Saturday, April 22, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 11

My husband and I are preparing for an epic travel adventure, so this particular writing prompt struck a cord with me.

If you could make a good living doing the one thing you love most in the world, what would it be?

Because I love to travel and often photograph and write about my experiences, I would absolutely love to be a travel blogger. I know a number of people who do actually make a living doing exactly that. How great would it be to have someone else pay for your travel expenses in return for providing photos and reviews of the places you have been?

I already am a top reviewer for TripAdvisor as I use that site extensively whenever I am planning a trip, whether in my own town or abroad. So I have always felt it was important for me to contribute reviews as well to help other travelers. But I don't get paid for that, of course, and that is what makes the site so valuable. The reviews are honest opinions from people who visited, stayed or ate at the places listed on the site.

But if an opportunity came along for me to have my expenses paid in exchange for blogging about where I've been and what I did there, I would jump at the chance!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 10

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and I will be hosting 13 or 14 of my extended family members for dinner. It seem apropos, then, to use a writing prompt that deals with holiday traditions.

Which of your holiday traditions have you carried on into adulthood? What new traditions have you started?

When I was a child, Easter was a big deal. It was almost as if Santa was visiting for a second time, coming dressed in a white, fluffy suit with big ears and a pom pom tail. My mom and dad had a good time with Easter, carefully filling our baskets with all our favorite candies and green, plastic grass. Then they would hide the baskets, and my brother and I would feverishly dash through the house trying to determine where that wily rabbit had hidden our goodies.

Easter ~1958
The bunny always left a brown, wooden bowl filled with dyed eggs and candy on the kitchen table for the "adults" in the house. There was quite an age difference between my older brother and sister and us younger two siblings, so perhaps that was the bunny's way of making sure the older two didn't feel left out. Or maybe mom and dad just wanted to make sure they got some candy, too.

After breakfast we would don our Sunday best and head off to Mass. The photo above is of our family before Easter Mass in Chicago, circa 1958. I'm in the front with my brother Joe on my right. In the back row is my sister Kathy, my mom, and my brother Ken. Dad was usually the one taking the pictures, so he isn't in this shot. I'm the only one who looks happy. Maybe my Easter basket was the biggest that year!

When my husband and I started our family we continued on with the Easter basket tradition, hiding the baskets from the kids just as my parents had done. And there was a bowl of candy on the table for the adults. But we added a new tradition by hiding dyed eggs outside. One of us would slyly sneak out with the eggs while the other got the children ready for Mass. When we got home from church, we would send them out to look in the yard. They loved it! But one year there were hardly any eggs left in the yard. We could not figure out where they had all gone. But just as we were scratching our heads over it, a big black crow swooped down from the sky, grabbed a colored egg, and took off. Those devils!

The next year I purchased a couple bags of colored plastic eggs, and we filled those with candy and hid them outside. Problem solved, and I think the kids enjoyed the candy-filled eggs way more than they ever did the hard-boiled, dyed eggs.

The picture below is Easter 1993. The kids found their baskets, we dressed up for Mass, and then they went on their egg hunt when we got home. And once again the dad was taking the picture, so he isn't in it. Though the days of Easter egg hunts are long gone, it's so nice to be reminded of the fun times we had when the kids were young.

Easter 1993

Friday, April 7, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 9

This week the challenge question involves leaving home for the first time.

When you first left your parents’ home, was it to attend college, pursue a job, or embark on military or humanitarian service? What was it like to be out on your own for the first time?

My first time leaving home was to attend college. I had never been away from my family before other than a few overnight stays with friends, a couple of weekend girl scout camps and a class trip in high school to Washington, DC. On any other longer trips I was always with at least one of my family members. As the baby of the family, I was very close to my parents and siblings, but college held a world of new opportunities in my eyes. Though I did not get to attend the college of my choice (my dad's decision, and the topic of a future post), I was happy that a number of my fellow Hoover Husky high school classmates would also be going to Iowa State.

A good friend and I applied to be roommates, but the lottery used back then did not allow that to happen. She was at one end of the campus, and I at another. She and I packed up my car with our belonging the summer before freshman year and headed to campus together. Neither one of us knew our respective roommates. The picture below shows me with some of my fellow dormies. I am in the center of the front row, and my freshman roommate is right behind me.

Iowa State 1974 
It was difficult for me at first, and I made many weekend trips home that first quarter to see my parents. I missed them terribly, despite the fact that my older brother was currently a junior at the same university. Eventually I began to make new friends, and saw some of my old high school acquaintances around campus. One of them invited me to attend a rush party for Little Sisters that was taking place at his fraternity. Being selected to be part of this Little Sisters group at Alpha Sigma Phi was a turning point for me at Iowa State. I found a whole new set of friends, both male and female, and an entirely different way to become involved with the university.

The first three years of college I lived in a dormitory, but senior year I moved off campus into a mobile home with one of the other Little Sisters. That was a great experience in preparing me for independent living, with rent and utility bills to pay as well as groceries to purchase and cook. No more meal plan in the dorm!

Renting the mobile home and sharing a small space with another adult also prepared me to become a wife, I believe. And as one of the fraternity brothers married this Little Sister thirty-eight years ago, I'd say being out on my own for the first time worked out pretty well!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 8

My husband and I met with an attorney this week to create a new will since our last one was done in 1987. While that document is certainly sufficient in most respects, I doubt that anyone would be able to easily find the executor. He was a trusted friend of ours at the time, but moved to Texas a couple decades ago. I have no idea where he is at now, or if he's even alive as we lost touch a long time ago. Since death is on my mind, it seems appropriate for this week's story to relate to it on some level.

Do you know where you’d like to be laid to rest one day? Will you be buried near relatives and ancestors, or in the place you lived most of your life (if the two are different)?

Being laid to rest - isn't that an interesting turn of phrase? Since you are dead, you aren't really resting. At any rate, my husband and I have talked extensively about this. My parents are buried in a cemetery 350 miles away from where we live. His parents have their funerals planned and their cemetery plots paid for up in Minnesota. We never considered being buried in either of those locations. To me the point of having a gravestone is for those you leave behind, to visit, grieve and pay their respects. I think it made a lot of sense when families lived and died in the communities in which they had been born. Our children live far away, and we don't even know where we will end up living following retirement, so it makes no sense to pre-pay funeral or burial expenses in our city.

