“Way Back…and WHEN… our Friend Beverly”

To Remember Friends and Good Friend Forever

Remembering “Beverly Theresa PorterBetty, Beverly,Me 001

In the photo above,  this picture  of the three of us,  is being taken by “Gail Porter.”

Also,  in the above photo is Betty Jean Musgrove, and she is taking  this  picture of  me, Mary Ellen and,  I have  my left arm around  “Beverly Porter,”  who is  younger sister to “GAIL”  also a very good friend.

This photo was taken in my last year at  the German St. Vincent’s Orphanage,  and  as you can  see,  I  do have  some long hair, and I wanted it to be very long,  for our  “Graduation Day” in the  up coming, June of 1952,   but … the NUNS,  had a thing about long hair,  that is, long hair on me.

They told me, that they would pay for me to get a permanent at the “Ragsdale Beauty Shop” if …  I would have it done,   just as soon as possible?

It was January 1952,  and they promised me, that  as my hair grows fast,   that it  would be long again,  in time  for “GRADUATION.” 

 I did not really believe them, but, and so that,  I would not be  harassed,    any more  about my long hair,  as it was  “so” disturbing  to them,  when we were all  in Church… so they said!

In my  opinion, instead of looking at my long hair, in Church, and maybe,  wishing that  they still had their own long hair, as  it may have been the case, before they entered into the Convent,  they should have been reading  from their Prayer Books  and  even,  maybe doing some  extra Praying – like we were all in Church… to do.

Just let me tell you,  because I know, it does… for sure…  take longer than six (6) months to grow that  long hair, back.

And now, that I am much older, and have the good news – “HAIR is just dead stuff”  – and no matter  how, and or what, you try to do,  to make it look  even good  and or  even better, and or even to get hair grow long faster, you are wasting your time

It is just  plain ole DEAD stuff, no more so beautiful  with  living LIFE in it…  to do anything,  but just hanging on to your head … to aggravate you!

This was to be a message to remember  my friend… “Beverly Theresa Porter Hitchcock!” 

“Beverly”  was a very good and dear,  friendly  person, to everyone … that I know,   for  all of her LIFE  and  just eight  years ago,  in July,  she  left here,  for a much greater  and  a far more heavenly  resting place, with her CREATOR, ending this  long journey here on Earth.


Well, I was able to add this much latter photo of  “Beverly Theresa Hitchcock” and she did  live 74  very good years, with all of us,  which  includes,   her very many friends and Family!     D.V.

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“Friday the 13th and GAIL’s Friends Remembering”

“Remembering Gail Porter – – one more time”

May 13th…  is GAIL’s  BIRTHDAY – – and we sure do not want to forget to wish “GAIL” a very “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” …

And  sending  this message with the Almighty YAHWEH’s  BLESSINGS – – many more “Special Blessings to follow… forever!”

1952 Class 001

Happy Birthday to Gail –  from all of your old and do I mean old class-mates  and that is even  – – if – – half of us are still around to lift a glass of something to cheer you on…

  For many more years  – and hopefully – we can all remember the words – –  to that number one song …  the “Happy Birthday” song!

L to R – Back row – Stella – Mary Ellen – Gail

L to R  – Front row – Mary Agnes – Jeanne – Theresa – Violet

Taking this picture is Betty Jean  – –   “Elma and Eleanor”    – – would make the rest of our class mates, just  were not around at the time we  were taking a few photos.

In the photo on the right –  is Mary Ellen and Eleanor and this is in  the NORTH Saint Louis area  –  and some time… after we had graduated from German Saint Vincent’s Orphanage.

Gail …   have the very best   “Birthday”  ever!  

“BEST of WISHES”  from all the rest of your class-mates …

via  my thinking of you and our class mates, even if … half are no longer here,  but … I do know that they are wishing to you… all the best … 

even if, it is from the great beyond!.

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“Let’s All Sing Happy Birthday to Gail”

               “Let’s BAKE a BIRTHDAY CAKE!”

5-10-2011 105720 AM

There is a “BIRTHDAY” coming up  and it is on the 13th of MAY , and just for some extra “GOOD LUCK”  and “FUN”  this will be on a “FRIDAY” …

And with  the occasion of it being your “BIRTHDAY”   and also  landing on the “13th” …

NEWS to YOU and all  our readers… those that are always looking for lots of “FUN and GAMES” …   the good news is … my BIRTHDAY” also lands on the  “13th and  a FRIDAY” once in awhile…  but, in a later  month!

