Holiday Traditions – The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Under the Holiday Tradition theme, I’ve been sharing my favorite things to do during the month of December. Each Sunday of Advent brought memories of the season. From choosing or making an Advent wreath, to decorating the house, to baking cookies to give away.

This week features one of my favorite things to do. Decorating the Christmas tree.

For close to thirty years our Christmas trees have been gifted to us by a family friend. In the early years, he would choose a tree from the woods near where he lived. When he moved away from his home village, he continued to bring us a tree now bought at one of the many markets supplied by Christmas tree farms.

The trees were not always decorated in the same way. Some years only gold or silver was used. Other years color was added. There have been silver with blue and white, silver with purple, all red, and all colors mixed up.

The first lights we bought for our tree were candle-shaped and lasted years. When they finally gave out on us we bought strings of tiny lights which didn’t last as long. Since the days of the candle lights, I always check that the lights work before I put them up.

This year I decorated our tree with the two strings of lights and wasn’t happy with the way they looked. I nearly finished taken down the first string when it died on me. It wasn’t the first time this happened. It’s always aggravating but I try to not let it get to me. I spread out the lights of the remaining string around the front and sides leaving the back of the tree dark. By this time I’d been at it for nearly two hours. I was thinking I should have stuck with Motown instead of Christmas songs.

For the past few years, the tree had been done up in silver and/or white with blue and/or purple balls and icicles. This year I planned on doing it in gold with special touches. I’ve had these artificial poinsettias bushes that haven’t been used in years when decorating the house. I got out the wire cutters and cut them up into individual flowers and stuck them in the tree. I added gold bows and angels. Next came the special heirloom touch.

Years ago Mom gave us four Villeroy et Boch old fashioned multi-colored porcelain Christmas ornaments which I’ve been hanging on doorknobs of furniture. Earlier this month she stopped by with four Hutschenreuther porcelain ornaments from 2018 in the shape of a bell, ball, boot, and egg from the Christmas Pleasures series. I added these eight heirloom ornaments to the tree.

Bows, Angels, Poinsettia, and Heirlooms

May the peace of Advent be with you and your families.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandfather Roop’s Poetry

I’m presently concentrating my research on the RUPP, RUPE, ROOP, ROUP, ROOPE, ROUPE, RUPPE families and shared my great-grandpa ROOP’s artwork last week.

Walter Farmer ROOP was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He left us precious memories one of them being this photograph I shared last week.

MRIN00030 IMG_8590“Gauley River” by Walter F. ROOP 1921

Great-grandpa ROOP also left poems he wrote for his wife, about his place of work, and his surroundings. Living in Jodie, Fayette County, West Virginia, on the Gauley River Walter was fond of the waterway he photographed and wrote this poem about it 99 years ago.

1917_on_gauley_by_Walter_F_RoopWalter wrote poetry to mourn the death of his wife:

  • “The Letters You Loved and Kept”
  • “That Darling Pal of Mine”
  • “Admiration”
  • “My Garden: Gethsemane”
  • an unnamed poem which begins with “Dear heart, since you have gone to rest I only think of you”.

Recently my 2nd cousin Robert sent me “On Gauley,” shared above, and another poem written by our great-grandfather. “Buck Run” was penned after the two great wars were fought and is about Buck Run No. 1, the coal mine he worked in for the Gauley Mountain Coal Company. “Buck Run” may have been published in the UMW Journal as the copy Robert sent has a published look of a book page.

We know at least one of Walter’s poems “When We Retire” was published in the United Mine Workers Journal, January 15, 1952 issue. David C. Duke author of Writers and Miners: Activism and Imagery in America (published by University Press of Kentucky, 2002) referred to it in the notes on a chapter in the book. I have not found any cousins with a copy of this poem.

I’ve been asked if Walter’s talents were passed on to others in the family. I know his youngest son Alfred Lee ROOP 1919-1981 wrote the poem “Old Fighters Last Battle” which Robert sent to me. I would love to know if any of my other cousins inherited one of his special “heirloom” talents.

