Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

One of the things I remember most growing up is my Dad as "Coach." A lot of his students (who were oh, so grown up to me!) called him that like it was his first name. Thanks to my Grandma Ritchie's scrapbook I have a few newspaper clippings showing Dad in him coaching days. This picture appeared on Friday, April 3, 1964.

There is a story told about me going to track practice with my Dad. It would have been around this time as I was about 5. At some point Dad turned around to find me and saw I was earnestly talking to one of his sprinters - telling him how to correctly stand in the blocks! In my defense, I was apparently giving him the right instructions. I listened to *everything* my Dad said, and apparently all the runners hadn't!!

Dad coached just about every sport there was. Here are a few more pictures of him as a football coach and a basketball coach.

What I really like about seeing the Jr Hi basketball picture is how YOUNG they look - of course they WERE young. However, when I think of being a little girl, I just remember all the "big boys" that Dad coached.

The thing I love the most about my Dad as coach is how he could so love sports and have three daughters who were not all that interested in participating and yet never ever make any of us feel as if his family makeup was anything other than exactly what he wanted. I can remember more than once having people - adults who should have known better - say to him when I standing right there things like, "Oh you don't have any boys, that's too bad" or "Just girls, I'll bet you want to try again." My Dad would just laugh and tell them his girls kept him calm and happy - why would he want boys? I never once felt that I should be anything other than exactly what I was.

Thanks Dad ~ I love you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordy Wednesday ~ Dad Naturally

Since I find it so difficult to be “wordless” in my Wednesday contributions, I decided to start a new tradition, “Wordy Wednesday." Well, Greta, I'm jumping on that bandwagon starting now!!]

Since this is Father's Day week - Wordy Wednesday is devoted to a few pictures of my Dad.

This is the earliest picture I have of my Dad. He would be about 6 mo old. I remember asking my Grandma Ritchie more than once if this was REALLY Dad, because that sure looks like a pink sweater - but Grandma said it was Dad, and she would be the best one to know that!

Dad in the traditional "child on pony" picture. That hat is something else! I haven't yet found out where this picture might have been taken. My Dad's family lived in Cleveland until he was around 12. His maternal grandparents lived on a farm near Apple Creek so I've always thought this picture might have been taken on a visit to the farm. I'll have to see if Dad knows the answer when I see him this Sunday.

This is the earliest formal portrait of Dad. He is the younger of the two boys ~ and the cutest! I don't know how they were able to get both boys to sit there long enough to take the picture, and I'm even more curious about how they managed to keep Dad from falling over.

Finally a picture that I featured in a previous Wordless Wednesday, but it's so priceless I'm posting it again. Also, it's my baby sister's favorite picture of Dad.

Poor little "Donnie" can't even keep his head up, but he's waving to the adoring crowds ~ way to go Dad!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Celebrating Father's Day All Week!

As we come up to the Father's Day weekend, I wanted to update my banner to show a series of pictures just of my Dad. I don't have quite as many formal portraits of him as I do for my Mom, but I'm still fortunate to have lots of pictures. Here is one that I have framed in my house. This is a picture of Dad when he played baseball during his high school days in Apple Creek, Ohio.

[It's a favorite of my Mom's as well, although she did not know my Dad in high school.]

Wasn't he a cutie?!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Family Events ~ June 14 - 20

June 14 ~ In 1871, Agnes RITCHIE died at age 1 mo in St. Andrews, Scotland. She was the second child of my 2x great-grandparents, James RITCHIE and Jane SWINTON

June 17 ~ In 1933, Cotys Milner MOUSER and Vestal MATHIS, my brother-in-law's grandparents were married.

June 19 ~ In 1913, Edwin S QUICK, my great-grand uncle died in Denver, Colorado.

June 20 ~ In 1874, William BENZIE and Hellen LUMSDEN, my 2x great-grandparents were married in Inverurie, Scotland.

Also on this day in 1908, David RITCHIE, my great-granduncle married Marianne MOORE (his cousin) at Lauder, Scotland. [tomorrow's Tombstone Tuesday post will be about David]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ 06/03/2009

The baby (in the backseat on Mother's lap) is my grandfather, David Washington RITCHIE. This picture would have been taken sometime in 1908.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Toronto, Ontario

From my trip to Ontario last week, I have a double Tombstone Tuesday story.

From correspondence many years ago with my Uncle George, I knew that my 2nd great-grand uncle, Alex Ritchie was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. I even had an old (and slightly fuzzy) picture of the stone that Uncle George had sent. So, really, why did I even want to go??

Well, my only plan for Thursday was to go from Thorold, ON to Oakville, ON. Since that is not a very long trip, and I couldn't get into my hotel room until 3:00 anyway I thought I might as well go into Toronto and visit Mount Pleasant Cemetery. I even had the information regarding the section and plot for the stone so I should be in good shape.

When I got there, I couldn't make sense of the notation O-61-3 that I had from Uncle George. The only sections I saw were all numbers - and this was clearly the letter O. So, I ended up having to go into the office and ask - good thing for me! The lady there looked up Alexander Ritchie and told me he was indeed buried in section O - which was across the road. Since we were chatting I asked, almost off-hand, if there was a James Ritchie, who died in 1891, buried in the cemetery. Yes, she had an entry and I started to feel very excited - I'm sure you all know the feeling! - and then she said, "He's buried with Mary Davidson Ritchie."

