Category Archives: Memory Monday

Memory Monday – Songs Grandma Sang

Since my maternal grandma, Margaret (Ida Jaeger) O’Connell, passed away when I was only 8, my memories are limited. One memory is of her singing a song. I never knew what song it was and I have asked different family members what song it was by singing the little bit that I remembered. An aunt told me that she did not remember the song but she would assume it was something from 1920-1930’s.

Well, two nights ago I decided to search the internet for it. I found a great website (Lyrster) that allows you to enter in whatever words you know and then it searches for the song. The song I was looking for was not from the 20’s or even the 30’s, it was from 1958. The song is Lightning Express by the Everly Brothers album, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.

The lightning express from the depot so grand
Had started out on it’s way
All of the passengers that were on board
Seemed to be happy and gay
But one little boy who sat by himself
Was reading a letter he had
You could plainly tell by the look on his face
That the contents of it made him sad

The stern old conductor then started his round
Taking tickets from everyone there
And finally reaching the side of the boy
He gruffly demanded his fare
“I have no ticket” the boy then replied
“But I’ll pay you back someday”
“Then I’ll put you off at the next stop we make”
But he stopped when he heard the boy say

“Please Mr. Conductor
Don’t put me off of this train
The best friend I have in this world sir
Is waiting for me in pain
Expecting to die any moment sir
And may not live through the day
I wanna reach home and kiss mother goodbye
Before God takes her away”

A girl sitting near was heard to exclaim
“If you put him off, it’s a shame”
Taking his hand, a collection she made
The boy’s way was paid on the train
“I’m obliged to you miss for your kindness to me”
“You’re welcome,” she said, never fear
Each time the conductor would pass through the car
The boy’s words would ring in his ear

“Please Mr. Conductor
Don’t put me off of this train
The best friend I have in this world sir
Is waiting for me in pain
Expecting to die any moment sir
And may not live through the day
I wanna reach home and kiss mother goodbye
Before God takes her away”

Memory Monday Good Ole’ Uncle Bill

William Ramsden
24 Feb 1920
6 May 2001

When I was young, we spent many of our weekends with my Uncle Bill and Aunt Dorothy. We would all go to Wisconsin to land we owned there. Bill and Dorothy had a piece of land which had a garage on it. They turned the garage into a home. They spent many weekends there and lots of time in the summer as well.

In the summer, they cut down trees. Remember those manual saws, where there was a person on each side holding an end and moving it back and forth until they cut through the tree. Nothing like today when you take the electric and do it in half the time. I remember snowmobiling. That was always fun. This large machine running the grounds and the snow blowing in our faces. I truly remember just loving the outdoors. The last time I was there I was about 7 years old. I believe my parents sold our land by the time I was 10.

Anyhow, Uncle Bill was a carpenter by trade. He worked for the Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago, IL. If my memory serves me right he was the head carpenter there. One day, Riverview had an important guest walking through the park. This guest offered  Uncle Bill a job, to go to California and help him build an amusement park there. Bill went home and discussed this great opportunity with his wife Dororthy. Her reply, “I will not leave my family.” So Bill turned down this wonderful job in California. Where his name would be forever etched on Mainstreet USA. So, who was this mysterious guest that walked the Riverview park and offered my sweet Uncle Bill a job in California? That’s right, Walt Disney! Here is a piece of Disney Trivia for everyone out there. All those that were instrumental in the building of Walt Disney’s parks have there name etched in glass on the store fronts of Main Street USA.

This story is one that I will never forget. We grew up very much a Disney family. Spent many vacations in Florida enjoying the parks there.

Grandpa Larry

 

Larry and daughter Theresa

Larry and daughter Theresa

 

 

Born Ambrose Lawrence (Larry) O’Connell on 17 Dec 1905 in Berlin, NH to Dennis O’Connell of Grangerville, NY and Rose May Springer of Maine. Ambrose was raised in the Hudson Falls area of NY. In his 20’s, he road the rails with brother Linus (Joe) to Illinois, where both brothers settled, for the most part. Soon after their Mother Rose and sister Theresa followed. Both brothers started life using their first names, but somewhere in the 1930-1940’s both boys started using their middle names.  Larry died 28 Feb 1975, Chicago, IL.

Larry was married 3 times. His first marriage was to Janet, they had a son Bobby.

His second marriage was to Rose, they had son Dennis and daughter June Rose.

His third marriage was to Ida Jaeger, they had daughter Theresa, and sons Lawrence and David.

Larry is my paternal Grandfather, through his third marriage to Ida. Last week I wrote about my memories of Ida, you can read more about her here.

