take a certain number of cases to Cleveland once a week and he had developed a small business that way. And then he had other eggs and things for sale. And there was a market, a farmers’ market, in Cleveland that he would make his deliveries. There was a grocery store there, the Brayman brothers owned a store, and the Braymans had lived in Wakeman at one time and Father supplied them with eggs every week.”

(My mother remembered that when he raised strawberries, he used to take the strawberries into Cleveland.) “Well, we didn’t, he didn’t raise many strawberries. It was, he, whenever he had produce of any kind that he raised, he would take into Cleveland. And one year, among other things, he had a quantity of white Easter lilies and he raised, oh, how many hundred I don’t know. But those were bundled up and were taken in to a florist in Cleveland. And he did quite a lot of work like that. He was gradually getting older and that was one of the reasons that he sold the mill. The mill had become, he had been fifteen years younger and when he was fifteen years older the mill property had become a burden, trying to operate it along with his orchard business and all of these — he seemed to like to get into everything at the same time and didn’t concentrate.”

“Father seemed to like to dabble in many things. One of the other things following the sale of the mill — at one time he decided that hatching eggs, baby chicks, would be a good idea and he had the space in the barn at Wakeman. And he obtained from someplace, or bought, an incubator that would hatch or would carry three thousand eggs at a time. And for more than one season — I can’t remember how long he did it. I know he did it for at least two different years, in the spring of the year. People who would want baby chicks — he would contract to furnish them at so much apiece. If they brought their own eggs and had wanted a certain breed of chickens, they would bring the eggs for those. Or if they would tell him what they wanted, he would get them.

“Father raised chickens. We had quite — always did have a lot of chickens around.

F.A.'s chickens 1922

F.A.'s chickens 1922

This picture was taken in 1922 of F.A.’s chickens.  I have it on good authority that these are a large flock of young birds and include a few Plymouth Barred Rocks, Leghorns, and Rhode Island Reds. If we didn’t have them, he would get the eggs from someplace that did have, whether they might be Plymouth Rock or White Leghorns, or White Rocks. There were a number of different — I remember there was a Silver Laced Wyandott that was a popular bird. It was a heavy bird. It was a good laying bird and also was a good bird for a family — roasting. It was not a fryer type like the Leghorns they used for the fryer types. He operated that for several years until it was destroyed later by a fire that destroyed the barn.”

My Denman family line first migrated from Ditchling, Sussex, England to New York state up the Hudson River around Kingston and Rondout Creek in about 1795. They settled in the Neversink area in Sullivan County. It was from there that some of the family moved on westward to northern Ohio.  A booklet put together by the Town Clerk of Neversink, celebrating the Bi-Centennial of the Town of Neversink (Ackerley, Loretta.  1998.  Township of Neversink 1798-1998.) described the early days of the William and Ann Denman family as follows.  They lived in a rough log lean-to on a remote hill, the building described in a letter as having no plaster but only leaves stuffed in the cracks.  The hill is now known as Denman Mountain.  Through much hard work, the Denmans survived and prospered.  A proper house was built and the Denmans raised 10 children to adulthood.  Their daughter Elizabeth who was born in England not long before the family left for the new country, died soon after they arrived.  My ancestor, John, was ther oldest living son, born in England in 1791.  Before 1819 John was in northern Ohio having purchase land and begun clearing and farming.  Here is Grandpa Lyle’s telling:

“In the trips from New York to Ohio the first year two members of the Denman family (John and his brother William) carried what they could carry on their shoulders and then the next trip or the trip after that they had an ox team. But on one trip, one of the men brought back a quantity of apple seeds. The story has varied from a quart to a peck. You can use your own judgment on how many they had. Those apple seeds were planted and that was the start of an apple industry in northern Ohio.  This is the Denman family’s own Johnny Appleseed. At one time, the apples produced in northern Ohio in those in the state, northern York state as they called it then, the northern part of New York, was the apple producing area for the United States. A few years later it began to spread and it, by the present time, as you are aware, apples are produced in central Ohio, in Virginia and many other states, and then particularly in the northwest, Oregon, Washington. The apple industry is entirely changed. But at the time I am telling you about the early orchards were around northern Ohio.”