Click here to see a list of other bloggers doing the heirloom posts.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandfather Roop’s Art

Since I am presently concentrating on the RUPP, RUPE, ROOP, ROUP, ROOPE, ROUPE, RUPPE families I thought I would share heirlooms which are still in the family only not in my possession.

My great-grandfather Walter F. ROOP was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He left us precious memories including this photo of the Gauley River. Walter took three photos at Jodie in Fayette County, West Virginia, in 1921, tinted them by hand, and put them together to make this panorama view.

MRIN00030 IMG_8590

“Homemade” panorama titled “Gauley River” by Walter F. ROOP

The year 1921 was a very productive year for my great-grandfather. Not only did he make the panorama photo of Gauley Bridge, he also made ink drawings which were passed on to his children and are now in the possession of two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

MRIN00030 IMG_8572

“Panther and Deer” by W. F. Roop dated December 26, 1921

MRIN00030 grizzley

“The Grizzly” by W. F. Roop

His granddaughter Peggy Jean Ramsey Baker recounted how the Panther and Deer and The Grizzly drawings were copied from pictures in a big book (maybe some sort of history book). She saw the pictures which were approximately 2×2.5 inches in size in the book as a child. She believes there was a third drawing of “some sort of cat in tall grass.”

When I wrote my post on Walter in 2014 my cousin Linda Roop let me know she has the third drawing and shared a photo of it. It’s in the original frame made by Walter F. ROOP but she was not able to get a good photo due to the size and it being behind glass.

MRIN00030 1921 Leopard drawing by W F Roop
“The Leopard” by W. F. Roop

Isn’t it wonderful how the three drawings are now united even though they are at home with Walter’s descendants through his children Edith Estelle, Myrtle Hazel, Walter Gordon and Alfred Lee?

Click here to see a list of other bloggers doing the heirloom posts.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Baby Grand Piano Music Box

This beautiful black stained glass baby grand piano music box is one of my newer heirlooms. It was sent to me by my third cousin twice removed James S. INGRAM for Christmas 2004.

musicbox1smThe music box plays the “Edelweiss” melody, the last song Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote together.

musicbox3smBefore Jim gifted me this music box he had been sending me wooden carvings he made: Christmas 2001 a crane, Christmas 2002 a quarter moon Santa and a “hillbilly” boot, Christmas 2003 a Santa pencil and a cardinal. As you can see he is a very talented cousin.

ingramcollageJim and I worked on our INGRAM line for several years after we found each other around 2000-2001 on a message board. I felt he sent me more information than I shared with him but he was determined I should have everything so that I could one day open the door to our INGRAM brick wall.

musicbox2sm© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandma Laura’s Vintage Pedestal Candy Bowl

If you already have American made cut glass that belonged to a grandmother or another family member, cherish it as you would any prized possession, for no more like it will ever be made. ~ John C. Roesel, June 1983

I took a lightning speed crash course in glass making in America so I would sound at least a little bit knowledgeable about the cut glass pedestal candy dish which once belonged to my great-grandmother Laura Bell INGRAM, wife of William Henderson DEMPSEY.

In 1997 we visited Jamestown, Virginia, and learned the first industry to be established in America in 1608 at the settlement was glass making. This was about all I knew before I sat down to write this post.

The first cut glass was produced in America about 1771, over 160 years later in Manheim, Pennsylvania, at the American Flint Glass Manufactory founded by William Stiegel, an immigrant from Cologne, Germany.

glassdish1tinyAlthough this dish once belonged to my great-grandmother Laura, it did not come to me through my grandparents and parents.

In 2011 my 2nd cousin Robert sent me a photo and wrote, “My mom just came in and asked if you would be interested in a glass nic-nac that belonged to your great-grandmother (Fred Rothwell Dempsey’s mother). My mom says that she got it from my grandmother (Edith Roop Ramsey).

