David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Surname Saturday - My new Swadner cousin

For the past couple of weeks, my life has been filled with moving boxes, U-Haul trucks, and a few tears as we have been moving my son and daughter in law into their first apartment.  It is a bittersweet time for us. We are so proud of him and the fact that he has just finished his Master's Degree in Education and will be beginning his career as a high school science teacher in just a few days.  But, watching him pack up and leave our home and the lack of his presence here has been difficult.  It's something all parents go through and even though we know that he is just fine and that it is our job to give our children both roots AND wings,  it is hard to let him go. 

With as busy as this month has been, I have had to leave my blog and most of my genealogy work on hold for awhile.  I had noticed two messages in my Ancestry.com mailbox that I wanted to get back to as soon as possible, but a phone call last night beat me to it.  I picked up a call in my voice mailbox from the very lady who had messaged me about my family tree.  She said that she had found me on both Ancestry.com and from contacting the Montgomery County (Ohio) Genealogical Society and she noticed that I was seeking information on the Swadner family.  I have written a little on past blog posts about my great great grandmother, Clarinda Swadner Routsong, and it appeared that Susan (my caller) is the great granddaughter of Ida Belle Swadner, my first cousin, three times removed.  She went on to tell me that she has a large amount of photographs, tintypes, and even some furniture that belonged to Ida Belle and since she has no children to pass them on to, she wanted to know if I would like to have anything.  I could hardly believe that I was hearing her message correctly.  I couldn't dial her number quickly enough.  Luckily for me, she answered the phone right away and was happy to hear from me.  We spoke for a few minutes and planned to meet at some time in the future so I can pick out whatever I want from her family collection.  I can hardly wait for that day.  My heart always breaks when I see "orphan" photographs in antique stores and flea markets because somewhere, there has to be someone to whom those people are family.  So, I truly appreciate the fact that Susan tried so hard to find a family member to pass the photographs on to.  I may not be able to take a great many of them, but I certainly will take as many as I can.  In the meantime, I will take the time to discover as much as I can about my cousin, Ida Belle.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Grandma and Grandpa's House


It wasn't a big house. It had two small bedrooms and one even smaller bedroom, a tiny bathroom, a living room, dining room, a kitchen, and a basement with a big furnace that had ductwork that to this little girl looked like the arms of a giant monster. Later, a two car garage was built next to the house, although I can't ever remember there being two cars kept there.  It had a front door, a side door, and a back door, which I always thought was odd since there was very little space from one to another. The door pictured above was the side door which led out into a beautiful yard,  the upper portion of which was actually owned by my great aunt and uncle. That yard was just perfect for the family picnics we had every Labor Day.  On that day, it was filled with croquet games, the passing of baseballs, chairs, tables full of food,  and tons of Norris family laughter.  The backyard contained a cement porch where evenings were spent making conversation....and ice cream. Across the driveway from the backyard were grape arbors, gardens, and apple trees; one of which contained a handmade swing on a branch that wasn't too stable and always swayed up and down along with the "swinger".  It was land that remained from a substantial amount of farmland that had belonged to my great great grandfather who was an very early settler of the township. Through the years, that land had been divided among his children and this portion had belonged to my great grandmother, Elizabeth Routsong Norris. My grandfather, Leland Norris had, after living in various other locations in Dayton, come back to this land and built a home here. As Van Buren Township and eventually the city of Kettering, had grown up, it was very rare to see a home surrounded by as much land as they had. It wasn't overly large, but it was much bigger than the suburban yards we were used to and I thought it was fantastic.  My great aunt and great uncle lived just up the hill on the side yard and we would visit them often and delight in seeing the giant goldfish in the small outdoor pond in their backyard.  As a child, I never appreciated the gift of  growing up in such a wonderful atmosphere and it flew by much too quickly. After my grandparents passed away, I think most of us hoped that someone in the family would be able to buy the house and the land, but the real estate in that area of the city was far too valuable and none of us was able to make the purchase.  Seeing the house in the hands of someone else was very difficult, especially when almost immediately, they began to renovate the house, both inside and out. It was even harder when my great aunt died a few years later and her home and the remainder of the land on the side of the house was sold. Shortly thereafter, an extremely large, modern home was built on the land and obscured the view of my grandparents house from the highway.  The new house sits directly on our old "croquet field" and the field of apple trees in the backyard had to yield the way for crop of new and expensive homes. 

A couple of years ago, my mother gave me an envelope full of my grandparents important papers.  Inside I found the mortgage book that my grandfather kept showing all of his house payments.  It includes the date stamped for the final payment.  It's one of my favorite keepsakes, along with the pictures my husband took of my grandparents home before we left for the last time. No matter how many people move into and out of that house, for me it will always be "Grandma and Grandpa's".