FA Denman childhood home

FA Denman childhood home

“Father had two orchards. One of about ten or eleven acres, right near the homestead where he was born and where I was born.  And the other orchard was a short distance south of that of about five acres. And they were mostly Baldwin apples, Russet apples, a certain number of what they called Rhode Island Greenings, and a certain number of Ben Davis which are, which were in my opinion practically worthless there — they had no flavor whatever. But they had a number of other flavors. They had Rambos and they had Gravensteins which were, is spelled G-r-a-v-e-n-s-t-e-i-n but the family always called them Garvusteens. And there were other various.”

Gravenstein apple

Gravenstein apple

“That orchard has all been destroyed as of the present time. But it was very active and father would spray it and harvest it. And some years he would have a light crop and they, I think the big, the heaviest crop he ever had was along in the early 19–, let’s say somewhere in 1910 to 1915, along in there. He had a matter of around 4,000 bushels of apples. The price, of course, was not high. But it was a nice, nice crop of apples.”

“Now another, the thing, one of the things that will be of interest to you folks.  (Grandpa Lyle knew that all of his grandchildren would be listening to these interviews, so he liked to put in tidbits he thought we would like.) In going to the market you will find on the shelves of most markets the J.M. Smucker jellies, jams and various types of preserves by the J.M. Smucker corporation of Orrville.  Mr. J.M. Smucker, the founder of that, was a friend of my father’s and each year he would come to Wakeman on the train. He’d go into Cleveland from Orrville and then come to Wakeman on the train. Father would meet the train in the morning and would drive Mr. Smucker around from orchard to orchard in northern Ohio. At that time they, their chief product was Smucker’s apple butter. And that was known all over the country and that was the start of the Smucker organization that we have today that produces everything in the way of fruit preserves and jellies. And Father would drive Mr. Smucker around from orchard to orchard and he would arrange to buy the product from the various orchards. Sometimes one day would take the trip and occasionally he would have to stay overnight at the Denman home. But I thought it might be a matter of interest to you to know that my father was a business acquaintance of J.M. Smucker and J.M. Smucker had lived at our home and stayed overnight there on certain occasions.”  The website for the Smucker Company has a nice history section that talks about the beginnings of the Company, shows a timeline, and gives a very brief history of the Smucker name.

“The orchards in northern Ohio are now practically depleted. It’s industrialized and built up with people who work in the different cities there. Central Ohio still has some nice orchards I am told, and down to the central part of Ohio I am told there are many nice orchards yet. But orchards are available, apples are available now from so many different places that the crop, that the center of the — there is no particular center that I know of.  New York state still produces apples and central Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky and different states. Particularly, though, in Washington and Oregon, the northwest has immense orchards in that area. I believe that would cover the history of the orcharding and the early settlement of the Denman family in northern Ohio.”

To set the stage as I start this fourth in the Wakeman series (also described in the first one): this is a description of life in the early 1900s in a small north-central Ohio village.  My mother interviewed and taped my Grandpa Lyle (her father) talking about his early life and recollections.  These interviews took place in February 1985 and February 1986.  Grandpa Lyle was 88 and 89 years old.  I had the tapes transcribed (thank you, Kathy!) and have excerpted stories but left the language pretty much as Grandpa Lyle spoke.  If you want to go back to the first one, it is found here.  The succeeding ones have been posted about once a month after that one.  There was also one earlier post about Grandpa being a foodie before it became popular that was also taken from these interviews.

