TBT: My Papa’s Family

I’ve been totally immersed in genealogy the last week or so. It’s amazing how difficult their lives were back at the turn of the century for my Papa’s family, who immigrated from Germany to the United States. They did not have much money, but as soon as they arrived the older ones all got jobs to help to support the family.

Here is a picture of them taken either just before they left Germany or shortly after they arrived.

20375810866_fe03f453ff_cLeft to right is Herbert, his sister Hedwig, my great grandfather August Prussmann, the little boy sitting down is my Papa, Frederick, then there is Henry, sitting down is the youngest Kätchen, then my great-grandmother, Elizabeth, and Herta. All lived to grow old, except Kätchen. She died at the age of 22 during the Spanish Flu Epidemic in Boston.

My great-grandfather August Prussman died after 1 year here in the USA. He suffered from terrible Asthma and died during a severe attack. He was just 48 years old.

The ones I knew best were Papa Fred and his sister, my Aunt Hedwig. Hedwig lived a very long life, and we got together with her often.

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TBT: Thirteen Year Old Me

This was taken on the first day of eighth grade. I vaguely remember that dress. The hair? Oh yeah, I wanted to be Karen Carpenter so bad! That is why you can see the long hair and heavy bangs!


I loved the eighth grade. We were the oldest class in the school. Mostly, we had great teachers with the exception of just a couple.

My Dad taught at this school. So for the three years, I was in the Intermediate School, I not only had Dad as my music teacher, but I also rode to school with him every day and he made my lunch. Two slices of white bread, spread with margarine, two slices of American cheese. An apple and money for a carton of milk. God bless Dad. He had no imagination for packing our lunches, but every day, when we came down to the breakfast he made, there was our bag lunch.

At one time, everyone in town had our Dad as their music teacher. His teaching of square dancing is still legendary!

img448Here I am as my sister’s Maid of Honor when I was 13 years old. My mother made all the bridesmaids dresses and I remember feeling quite lovely wearing this. The bow? Not so much, but everything else was perfect.

Christmas 1961

A picture of my family for that year’s Christmas card. I imagine that Dad set up his camera to take the picture. There I am at three years old being held by my Dad, Melodie is in the front, then my Mom and brother Richard. These events were pretty stressful for us all. These were back in the days of “film” and taking an entire 36 pictures hoping to get one good one! It is so nice to have these pictures now. There are not too many of the five of us together.


TBT: Queen of the Ball

Long ago and far away, in a place called Massachusetts, I was growing up.  At the time I belonged to The Rainbow Girls, and although I never did as well as my sister did in the organization (she went all through the chairs and became Worthy Advisor), I did hold several offices, and I sang. Yes, yours truly, who is quite nervous about singing in front of people actually used to sing for large groups at our local organization as well as get loaned out to other chapters.

The year I was 15, I was the only girl going to the Rainbow Ball in Boston from our Chapter in Falmouth. Thus I was entered into the Pageant to see who would be crowned Queen of the Ball.

When I arrived, I was given an entry number of 13. Yup, 13. I remember thinking that I sure was sunk now, as 13 was an unlucky number.

My date that night was my ex-husband, and as we danced he joke about it a little, trying to get me to relax. I did and I recall there being a lot of fun and laughter that night.

My sister had attended this Ball in the past but had not won. So, I knew that I didn’t stand a chance. Melodie is delicate and beautiful and everything a fairy princess should be. At 15 I was awkward and big-boned and totally unsure of myself!

The evening wore on and I danced in the beautiful yellow gown that my mother had made for me, and I talked to my date and laughed and had a great time.

After all, I wasn’t going to win!

Eventually, we were all called to line up with our dates and promenade around the dance floor. A person would come up and tap your card and you would go to sit down.

Well, we walked and walked and walked, and other girls were removed from the line-up. Then there were probably three of us left. They called the second runner-up, then the first runner-up, and then that left me!

I was escorted by my date to the dais where I was crowned the 1973 Queen of the Rainbow Girls Ball!


Looking back I still cannot believe that I won. My escort always claimed it was because he was my date that night.

Whatever the case, it was the first time in my young life that I truly felt pretty.

And for one night I truly was, Queen of the Ball, just like Cinderella!

Sig file for Dackel

TBT: 1989 First Trip To Germany!

I first went to Germany in the spring of 1989. Jack was a pilot for Pan Am, and he was temporarily assigned to West Berlin. This was before the Wall came down, and nothing I experienced then, comes close to the reunified city now.


This was the Airbus A-300 Jack flew over from New York with a 3 man crew, and me. They showed me how to warm up meals and make coffee and I was able to experience take-off and landing on this flight in the cockpit, as well as see St Elmo’s Fire. There were no passengers on this flight. They had to fill up to the brim with jet fuel in order to make the flight from JFK to Berlin, Tegel Airport.


There we are, at Checkpoint Charlie, when it really was a crossing from West into East Berlin. I went through several times with the US Military (a special privilege they gave to Pan Am families).


Here I am in East Berlin at Alexander Platz. I recall the gardens there were so beautiful. I spent a lot of time walking around East Berlin, and I brought back many wonderful things to remind me of my trip. The items we have used the most over the years are the cotton Decke (comforter type blanket). I love the two I bought, but they are slowly falling to pieces now.