I was happy to receive the “nic-nac” Robert sent by mail across America and the Atlantic,  carefully packed and double boxed.

glassdish2tinyLaura died in October 1940 so I can date this cut glass pedestal candy or compote bowl to pre-1940. It stands 4 inches tall, 5 inches across the top, and weighs a pound, two ounces. The saw-tooth edge is scalloped and four pinwheel star patterns around the bowl and on the bottom of the pedestal.

glassdish3tinyWhen I took a closer look I noticed some scratches along the edge and in the inside of the bowl. I also found a seam, actually four, which tells me this is glass and not crystal.

In these days of additive manufacturing or 3D printing Mr. Roesel may be right about this being an heirloom to treasure as no more like it will ever be made (in the same way) but I cherish it for the way it came to me and because it once was lovingly cared for by my great-grandmother Laura.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Grandma Dempsey’s Quilts

I don’t know how many quilts my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP, made during her lifetime. I don’t remember ever seeing her work on cutting pieces and patching them together.quilt3Around 1972 Grandma gave my sister and I each a twin size quilt with the sunbonnet motif. A closer look at the quilt shows she machine zig-zagged the motif onto the white background. She folded a tiny white square into a triangle for the girl’s hand. After sewing all the pieces together with the blue borders she added the scalloped pink and blue border. She hand-quilted around the edges of all the pieces of the motif and the scalloped border before quilting diagonal stitches across the entire quilt leaving off at the motif and outside border. She used material of blue and green tulips on a white background for the back. The backing material was already quilted to batting but it is still easy to see where the machine quilting was done and where Grandma’s tiny handmade stitches were made.

quilt4I’ve taken great care with this quilt which is nearly 45 years old and still looks like new.

Next door to my grandparents house in Victor Fayette County, West Virginia, was the school house where my Dad and his siblings went to school. The Victor School closed in 1955 and was then used by the ladies in the community as a meeting place for them to do their handiwork. Grandma told me she made her braided rugs and the ladies would do their quilting together in the school house.

Grandma always did her quilting by hand and after they stopped using the school house,and when I lived with her the year I went to college, she had her quilting frame set up on the enclosed front porch of the family home.

quilt1When I left after living with her for nearly a year I gave her a Log Cabin Block quilt kit with pre-cut pieces that I ordered for her through a magazine. When I got married the next year she sent me the finished queen size quilt as a wedding present. It will be 38 years old this March and is a bit more worn than the first quilt but still in prime condition.quilt2 I have another quilt hidden away in the attic that Grandma gave to me when I visited her with my Mom in 1982. I need to make some time to go up in the attic and do some cleaning up and sorting. I might even find some more forgotten heirlooms.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Dad’s Ceramics

Baby5tiny My Dad had several hobbies over the years. One of them was ceramics. I have two pieces he made, a planter which resembles a log and this little baby sucking her thumb and twirling her hair.

Baby3tinyI wasn’t able to shake the habit of sucking my thumb until I was seven years old and was often reminded of this.

Baby6tinyOn the underside he carved his initials FD for Fred Dempsey.

Baby4tinyThe baby at one time had an accident, breaking into two pieces and had to be glued together.

Baby1tinymadonna2Other pieces he made were a Madonna bust, a praying Madonna bust, a full Madonna statue with a crown (left), praying hands, and a rearing black stallion.

I cannot remember any being painted in color and most were white. Exceptions were the black stallion and the log shaped planter which is a dark grey, a mixture of white and black brushed on to make it look like wooden grain.Baby2tinyI thought it would be fun to do this one today since Dad thought of me when he chose to make this piece and Tuesday’s Child, the baby she represents, will be turning 58 in two days.

