Your Daily Word Prompt: Nostalgic

I have had many opportunities lately to feel nostalgic, mainly because we are preparing to move to a senior community in six months, so we have to drastically downsize. This means going through boxes in the basement that haven’t been touched in decades!

I have found old photos of myself and my family from the 1970s – 1990s, drawings I did in 1972 and artwork my son did in elementary school, as well as old journals (as far back as 6th grade!), comics I made and stories I wrote.

Most valuable to me at this current time is a journal that I started in 2007 which I found in a drawer of my desk. Just 12 years ago, I had only written in the first 10 pages or so. So now I am carrying it around to encourage me to write and draw instead of playing games on my cellphone! Right now it’s an all-out war between my phone and my journal! The problem with a journal is that it is larger than a cellphone and writing by hand is getting more difficult lately – my hand cramps up and nice, legible handwriting after a page or two becomes erratic and less legible! However, a journal doesn’t need to be charged after using!

My next post happens to also be about something nostalgic: the music of my generation! Here’s a link: Song Lyric Sunday: Feelin’ Groovy.

Here are some of the things I found in the basement that made me nostalgic.

My son’s childhood

Jayme at beach in Milwaukee c1986
Jayme – 18 months old – at a beach in Milwaukee
Julia Waeffler & Jayme Villa-Alvarez
Jayme, about age 3 with his cousin Julia, age 5. These two were the best of friends for many years.
Jayme Villa-Alvarez, Dale Berman
My husband, Dale, showing Jayme how to put air in his bike tires. The most striking thing for me in this photo is how black Dale’s hair was then!
Jayme wrote me this letter from summer camp. He was about 10.

My family used to gather around the piano every Christmas and sing carols. This might have been the last time we were all together (1967). My mother probably took the photo because she isn’t in it. I am standing (2nd from left), while two of my sisters were at the piano.
In high school I had a boyfriend who taught me how to develop photos in a darkroom. These are three photos I took and developed back then. The top two were taken at my school, Verde Valley School; underneath is the front of the house of a family that I stayed with in Oaxaca, Mexico, during my senior year.

Here I am with two of my sisters at my high school graduation! They had graduated from the same school years earlier. (I’m in the middle.)

When I was in elementary school – and even before that! – I loved to draw more than anything else. My mother used some of my drawings on the family’s Christmas cards a couple of times. This one made the local newspaper! I was 7 at the time.
Katy's Xmas card design - age 7

In 1973, I went to Mexico with a college boyfriend (my future 1st husband) and we traveled all over the country. This photo was taken at Uxmal, Yucatán. I am climbing down a very steep Mayan pyramid, holding onto a chain as I descended. It was scary!
Uxmal, Mex-Jan 1973
After my mother became a widow, she made arrangements to move to a retirement community. She moved there after her dog died. In this photo copied from a scrapbook, taken in 2003, I am posing with her after a concert my church choir performed at the retirement home. My mother lived there many years, first in independent living, then she moved to assisted living, and finally to memory care, where she passed away in 2014.

Posted for Your Daily Prompt: Nostalgic, 5/26/19.

CFFC: 100 Years Old and Counting…

I am combining two photo challenges here:  Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the theme of books or paper and Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge with the theme of over 100 years old.

For several years, I have been working on a writing project, which is a book about my ancestors.  Fortunately for me, the son of my great-great grandfather compiled writings by his father and grandfather, which makes research a whole lot easier! I was also helped by my second cousin, Jeff Charles, who gave me a lot of other material he had collected as well as a comprehensive family tree. I met him and his sister Carolyn for the first time in 2012, when we went to Ohio to visit places where my ancestors had lived and worked.

Log cabin June 2012
My husband and I visited this log cabin – the original home that my 3-greats grandfather built in the 1820s to house his family and also serve as a school – in 2012. Thomas E. Thomas spent his younger years in this house. Unfortunately, there was a fire two years later and the log cabin burned to the ground!


My great-great grandfather, Thomas Ebenezer Thomas, was a Presbyterian minister and an abolitionist who became fairly well known in southern Ohio where he lived and worked. His son, Albert published a book of his father’s letters in 1913.
20180521_110744_001These letters are correspondence between him and his children, colleagues, relatives and friends. The book also contains photographs of family members, which I have been inserting into the narrative of my book.

