Two Beauties Christmas 1949

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Pat, Mom and Tommy Doll

Christmas Eve 1949

You can’t tell this picture is from Christmas, but it is from Christmas Eve 1949.  I have to laugh at my mother’s face.  She made this face when when she didn’t like something.  So was use to seeing it.  In 1969 when I saw Lily Tomlin on Laughin playing Ernestine the telephone operator, I told my mother she reminded me of her.  My mother was insulted, but I meant it as compliment.  Click link to take a look at Lilly Tomlin as Ernestine and compare the faces.  This picture was taken in our apartment and was probably the first time my mother hosted Christmas Eve.  Our family tradition was we had Christmas Eve at our house, and opened our gifts after a visit from Santa. On Christmas Day we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for dinner.  Sitting next to my mom on the sofa is her cousin Pat.  She is holding a doll, that I probably received for Christmas that night.  I called it my Tommy doll.  I don’t know if that was the name from the manufacturer or something we came up with.  It is interesting that it is a boy doll.  At that time most dolls were girls.  I remember the doll, but don’t remember playing with it very often. My mother wrote on the back of the picture, “Two beauties — Xmas 1949”.


Frightening Stories


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic this week is Frightening.  “Any ghost stories in the family? Ever been scared while researching? Been frightened in a cemetery? Or how about sharing a Halloween story or photo? “

We had a relative who passed away a few years ago.  I am leaving out her name to protect the innocent.  She was a wonderful lady and had a heart of gold.  There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for you.  That said, she told some fantastic tales.  She wasn’t just making them up to entertain us, she truly believed in what she told us.  At one time she was going to write a book about all her experiences. I wish she had written them down because now I can’t remember all the details.  When we visited, our husbands would be in another room watching TV and talking.  I would be in the kitchen with her, and my kids would be playing in the next room.  Unfortunately, they could hear her and on the way home I had to explain that she was just making it up to try to ease their minds.  Some of the tales were frightening and others just unbelievable.  I will try to tell some of them the best I can, but they won’t be the same because Iike I said I don’t remember the all the details.

She claimed that she heard voices coming from upstairs, but no one was home.  She decided to go up there and see where the voices were coming from.  When she started up the stairs the end table next to the stairs said. “Do not to go up there.”  So she stopped, waited a few seconds and tried again.  Once again the end table said to her, “Do not to go up there.”  She became frightened, stopped, and didn’t go up there.  She became convinced that end table was possessed.  A couple of days later she decided to get rid of the end table and asked her son to take it to some antique store.  On his way, he was in an accident and she believed that the table caused the accident.  The fact that her son was in always getting in accidents was beside the point. 

She claimed that she grew a third breast, right between the other two.  She diagnosed herself with Breast Cancer, and sent her son to Mexico to buy some Laetrile for her.  She took the Laetrile until she ran out, and she had to send her son back to Mexico several more times for more Laetrile. After about a year of taking Laetrile, the third breast finally disappeared.  It never returned, and she claimed the Laetrile cured her of Breast Cancer.  She just couldn’t understand why the United States didn’t make it available to cure all Cancers. 

One night she woke up to a bright light that lit up the bedroom.  She tried to wake up her husband, but he told her that she was crazy and went back to sleep.  She got up and went into another room to look out the window.  Her daughter was already there looking out the window, when they both saw a UFO land in their yard.  All of sudden it took off and disappeared.  The next day she told her husband that both she and her daughter saw it, but he would not believe her. 

She said that when she was a child her father had been very sick for a long time and was lying on the sofa, when all of sudden he started to levitate off the sofa.  He hovered there for a few minutes before finally settling back down on sofa.  They tried to talk to him while he was levitating, but he seemed to be in a trance.  Afterwards he was cured of whatever ailed him.

Another time when she was a child, she said, she was walking down the street in the dark, and saw a man coming toward her when he turned into a werewolf.  It was a country road in a wooded area and after turning into a werewolf, he turned and headed into the woods.

There were many more stories, but these are the only ones that I can remember.   She sure made an impression on all of us.  My kids, all grown-up now for many years, still talk about her stories. 

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


Family Legends



This weeks 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic is Family Legends.  My family has several, but not one makes a very long story.  So I have decided to list a few here.

Family Legends:

  1. We are related to Napoleon. First of all I don’t know why anyone would want to admit that they were related to Napoleon.  I’ve traced that line back to the early 1700’s and I can find no relation to Napoleon.  This story came from my maternal grandmother about her mother’s family.  My mother asked one of my grandmother’s aunts.  The Aunt said that she had never heard that story, however she had heard that someone had fought in the Napoleonic Wars.  My father used to joke that he believed it because my grandmother and mother were like dictators.  I believe the aunt was right and my grandmother was wrong.
  2. My 2nd great-grandfather was a captain in the German Army in the 1870’s when he deserted the German Army and came to the United States. Of course if you are running away from the German Army you bring your pregnant wife and your 1½ year old little girl along with you.  I believe he left Germany because he belonged to a religious faith that was pacifist, and wanted to avoid conscription into the German Army.
  3. My grandmother also believed that she was part Native American. How she ever came to this conclusion, I have no idea.  Her mother was born in Germany and her father in the US born to a father born in England and a mother born in Canada to parents who came from Scotland.  She had this information, so where does the Native American heritage come in to the equation?  I don’t think it does at all.  She might have wished it to be so because she admired the Native American’s.  DNA to the rescue, my DNA shows no Native American Ancestry.
  4. My grandmother said that her grandmother’s maiden name was Fischer, she came from Canada, and she was related to the people who owned the Fischer Body Company that make the Auto bodies for Chevrolet.  Remember the famous tag “Body by Fischer” displayed on the door still plate?  Fischer Body Company was started by Fred and Charles Fischer of Detroit Michigan in 1908.[1] In 1913 they became so successful they expanded their company into Canada, setting up a plant in Walkerville Ontario.[2] The only part true is that her grandmother was from Canada.  Her Grandmother’s maiden name was Frazier not Fischer.  Another story that was not true.
  5. My father had told me that we had some ancestors who were killed by Indian’s in Wisconsin.  I was able to debunk this story.  John Desens owned a farm in Clark County Wisconsin and was killed by his neighbor.  John’s son, Herman, accidentally shot himself and died.  I wrote about both of these incidents in previous blogs. See Where there is a will and Misfortune .  The truth is they were killed, but not by Indians.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


[1] Wikipedia Website at

[2] Ibid.