Showing posts with label Charlie Behrndt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlie Behrndt. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sepia Saturday 73 The Other Half in Sepia (Click here to Sepia Site)

Jerry's natal day corresponds to our Sepia post day and so, I offer him today in Sepia times.  He was born May 7,'37, at 7:00AM, weighing 7 lbs., the 7th grandchild and the 7th  great grandchild to parents who were only married 7 months before his birth.  One might think 7 could be his lucky number or of some significance, but we have not yet realized any such luck  playing that number.   When a cousin's 5 year old  boy saw this photo he looked at Jerry and said, "You wore a dress?"  Well so he did as likely did many of that time, but little Blake thought that was so funny. He just pointed at Jerry and teased.    For several years, Jerry insisted this was not him but I did get confirmation from aunts and from his mother who validated indeed it is him.  He is still embarrassed today to be recorded forever in such garb, and says, "I don't remember and I'm glad, harrumph!"

There are ever so many photos of himself as an infant as it seems everyone had their photo taken with him.  His story though does wend twisted ways as his parents divorced, his dad enlisting in the Navy without mentioning he left behind a wife and  by  that time two babes.  However after  all these years around MIL I can well imagine waking up some morning as the tale goes and saying, " I am out of here."  Jerry's mother is a tale of someone who should never have had the responsibility of children; she had neither skill, education,  nor sense to make good decisions.  It is a tale told in novels ad nauseum, a woman several bricks short of a full load, but able to reproduce.

Jerry 1938 held by Dad,
 next to grandfather Morrison

This next photo is one of the few he has with his father. Notice the cigarettes that both Morrison's are using.   The Morrison family doted on Jerry as he was the 3rd with the name Gerald, but  his mother, true to her lifelong selfish nature managed to keep that relationship at a distance, denying him that lineage.  Recently cleaning out her things, we found a postcard that the father had sent to Jerry from Racine, WI in 1940 further proof that all those years when she said there had been no contact, she was not being truthful.  Jerry was astounded when he saw that last year.  What would you think when you suspected and now had proof that your mother lied to suit herself?  There was never any relationship with his father who became an alcoholic and was married and divorced again; dying a pauper. 
This alienation reminds me of the life of my Uncle John whose son was taken by the maternal grandparents when his wife died and John would see the boy no more; however John went on in life.  It is amazing  how one person can screw up so many lives.   After her husband left her, she moved back home and Jerry's maternal grandparents raised him; his grandpa Charley Behrndt was his role model, old farmer and hard worker that he was.  Sill Jerry adored Charley and the feeling was mutual.

Jerry about 4 years old on the farm

This  photo  about 1941 shows Jerry  barefooted, hard to see, but he swears he was, on a swing on the farm.  He says he walked around barefoot most of the summer until one day when he was about 6 he stepped on a nail.  Shoes were mandatory there after.  For a man who would not be caught barefoot today, he has  come a long way.   We both enjoy  this photo and have it displayed after we found it among his mother's belongings when we moved her to the skilled facility in September. The family  farm and the corn crib is in the background to the left.   

There are ever so many more photos I could include, but we are in the midst of loading up and taking off in the RV for PA and hopefully the Carolinas.  So I will close with  a then and now set. 

 When we were in Tucson, AZ in March and visited the Pima Air and Space Museum, Jerry found a plane he had flown on while in the Air Force.   He was so tickled to find old 554, saying the only thing better would have been triple nickel as they called old #555. .  While browsing photos to include in this post, I found one of his squadron beside the same plane when they were honored as top squadron  of the year at McClellan AFB,years before my time. 

