Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wilford and Larry

Albertus Schaffer home, Wilford in the goat cart?  Pre Larry?
No this isn't about a comedy team or a musical act.  Several months ago I was asked if I had knowledge of  an Albertus Schaffer, or if he was a relative because she had a newspaper article.  Well, being the genealogist that I am,  I knew the name and had filed away a little information about the family.  In the Community section of the Hoffman, Mn newspaper there appeared a story by Jim Belgum about "A boy and his pony" and the boy's name was Wilford/Wilferd, son of Albertus and Louisa (Caesar) Schaffer/Schaeffer.  Sometime between ca 1905-1940 the publishers of Farmer's Wife Magazine promoted a contest awarding prizes to children who could sell the most subscriptions.  The grand prize was a shetland pony with a saddle or small cart, but this offer was viewed with skepticism by many, so the company also included the requirement that each winner needed to submit a photo in addition to a short story about his or her new  pony.  Wilford wrote a charming description of his life with his new buddy, Larry, which included details about riding to school where he patiently gave rides to students, going to the village drugstore where the proprieter handed out treats such as ice cream cones, pop and root beer and even gum; the pony partaking of these goodies while standing at the counter!  In reading several of these stories, it was obvious that the ponies became like a pet dog or cat and spent time with their new families in the house.  Larry  was also attached to the goat cart or was coaxed into the cart for rides around the yard. (I actually found a picture of the goat cart in front of the family home in Pelican lake Township.)  While looking through my collection of family Christmas postcards--which I just wrote about ----I found A POSTCARD OF WILFORD ON LARRY'S BACK---sent to my aunt Elaine!!! The message:  "Dear Elaine, come over sometime and we will have a gay old time."  Wilford's father Albertus was descended from Abraham and Marie (Losack) Schaeffer of Saxony Germany and I am descended from his brother August and Minna (Caeser) Schaeffer  Love family trees!  google Pony Club and read about some of the 500 stories that were collected.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas postcards from the past

Tis the season-----for searching out those favorite treasures that are packed away for most of the year.  There are a few things I like to keep close at hand so they can be enjoyed throughout the months.  Since everyone in my maternal and paternal family trees were "savers", I have many things that have a special place in my heart and bring me much pleasure.  I feel so fortunate that several albums of postcards were faithfully preserved throughout years that extend back to great grandmothers, grandmothers and finally to an unmarried aunt who was the final occupant of a house that was first occupied by Jacob and Dorthea in the early 1900s.  I remember sitting in a bedroom that had become a store room,  looking through albums that contained beautiful cards that had been sent to my father, his parents and grandparents, as well as to his sisters.  My dad was born in 1906 so there was quite an accumulation.  There are some postcards sent by his father, Frank, when he was away buying cattle in Belmont, Montana, reminding Wyman  to go school and to be a good boy.  Wow, today  kids get text messages or carry cell phones.  The art of writing meaningful messages to just keep in touch, or to send invitations or to remember a special event; seems most of us have lost that very personal element in our social upbringing.  I have chosen a few Christmas postcards to share with you because they are particularly interesting and pretty.  Most were printed in Germany, which was one of the first sources of postcards and since my father's grandparents both were of German heritage, it seems appropriate they should be the receipients of such cards.  Of course, this was no doubt a coincidence, but, this is my daydream, after all.  Many of the older cards have birds and trees with winter snow so Santa isn't always the main character. There is one lttle fellow in a bright red cap with a  pointy tail soaring behind him who seems to have a smile frozen on his face as he flies down a hill in a sled.  I used to have a vintage frame minus glass, backed with green felt on which I would display a few of my favorite cards, but haven't done that in a few years.  Maybe it's time to bring back that tradition to enjoy for the coming winter season.  Merry Christmas to you all and may your year be filled with wonderful memories!
Card in upper left, orange background by Raphael Tuck & Sons