Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another mystery book

Oh Dear, has it really been since Easter that I have written in this blog? For shame on me.
That just means I get to do double time on it now.

So. . .I did it again. I bought an item on auction. A leather valise, I wanted to use it for my Steampunk costume.
When it arrived I unpacked it and realized it needed some TLC. Put it in the corner till I could get to it. That was about 6 months ago.

It came from a local Goodwill so when it arrived and I saw the UofO sticker on the side (almost completely gone) I knew it was from someone in Oregon.
Yesterday I started cleaning it off with Saddle soap. Making sure I didn't disturb the sticker. It is getting cleaner but it is going to need some mink oil or something cause the leather is cracked and breaking off in the folds.

As I was cleaning it I looked inside, dusty, dead spider. Then I checked the side pockets. And that is where I found this notebook.
Or rather notepad.
It is only 4inch.

Inside are a few pages with minute handwriting. It takes me a while to figure out what it is saying. Then the lighbulb goes on.

Here we have a notepad that was purchased in France, approx. 1945. Owned by Winton J. Hunt. His notes are military notes. He is recording an accident with explosives and who was killed, Italians and Germans and US. Seems they were unloading armaments (B betty bombs) and it slipped and exploded. He lists which men died. Like the POW's that are Italian or German.

There are also notes for arranging the Christmas party with children. He talks about which units and how many children will be from that unit. Also how the bus/truck will come to areas in the city to pick up the children.

Knowing the war ended in May 1945 and these notes are from August and November 1945 it tells me that Winton Hunt was helping move units out and heal things with the citizens of France.

I have googled the names of some of the men mentioned. Most of them are dead now. Winton J. Hunt is also deceased. But he left quite a legacy. Here is his obituary in the Salem Statesman.
Winton J. Hunt August 13, 1911 - May 21, 2009 SALEM - A loving husband and great Oregonian, Winton J. Hunt, age 97, died of natural causes at his home in Salem, Ore. He was born in Woodburn, Ore. to Jno and Molly (Meiring) Hunt. He attended U of O and Willamette Law School. After WWII, he took over the family insurance business (Jno Hunt & Son Insurance). In 1975, Winton married Dona Battig and became a loving stepfather to three children. He loved reading, history, fishing, golf, boating, and played baseball for U of O and the Salem Senators. He served his country as an Army Major, participating in the WWII Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, receiving the Bronze Star in 1944. He was elected Oregon State Rep. 1957-1963, Chief Clerk 1965-1982, and served 30 years on the State Fair Board. Survived by wife,

Ready for this. . . a You Tube video of him.

I'm currently trying to track down family members so hang on, there will be more I hope.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter 2013

A day full of color, sunshine, smiles and youthful excitement.

What'sa Quarius Nana?

Joy was helping me yesterday clean up from the Easter festivities. She loves to sing. And does it all the time.
She makes up songs or sings real songs. And it always amazes me how quickly she picks up a song and sings ON KEY and LOUD!

While singing something (I wasn't paying attention to what the tune was) she stopped and asked me what a "quarius" was. HUH? "quarius" like in the song. . ."when the moon is in the 7th house". oh oh oh. that is Aquarius!

So I told her Aquarius is a man pouring water out of a jug. Then I took her to the computer and we did a Youtube search and I found the 5th Dimension version of the song. She said she had never seen it. So I was trying to figure out how she knew the song.

Click on the picture

She asked me if I know the movie where the guy goes "No No No " (while shaking her head back and forth) when they are going to cut his hair. Again I didn't understand what she was asking me. But on the Youtube page along the side are those clips and she pointed to one of them and said, "That one".


Click on this picture

She has been watching HAIR the musical.

I had to crack up. When I was in 6th grade I was in the school choir. At our spring concert we sang Aquarius & Let the Sun Shine. The year was 1969 so the song was very popular. Certain parents had a Kaniption (fit) because the song was about unholy worship (zodiac). And now my 5 year old granddaughter sings it and not only that. . . .watches the movie it was made famous in, another very controvertial performance.

The world is different.

