Sunday, July 29, 2012

Snyder Family, part 2

From left to right, Grover Snyder, Harry Snyder, Grandma Snyder, Josephine, Margaret (my grandmother), Jim Snyder, Avery Snyder. The above pic is undated, but appears to be late 1920s. Grandma Snyder died 1932 at age 79.

Uncle Avery had a home across from Grandma Myers.

There were 9 children born to Margaret and Amos Snyder. Two died in infancy, and one, Hattie Elizabeth died in 1917. Hattie Elizabeth was married to a Zachardy. Josephine was married to a John Zachardy. Not sure if the 2 sisters married brothers--or possibly the same man. Will look into this further.* Aunt Jo was older than Grandma Myers.

Here are Aunt Jo and Grandma together.
Here is Aunt Jo, I'm thinking around 1970.

Not sure how old she is in above pic. I remember Aunt Jo only as an old, woman lying in bed. She was completely senile--I guess today we'd say she had dementia. Dementia seems to run in the women that side of the family. I intend to break the cycle. Remind me of this vow next week in case I forget.

From the pictures above it also seems that WHITE hair runs in the family. I believe I once heard that my grandma greyed very early.

The following are all pics of Grandma Myers and in all of them she has WHITE hair.
dated Aug 1941
dated 1942, at Mom's graduation
Grandma would have been 59 in the above pic. She appears much older. Sorry.

 Myers house 1912, Margaret and Harvey Myers were married in 1910. Probably first house they lived in as a married couple. She was 27 at the time. Harvey and Margaret had 7 children. The oldest child was Mary Elizabeth born April 28, 1911. My mother was the youngest, born in 1924 when Margaret was 41.

Lastly, here is a pic of Uncle John and Aunt Jo. The pic is undated, but I would put it at between 1910 - 1917.

*NEW INFO--found on census on Internet.

1940 United States Federal Census
Census & Voter Lists
John H Zachardy
Josephine Zachardy
abt 1876 - Austria
Upper Sandusky, Wyandot, Ohio
Upper Sandusky, Wyandot, Ohio

John H Zachardy
Elizabeth H Zachardy
1874 - location
1910 - city, Wyandot, Ohio

Name Josephine Zachardy  Born Died (94 years old) Last Known
Residence Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio (Ohio), 43351

Hattie Elizabeth Zachardy
Birth: 1875Death: 1917

John H Zachardy
Birth: 1872Death: 1957

Josephine Zachardy
Birth: 1879Death: 1974

Zachardy Hattie Elizabeth (Snyder) married John Zachardy, death May 1917
Zachardy John H. married Josephine Snyder 28 Nov 1918

Looks like Aunt Jo married her brother-in-law. John H. Zachardy married 2 Snyder girls, sisters Elizabeth Hattie and Josephine.

Snyder Family, part 1

photo identifies Snyder home where Grandma Myers lived
Grandma Myers married Harvey Myers June 30, 1910. She was born Margaret Ann Snyder in 1883 and was the daughter of Margaret Snyder (nee Potter) and Amos Snyder.
Margaret Snyder married Amos Snyder April 14, 1874. She died in 1932 at age 79. Not sure when Amos Snyder died.* Amos Emery Snyder
Birth: 1848Death:  19 Jan. 1925

Not sure, but using a zoom the faces appear to be Grandpa and Grandma Snyder, home is different from the one above. Dress and the fact that they are not young, leads me to think circa 1915 - 1925.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crack Baby

July is a month for birthdays. My mom was born on the 11th and my husband’s grandma’s birthday is July 8th. My dad and daughter share the same day: July 24th. This year there will be two less birthdays to celebrate. Not sure yet how I will honor my mother and father who passed away less than six months ago. Maybe I’ll just think about them.

I remember waiting for my daughter to be born. I was actually energetic throughout most of my pregnancy. I ran! I biked! I walked to work every day. Until my due date, and then I woke up and thought, Okay now. Where’s this baby?

As an expectant mother I expected to have a baby. Any minute. But the day came and went with nothing to show for it.

That was it. The air went out of my balloon. I waddled over to my friend’s house. Sandy told me she had the remedy to help me get over my lack of baby blues. She had a baby for me. He’d been born with cocaine in his system and even though he could come home from the hospital his mother had to serve out her rehab—where she couldn’t keep Baby Douglas, so, Sandy wanted to know would I take Baby Douglas—for just a little while.

