Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sports Center Saturday - Chicago Cubs - John Ralph "Jack" Warner

My grandmother, Doris Wade Smith,  always talked about her favorite aunt, Wave Bruce Warner, who was married to a baseball scout, Jack Warner, but I never had the pleasure of meeting either of them that I remember.  After my grandmother died in 2005 and we cleaned out her apartment, I  took a number of  things from her apartment including letters, mementos, etc.  Recently I delved briefly into the genealogy of her aunt, my grand-aunt, and her husband, John Ralph "Jack" Warner and I was able to purchase this baseball card for Jack Warner on E-Bay. .  My grandmother always spoke fondly and with pride of her Aunt Wave and Uncle Jack who lived in Los Angeles.  Wave sent her correspondence and gifts on many occasions.

Wave Bruce Warner
Jack Warner was born in Evansville, IN on 29 Aug 1903.  I don't have much information yet on how or when Jack and Wave met up, I assume he moved to Mt. Vernon, Il at some time between his birth in 1903 and about 1928 when I believe they were married.  They were living together in the 1930 Jefferson County, IL census with Wave's parent's Frank and Eva Talley.

At some point, Jack went on to become a major league baseball player (see Wikipedia) for eight seasons in the major leagues playing first for the Detroit Tigers (1925 -28), then the Brooklyn Dodgers (1929 -1931), and the Philadelphia Phillies (1932).  When his playing career concluded, Jack became a scout for the Chicago Cubs in their farm system and spent twelve seasons as a coach for the Los Angeles Angels.  He died on 13 Mar 1986 at age 82 in Mt. Vernon, Il and is buried next to his wife Wave in Memorial Gardens Cemetery.  I wish I had the chance to meet and talk to Wave and Jack, but am glad to be able to have this chance get to know them through the wonderful world of the Internet!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar Day 3: Christmas Ornaments & Triggered Memories

Me (Teresa) Ted & Tracy Christmas 1968
I don't remember us ever having any special ornaments when I was growing up, but when I was perusing old Christmas pictures I noticed a few things about this picture of Christmas 1968.  One is that I am sure this was another artificial tree, but it was bigger and it was green!  The second is that there are two garlands on the tree, one is made out of popcorn and the other of interlocking construction paper strips.  This triggered a memory of sitting at the kitchen table with my Mom, brothers & sister, making these garlands.  Funny how you forget these things, but they are still there buried somewhere.

Me & My 2 Brothers, Sister & 4 Wilson Cousins
I remember other things about this Christmas; I was in the eight grade and was excited because our cousins from Ohio were coming for the Holidays.  We lived in what we thought was a really cool house on a hill on Stanley Avenue in Mt. Vernon, IL (looking back that house was a nightmare - maybe more stories about that later).  My Mom was busy cooking and getting the house ready.  We always had a wonderful time when our cousins came for a visit.  Christmas is always special when spent with family. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar Day 2: Chocolate and the Christmas Elf

Amazingly enough with all the wonderful family Christmases we celebrated when I was growing up, I don't remember any special foods.  I think we just always had the typical - what I call mid-western fare - turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, green-bean casserole, cranberry sauce (yuk), etc. to name a few.  But, the one thing that always sticks out in my memory is the big platter of Brach's chocolates that my paternal grandmother Alpha Wilson always had at her house in Bonnie, IL.  She would buy bags of just about every kind of Brach's chocolate and the platter had divided sections for each type of chocolate.  She placed this on her coffee table and it was oh, so tempting to little, budding chocoholics!

Teresa Christmas 1958 Age 3
Here's another picture of me, at three years old, in costume like a Christmas elf, slyly sticking my hand in for another chocolate caramel after being told I couldn't have any more.  Are you starting to see a pattern here with me in the holiday get-ups?  This was totally my mother's fault! She obviously had some sick obsession with dressing her only child up in cutesy Christmas garb for the entertainment of others.  I don't miss the costumes, but I do miss my Grandma and her chocolates!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar: Me and The 1960 Christmas Tree

Me (Teresa) Age 5 December 1960
Not a great picture, but I wanted to show off the scrapbook page I made of myself in front of our small tinsel Christmas tree in December 1960.  For some reason we almost always had artificial trees when I was growing up, I'm not really sure why, but it didn't take away from the magic of the season.  This particular Christmas I remember vaguely.  I had a new four month-old baby brother, Ted who I was not too fond of since I had been the only child for five years.  I remember the house we lived in - it was a small, new, two bedroom house.   It is still there on the outskirts of town and occasionally when I go home to visit my parents I will drive by it, but I don't really have a lot of memories from that house.

I'm sure my Mom probably put up the tree as my Dad worked a lot of hours, maybe that is the reason for such a small, artificial tree.  Every year we followed the same tradition; Christmas Eve we went to my maternal grandparent's house -  Grandma and Grandpa Smith to open presents.  Then on Christmas day after opening our presents at home we would drive out to the country to the old family farm in Bonnie, IL to my paternal grandparent's Grandma and Grandpa Wilson.  There all my cousins would converge and we would spend a grand day opening presents, playing games and eating a big dinner.

I guess in a child's mind it's not the size of a tree or how it's decorated, but the promises of treasures to come and the memories it leaves behind.
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