Yes that is Tommy Lee Jones in a musical. BWAHHHHH

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Omen

And I thought my New Year's Day would be gloriously sunny and a great omen for the coming months.
But a Shadow was cast upon this golden morning.
With the sun comes the birds. With the birds comes a meal. . . .for the cat (Shadow)
Sitting at the dining room table enjoying some reading I hear her meow in a strange muffled voice. She won’t shut up. I can barely see her in the family room. I get up and follow her meow.
I have not moved one single thing in this photo. Yes there is a dish of un-eaten cat food in the corner. Behind it is a furry play mouse.
But there in front of Shadow is the real thing. She brought me a finch.
Sigh. Happy New Year MOM!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

German Sewing Diary page two

Continued from page one, the German Sewing Diary and Helli.

Sorry no pictures allowed.

If I can go by what Barbara says (girlfriend to Oliver), Oliver has become obsessed with this story as I have. It makes me giggle to think of our own story unfolding as we search for clues in the writings of a woman more than 80 years ago. There are layers and layers to this adventure. Should we say like an onion? But that would make you think it was stinky or produces tears. Then maybe it is like a rose with petals unfurling and revealing a center and fragrance oh so sweet. I have yet to figure out which it is to be.
Onward shall we?
Since we left Helli last, I have found/acquired another document that is very helpful to our story. Our curiosity lead both Oliver and I to the internet. Oliver found the name Neutzner in the diary. It was the last name of a set of grandparents. Paternal or Maternal we were yet to know. We found a family of Neutzner’s in Omaha, Nebraska. In particular a man named Heinz. By putting the last name in we found even more.
On Monday of this week I found a phone number listed in documents on for a Heinz Neutzner. With fear and trepidation I called the number. Thus began a whirlwind of conversations and discoveries. All of which I wish I could put here in this blog. But alas, there are living family members that I feel obligated to protect and honor their requests.
To help ease the pain of not concluding this mystery as I had hoped, I can tell you this much about Helli and the diary. Helli and her family did live through WWII. Her entire family immigrated to the US in 1954. She is alive and well and as I understand from speaking to her brother and sister, is still very lively and willing to chat with me. I hope I can in the near future.
While Helli was cleaning out her house to make a move to a smaller apartment and the notebook was tossed, thinking it had no significance anymore. Helli’s younger sister is not happy about this. She has contacted me and asked if she could buy back the diary. Since I have scanned the whole book and contents, I agreed to sell it back so it can remain with the rightful family. I am very sensitive about family heirlooms being lost, that is, a portion of why I reached out to find the Neutzner family. This Diary was looking more and more like a baby book.
Helli’s sister has spent many years collecting and writing a family memoir, with hope to publish it. They were kind enough to share it with me. It was this book, a very comprehensive look at not only the Neutzner family but a part of WWII that has been hidden and un-researched, that allowed me to know Helli and especially her mother on a very real level. Knowing why this woman who had so precisely logged the clothing and life events of Helli’s first 6 years, was the most important part for me. I have my answers now.
Some of you (my blog readers) with whom I have shared other details about this diary, I will be able to tell you more of what I learned over dinner sometime. But, alas, those of you who do not know me personally I will have to end the tale of the Sewing Diary here. And I was so looking forward to sharing with you page 14 & 24. Maybe at another time.
Auf Weidersehn.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A glimpse of Heli

Her name is Helene, but on the day she was born, September 11, 1930 her mother flushed with the birth of her first child began to call her Heli.
That is the first paragraph of the most interesting auction item I have ever purchased. The description of the item on the Auction website was “Up for auction is an interesting crafting notebook from the 1930's. It features different swatches of cloth and clothing designs. Included are some sewing cards and old postcards. Everything appears to be written in German.”

The photos were scarce and only a few of the items were pictured. So to bid on it was rather risky. But my gut told me that anything to do with sewing and a diary of sorts would be interesting no matter how small the information was, nor how hard it would be to translate it from German into English. So bid I did and won it for $17.00. I noted that the item was coming from the Iowa/Nebraska area. Knowing that many Germans immigrated to that area it made me curious when the diary/notebook had actually got to the US. These questions were just the beginning of a mystery that I am deep into now. Not only me but several of my friends. . .and now you if you continue to read.

