National Siblings Day 2015

My siblings and me after an engagement in Gary, Indiana. Left to right:  Pat (my sister), Billy (my brother), DonnaJeanne (me), Alfred Johnson (our accompaniast), Floretta (my Mother), Charles (my brother)

My siblings and me after an engagement in Gary.
Left to right: Pat (my sister), Billy (my brother), DonnaJeanne (me), Alfred Johnson (our accompaniast), Floretta (my Mother), Charles (my brother)

Yesterday I noticed, and commented on, several facebook posts of friends pictures with their families. Later on in the evening, I noticed my grand-nieces posting collages consisting of various snapshots that it hit me. It was National Siblings Day.

At first, I thought it was a social media thing. Wanting to “join in on the fun,” I quickly scrambled for photos of my siblings that I could post. Two of them have been “on the other shore” for many years. And it’s been almost two years since the remaining one joined them. I just don’t have a lot of photos of us together; but I have an awesome idea for next year.

With this being an “ancestry” blog, I don’t have plans to post about family in general — just ancestors. But stories about my siblings will undoubtedly be woven into some of my future posts. So, in observance of Siblings Day 2015, I will just share the photos I used on facebook yesterday.

My quickly-thrown-together facebook cover photo in observance of National Siblings Day 2015.  It's a portrait of my sister, Pat, and me circa 1975.

My quickly-thrown-together facebook cover photo in observance of National Siblings Day 2015. It’s a portrait of my sister, Pat, and me circa 1975.

I am one of many who are particular about what they share on social media. So I hope this catches on in the blogging community.


Sepia Saturday 269: The Violet Polka

It’s Sepia Saturday; and this week’s vintage photograph call connects with the theme image and encompasses music, dance, polkas, violets ….

Palmer Singers (1979)_for_web copy This post will touch on each of those things.

Music was always in our house. Momma and Charles played piano. Pat took voice lessons. And we all (except Daddy) sang. Everybody read music and played an instrument except for me (and Daddy). To this day, I can only surmise that the reasons were financial. (Because Daddy’s health problems began just as I was entering jr high (middle) school.) But that didn’t hinder my natural singing ability.

Gospel, show tunes, Chicago_Bandstand_Posterand R&B were the main genres we enjoyed. I remember the time Billy and Pat went to Chicago Bandstand. Our family gathered around the television, watched  and squealed with delight when we got a brief glimpse of them among the teenagers on the dance floor.

Our family loved music; and it was one of the things that bridged our ages. I was the youngest; and while they did teenager things together, I enjoyed one-on-one time with Momma and Daddy. They all attended school together (walking a few city blocks). But I rode across town with Momma to attend grades 1 through 6 at the school where she was the secretary. My parents were pleasantly surprised when, at the age of 10, I debuted with “The Palmer Trio” — expanding our gospel group to be called, “The Palmer Family Singers.”

No one in our house danced the polka; but we tuned in every Saturday night to watch it being performed on The Lawrence Welk Show. The smiling conductor’s trademark gesture was, rather than the traditional baton tap on the music stand, the queuing up his band with his famous, “a-1-annn-a-2-annn-a . . .” Book_Music_with_lavender_roses_resized copy The Violet is my dear mother: Floretta Violet MABLE PALMER who had a beautiful choir voice and accompanied our gospel group on piano. Sheet music was a staple in our home. I clearly recall their planned trips to the music shop (for show tunes) or the Bible Book Store (for gospel renderings). I’m working on a scrapbooking page which includes a scan of Momma’s “Gospel Pearls” hymnal — turned to her favorite, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” And Daddy did have a favorite hymn: “Peace in the Valley.” Hearing reasonable renderings of either of these songs — or even reading the lyrics — evokes a heart tug and a cloudy eye.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my older sister who was named Violet Marie PALMER. None of us ever knew her because she died of pneumonia at the age of 11 months. The only photo I’ve ever seen of her tells that she was an extremely beautiful baby. Our parents kept her memory alive within our family structure. And I’ll rejoice to meet her “on the other shore.” Books_of_Faith_resized copy And don’t you just love Alan’s image for this week’s theme? I couldn’t help but notice that, in addition to having the word, “Violet” in the name, it also includes the word, “Flora” (close enough to, “Floretta” for me). My genealogist eyes notice things like that. I can’t wait to see what other Sepians have prepared for this week’s theme. Sep_Sat_2015_0307

Sepia Saturday: Aerial View of US Steel – Gary Works

U.S. STEEL PLANT - NARA - 547097

U.S. STEEL PLANT – NARA – 547097″ by Sequeira, Paul, Photographer (NARA record: 8464471) – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The official launch day for this blog is tomorrow, February 1. But when I saw this week’s Sepia Saturday theme, I jumped the gun. I knew right away which photo I wanted to feature. This is not it; but it is an aerial view of US Steel – Gary Works. The photo I had in mind includes a span of the dock along the Lake Michigan shoreline; but, this photo actually captures more of “the mill” itself — with Lake Michigan in the background.

I was glad to read in the guidelines that photos don’t actually have to be sepia. I don’t know if this photo was shot with a filter. Being from the area, I can attest to the fact that no filter would have been needed to achieve the purplish hue — only the right time of day or weather conditions. As a matter of fact, just reading back over the previous sentence reminds me of the first line in our school hymn: “‘mid sand dunes and purple-hued skies, a temple of knowledge there lies, enhanced by nature and soft dove cries — Roosevelt dearly loved.” Imagine. A sepia-toned photo would have robbed you of that tidbit.

I was raised in this steel town; and have seen many photos of the mill that enabled my Daddy to feed, clothe, and provide for us. This one is now etched in my memory alongside the one along the shoreline.

And a big “thank you” to the Sepia Saturday brand, for providing me with a way to “add flavor” to my February 1 launch!