I also learned to love Dackels! Some friends of Jack’s had a wonderful male, Wirehaired Dackel, named Shubi. He spoke no English, and I spoke no German, but it was love at first sight for us both.


In the years to come each time we visited, Shubi was at my feet, in my arms, and in my bed! Oh, I loved that little man!

Years later, during the fall of 1995 Shubi got out of their yard and was hit by a lorry. My first visit back did not feel the same. I mourned the loss of my little friend. I saw how quiet their house was and said, “You know, we should get puppies together!”

And we did! In February of 1996, we brought home a three-month-old female Wirehaired Dackel, that we named Shubi. Our friends got her brother and named him Toni!

Shubi and mom

She was the best souvenir that I ever got!

Sig file for Dackel

TBT: Shubi & Me

This picture was taken during a vacation in 1997. Twentythree years ago. We were visiting New Hampshire (At the time we were living in Florida), and we drove up to Weirs Beach, in Laconia. Here I am holding my first wire-haired dackel, Shubi! It’s hard to believe it has been 23 years!


We stopped so Shubi could take a run down by the water. The beach was deserted, and it was a perfect time. Or it was until a man with a large dog came to the beach and his dog was off-leash too! Poor little Shubi was so scared, she ran to the end of the jetty and jumped into the lake! His dog just stood there looking confused!

The man ran quickly and he jumped in and rescued Shubi, while Jack went to see if we had a blanket in our car. I can still see this rather comical event in my mind. Shubi was fine, just wet and in the end, we had a good laugh. The man’s dog was a nice one, although there was no convincing Shubi. I’m glad I have this picture to remind me of that fun day!

MAINE1Me with my much loved Shubi.

TBT: Growing Up On Cape Cod

I grew in Falmouth on Cape Cod and my summers were always full of sun, sea, and soft, cool, cotton sheets after a long day at the beach.

img681  My childhood dog, Beagle, Baby.  


The Raft at Surf Drive Beach.

I swam almost before I could walk, dreamed of magical kingdoms, built castles in the sand, and lay on my towel watching the clouds drift by in the afternoon. I remember thinking that time went so slowly as I lay there, that things would always be like that.

I ran barefoot all summer long through the sweet grass, and the scent of lilacs and roses and the ocean were always there. (Or so it seemed)

The feel of salt on my skin, the taste of it on my lips, and the laughter in the air, as I climbed the jetties along the Surf Drive Beach.


I’m the one in the darker blue bathing suit and the tough look on my face!

When I didn’t walk to the beach, I rode my trusty Schwinn Bike all over town.

Fireflies, cookouts on the grill, and marshmallows too. Telling stories in the dark, movies at the drive-in, and ice cream cones at Dairy Queen!

Popcycles and root beer floats, fried clams, and frozen Milkyway bars. Lobster and butter, and strawberry shortcakes at the church festival.

Sunshine and happiness, visiting with relatives who flocked to our house and the beach. Summers are full of some of the best memories of my life!


TBT: My Nose & Me

Seven years ago, my face underwent a rearrangement due to Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma. If the surgery had been on my leg or arm I think I could have handled it better, but having my cancer right smack dab in the middle of my face was hard. Very hard.

The picture below was taken well after the initial surgery. That is somehow too gruesome to reshare. You can go back to March 2013 if you’d like. I posted pictures back then because I was really struggling with the horrific image that met me in the mirror each morning. It took me well over 7 months of additional surgery to get to where I am today.

May 14 13 022Below as I look today. Scars have faded and after extensive reconstruction, this is the face that greets me now. I can handle this. I think it’s not so bad.

20200616_082747 copySavannah asked me about this one time. I explained that I felt ugly back then and she was the only one who never noticed. She smiled and said, “That’s because I see your heart, Oma.”


Out of the mouths of babes.


TBT: My Dad

It’s fun to look at my Dad in this picture. He was in his late teens before graduation from High School when he signed up in the Navy.

Since Dad was pretty young, my grandfather had to sign papers so Dad could join the Navy. Dad wanted to serve overseas, but he spent most of his time in the service State-side. He did secretarial work and also played the organ for all church services on the base as well as the funerals.


Dad was short a few credits when he returned and he made up the classes he had missed and graduated from High School and was accepted at college.

He and Mom married at about this time. They’d been sweethearts since they were 13 & 14 years old and in the end, they were married over 60 years.

Dad graduated from The New England Conservatory of Music. And after that, they moved to Cape Cod where they lived nearly all of their married life and raised us, three kids.

1452302_10204723563262019_5891527753400129170_nAnd yes, the littlest pip-squeak is me with one of my Mom’s horrible hair-cuts.

Dad taught school, music, and he played the organ at several churches in town for Sunday services, weddings and funerals. He also gave lessons, and during our busy summer months, Dad worked as a Police Officer. Mostly he worked on the desk, answering phones, typing reports, and dispatching officers.

Dad was a man in motion really. I recall very few times growing up when Dad wasn’t busy with doing things that helped others.

I’m thinking about him this week because Sunday is Father’s Day. How I miss him, and his corny jokes and wicked sense of humor.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!