Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 10--Iowa to Nebraska.

I didn't really get all
these! But I can't wait
to retrieve my dishes.
After washing and cleaning out the RV, we returned our home away from home to it's home in Polk City, IA.  It was after dark and, of course, we were in a hurry to get things done.  Keith and Janet were driving on to Overland Park before they could rest.  When we talked the next day, I found that my FiestaWare had gotten transferred to the wrong car and was in Kansas!  Keith's family is holding it for ransom.  They want me to visit their new home.  Mom, Dad and I drove as far as Stuart, Iowa where we fell, exhausted, into bed at a Super 8, and were on the road again by 8:30 Thursday.

Grandpa Bobby, Lucas Bauerle, Grandma Skippy
in front of the Military Science building, UNL

Timing was perfect, as we arrived in Lincoln, NE just after my son, Lucas, got out of class and had a couple of hours free.  Thursdays are special because it's the only day of the week that ROTC cadets wear their uniforms on campus, and Lucas was dashing in his new ABUs.  He gave the grandparents a tour of the Military Science building, then walked them through campus and into town for lunch at Panera.  Meanwhile, I checked on daughter, Megan, also a UNL student.  She's been sick, so we did not want to expose everyone to her virus.  I was able to take her to a doctor appointment while Mom and Dad got a tour of the Noyes Art Gallery, where some of my art is shown.  They did get to give the granddaughter a hello from a distance before we continued our trip west.  

The 80 and 82 year old Vasey brothers
Along the way, Dad let me know he wanted to drive from Kearney.  He did not need the Garmin to find his turn to the home where he grew up.  We arrived about 5:30, and weren't there 2 minutes before Dad and his brother, Bill, were heading out to ride the combine...with the cutest, goofy little-kid smiles on their faces!  Uncle Bill had gotten back from heart surgery in Kearney only 3 hours before this!  They were in such a hurry to sneak out that I only got one photo--sorry it's a bit blurry!

My cousin, Nancy and her husband, Chris Henry are living in Dad's childhood home and run the Vasey farm, from whence this trip began.  Chris graciously interrupted his busy harvest to give each of my parents a ride through the cornfield and introduce them to the wonders of a modern John Deere combine.  After this treat, we enjoyed a great vegetable soup and cornbread prepared by Nancy, the gourmet catering cook.

What a perfect trip!  We are grateful for success in our mission, for safe roads and vehicles, good weather, decent health, and family...for the foresight and courage of those who came before us, and the propitious circumstances that allowed us this opportunity.  Blessings.

An unexpected treat...riding in the combine with Chris

Chris and Nancy Henry...outstanding in their field!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 9--Indiana to Iowa

The beach on Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes State Park

It was fun to wake up this morning and see what a great campground we’d found.  We’d arrived after dark having traveled 520 miles in one long day.  When we left Niagara Falls, I looked ahead on the Rand McNalley atlas for a state park on our route that might have an RV camp.  Since we were on the road earlier than planned, we figured Indiana Dunes State Park, about 6 miles north of I-90/80 near Chesterton, Indiana would work.  I googled it on Keith’s iphone, and called the office, which is open until 11pm!  It was $10 to enter the state park, and $17.30 to stay overnight with electric hook-up.   Our lunch stop, made it a push to get there, but well worth it.  And by going so far we had an hour of time-zone advantage. The wooded campsite was in full fall regalia.  The showers were nearby and clean.  The camp has140 sites, but very few were occupied on this early October weeknight. 

It’s less than a mile to the south end of Lake Michigan, still in the state park, where we spent some time enjoying being the only people in sight on a beautiful 3 mile beach of fine sand with gentle breaking waves from the north wind.  This place had some great rocks…very flat, with interesting colors and shapes…shale?  We filled Keith’s pockets for Henry’s souvenirs!  There was a huge, two-story, art-deco style bathhouse from 1929, locked up for the season.  The grey skies prevented views of Chicago to the west, but made the place seem even more special.  It’s hard to imagine that beach on a busy summer weekend, so close to this huge metropolitan area. But, we can definitely recommend the spot.