I really had no energy. AND I was going to have a baby, any minute.

Nevertheless, I said yes and Baby Douglas was dropped off at my house. Him and all his equipment. He had a monitor for his heart and several other wires I wasn’t sure what they connected to. I had to hold him by winding my arms through the cables. The machines went off frequently. False alarms. I spent a lot of time resetting the monitor.

Baby Douglas slept in the bassinet I’d set up for my baby. Aside from his machines screaming, he rarely cried. He mostly smiled and gurgled when awake. Outside of that he slept a lot. He was so easy to watch.

I certainly got over my baby blues. I rocked him, held him, and gave Baby Douglas a bottle. It was July and we had no AC and I was as big as a whale. But I stayed by his side. Waiting, for my baby to come.

A few nights later I awoke with a start. My water had broken. What a weird phrase to write, but I knew in an instance that I was going to have a baby within 24 hours. I woke my husband up and we did laps around the bedroom. By mid-morning I climbed into a van to go to the hospital. But first we had to get someone to watch Baby Douglas. We found a sitter and took off.

Twenty-four hours later I had a baby. A girl!!

By the time I came home from the hospital a new home had been found for Baby Douglas. (His mom was released from her program early and was allowed to care for him!)

Based upon my experience with Baby Douglas, I expected my daughter to sleep, smile, gurgle, and otherwise be pleasant. No way! She cried ALL THE TIME. I know—it’s the cocaine babies that are supposed to be sensitive to outside stimulation, have overblown startle reflexes, and need constant soothing. In my exhausted fog I sort’ve wished to have my crack baby back.

After about 8 months of being cranky she settled down. She actually turned into one of the happiest kids EVER.

As we approach my daughter’s 23rd birthday, I think back on that day. I remember my father and Baby Douglas and wish them both well—wherever they are.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grace's Birthday

Twenty-three years ago I had a baby girl at Illinois Masonic Hospital. I was supposed to have a natural birth in the family birthing center but after pushing for 24-hours straight the baby’s heartbeat became irregular and the midwives rightly suspected that the baby was under stress. So I was moved to labor & delivery with my husband and a girlfriend who was allowed in the room because when massaging me in the shower she’d gotten her street clothes all wet and put on an available pair of scrubs. She was in her element, masquerading as a doctor.

Anyway, after twenty-four hours I was so tired I would have given birth to a goat. I just didn’t care. She popped out in the wee hours, a wee thing. My husband likened the experience to watching a doll inflate. All the sudden she was there, flailing and crying and I was told I didn’t have to push anymore. I was irrational, I wondered if it was a trick. But within seconds they had her on my chest all mucky and still attached to the umbilical cord. My arms were like lead, I hadn’t the strength to hold her. I just appreciated the sweet feeling of accomplishment—until they took her away to weigh her and told me now I had to deliver the after-birth. Great. More work.

But after three days in the hospital (there was a bit of healing after the stitches) we were ready to leave. We had come into Illinois Masonic as a couple and left as a family. Mike drove the car around to the circular drive in front where I was wheeled out. Me along with the baby whom security double-checked against her papers and bracelet just to make sure we took home the right one. I’m pretty sure we did.

Mike got flustered after pulling out. There was some construction and maybe a one-way street. We were trying to circumnavigate the El train line that ran overhead and looking for Southport when all of the sudden at a stop sign we were approached by a young mother and her kids. This was the end of July in Chicago and the car had no AC. She came up to my open window.

All I wanted was to get home, out of the 100-degree heat, safe and sound with my newborn. You are never so much aware of how dangerous the world is, how scary a ten-minute car ride can be, as when you are carrying precious cargo, this tiny human being that you keep calling by your niece’s name because you haven’t gotten used to calling her by the name you just picked out hours before. She is a stranger that I would kill to protect.

So this mother startled me by leaning in my window asking me for help. She held up her baby. A big boy compared to my little Grace with a huge protruding herniated belly button. It was phallic. I wanted to cover my daughter’s eyes. The woman asked for money to help her get her son an operation.

All at once, along with a hot-flash and shift in postpartum hormones, I became aware of how vulnerable I was. After leaving the security of the hospital I was still under the impression that my environment was something I could control. Now, suddenly, I was affronted by this poor mother and her deformed child. The world was this great, big unknown. The city I lived in was populated with horrible realities.

There was nothing I could do. Either for her or for my child. I couldn’t save either one of them. I shook my head and muttered sorry.

