The situation was not always so. Back in the 1950’s, when I was a pre-teenager, my family would drive over the Potomac River to Alexandria, Virginia, to Grandma’s house. There, I would play and run around with my ten cousins- all of them. Actually, a few cousins were born a little later, as I was the oldest. My cousins and their families all lived within a 20 mile radius of Grandma’s home.
We were so excited to find out what each other had received from Santa Claus. Indeed, it was here we discovered the real story about Santa, but we didn’t have the heart to tell our parents. We exchanged gifts and had a good old time. Grandma spent several days beforehand making up bushel baskets of Fastnachtskuchele, a traditional Swiss pastry that grandma learned to make from her stepmom, Rosa Frederick, who grew up in Canton Thurgau, Switzerland. Then after dinner, after the gifts were unwrapped, after the toys were broken and mended, and after I won the “war” card game, we would all gather around Grandma to take the “traditional” cousins picture (see below). I was able to date the pictures, taken in 1953 and 1956, from the birth dates of the infants on Grandma’s lap.
Image: Grandma Margaret (Austel) Gailliot is surrounded by seven of her grandchildren in this 1953 Christmas picture. (Two of my younger cousins have since passed away).
Every day, from now until Xmas week, my goal is to hang (OK, post) a Xmas ornament on this blog. However, these ornaments are not going to be like the ones you usually see. I will be creating Xmas ornaments with images that characterize each one of my ancestors in my lineal PEDIGREE back through my great grandparents. This calculates to be 15 ornaments including myself. I might throw in a few extra ornaments, such as those for my father’s adopted parents. Elsewhere on this blog, I have posted pedigree charts containing thumbnail images of my ancestors. However, for this project, instead of facial images, I am going to choose an image which depicts something unique about that individual’s life. It might be related to their occupation, avocation, place of birth or residence, or other things of which you and I will eventually learn.