When he realized we were on the shore of Lake Michigan, Dad remembered crossing the lake on a large boat as part of an FFA leadership training camp.  He was 17 years old, and state president of the Nebraska Association.  Mom said her parents crossed Lake Michigan on a ferry when they were on their honeymoon. And, the trip to Lyons when she was 14 included a boat crossing of Lake Michigan.  We decided this would have been the same trip that she had mentioned earlier…something about a teenage crush and trip to ……point with one of the Boeheim boys in Lyons!  This name came up when we checked for cemetery records at the Boeheim-Pusateri Funeral home in Lyons, NY.  We did a google search the other day and found that Jim Boeheim, successful basketball coach at Syracuse University, was also from Lyons! 

The next destination was Amana, Iowa.  Amana is home of the Amana Appliances, now owned by Whirlpool.  The Amana colonies were started in 1855 by Inspirationists living a communal way of life.  There are lots of shops in the seven villages.  We checked out the quilt shop while Keith and Dad napped.

We are back to central Iowa early.  2,623.3 miles on the RV right now, at the Flying J where we washed the RV before returning it tonight.  Keith and Jan will be on the way to Kansas City soon.  Mom, Dad and I will stay in the Des Moines area overnight. 

Dad wanted to push the button to bring in the slide-out this morning!

                            Happy Birthday Mom.  We’d do it all again!

Day 8--Niagara Falls to Indiana Dunes State Park

Niagara Falls, NY.  October 2, 2012

Breakfast at Indiana Dunes
Dad has a viral something…fever, sneezing, headache, sore throat.  With a little aspirin, he feels much better, and luckily, we are past the main activity of this trip and on our way home.  He slept pretty well last night, and the rest of us are loading up on vitamins.  Our campground was only about six miles from the Famous Niagara Falls.  We were there before 9am.  It was slightly rainy for just a few minutes, but cleared for us to walk around the park and get some good pictures. Early October has to be the best time of year to hit this tourist destination…absolutely no crowds.  It’s a fun stop if you are sort of in the area…!  Then it was a shuffle-off-to-Buffalo, where we checked back with the Wal-Mart we’d stopped at the night before, to pick up pictures they’d developed from Janet’s camera.  Jan and I spent an hour or so on the road loading almost 500 photos into two albums.  Mom and dad are so surprised and excited to have printed pictures to show their friends as soon as they get home.

As we passed Erie, Pennsylvania, Mom saw a sign for Cracker Barrel and wanted to stop for lunch. Yum…meatloaf, pork chops, salad, and blueberry pancakes!  We could have eaten in the RV, but it was great to sit still for a bit.  Dad got a good nap in afterward.

This driving is a lot faster and easier than our Lincoln Highway.  Interstate 90 goes along the whole east side of Lake Erie from Niagara, NY; through a corner of Pennsylvania; and to Cleveland, Ohio.  Then it turns west to Toledo, Ohio and Indiana, where it curves around the south end of Lake Michigan.  We’ve been in light rain most of the day, with grey skies.  We are spending the night in the Indiana Dunes State Park—an RV camp with showers, electrical hook-up sites and separate dump/water locations.  The Park has 3 miles of sandy beach right on the lake. 

Here’s some views on the best parts of the trip:

Mom says--
“the area around Port Byron and the cemeteries--the Nye family cemetery was amazing… and Bye and Bye Hardware. “It’s hard to choose just one thing.  It was almost like going to Alaska the first time.  Every time you went around a corner there was another more gorgeous view! One of my favorite memories of the trip will be walking across the Erie Canal in Lyons and Keith breaking into song.”
Dad says—
“It’s hard to say the best part…probably, the trees in northern Pennsylvania, and the people we happened to meet. “
Keith says—
              “the fall colors in the Alleghenies, and seeing the Ewald graves.”
Jan says—
“seeing Honey Gram’s grave, and all five of us being on this bus  together.  Everyone we came in contact with was so friendly, helpful, and excited about what we were doing.”
Marcia says—
“the Ewald cemetery in Lyons, spending time with the family, the surprising ease and appropriateness of the RV rental, and experiencing the history and geography of so much of our country.”
This statue of Nicola Tesla, inventor of Alternating Current
is outside the entry gate to the Falls, where lots of electricity
is generated with hydroelectric power.
flowers at the Falls
We passed Progressive Stadium where the Cleveland Indians play. 
Mom and Dad enjoying the trip

Monday, October 1, 2012

Successful Mission!

