“Some Old Time Memories are Still Terrific”

      “Mary Ellen models “Poodle Skirt”Poodle skirt 001Do you remember the correct year – 1946 or 1947 – when “Poodle skirts”  first  became  “the skirt”  for your little girl?

                “All three pose on slide!”3 on slide 001Mary Ellen with  the “Poodle Skirt”  and  with brothers Denny and Tommy  sitting on slide,  which is on  “girls-side” of   playground.

           “First-Communion Day”1st communion 001“1946”  Mary Ellen, Denny and Tommy  in our  First-Communion outfits, and in front of the  Lovely Replica  of  Our Blessed Mother and within the  Shadow of the Home!

         “Beautiful Little Angels!”2nd Pose 001Three  “Angels”  – Denny Jr., Tommy and Mary Ellen. It is amazing that some of these pictures survived since 1946, especially when you think of the camera used and the poor care taken with all the moves we made!

These Photos went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and then back to Saint Louis, Missouri and several places in the County – so with packing and not really knowing way back then – that there would come a day – when the “Old” stuff is just what,  the world needs to see today!

Thanks to our Almighty,  for taking  good care of all the memories that go with  these PHOTOS – and  that a time and place would be available to post these treasures  – for all  of the generations to follow – they will have most of their questions answered,  by just  checking out  “Grandma’s Stories”  – and if they like – just adding on,  something that I may have forgotten!   D.V.


Posted in Childhood, Grandma and tagged with no comments yet.

“May the Almighty Bless Your Home,too”

How do you like the above   “Aldrich HOME” prayer?  Seems like I have had  the above hanging on the front of the refrigerator, for a very  long time.

Today, more than ever, we do need some “PRAYERS” especially when it comes time to eat. I feel that it is good, that we take the time to say a prayer  because, as we walk through LIFE – we are going faster than our ancestors, as they were able to get more done in twenty-four hours, than we get done, and mostly due to our conveniences, that make things easier to do in less time, but we cram more into our doing  process, than we need to do!

When is the last time you and your FAMILY, took the time to sit down, all the members, together around  the table for the big “BREAKFAST” meal?  May as well ask that  same question about the “SUPPER MEAL” when all of the FAMILY members should  now, be back HOME from the Office and or Business  affairs, and the children should be Home from School?

When we were small – we had our meals together and at the time time, but there was no television – not invented as yet! Then the time for us to go to the Orphanage, “WOW” – we did everything by the “CLOCK” and never a variance of any kind!

How many times, when I hear someone say “NEVER” – I have to immediately stop them because,  as soon as the word is said, sometime in the past – a remembrance comes to mind!

Just that fast, my brain  remembered, when we were in the Orphanage, I may have been in the “5th Grade” and my two brothers were in the next lower grades, and I do  believe, that my brothers, Denny and Tommy saved the day for the “Velvet Freeze Ice Cream” store – that was near the Orphanage. It was probably a very “HOT DAY” like today, and for some unknown reason, the electric was not working and the “ICE CREAM” would all be melted and they needed to get rid of a very large supply of “ICE CREAM”, immediately!

As it happens, at twelve o’clock noon, in the Orphanage we have our “DINNER MEAL” at NOON. That is everyday and exactly “NOON” – the largest meal of the day for us. “Supper”  is  at  “Six”  in the evening, almost nothing, as we go to bed at “Ten after SEVEN” every evening, so you can not sleep with your stomach full. Also we rise at “Five-Thirty” and our day begins with Church at “Six O’clock”

On this particular day, just after “NOON” and we all had our “Dinner” and were now back into our classrooms, when a call came that there was “FREE” Ice Cream for the Orphans – “Come and GET it!” The vehicle that the “NUN” used for going to “TOWN” in,  with a driver – they went over and picked up gallons and gallons of “ICE CREAM” – all that they could load up!

We did not have freezers, but we had many mouths – that like “ICE CREAM.”  So,  all of the children were sent back down from “SCHOOL” to the Dining rooms. We got in line,  each of us picking up a spoon and a  Pint – Quart or whatever size of “Ice Cream” in a container – that you were able to eat and fast!

This could have been called “Christmas” as none of us, in our whole LIFE were invited to eat as much “ICE CREAM” as we could – just to help the “store” from having to throw it out! That only happened that one time – but we  each got   more “ICE CREAM”  – just as fast as we emptied a container, and were out of School,  for as long as it took,  for us  to continue  eating and enjoying  this FREE ice cream, and  as much as we could!

Later in the day, we found out,  that my brother, DENNY had the most ICE CREAM and Tommy had his fair share  – there is always a “Tally” of what – went where – just for the record!


Posted in Childhood, Grandma and tagged with no comments yet.

“First Long Distance Airline Trip by Myself”

      “Before Long I’ll Be Flying!”img027

“The best thing about being on “VACATION” with your parents is visiting places like this!”