Still, after twenty-three years, I remember this scene. It’s part of our story, your story. I’ve tried to the best of my ability to protect you, guard your eyes and ears; keep you safe. Even though it’s an illusion. We never really get to have this much control. But, like that day under the El, I can offer prayers, that all will turn out well.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Documents for Myers Family

CLICK on to enlarge.

My grandfather was born Harvey Myers October 19, 1979. This makes me feel old. Believe me I am the youngest of the youngest, so he was long gone by the time I was born.

This is my grandmother who died in 1976.

The above is the obituary for my maternal great-grandmother Margaret Snyder, born July 25, 1853. WOW! This is old. Ohio had only been a state for 50 years. Her maiden name was Potter. Her mother, my great, great grandmother's last name was Cain. Great-grandma Snyder died in 1932.
Margaret Snyder

Grandpa Myers Age 19

I believe this is the earliest photo we have of my grandfather, Harvey Myers.
The back of the photo reads in an excellent hand:
Made June 1st, 1896 in Lebanon, Ohio. On my 19th birthday!

I think my brother Tom will agree--they share a remarkable resemblance. Click on photo to enlarge.
Harvey Myers with nephews
 Corner of this photo says Galion, Ohio where the clippings confirm that Harvey went at age 10 to live with a sister after his parents death. His first marriage was in 1902 at age 23--so this photo I reckon precedes 1902.

Myers's Family Photos

Some real old ones here.
1933 front: neighbor boy, Ann (Mom), back: Becky, Gwen, neighbor boy, Mart
no date but Mom, the baby in front was born July 11, 1924, this pic probably 1925

left to right: Mart, Gwen, possibly Dick Myers?, Becky by baby Ann

no date, back of pic identifies Gwen and Ann

no date, back of pic identifies Gwen w/cat, Becky holding a cat
no date, back of pic identifies as Becky
no date, back identifies as Ann and Becky
I believe out of all her sisters, Mom was the closest to Becky. In the pics where Mom is like 7 or 8 I think she looks so so so much like my sister Nancy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The New Face of Homelessness

I work at a homeless shelter working amongst women--but every time I go there are always, especially as it is summer, swarms of children playing out front or in the lobby area. It breaks my heart.

Here is a link to an article I just read at Salon:

about kids and homelessness.

Here is also a link to a video where Demarra from the shelter where I volunteer tells her story of being a homeless student:

Here are some excerpts from the Salon article:
"After hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005, advocates for the homeless were horrified to find that the storms had left one in 50 American kids without a home, a record high, according to a report by the Coalition for Family Homelessness. But only a few years later the financial crisis outperformed nature in casting catastrophe on poor Americans. After record foreclosures, layoffs and budget cuts that hit poor families the hardest, America is a country where one out of 45 kids doesn’t have a home. That totals 1.6 million children in 2010 without a permanent place to live, an increase of 448,000 in just three years. Forty percent of the kids are under 6.
“As a society, we bear responsibility for creating this second disaster and for responding to its aftermath,” concludes the report, before detailing how many states fall short in working to prevent family homelessness and in taking care of families who’ve lost their homes.
“Many places in the country don’t have shelters,” says Diane Nilan, an advocate for the homeless who ran several family shelters in Illinois and since 2005 has traveled around the country raising awareness about homeless families (Hear Us). ”In some cases, you have to travel five or six counties over to get to a shelter."

"An interesting fact about family homelessness: before the early-1980s, it did not exist in America, at least not as an endemic, multigenerational problem afflicting millions of poverty-stricken adults and kids. Back then, the typical homeless family was a middle-aged woman with teenagers who wound up in a shelter following some sort of catastrophic bad luck like a house fire. They stayed a short time before they got back on their feet.
In the 1980s, family homelessness did not so much begin to grow as it exploded, leaving poverty advocates and city officials stunned as young parents with small children overwhelmed the shelter system and spilled into the streets."

Cornerstone Community Outreach began in 1988 in the lobby of our building on Malden Street, spread to the first floor dining room and then resulted in the church buying a building where the shelter is today. Actually the church has a complex of buildings and staffs over 6 programs serving over 500 people daily!

I did my writing program with the residents yesterday and was struck by how many of my group are MY AGE. At this juncture in my life, I am so so so thankful I am not homeless, but many of my group were homeless because of foreclosure, unexpected life changes, and breakdown in the family. MANY of them have NEVER been homeless before. First time in a shelter. I asked how they were doing and one woman began to cry. She never once thought she would be here. One woman responded that she would rather be in a shelter than living with her mentally ill daughter--it was tough, all the verbal abuse.