The other consideration for us is that we have worked in the "green" industry for over 20 years, so we are very sensitive to sustainability. Cemeteries are not necessarily the best use of land, though the owners are paying more attention to environmental issues these days. Cremation and green burials come to mind, and certainly cremation is the route we will both choose to go. We just haven't come to any decision about what will be done with our cremains. Maybe keeping them in an urn makes the most sense because then they will be portable. For now, it is enough to know that we both wish to be cremated.

While the environmentalist in me knows that cremation without a burial plot is the right thing to do, the genealogist in me cringes a bit. Burial records and tombstones are sometimes the only proof you can find that an ancestor lived and died. What is the replacement when someone is cremated? Will the funeral homes share these records as they often share burial records? It is something that gives me pause, for sure. It won't prevent me from being cremated, but my inner genealogist will shed a little tear.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 7

This week's question again involves education.
Describe your family legacy regarding education. Do you come from a long line of scholars? Were you the first to earn a degree? Are your forging a new legacy with your own children?

The first question made me chuckle. I definitely do not come from a long line of scholars. My mom dropped out of high school following her junior year to go to work to help support her family, which consisted of her mom and dad as well as seven siblings. She sewed basketballs for a sporting goods company. My father took several college classes somewhere along the line (I believe after his service in WWII), but he was far from ever completing a college degree.

My older sister never went to college, and my oldest brother attended for a couple of years before entering the Navy during the Vietnam War. The brother closest in age to me did attend a university, getting a bachelor's degree and earning credits for most of a master's degree. I followed him to the same university, and completed my bachelor's degree in four years.

college graduation
My husband and I met in college, and married shortly after graduation. Finding no jobs in my field and tiring of working in a bank, I went back for my master's degree. I achieved it in one year by going to school full-time, 12 months straight, and graduated magna cum laude. I was the first in my family to obtain a master's degree, and my husband later got an MBA.

Both of our children have four year degrees, and our daughter-in-law has a master's degree as well. Our daughter is studying for the GMAT right now as she is interested in getting an MBA. So perhaps we have forged a new legacy with the next generation.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 6

This week's question is:
In childhood, did you share a bedroom with siblings or have a room to yourself? What kinds of things did you collect and display in your own little corner of the world?

From the time that I was born I shared sleeping quarters with my older sister, with my two older brothers also rooming together. When I was first born I slept in a dresser drawer as my brother Joe, who was only 16 months old at the time, occupied the baby bed. We moved to Chicago when I was only a few months old, and I shared a couch with my sister until my dad was able to refinish the upstairs of our new house into two bedrooms. By then, Joe was old enough for a bed and I got the crib.

Des Moines house
At the age of 5 we moved to Des Moines, and my sister and I had a double bed in the middle bedroom of the three bedroom ranch-style home. There was little room to have a collection of any kind. I loved books, but weekly trips to the library satisfied my need to read, and there wasn't extra money to spend purchasing books at any rate.

My sister got married and moved to Florida when I was 13, so I finally had a room to myself. At that point, I built myself a desk out of a sheet of plywood and two peach crates. I painted the wood, covered the crates with contact paper, and then made some curtains to hang on the front of the crates. It was in the peach crates that I began to store my growing record collection.

My first job at 12 or so was baby-sitting in my neighborhood, and with the money I earned I would buy 45's or albums if most of the songs appealed to me. My parents gave me a record player one year for Christmas, and I was able to listen to music in my room without my dad complaining about what I was playing. I used to tease him in later years that the music he complained about - the Carpenters, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Bee Gees - were now the artists he was listening to in elevators. Ha!

In retrospect, I really didn't mind sharing a room with my sister, and I missed her desperately when she moved away. I'm positive that I had a better college experience with roommates because I had been used to sharing space most of my life. It helps in marriage, too!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 5

As I mentioned earlier, I skipped the 52 Stories project in February as I was writing every day for the Family History Writing Challenge. As that extended a bit into March, I am just now getting back to 52 Stories.  Maybe I should rename mine the 47 Stories - ha!

This story concerns vacations:
What was the biggest, most exotic vacation you took with your family when you were a child? What memories stand out?

First of all, our family was not wealthy. I'm not even sure if we would have been considered lower middle class. My dad and mom struggled for years to pay off the expenses incurred when their first-born child, Roy, was born prematurely in 1942. Dad told me that before my mom was even released from the Catholic hospital, the nuns were already hounding him about how he was going to pay the bills. They arranged a monthly payment plan that took him years to pay off. The bills escalated when Roy was diagnosed at the age of 3 with aplastic anemia. While that took his life at the age of 7, dad continued to make payments on all the medical bills long after Roy was gone.

Vacations were a luxury our family could ill afford. We made trips from our home in Chicago and later Des Moines back to Cincinnati to visit relatives, and once in a while visited a nearby lake for a week's relaxation. So it was a complete surprise when my dad announced that we were taking a vacation to the Smoky Mountains in the fall of 1965, made even more surreal by the fact that they were pulling my brother Joe and me out of elementary school for a week. That was simply not done, and yet we did it.

Dad's Dairy Queen
Looking back on it, the trip was made possible because my dad had purchased a Dairy Queen in late 1964 or early 1965. This was during the time period that Dairy Queen pretty much only served ice cream treats. They did not have grills and fryers like they do today, but my dad offered loose meat sandwiches for sale. The whole family was put to work, with the older siblings working out front and Joe and me chopping onions and folding boxes in the back. Unfortunately that spring and summer were unusually cool and rainy in Des Moines, and people did not buy ice cream as expected. If it were not for the local business workers coming over to buy sandwiches, the Dairy Queen would not have survived the summer. By the fall, dad had enough and sold the business, thus the reason he had the time and resources to take his family on a trip.

View Master
We were not on the road very long before we came to the realization that all the fishing equipment had been left behind, as well as dad's camera! How were we going to document this trip? The thought of being on vacation and not having a camera nearly brings me to tears when I think of it. My camera is such a part of who I am, and my pictures help me to chronicle my journeys. Our fall back position was purchasing post cards and a View Master, which I still have packed away somewhere. While I would love to be able to open up one of mom's photo albums and see our trip outlined in chronological order, at least these other souvenirs help jog my memory about where we traveled. But how sad not to have any family photos from the trip.

My brother remembers traveling as far as Indiana and spending the night in a motel. He said the next day we stopped in Cincinnati for a quick visit before continuing on our way. The drive would have taken us through Kentucky, Tennessee and perhaps North Carolina. All of my recollections involve the area near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I remember walking the Swing-A-Long Bridge and being frightened when my dad made it swing as this suspension bridge spans 180 feet. At Lookout Mountain we walked to Lover's Leap and could see 7 states. And I vividly remember the Fairyland Caverns, where scenes from different fairy tales that were created by Atlanta sculptor Jessie Sanders could be viewed.