The elevator business, they called it a grain elevator. It’s where the grain was unloaded and stored. Father also, in connection with that, operated a coal yard where he carried — we had Masseline coal which was a less expensive coal. But that was good for cook stoves. And then they had Jackson coal and there was some smokeless coal, I’ve forgotten the name of it, but we carried several different — coal of several different qualities for heating purposes and then we carried — he got to carrying coke which is a product of the blast furnaces at the steel plants. Coke was valuable as a heating unit, as a heating material. We didn’t sell as much coke as we did of the coal but — oh, yeah, there was anthracite coal or hard coal which people would use in their heating stoves in their living rooms. So we had several varieties of coal that had to be stored. They’d ship it in in carloads and it would be unloaded into bins.

Father had a series of bins built along — incidentally, we had a railroad spur that was, 50% of it was on our, on the Humphrey property that Father had bought and Father really owned half of a railroad switch. The switch would probably hold five or six cars. And that switch went back to a livestock yard that was operated by other people. But they would use that switch to load livestock on certain days of the week. He also handled lake sand for people wanting to make cement, build something, he had a bin that was, he’d order from Sandusky. I remember very well, the Kelly Island, what was it, Kelly Island Lime and Sand Company. They would ship carloads of sand to Wakeman and we would shovel it into the bin. That was sold, so much a hundred pounds, to people who wanted to construct sidewalks or anything that they needed concrete for. He carried a stock of cement. He also carried carloads of oyster shell from Maryland. Oyster shell was in great demand, or it was in steady demand, for poultry, chickens, raising chickens. Everybody raised a few chickens and they all had to have a certain amount of oyster shell or the eggs would be, were so soft shelled that they could not be marketed. And everybody raising chickens would have to buy the oyster shell. That is probably an items that is no longer — I’m sure the companies now that had the large poultry producing areas have their own way of handling that, but in those days, everybody bought a 50 pound bag of oyster shell.

Some years, perhaps ten year or more after he started the mill, I was in about the 7th or 8th grade I believe when Father decided that they needed a flour mill in Wakeman. [This would make it about 1909 or so.] And a friend of his who had formerly owned a flour mill at Clarksfield, south of Wakeman, knew of a mill that had been abandoned down in central Ohio. And he told Father about it. Father went down and looked at it; had this man go along with him who was a regular — he’d been in the milling business for years. They looked it over. They decided that if it could be bought right and taken apart and moved up to the Wakeman there, that that might be a good thing. And when they went down there and looked it over Father decided to buy it. The belting, the family — the man had died who owned it and nobody wanted it, so the family gave him the belting. The mill was standing idle there. And it was just a few hundred dollars. Father said that the belting, that the mill was known as a roller mill and had a battery of rollers with the grain that the wheat would go through and I think there were six rollers in position in a parallel, or in a straight line. I know that Father wrote home that the belting alone in that mill was worth more than he paid for all the machinery and everything else. This man went with him and helped, guided him on the purchase of it. Father bought the mill outright. He took two men from Wakeman and they went, they went down and had it — all the machinery, the belting, everything pertaining that could be moved, which was taken out and loaded into a boxcar. They managed to get it into one boxcar and shipped the entire car to Wakeman. It was quite an undertaking but then Father had this one man who had been a millwright and he was an advanced age but he could still do a reasonable amount of work. He agreed to come and install the mill and put it in operation. It took — in the first place, the building had to be built to house the mill — a three-story addition to the end of our grain elevator. And he had to buy a new power plant. He got two 30-horse power gas engines which were made in Wisconsin for a company in Cleveland. I am unable to recall the name of the company but the gas was produced, was known as Producer Gas. There was a gas producer which would have anthracite small, or what was known as pea sized anthracite coal would be put into that and it was fired and that would be the gas from the heat from that, or the gas from that, went through a converter — it was what was called a cleaner. And then that was the fuel that the engines would use. It was a very elaborate set up there and a lot of headaches connected with it. But it got finally into working condition. My father operated the flour mill for a number of years before he sold the entire outfit there.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this mill either. For someone so rich in family pictures I seem to lack the specific ones I need to illustrate my posts. However, I have found a great website that shows and explains how a roller mill works, so if you want to see for yourself go to this website.

