Showing posts with label Ostrowski cousins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ostrowski cousins. Show all posts

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sepia Saturday,week 49 Stella Janosky (Click here to go to other posts of Sepia 49)

I had so  many choices for my return to  Sepia Saturday that it was difficult to choose until something happened that  fellow genealogists will appreciate and that brought me to feature Stella Janosky (1910--1987). I had a contact from a previously unknown cousin, on the Janosky side so began to try to update some of that information.   Stella was  a  daughter of my Grand/Great Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom Janosky, a very close cousin to Mom and Aunt Virginia (Jinx), Jinx' best friend too for a long time.  Aunt Mary was an Ostroski (Ostrowski) my grandma Rose's sister,  I introduced her on Sepia Week  18; that sure seems a long time ago now, but it was only April

Stella  was the first daughter and third child born to Mary and Tommy Janosky.   She never married, the only one of her eight  brothers and sisters to remain single, she lived at home with Mom and Dad all her life.   Here is Stella  with her suster Josephine who married a Mentecky.  I am guessing that this photo dated about 1930 when Stella was 20 and Josephine was 18.  It is the hairstyles that make me think that and the dresses.  Mom's handwriting is on the photo but I found this at my Uncle Carl's home this trip.  Don't know how  he got it, but being Mom's brother and also a cousin to the  Janosky girls it's explainable.  I wonder if my Uncle Carl was not going to sketch these cousins as he was an artist and I found a portfolio of  his sketches done after Worlkd War II.  There were none of these girls, but many others.    I love this photo and the  gold leaf scroll work bordering it.  Wish Mom had not written across it, but at least this identifies who they are.  We saw some of Stella with the cousins back on the July  4th photos

 Stella and my aunt Jinx were very close and traveled around together.  They did have their spats off and on though, kind of the way sisters do.  Stella was especially fond of my grandma, too.  I remember seeing Stella in church and she would always  flutter a handkerchief towards us during mass to acknowledge that she saw us.  This next photo is about 1941  of Stella and my Aunt Virginia.  They both worked at Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company and this  5" x 7" photo is sealed in a 1 inch thick hunk of gorgeous cut beveled  glass.  I have never seen anything else like glass encased photo  among the family collection and I wonder if they got a discount at the glass factory to do this?  Kind of unusual, don't  you think. 

Stella and Virginia traveled to Milwaukie to visit their aunt Francie Mroz and family together and somewhere there are many of those photos, to be scanned.  These two cousins were the single ones for a long time until Virginia married John in  the  late 50's.  That put an end to their days together, I know. 
Last but not least, here is myself, approximately January--March  1945,   a balmy day  by the  dresses without coats although I am bundled up.  Stella is  holding me, with Mom standing alongside her.    They said she always volunteered to watch me, but  my Grandma never needed the help. 

The last photo is just of Stella and me. I look a bit worried about something.  I lost track of Stella as I grew up seeing less and less of her, and of course by my teen years  I was not   much for family visits other than those that were mandatory.  I had other things to do as a teenager.   By the time Stella died I was in California and I do not recall  any of the details about her death.   I wonder  now about her life, was she satisfied to  be the maiden aunt to so many?   Was she ahead of her time?  

As always click on the title to this post above or here to link to the others who are sharing this week 49 on the Sepia Saturday link.

Friday, July 2, 2010

4th of July Sepia Saturday Week 30

It took some rummaging through photos  to find  these 4th of July family celebrations.  Growing up I recall we spent most 4ths on family picnics at the old swimming hole but no one took photos of those events so they exist only in our  memories.  However  way back the family used to take photos whenever they gathered and I found  this collection in my Aunt Virginia's albums.  She passed away last July so it seems  fitting to show her on the  fourth.  She, mom, their sister Francie and all their cousins who were  daughters of their Aunts Mary and Veronica (my grandmother's sisters)  spent most holidays together. My grandmother and her sisters were all daughters of Frank Ostrowski of whom I have shared other sepias.  They took more photos in the summer, good weather, outside as likely they did not have very sophisticated cameras;  I remember seeing some of those old "brownie" cameras and the film that had to be developed, waiting a good week or two for photo results, but I digress.

