Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Accepted At Last

The Florida Historical Society's main office is located in the old Post Office in Cocoa Village, Cocoa, Florida.   I remember going into the post office with my grandmother as a child.  It is a big impressive building. 

Florida Historical SocietyMy mother donated some old photographs of the Cocoa and Eau Gallie area.  They asked her to write about her life as she remembered it which they published.  She was a Roesch afterall.  Now my family history was beginning to intrigue me.  Inside the front entrance of the FHS hangs a plaque with my mother's name engraved upon it.  My sisters and I were happy to make this happen for her to leave a lasting memory of her existence to the history of this area.

When I became interested in genealogy, every March while in Florida visiting, I spent time in this formidable building asking questions, sharing information and researching my Roesch history.  Every visit starting with the first visit frustrated me to no end.  Sometimes, I hate to admit, it really made my blood boil and my hair would stand on end.  I never felt welcomed and was made to feel intellectually inferior when it came to my family history.  Seems they thought they knew more than I did, especially when they told me I was pronouncing my family name Roesch incorrectly.  If you were to ask my husband he would tell you I embarrassed him on more than one occasion, most likely half-a-dozen times.  I just couldn't help myself, this was important to me.  Assuredly they weren't looking forward to my visit every March, but they were always gracious and I tried, I really tried to be polite. 

It was in March of 2008 that I stopped in for a last visit prior to my book, "Forever Laced" being completed for publication.  Two very important things happened.  First, Ben DiBiase, the Educational Resources Coordinator brought out a file box from the archives. He untied the cover and to my surprise lifted out correspondence my grandfather had written in 1932. The letters were found in the Roesch House in Eau Gallie that the FHS now owns and is part of the Rossetter Museum.  These letters along with responses were very important to see.  It put his life story into perspective for it showed how hard he was trying to find work during the depression.   

Then the man who always seemed to me to be a know-it-all, who refused to believe how to pronounce my family name walked in.  He sat at the table with us and asked in the softest voice I had ever heard him speak, "What was the relationship between your grandfather, William Philip Roesch and John McAllister?" I had uncovered his name and the relationship while researching the history of the Roesch family and felt quite satisfied to tell him, John was my grandfather's uncle.  This was a question, he as a genealogist hadn't been able to discover.

The following year I returned with books in hand and donated two for their library. This time I was made to feel truly welcomed and treated with respect.  I was surrounded by those I had spoken with for so many years asking me of all people questions about the Roesch family and how it related to the history of Eau Gallie.  Finally, I felt accepted as one of their own.  I'm home at last.  And by the way, he now pronouces the name correctly, Ray-shh.

As a final note, my great grandfather, William Russell Roesch was the founder of the newspaper named the Eau Gallie Record.  I was able to convince his grandson, my uncle Clyde, that the collection of newspapers, some over 100 years old now in his custody, should be donated to the Florida Historical Society for safe keeping before they completely disintergrate. 

Ben DiBiase accepted these newspapers , 'Eau Gallie Record', 'Melbourne Times' and the 'Cocoa Tribune' stating in his letter written August 14, 2012, "Again, I want to thank you for making this donation possible,  these papers will be of great use to researchers in the future.  In fact, I have already received research requests from people who are interested in the history of Eau Gallie and would like to see these newspapers. He graciously included two CD's with digitally scanned copies of the newspaers, one for me, and one for my uncle.  Now we can enjoy these for a lifetime.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Radio & Edgar Allen Poe

It was 1972 we were living in Concord, New Hampshire.  I was a housewife raising four children the youngest only twelve months old.  I loved listening to the radio as I went about doing the things that a young wife and mother do around the house.  No time to sit and watch TV but the radio was always on.

Being a lover of books, especially old books, something being announced on the radio caught my attention .  Someone was selling five books containing ten volumes about Edgar Allen Poe.  The asking price was $25, a rather hefty sum for us at the time where every nickel counted, but I couldn't resist.

I made the call to the woman who was selling them and told her I would be by later that day to purchase them.  That afternoon I collected my treasure and brought them home. 

Later that evening, after the children were bathed and put to bed, I sat down with my new purchase  and examined them with great care.  Some of the pages had never been slit apart so you couldn't see what was written in between.   Whomever owned these books not only loved Poe but loved poetry in general.  It was also clear that he loved distinguished American Literati.  A chapter in the book gives information about many authors that includes a sample of their handwriting.

