Sunday, January 29, 2017

Memories of Dad

Yes I did miss a week! 
Some how being sick is not conductive to being productive. I am all better now and ready to write another post.

This week's question is:
 What memories do you have of your father?
 Include his name, birth day, birth place, and so on?
I have written a few posts on my Dad before and they can be found, HERE, HERE, HERE,  there are a few more.

So my Dad, is George Joseph Hartmann, Jr. 
He was born July 6th 1912 
in Astoria, Queens, New York, USA.
He went to school in College Point, Queens, New York. He did attend college to be a teacher but didn't like teaching so be became a fireman. He drove the back end of the hook and ladder. 

He was an interesting person and had a funny way of saying things. He told us we are so American we came over on the Mayflower. As a child I thought that our family came over on the Mayflower, but what he was trying to say was that we were American, and only American. As a child during WWI and a young adult during WWII and of German decent and living in a German community I think he might have experience some prejudice. 

He won't tell me a lot of stories about his family but his sister my aunt let me in on a little secret. His Mom was pregnant with him when they married. Sure enough their marriage certificate states they were married December 29, 1911, he was born in July. 

He had a bit of a double standard, he told my brother in front of me to try the milk before he bought the cow and turned around and told me I was not allowed to let anyone sample the milk. 

He had a crusty but effective way of tell us about the birds and the bees. What he told me was the girl is the one who has the belly ache for 9 months and the rest of the problems for 18 years. The guy mean while goes off and gives another girl a belly ache.  Luckily my Mom had given me the real talk before she died. 

He was devastated to have two wives die on him. He took it as a personal abandonment.  They both died in February and they both died of cancer. First he was left alone with an infant girl and the second time with four children from age 16 to 5. 

He drank a lot after my second Mom died, he drank before but he was able to keep it in control afterwards he was a functional alcoholic and he was miserable when he was home. He was always able to work on is day. He was driven to take care of the kids. 

There were good memories but there are a lot of bad memories also. He became verbally abusive to me after Mom died. He did the best he could with the skills, knowledge and abilities he had at that time. His coping skills had to be at rock bottom after losing two wives to a very devastating disease. I don't usually talk about it but though my own growth and a personal spiritual experience through learning to forgive. I learned that he had a very difficult life and I will never know how difficult it was. It was something I wanted to share because sometimes life is messy but has a good ending. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


When my calendar noticed popped up that I started in 2010, it surprised me to realize that I have had the blog for 7 years. 
This blog has gone through busy times, and slow times. Right now I am trying to be more faithful in writing. My end goal is still to share my family stories and keep their memory alive. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Week Two: When and Where were you born?

Describe your home, your neighborhood, 
and the town you grew up in.

Part One: When and Where were you born?
Well, when was on February 12 19??, I am not going to tell you the year because that is private. Sufficient to say I am in my 60's and one of the earlier Baby Boomers. I was born in Flushing Hospital in Flushing, Queens, New York but I consider Whitestone, Queens, New York my home town. Whitestone is right next to Flushing and that is where the hospital was. 
The house I grew up in was 15-19 Parsons Blvd. I did an earlier post on it, HERE. This other post talks about this home and the one in Florida. I guess I'll have to make another post about that home.

But here is some more info I did for my family history book.

The family story goes that my grandfather George Joseph Hartmann, Sr. and my Dad, George Joseph Hartmann, Jr built this house.  I have pictures of my grandparents and my Dad and his siblings in the home.  Here they are in the dining room.  I remember that furniture, wall paper and drapes.  Recent searches on the internet state the house was built in 1935 and this picture was from 1942.  My Dad would have been 23 years old in 1935 and 30 in 1942.
I hope to do some land record search to find more information.

When you think about, my grandfather, a 1st generation American, owned his own home was a sign of their hard work and dedication to improving their life style.  His father immigrated to America from a small village in Germany in 1868 and died in a tenement building in 1915.  My Dad was the first college graduate in the family another sign that education was very important to our family. 

Here I am in front of the house in 1949.  The top small window was my bedroom and the front large window was my parents’ bedroom.  There is also one bedroom in the back that I shared with my brother for a while; I bet it was until Donald was born.  The bay window was the living room.  I can remember watching for my parents to come home from that window when I was left alone with my younger brothers.  I was 10 & 11 when this happened.  

In this picture below you can see there were no homes across the street when we lived there.

A Google Map, marked with where I went to school and other fun things.

This is a property description I found on line.