Did you know that $1.17 per day will provide 3 nutritious meals for one person living at CCO? Cornerstone shelters homeless families with children and individuals. While staying at CCO each resident is offered case management services, a bed, meals, a variety of classes, and much more, in a respectful and understanding setting.
If you would like to donate towards the basic daily needs of homeless families or individuals, go to CCO LIFE


Monday, July 16, 2012

Ghost Ship. Burn the whole thing down.

The best things, the most memorable moments always seem to be spontaneous. They sneak up and surprise us. If planned for, then the magic is diminished. Not sure if this is true about everything. A kiss is nice no matter what—but typically overthinking it robs it of its impact. I’ve blogged about this earlier (link) that sometimes crazy chaos sparks, igniting a movement, the heat forging something new.

Chaos created the Cornerstone Festival Ghost Ship.

Artrageous has been part of the festival for years. Some of the art is planned, prepared, and brought to the festival. See Art Walk/Pilgrimage. But this year we also had different artists building and sculpting on the grounds. Dave Coleman, using (I think) plaster of paris, toilet paper, and ripped up sheets made a ghost ship. It stood out in the hot sun like a bleached boat, dry docked on stilts. It was a thing of beauty.

Dave loved it. That’s why it hurt so bad when Karl Sullivan, the director of Artrageous suggested that Dave burn it.

It took some convincing. Before that though, Dave had the boat lowered and asked people to use a marker and write on the INSIDE of the boat a message or simply their name. One girl, Katie K. age 13 wrote that the festival had been a big part of her childhood.

You see this was the end. The last year of Cornerstone Festival. After 29 years it was no longer economically sustainable. In a few days we would all be saying good-bye—not just for the year but possibly forever. Even if we meet again it won’t be the same. It was over.

Burn the boat down, Karl said. Give it a Ghost Ship Funeral.

So this thing that started out as an idea—sparked. No one knew how or what exactly to do, but there was talk.

The boys from the Underground Stage got together and decided they would lead the processional to the lake where the boat would be launched on its final (only) journey. The boat would need to be carried. Dave worried, Who would come over on Saturday night to help him get it to the beach? He had a concert, The Colemans! So after performing the crowd followed him over to where the boat was parked.

The processional began in the food court with Tony Krogh on the bagpipes. Then the motorcycles roared to life. Behind the motorcade were golf carts and then the boat was ordered raised. About a dozen guys lifted it up on their shoulders with Dave in it (looking completely deranged after the show with face paint running like smeared mascara down his sweaty cheeks and forehead). They carried the boat as if it were a processional icon or altar piece such as one sees in Andalusia or Sicily (especially Trapani) during the Santa semana (Easter Holy Week).   

A parade of people joined in, followed by the garbage truck honking its concussive horn. The sun was just beginning to dip below the trees. Dust stirred up by the motorcycles and golf carts glowed orange. Through the headlights it seemed as if the ship was already on fire. By the time the boat reached the beach a thousand people had joined the processional.

In the growing darkness the boat was lowered and launched. Using oars Dave and a few others rowed out to the middle of the lake where they doused it with diesel fuel. Some of them had forgotten about how they were going to get to shore. They had to jump out and swim.

The plan was for Spike wearing his kilt to shoot a flaming arrow out to the boat, but it didn’t quite work. He got them to light and he got them to fly through the night sky, but they kept going out. Finally two of the guys volunteered to swim out to the ship with a blow torch above their heads.

It was magnificent. The lonely pale boat in the middle of the lake. Its toilet paper tattered sails. And the flames licking the plaster of paris mast. We stood on the shore watching it burn, singing Amazing Grace.

It will forever be a memory.

How could we have known that burning the Ghost Ship was the perfect ending? That it would come to symbolize all that we felt.  

It was magic.

So the Ghost Ship is now part of the Cornerstone Festival history books. Crazy, spontaneous, inspired. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rain like Mercy Fall Down on Me

I live in the Midwest, in Chicago where this year we have been experiencing a drought. Not sure, but it seems like we haven’t had significant rain since the beginning of May. After the record-setting heat wave last week the grass in the park is like straw. The trees look like October, turning brown and losing their leaves. The peach farmer I work for at the Green City Market (link) is beside herself. There is real fear about losing the crop entirely. This fear is compounded by the fact that they are already down in their harvest by over 40% because of the early warm spring and then late frosts.