The book had every story and poem that Poe had ever written.  To my surprise, inside each book were many newspaper clippings mostly about Poe but some of other poets as well who all mention Poe in one way or another.  One clipping read: "Author of 'Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight' Dies; aged 89", (1939) Rose Hartwick Thorpe, victim of heart attack. 

The oldest newspaper clipping I found was dated 1918.  "Hard Work Wins", Sir Fredrick Taves, a noted British Surgeon, said that hard work counts far more than brilliancy.  Brilliancy, like genius, is an accident.  It is born, not made. The world would be a dull, flat plane intellectually if it did not throw up brilliant people.  Hard work would never have given us Shakespeare, Beethoven, Keat, Heine, Poe, of Shelley. Woe to them who expect brilliancy alone to give them the success that is worthy and enduring.

Poe was a struggling writer whos works were rejected again and again but he worked hard and persevered.  In 1933 an article "Poe in an Informal Mood" stated, Poe was very far from being the stark, solemn, unsmiling figure that so many picture him.  he could even laugh at himself.  When he had won the hundred dollar prize in 1833, and Mr. Latrobe, one of the committee of award, asked the unknown young writer what else he had for publication, he replied that "he was engaged on a voyage to the moon".  He then apologized for his excitability, which he laughed at himself.

All that I find, all that I see, all that read, not only puts Poe into a previously unknown perspective for me, but also gave me information on all the other brilliant writers of that time.  I'm so glad I was listening to the radio that day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Hey, Good Buddy

I'm taking you back to the early 1970's, the days of disco, flared pants, floral shirts, black and white television and the CB Radio. 

We owned a green station wagon with beautiful blonde wood adorning both sides of the car.  It was a pretty big car; they don't make them like that any more.  Seats belts hadn't yet been invented and our kids could climb over the seats and settle into the back with pillows and blankets. 

Once when returning home from an over-night trip my five children, I only have four but am counting my husband here, when a camping ground was spotted with a stream running through it.  I was begged by all to p-l-e-a-s-e stop and camp there.  Being outnumbered what is a person to do but to say yes. 

My three girls and I huddled way in the back of that green station wagon where the full moon kept me awake all night.  My husband and son slept outside near the stream when a surprise visitor arrived, by the name of skunk, sniffing my son up and down. Horrified, my husband prayed his son would not move.  Whew, all's well than ends well, but it did get into our picnic basket.

Many of you already know I grew up traveling to Florida the first two weeks in July to visit my maternal grandparents, because that is when my dad got his vacation time. We drove down route #1 reading all the South of the Border and Burma Shave signs.  But now as a married woman with four children we decided to drive down caravan style, with my parents in the lead.  Having done this for so many many years, they knew the way like the back of their hand. 

To be able to communicate we both installed CB radios prior to our departure.  Naturally we had to have names, we were called Green Dragon, and they were Yellow Bird because they drove a yellow Mercury.  It worked great and we certainly got the hang of it quickly. 

There were always truckers on the road, it seemed like every other vehicle was an eighteen-wheeler.  And, every one of them had a CB. Sometimes we would get stuck between two of these meaning you were in the cradle.  You always knew when there was a sheriff down the road because they would announce, "Hey good buddy, County Mountie spied just past exit 82".  Or, hey good buddy, smokey (state police) up ahead giving out gifts ( tickets).  Then once in awhile you would hear a female voice break in attempting to entice a trucker to her stop. Oh my!  We heard a trucker respond and she replied, " Too late, you've already gone by me".  Happy my children were too young to understand.

The CB radio was used for emergencies like a potty stop, flat tire, potty stop, to get gasoline, or a potty stop.  What can I say we had four kids. Mom slept most of the way so dad kept driving despite the fact it was way past lunchtime.  It was only when we saw my mother's head pop up off the pillow that rested against the window that we would stop to eat.  No wonder dad wouldn't stop for lunch, he was trying to make up time.  Thank goodness we had a cooler on the back seat floor with cold drinks and a few snacks to tide us over.

The CB radio of its day made a rather long drive a fun one. Those days are long gone, filed away in history leaving me with wonderful memories that become more precious as time goes by.
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