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1900 census showing F.A. Denman as farmer

“When Father sold the farm and moved to town so that Mother could take care of her parents, he was left with nothing to occupy his time and he had to figure out something that he would do. [This was beginning in about 1901, and Grandpa Lyle was about 4-5 years old.] He decided that the town needed a grist mill so that the farmers could get their grain ground for their livestock, and an elevator to hand– to buy and sell the grain, wheat, oats and corn — those were the main things that were raised around Wakeman.”

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1900 census showing Humphrey family that owned mill (I think)

“To do that, he bought from the Humphrey family an abandoned saw mill. At one time there had been two saw mills at Wakeman; the McMann family owned one and the Humphrey family owned the other. For some reason, the Humphrey family discontinued and dismantled their saw mill including all the machinery was taken out and sold and disposed of but the shells, the empty buildings — there were two big empty buildings — left.

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1910 census showing F.A. Denman as proprietor, elevator

Father converted one of those buildings into a warehouse to store grain, feed and fertilizer and items that farmers would need. We will call it a farm supply building. The other building — he dug, or had dug, a very large basement. I can’t give you the size of it. But it was a very large basement. At the end of the basement he erected three grain bins to store wheat in, or wheat, oats or corn, whatever, the storage. Then he had a place for an engine room beside the — the engine room was to be located next to the storage bins. The center of the building became the operating area for the machinery. To crush the corn, there was a corn crusher that would crush the cobs and corn and all into a fine, fine enough so it could go through a grinder and be ground up for animal food. And hog food could, they would use, they would eat the, even the ground up corn cobs mixed with the grain and it provided a bulk for the animals. He had the corn crusher, a corn sheller installed beside — and then the grinder for grinding the grain and then a wheat cleaner. Those four items were sort of placed parallel, in a line along one side of the building, the front side of the building where the farmers could drive up with their rigs and a chute would be opened up that would open out so that they could empty their grain right direct from their wagons into this chute and it would either go in to the crusher or the sheller or the wheat cleaner where there was wheat. The one other small elevator in town had a horse powered arrangement which was very, very slow and it took farmers a long time to unload. Father installed this cleaner which was operated with the energy from his gasoline engine which was installed. In doing so, a farmer could unload his grain almost as rapidly as he could dump the bags of it or shovel out — if it was a tight wagon box they would just shovel it out into a little chute that opened out and it would be through the cleaner and with the chaff and screenings the imperfect matter was taken out of it and the good wheat was stored in bins. The wheat that Father had for sale on the market thus was much superior to the wheat that the other elevator had because they did not have any way of cleaning it. The wheat that they took in was just as it came from the threshing machines and contained the chaff, screenings and any impurities that the cleaner would take out.”

“I will go back to explain about the power that Father had for operating his machinery. He had the first gasoline engine of any size in Wakeman. It was 25 horse power. He purchased it from a company at Columbus, Ohio. It had been used. It was a second — it was a used engine but it was fully guaranteed, had big heavy fly wheels on it that were more than six feet in diameter and must have weighed a ton apiece. That machine was very heavy and had to have a solid, firm base. People advised him to have it put in the basement where it would be down on the ground and solid. He disagreed with that. He couldn’t see going down, running to the basement, every time they wanted to do something with the engine. He conceived the idea of building a rectangular pyramid of solid masonry, rock, rubble, brick, anything that, and with cement — mostly sandstone, rock, and hardheads — anything in the way of heavy rock material and they built a rectangular pyramid from the basement up level with — a little above level, a few inches above the first floor. It was quite an undertaking but that’s the way Father said he wanted that engine up on the first floor where they could run to it and get at it and shut it on and off without having to run downstairs into the basement which the company thought was the proper place for it.”