 © 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Laura’s Relish Dish (2)

Earlier in December I shared my great-grandmother Laura Belle DEMPSEY née INGRAM’s glass relish dish shaped like a leaf and a bunch of grapes.

grapedish2Several readers said they would like to see a photo of it with my homemade Santa Fe Cranberry Sauce.

cranberry1tinySince we are taking it easy after all the feasting I thought this would be a great filler, pun intended, until next week.

cranberry2tinyWishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Mom’s Signature Tablecloth

When I added this heirloom to my list I wasn’t sure it still existed. During my childhood my Dad was in the Air Force and we had to move more than a half a dozen times. Things were lost along the way.

While talking to her on the phone I asked my Mom if she had “the tablecloth.” Less than a half hour later she called me back to say she’d found it. She was disappointed to find a few spots that looked like coffee stains on it. Before she dropped it off she washed and ironed it. Not all the spots came out but were a lot lighter than before she washed it.

If we get a bit of sun before I return it to her I’ll try sprinkling salt and squeezing lemon juice on the stains and placing the tablecloth on the grass and letting the sun “bleach out” the stains. Even if the trick doesn’t work, the tablecloth is a beautiful and unique treasure.

Before my mother married my father she worked for an American family in Luxembourg and even went with them to England when they were transferred. While living with them she saw a similar tablecloth owned by the family with signatures of the guests who visited their home.

1957tableclothtinyWhen my parents married in 1957 Mom laid out a white tablecloth for their wedding guests to sign with the date and where they were from. The bride’s mother Marcelle; grandfather Joseph; paternal aunt Marie; paternal uncle Jean Pierre; maternal aunt Lucie; cousin Yvonne, her husband François and his mother;  Yvonne’s two children; and the bride and groom’s witnesses signed the tablecloth on their wedding day. The guests came from Echternach and Schifflange in Luxembourg, from Strasbourg and Ittersviller in France, and from Bitburg in Germany.

These are the signatures of the twelve guests. After the wedding Mom embroidered all the signatures.

1957collagetinyFive months later Dad was transferred back to the States and Mom got to meet Dad’s family in West Virginia for the first time.

Out came the tablecloth for everyone to sign. Dad’s mother Myrtle and father Fred; two of his three sisters; his brothers; a sister-in-law; three nieces; a paternal uncle, his wife, their son and daughter-in-law; and cousin Eugene.1957-08-04 CollagetinyIt is interesting to see the date format used by the European signers (D-M-Y) and the America signers (M-D-Y). A few more signatures of very close friends were added through the years.

In 1962 Dad got orders for France. We visited the family in West Virginia before crossing the ocean. There was a new family member, my oldest cousin’s husband, and out came the tablecloth for his signature. My cousin had signed it in 1957 and added her new “alias” under her first signature.

And little Cathy, nearly 5 years old, took advantage of day and signed her name.

cathytiny © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Handkerchiefs with Crocheted Edges

As my regular readers know by now, Bomi, my maternal grandmother was a seamstress. When she learned the trade there was more to being a seamstress than making clothes.

Nearly all household items made of material could be made or enhanced by a frugal seamstress. When linen sheets became worn out they would be patched them with pieces of old sheets. Bomi learned to embroider, crochet and make lacy edges for handkerchiefs, collars, dishtowels, pillowcases, and sheets.

hankiesCotton sheets would be cut up to the size of a lady’s handkerchief and the edges crocheted. They lasted for years and years.

When we cleaned out her house Bomi’s Nuesnappecher or Sakdicher (handkerchiefs) were the first things to go home with me. Although they may look delicate they aren’t hand-wash but they are line dried and ironed. When “the pile” gets too high the first things I iron are Bomi’s handkerchiefs. And even though I’m not fond of ironing, I love the smell of freshly ironed.

Hopefully all paperless genealogists will agree with me. In today’s world we waste so much. My using Bomi’s hankies saves paper and my nerves – because don’t you just hate having to pick all those little tissue pieces off clothes coming out of the washer when someone forgets to empty their pockets!

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.