Top, my great-great grandfather, Thomas E. Thomas; bottom left, my great-great grandmother, his wife, Lydia Fisher Thomas; bottom right, one of their daughters (who never married) Leila Ada Thomas.



Top Right: My great-grandfather, John Hampden Thomas. He had three daughters, who are pictured here. Top Left is his oldest daughter, Elizabeth (known as “Aunt Bet”); Bottom Right: his second daughter, Mary May (“Aunt Pol” or Polly); Bottom Left is my grandmother, the youngest, Isabel Rogers Thomas, who became known in my family as “Gogo.”

Gogo (my oldest sister’s attempt at saying “Granny” – the nickname stuck!) married Allen Perry Lovejoy Jr. and had three sons. Allen P. Lovejoy Sr. had a house built in Janesville, Wisconsin, located in the historic center of town. All the houses of that area are now being restored and/or preserved. Gogo’s husband died young, tragically, of the Spanish flu, which was an epidemic in 1918. My father never knew his father and Gogo was the only grandparent who was alive when I was old enough to remember.

In addition to the book I’m writing, I also have a blog about these ancestors, called We Are Such Stuff IV (4th volume of ancestral history – my mother wrote the other three and called the series “We Are Such Stuff.”) The blog also includes transcripts of some of my father’s letters to my mother when he was stationed in Europe during World War II.









D-Day, June 6, 1944

This post is from another blog of my family history that I have rarely posted in – here is the link:

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I am reblogging this post from my family history blog above.

D-Day June 6 1944My mother told me that on June 6, 1944, after hearing the news about the invasion of Normandy, she was worried and scared. She was a young wife and mother of a 21-month-old child, and 7 months pregnant with another. She knew from her husband’s letters that he was somewhere in the English channel on a minesweeper.D-day newspaper headline

Since she couldn’t sleep, she called a close friend, who I believe was also pregnant, and the two of them went out for a walk at 2 am! They walked and walked and talked.
Although Dad wrote home nearly every day, I do not have a letter dated June 6, 1944. However, his letter to my mother on June 9 says that he hadn’t had time to write nor anywhere to mail a letter if he had. It must have been a tremendous relief for my mother to receive Letter #36, which was added to and mailed several days later!

Below is that long letter, written over the course of several days.

My darling –
I wrote & mailed #35 to you last Saturday (June 3), and haven’t written since – I haven’t had time & haven’t been anywhere where I could mail letters. When we get back to such a place, I hope I can cable you, so that you will not be worried about the gap in my mail – this will be mailed at the same time. Last Saturday I also sent a V-mail to Mother. And later in the day I received your #39 (air mail – 9 days) & the article about U.S.N.R.
M.S. – was much interested in the latter. I should get a baleful of your letters when our mail catches up to us again.D-Day invasion map

Your guess is right – we are at the Normandie [sic] beach-head and have been from the start. Have been under way since Saturday night, sweeping over here for the past four days. It has been an experience I shall never forget so long as I live. We have had a couple of bad scares, but so far are untouched. We have swept some mines but been involved directly in no action ourselves. We have, however, been close to plenty of action. Cannot see the details ofwhat’s going on on the beach, and get most of our news over the radio, as you do. But we are getting a good “view” of the naval bombardment & the entrance of all types of naval vessels into the area. Although there is almost constant shelling, it is not so noisy as I expected, and we really have seen less activity than you would think. Of what I can tell you, the thing that impresses me the most is the size of the operation. On the whole, from our point of view, the weather has been good.D-day invasion naval force

Have no idea when we shall leave this area (you will know we have when this letter is mailed, even if I cannot cable), but it can’t be too soon. It is not just the noise, to which

