“CHRISTMAS VACATION” ends in Disaster”

Remember… “Moderation in all things and activities is the best medicine for all – – just a day or two longer – will end up in complete DISASTER!”To be mindful of the moderation is all things – – I have read some verses in the BIBLE…stating that same thought – so…as an adult – – I have tried to remember that – – because,  I know first-hand  – – that you will loose so much more – – when good times last…  too long.

As the elder of  the three McClarren children – -the social worker taking us back to the ORPHANAGE – – was directing all of the reasons that we were going back – – our parents were at our house – –  no room in this car for them – – so I heard about how wrong it was for us to be at home with our parents – – all this time when they should have brought us back. The more – – that I had to listen to her –  the more that I was crying – and so choked  up –  could hardly say anything in their defense – – and that we were having FUN – – and we were enjoying every minute – and that we all wanted to stay home longer and forever.

Back at the ORPHANAGE – – for a little kid – -I felt like a “CRIMINAL” and that I had leprosy…  or some weir disease? My brothers went to the right side of the Orphanage… the BOYS’ side of the building and I went to the GIRLS’ side and to the PLAY ROOM… where everyone was at that time of day. Went to my “LOCKER” to hang my coat and put my stuff that I was bringing back  – – and someone else now had my locker – – while I was at home – – the lockers were re-assigned and everyone NOW – had a new locker location. So the Nun in charge told me where my newly assigned locker was – – and if was empty???

So… I was asking everyone where was my stuff???   Where was my “CHRISTMAS PRESENTS” that I received for CHRISTMAS?  “Where did my “BRIDE DOLL” go?”  AND… “Where are the letters and mail that I have been saving…  that my Mother sent to me?  The special “Birthday Card”   that I received from my FATHER – –

“” Mary, Mary,       quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.”

And … there  was a special “Christmas edition of WOMEN’s DAY magazine” that my Mother had just brought to me on the last Visiting Sunday – – that had so many  things that I was looking forward to making and reading – all gone!

I was everywhere asking and looking for my new “BRIDE DOLL” – -it had just disappeared – – no one knew where it was – – but –  I know that one of the NUNS – – must have taken it – – because…  I searched  every locker in the “PLAY ROOM” – –  so when…  that day comes – – when all answers will be made possible – – I would just like to know  – “WHO”  in the world – – just had to have the  old “WAC WAR doll” that my “Aunt Irene Riley”,  took to the “Doll Hospital – – had it gone over and restored  to brand NEW condition – – and even had some of her  very own “keep-sake” hair  –  from when she was a “young girl ”  – – made into a wig – – into beautiful “Banana CURLS” – – the white “Bride”  clothing all made special  – – this was something…  that I would have treasured… forever!

Now… I had an empty locker – – nothing personal anymore – – everything gone – – and I know what I had – – and no one throws away valuable stuff – – someone knew the value and took it …  and that  happened the first day that we did not show up – –  after the “CHRISTMAS VACATION”- –  someone  wanted my stuff and saw a good  opportunity  and NOW a way to take it – – so…  I just hope that they enjoyed it.

It is funny – – when you stop to think of your road in LIFE –  –  You are here and then somewhere else for a while – –  and usually on all of the cross roads and stops – we leave behind some of what we thought important – – but –  after awhile down another road –  we start to accumulate stuff – – and along that path – – we find that it is easier to TRAVEL – –  without  a heavy sack of stuff –  – that only makes our TRAVELS – –   a tad harder to move   FORWARD!


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“CHRISTMAS EVE” in the 1940’s”

Do you attend the CHURCH of your choice to CELEBRATE – -what the “EVE of CHRISTMAS  is all about?

This is taken in the CHAPEL of GERMAN St. Vincent Orphanage – – and we would follow the very same procedure at the very same time  – – only some of the children partaking might be different – – as he older children graduated from the eighth grade and left – –  the younger children – – having been here for years – – knew just how and what to do – and when.

The girls were on the left side of the building living quarters  and so we were on the left side  pews of the Church  – – and the boys  were always on the right side pews  – – as you  can  see – – and that looks like my brother, TOMMY  – – the boy in the pew in front of the NUN – – and he is third from the left side aisle  – – in a fairly white color shirt.

After our Church Services – – ending the “ADVENT SEASON”  we would  proceed to the class rooms  – – and this was the best part of the evening. Each child would go to the class room and in single file – -and we would sing CHRISTMAS SONGS – – and walk around the perimeter of the “class room”  – and this would be for a few minutes – – to give each child the chance to view from a distance their desk – – and their friends desk – – to see what was on the desk  – – that was for them for CHRISTMAS.

One year… as we were doing the “march” around the room – – there was this beautiful “BRIDE DOLL” standing on my desk top – – “I could hardly believe that  – this beautiful  doll was for me – – it must be a mistake!” I even  ask the NUN, Sister Florence – – if this was for sure for me?  She  said it was for me – – and I was really so HAPPY – – to have received such a beautiful CHRISTMAS present!