As I don't have the best recall in the world, I think the reason that this trip stands out so much for me, besides the fact that I got to miss a week of school, is that it was the first time just the four of us traveled, leaving my two older siblings at home as they were out of high school by then. Add on the fact that we actually went somewhere besides seeing family, and it made a lasting impression on me.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Küblers to America

Büsserach, Switzerland
Thus ends the chronicle of my branch of the Kübler family from Büsserach, Switzerland to America. I've traveled to Büsserach and walked the villages, inhaled the mountain air and seen the beautiful  countryside through my own eyes. I've met some of the descendants of Vinzenz Joseph Kübler's siblings and other extended family. I even slept in the building where Vinzenz made the exchange of money for his land so that he could come to America with his family. Despite all that, I cannot conceive of what it must have felt like to take a last look at everyone and everything you have ever known and loved and say a final good-bye. How tough was his life that he would risk everything to take an arduous one way trip on a sailing vessel with his young family to an unknown country and an unknown future?

I never had the opportunity to know him, of course, as this was long before I was born. I barely knew my grandfather, Joseph Kubler. Although I was 13 when he died, traveling from Des Moines to Cincinnati in the 1960s was not an easy trip due to the lack of interstates. Busy, two-lane highways meant the drive was long and often slow, so visits back "home" were limited to once a year at best. Our family always stayed with my mom's parents, never at the Kubler house. We would go over to see Grandma and Grandpa Kubler when we were in town, however. They were nice to me, but I could sense the closer relationship that the cousins who lived in Cincinnati had with them. I always felt a bit like an outsider.

My memories of Grandma Kubler are much clearer, as I was 23 when she passed. She was kind and friendly, and a great cook. It was always a treat to be able to have a meal with her. It seemed like she was always in the kitchen when we visited. I'm grateful for her cooking skills as she passed them along to my dad. Though my mom was always the cook in our family during the week, on the weekends my dad nearly always helped out in the kitchen. Once he retired, cooking and cleaning were activities he shared with my mom.

Like most young people, I never sat down with my grandparents to get their stories. By the time I got interested in genealogy, following the death of my mother, all my grandparents were gone. I have tried to make up for that by talking with my older relatives each time I go to Cincinnati for a visit, and by participating in the Family History Writing Challenge so that I get the information placed somewhere besides my genealogy software. I have a long way to go, but at least I am taking steps to get there.

Dad and me circa 1958
I forgot to include in the last post the poem I wrote for my dad when he died, so it appears below. This is a scan of the original I placed beside his casket in the funeral home, somewhat wavy from the tears and snowstorm it was carried through. I have written poetry since early childhood, but I don't share it very often. I wrote a poem for Aunt Marie (my mother's sister) for her funeral, and another for my sister-in-law Lynn to express my feelings and hopefully console my brother, Joseph. So it seemed fitting to put my thoughts on paper for my dad. He was not always an easy man to be around, but I never doubted his love for me. It's an odd feeling when your second parent dies, as if you are now an orphan. The two people who were responsible for your very existence, and the anchor for your entire family are no longer a phone call or relatively short drive away. Pieces of my heart were buried with each one of them, but I am extremely happy that I have the photographs and memories to tuck away in those empty spaces.

Dad's Poem

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 29

Note: Technically the writing challenge was for 28 days, but I haven't finished the story yet so I will be continuing. It seemed simplest to keep the same name for this blog post.

After three weeks in the hospital following his car accident, Roy was ready to be released. Numerous options were discussed for how to transport him, and where he should be taken to recuperate. In the end, Kimberly and James rented an RV in St. Louis and drove it to Hays. That way Roy would be able to lie flat on the bed to protect his broken bones. When they arrived to pick Roy up, they found his room filled with a dozen people who wanted to tell their patient good-bye and wish him well. Some homemade cookies and other treats were sent along with him as well.

Roy spent a month at the Wolterman's home, with Kimberly coming home every day at noon to make him lunch. Her boss, Dr. Richard Bradley, stopped by the house to check on Roy and made a referral for an orthopedist for follow-up X-rays. Roy's strength eventually came back, and he began to put back on some of the 40 pounds he had lost in the hospital. He was soon doing laps inside the house in an effort to get stronger, and worked up to walking 2 miles per day. In good weather Kimberly would take him to the high school track to walk for longer periods on a level surface.

He received over 100 get well and sympathy cards while he was in St. Louis. He talked a lot about the accident, and as expected blamed himself for Catherine's death. He carried a lot of guilt with him the rest of his life. His grandson Andrew was a source of joy and distraction for him. Every day when Andrew came home from preschool he would ask his grandpa how he was feeling. They spent a lot of time watching t.v. together.

When Roy was finally able to travel, Kimberly, Andrew and Chris Lane drove him back to Cincinnati, and they stayed with him for the first week. Kathleen then came to Cincinnati for the second week, and Joseph for the third week. By then, Roy felt he was well enough to be on his own.

Ultimately he returned to his volunteer activities and directing the senior chorale group. He joined a fitness center, and every Monday-Friday he and his life-long friend Max Schoener would work out for an hour. He lived a full and active life, with his children coming to town to visit when they could, particularly when he planned family reunions. The children surprised him with a party on his 80th birthday, and he was thrilled!
Roy with his children; with his grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren

During a routing eye exam in 2000, Roy's ophthalmologist noticed something in his eyes that didn't seem right. He told Roy that the whites of his eyes were somewhat yellow, and that he should go to his primary care doctor and have it checked out. Roy did, and before he knew it he was having a bone marrow biopsy done. The results were not good. Roy had multiple myeloma, a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Plasma cells are mostly found in the bone marrow. Virtually incurable, the prognosis is 3-5 years life expectancy. Roy, in typical form, told the doctor, "At my age if I get 3-5 more years I'll be doing good."

Side effects of the disease are low blood counts, anemia, fatigue and the inability to fight infection. It is interesting that all of these things also affected his son LeRoy once he contracted aplastic anemia. Roy was told that most likely it would not be the myeloma that would kills him but rather an infection. He was warned to keep away from crowds where the likelihood of contracting germs would be greater. Unfortunately, that meant he had to stop doing all the things he loved outside the home. His life became a series of doctors' visits, trips to receive transfusions, and short jaunts to the grocery store.