D-day naval bombardment-USS Nevada
D-Day:  USS Nevada

we are getting accustomed, but the rugged character of life on board here. The first couple of days we got practically no sleep at all & were really pooped out – that has improved lately, though sleep still comes in snatches. Since I now feel more rested, the most annoying thing is personal hygiene – last night I took my first shower & shave since we shoved off – in fact it was the first time in five days that I had taken off my clothes at all – my old ideas of frequency of showers & changes of clothes are certainly going by the board!
But we are getting along fine really, and everyone’s spirit seems to be holding up well. We keep busy, & get good entertainment out of our radio. So, darling, please don’t worry – I’ll be all right. What worries me most is that you will worry yourself into an unhealthy state and endanger yourself & L.L.
(Transcriber’s note: L.L. stood for Lester Llewellyn, a highly improbable name for the baby my mother was expecting! Until my second sister was born, my parents affectionately referred to him (her) as Lester Llewellyn.)


Since I have told you about all I am allowed to, there isn’t much more to say. One of our crew exhibited a fine bit of timing – he got appendicitis & had to be transferred of the ship the last day before we left the United Kingdom!

Did I remind you about the people to put on the birth announcement list? I guess I did. Don’t forget the Kuhns & my other cousins & aunts. Don’t forget Geo. & Eleanor Thomas – you say you saw George – is he contemplating moving back to Janesville soon?
Tell Judy thanks for her letter – I really enjoyed it. She certainly has learned a lot of words & other tricks since I saw her. I sure do miss her something awful.
Swell that your Mr. Rauch is so good – I hope you can keep him and that he will work for you enough to get done what is necessary.
Sure glad to hear that Mother was getting better – hope she is fully recovered by now. Maybe I shall hear from her soon.

You seem to be working awfully hard – darling, don’t get yourself too tired – you know what it did to you in Boston, when the nervous strain was less than it is now. You should get some relief when the maid starts, which I hope is by now. You don’t say anything more about having the baby restored to upright position again & whether it will stay there – what about it? – I am a little concerned.
Well, I’ll close this temporarily and keep adding to it until I can mail it. Darling, just remember that I shall always adore you.

Sunday, June 11, 1944 – 1:30 p.m.

D-day mines sweptWell, we are still here, and are still keeping busy sweeping, etc. No sign or indication yet as to when we shall get away from here. We are getting a little more used to it, and life does not seem as rugged as it did. We have had another scare or two, but we really in very little danger and less & less so as our forces progress. But we shall still be glad to get away from here whenever they give us the word!
That’s about all I can tell you – we get our news over the radio, as you do, and so know very little more of what goes on than you do. We see only a very, very small part of the activity that is making news. But from all reports the boys are doing a swell job in there – hope they keep it up. And isn’t the news from Italy good? I expect a big offensive on the Russian front soon, and possible other invasions – but I really know nothing about it (if I did, I couldn’t say anything at all!).
D-day painting
Wish we could get to wherever our mail is, because I wonder about you & Judy & Mother – & especially you – how you are & what you’re doing. If I told you a million times, darling, you’d never know how much I miss you. But I hope you can read between the lines, sweetheart, for I really love you, love you, love you with every gram of strength & feeling within me. So take good care of yourself – for me.

June 12, 1944 – 9 a.m.
Just got off watch a few minutes ago, after learning that they are going to pick up our outgoing mail in a little while. So I want to get this off to you. With it I shall send a V-mail to Mother, so that you will hear as soon as possible that we are all okay. Have no idea whether they will bring incoming mail to us, nor when I shall be where I can cable you.

No more news – it has been relatively quiet lately. I guess the fighting is pretty fierce inland, but the boys seem to be making progress. The weather is beautiful today – only the second clear day we have had since we got here.

Must stop now.

Loving you always –

Note: All pictures and diagrams in this post were downloaded from Google Images.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Siblings – History of a family

Due to family commitments, I was unable to get on my computer yesterday to post something for my weekly feature. So I am doing it today…better late than never!