We start out with  July 4th 1942 taken at Aunt Mary  Janosky's home  where  the families gathered.  Here on the porch are Stella Janosky, Josephine Roginsky, my Mom-Helen Konesky who was not yet married to my father though they were dating, my Aunt Virginia Konesky with her back to them returning to the kitchen and  Helen Janosky leaning over the rail.  What I find amusing is that they are all dressed, with aprons  covering their clothes and even wearing  high heels.  It must have been a dress up gathering!  Mom appears to have some one's military hat on and Stella appears to have just removed it from her head and is fixing her hair.  Likely Joe Janosky, one of aunt Mary's son's (cousin  & brother to the girls)  was home on leave  because my aunt  wrote on the back, "Helen with Joe's hat." Maybe they dressed up because one of their own was home over the 4th and they honored him.

Now it's 1943 and  four of the girl cousins have traveled to Lake Erie, PA where it might have been cool because they are wearing coats and jackets, but at last I have a 4th of July photo with flags prominent.   This was titled "near the lake on the  fourth" the cousins are Aunt Mary's girls-- Helen, Stella and Jean Janosky and my Aunt Virginia Konesky.   I have no idea what they were doing nor how they got away and it must have been quite the adventure to travel this 100 miles from home to celebrate.    They are still dressed up heels and all.

But now it's 1944 and this is my favorite 4th  photo because these gals mean business! I find it striking because here again the girl cousins of the Ostrowski clan are together again, all the men are off to war. The girls are hanging tough!  I also have always found this photo sad,  because  as you can notice some one's leg sticking out the back on the right, that was my Mom, pregnant with me having just lost her husband June 20th.  I guess she did not want to celebrate climbing the flag pole with the girls, at least that's what I surmise.  My aunt said they  surrounded her anyway and dragged her along to all the family events.  It was a good support system for a young widow. I wish she had at least  gotten in the front for the photo shoot to see me in progress but  back in that day it didn't happen.  Mom appears to still be dressed up but notice than now all the  cousins are wearing trousers and all appear to be the same pattern.  By this time most of them were working in the plate glass factory, doing their Rosie the Riveter like jobs.  At the bottom of the flag pole, Jean Janosky, then  Loretta Roginski (hand in the air), my Aunt Francie Konesky who would leave after this and join the army herself, and  Helen Roginsky with my Mom, Helen behind her, now up the  pole from the bottom,  Helen Janosky, my aunt Virginia again, and Stella Janosky on top.  Note that within the family  all three sisters had a daughter named Helen, I don't know how they kept things straight.  My grandmother said she named Mom after her stepmother, Helen, who was Frank O's 3rd wife and I do not know if Aunt Mary and Vernie did the same with their daughters.  The name Helen goes back to Poland in our genealogy.

I am now part of the Sepia's as in November I had arrived on this planet and here in July 4 1945 I'm in  my Kewpie  doll baby pose ready to become the subject of many photos.  This 4th finds me with my Uncle Carl who is about ready to ship  out to Europe and  got to come home for a day on his way to Europe.  You recall my uncle Carl for a couple weeks of Sepias.  He was USArmy  809th Tank Destroyers, a sniper and  such a good shot that he became an instructor but he was now to go to the front himself. The skills with the gun likely came from growing up hunting with his father. 

July 4th 1948 and in this photo I am ready for the festivities, squinting into the sunshine as has been mentioned before,  hair combed up  and back and bows holding it.  In other photos my hair is all over my head and I'm not so neat and clean.  My grandmother Rose stands behind me in the door way.

Happy 4th everyone, those are the only Sepia 4th photos I could find.