“Directly above the first floor, he had a huge piece of sandstone quarried from the quarry which operated north of Wakeman that must have been at least two and a half to three feet thick, at least three feet wide, and perhaps nine or ten feet long. It was a very huge chunk of sandstone. That he had quarried to set on top of the rectangular pyramid built up from the basement. That sandstone block was to be the base on which the gasoline engine was bolted. Holes were drilled in the rock and they had a way with chisels of building that and then setting bolts in there. And the bolts were surrounded by concrete and at the proper distances. It was all very nice, very well worked out. When the engine arrived it was unloaded from the train with the aid of pulleys and rollers. It was a very arduous task but the people knew how to handle the machinery. They got the engine inside the building and had it hoisted up with pulleys and rope and had it moved over the, directly over the base, and had it lowered onto the bolts that were set in the rock and everything was put together perfectly and those, then the base of the engine was bolted firmly to that big sandstone bed that was on top of the rock pyramid. It made a perfectly sound foundation for that motor and it worked — that part of it, it worked perfectly.”

“The engine was connected to a drive shaft which went the full length of the building. That drive shaft was one that operated the various elevators that would carry the grain from one floor to another. This drive shaft had pulleys on it that operated the crusher and the corn sheller and the cleaner and the grinder that ground the grain. Different sized pulleys, different sized belts and a clutch that would engage or disengage each one of those items as they were needed. Otherwise the elevators ran continuously whenever the line shaft, as we called it, or the drive shaft — the elevators operated continually up and down and that was the power that was used to operate the cleaner and the grinder. And the fact that he could clean that wheat made it very wholesome and some people would buy just the cleaned wheat and prepare their own breakfast food from that. It was rather a novelty in that there was nothing like it anywhere in any of the towns around.”

“The grinder had two stones. They were perhaps 24 inches in diameter, maybe 28 or — yes, I would say they were around 24 to 28 inches in diameter. One stone was fixed permanently in a solid piece of metal. And the other stone was on a shaft that would whirl against the fixed stone and grind the grain. In other words it was an — you may have heard of stone-ground flour or stone-ground corn meal or stone-ground various items in the grocery store. Sometimes it used to be advertised.”

“Well about once in a — depending on how much the grinder was used, it would have to be sharpened. It would be taken apart and the two pieces of stone would be laid flat on their back and then a man with metal picks, steel picks — first it would be marked out on there, the original markings would be marked with, they called it Venetian red. It was a sort of a paint but it was just a marker to guide the person sharpening it. And the person sharpening it would wear gloves and goggles to protect their eyes and would sit there and pick, pick, pick. The picks were sharp metal with flat blades, perhaps an inch wide on both ends and a handle in the middle. And having them sharpened on both ends make the single pick, made a double use. And it would take many hours. It would take perhaps a matter of two days to sharpen those stones to dig, to rechannel, make a slight, just a slight channel all the way around from the center to the outside so that as the stone whirled, the grain would be in those little channels there, but it would, there was a very delicate adjustment that would push the moveable stone up against the fixed stone to cause the grinding of the grain between the two stones.”

“And the sharpening of that was quite an event. It would take a couple of days or more to sharpen that and it would take hours. Two people could work, one on each stone. And it would take the two people anywhere from six to ten hours for two days to complete the job of sharpening those grinding stones. That covers the grinding operation there.”

“The grain that came in from the farmers was stored in the elevator there and when the elevator storage was filled, Father would arrange to sell a carload of wheat and — I don’t remember that he shipped out any oats. He may have sold oats, but most of the oats were consumed locally for livestock feed there. But the wheat was all, it was practically all shipped at that time out of town. At a later period, he constructed a flour mill in connection with this and put in a brand new power plant. I’ll come to that just a little later.”

I got interested in what this all looked like, and since I don’t have any family pictures of any of it, I went looking on the internet. What I found was a blog entry that describes the process and shows some great pictures of a grist mill still working today, in southern Indiana. If you’re interested, here is the link to that post.