 Lately I’ve also been in a drought. Burned out.

Maybe it was the two-week artist residency where I pushed out a revision on a 45,000-word YA novel. The intricacy of re-visioning, going over and over again the same material, sometimes rearranging, sharpening scenes, writing new material, and, at the same time, asking myself questions, pretending I was a reader approaching the book fresh. My brain was operating at 3 or 4 levels, both the left and right, the creative AND the analytical. On top of that I probed the various programs available on my new laptop and discovered I LOVE playing Solitaire. I’ve become a Solitaire fiend.

The drought has reached down into my soul. I have been in desperate need of refreshment. I’ve wondered if delayed grief over my parent’s passing plus the probate of their will has added to this impression of drought. Leaving me feeling dry, parts of me cracked, thirsty.

 Today standing over a hot grill cooking breakfast for 300 people I thought about mercy. How mercy comes to us like longed-for rain, showering us.

The festival was amazing, but has left me melancholy and nostalgic. After 29 years it was our last, having grown economically unsustainable over the past 5 years. I mourn this passing also.

So I was thinking where could I go to be nourished? To run through water sprinklers, drink ice cold lemonade, bite into a peach, the juice dribbling down my chin. That’s what mercy feels like. A place of refuge, an oasis.

About an hour ago the rains came, filling in the serrated soil. It might not be enough. We’ll need more. But for now it is sinking in, revitalizing the roots. I’ll make it another day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 6, 2012

July 6, 2012
(inspired by James Schuyler’s June 30, 1974)

The hottest day on record and
I have melted into the center of the earth
And fallen into a molten core of—
Love, there is so much love
Around me that it hurts.
I sweat—it’s not tears, and
I’ll fake that it’s the sun
The reason I feel so bad,
But actually I’m afraid to say
Goodbye and leave all of this . . .
And all of you.
Next year in this hot hell there will be
Only the grass blowing in the wind.

This was composed on a very hot day at Cornerstone Festival in my class on micro-memoir where a dozen of us bonded over words and memories.

One of my participants—I’ll call him Dan. Actually his name was Dan. He is a fellow blogger who approaches his work from a very interesting angle. I’ve heard of people who adopt a persona when blogging. With Memoirous I experiment with tone and voice. For instance I’m not normally sarcastic. People sometimes get the impression I’m outgoing when in actuality I’m a bit on the introverted side. I hate small talk. With writing I get a chance to write and then rewrite. Revising makes me bolder. Extemporizing in conversation traumatizes me.

But Dan took the persona thing to a whole new level—he has reinvented himself, approaching the blog as a character and, like Tolkien, creating a whole world. In his blog he is Jackson Pollack and paints, covering canvases in a whole new way. He also has a wife. I love this idea of immersing oneself. I’ve often heard instructors ask: what’s in your MC’s backpack/purse/fannypack/lunch box. There are exercises to help the writer to “know” their MC (main character). Sometimes the instructor will have the MC write a letter of introduction. Whether any of this actually shows up in the fiction is irrelevant. What is important is understanding the motives of said character.

Have you ever started reading a book and thought—hey I’m not “getting” this character. They seem hastily drawn, sketched out, not full and faceted. That’s because the author hasn’t taken the time to get inside their character. Blogging your character sounds like a great idea. Now if you start blaming the missing ice cream on your character or begin to hold conversations with them—then maybe it’s time for medication.

ATTENTION: Micro-memoir students comment me your July 6, 2012.

HEY if you are enjoying this thread on Cornerstone Festival CLICK on the tag below!

Monday, July 9, 2012


A shot from the viking funeral. So epic. Photo by Laura Roberts

May the community you shared continue, for now and always.
That feeling of being with friends, I pray it will nourish you. Remember: you are never alone.
Realize this—that your best-ever time at Cornerstone is only a mirror of what we can expect when we travel to that forever festival.
Bands may crash and burn, reunite only to eventually split apart, but we know the music will go on.  
If you have learned one thing from all of this, let it be to stay open. So many of us shared stories of coming with preconceptions and leaving with a much BIGGER picture of the kingdom of God. Yay! Christian Feminist Tent!
Take with you the love of thousands of other like-minded people, the embers of 29 years of sunsets, and a million tiny moments of joy.
Go in peace.