As always to read other great posts by this international community click on the title above to get to the Sepia mainpage..

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bill Austin SEPIA SATURDAY Week 21 Click here to link to others' posts

Bill Austin 1889-1956 

This is my Great Uncle Bill, another Ostrowski, my grandmother Rose’s brother and his wife, Louise in 1944.Check out his white shoes and she in heels. Sometime early in his life as happened all too often in those times Bill may have experienced discrimination toward the Polish because he changed his last name to Austin. Not only that he changed his first name from Walter F to William, no middle name or initial. I can only imagine what went through his head to do this but surely wish I knew the story to share here. Maybe it was just as simple as a wish to fully assimilate—as far as he was concerned he was American. Maybe the Polish last name did not match is idea of being an American. As if I do not have enough to deal with in my genealogy with the changing of the spelling of Ostrowski, Uncle Bill had to go further.

He was born to Frank Ostroski and his second wife, Frances Swartz in Detroit Michigan according to my research. But Frank and Frances moved on to the mines of PA and there they settled; Bill lived in the New Kensington, PA area all his life.

Well my grandma Rose did not care if changed his name to “Yehudi” as she would say; he was her brother and that was that, though she thought it was very silly. When I was learning to spell, I asked her if the name change was because Ostrowski was just too hard to spell , to which she said that Uncle Bill was educated and could read, write and spell. I do not know what schools he attended, or how far he went in school, but she recalled he was the smartest boy in the family. I remember going to visit with my grandmother and my Aunt Virginia to the Anderson St. house where Bill and his wife Louise lived all their life and where she stayed after his death. I was fascinated with that area of our town known as Parnassus, and I imagined that Parnassus was a mythical name. Bill and Louise had no children and so far I do not know Louise’s maiden name. I know that she was my godmother, so identified on my Baptismal Certificate.

I enjoyed our visits to Uncle Bill and Aunt Louise because she always made fresh cold lemonade or freshly squeezed orange juice. My Grandmother would tell her not to bother that we only had a short time to spend, but that was Louise’s hospitality. Louise always had glasses being iced in the refrigerator, so they would be cold; this fascinated me, something no one else did. And more remarkable, Louise lined the glass rims with sugar and served proudly to each of us, even me the kid with gorgeous linen and crochet coasters. Mostly grandma made sure that Bill knew about family events, so anytime anyone had a new addition to the family, a baptism, a confirmation, a graduation whatever, my grandma would visit Bill. I never understood why she didn’t just call him on the phone, but suppose that was her way of being sure that her brother heard the news and would attend the upcoming event. I don’t recall him coming to many of the family gatherings or if he did it was just brief. Perhaps the others were not pleased with his Americanization attempt; my family were all proud of their Polishness.

I found his WWII draft card on showng his residence as the Anderson Street address. At that time he was still using the name Walter Ostrowski. But I learned something else from that. I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog that I grew up very close with my grandmother, she and I went to the movies every Sunday. In our small town which thrived in the days of the steel mills and the Alcoa Plant, there were three movie theaters. And some Sunday’s she and I would go to two of the theaters.   But we always went to the Liberty first, sometimes they were not showing a movie I preferred, I really liked cowboys and Indians in Technicolor so we had to take in one of those. I found this clipping about Uncle Bill in my grandma’s collection which shows that was his employment; evidently he loaded the films and ran them. This was a newsclip which I love showing the old equipment.  It explains why we always went there first, no matter what was on. I imagine we got free passes. On his WWII draft card Warner Brothers is identified as the owner of the theater, formerly known as the Ritz. I’d thought our three theaters were independently owned. Interesting to learn that Warner Brothers owned theaters across the country and in our little town in PA. This is my limited information about Uncle Bill and Aunt Louise for our  21st week of Sepia posts.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sepia Saturday Great Aunt Francie Ostrowski Mroz

Frances Veronica Ostrowski Mroz 1906- 1978

Her she is again, my Great Aunt Francie, my grandmother’s “baby sister” as my grandma called her all of her life! This is on one of their visits to PA in about  1945, with my grandpa.  Aunt Francie is  the little girl seated in the mystery Ostrowski gathering photo with the big bow in her hair.  I posted that two Sepia
Saturday's ago.  I am gathering all the Mroz photos I have to send to the adult Mroz children. So this is a good time to feature my memories of her. I have many happy memories of great fun and lots of laughter whenever we were around.  She and my granmother especially enjoyed each other. 