 First the 1960 photo from the base news letter showing the 963rd    B4 crew at full attention. 
1960 McClellan AFB   Honored flight crew of the 963rd
Jerry standing far left  

Jerry at Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, AX
With old #554 same plane the crew flew on
This has been a Sepia Saturday post ...check out what others share this week by clicking on the title to this post and visitng the host Sepia international site. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sepia Saturday Week 62 1907 Postcard

Despite the genealogy research I've done on Jerry's side, I cannot identify these people as relatives  but  here they are in this  old 1907  photo/post card which Aunt Marie had saved.  They are from this MN area, and from the era when a postcard was mailed to stay in touch with family, rather than phoning or driving the miles.  So different from today where we'd pick up the phone, drive that distance without  any thought and/or use email. 

This card was mailed to Charles Behrndt, Jerry's Grandpa, from Lottie, who was Charlie's sister.  The mystery people are identified by the writing  along side of the card as Gib (or Gil) Dolan, Anna Noel, Lena Noel, and Mary Dolan.  It looks as though they were out for a hike through the woods and/or were clearing land. Their clothes do not appear to be what one would wear to do work on the land, at least not the women's.  I see no evidence of a picnic in process, just looks like they stopped, sat on the ground and had the photo taken.  It will be a mystery to solve and learn what link is this to Charlotte (Lottie)  who married Otto Ziemann, as I have previously shared here.  When Lottie sent this card she and Otto were likely  living in Preston  where the  1910 census shows them; Preston is  about 60 miles  south west of La Crescent, where Charlie was settled. For some reason she thought her brother  would be interested, but she did not write anything on the back side.  Otto was a meat wholesaler and traveled through northern MN and was also a  butcher, so I doubt this is land that the Ziemann's had cleared for a home.  They lived in what was the town at the time and  she taught school.   It seems unusual to me to see one man and three women if this was land to be cleared to farm or to build.  What do you think?

1907 from Lottie
 This is the back of the postcard showing it was mailed from Preston but in 1907 there were no  highways and so visits and trips were not routine.  I wonder  why Lottie sent this photo to her brother with no other information.  In the funeral books of Charles and his wife, Esther many years later, there are Noel's who  sign the guest book.  There must have been some connection.  It is also amusing that it could be addressed to Charlie in La Crescent which had a population of maybe a few hundred at the time among the hills and farms and that the card would easily reach the addressee.   

Jerry laughs and says he has not a clue and if I want to spend time trying to solve this well, then he  figures it keeps me from pestering him. 

As always click on the title to this post to go to the Sepia site and see what others in the community have shared this week. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sepia Saturday "Week 41 Grandparents of the other half

After  an absence dealing with all sorts of family company and issues, I can return to Sepia Saturday posts.  Jerry's cousin just sent us a succinct family history written by her mother, Aunt Ruth, when she was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.  It tells of the early settler days, their family of pioneers who made it across the Atlantic Ocean from Prussia aka Germany in 1850, with infants, how they journeyed across rugged country through New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa  and  ultimately bought land along the Mississippi in Minnesota, land that they would farm after they cleared the trees and harvested and sold lumber.  It has been so interesting to tie the individuals to census records and recorded deeds and amass the data in one place. I marvel considering their  rugged hard lives, building log cabins for shelter in the wilderness against the harsh winters, living away from all civilization, frightened of Indians in new territory, man and wife and  four small children.  I wonder how they did that, I who bundle up securely and live with all modern conveniences in winter.  I wonder who had the hardest lives, my Polish coal mining ancestors or these rugged Prussian/Germans.  We are learning more about Jerry's maternal ancestors than he ever knew, whatever else we may learn they were hearty brave individuals. 