For the first year of his disease he lived on his own, and then his daughter Kathleen moved in with him for a couple of years. He spent the last 10 months alone by his choice, with hospice coming to the house in December of 2003. Kimberly had driven over to meet with the hospice coordinator, and also a real estate agent so that Roy could discuss putting his house on the market. It was decided to list the house once Roy passed.

Roy Kubler
By the end of that month he entered an in-patient hospice floor at a local hospital. That is where he remained until he died on 21 January 2004. He was 86 years old, and had lived 4 years with the multiple myeloma. The day of his funeral, January 25th, began with rain which turned to sleet and finally snow. Many friends and family were not able to attend the funeral due to the weather. Catherine's sister Margie arrived via snowplow! The snow did not, however, prevent the Air Force from honoring their commitment to provide Roy with the Military Funeral Honors to which he was entitled as a veteran. The honor guard had to drive 50 miles from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton to Cincinnati in the dreadful weather. It was a moving ceremony, and fitting for a man who was proud of his service to his country.

And when it was all over, Roy was once again able to lie beside his beloved Catherine.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 28

Kubler's Dairy Queen
Roy continued to work for the trucking company in Des Moines for about a decade, but his constant travel and entertainment commitments took their toll on the family. Eventually he quit and tried other pursuits, including selling record-a-phones (early answering machines for businesses), Airstream Motorhomes (until his business partner took off with the model they had purchased and left Roy with the payments on it), and owning a Dairy Queen for a brief period. He then settled into selling commercial real estate for a few years, and his last position of employment was as the manager of a store selling parts and supplies for motorhomes and campers.

Oldest daughter Kathleen married Joseph Lane in 1968. They have three children: Julie, Joseph and Christopher. Julie married Ralph Maness in 1991, and they have two daughters: Molly and Cordelia. Joseph married Susan Sheets, and Christopher is unmarried.

Kenneth married Virginia Staley in 1969, and their children are Todd and Sara. Virginia died of complications from an aneurysm in 2015. Sara married Jonathan Wendt in 2006, and their children are Leo, Owen and Hazel.

Kimberly married James Wolterman in 1978. They have two children: Andrew and Kathryn. Andrew married Megan Englert in 2008.

Joseph married Lynn Graber in 1990 and their children are David, Stephanie and Rebecca. Lynn died of pancreatic cancer in 2002. Joseph remarried in 2010. David passed in 2013. Stephanie has two children: Arabella and Killian.

Kubler home in Cincinnati
Roy retired in 1984, and he and Catherine sold their house in Des Moines and moved back to their hometown of Cincinnati. They immediately began reconnecting with relatives and friends, and became extremely active in the local senior citizens center. They both enjoyed the card games and dances, Catherine loved the crafts room, and Roy became the director of the chorale group, which Catherine also participated in.

In the summer of 1989, they traveled out to Colorado to visit their son, Joseph. They stopped in St. Louis and stayed a couple of days with Kimberly and James, and also got to see Kathleen and her family as they lived in the area as well. They spent a couple of weeks enjoying the scenery in Colorado and were on their way home on July 18th. In the middle of Kansas on Interstate 70, Roy fell asleep at the wheel of the car. They had stopped for a potty break in the afternoon, and neither one of them put their seat belt back on when they reentered the car. Driving off onto the shoulder of the road, Roy awoke and over-corrected his steering. The car went off the road, flipping a couple of times. Catherine was killed instantly, and Roy was severely injured. The car behind them happened to contain a couple of off-duty paramedics, who immediately stopped to offer assistance and dialed 9-1-1. Roy was able to give them Joseph's phone number from memory, and he is the one who received the first call about the accident.

Roy was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Hays, Kansas. He suffered from a broken collar bone, all the ribs on one side were fractured, and he had internal bleeding. Joseph, in the meantime, faced the unpleasant task of notifying his siblings. He left a message on the answering machine at Kenneth's house and called Kathleen at work. She told him that she would call Kimberly at home that night after she knew her sister was done with work and had picked up her son Andrew at his baby-sitter's home. Kathleen was so distraught that someone drove her home from the office.

Joseph then had a friend drive with him from Colorado Springs to Hays, and Kathleen and Kimberly drove there together from St. Louis the next morning. Once they assessed their dad's situation and realized he would be in the hospital for quite a while, it was determined that Kathleen would fly to Cincinnati to begin making funeral arrangements for Catherine. In the meantime Kathleen's husband Joe would drive to Kansas and stay with Roy while everyone else made their way to Cincinnati for the funeral.

Catherine's obituary
Catherine's body was shipped by train to Cincinnati. It was very difficult for the children to plan their mother's funeral, especially knowing that their dad would not be able to attend it. They also did not know all of his wishes for the funeral, though he and Catherine had purchased a burial plan so that helped with some of the decision-making. The funeral was well attended by family and friends as Catherine was well-loved in the community. Men from the senior chorale group, dressed in their performance best, escorted the casket into the church while singing, "When Irish Eyes are Smiling." There was not a dry eye in St. Dominic's Church.

One thing that Roy made clear from his hospital bed was that he did not want anything personal of Catherine's to be in the house when he returned home to Cincinnati. He told Kathleen and Kimberly to pack everything up and have a yard sale in St. Louis. It was a very difficult thing to ask of two grieving daughters, but they reluctantly complied with his wishes, bringing Catherine's personal belongings back home with them after the funeral.

The beloved matriarch was dead at the age of 69. The foundation of the family shifted, and the children were numb.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 27

Catherine with Joseph
and Kimberly
Following Kenneth's birth, Catherine experienced a couple of miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy, resulting in the removal of one ovary and all but a piece of her second ovary. The doctor told her that she had a chance in a million of ever conceiving again, and a chance in 10,000 that a baby would be carried full term. When she started feeling ill in 1953, the doctor ran a pregnancy test even though he was sure she could not be expecting. At the time, the test involved injecting the urine of a woman into a female rabbit. If the woman was pregnant, the chorionic gonadotrophin in the urine would cause the rabbit's ovaries to enlarge and develop characteristic surface changes. Unfortunately, the only way to read the test results was to cut open the bunny. This is where the expression, "The rabbit died" comes from. Son Joseph joined the family in 1954. In 1955, she advised the doctor not to kill the bunny because she knew she was pregnant. Kimberly (that's me) was born later that year. Catherine definitely defied the odds, not once but twice!