Property description: The property (parcel id 4046250101) located at 15-19 Parsons Blvd, Queens, NY 11357 has one building built in 1935 and is zoned R2A. 15-19 Parsons Blvd, Queens, NY 11357 is in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens. The building size is approximately 1,404 sq ft (130.44 sq meters) on 2.5 floors. The building at 15-19 Parsons Blvd, Queens, NY 11357 is a TWO STORIES - DETACHED.

Coordinates: latitude: 40.78528, longitude: -73.82137
Alternate address: 15-19 Parsons Blvd, New York City, NY 11357
Parcel Number:
15-19 Parsons Blvd
City, State Zip:
Queens, NY 11357
Land area:
4,520 sq ft / 0.1 acres (419.92 m2)
Lot front (width):
40 ft (12.2 m)
Lot depth:
113 ft (34.45 m)
Building area:
1,404 sq ft (130.44 m2)
Building front (width):
27 ft (8.23 m)
Building depth:
26 ft (7.93 m)
Year built:
Total units:
Residential units:
Building Class:
Year for: 2013 Tax Year: 2014
Date Determined: 29 Nov 2013
Market Value (Land only): $253,000
Total Market Value: $647,000
Assessed Value (Land only): $14,336
Total Assessed Value: $34,282

My Dad sold the house for $11,000 in 1959.  That is a big change in the value of the home.  Now I can say I lived in a house worth more than half a million. 

It had three bedrooms, 1 and a half baths, kitchen with eating area, formal dining room, living room and a finished basement.  The front yard had two levels and the back yard had a lower and upper level.  

Here is how the house looks now. 

Here are some sketches I made of each floor of the house. Now remember I left when I was 11 so they are not accurate. 

The Basement 
I drew these on graph paper and on the top I wrote some memories in pencil so you can't read them. It is even hard to read my ink.
Jumping off of the old kitchen table to the floor.
Learning to roller skate in the basement.
Where all the Christmas gifts where hidden, in the closet with the storm window storage, in winter it would be the screen.
Being scared of the furnace.
The old washing machine with with rollers to wing out the cloths. 
Mom carrying the laundry up two flights of stairs to hang them out to dry.

Main Floor
Memories: My Dad made homemade fruit cake and he soaked it in some alcohol, maybe rum, and would store them in the front closet by the door until he gave them away. 
Doing homework on the Dinning Room Table and hating every minute of it. 
Doing home work on the kitchen table and my Dad yelling at me because he didn't like the way I made my "y"s because it wasn't the correct formal way we were taught in school and comparing that to feeding me only whip cream, it was just wrong. 
Playing word games at dinner, like think of all the words that end with "at". 
Kept our dog Beaver outside in an alcove under the mud room. 
Looking out the front Bay Window waiting for my parents to come home from a date when I babysat my brothers.

The Top Floor
Locking myself in the bathroom while my parents were gone with my brother George for his First Holy Communion. I screamed for help but no one came.
Laundry being hung out the back window, the clothesline when across the back yard to the wall at the end of the property that was up the hill. 
Sliding down the stairs on the carpet on our bellies.
We had company once and my parents gave their room to the guest and my Mom came in to sleep with me and I kicked her out of my double bed. 
My closet in my room was over the stairs so it had a slant in it and was small.

I would really like to go back and see this old house. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A New Year a New Start

Here is hoping I do better than I did last year. 
Life is busy with two girls in the house, one a teen and the other a pre-teen and it is never boring.

One day on social media I saw a link to an interesting list of question about your life and memories so I decided to use that as a jumping off place to start doing my genealogy blog again. What caught my eye was the first question was so easy.  

First Question: What is your full name? 
Explain why your parents gave you that name.

My full name is Mary Elizabeth Hartmann-Bowden
I was named after both my grandmothers, Mary Jirak Hartmann and Minnie Elizabeth Spahn Chaplin.

This is my Dad's Mom Mary Jirak I have heard from a great uncle in a letter she was very jovial and a great cook of Bohemian and German dishes. My Dad did not speak about her a lot, he was not jovial. A good guy but had a lot of hard times in his life.

This is my Mother's Mom, Minnie Elizabeth Spahn, she didn't like her name Minnie, so I always think of her as Minnie Elizabeth. My aunt, her sister told me this was her graduation from nursing school photo. She was a suffragette and was very upset when she went to vote and wasn't able to because she was married to and alien, an English man. I have an image of when she applied for citizenship after her husband died. 

Hartmann is my family name and when I married Richard I didn't want to change my last name, so we compromised and I hyphenated my last name.

I never meet my grandmothers as they had all died before I was born. I wish I new more about them.
I hope they are proud of how I have lived my life and honored their names. One of my most sacred memories I have is when I did the temple work for Minnie Elizabeth. We are an eternal family.