“Happy Birthday Sister Mary Alvira”


       “Is Everyone … Back in School?”

This Photo has one of my very  favorite teachers’ –  and that is  “Sister Mary Alvira” –  sitting on the right side of this PHOTO  with her class of students at German St. Vincent Orphanage.


This Photo may have been taken in the 1980’s –  as “Sister Alvira”  is  now  wearing the newer type of  style of  “Nun’s Habit”  as it was called –  and if you ever get to see some of the older styles of  their  “HABIT” –  that  the Nuns would wear –  they were just so heavy  and long and full of layers  –  and their  head gear   would cover so much of their face –  that all you could see of the Nuns’ face would be their  eyes, nose and mouth.

With this newer style of  “habit”  “garments to wear”  –  must  now be  easier to  get ready for their  day’s work.

“Sister ALVIRA” was our  5th and 6th grade teacher   –  when I was in her classes  (1940’s) and I did enjoy having her as our  teacher and  my friend. Sister Alvira had been an orphan also  –  she with her sisters and brother were  in this  same Orphanage as children. Four of the  five girls did   decide to enter the “Sisters of Christian Charity” convent  and as the youngest of the family “Veronica” became,  “Sister Mary Alvira”  a very fine  teacher –  and  – she was also  my  very good teacher  and friend, till  the day she  left  here,  for her eternal reward with the Almighty Yahweh!

In those  days when I was there, at St.Vincent’s  –  we would gather into the 7th and 8th grade class room,  to rehearse the music and singing of the songs that we would be singing in Church.  “Sister Alvira” had a very distinctive voice –  she was an “alto” and there were very few of the Orphans with the same  “Alto Voice” and they with “Sister Alvira,”  would be seated together in “Sister Gilbert’s”  class room  for better harmony –   and  “Sister Gilbert”  was the one to play the organ  –  so that we would have the music –  so that she would know  that we were all singing in the  correct “key” to make the best of the songs. They both had a very good “ear” to hear which of us were singing off  “key” –  and “who”  of us  would want to do that?

Just thinking about that “organ”  that  “Sister Gilbert”  played –  she must have  had  some  really  strong legs – since that was an “organ”  which you would have had to pump  hard and long with your feet, just to get the beautiful music to come out  –  a real worker for developing of  the legs  – a terrific  exercise.

Back in those days –  we did receive a very good education –  in fact,  if you were really paying attention –  you would fly through your   first    year  of  “HIGH SCHOOL” –  and the teachers had us learn enough to carry us well beyond –  we spent more hours daily in school,  and if you did not have work to do on SATURDAY –  then,  you were  also in “SCHOOL”  all  the morning  hours till noon time for dinner–  so there was  no way for you to do poorly –  come to think about it – “No one complained about going to SCHOOL!” 

“Have the very  best  of all BIRTHDAYS,  “Sister MARY ALVIRA” in HEAVEN – with the rest of your FAMILY and FRIENDS!”     D.V.

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“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  Alvira’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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“Happy Birthday to Sister Mary Alvira” on 10/31/2018

“Sometimes it really will  pay for  you to subscribe to the “NEWSPAPER” – – as this next PHOTO – is one of those  rare PHOTOS – that is worth a million – just to see the “NUNS” that,  you knew way back in the  “1940’s” – when,  they never ate anything in  the “public”  view – but NOW,  in  1985 – if my guess on the ‘year’ is  correct   – are now allowed to be seen eating and enjoying  a real fine treat,  one  that we all like – the “ICE CREAM   CONE” – and I think the “NUNS” like the treat!”

           “Happy Birthday…Sister Mary Alvira”

“Happy Birthday to Sister Mary Alvira… and her Birthday is on October 31st…which is… also…  HALLOWEEN!”

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.

The “NUNS”  did not pose for pictures, way back when I was a small child at the Orphanage, but  – today you see more  and more photos of the NUNS,  but for me   NOW –  “Sister Mary Alvira”   has passed on to her greater reward –  and it is too late to get photos that would be more current.

The above photo is a good likeness of  “Sister Mary Alvira”…as I remember her. When, I was  a very little girl  –  living  at the  Orphanage,  – I really did not like her, but –   many years before I came to this  Orphanage  –  she  and her own  four older  sisters were  also placed in the very  same Orphan HOME as I remember,  that their own  Mother  had died… and their  Father  had no way to take care of them – so they were  “ORPHANS” – and four of these  five girls did decide to join the  “Sisters of Christian Charity” – so that they were a part of the Orphanage  System  – most of their lives.