Yesterday, April 10, was “Siblings day” on Facebook, which I didn’t know until today! So for my FLASHBACK FRIDAY feature this week, I feature groups of siblings that tell the history of my family:

Bissell children - my grandmother (my mother's mother), Katharine, is the 2nd from the left.
Bissel siblings – my grandmother (my mother’s mother), Katharine, is the 2nd from the left.
L-R: Margaret (my mother). with her sisters Julia & Mary ( "Honey") - early 1930s
Thom siblings – L-R: Margaret (my mother). with her sisters Julia & Mary ( “Honey”) – early 1930s
L-R: Allen P. Lovejoy, John T. Lovejoy & Robert C. Lovejoy (my father),1922
Lovejoy siblings – L-R: Allen P. Lovejoy III, John T. Lovejoy & Robert C. Lovejoy (my father),1922
Lovejoy siblings: Back Row L-R: Mary, Allen; Front Row L-R: Julia, Katy (me), Alix ("Wixie")
Lovejoy siblings (next generation):
Back Row L-R: Mary L. Sweet, Allen P. Lovejoy; Front Row L-R: Julia L. Weiser, Katy L. Berman (me), Alix (“Wixie”) L. Waeffler, 2005
The Sweet siblings: Robby, Betsy, Maria (Oct. 1976) -
The Sweet siblings:
Robby (7), Betsy (6 mo.), Maria (5), Oct. 1976
The Weiser siblings: Mike, Maggie & Jenny (all wearing T-shirts) with their names printed in Hebrew)
The Weiser siblings:
Mike, Maggie & Jenny (all wearing T-shirts with their names printed in Hebrew), early 1980s
The Waeffler siblings: Tom (age 5), Julia (with hat!) (age 2).  My father is behind them leaning on the pier.
The Waeffler siblings: Tom (age 5), Julia (with hat!) (age 2), 1985
My father is behind them leaning on the pier.
The Lovejoy siblings (my brother Allen's children): Leslie, Paige, Allie, about 1996
The Lovejoy siblings (my brother Allen’s children – 3rd generation) : Leslie, Paige, Allie, about 1996
Berman/Villa-Alvarez siblings: Tamara Berman (my stepdaughter) & Jayme Villa-Alvarez (my son), San Francisco 1998
Berman/Villa-Alvarez siblings: Tamara Berman (my stepdaughter) – age 22  & Jayme Villa-Alvarez (my son) – age 13, San Francisco 1998
Sweet siblings (my nephew Rob's sons), Jordan (age 10) and Joshua (age 6) in the hot tub at their house in Indiana, 2008
Sweet siblings – 2nd generation – (my nephew Rob’s sons), Joshua (age 6) and Jordan (age 10) in the hot tub at their house in Indiana, 2008
Keriazakos/Jacobs siblings: Their mother, Maria (Sweet) Jacobs (my niece) is pictured with Grace Jacobs (age 4)  & Nicholas Keriazakos (age 17), spring 2014
Keriazakos/Jacobs siblings: Their mother, Maria (Sweet) Jacobs (my niece) is pictured with Grace Jacobs (age 4) & Nicholas Keriazakos (age 17), spring 2014

Other descendants from Robert & Margaret T. Lovejoy are not pictured because they do not have siblings (yet)! All of these are under the age of 5.


It was always fun to see my nieces at Easter, wearing new dresses and their Easter bonnets! Here are Allie (age 2), Leslie (age 4), and Julia (age 8) at my mother’s house, all gussied up for church!Allie & Leslie Lovejoy, Julia Waeffler

It’s amazing to consider that all of these young ladies now have children of their own or soon will! Allie has a son who is almost 5, Leslie has two young sons, and Julia is due to have her first child, a daughter, in about six weeks. It has been wonderful to watch them grow up and now I enjoy seeing their children grow up (even if only on Facebook)!
Whichever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, or the celebration of spring and new life, I hope it is joyous!

Check out the latest on We Are Such Stuff IV

I have posted two more pieces on my new blog, We Are Such Stuff IV!

1942: Dad promoted to midshipman, a continuation of my father’s letters to my mother when he was in New York during naval training;   and

Thomas prepares for the ministry, 1802-1806, which is the second installment of the first chapter of my book on my family ancestry.  In this excerpt, the Rev. Thomas Thomas (my 3-greats grandfather) studies at Hoxton Academy – his first formal education at the age of 26! – where he trains to be a Independent minister.


Thomas Thomas, drawing by his son, Thomas E. Thomas. This is the only known portrait of him.