One of the “GIRLS” in the above PHOTO will be the LUCKY young lady to be celebrating her BIRTHDAY…  on this FRIDAY the 13th!

Starting from the left side of  this PHOTO…  Elma… GAIL… Betty Jean…  Violet…  Jeanne… Theresa… Mary Agnes…  Mary Ellen… Stella… and Eleanor.

This is the eight grade cooking class  of 1952  so…  

NOW as you are looking, what do you think… that we should  be making?

Way back … in 1952 –  as far as I can remember …  when  you, were in the    KITCHEN …  you would need lots of ingredients … to bake a  cake and or to start to make a nice meal?

Back in the day… there  were not a lot of boxes of the “fast cake mixes” … to make  or even a selection from  which to make a good Birthday CAKE…  

All you would need to  make…  “this item as shown on the front of the box or package” …  would be an egg or two and oil and to add some water. 

Thinking back to our learning to COOK… we would need a  good “COOK BOOK”   with recipes for everything, including lots of additional information,  such as how to even prepare  some  vegetables  – meats –  even for a very  simple item to make…  such as Pancakes and  or even “French Toast”  just some of the items that… even I … back then would enjoy for breakfast. 

So… for this  coming “FRIDAY the 13th” …

I am giving some serious thought to making a “RED VELVET CAKE” …  an extra special   “CAKE”  that should command some “rave reviews” …   that is …  if I do a good job? 

It just came to me… here I am promoting the use of a good “COOK BOOK”  and it just dawned on me  that…  that  is “ME” in the PHOTO holding the  “COOKBOOK” …  someone had to find a good recipe …  for the PHOTO to make sense???                “RIGHT?”   – – RIGHT!

“HAVE you guessed …  WHO is the “LUCKY  CLASS MATE” of mine…  who will be having a real nice “BIRTHDAY PARTY”   on …  this 13th of May – and on a FRIDAY  … this 2022?   

( Just so you  do not have to wait … till tomorrow for the answer,  that is  our very good friend…  GAIL )

******* Happy Birthday Dear Gail*******

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“50th Anniversary of St. Vincent’s Home Memories”

Autograph Memories pg. 10

June 13, 1975   –  A 10-day celebration of the 50th Anniversary of St. Vincent’s Home in Normandy, Missouri  – took place with  several of the Nuns  writing in  my Autograph Book. Have a picture of  Sister M. Alvira,  Sister M. Celestine, and Sister M. Luitrard  enjoying an ice cream cone!

(See the Prise Wining Photo below!)…(You just do not see NUNS eating.)

Sister Jane Frances  was the Nun in charge of health care and the Nurse, with her own office area and infirmary. She was the one that saw to it that  we each received a liquid doze of Epsom salts with a glass of water to wash it down. This would take place early morning  “Monday” following a  “Visiting Day”  – even if you did not have visitors  –  you may have eaten something that a friend gave you  –  and we all needed to be clean … inside!

Sister Maria Aleppia   was in  charge of “Kindergarten” children and was also the Nun in charge during the Breakfast time in the  girl’s side  dining room.  This was a Nun  that  would not let anyone  leave their  “oatmeal” in the bowl  –  you ate it  – or she would spoon feed you  –  no matter what   –  you never got to leave food   –  uneaten!

Sister M. Columbo  was the Nun in charge of everything in the care of the Chapel.  She had two boys and one girl to help her,  cleaning, flower arrangements and the making of the communion hosts  and she took care of the priest garments and the linens – you name  it she saw to it that everything was spic and span.

I worked for her for six (6) months and did a lot of sewing in my spare time and when she made the communion hosts  –    I got to eat the communion hosts   –  “leftovers”   –   and  those not finished baking  – these I really liked!


Sister Mary Alvira is the NUN sitting on the left of this photo… enjoying an ice cream cone on the  “Anniversary” Sunday  Celebration taking place at the German St. Vincent’s Orphan Home.  That would be at 7401 Florissant Road, Normandy, Missouri 63121 – in the Saint Louis County  – North – not to hard to find.

The Nun sitting in the center is Sister M. Celestine and she worked on the “Girl’s-side”  the Dining Room and on the right side  of this Photo is Sister M. Luitroud and her work assignment was in the Laundry.

When I  saw this photo in the Newspaper, I just had to cut it out – since you never did get to see the NUNS eating  in public, as their uniforms, before this one you  now see,  did include a large white bow that ties up close and under the chin – and to eat in public, really would  be taking a chance on food getting onto the uniform and that just would not look good.