Aunt Francie, the only child of Frank Ostrowski and Helen Sajikowski (Sekoski), arrived on earth December 28, 1906 in PA. She always teased that if she could have waited four more days, she would have been a year younger! I love these wedding photos where she is absolutely engulfed by flowers. She married Alphonse Mroz in Milwaukie, WI  August 31, 1929. He met her when she was working in a flower shop and it was love at first sight, for him anyway. He promised her flowers if she would marry him; the wedding bouquet shows he kept his word at that at least for the ceremony. I recall her saying to him later in life that “It ain’t been no bed of roses with you all the time like you promised. I should have known! Some of your promises faded faster than petals on roses!”  

I’d mailed most of the photos to my cousin, Roland, her youngest son who complained to me once that he had no family photos. After Roland passed on in October, his children asked me if I had any family photos. Who knows what he did with all the others; I  suggested they look carefully when they cleaned out his home; fortunately for them I held onto a couple. I don’t know names of the other couple in the bridal party and as with so many other old photos there is no one around to ask.

She was always Aunt Francie to me. Nearly every summer as I was growing up either she or family came to PA to visit her sisters and stayed with my grandparents, or I accompanied my grandmother and grandfather by train to Milwaukie, WI to visit them. Those were great days of train travel in the 1950’s from Pittsburgh, PA to Milwaukie; it was quite the adventure for me to travel with my Grandparents. My grandmother cooked, baked and packed along enough food to feed an army so we always were well fed on the journey. I noticed that Grandma offered food to others and especially the conductors. I even heard one conductor say, “Why Rosie I am so glad to have you on this trip! Whatcha’ got in the hamper this trip! I sure am hungry!” I suppose that was one reason she made so much food and she was an excellent cook! We traveled in the coach class and once my grandmother opened our food bin invariably, someone would comment, “my that smells good…” That was all the invitation my generous grandmother needed to share her food; fried chicken, polish sausage sandwiches, homemade rolls and wonderful Polish cookies and delicacies. And my Granpap would tell me stories about his early years in America when he rode the rails. But once we arrived in Milwaukie, Aunt Francie took over! She let her older sister know that we were honored guests in their home and Rose was not to do a thing. It never happened. Those two Polish women kept very busy cooking, cleaning, doing dishes, going to masses and talking the entire visit. My grandma was not one to sit still but  she and her baby sister enjoyed themselves to the hilt! I had the best time of all because I was treated like a queen, adored by two couples. If my grandparents didn't coddle me enough Aunt Francie and Uncle Al stepped up the pace!  It was no wonder that given a choice one summer to go to Milwaukie with my Grandma or go to Canada with my Mother and family I chose  Milwaukie, to my Mother's disappointment.  But I would not  give up the festivities waiting for me, I knew back then a good thing when I had it!

Francie and Al had two sons, Jerry born November 11, 1935 and Roland born November 13, 1940. This is interesting because I was born November 13, 1944; so Roland and I shared a birth date and month. Every November as long as she lived, Aunt Francie sent me a birthday card and said she would never  forget me because I was born in November the best of months.  Remember, Frank Ostrowski, her father, my Great Grandfather  was also born November 11. 