“Now I have an idea of what I want to learn to do, when I get a little older. “I want to FLY!”

“When I was eighteen months old,  I took my first commercial   Airline trip all by myself,   from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Eastern Airline  scheduled  to land  at  the Lambert Airport in Saint Louis, Missouri.”

I was treated as “ROYALTY!”  Maybe, I just let everyone know how much I was enjoying the trip and everything that everyone was doing was just for Me.” 

“My father, a Saint Louis Detective,  had just had emergency surgery, and now, I was going to see him and, am I ever so  glad  that everything  had turned out,   “A” “OKAY!”     D.V.


Posted in Childhood, Grandma and tagged with no comments yet.

“Memories on Linton Avenue”

This is DADDY in uniform, all ready to go to work. Guess he is telling us to look at the camera, but TOMMY has to look at him, as he is talking, as it is amazing,  that DADDY can talk with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth – lips not even moving.

I always do as I am told – “look at the camera”  – and no matter that TOMMY does not mind – I do not say a word – just do as I am told!

You do see that “HAND” pointing in the direction to look – “TOMMY” does not pay any attention – he always got away with Murder!

This next picture of  “ME” in the backyard is when we first moved here.The people selling the place were old – not sure where they were going, but from what I understand, they did  offer this house to the neighbor for $2000.00. They lived on the corner and  did have  a large family – and guess he thought,  that they could use more room.

That was not the price for us. Our price during the WWII years  was $3,500.00. I was always on the nosy side and had to get into the backyard and see what I could find? Kind of looks like I found an old “clothes line” that the previous owners left  behind – and I am still wondering – “What was so Interesting” – sure do have to give this picture  some more thought?

This next picture is of TOMMY  and ME and after we  were living  here for awhile – and  somewhat cleaned up. Where we are standing is the top of the stairway to the basement entrance.

So next is DENNY, Jr., and TOMMY sitting on the back porch steps,  and it looks like, just  too much SUN in their eyes, but  – they are  just  so glad to be out side,  and now able to  play  in the cleaned up back yard.

This next  picture is of TOMMY  and ME  and  in the front of our house, and as you can see  (straight back) a truck stopped at that  corner – there is a Grocery Store  entrance on the corner.

Looks like TOMMY and I are doing some exercising  as these were those  days, way before “TV” and I do believe that all of the kids in our neighborhood, were outside playing and doing things, until they heard their “Parents” calling for them, around “Six O’Clock” for Supper!

With the SUN so nice and bright, you can see the area pretty well, but the pictures with little Sun Light – just can not see as much, as you would like – to be able to remember  about this  area,  so many years ago – as this was during those  years of  WWII.

This last picture gives you an idea of how far, I would have to run for something, when I was sent to the STORE.

We are standing in that area, behind where the truck was parked in the above picture, covering this entrance to the STORE.

That is TOMMY with his hand on that “STAND” – he always liked to get his hands into something,  as he was very curious and needed to know, what was going on? Guessing now, his curiosity then, is what made him so smart,  back through all those  years in SCHOOL  and even TODAY!

 This “STORE” is where I would “take a note”  as to what my Parents wanted. I would give it to the man behind the counter and he would get what ever was on the slip of paper, either bagged or all wrapped up for me and with a small piece of paper as to the  charges for everything. The STORE had a record of  the purchases and my Parents had their small slips of paper, and I guess once a month or when people had the money, they would go in to the STORE to settle their accounts.

Sure did get enough running back and forth for stuff – to build up the muscles  and I am guessing that most families with children – always had a “Go-FOR”  as very few families had vehicles – and during the “WAR Years” you needed “Ration” coupons for the gas – “No fuel” as that also went for the WAR Effort!


Posted in Childhood, Family and tagged with no comments yet.

“My First Year of School”

        “Start School… SEPTEMBER…”   1944 ME 001

This is what I looked like,  on my way HOME, just left  having just left my school  – “Perpetual Help Grade School”  on Linton Avenue, Saint Louis.

We also lived on Linton Avenue, so it was not hard for me to find my way to School. BUT – and a big BUT – since we did a lot of walking around the neighborhood – I found out where the “HOLY NAME School was on GRAND AVENUE  and also the BRYAN HILL SCHOOL on Florissant  Avenue.

There were several times while at School,  that something was not going right for me. So, I just walked to one of the other Schools and registered myself, and would attend for awhile. But then when I was asked for some information that I could not supply, I went to the other SCHOOL – and so with in the one year of my FIST GRADE – I went to the SCHOOL of choice!

At the P.H. School – it seems that every week the “NUN”  our teacher,  was asking each of us students for our “nickel”  and I did not have a nickel to give.  It was something that, I could not  find a good reason to ask my Parents for money – as these were those days of WWII – when  most people were doing everything,  that they could for the WAR effort.