Now that I think about it, that just might be  why this new version of their uniform was made. 

The Nuns were usually all so nice and thin and perhaps they did not  get any  extra  – in between meals and or snacks?

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“Laboure High School  –  Initiation Day!”

Sometimes some of the girls that would graduate from the Eighth Grade at St St. Vincent’s, having no arrangements to go with parents and are with some one in their family, stayed on for a year or two and they would  attend  a High School and would be daily pickup and then… return by Bus.


49-50 001


Bottom front to top: Betty Michaud  –  Eugenia Rutherford  –  Margaret Herlitska  –  Mary Boyer  –  Betty Weisenberger  –  Shirley Nivois  –  Elsie Anna

This picture is taken on the steps…  of the front entrance of   German St. Vincent Orphan Home  –  maybe 1950.

The girls are  dressed for school:  Laboure High School  –  Initiation Day!


Adding the following information…  so that it helps to remind me of the areas that I lived in and did travel … when we would walk for entertainment.

During the WWII years we had ration books, for each person in the family, and with out the correct coupons … Gas for the vehicle was not available and everybody did more walking… as it was good for you.

Walnut Park East Neighborhood Overview

Information concerning the neighborhood history, characteristics, institutions and organizations, planning and development.


Walnut Park East is one of several neighborhoods in northwest St. Louis. It is bounded by West Florissant Avenue (Calvary Cemetery) to the northeast, Emerson Avenue to the southeast, Interstate Highway 70 (I-70) to the southwest and west, and Riverview Boulevard to the northwest.



The Walnut Park East neighborhood occupies the central position in the cluster of northwest St. Louis communities found by it and the Mark Twain neighborhood, to the southeast, and Walnut Park West, to the northwest. It was developed as a working-class residential community over the first half of this century. Until the late 1890s it comprised farms interspersed with wooded patches along local creeks. With the coming of streetcars along West Florissant and the newly extended Bernays Avenue (Union Boulevard) to the west, as well as a large rail and industrial corridor to the south, St. Louis’s then-burgeoning population had a new place to live. It filled in steadily in a process that was not completed until the 1950s. As late as 1954, a small truck farm operated in the 5800 block of Woodland Avenue east of Riverview Boulevard.

People of German stock spearheaded the early settlement but soon were joined by others with diverse European roots. Until the mid 1960s, the community was white and basically lower-middle class, with a large proportion of Roman Catholics. Particular churches often had specific ethnic roots. The now defunct Nativity parish was founded Christmas 1904. Later-arriving Polish Catholics petitioned for their own parish, St. Adalbert’s, in 1913. Recently, four new homes were built in the 5700 block of Woodland on what was once the site of that church.

From the beginning, there was comparatively little commercial land use in Walnut Park East and practically no industrial development. The single greatest concentration of storefronts, between Robin and Wren along West Florissant, originally related to a nearby trolley turnaround. A larger number of stores lined up along Lilian, with most of them clustered from Emerson northwest to Thrush. Walnut Park East’s Riverview Boulevard frontage never did develop the integrity of commercial land use that could have been expected for a major thoroughfare. In any case, small grocery stores, taverns, confectioneries, and the like dotted other local intersections.

As the neighborhood developed so did its institutions. In addition to Catholic and Protestant churches, there was a small Jewish synagogue, long-abandoned before its 1960 demolition to build the former Northwest High School. The area’s first permanent religious structure was not a church but a Catholic orphanage. St. Mary’s Home for Girls was a large copper-domed facility constructed in 1900 on five acres of ground. After extended periods as an orphanage and then as a special school, it assumed its current role as the San Francisco Christian Assembly Multi-Plex Center at 5341 Emerson.

The Walnut Park Elementary School (5814 Thekla) and Cyrus P. Walbridge Elementary School (5000 Davison) replaced older or portable public schools in 1909 and 1922, respectively. The local fire house at 5437 Partridge also dates to 1922. Two now-defunct Catholic elementary schools opened during this same period. Nativity School’s 1922 structure remains today, vacant and vandalized, at 5827 Harney. St. Adalbert’s parochial school operated in a 1927 building (and 1960 addition), still standing at 5701 Amelia. One parochial elementary school and related church from a somewhat later time continue to serve the community. St. Matthew Lutheran Church, with a history stretching back to the earliest days of Walnut Park, built its “new” church (5402 Wren) and first school (5403 Wren) in 1950.