I became the “best pest” to these two boys, my cousins. From the time I set foot off the train their mother had made it very clear that they were to entertain me and whatever “little Patty” wants that would be the direction for them to take. It did not take me long at all to figure out I had two slaves and both men reminded me of it in our grown up years. Jerry once said to my husband also  Jerry that “she was the most spoiled kid anyone ever knew…” to which my husband admitted, “Oh I know it!” It was far worse for Jerry who was older and would have preferred to hang out with his friends, but because he was older he had the chore to escort me and his brother constantly. I made them play hopscotch with me on the sidewalk and Jerry had to draw the squares. I made them hold the jump rope for me and push me on the swings! They said that at times  they could just see my  brain thinking up tasks for them.

On our visits, the sky was the limit for me, whatever I wanted had to happen and  Aunt Francie ensured that  it did, the zoo, a row boat ride on a lake, playgrounds, ice cream stores, and candy stores, baseball games where Uncle Al sold concessions, sparklers when we visited over the 4th of July, and the movies to me the best of all. Always I was the one to select the movies and Aunt Francie beamed, saying “My good boys to take such good care of Patty!” I recall one time Jerry scowled and she gave him a swat upside the head, “Don’t you look at Patty like that!” It’s a wonder these boys & I remained close through life! Rollie tormented me to the day he died about a tantrum I threw at the John Wayne Movie, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.” For some reason I was ready to leave and he was not, the movie was not over. But I insisted and said “well when we get home I’m telling Aunt Francie that you made me stay here…” he got up from his seat right then “Ok let’s go!” Aunt Francie was a presence and a real threat to them. Several years ago I sent him a DVD of that movie!

I am not sure what year but Jerry Mroz and his family (wife Donna, 3 children) moved from Milwaukie to Bakersfield CA where he sold insurance. Finally he convinced his parents to move to Bakersfield too. I visited them on one of my trips when I was working in the area in   1973.  Here are the three of us.

We always stopped on our way to and from Riverside to visit Jerry’s folks, too. And the Mroz's all would come north  to visit us too. One year Rollie came from WI and we had a reunion. Aunt Francie marveled at the good CA weather and said, “Well in CA nobody starves, look at the oranges on the trees,  all the time something growing!” Aunt Francie was a kind woman but had her limits. I remember one visit to Bakersfield when Uncle Al, both Jerry’s and Donna and others were playing cards in the kitchen. She and I sat in the other room and talked, finally she was ready to go home but Uncle Al was having fun at the card table. She allowed this for a time and finally walked over to him, pulled on his ear and announced, “Al it’s time to go home I said!” He arose quickly as did her son, Jerry who was to drive them home.  Even at his age of 40+ he  knew his Mom would swat him or pull his ears too!

Aunt Francie died in 1978 after a short stay in the hospital and I recall it was fall, because I wore a coat to her funeral. I remember being very sad and shedding many tears as they lowered her casket into the ground. She was the last of the old family and I knew there would be no more stories. After all, she is the one who gave me the Ostrowski photo and told me about my great grandfather.  She also is the one who told me my own beloved grandfather had been married once before and had a child somewhere in Chicago.  She said he always said he would go find them and my grandmother would tell him to do that!  I never knew about this and by this time my grandparents were gone and neither my mother nor aunt knew anymore. In this wedding photo here she is with that big bow over her head again!  Funny thing is I never remember her weatring a hat other than to church on Sunday; in her later years she wore a lace mantilla acquired in CA.  She loved that.

I have some beautiful  lacy crocheted doiles and dresser scarves that she made.  She, my grandmother and my Aunt Virginia all were excellent handworkers crocheting and  doing hand applique work and stitching fancy touches to handkerchiefs and scarve; true artists.  In one guest bedroom today I have a set of multi color blue doilies made by Aunt Francie.  In this one of the last photos taken of her she was on her way out to check on her flowers! She loved having flowers year round in CA!   Great Aunt Francie, rests in peace!

Click on the title above to go to other Sepia Saturday Posts. This is week 14 and my 4th week participating.