Well, that was NOT right! My great-great-grandfather was married to Jane Swinton so this didn't seem like the right person at all. It also made me question the death date and information I had been given. Although I have a copy of a death entry I have to admit that I had always wondered if it really was "my" James ~ James Ritchie being such a common name. There was nothing on the death registration that I could point to as tying it to my James. With a sinking feeling that I'd been wrong about this, I asked for the location of the stone. If nothing else I would find it and then possibly the information on the stone would tie to the death registration and I would know it wasn't the right person.

Armed with the information and a map I went over to the correct part of the cemetery. It was a drizzly, misty day but the cemetery itself was really beautiful. It was full of old trees and well groomed. The rainy weather just made everything lush and green. I know that most people reading this will understand when I say that I was really enjoying just driving around and admiring this cemetery. It had a very peaceful feeling.

Without much trouble I found Uncle Alec's stone. He was buried with Romeyn Lawyer - who I'm told was a lawyer and a business partner and Romeyn's sister Adelaide.

In Memoriam
Romeyn Lawyer
Died March 6th 1915

Adelaide Lawyer Willson
Died December 10th 1908

Alexander Ritchie
Died October 3rd 1924

Now to try and find James. Fortunately he was buried in section N so it was very close. Unfortunately most of the stones I was seeing in this section were old, moss-covered and almost totally illegible! I walked around, my feet getting wetter and colder by the minute, but just couldn't seem to orient myself with the map. I didn't know if I was even close to the spot that was marked. Still, I kept looking. Finally, I found a marker on the ground with a number...I used that to orient myself and kept looking...found some more numbers on the ground. Now, I knew I was at least moving in the right direction. There were 2 completely illegible stones - I even took pictures of them thinking that maybe those were them [if Mary had a separate stone.]

But I still kept walking ~ you know that feeling that you are so close to something? I just couldn't leave. I found another marker in the ground and knew I had to be almost on top of it! I kept looking at the ground for more numbers..and then suddenly there is was - a stone that was set in the ground. It read, "In Memory of Jame Ritchie, Stonecutter, Who Died Oct 5, 1891, Aged 51 years, Late of St. Andrews, Scotland, KIND LOVE"

That just HAD to be him! Now mostly I don't get very emotional about my cemetery finds, but those words, "Kind Love" made me cry. Suddenly I could see a woman in a strange country with 6 children, whose husband had just died. I still don't know what happened after that, but this stone made me feel the loss in a way I can't quite explain.

As I was pondering this, I remembered that Alex was married - and his wife was Mary Davidson! I don't know how that escaped me originally. Now it all made sense and made me even more sure that I had the correct person. Alex would, most likely, have seen to the details of his brother's burial and then later also buried his wife there. I did not see any indication of a stone for her.

Sorry for the long story...but I was beyond thrilled to find this!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What I've Been Doing for the Last Week!

My goodness - what a busy week! As I said earlier today, I drove 1,776 miles, heard wonderful lectures, met 3 geneabloggers and visited 2 wonderful cemeteries! That's just the short version - I really did even more than that.

I've been to Ft. Wayne and spent a day at the Allen County Public Library in their great genealogy collection. Well, OK, I admit - I stopped in the Dunkin Donuts first. During one of my walks to the library I also just had to stop in at the Firefighter's Museum. What a great old building! It's been there since 1893.

I've been to Thorold, Ontario and spent a night in the Keefer Mansion. My brother-in-law is supposed to be related to those Keefers, but I haven't yet started working on that line. [I do know that his great-grandfather, George Keefer, was born in Canada.] The Keefer Mansion has been featured on one of those ghost-hunter shows - I found the clips here and here - but unfortunately I didn't meet up with any ghosts during my stay.

I visited Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. It was so beautiful! I was going there to see and photograph the gravestone of my great-granduncle, Alexander Ritchie. I knew he was buried there, but I also made another discovery that I hadn't expected. I also went over to the beautiful new Archives of Ontario, but only spent a few hours there.

All of that before I even got to Oakville for the Ontario Genealogy Society Conference. While I was at the conference I go to meet Janet Iles and Brenda Dougall Merriman (who autographed a book for me!) and Stephen Danko, who was in a Friday workshop that I attended. I also manager to fit in attending a few actual session ;-) Actually, I was there early and attended workshops as well as some of the great sessions on Saturday.

Then, I decided to leave early on Sunday and head out across Ontario to Kincardine in search of another cemetery. Fortunately many of the various branches of the OGS had tables in the vendor area. I was able to talk to some helpful people at the Bruce & Grey Branch and I found that the cemetery I wanted to visit had been transcribed. I bought the book and from that was able to find what I was looking for when I got there. I also found a few things I hadn't know would be there - and that were not in the transcription book as they were somewhat more recent.

Wow - so much packed into one week. I promise to talk more in-depth about each thing. I have a GREAT Tombstone Tuesday planned for tomorrow!