Friday, August 5, 2011

Week 31: Grandparents' House

Week 31: Grandparents’ House. Describe your grandparents’ house. Was it big or small? How long did they live there?

What a great week to start the Geneablogger's posts again! One of my favorite childhood memories was visiting my grandparent's house. My grandparents, Jeanne and John, lived on Irving Avenue in Dayton, OH from about 1978 until 2006. I don't know for sure but I'd guess the house was built around the 1940's. It is on the edge of the University of Dayton student neighborhood and is a small 2 story which had been divided into two separate living spaces - downstairs and upstairs. My grandparents lived downstairs and they generally rented the upstairs apartment to college students (usually grad students because they were less noisy!) The house itself had several features that were fascinating to myself and my siblings and cousins as kids. These included a closet under the stairway big enough for us to all pile in and built a fort out of couch cushions and blankets and a swinging door between the kitchen and dining room. The backyard was also fun, with a big tree that was perfect for climbing and tons of snails that we were fascinated with.
The side yard usually had a patch of rhubarb and in the summers I loved to pick fresh rhubarb to eat (I think I was the only one of the kids who liked it because it was so tart!
I can guarantee that all of the grandkids have some wonderful memories of times spent at the Irving Ave house! I would guess that a favorite for everyone would be remembering my grandfather racing down the sidewalk next to our parent's cars as we would leave their house. Even though he is no longer able to run, Bop will still do just about anything to get a laugh out of his grandkids and now, his great grandkids.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tombston Tuesday - Croatia Part I

Last month my mom and I traveled to Croatia. We stayed with some of her grandmother's family that she found when she visited in 2009. We were searching for any of her grandfather's family that may be left there (more on that in later posts).

While we were there we spent 2 days in the town of Aleksinica in the region of Lika. This is where my great-grandmother, Anna Vrkljan, was born and lived until she came to the United States in the 1920's. She left behind a sister named Marija. Marija's granddaughter (my mom's second cousin) and her family was who we were visiting.

One stop we made in Aleksinica was the church and cemetery. Below is a picture of Marija's grave. She was buried with her son, Marko, and his wife Ivka.

The inside of the church was beautiful and we had a wonderful 2 days there.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week # 25: Neighbors

Week #25 - Neighbors. Who were your childhood neighbors? Have you kept in touch with any of them? Do you feel the concept of “neighbors” has changed since then?

Sorry that I've been slacking these weekly posts. I logged in today determined to do one no matter what the suggested topic but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a subject that I had a lot to say about!

Our neighborhood growing up was THE BEST! Our house sat in the middle of a row of about 7 houses where the neighbors became some of our (and our parents) best friends. First of all, our immediate next door neighbors on one side were my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. That was great to begin with because it was like having a second house and yard. There were no fences between the yards and we ran through their yard (and many of the neighbor's yards) as if we owned them too! If we got bored at our house we could go over to our cousin's house (entering with just a warning double knock on the front door) and see what was going on over there. The other neighboring families happened to all have kids close to our own ages and mothers who all happened to be stay at home moms like ours. Summer evenings in the neighborhood were the most fun when everyone was outside--the kids playing, riding bikes or roller skating and the parents all gathering in one yard or another to chat and maybe have a drink or two! We had an open green space behind our houses where everyone would often gather for games of baseball or soccer.

My favorite memory would have to be the parties. For special occasions (or sometimes just because) we had a lamb roast (big family tradition as you've noticed from some of the pictures in previous posts) and family, friends and neighbors would all come to eat and socialize during the afternoon. In the evening, it turned into the neighbors sitting around the fire talking, laughing, and finishing off the keg of beer! Meanwhile the kids, with our walkie talkies and flashlights, would sneak around the yards making a game of "spying" on the adults. Looking back now I am not sure how this held our attention for the hours that it did but somehow it was always fun. It may have helped that we were probably high on sugar from all the party food and were up way past our normal bed time. One time some other neighbors, who were obviously jealous that they were not invited, called the police on our parents because we were being too loud!

Do we keep in touch today? Many of us do, to some extent. Everyone has since moved but some are still in the area and sometimes "the moms" get together for dinner. Just a few weeks ago my sister's friend Annie (from 2 doors down in the old neighborhood) and her mom stopped by to visit.

I do think neighbors and neighborhoods have changed some since that time (we are talking about 1980s mainly). There are still some places where people end up forming little groups of friends with their neighbors like we did but I think it is harder now. More mothers are working outside the home and kids are doing more scheduled activities after school and on the weekends instead of just going home and running around the neighborhood with siblings and friends.

I don't know if our experience with our childhood neighboorhood is completely unique but I do know we definitely had a lot of good times on Falcon Circle!