Successful Mission 

Warning:  This report will be long, because mom wants to have all the details.  It's okay to skip all the Biblical begats and just see the photos!

     After breakfast in the RV, we headed to the Boeheim-Pusateri Funeral Home in Lyons to see what burial records they might have to locate the gravestones of mom’s parents and grandparents.  The mortuary door was locked, but there was an official looking red phone on the porch.  Keith dialed the given number while I went across the street to the old fire hall building, which now houses the courthouse and police station.

Sal Colatarci
Town ofLyons, NY
At least four people were hanging around the window, following our activities, and wondering what was going on with that big bus parked out front.  Larry Hartwell, the town justice, told me we needed to see Salvatore “Sal” Colatarci at the Town of Lyons offices, 43 Phelps Street.  He warned me, with a wink, that Sal was difficult to get along with.  We walked in and asked for Sal, a jovial Yankees fan, who printed out a map of Lyons Rural Cemetery, and marked lot # 470 for us.  We had been 20 yards from it the night before, but Mom and Dad remembered it as being a flatter landscape than the Rural Cemetery. 

Marilyn & Cliff Meyers were friends of Mom and Dad when they lived in Oakland, CA before 1961.  These Meyers had moved to Binghamton, NY by 1965, when our folks flew the Mooney (N6859U) from Kansas to NY for the wedding of Howard and Judith Meyers (Judy was my cousin, as far as we know, no relation to Cliff and Marilyn!). On the way back from the wedding, they stopped to see these friends, who took them to Watkins Glen and on up to Lyons.  This would have been the only time, other than when mom and grandma brought grandpa’s body back to Lyons when he died in 1950, that mom had been to this cemetery. Today was the first time Mom had ever seen the headstone of her mother, Evalyn Gilman Ewald, who died July 26, 1975 (b.12-6-1891).  I had just finished my first year of college, and I am the oldest of four children.  Grandma had known how busy mom’s life was with kids activities and helping to run the veterinary business, so she had everything pre-arranged for cremation, inurnment, and headstone, making no travel required upon her death.
Honey Gram

Grandma Ewald, lived with us in Kansas from 1962-1971, then moved to an apartment 3 blocks away.  So, we all have close ties.  She used to call Keith her “honey boy” and he called her “honey gram”.  It was an emotional morning for me.  My favorite moment, other than seeing Mom so pleased, was seeing Keith touch the headstone and say, “Hello Honey Gram!”  Then he sat down “on great-great,-great-grandpa” to enter information on with his iphone.  He had thought ahead and had a tripod to take photos of all five of us in the cemetery!

The front of the large Ewald stone had the following names:  Matthias Ewald (1792-1864), (father of) Rev. Peter Ewald (1856-1900), his wife, Clara (1856-1934), their son Dr. Paul Ewald (1889-1950, and his wife, Evalyn (1891-1975)…my grandparents.  The back side of the stone listed John M. Ewald (1858-1860); Anna M. Ewald (1859-1891), Peter Ewald (1831-1895), and his wife, Mary (1861-1906).

The hour we spent in Lyons Rural Cemetery brought on a flood of memories from Mom which follow…some unexpected, some recalled from the journals of her grandmother.   While we stood there trying to place all the names in the family tree, she recalled 77 Phelps Street as a possible address for her grandparents when they lived in Lyons.  We went by there, but that home had been remodeled a bit and was not familiar.  Later in this trip, Mom had a revised image in her mind that it was probably #79 Phelps Street!

Her grandfather, Peter Paul Ewald was a minister. At one time he was preaching in Punxsutawney, PA.  The rocking chair Mom has in her house now, was a gift from that congregation when he left.  They moved west when Rev. Peter developed tuberculosis.  His wife, Clara Sheffer Ewald had a brother, Samuel, who lived in Minneapolis, KS.  She stayed with her brother while Peter was riding the circuit through north central Kansas and south central Nebraska.  Mom has a letter that Peter wrote Clara between Minneapolis and Alma, NE.  Mom’s dad, Dr. Paul Peter Ewald was born in Orleans, NE.  The family moved back to New York when Rev. Peter’s TB got worse.  He died when Paul was 11 years old.  After Paul graduated from High School in Lyons, NY in 1907, Clara, Paul, and younger son, Mark went back to Kansas, where she bought a boarding house in Lawrence.  Uncle Samuel had moved to nearby Bonner Springs, where he had a drugstore that Paul worked in for a while when he was in college at KU.   