When the book arrived I immediately determined that there were two languages to contend with. German, yes, but also something that looked to be Czech or Polish. The notebook which I will call a Diary was obviously in German. But the postcards and other ephemera were in the Czech/Polish. I began by scanning the Diary into jpegs that I could share with my many friends in Germany to enlist their help to translate. Oliver, in particular loves old books and old languages. I sent him the first page thinking he would not be interested in a woman’s sewing diary. Oh I was so wrong.

Oliver (part of my band of Krazy Krauts, they know I mean that effectionately) quickly told me the first page was written by the mother of Helene. Here is his translation.

Established/started (the diary) on 25. of June 1932
Sunday the 11th of September 1930 between 3:45 and 4 in the afternoon, our daughter Helene was born. After she had a bath (was cleaned up) I looked at the small, chubby-cheeked and red-cheeked child which was put into bed beside me. She weighed 3,75kg (8,27lb).
On the 23th of September at 7:30 in the morning, we’ll get her baptized.
The grandparents Neutzner, Franziska and Johann stood godparents. Heli got a nice “Taufbüchlein” (“baptism booklet” indicating that they were protestant, I think) with a pink ribbon, containing a 5 Kr (Czechoslovak koruna) piece with the year and birth-year 1930, as well as 300 Kr which we put on her savings account (unsure... maybe they just put the money in the abovementioned booklet). She was very good and quiet during the whole baptism ceremony. After a small breakfast, we dispersed (sounds better in German! maybe “we went separate ways”) only to all get back together in the evening for a “Taufschmaus” (baptism dinner).

Data from the first page: It begins on June 25, 1932. The mother is writing it in fountain pen. Helene (Heli) born on 9/11/30, christened 9/23/30. Godparents are also Grandparents Johann & Franzeska Neutzner.

Join me as I discover more about this little girl named Heli and help me. . .
Turn the page.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Embarking on Inspiration

The brain loves a challenge. It loves to grow and expand. So I have decided to feed it.
After working on that Ocean Floor necklace I wore it to Germany. My friend Siggi encouraged me to go further with this design idea. The bead embroidery on wool felt is at this moment my medium of choice.

With that in mind I cut out of paper a shape . At first I thought it looked like a bottle. But now I see a woman’s shape.

Make sure you click on the picture so you can see it larger and the detail.

I backed it with stiff interfacing, the kind you use to make fabric bowls. I started with the door. And started beading. I had sketched some of it on paper but most of it was on the fly.

Once backed with a knit backed faux leather and edged in beads I had to take a long time to figure out how I was going to hang it. I chose 3 strands that were somewhat braided. One strand is leather/suede. (found at the Pendleton Wool store as scrap) and two are beaded strands. The whole design was suppose to be inspired by Summer.

I really like how it came out

Staying with the same shape I was inspired by the Perseid Meteor Shower that happened in August. Having gone out late at night with friends to enjoy the sight.

Using another door but now with the stars being a focus, this design has really fueled my momentum. I want to start naming these objects (pendants). This purple with stars will be “Door Van Gogh” after Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Starry Starry Night.

I still have to hang it and have been learning a new craft that will allow me to make my own cords. It is called Kumihimo. This is a kind of Japanese craft of braiding cord/yarn/string. This is the cord I braided for Door Van Gogh.

I think I will include a strand of beads and wrap them together.

The Summer one is now named “Door into Summer” after my mother’s favorite Sci Fi book by Robert Heinlein.

Here are some other samples of the Kumihimo I did with beads. I used wimple junk crochet cotton with some plastic beads I have, no idea what size they are but they do not slide easily on the cotton so it was a little time consuming doing this beaded rope. The yellow/green one is done with random colors. The Blue Pink has only one strand of pink and the rest is blue.

Right now I am testing a 16 strand braid using my Possum yarn. Yes, yarn made with Possum wool?/hair. My friend Brenda brought it back from New Zealand for me. I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it since I don’t knit. But this Kumihimo is a great opportunity to test it with. More on that later.