I was very young when my Grandpa passed, but I wanted to share the memories I do have. When I gave birth to my first child, my father and I were sitting in the hospital talking about my Grandparents. When we discussed them, he could not believe the things I remembered because they passed when I was young.

Grandpa Larry treated his grandchildren well. You could say that we were spoiled by him to a point. The family did not have much money, but we had love. I remember Grandpa  would walk home from work, he would always have candy in his pockets for the grandkids. If it was something I did not like, he would bring me home some Swiss Miss Chocolate Pudding. He wanted all of us to be happy. 

Grandpa had his hobby of building ships. I remember we were allowed to look, but that was it. I recall sitting there watching him work with these small parts and how fascinated we were with them. Unfortunately, I do not have one of the beautiful ships he built. I do however have the next best thing, I have some pictures of them. Make sure to come back on Treasure Chest Thursday to see them.

Once, when we were in his room watching him build, he taught us how to siphon water from one glass to another. Strange memory, I know! 

He loved the first snow. It was peaceful and beautiful. I remember him waking me in the middle of the night so that we could watch that first snow come down. How it looked so beautiful on the trees. It was pure, unspoiled beauty! To this day, this is my favorite time to watch the snow. This past year, I went outside with my camera in hand to enjoy the beauty of mother nature.

I remember sitting on his lap, watching Frosty the snowman. How I cried at the end when Frosty melted, to his calm reply “he will be back again next year.” Yes, I realize that is how the show ended, I was four and found the comfort from my Grandpa instead of the cartoon.

He taught us to dunk our toast in coffee, and did not mind when we did it to his coffee!

The last of my memories happen sitting on his lap and how he would sing to us The Animals Fair. He also would pretend to eat a wad of paper, we would watch it go into his mouth. Do not ask me what happened to the paper, I have no clue. I was so young when he died.

Grandma Ida

 

 

Ida and son Danny

Ida and son Danny

 Ida Margaret Jaeger was born on 1 Jan 1919 (Illinois) to Fred Jaeger and Ella Martha Marie Jonas. Fred was originally from Germany and Ella was from Morton Grove, IL – the first generation in her family to be born in America. Ida was 1 of the 4 girls that Fred and Ella had. All the sisters raised their families in Chicago, IL. 

Ida was my maternal Grandmother and she was the most important person in my life. Biologically she was my Grandmother, but in all actions she was my Mom. My parents divorced while I was still a baby. My father remarried quickly and had another child. My older brother and I spent the day with Grandma and my half sister spent the day with her maternal Grandma. Grandma Ida was the constant in our lives. She made us breakfast,  got us ready for school, gave us dinner and got us ready for bed. Pretty much everything a mother would do, she did.

I was one of the youngest grandchildren and when everyone was at school, it was just me and Grandma at home. I was her remote control before they had remotes. We spent our days watching her soaps and game shows. As she watched all of her shows, she continuously crocheted.  Making many afghans for the family. 

One night, my cousin Erin spent the night, she was a year older then me. She must of woke earlier then I did on this day. I remember waking up and she was in the living room, crocheting with Grandma. I was so upset. I asked Grandma, “how come you won’t teach me?

Her reply was, “You are too young!”

Erin was 5, I was 4. To me, it did not seem like a big deal. I just wanted to be able to crochet like Grandma. Well, I must have put up such a stink because Grandma spent the afternoon teaching me how to make a chain to start out and then from there we went into the counting of your stitches and how it was important so that your afghan comes out even on all sides. Well, being 4, I did not want to count. My first creation was made out of this thick red yarn and looked more like a dress for Barbie, instead of an afghan for her. Within the week, Grandma had pulled my “dress” apart so that she could use they yarn in a afghan she was making. I was so upset!

Grandma died just before my 9th birthday, 17 Apr 1980. Saddest day of my life. I never really tried to crochet after my first lesson. Well, not until I was in my 20’s. I was pregnant with my second child and wanted to make an afghan for the baby. I bought some yarn and made a very simple blanket for the baby, it was not beautiful, but I made it and a few scarves for my daughter. I tried to do some fancy blankets with a pattern that was on the paper from the yarn. I got through 3-4 rows and it just was awful. I pulled it all apart and started over with a basic double stitch. I did make a beautiful afghan for my nephew Ryan’s first child. At the baby shower, it got many ooh’s and ahh’s! I was so excited that after all these years, I was able to make something as beautiful as my Grandma did. 

I have a few afghans that my Grandma made and they are very important to me. I have the one she made for my first “big girl” bed. My aunt sent this to me when my oldest daughter was big enough for that “big girl” bed. I never let my kids use it because it was the only one I had at the time. I have acquired a few more over the years and they mean so much to me. To have a piece of her with me every day. 

Please check back on Treasure Chest Thursday for some pictures of my beautiful afghans.

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