Saturday, December 12, 2009

winnie on ice

(click to enlarge)

This photo was taken around 1905 in Ervin Township, Howard Co., Indiana, by the brother of the lady on the right, who is my great-great-aunt, Winifred "Winnie" Hanna, fondly known to us as "Auntie". If you look closely, you can see all three have their ice skates in tow. My best guess is they're off for an afternoon of fun, skating on the frozen Wild Cat Creek.

Winnie's two friends are Ava Everman (left) and Vella Hendrix (center). All three were born in the early 1880's and lived well into the 1970's. You might guess that Winnie is the youngest of the three, but in this case, smallest doesn't necessarily mean youngest. She was the tiniest little woman, who wore a size 4 shoe and stood under 5 feet in her stocking feet. Auntie never married, or had children, but she was always so very kind to all her nieces and nephews, and
embraced them as her own.

I remember her cute, neat-as-pin bungalow in Kokomo, Indiana. The hardwood floors were so highly polished, I would invariably go flying on the throw rugs every time I visited. Auntie was an excellent cook. I have never tasted a peach pie quite as delicious as hers. When I was a girl, she gave me several books, inscribed in the flyleaf, in small curly hand, "From Auntie", and still have them in my library today.

Speaking of Auntie's book inscriptions, as a strange synchronicity, my father actually stumbled onto one of Auntie's books in a random antique store in Illinois. Just pulled a book from the shelf, and there was her sweet handwriting, with her name on the flyleaf, as if it were calling his name.

Winnie and Neva

Shortly after the death of her sister, Neva, in 1971, Auntie gave me Neva's rose gold engagement ring. I have worn it nearly every day since I was 15, and can feel the positive energies of these dear ladies through this lovely treasure.



For more Sepia Saturday participants click [HERE].

69 comments:

  1. This was such a lovely family story.
    Auntie sounds such a super person.
    What very long coats to go skating in.
    What a great Christmassy feel it has.
    Buster sends a lick too......
    icy here in Ny with a bitter wind off the Hudson

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  2. Dear Willow,

    Your Auntie was quite a lady. I would love to have had more time to talk with the women of this generation. I think there was so much to learn from them.

    Marjorie

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  3. Marjorie, I so agree. I was just a teenager when both of these dear ones passed away. Now that I am older, and a bit wiser, I would so love to sit down and have a nice long chat over a cup of tea. They would have so much to tell.

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  4. They look beautifully bundled up for ice skating! I wonder if those long coats protected them from the pain of falling . . . although they probably never fell, right? I was just trying to book tickets to skate at Somerset House in London.

    Funnily enough, I have a rose gold ring, too. It belonged to one of my great grandmothers. Isn't it amazing to think of those lives that spanned almost a century -- and so very many changes.

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  5. what a beautiful ring...and some fun photos...i have not ice skated in years...too cool about hte book inscriptions as well...

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  6. A lovely picture of the three ladies! Such elegant clothing. And what a beautiful ring!

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  7. What a fantastic picture, Willow. It's putting me in mind of the film, "Ethan Frome" with that snowy landscape.
    Your father must have nearly dropped the book when he came across your Auntie's handwriting. I know I would have.
    How lovely to have that ring to remember her by.

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  8. I love the synchronicity you mentioned! I also love Vella's striped coat in that first pic. Nice bling Willow.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Liza, it's DNA tingling bling! LOL!

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  10. Such a wonderful family tale. Your heirloom ring is lovely, but the memories of your aunts is priceless. We should all have spent more time listening to our older relatives while there was still time to learn family stories. I believe that our family history lives through the tales that are passed from one to another throughout time. It's so important to listen so we can retell them to our children and grandchildren.

    Thanks for sharing one of yours.

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  11. I'm really enjoying these Sepia Saturdays. Thanks for sharing, Willow.

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  12. That's cool about finding the book. Serendipity is a curious thing.

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  13. What a great family you have, enough tidbits and memorabilia to pass on to your children too.

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  14. Can you believe Aunt Winnie and Aunt Hanna here too.
    It's vibs in the airways.
    I was just looking at 1900's photo of Winnie.
    Just saw an image on COTE DE TEXAS. Reminded me of our old house on Palm Island (1920) Great arches, sprial staircase to the water, That's the past.
    I love your Post,,,Yvonne

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  15. I love your family history stories - fabulous every one of them. I bet that rings has good juju!

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  16. Oh love his...I've always loved old photos although, I dont' have many of my extended family.

    This was a treat. Thanks Willow.

    much love

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  17. I bet you really cherish that ring. I can tell that family history is very important to you! I bet you watch Antiques Roadshow!? I do! :)

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  18. Ah....lovely....all of it! :)

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  19. Otin, I LOVE Antiques Roadshow. I also watch History Detectives on PBS.