My great-great-grandma Clara Sheffer Ewald was born in Clarion County, PA.  The family term, “strueble hair,” (stru-bul-ee), meaning all-out-of- place, or a happy way of saying bad hair day, comes from Clara and her Pennsylvania Dutch background.  The humidity we faced on this trip gave me constant strueble hair!

Mom’s sister, Margaret Studer Ewald Nelson (1920-1977) was named for an aunt on Clara Sheffer’s side of the family…(not sure what "Studer" means...was Margaret, or Studer the name of the aunt?)

Hotchkiss Crystal
We’d stopped earlier at a historical building and found a number for Patti Alena of the Lyons Heritage Society.  She met us at this H.G.Hotchkiss Essential Oil Company building, where we did not find any family history, but learned a lot about Lyons.  1890-1918 was the height of this business located right on the Erie Canal.  At that time, 90 % of the land in Wayne County was planted to peppermint.  Hotchkiss clarified, bottled, and distributed the essential oil for Beechcraft gum, and dental products, with economic advantage of location, location, location.  The prize of this little museum is a 4 foot tall hand blown, etched crystal decanter with 3 separate bottle layers that was found packed in a box several years ago.  Photos showed how it would have been displayed at places like the St. Louis World's Fair.  On the walk across the Erie Canal bridge to the peppermint building from our RV, Keith was singing: “low bridge, everybody down…low bridge, cuz we’re comin to a town…you’ll always know your pal if you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.”  Mom asked who wrote that.  Keith said, “I don’t know, I think Grandma Ewald taught it to me.  Inside the Hotchkiss building, we found a wonderful children's book by Peter Spier, with the words and music to the song!

Singing...on the Erie Canal...
Patti directed us to the City historian…this seems to be a major government position in every town around here.  I went in there to see if we could more specifically locate the home of Rev. Peter’s family.  My background was sketchy at this point, and I did not find an address.  Probably should have asked for just Clara.  But the clerk of this office did find the surrogate for the will of Peter Paul Ewald,  I got pictures of about a third of the 120 page document from the PDF file on their computer, which includes many signatures of Peter and Clara. 

Dessert at Magdy's, Port Byron
We left Lyons and headed back to Port Byron for dessert at Magdy’s restaurant.  I had rice pudding in a parfait cup with whipped cream.  The others had pumpkin cake, white cake, chocolate cream pie, and 3-layered mint chocolate cream pie!  The Historian’s office was only open on Thursdays and Fridays, so we went on past to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where we talked to the groundskeeper and quickly found two more sets of family stones. 

Taylor/Hayden obelisk in Mt.Pleasant Cemetery,
Port Bryon, NY
First, was the impressive obelisk of the family of John Adams Taylor (1794-1879), a soldier from the war of 1812, and his wife Sarah (1796-1881)  This is about 50 yards northeast of Mt. Pleasant’s Cemetery Avenue and Avenue D.  They are my great X 3 grandparents!  Also in this plot were their children [1] Lucy E. Taylor (1839-1918), her husband, Samuel Hayden (1839-1878), their sons Cassius C. Hayden (1862-1884) and Hallam L. “Hal” Hayden (1865-1938); [2] Lydia O. Halstead (??-1853); [3] Daniel D. Taylor (1831-1880) and his wife Margaret J. Hyslop (1839-??).

Satisfied, we almost left when just 30 yards southeast of the same intersection, Jan found the family plot of James Dixon Nye (1830-1920, the son of Samuel, who we found in the trees at the soybean field yesterday) and Nancy Cornelius Townsend Nye (1834-1925) with their children: Frank S. (1856-1932), his wife Augusta E. (1856-1943) and daughter Jenny C. (1884-1897); Charles D. (1856-1943)and his wife Louise J. (1872-1952).  James and Nancy were married in a double ceremony with her brother Robert and his wife.  Mom has a photo of the whole family at their double golden wedding party.

Recalling Memories At The Ewald Cemetery 
Peppermint Oil House
James and Nancy Nye plot in Mt.Pleasant Cemetery, Port Byron, NY
Taking notes on Mom's memories, Lyons Rural Cemetery
Erie Canal
Sitting on great great grandpa to upload info
Tacos for supper at KOA