Roy's household was expanding during a time period when the Railway Express Agency was contracting. Following the war a flurry of construction on highways and the widespread purchase of automobiles resulted in a downturn of passengers traveling by the rails. The railroads began sharp reductions in the number of passenger trains, which cut back on the reach of Railway Express Agency. It was perhaps this turn of events that caused Roy to seek employment elsewhere. He ultimately took a job with a trucking company in Chicago, Illinois at about the time Kimberly was born. He went ahead to find a house for the family and get established. A few months later, Catherine boarded a train in Cincinnati and took the four children to Chicago. How hard it must have been for her to leave her friends and family - her whole support group - behind.

Catherine's mother Mayme
Crusham comes to visit in
Chicago for Easter 
The house purchased was in a new subdivision by O'Hare Airport. The airport had just officially opened to commercial air travel in 1955, and their new next-door neighbor worked in the control tower at O'Hare. The second story of the home was unfinished, so all 6 members of the family slept on the main floor until Roy could add two bedrooms upstairs. Chicago was close enough to Cincinnati that both Roy and Catherine's parents could come over for a visit.

By 1960 Roy took a position with a different trucking company in Des Moines, Iowa. The family was on the move again. This time Roy and Catherine purchased a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home located on the north side of Des Moines. The walkout basement afforded extra living space for the family, and the dead end street was a safe haven for growing children. Cornfields surrounded the area, giving a feel of country living in the city. Nearby Woodlawn Park was easy walking distance, and offered play equipment, a baseball field that converted to an ice skating rink in the winter, a wading pool and a park shelter with games and activities throughout the summer.
Des Moines house with neighbor
girl and Kubler dog, Duke
Holy Trinity Church and School
The three older children were enrolled in various Catholic schools, and Kimberly attended kindergarten in the Johnston School District as Holy Trinity did not offer this grade. Roy and Catherine found a bowling league to join, and resumed their golf games. The family members settled nicely into their new lives in Des Moines.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 26

Catherine with her arm around LeRoy,
her nephew Danny Wambaugh
and Kathleen in the chair
While Roy was away serving his country, Catherine did the best she could at their home in Cincinnati. Unable to work due to the presence of two small children, she survived on the small allowance Roy was able to send her from his military pay. Perhaps she had some assistance from her family next door as well. She kept her spirits up by writing to Roy and letting him know how she and the children were doing. She eagerly awaited his replies, and kept those letters until the day she died.

Cincinnati, like all of America, had done its part to aid in the war effort, buying war bonds, accepting rationing, and creating jobs to help build or make the supplies needed for the soldiers. So it was no surprise that when President Harry S. Truman announced the end of the war on 14 August 1945, a crowd of 15,000 gathered at Fountain Square downtown, blowing horns, singing and shouting under a shower of paper graffiti tossed from office windows above. Thousands attended services at churches and synagogues.

But under all the relief and gaiety was a nagging concern about the economy. Many of the jobs created during the war were as a result of government contracts, which were cancelled when the war ended. Industrial employment in Hamilton County had nearly doubled during the war years, including women who entered the job force as well as men who had relocated to the area because of defense-related job opportunities. What would happen to all these employees? Would the returning 12,000-15,000 local veterans be able to find employment?

Many of the manufacturing plants went back to their original pre-war product lines once their government contracts ended. Returning servicemen were offered their old jobs, and many women were displaced from the job force. A new automobile plant built by General Motors in Hamilton County following the end of the war also offered employment opportunities to veterans and other men in the community.

Roy was lucky to be able to return to his job at the Railway Express Agency, a company that had boomed during WWII. He was happy to go back to a more normal life with work, his family and worshiping at Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church in Price Hill. The original church was built in  1919, and a school was added in 1920. By 1952, the growth in attendance by parishioners necessitated that a new church be constructed. The new building was completed in 1954.

Shortly after Roy's return from the war, the family was dealt an incredible blow. LeRoy was diagnosed at the age of 3 with aplastic anemia, a rare, serious blood disorder caused by failure of the bone marrow to produce blood cells. Symptoms of the disease are anemia, bleeding and infection. Some cases have been linked to exposure to toxic environmental chemicals such as benzene, a colorless and highly flammable liquid. It is used as a starter material for other products, including rubber. Because Catherine worked in a factory sewing rubber basketballs before and during her pregnancy with LeRoy, it begs the question - did exposure to benzene cause him to be born prematurely, and then later contract aplastic anemia? While there were studies done to examine the impact of benzene in the workplace, there were none conducted at that time to examine the impact on a fetus. Maybe it's just as well, as Catherine would have been devastated to find that something she had done caused her little boy to be sick. She was most likely pregnant with her third child, Kenneth, when they found out about LeRoy's illness.

There was no cure for aplastic anemia in the 1940s. Patients were being injected with horse serum - antithymic globulin. Side affects included fatigue and serum sickness, with fever and edema. The cost of the injections was exorbitant, and the family could not afford the treatment. The drug manufacturer agreed to cover the expense if the Kubler's would allow LeRoy to participate in a study. Roy and Catherine willingly agreed, eager to do anything to save their boy.

Ken in arms of Catherine's
brother Charlie, LeRoy and
Kathleen circa 1949
LeRoy was able to go to school off and on when he felt up to it, but he hated the fact that the nuns at Resurrection School always made him sit by the radiator in the classroom. He was extremely susceptible to infection with the disease. In his 7th year he developed pneumonia. On the morning of 31 January 1950, Roy went into his son's bedroom to check on him before going to work. LeRoy asked for a drink of water, and by the time Roy came back with the glass, LeRoy had died.

Because of the rareness of his disease, the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a story about his death. From that story, many people wrote letters to Roy and Catherine. Most of them were expressing condolences, but some were filled with hate, claiming that they must be really bad people of God had chosen to take their first-born son away from them. There were some letters that Roy never let Catherine see because they were so terrible. As if the loss of their son wasn't enough, the couple had to deal with the judgmental words of others. Kathleen was barely 6 and Kenneth 4 when their brother died. It must have been horrific for the family to endure.
newspaper article
about LeRoy's death

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 25

Camp Kilmer
The Army’s New York Port of Embarkation could process up to 250,000 troops per month. The returning soldiers were greeted with signs of welcome, bands, and refreshments. Upon docking, Roy’s group was ferried to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Camp Kilmer had a relatively new history, having been completed in just six months in 1942. The facility covered more than 1,500 acres and contained 1,120 buildings. During WWII the camp processed over 1.3 million service men and women for duties overseas. Following the end of the war, it became the main center for receiving soldiers returning home from Europe and the Pacific, with more than 5,000 coming through the camp each day.