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  20. You know so much about your family and I know so little about mine. My sister knows it all though. She's the keeper I guess.

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  21. A wonderful family story to share with your bloggy friends.

    The photos reminded me of my grandmother who was born in Birminghm in 1886 and emigrated to the wilds of Canada in 1905 just before Alberta became a province.

    Your Auntie looked to have kind eyes in her photo.

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  22. Hi Willow
    Love these sepia photos of your family. I have quite a few family sepias I just unearthed from the garage but unfortunately don't know the backstories as you do..
    Thanks for sharing these .. Julie

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  23. Astonishing photograph - the (to us) incredible formality of the clothes and hats, and then the ice-skates casually thrown over a shoulder or round the neck.
    Wonderful family stories, particularly the finding the book one. These old photographs make for a lovely theme/meme.

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  24. I do love stuff like this. Auntie sounds like a marvelous woman--that was an incredible generation!
    So glad you have the photos, the bling, and especially the memories of her.

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  25. Amazing!!! They all lived to be over 160...are they in the Guinness book of records. I always thought the only person to excede 160 years lived in the depths of the Ural mountains.

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  26. What great photos...you can just feel the energy in Aunt Winnie's eyes. These ladies seem to have such strength about them. And the ring is beautiful. I know you must treasure it. Have you ever watched John Edward? He uses jewelry of those who have passed away to connect to their energy. He says of all jewelry, rings hold the most energy of the people who wore them. Here is his website, if you aren't familiar with him. Very interesting guy.
    http://www.johnedward.net/

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  27. I love these old aged photographs, especially with a good bit of story behind them as with yours. What great history to think back on with these ladies and their images kept around in print. Amazing that your dad had found a book of her writings in a bookstore.

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  28. A lovely story, a beautiful ring and the fact that you've worn it all these years! Yes, I wish I'd asked more questions of my Grandmother and Mother but living got in the way....

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  29. This is what Sepia Saturday is all about. I must get my skates on and dig out those old photographs!

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  30. hello
    I'm so enjoying sepia saturday. That top photo is great. And I too had a great-auntie Winnie.
    I'd love to go back in time and get to know that generation better.

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  31. Wonderful photo Willow and what a story to match. There seems to be such a rich vein in these old family photos, long may they continue to be re-published and their stories retold in the digital age.

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  32. Lovely memories.

    I adore the long coats....especially the striped one, but can't imagine having to negotiate a long dress, long coat and skates. I'd be on my bum on the ice in no time!

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  33. I always enjoy reading your memories of family members and their history.

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  34. How awesome you still have the books! Hey! my next door neighbour's name is the same( except for the last name )...

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  35. There is something about the vintage picture, especially the sepia, that is enchanting. I love that story. I had three great aunts that were all teachers and lived together in my home town. None of the three married and I remember them distinctly, but no pictures. No sad. I enjoyed your previous post too. I had forgotten that movie. Gonna get for PJ night with my girls. I loved the term DNA tingling bling.
    QMM

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  36. What wonderful memories and pictures you have of your family... you are truly blessed, and your tributes to them are so beautifully crafted.

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  37. That is really nice Willow!Beautiful women.

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  38. What a lovely ring! I bet your diamond is a mine cut. Have you seen it under a jeweler's lamp?

    I have a family diamond that is a mine cut. I wear it every day, though I had it reset first. (Hmm, that might be bloggable.)

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  39. What a very charming photo. And, I must say, I love their names. What a gorgeous ring. Such a family treasure.

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  40. Fascinating story of family from your past. I had some aunts who left some impressions on me as a very young girl.

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  41. Willow Fascinating!!! The old photos gave an incredible feeling, love, respect.

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  42. Hello Willow,

    Wonderful photographs once again. The ladies bring to mind 'Meet Me in St. Louis' both in the style of their costumes and the ice skates! Marvellous memories of a different age.

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  43. Derrick, I know! They look as if they could break into "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" any minute. :^)

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  44. Willow, what treasures! Love the no nonsense coats and your Auntie- how did she support herself back in the "It's a man's world"day?
    BTW I have the very same McCoy cream ware that was on your bookshelf...such good taste- we...

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  45. Can you imagine trying to ice skate wearing those clothes?

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  46. What a wonderful story, & wonderful photos. You really make Auntie come alive, & the story about the bookstore is a real delight!

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  47. I love the story, and the photo. amazing to think of the book inscribed by Auntie, randomly turning up like that! Beautiful ring, too...

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  48. That's a beautiful story, Willow. And the photo is a classic.

    Your Auntie was a beautiful woman.

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  49. They must have been quite toasty in their long winter coats! The ring truly shines.