This  first photo which his cousin sent is Jerry's maternal grandmother, Esther Wetchen Behrndt (1883-1950); my last sepia post showed her with her "brood" of grandkids on the farm.  He had never before seen this photo so it was a treat.  We know this photo was taken before she married Jerry's grandpa Charlie Behrndt May, 1908.  There is some scandal attached to her younger years before she met Charlie because "she gave birth out of wedlock to her first daughter, Myrtle Louise in 1906."  That's what Aunt Ruth wrote . Charlie raised Myrtle as his own daughter and he and Esther had  four more girls, Jerry's mother being the  last and youngest. It is likely that Esther was so concerned about Jerry and Diane when their mother divorced their father and that was why she took such good care of those two children who lived with her and Charlie; that would have been  1938, still a time when single mothers were not in favor.    Esther died in 1950 at 66 years of age, which is young for this family marked by rugged individuals most of whom lived well into their 80's and 90's back then.  The hardships seemed to make them all stronger.  By 1949, the family had moved from the farm on the hill to town. Jerry tells that his sister, Diane, 12, could not wake up Grandma one morning and then awakened Jerry who was 13 and who determined that Grandma was dead.  With no one else at home, the two children went to find their Grandfather who was also at work in town and then their mother.   Grandma Esther was the literate half of the partnership, as her husband Charlie could only sign his name.  She also was the one who drove their vehicle, as Jerry recalls and Grandpa Charlie handled  the horses, wagons and later a tractor.

This photo, another Jerry did not recall,   is of Esther's parents, Dietrich Wetchen (1856-1925)and Louisa Leidel (1857-1943), and Jerry's great grandparents.  This is one of the smallest families as they had only two children.   We were surprised to see how much Jerry resembles this great grandfather, except as he has said, he wished he'd  inherited Dietrich's hair, and Jerry has no moustache.  The  printing is what the cousin had on the copy of the photo.    As we looked over the Wetchen and Leidel photos we decided that they brought the good looks into the lineage.  Louisa's  parents Henry Leidel (he's a  distinguished pioneer of this area)  and Johanna Guenther  left Prussia with a  one year old and a  four year old in 1849.  I found it interesting that they sailed  from Hamburg Germany as did some of  my ancestors

Charlie Gustof Behrndt, (1884-1964) Esther's husband, and Jerry's grandfather was the 7th child of 9  born to Adelbert (Albert) Behrndt and Sophia Roth.  Adelbert immigrated from  Germany as did Sophia's parents. Sophia's parents Jacob Roth and Maria Mary Frei married in Germany but he came to America first; she followed  several months later.  They settled first in New York,  and eventually worked their way across the wilderness of the country settling in Minnesota, however when they were 50 and 49 years old, they moved  to homestead sections of land in South Dakota, living there until their late 80's.   Jerry said this is the only photo he has ever seen of his grandfather dressed up; that all he can remember is Grandpa wearing his  bib coveralls.  It is a good thing this cousin had a few photos as many were not taken in this family and now there are some of these younger images to preserve along with their stories.  Jerry absolutely idolized his Grandpa Charlie.  Charlie was a farmer and a hard worker, after moving into town, Charlie worked at the lakes and skinned fish that were commercially caught; he also hauled lumber and cut and sold firewood.  Jerry says he was a short guy, maybe  5' 3" tall but strong as three horses and that  Grandma Esther towered over him.  He smoked a pipe all his life. 

Behrndt's farm house on the ridge of La Crescent
This was the family farmhouse which no longer stands today.  Jerry slept upstairs in the bedroom which shows to the right.  The last Sepia Saturday I posted had the grandchildren gathered with Charlie and Esther for their anniversary.  In 1949 Aunt Marie and Uncle Tommy took over the farming and Charlie and Esther moved to town sharing a  house with Aunt Myrtle and then Uncle Joe.  As I have shared, Jerry, his sister and his mother lived with them, first on the farm and then in town until they left for CA. 

Adelbert (Albert) and Sophia Behrndt

One last photo shows Jerry's Behrndt great grandparents, Albert (1841-1928)and Sophia (1851-1941).  Notice that Albert is small and Sophia is large, so it must have seemed natural to Charlie to marry a woman bigger than him, as that's the way his parents were.  Albert also smoked a pipe all his life.  This is the couple who ended up moving even farther west to South Dakota and continuing to live a hard lifestyle up until they died.  Jerry faintly recalls going to South Dakota to visit some of Grandpa Charlie's family on the land that had been homesteaded. 

To see  others Sepia posts click on the title to this to get to the main Sepia host blog, then select any and all.