The lack of local parks and high schools was an ongoing source of community concern for many years. Laboure High School was an all-girls facility when it opened at 5421 Thekla in 1948. It became a coeducational institution during the mid 1950s but resumed its all-female status before it closed in 1979. Since then, it has functioned as the highly regarded Cardinal Ritter Preparatory High School, a coeducational institution, that is expected to relocate to a new midtown St. Louis campus in 2001.

Dwight Davis Park is the only park located in Walnut Park East. It was undeveloped except for ballfields until 1962. For several years in the 1970s and 1980s, the Walnut Park Community Center, a municipal facility, operated in some converted buildings and on some cleared parcels at Wren and Lilian. It was subsequently closed and the site largely abandoned except for a “Head Start” center.

Northwest High School began classes in February 1964 at 5140 Riverview after 25 years of discussion and controversy. It was expanded in 1968 but, during the 1970s and 1980s, its student body declined in numbers. It closed in 1992 but reopened as the Northwest Accelerated Middle School in 1993.

By the mid 1960s, Walnut Park East began a population transition from white to black that was largely complete by the mid 1970s. This transition followed, and was related to, the construction and operation of I-70, which opened in 1961. By this time, however, Walnut Park East was basically developed. The last major local institution to be constructed was the “new” Walnut Park Branch Library at 5760 West Florissant. This facility is now closed for a major renovation.


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“More Autograph Memories, 1949-1950”

“Memories from my Autograph Books of Sister Alvira”

Sure was glad that I had these old “Autograph Books” when I was in the Orphanage and had the nerve to ask for “Autographs”  of the people there – some of the NUNS – as some,  I did not really get to know – as they were mostly on the “Boys’ Side”  and then some just did not have that kind of personality – for a small girl to try to ask them for something, such as an “autograph”  because some were not too friendly to me.

My problem was that  – when I was first there,  and on one of the first “VISITING SUNDAYS” my Mother had ask me –  “what  was it like and what did I do.”  No one should ask me a   question like that – because,  I will tell them – and what I had told my MOTHER –  was something that they did not like for me to tell – as my Mother reported  everything to “City Hall” downtown , Saint Louis – and when they got in touch with the Orphan Home –  – I was watched as if I was a “SPY” – one who tells all – and everyone will hear about it – especially me! I was almost afraid to ask anyone anything – as they all thought I would snitch  and everyone would be in trouble!

So glad that I was not too afraid to ask for “Autographs” and until I started doing this “fourgrandmas.com” blog – was glad to find these old books and copy everything that was written in them – so that now the whole wide world can know who and what was written – and either laugh or just turn the page to something better.

Check out what I had posted for “Sister Alvira and Sister Emeline” as it is “Sister  Alvera’s” Birthday tomorrow.


Autograph Memories pg. 7

Sister Emeline (12-26-49)  and (01-16-50) this second  date is from my  second book of autographs.  This is truly a friend  for a lifetime, and I am very glad to have been  her friend!  I always felt like a part of her family, since Sister  told me so much of her life before becoming a Nun.

Sister Alvira (02-04-49) – my 5th and 6th grade Teacher!  Also, she was the youngest  girl of her  family and also became a Nun. Sister Reynold,   Sister  Loyolis  (06-10-50) –   Sister Emeline  and Sister Alvira  all good Nuns –  I sure am glad to have been a part  of their family, while on our journey  in life!  Sister Alvira, a friend for life and  someone I kept in touch with forever!  “Lucky ME” –  to have had  wonderful life-long friends!

Betty Weisenberger wrote  in my book with a   P.S. message – “Remember when we had charge of the –  Rat Hole!”  That was one job very few wanted.  But, one must keep in mind that when  “Friday” came around – you always went to the Normandy Theatre  –  you were never in the general circulation to get into  “Trouble.” Trying to remember our numbers, Betty had a sister   Edna – I was #91  and   they were #92 and #93 – maybe someone will let me know?

Mary Kreitner  (02-13-49) was the rich aunt of  Jeanne Saettele’s family and cousin to our family. She was about the same age and did the same Catholic Society type things that my Aunt Irene Riley did. Here is what Mary Kreitner wrote in my book –  “When you grow old and can not see  –  put on your spectacles and think of me!” Guess what?  I am old  and need my spectacles   – to see  and thinking of you!

P.S. Thanks for reading and I just hope that you enjoy reading about all the things that happened – maybe before most of you were even born!

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