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  50. Wow. What a fantastic pic! First of all, it's just amazing to me that you have this picture to begin with! Secondly--they are smiling! I hardly ever, ever see these kinds of "fun" pics. Wait, this very well may be the first time. And I got a little choked up when you said your father found her book. I would be all over that!!! Wow.

    Thank you for sharing your memories. Special, they truly are. I could smell the pie and the wood polish. :) And what a gorgeous--"special" ring. Lovely, lovely story.

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  51. Hi! Willow,
    What a fond remembrance...and a lovely ring that you have inherited from your great-
    great-aunt, Winifred "Winnie" Hanna.
    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

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  52. Willow,
    I agree. They were dear dear aunts. I remember well Neva's summer kitchen porch and of course Winnie's apricot pie! yummy!
    The Bach

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  53. can you imagine skating in those long heavy coats? what wonderful nostalgic family photos and remembrances-- and to wear something beautiful from your heritage-- precious...

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  54. I love everything about this little tale..enchanting..and the perfect synchronicity..how can that be..and yet it is!

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  55. what a wonderfully beautiful family story! one of many you must have with an auntie such as she! hearing and re-hearing such stories is one of the things i most love in going about my genealogy on my family - and only last week, i was contacted by the greatgrand niece of my mother's deceased husband [not my father] who had come across my yaya tree blog and saw pickett's name - it was wonderful to hear from her as i had no information at all on his family - in any event, it's so great to have such family stories and history!

    just to let you know, as my little campfires in blogland bear witness, the past week or so has found me distracted and sidetracked with the ups and downs of familial and other issues which have taken me from my usual time and energies on my own blogs and those of dear friends such as you -

    also i'm working on a couple of LARGE art pieces with imminent deadlines -

    so please forgive my seemingly "irreverent" attention here and know that my lack of regular postings and comments in no way reflects anything except that which it is - peripheral things to which i must attend for a couple of weeks -

    but i'll be back and forth as i can so please check over at my places at your leisure, as i, of course, will yours! and, as always, i'll be thinking of you and yours with much affection - jenean

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  56. That is a gorgeous ring and such an interesting post about your great great Aunt. What I can't believe is that you actually knew her! Another lovely contribution to the speia series.

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  57. I loved hearing the story of your Auntie. She sounds like such a sweet soul. Have a great weekend Willow! : )

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  58. What a great photo of those ladies! Your Auntie sounds delightful--I have been fortunate enough to have had people like her in my life as well, and I cherish the memories of them as well. The long dresses and skates are classic here. The ring is also beautiful, Willow! thanks for telling us all about them.

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  59. Amazing story in its marvelous details.

    And what a ring!

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  60. Lovely, lovely memories! You auntie looks both gracious and feisty.

    Absolutely amazing... your father randomly finding a book bearing her inscription.

    I love the ring. Very much.

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  61. This is a great site you have here. It's pretty funny. I have a humor blog as well and I'd like to exchange links with you. This will spread some traffic around between us. Let me know if this is cool.

    Jason
    HilariousHeadlines TALK

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  62. Great photos....of the ice skating outing...and the portraits of your aunts! I am writing this down in my Ideas Notebook for my blog...my mother had 8 sisters...two died in childhood...but I did meet six of them...and one was an Aunt Winnie who lived in Boston! I need to get busy on this and get some stories straight from the one surviving sister.

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  63. Gosh, i love the old old family photographs. And you have such a great tale to go with them. Aren't we blest to have such memories to share! I have my grandmother's wedding/engagement ring...a filigreed box setting with a wee diamond in it. Quite worn in places which makes it all the more dearer to me. Photographs and mementos, true treasures.

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  64. You have such splendid family photos Willow, and this one is a particular treasure since your Auntie obviously loved books as much as you do.

    So glad the rose ring was passed to you at such an early age so that you had decades to enjoy it.

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  65. You and your rich family history . . . are beautiful.

    Always a pleasure.

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  66. Holy crapadoo - that was a COOL POST! I dig old pictures, and the fact that you actually know and are related to these ladies is tres excellent! Thanks for sharing with us.

    And the ring - oh, the ring! Gives me shivers!

    One of my favorite 1940's songs is "Kokomo, Indiana". I know all the words!

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  67. Just lovely...I love looking at the old photographs...thinking that these people were here before we were ever born.....

    and your ring is such a special treasure....

    Kary
    xxx

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  68. What a beautiful heirloom that ring is. Aunties do create an impression on us, from the peach pies to their polished hardwood floors.

    I am glad you have all those vivid recollections to warm up your heart, and the way your father found that book makes me believe in the magic of people.

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  69. This is simply an enchanting and adorable tale...

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)