I’m sitting here in front of my computer with a nice glass of ice tea, soon to be followed by something on the grill and a nice glass of something a bit stronger than ice tea.  Soon to be followed by doing nothing.  That’s right, doing nothing.  It’s summertime.  Remember the old song lyrics, Porgy and Bess, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy” or Nat King Cole, “Bring back those lazy hazy, crazy days of summer.”  Well, those days are back and this week we are going with lazy and easy.

First a set of Pat’s favorite old summertime photos with a few of my comments, and then a set of mine with a few random notes of Pat.  Here’s Pat.

In the Midwest, when I was growing up, you swam at a pool or a lake or pond and had a place at a lake for vacationing if you were wealthy. The people I knew joined the local pool and maybe spent a week at a lake an hour or two away.

Once we were old enough we spent most afternoons at the pool; the local town park had a town pool that a family could join for a reasonable fee. We took swimming lessons in the morning, run by the local Red Cross. It could be downright chilly some mornings. In the afternoon we rode our bikes to the park and established our places around the pool, laying out towels and a book or bag.

Lake Erie pavilion

Lake Erie pavilion

My mother used to talk about being taken to Lake Erie as a child, to swim and picnic and fish with her family .(I knew Pat’s mother, she was the enormously capable, organized mother of five.  It tickles me to think of her as a carefree girl.)

Grandpa Lyle in bathing suit

Grandpa Lyle in bathing suit

The family went on such adventures every Sunday afternoon until both my mother and uncle went off to college. My grandmother had never learned to swim until she learned as a mother when her two children did. My mother said that Grandma Cena had been afraid in boats when they went fishing, because if the boat capsized or she somehow fell in she wouldn’t know how to save herself. So when she had the chance as an adult, she learned to swim well enough to feel comfortable out on the water. I suspect she never liked it much though. Most of the pictures of their family and water seem to have been taken by her father,  my Grandpa Lyle.

This set of pictures was taken at Lake Erie. I know this because my mother carefully labeled one. Unfortunately she didn’t note specifically where on Lake Erie it was. Probably because as a child she knew very well where it was and assumed others would too. It could have been Mitiwanga, which was a popular vacation place and destination for a weekend trip.

Dick, Elizabeth & Lyle swimming

Dick, Elizabeth & Lyle swimming

The pictures are not dated, but from the look of the children and my grandfather, it was probably around 1926-1928.  You can also see the family penchant for occasionally labeling a picture with a cute description along with who the person was. (At least they were labelled–God bless the labellers.)



Now, my turn.  These pictures are left over from my post on the Jersey shore.  The first one is a studio shot of my Great-aunt Jennie, about 1901 or 1915.  The women of my family and probably of most families of that time would don all of their finery for studio pictures, but not at the beach.  It is great fun to see them in their casual wear.

The next one is my aunt, uncle and cousin on the boardwalk.  Judging by the age of my cousin this must have been taken in 1939. All of the people in this photo are still alive. My Uncle Syd is 96 and my Aunt Myrna is 95.  In a younger day my aunt had more energy than any three people I know.  They are not in the best of health and it is a pleasure for me to look at this picture and see them so young and vital.  (This reminds me of Coney Island many years later.  Can’t you just smell the sea and the hotdogs and the cotton candy?)

My last picture is of my grandfather on the beach.  It’s not a great photo and my grandfather doesn’t look very happy.  I don’t know who the people without heads are.  What’s interesting about this picture for me is the inscription on the back, “Ma come quick, Pa’s got his arm around Essie.”  No, I don’t know who Essie is, or rather which Essie this might be.  Esther was a common Jewish name at the time and there were bunches of Essies among my family and their friends.  (And this is the problem with the labels we have on many of our pictures.  Whoever wrote that knew who Essie was, but we don’t.  And we know Pa is Judy’s grandfather because she knows that’s who the man is.  Time to start labeling that box of photos while I still remember.) It’s good to have these photos to see people before I knew them and be able to imagine their lives before I was born.

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