Fort Knox
Roy spent only a couple of days at Camp Kilmer. He remarked that they had good food there, as they were served by Italian prisoners of war. When released, he traveled by train to Fort Knox, Kentucky. His separation was processed there and occurred on 13 November 1945.

Roy spent two years, three months, and seventeen days in continental service, and one year, four months, and eleven days in foreign service, for a total service of three years, seven months, and twenty-eight days of active duty. His decorations and citations included a World War II Victory Medal, the American Theater Ribbon, an Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, and a Distinguished Unit Badge. Roy was honorably discharged as a Buck Sergeant on 13 November 1945. He enlisted with the Reserve Corps on 14 November 1945 at Fort Knox.

Roy decided to immediately reenlist because it meant a four year commitment instead of a ten year commitment to the Army Air Forces. Also, it assured him that if hostilities broke out again, he would not be sent overseas. He was never required to do any reserve work, and he was again honorably discharged, this time as a tech sergeant on November 13, 1948. A tech sergeant is right underneath a master sergeant, and is the second highest rank that could be achieved as a noncommissioned officer.

Roy in front of house
Roy returned home to Cincinnati on a train, compliments of his employer, Railway Express Agency, in November of 1945. He came back to a new house, a now three-year-old son and a seventeen-month-old daughter he had yet to meet. But he never expressed regret over what he had missed, instead feeling grateful for what he had experienced and the fact that he was able to come home at all. The greatest generation, indeed!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 24

new Kubler house
At some point during his stay in Chabua Roy received a letter from Catherine telling him that the Koch's house, located next to her mom and dad’s home, was for sale. She asked if he thought she should buy it. Before he even had a chance to reply, he got another letter telling him that she had borrowed money from her brother Charlie and advising him, “I bought the Koch's house!”

The house at 1240 Rosemont Avenue in Cincinnati was right next door to the house Catherine grew up in, still owned by her parents Michael and Mayme Crusham. This was a godsend for Catherine with a toddler and a new baby to take care of on her own. Catherine had a family picture taken to send to Roy; he would not get to meet his daughter, Kathleen, until she was seventeen months old.
LeRoy, Catherine and Kathleen
After the surrender of the Japanese on 15 August 1945, troops in the CBI Theater began to demobilize. The order that released Roy from service was dated 1 October 1945. Soldiers were furloughed home according to the number of points they had accumulated under the Advanced Service Rating Points System. The points were awarded as follows: 1 point for each month served in the Army, 1 point for each month served overseas, 5 points for each campaign star worn on theater ribbons, 5 points for the first and each award received (such as Distinguished Service Cross), and 12 points for each child at home under 18 years of age (up to 3 children). Points were awarded for months served between 16 September 1940 and 12 May 1945.  

Originally a soldier was required to have 85 points in order to go home. The number was lowered as demobilization continued. On 1 November 1945 the military began to release soldiers who had 60 points. By the time Roy was released, he had 90 points. He was a little peeved about the change, considering what he had gone through to obtain his point total. The India-Burma-Theater Roundup Vol. IV No.7 issued 15 October 1945 indicated that according to the War Department there were still 5,000 soldiers in the India-Burma-China Theater with 85 or more points in October of 1945. 

According to the same issue of the Roundup, the allotment of planes from Chabua and Calcutta to Karachi in October of 1945 carried 700 men per day, and 10 trains transported troops that month from Assam to Karachi. With 500 troops being flown from Assam to Karachi and 200 from Calcutta to Karachi each day, only one troop train every third day was used in the evacuation of troops from Assam and Burma. 

Two types of troopships were used in evacuating India-Burma: 3,000 and 5,000 capacity ships. Seventeen ships handled troop movements from Calcutta and Karachi during September and October.  Ships leaving Calcutta reached the East Coast of the United States in 26 days, while those leaving Karachi made the voyage in 21 days. Four troopships - the Taylor, Anderson, Eltinge and Patrick - sailed during the week ending October 24, which was the week Roy began his voyage home.  A total of 14,500 troops were evacuated on these ships, bringing the combined strength of the India-Burma and China Theaters down to 170,000.  

Roy remained at the Chabua Air Base until October 1945, when he flew on a C-47 to Agra, New Delhi, Jorhat, and finally Karachi. It is unknown how long Roy spent in Karachi before boarding his ship. According to the War Department, the men would remain in the staging area at the ports of embarkation anywhere from seven to twenty-one days. At this time they would receive medical checkups and processing.  
By strange coincidence, on 21 October 1945 Roy again boarded the USS General A.E. Anderson (AP-111) for the trip home. This was cruise number thirteen for the USS General A.E. Anderson, and the ship was captained by George Whitefield Mead, Jr. The ship arrived in New York City on 9 November 1945, sailing past the Statue of Liberty, much to the delight of all the servicemen.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 23

While Catherine was settling into her life with a two year old and newborn, Roy was adjusting to life in India. Beginning in 1942, India served as the base for all Army Air Forces operations against the enemy in Burma, providing aid to China. Following the ship’s arrival in Bombay on August 7, 1944, Roy was stationed at Camp Worli, a British Royal Air Force transit camp located just north of Bombay, for two to three weeks. The buildings were made of brick with no glass in the windows or doors in the door frames.  After the confines of the ship, the camp seemed like a motel to Roy. He had a whole bed to himself, even though it was made of wood and roping. The soldiers received mosquito nets and sundry clothing.

Indian train 1944
Following his stay at Camp Worli, Roy boarded a train across India to Camshupora, located just outside of Calcutta. This train ride would probably have taken about three days. From there they took another train to the Brahmaputra River. On this leg of the journey, Merrill’s Marauders were on the train with them and Roy was able to meet some of the men.

One of the things that amazed Roy about the trains was that the track was laid by different groups of people, so they weren’t built to the same gauge. Apparently the Army Transport Command had purchased the railroads from several small railroad companies, who had used different track gauges when they originally built the tracks. The track would simply end and they would have to change trains. Because of this, a trip that could have been accomplished in one day ended up taking several. However, Roy said the scenery was beautiful on the trip.

