Pop-osophy

“Pop-osophy”
Pop, that is my term of endearment for my father, Lawrence Walter Whitehead. I am not sure, when I came up with that name for him, but I do know that I am the only one that calls him that, and it makes me feel special.

I have written previously that my father was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. He was coming of age in the 40’s and 50’s. His father died when he was not quite 14 years old. That has to be hard on any family. The truth is though; my grandfather was not “present” for my father as he should have been. I do not think he was there to play catch with him or guide him as other father’s did.

Whitehead Family 1948

Whitehead Family 1948

I believe that after my grandfather died in 1950, my father must have decided at some point that if he had children, he would raise them different. What we received as a result was a strict but fair loving father who was there for us. My father believes that family matters. We sat down at dinner as a family every night. We went to Church as a family. We all played sports and supported each other as a family.

Pop has key pieces of advice, colloquialisms, which he would bestow on his children as needed. Here are a few that I remember the most.

Nothing is easy
Nothing is free
You cannot make a silk purse from a sows ear.
He did not just fall off the turnip truck

(Mom, siblings, if you can remember the others, please share)

 

Saturday mornings must have been my mother’s time off from child rearing. As I recall, I spent many Saturday mornings time with my Dad and my siblings. We would make the rounds. First, we would get breakfast at Mr. Donuts. I still remember the glass window that you could see into the donut making area. It fascinated us as children. I can remember two distinct flavors. The first was the chocolate cake donut. The chocolate was so rich and it had the thinnest of glazes on top. The second was the coveted peanut donut. Who would have thought to combine donuts with peanuts. I can see it now.

After we got our fill at the donut shop, Dad would take us to the hardware store. Andy’s Hardware store was not only owned by Dad’s friend, Bob Cook, the Store also sponsored Dad’s softball team. Every time I see the rolls of chain and rope at any hardware store, I am instantly transported back to my childhood. I still love going to hardware stores. However, it is not because I am handy. I did not get that gene. It is because of the memories that can be invoked from going down that aisle.

Andy's Hardware

Andy’s Hardware

No trip was complete without going down to the local Shell station. Dad’s other friend, Jerry Gorsica, owned the Shell Station. Remember the time when the gas station was full-service and included the mechanic shop.

My father’s plan to be an involved father sometimes came at a cost. My father was transferred a few times, so we would have to pick up our lives and move them somewhere new. As a child it was difficult. As it turns out, it was hard on everybody. Later I learned that these sacrifices were made were an effort for him not to get ahead, but to rather stay in a position that would allow him the family life that he wanted. I heard later as an adult that some of my father’s jobs, stunk. If it did, he didn’t let it show to his children.

Now my Pop is a grandfather, six times over. It is heart-warming to see him in this role. He is caring, funny, and sweet in this role.

 

Dad with some grandkids

Dad with some grandkids

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

Mom and Dad with all of the grandchildren

Mom and Dad with all of the grandchildren

 

 

Dad and I April 2014

Dad and I
April 2014

 

 

 

 

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The trip that almost wasn’t…

 

I was going through pictures recently and came across a couple of photos from 1981. This brings back a very distinct memory for me. I was in my thirteenth year and my younger brother Joe was not quite 10. That summer my sister had just finished her junior year and Dave, my older brother had just finished his freshman year. Mom, Joe and I were to take a trip to see mom’s parents in Lynchburg, Virginia. The older siblings were going to stay at home. I think we got the tickets via a frequent flier program of some sort. I think it was the first airplane trip for Joe and me.

A day before we were to go on this trip, I was riding my bicycle around the neighborhood without tennis shoes. Rather I was wearing flip-flops. I am not sure how it went, but I ended up flipping over my handle bars and onto the street. A neighbor teenager went and got my mother, somehow another neighbor, a part-time nurse came out and together they made the decision that due to the amount of blood on the street that I should be taken to the emergency room. This story would just be a regular childhood story, had it not been for the doctor’s recommendation that I should not fly for 24 or 48 hours. This in turn was not okay with my mom. I remember going past her bedroom and over hearing her crying to someone on the phone, it could have been her mother, that she was not going to be able to come as planned. I am not sure if we lost our money or how the story went, hopefully my mother can fill in the blanks. I do remember feeling like such a heel. These pictures bring back that feeling. I know we went and probably had a great time. But, I am not sure at what cost. The cost to my childhood was great though, because it was a clear time in my childhood that I remember having a negative impact and causing her such pain.

As I continue to explore backwards I have to remember that there are good feel-good stories in our past as well as stories that stir up negative emotions. Both types have a valid place in our history.

 

Krista, Betty, and Joe leaving for Lynchburg

Krista, Betty, and Joe leaving for Lynchburg

At the airport

At the airport

Cousins and more cousins

 

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Cousin “as a child of your uncle or aunt or a person who is related to you but not in a close or direct way”.

Since I started to explore backwards I have been amazed at the number and kinds of cousins I have met (via the internet). It is truly remarkable.

The first cousins I met on my journey were my mother’s cousins. I met them when I was a little girl, but after I started exploring my genealogical roots, I got to meet them and get to know them as adults. I previously wrote about them, see my July 2013 post.

Another cousin I met while exploring backwards was Mary Stevens.  She is my second cousin 1x removed.  Her father carries the Steven’s name and as such we have many familiar names in our line.  We met via Ancestry.com and have shared a lot of information with each other.  She and I have even shared our online family tree.

Recently I met Anne Moore Vaught, my first cousin 1x removed. Her mother, Martha Ann Whitehead was my grand-aunt. Anita stumbled onto my blog in search of a Facebook page about growing up in Oglethorpe. After we reconnected and exchanged emails, I found out more about her and her parents. She in turn introduced me to her daughter, my second cousin. It was through the connection with Anita and her happy accident that I went to find this Facebook page and met more cousins. I have not placed them all yet, but several of them seem to be doing similar research.

Another cousin I met recently was Father Ronald Crewe, who is my second cousin 2x removed. His mother’s maiden name was Kersten. I took a chance and contacted him blindly through his work email. I am so glad I did. Since then, I have learned much more about the Kersten’s in Wisconsin and Cicero as well as the homestead in Belgium.

Another cousin I met online was through the website, Ancestry.com. Billie Jean is my second cousin 1x removed. We share a history from the Hicks side of my family tree.

Each of these individuals have been so generous with their time and resources. I want to thank them for their friendship that has evolved. It is with their resources that I have been able to add to the family tree, this blog and eventually, a book (I hope).

So here is to cousins! They provide a whole different connection to your past.