“to be continued… tomorrow”

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“Dial ‘O’ for your local OPERATOR!”

Everyone knows that when you dial  ‘O’  for OPERATOR… you will receive a  “voice with a smile” – – and just so you can put  that “voice” into a picture as to  maybe someone you know… just thought that I would post the photos I have  for three other young ladies and myself. 


The above PHOTO is of me  – – and was taken within the first year of my learning to be a “Telephone Operator” – – and I do look fairly young – – as when I started to work – – was not eighteen years old and did have to secure a worker’s permit and promise to not  quit  – –  when September rolled around to continue with the last  couple of months of High School.

The reason for taking this PHOTO – – was that I had found this material with little telephones all over – – and just thought that I had to buy enough material   – – just to make a blouse that I could wear to work. Of course lots of my friends at work liked the idea and the blouse – – and when wearing this blouse to places other than work – –  I could go into detail about working for the “Telephone Co.,”

Just in case … you caught the PHOTO in the frame above the mirror – – that is me as a baby.  My Mother told me that, “One day…  I was playing outside and my Father came home in a  big hurry…  just grabbed me and rushed off in the car – –  saying he had to hurry.”   Evidently there was a “BABY CONTEST” going on… and he wanted to have me –  entered in… by having my PHOTO taken. When we return home,  later on – – my Mother told  my DAD  – “You could have at least let me clean  “Mary Ellen” up – – and put nice clothes on her!”  So… was my MOTHER – – ever surprised – –  when the Photographers Store  called  – – that  my parents …  could pick up the “Blue Ribbon” for me.

Movie Stars 001This PHOTO  – – above is of  three of the other young ladies that started working for the “Telephone Co.,” with me – – – there were two other girls – – but… they  were not around when I was taking photos. If I was to find and check my  old note books for the first four weeks of training  – – that we were in together – – I might find the names of these girls – – as we did even go to a couple of places to dance in the evening and we did have each others’ phone numbers.

One other memory … the young lady on the right of this PHOTO – – was not able to make dresses from patterns – – but – – as  I did like to sew and was able to make some of the clothes that she wanted… she  bought materials and  patterns for a variety of different  out-fits – – and I was happy to do the sewing – – I was able to make use of the lessons I had  taken  – -and had fun to doing something different. These were the days – – that we did not have “TV” – – and were able to do lots of things – – that people do not have time to do today … with the “TV’ occupying  all of our time.

If you think you know any of us  “OPERATORS” – –  just take the time and leave a message in the comment space.  Thanks!
Your friends will LOVE you!

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“Last Look at St.Vincent’s PICNIC”

Every one in our FAMILY had great smiles for all of the activity and  especially to visit the inside of the “German Saint Vincent Orphanage”  –  – to visit the apartments of the children living there today – – and then to look at photos of how the same area looked…  when I was there… as a little girl.




This is my son, Al  and his daughter, Jaime on his right – – and then on Al’s left side in daughter, Alyssa – – and we are still full of big smiles.

Since this PICNIC is taking place … in the back of the Orphanage – – this area was used for the ball field – – that is when I was  here in the 1940’s and early 1950’s – – so this shot does give a view of the back side of the laundry – – rest rooms and garage, but at the top of  those buildings you can see the tops of the Main building – – which is not often seen.

The next PHOTO is of the girls, my Grand-daughters, ALYSSA and JAIME, and standing in the middle is  their mother, JILL –   and they sure do take very good photos – – you have to say that the camera likes them – – as they photogenic. –  And…  more smiles!unnamed


How do you like this PHOTO???  That is my Grand-daughter,  JAIME…  singing with the band. I do not remember  the name of this BAND – – but how do you like the extra long “HORN” – – which was used for a couple of the songs and music that was played.

Looking at this PHOTO… seems to me – – that this area – –  used to be the “TENNIS COURT” – – and also used for us to play  the “VOLLEY BALL” games…  that we would play – – way back  there in the good “OLE” days.

One thing about taking PHOTOS – – when attending events – – especially – – those that you might have lived and or  have older memories of times gone by – – – to look over the old Photos…  will  bring you up-to-date in memories – – so that when you are  just thinking – – “I wonder what happened there  and  also wonder … what happened to this  FRIEND   or FAMILY – – you can finally feel that everyone that you used to know  – – did make it “GOOD” – – and your mind just seems to rest…  with the thought that “all is well” – – everyone has had a very  good LIFE!


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“Saint Vincent Home PICNIC”

Here I am… checking lists of names of possible old ALUMNI – – that may be showing up – – and also checking out some older names – – just to see – – WHO – –  WHAT YEAR – – and WHEN were they at   ….         “German St.Vincent Orphanage” – – 


Would you believe… this is an old class mate – – we graduated    in 1952  and this was a real surprise – – just to be able to check up – – on the  old NEWS and  WHO  in our class was still among the living.  Next to me is   Theresa Wieland – Eckerl and her husband.