Once they arrived at the Brahmaputra River they took a riverboat to Jorhat, India.  The western flank of the Brahmaputra River is big-game country with tigers, wild elephants, and herds of rhinoceros. Jorhat had one of the largest airstrips in northeastern Assam. It was at Jorhat that Roy was trained to become a loading supervisor, and he learned how to convert B-24s to C-109s. Loading operations were under the supervision of qualified enlisted air transportation technicians. Roy’s Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) was Air Transportation Technician.

Following six weeks of training, Roy flew to Chabua, India, which is located in the district of Dibrugarh in the state of Assam. Chabua is in the northeastern part of India. During WWII, the Chabua Airfield was constructed in the Assam Valley outside the small town of Chabua. The Himalayas rise to a height of 10,000 feet around the area. Planes taking off essentially had to fly circles around the immediate area in order to get the height needed to clear the mountains. The flight over and through the Himalayas was known as “flying the Hump.”

Chabua ATC
Roy served in the 1333rd Army Air Forces Base Unit, Army Transport Command. Air Transport Command (ATC) was established in 1942 as a unit of the U.S. Army Air Forces. Previously named the Air Ferrying Command, its mission was to meet the urgent demand for the speedy reinforcement of the U.S. military bases worldwide during WWII, using an air supply system to supplement surface transportation. ATC also operated a worldwide transportation system for military personnel.

actresses on base
One of diversions on the Chabua base was the Bamboo Music Hall. Roy had always enjoyed music and entertainment, so he likely passed quite a bit of his free time here. Stars of many USO shows appeared in this hall, such as Joe E. Brown, Noël Coward, and Paulette Goddard. From late October through early December 1944, Pat O’Brien, Jinx Falkenburg, Harry Brown, Betty Yeaton, Jimmie Dodd, and Ruth Carrell Dodd performed more than a hundred shows in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater.  Dixie Walker and his troupe, made up of major league baseball players, also entertained. What a thrill that must have been for the men on the base to be able to have a taste of home in India!

Bernie Downey, Bill Penney, Roy

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 22

St. Louis home
Once baby LeRoy gained a sufficient amount of weight, he and Catherine were able to travel by train to St. Louis, where they set up their household on the south side of town. The house was located in Lemay on Perrin Avenue, close to Notre Dame High School and Jefferson Barracks. Once a single-family home, this house had been converted to a rooming house to meet the needs of soldiers and their families. The Kublers made the most of their time in St. Louis, enjoying Forest Park and the zoo, among other attractions.
bear at the St. Louis Zoo

By October of 1943, Catherine was expecting a second child and received medical care at St. Louis University Hospital. Coincidentally her brother-in-law Kevin McGann, who was married to Roy’s sister Jane, was training as a family practice resident at St. Louis University. Catherine always requested not to be seen by Kevin. She thought it was a little too personal to share that kind of exam with Kevin!

In May of 1944, Roy was given his orders to report to Greensboro, North Carolina to prepare for overseas training. At this time the family had a car, so Roy drove Catherine and LeRoy back to Cincinnati. Most of the trip was made during the night. With the rationing of gas and tires, the long road trip found Roy patching and borrowing tires along the way due to frequent blowouts. At one point, the car was making a funny noise. As Catherine drove, Roy stood outside on the running board listening to the engine. Little LeRoy stood on the seat saying, “Bye-bye, Daddy. Bye-bye, Daddy.” Catherine thought he was waving to his daddy out the window. A few miles passed before she realized Roy was no longer on the running board but had fallen off. It probably was a pretty quiet drive back to Cincinnati after that. Catherine and LeRoy moved in with her parents, Michael and Mayme Crusham (who still had five children living at home!), and Roy headed off to Greensboro.
LeRoy and Roy

During his overseas training at the Eastern Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro, Roy’s daughter, Kathleen Mary, was born in Cincinnati. He was not given any leave time. Upon completion of his training later in June, he was sent to Norfolk, Virginia to ship out. 

USS Anderson
In late June, Roy boarded the USS General A.E. Anderson (AP-111), captained by William Miller. On 29 June 1944, his twenty-seventh birthday, the ship left port headed for Bombay, India. While on the ship Roy quickly learned that the food available to the troops was not that good. With his experience in cooking at Jefferson Barracks, he arranged to help out in the kitchen on the ship. He received much better food and was able to get to know the officers on the ship. 

The USS Anderson passed through the Panama Canal on the 4th of July, and crossed the Equator on July 8th and the International Date Line on the 18th. It made a brief two day stop in Melbourne, Australia before arriving in Bombay on 7 August 1944.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 21

1007 Regina Avenue
Roy and Catherine tried to settle into their new lives living with Roy's parents, Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler following their 17 January 1942 wedding. While Roy's older sister Ethel was married and living elsewhere at the time, his younger sisters Jane and Gloria were still living at home. But a new reality came crashing in on 30 January when Roy received his Notice of Classification from the government. Listed as a Class I-A, he was certified as available and fit for general military service. Things moved quickly after that.

Roy was ordered to report for his physical at 7:00 a.m. on 6 February 1942 at Carson School on Glenway Avenue. Upon passing the test and the physical, he knew it was now only a question of time before he would be ordered to report for duty. He was willing to serve his country, and he elected to go into the U.S. Army Air Forces, the predecessor of the U.S. Air Force. He then awaited orders to proceed to a Reception Center, where he would complete records, be issued individual equipment, be given immunizations for smallpox and typhoid, and then be forwarded to a tactical unit or other installation. In the meantime, he received a Notice of Continuation of Classification.

Fort Thomas
Two months into their marriage, Roy received orders to report to nearby Fort Thomas, Kentucky, leaving his new bride behind in the household of her in-laws at 1007 Regina Avenue. Located about 6 miles south of Cincinnati, Fort Thomas was established as a military base in 1890, and was reactivated in 1941 as an Army reception and induction center for WWII. Following a short stay at Fort Thomas, Roy was sent by train to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis to begin his military training. It was here that he learned how to march, shoot, pitch a tent, make a bed (military-style), offer basic first aid, read a map, and defend himself against chemical attacks. He also learned that he was to become a father!
the cook

Beginning as a private with an occupation of Basic Infantry, Roy was promoted after two months to private first class. On September 19, 1942 Captain George Weber, the commanding officer, promoted Roy to corporal. During this time period Roy was a cook at Jefferson Barracks. His mother's cooking instructions paid off for him. With a baby on the way, for extra money he would operate the movie projector at the base on the weekends.

In late September, Roy received a Western Union telegram from his mother notifying him of the birth of his son. LeRoy Charles Kubler was born prematurely on 29 September, weighing just 4 pounds, 4 ounces.