“Sister Mary Alvira”  was the youngest of these girls and was a teacher of the  5th and 6th grades,  at the time, that –  I came to live there.  One of the other and older  siblings –  “Sister Mary Emeline”  also came to serve as a “NUN” in the  same Orphanage, and was in charge of the “Boys’   Dining  Room”  and I was assigned to work for her…  and she was so nice and kind , that I became   a very good friend of her’s for LIFE.  Just because “Sister Emeline” was a blood sister of “Sister Mary Alvira” –  I changed my way of thinking about “Sister M. Alvira” –  and she too, became a  very good and long lasting friend – until the day that each of them passed on to the  sweet reward of ever lasting eternity, with our  Almighty Creator,  where they were each,   in hopes of going  to – on that final  and last day.

My memories are good of each of these “sisters” who also became  “SISTERS”  in the same Convent in  Wilmette,  Illinois!   


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“Check out these “Trick-or-treaters”

      “Getting Ready for HALLOWEEN”

“HALLOWEEN” is one day that little children will have  a real good time –   the children get to dress up –  in outfits that look so cute –  and are so much FUN –   just the  making  of them and  then watching each child have a great time –  in a  “Make-Believe” land.

In this PHOTO on the right is little “MISS Alyssa”  all dressed  up in a once used “Wedding Gown” and just looks so beautiful – maybe  just  like  a real life “Princess”  just ready to hand out good wishes to all  those that she will meet on “Halloween”  night  out – while  going  “door to door” for trick  or  treats –  and right next to her,   is her little  sister, “Miss Jaime”  just the cutest little “mouse”  that you  will ever  see –  and would just love to play with,  all the time. 

OCT 31 001

This is the “PRE-SCHOOL” class room… where  you first get to see how your school friends will be “DRESSED” for the big day…  HALLOWEEN –  and find out where they will be going to do their  “trick and treating”  –   and of course –  you will be getting ideas for what your next  year’s  HALLOWEEN   costume   – will look like.

img195In this PHOTO –  we see that the “TEACHER”, herself is dressed like “RONALD MAC DONALD” –  which is a very nice out-fit to have – as you can use it at so many  “PARTIES” and always be is style.

I do not remember who made  “LITTLE MOUSE,  JAIME’s” out-fit –  but,  she sure is the cutest little mouse –  that I have seen –   and it looks like all of her friends also like her cute  “mouse”  out-fit –   it just WINS a PRIZE in my book!

Just some ideas for the children to see what they would like and if you have some “photos” that you would like for me to share –  just send them along with names  – if you want them included. Thanks…  and have the best of  “FUN ” on “Halloween night!”

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“DeAndreis Prom Memory”

“DeAndreis Prom Memory”

“Memories are made of this”   –  those words just came to mind –  just thinking back all those years ago – as I had  just heard from a friend,  that there was a write up – – about  the “DeAndreis High School”  in the last week or two in the “Saint Louis Review”  and, since I do not receive the “Review” have no idea what their memory is – – that,  they are publishing, NOW!

So, remembering  that –  I have a “PHOTO” and it is so good, just have to post it,  TODAY – in case someone needs to see what  they  were  missing,  if they did not attend the “DeAndreis High School, in the 1950’s!”

Stamped  in gold on the above  PHOTO…”DeAndreis  Junior Prom- 1957″ and of course no names on the back of this PHOTO – but that is a very young,  “MR. Wonderful, himself” my little brother, “Tom McClarren”  third, from the left, the “one” with his arms  held  behind.  Looks like a perfect “Military stance”.

Since this is a “PROM  NIGHT” – just thought I would  post some music to start off the dancing – even as old as we are TODAY – we can still dance and continue on with good memories to last  us, for ever more!


“Do you remember your PROM NIGHT – and do you still have old PHOTOS?”      D.V.

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“Tis the SEASON to start BAKING”

  •  Let’s make some  “Apple PIE” and invite Friends and Family over,  so we can all compare notes on BAKING!



 1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box SAVE $


6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.

In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.

Information for making your  PERFECT PIE CRUST:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , measured with a light hand via the scoop and level method
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Add flour, salt to a large mixing bowl. 

  2. Add chilled shortening and butter and use a pastry blender or fork to cut them into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  3. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough begins to clump together–don’t over mix. You may not need the entire 1/2 cup of ice water.
  4. Gently mold the dough into a ball, then divide it into 2 pieces. Press each piece gently with your hands into a flat disk. 

  5. Cover each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours (or stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes). 

  6. Dampen a large towel or cloth and lay it flat on your countertop. Place a large piece of parchment paper over it. Lightly flour both sides of the pie dough disc and set it on the parchment paper. 

  7. Use your rolling pin to gently press the pie dough out into a large circle. Always start at the center of the crust, and work outwards. You want your dough to be thin, and about 1/2 inch larger then the diameter of your pie dish.

  8. Gently turn the dough into your pie dish and remove the parchment paper. Settle it smoothly into the bottom and sides of the pan.

  9. Trim and crimp the edges or the crust.

    Invite me over to enjoy with you! Thanks for trying and always enjoy what you are doing each and everyday!

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