Just had to add one more PHOTO  – – we are still standing  around  in the CHAPEL –  and the “TOUR GUIDE” is giving to  us  an  up-to-date  activities’   plan – –   that the children are doing …  that are now living in their separate apartments  – –  and  HOW and WHY there are so many changes – – compared to the way it was when I was there  – – to live in the HOME –  TODAY – – all together different  – – from yesterday… when I was there.


Just so you know…  that is “me”…  MARY ELLEN – – and next to me is my GRAND-son ALAN – – and next to ALAN is his FATHER, AL – – who is my youngest son. – – This was a very special day for all those  “old-timers”  who came back to St.Vincent’s for a very nice PICNIC – – the weather was beautiful and the Bar-b-QUE was superb – – no complaints were heard – – just a terrific time to think  way back to when you  and  some of your good “OLE” FRIENDS   try as best as you could  – –  remember some real “GOOD OLD TIMES”  –  – that we  will never ever…  forget!

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“German St.Vincent Orphanage PICNIC – 2015”

If you were asked… “Where and WHAT were you doing a YEAR… ago?”


The answer that most people would give… “I have no idea… WHAT I was doing just yesterday – –  and YOU want to know “WHERE” I was a year…. ago?”   “You have to be out of your mind!”

So… while you are thinking back – – about where you where – – LOOK at where I was.  That is me in the blue dress and surrounded by  my GRAND-DAUGHTERS… ALYSSA is sitting next to me – – and JAIME is standing behind Alyssa  –  and their MOTHER, JILL  is standing behind me. 

“St. Vincent Home”… had a very generous sponsor for this get-to-gather PICNIC…  for previous ALUMNI and their FAMILY – – a wonderful BAR-b-QUE  dinner – – which also included dessert – – and to even have “seconds” if …  you  would have the room for more to eat! Just take a look at he plate of food that was brought to me…  more than I could eat all in one sitting – – as I am the type that likes the desserts – – and will save the food for a little later time – – as I am a very slow eater – –  – and for this PICNIC – – there were lots of other things to do – – besides just sit and eat.

So… just a reminder to other  “ALUMNI” – – if you were also attending  this PICNIC … and have PHOTOS – – be sure to contact me – – so we can share   stories with PHOTOS – – and even some of the good old days at  “St. VINCENT” –  – since as the years go by – – some times some good old things – – that we wanted to remember – – have been forgotten – – but to hear about it again – – just might be a very good thing – – reminiscing  the “GOOD OLE DAYS!”




Sep 27 @ 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
7401 Florissant Road – Normandy, MO  63121

BBQ & Kids smallSt. Vincent Home for Children Picnic

Please bring your family and join ours!

St. Vincent Home for Children wants to invite you and your family to our Alumni Picnic. We will provide the food, fun, entertainment, and


beer/wine/beverages. The picnic will be a celebration of our wonderful past and an opportunity for you to meet our Executive team and see how our programs are working today.

Most of all we want you to come to enjoy a great fall afternoon among friends!

RSVP: Number attending to Mike Garavalia, Director of Development here.

Posted in Childhood, Grandma and tagged with 2 comments.


  • Hi Grandma!

    Yesterday was a lot of fun visiting your old stomping grounds and seeing Tommy, his family and even your old friends! It was interesting hearing all the alumni’s stories as they were reminiscing during the tour of the place.

    Most of all, it made me feel very blessed and filled with gratitude to belong to such a beautiful family. I always cherish all of our “get togethers” and time spent laughing and enjoying each other’s love and light~

    I also especially appreciated you printing out photos of you at the orphanage as a child to share with us. (Grammy asked if we could pick her out from a photo of a classroom full of girls, and as I scanned the photo, I picked out my Grammy right away!! She still has the same look after all these years :) and plus I recognized my own face in hers!)

    I am very grateful for my Grandma! I love you Grammy!! What an uplifting day this was…

    Cheers to honoring the past, and even more importantly GUARDING THE PRESENT MOMENT- right “NOW” is all that is, all that ever has been and ALL that ever will BE. This moment is what creates the ripple effect out into the vast interconnected universe so it is wise to be AWARE of this power THIS MOMENT has…

    Today I will be meditating and giving thanks to the Universe~ feeling the resonating GOD within me FLOURISH ABUNDANTLY with JOY, LOVE and LIGHT which through my conscious being I will echo back into the universe for ALL ETERNITY. <3

    Thank you & God Bless ALL now & always~

    XOXO Love, Alyssa XOXO

    • Mary Ellen says:

      Like I have mention – so many times before – – the Almighty Yahweh has truly sent special blessings to me … especially with the whole FAMILY – – I had to read and re-read…your comment – it was a perfect PRAYER… NOW – I know that we will continue to be BLESSED…

      LOVE to ALL the FAMILY…xoxoxoxoxo…. the BIG G – hersel

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