STRANGERS IN THE BOX
by Pam Harazim
Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I’ll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time,
To tell who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?
Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.
Two years ago I listed the technology tools that aid in my genealogy hobby. I’ve decided to update the list.
Much hasn’t change. What has changed is that I’m no longer using Microsoft Windows. Family Tree Maker is available on the Mac, so that is my software of choice. I’ve also stopped using a video camera and am using a digital camera and an iPhone for HD video.
Here is my list:
* Hardware: MacBook Pro 15 in. running OSX Mountain Lion and Mac Pro running OS X Lion
* External storage: Portable hard drive
* Online Storage and Backup: Carbonite, Flickr, DropBox, Google Docs
* All-In-One Printer: Canon Pixma MP990
* Scanners: Canon CanoScan 8800F, Canon CanoScan LiDE 500F
* Cameras: Canon Digital Rebel XTi, iPhone, Canon PowerShot SX230
* GPS: Garmin Nuvi 200
* Web Browser: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome
* Blogging Software: WordPress, tumblr
* Web Development Software: Dreamweaver
* FTP Client: FileZilla
* RSS Aggregator: Google Reader
* Graphics: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator
* Screen Capture: Grab
* Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram
* Other Communication: Facetime, Skype
* URL Shortener: bit.ly
* Office suite: Microsoft Office, Google Docs
* E-mail: Yahoo Mail, Gmail
* Calendar: Google Calendar syncing to iCal and iPhone
* PDF generator: Adobe Acrobat
* Genealogy Database: Family Tree Maker, The Next Generation, Ancestry.com, FamViewer
We have a weekly event at work called Reminiscing Thursday. Our seniors are invited to bring something from their past to share. There isn’t an agenda, and we have no idea where the discussions will lead. Since I am the ringleader, the pressure is on for me to bring something interesting each week. Even though I have a lot to choose from, I’m usually searching around the night before for that perfect item.
This week was more of the same, I was searching through a couple of boxes and came across a school register for my wife’s grandmother. It’s called the Welch’s System of Classification, Gradation and Close Supervision. Zella (McConnell) LeVan attended a one room school house in Kalamo Twp., Eaton Co., MI. This register shows the group of students as they proceed from one year to the next “to each succeeding teacher”. It contains class curriculum, as well as grades and teachers notes for each student.
Zella grew up to be a teacher. She taught in Charlotte, MI. I’m not exactly sure how she obtained this book. In 1913, Zella was in the 5th grade at Hinkley School. That school year is on the first page of the register, and it ends with the year 1920. It may have been her love of teaching that prompted someone to give the register to her.
That year, Hinckley School had 19 total students in grades 1 through 8. Five of Zella’s classmates were her cousins from nearby farms. Her teacher that year was Martha A. Lane. An interesting side note is that in each succeeding school year in the book, there was a different teacher.
As I was finding this register in the box, I also came across a formal portrait of Martha Lane. On the back of the picture holder Zella wrote , “Martha Lane. Our Hinckley teacher when I was 9 years old, in the 5th grade. Obviously she was a favorite teacher and a special person in Zella’s life. She may have even inspired her to become a teacher.
I wondered about Martha Lane. What had become of her? Where did she go after that one year at the Hinckley School? Was someone that mentored Grandma as she began her own teaching career?
I looked her up on Ancestry.com. Luck would have it, I found her. And, there was another picture. And there was something unexpected – a death date of April 7, 1919. According to Ancestry, Martha was born on January 27, 1894. This would have made her only 19 when she began teaching school that year at Hinckley. She also married a man named Victor Schinkez.
So, what had happened? How did she die? There is a great repository of Michigan death records called Seeking Michigan. I searched and up came her death certificate. She had died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. Martha is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte, MI.
I wish Grandma was still alive to ask more about Martha Lane.
Zella would have been only 15 when Martha passed away.