Monday, August 27, 2012

Alice is now 90 years and twelve days old

We celebrated Alice Bartkowski's 90th birthday during the five days I visited Milwaukee.

We enjoyed our vacation so much I question if I can adequately describe it to you. It will take a number of posts for me to scratch the surface of how I felt, what I learned and how much I want to return.

For today, let me share a few of the pictures which chronicle the event. I snapped over 425 pictures in Wisconsin. Photographs are a precious part of family history research. If we were part of the festivities, the pictures help us re-live the events. If the pictures are of our ancestors and times past, I look into their eyes and try to imagine their thoughts and feelings when the camera shutter clicked.

I can read much in what I see as I look into the eyes of these photographs. It makes it quite easy for me to continue to celebrate this event in my heart.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer of Celebrations...Tracking the Years Since 1922

I have been blessed this summer.  I shared the AHSGR convention in Portland, Oregon with my sister and her family.  I celebrated my friend’s 60th birthday in Leader, Saskatchewan.  And, in August I travel to Milwaukee to honor the grandmother of my children on her 90th birthday.

Alice May Bartkowski was born on August 15, 1922.  She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before the words “Great Depression” were coined.  Her birth precedes Curly Lambeau and the Green Bay Football Club being granted a license in the NFL which can be difficult for diehard Packer fans to comprehend. This was the era of Babe Ruth, the Yankees playing their last year at the Polo Grounds and Rogers Hornsby’s hitting streak of 33 games.

Alice’s parents were Robert Benjamin Grayson and Clara Emma Elsie Manke. The Manke’s, who emigrated from Germany, served under Kaiser Wilhelm. Through the Grayson side of the family, Alice can trace her lineage back to William Bronaugh of Stafford County, Virginia.  Bronaugh signed the Stamp Act which qualifies him as an American Revolutionary. This entitles Alice and her descendants for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.  I traced her ancestry for my daughters’ sake and find it fascinating, although Alice’s interest lies elsewhere.

Alice loves baseball.  As long as I have known her, baseball has been a part of her life.  Her husband, Stanley Joseph Bartkowski, Sr.,  played Triple A baseball for the Texarkana League after serving his country in World War II.  Baseball is not so much a pastime as a way of life for her.

As I said, it is my honor to return to Milwaukee to visit Alice and the rest of the Bartkowski family.  I will be accompanied by my two daughters, Becky and Ashley, and Becky’s boyfriend, Jason.  The time we spend talking and reminiscing will make this trip more than memorable.  I will savor the family stories, some of which I have heard, and some I will hear for the first time.  I will record more of my experiences on this blog.  What a blessing for me and my daughters  to be in Wisconsin again and to share this time together.