Western Union telegram

Friday, February 24, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 20

Roy 1925
As previously mentioned, my father LeRoy was the second child and only son of Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler. He was born 29 June 1917. His older sister Ethel was 4 at the time. His mother treated him no differently than his older sister, so by the time the other two girls came along Roy, as he was called by his family, could cook and clean as well as the women in his house. He attended whatever Catholic elementary school happened to be closest to the family home at the time, and he very much enjoyed music. He could be found playing a musical instrument and singing with the band whenever his father's current job offered the opportunity to do so. His love of music stayed with him his entire life.

Railway Express Agency
As a teenager, Roy worked many different jobs including employment with the Cincinnati Reds and as a pin setter at a bowling alley. Following graduation from Elder High School, Roy went to work for the Railway Express Agency, a company established by the U.S. government in 1917 to provide small package and parcel transportation using existing railways. Roy's position as an assorter entailed routing packages through the express terminal. This position would launch his career in the freight industry, which he worked in for the next several decades.

The 1940 federal census indicates that Roy was living at home with his parents and two younger sisters. His older sister, Ethel, had gotten married the previous year.

Roy and Catherine
He met his future wife when he was out driving with a friend one pretty spring afternoon in 1941. Catherine Crusham, age 20, was standing on a street corner with her cousin Joan when the two young men happened to pass by. As Roy's friend was acquainted with Joan, they stopped the car to chat. The rest, as they say, is history. Roy was immediately attracted to Catherine's red hair and sparkling green eyes, and she to his tall stature and quick wit. The two began dating, and Roy was quickly swept up in the boisterous Crusham clan. Catherine was the third oldest of 8 children. She had dropped out of high school after completing her junior year in order to help support the family. She worked at a sporting goods manufacturing factory sewing basketballs.

But 1941 was not all fun and happy times. World War II was ever-present on the minds of Americans, and Roy registered for the draft that year. His draft card was #317. The Selective Service Training and Service Act of 1940 created the country's first peacetime draft. All males ages 21-36 were required to register for service, complete a physical, and take a written exam to determine who was qualified for military duty. After the testing was complete, the men were placed into categories, or classes, with Class I being the best qualified.

wedding day
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 it became abundantly clear to everyone that the United States was going to enter the war. Roy proposed to Catherine, and on 10 January 1942 the couple applied for a marriage license. Roy and Catherine were married quietly, or so they thought, on 17 January 1942 at Resurrection Church in Cincinnati, with only Catherine’s sister Margaret Crusham and their brother-in-law Lawrence Wambaugh in attendance. They soon found that there are no secrets in the Crusham household. One of the siblings had seen the required announcement in the newspaper and alerted the rest of the family. A wedding reception was quickly put together by the family, lasting into the wee hours of the morning.

The bride and groom retired to the home of Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler. But they did not get to stay together for too long.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 19

The fourth and final child of Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler was born several years after her siblings. Because she is still living, her exact birth information will not be shared. When she was 20 she married Robert Carle. Robert was the third of 4 children, and the only boy. He was 21 at the time of their marriage.

Robert was in the US Marine Corp, and the couple resided for a few years in Santa Ana, California. They later moved back to the Cincinnati area. Gloria and Robert had four children: Sandra, Robert, Michael and Teresa. All of the children are living except for Michael. He was born in Ohio 29 September 1956. He died at the age of 8 on 30 June 1964 at the University of Cincinnati General Hospital. His older sister Sandy was on vacation with our family when her brother died.

Gloria Carle
Gloria experienced something in 1962 that most of us only read about in the newspapers. In fact, people in Cincinnati and elsewhere around the United States did read about her on the front page of The Cincinnati Enquirer on 7 December 1962. The previous morning she had answered the door of her home when she was alone with her youngest two children only to be kidnapped at gunpoint by a man who forced her to leave the children alone. She was so concerned that he might harm her son and daughter that she did as she was told.

The man made her drive the car some distance before having her pull over and lay down on the back seat. The kidnapper took over driving the car and soon picked up an accomplice before heading to the Southern Ohio National Bank at White Oak Shopping Center. With a gun pointed at her side, Gloria entered the bank with the two men, who proceeded to rob the bank of $39,500. They fled the bank in Gloria's car after forcing her and all of the employees into the bank vault. The employees waited awhile before exiting the vault, which had not been locked when the gunmen shut the door, and called the police. After questioning everyone, one of the policemen drove Gloria home where she was reunited with her children. Her car was recovered in Mt. Airy, about 3 miles from the bank, within an hour of the holdup.

One can only imagine how terrified she, as well as the bank employees, must have been. And Gloria had the additional distress of knowing that her children were not being cared for while she was gone. She must have wondered if she would ever see them and the rest of her family again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Family History Writing Challenge Day 18

Note: I am behind on the Family History Writing Challenge as I was out of town for four days creating new family history memories. My in-laws celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, and it was important to focus on the family during that time period. 

Jane 1941
The second child born to Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler was LeRoy. As he is my father and I want to end this writing challenge with him, I will skip over him and talk instead about Mary Jane, the third child, of the Kublers. Jane, as she was called, was born on 10 April 1925 in Cincinnati. Her sister Ethel was 11, and her brother LeRoy was 7 when she joined the family. She attended Seton High School, a Sisters of Charity Catholic girls school in Cincinnati. There she participated in Troupe No. 371, Seton Unit of the National Thespian Dramatic Honor Society. Jane was also an avid bowler.

At the age of 18, Jane married 19-year-old Kevin McGann. They exchanged vows on 26 November 1943, which was the day after Thanksgiving. Kevin had graduated from Elder High School, an all boys Catholic school, where he was active on the tennis team. From there he attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, and then St. Louis University, where he graduated from medical school. Kevin served in the US Navy and US Air Force during WWII.

Their daughter Sharon was born in St. Louis. Sons Kevin, Michael and Timothy were born in Cincinnati, and daughters Colleen and Kelly were born in Georgetown, Ohio where Kevin established his office as a physician. He practiced there for 38 years, delivering over 2,000 babies. He also served as the Health Commissioner for Brown County, Ohio for more than 30 years.

Kevin died on 4 March 2013, just one day shy of his 89th birthday. He and Jane had been married for 69 years. His funeral was held at St. George Catholic Church, where the family were long-time members. Jane did not live long without him, passing on 2 October 2013 at the age of 88. She was with her oldest daughter and son-in-law in New York when she died, and that is where a service for her was held.