Monday, May 30, 2011


Edward Byrne and
Julia Grace Byrne
Husband and Wife

                                                        June 3, 1918
                                                And then there were
                            Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Byrne
                            Can you imagine being a mother
                                               in 1918?
Mothers made their baby's diapers,
jammies, bibs, blankets and booties.
                         Mmmm .... did your mother sing you lullabies?

                                   And Betty grew ... and grew.

                              A child living in the city of Chicago,
                                          riding a pony.....
                               some things never change.
                                I have photos of my children 
                                                 on  ponies
                                                on sidewalks .

A second child was born a few years later, Edward, "Bud" they called him. My grandparents had only two children .... I often wondered why. I eventually learned the reason why they had such a small family ... but the reason will stay put in "family lore."

I came by these next photos the only way a child in a family of eight kids gets anything before the rest of the mob gets it first:
                      I stole them ... along with a few more.
I was visiting my parents and saw their album sitting on a shelf in their bedroom. I wanted ... this one, and that one .... and those two ... and there's Mom riding a pony. I really want that one...
Then my Dad popped his head around the corner.
"What are you doing? You're not stealing those pictures , are you?"

"Who me? Would I do such a terrible thing like that?" 

"Well, just put the album away when you're finished .... umm, looking at the pictures."

She was a young teenager in this photo.

                                     And becoming a beautiful young woman.
            Just look at her! She's surrounded by attentive young men.

I would have more photos to post  ... but it seems photo-thievery runs in the family. During one of my Mom's visits, and after my Dad died in 1984, she was looking through one of my albums. She pulled out one ... then another... and this one and that one .. holding them up toward me like a fanned-out deck of cards.
"Where'd you get these?"
"From Dad ... well, kind of from Dad ..." and I told her the scene in their room with the album.
She made a neat little pile of the pictures and put them into her suitcase. "I'm not finished with these pictures yet."
As I said, photo thievery runs in the family.
But for the life of me, I don't remember how I got them back into my album ........


She once told me a story
about why she was, admittedly,
a very lax housekeeper......

"I was at home alone, waiting for my Mother to come home
and decided to clean the kitchen ..... I didn't like to do housework, but I wanted to surprise her.
I swept the floor
mopped the floor
and put things away in the kitchen.
I thought I'd done a good job.

My mother came home.
Looked around the kitchen at what I had done.
I knew she was pleased .... err
I thought that was a look of pleased on her face.

She removed her hat, coat, gloves and proceeded
to re-sweep the floor,
re-mop it,
and rearrange the things I'd put away in the cupboard.

I never did like housework after that!"

 What a stunning couple ..... love is in the air!
Walter Desmond Kaemerer
"John Wayne" handsome, I always said.
And Betty thought so too.

Betty married into this huge family ..... nine children (she's in the row behind the couch on the right side, in a black dress and barely pregnant with their first of eight children, Betty Ann.

I'm not too sure when this photo was taken ....
I'm counting on some of my siblings
to fill in the details.

 Eight kids and eleven - or there about - grandkids,
Des and Betty celebrated
their 40th wedding anniversary.

They retired to the desert ... Salton Sea,
120 degrees in the summer!
They  fished, had bar-b-ques,
made friends with other retired desert-rats,
and worked hard building a cute little house
and a patio for Betty to feed the birds.
Everything was
it should be
at retirement ..... except the 120 degree weather in the summer.

...... only in the cool of the evening
would they venture out to the patio.
Actually .... it was too  stinkin' HOT
 in the desert to go outside at any time!

and then the unthinkable happened .....
Betty was alone in the little brown house
that Des built.

Kathy, Desi, Betty Ann, Howard, Monica, Joe, Chris, and Terry .......
and Betty
all smiling
but inconsolable.

We went on with our lives ......
but Mom's was forever changed.
She was a widow.
But she had her little brown house .....and us.
 End of Chapter One
           To be Continued.......

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