It seems to me, that when I am asked for something and I do not have it to give – I have to think of doing something differently. As I remember – if I did not come up with that “nickel” soon – that there would be some problems – in my grades or a note sent home to my parents, and I can not remember all of the things that I could get into trouble for – and just because I could not come up with a “nickel!”

Now that I am thinking back, to those good old days – on a Sunday afternoon, “My DAD” would give me “thirty cents” to take my brothers  and myself, to the “O’Fallon Theatre” and once we found our seats – well, we sat there for hours watching  whatever was on the screen, most of the time till my Mother would show up looking for us.  We never thought about getting something to eat, and the three of just sat there, as there was quite a variety of movies, cartoons and news-reels showing – and all exciting for us.

The more I think about any of us children having a need for money – just does not come to mind. The one most important thing that I do remember hearing is, “You are to be seen, and not heard from!” Oh, another thing, “Do not ask for anything – if you are to have something – SOMEONE, will see to it,  that you have ti!” It was amazing, that  we never had to ask for anything – when we needed something – it was there, and always at the right time

Not quite that way TODAY! Seems  that when you are among young children, TODAY – they know exactly what they want- and express that  clearly, to you nice and loud – with emphasis –  that, they must have it immediately – if not sooner! As a small child, I could not do that – we were all interested in doing our part – for the WAR effort!


Posted in Childhood and tagged with no comments yet.

“Sunday is Still Visiting Sunday – Visit Someone”

   “Older… and still – We wear Knickerbockers!”I took this 001

As you can see, We are getting older,  We still wear “Knickerbockers”  and this is on  a “Visiting Sunday” which, I thought we were suppose to be all dressed up!

My brothers  are not, even wearing their  “Sunday Ties.”   The “RULES”  that we did have,  must have, “got up and left”  this place!  Almost no “RULES”   at all,  is there a changing of the  “guard”   and, everybody is  really relaxing?

When wearing these “Knickerbockers”  especially these older and worn out ones,  you do not always have that nice “baggy-knee”  the part of these trousers,  that is to give a young man,  that spotting style, as if  we  were going to play  on the nearest “golf” course?

“Poison Ivy”  That is what you see on Tommy’s legs! Some real  big red blotches of the stuff,  covering the legs!  Can not remember anyone, having a case of the “Poison Ivy”   other than “TOM”  and no idea where you could go, to role around in it?

Checking out the “PLAY-grounds” as the play grounds were  all asphalt and  large sections of  concrete only  areas, There were  a couple of  trees growing here and there,  but with each tree, they each  had  a real nice boxed in area, These “tree-boxes” making a terrific sitting area, we  called them “tree boxes”  which was a new name for me to use,  that is for  all of the kids  and on  “Visiting Sunday”  families would gather around one “tree box”  – which would have enough room for a large size family and even some friends, to hang around.

So, the  BIG question still remains, ”How did the “Poison Ivy” creep in and attack our little TOMMY?”

“That’s  MOM and Daddy standing behind  DENNY Jr. and TOMMY  and  of course, I am taking this photo.

“Visiting Sunday” was a good time while it lasted, but when five o’clock in the afternoon came around,  it was “real murder” for me,  crying and all chocked up,  couldn’t talk, and when bed time came,  would cry myself to sleep.

People avoid talking about how miserable it is for  little kids, and that being a German Orphanage, I just can not say that I ever saw any real  “LOVE” shown one to another, as there were some “NUNS” –  that had been in this very  same Orphanage,  when they were kids.  Bach in the 1920’s and 1930’s  and with no place to go, and it being a cold, cold world to take a chance in, being all alone, many  just became “NUNS”  and their “cold hearts”  were a regular  part of their  LIFE  –  being passed on to us later generation of ORPHAN  kids.

When I had left the Orphanage, and some  many years,  later,  when I was working and got to thinking,   that  there were a couple of those  “NUNS” – that I had  thought about,  and just what their LIFE must have been?

So,  had to find them,  see what they were doing? Some even had left the Convent, as  evidently that LIFE,  just was not for them. I  started a real good communication system with writing letters and sending  greeting cards, to them at various times of the year. Found out that, they too,  were just waiting for someone to think of them.

Just  how  lonely  their  single LIFE could really be, they  not having any families  and then being a NUN,  in some cases, well what is LIFE all about – when you have no real FAMILY of your very own?  You look for something that you know about, being in an Orphanage Home which is   the next best thing  to do,  since  you had no idea of  “what to do”  in the “out side” world,  so, to be a NUN – gives you  a WAY of LIFE!

LIFE,  does take a very different turn,  for most of us – we have great ideas of what we are going to do,  but then,  lots of times in LIFE,   ii really is  just too hard! We all need a helping hand,  now and then!

“What we all really need,  is just for another “human being” to care  and share their LIFE  with another, with  one,  who was not so fortunate as to make it great,  not as great as they thought, that they would??”     D.V.


Posted in Childhood, Family and tagged with no comments yet.