Post 821: …with rumble seat!

I always liked this photo of my Mom. Taken sometime in 1934 or so, she stands in front of her 1934 Dodge coupe. Yes, it came with a rumble seat!

This car was her transportation to Chadron, where she attended college to become a teacher. The trip took two hours, over slightly improved dirt roads, the standard for Nebraska secondary roads back then. The same trip takes about 50 minutes on modern roads.

Such a grueling trip, Mom only took it twice a week. She just came home on weekends. She was dating my Dad then, and had been since high school. They would wait to marry until Dad was 21 years old or about three years after this photo was taken.

mom and dodge coupe

The long courtship must have been beneficial because they eventually celebrated 71 years of marriage before Dad died, or 76 years as a couple since they went together for five years first.

One story my Mom told about their courtship went something like this:

Dad spent a lot of time at the McKenzies during their courtship. Mom’s grandmother lived with the family at the time, and Dad thought he’d over-stayed his welcome one night when Grandma Cameron instructed another family member to “put the dug out”. (Dad’s name was Doug.)

Dad thought he was being kicked out when Grandma Cameron was just instructing a family member to put out the dog!

A Scottish rendition of Doug is “Doog“. Dad came to realize that!

Post 720: going native…

My Grandmother McKenzie came from East Kilbride, Scotland. Though it is difficult thinking of her as young, these two post cards, sent to her by a sister, are from that time Gram was a woman of 21 and 22. The scenes would have been typical and familiar to her in early 20th Century Scotland, and their messages are the day-to-day things a couple of sisters might write each other to keep in touch.

old postcards

Gram came from a large family of mostly girls. Eleven kids, I think it was, and only one was a boy. I’m sure he wasn’t spoiled rotten! 

Her entire family first came to America in the early 1890s but returned after a short stay when the economy tanked. They’d sail back to America again shortly after these postcards were written. Unfortunately, anyone who can verify specific details is dead, so keep that in mind when you try to compile your own family histories.

The family landed in Nova Scotia. My Gram and her parents moved to Denver, Colorado on the urging of Margaret, her sister, who’d already moved there. Most of the rest of the family moved to Colorado as well, and my mother was born in Denver.

Oh, yeah, “in the meantime, prior to that”: I should mention that my Grandfather  McKenzie and my Grandmother McKenzie met at a Scottish picnic in Denver by some accounts or Nova Scotia by others. Importantly, though, they did meet, then they married after Grampa secured employment with the railroad in Western Nebraska-Wyoming-South Dakota. 

Before that, however, two of the sisters went out of their way to reassure relatives back in Scotland that they hadn’t been affected by the move to the New World, that they were still the same lovely girls the family remembered. They had this photo taken and made into a post card:


 Remembering Gram and her family members I did meet, though, they had wonderful senses of humor so I’m sure the family in Scotland thought it was a hoot! (Or, at least, they hoped it was a joke! 🙂 ) 

Post 622: my paternal great-grandmother

Many years ago, Uncle Max, my father’s brother, worked up a start of a family genealogy. To this day, it is the most comprehensive look at a side of the family that includes 13 children in my father’s generation, and lots of mysteries in earlier ones.

Until recently, I didn’t even know what my great-grandmother looked like until I stumbled across her photo in a distant family member’s genealogy of her branch of my family, that of another uncle.


She was my paternal grandmother’s mother. My paternal grandfather’s mother…? I don’t know if there is an image of her. Anyway, of this great-grandmother, Uncle Max learned this:

great grandma

This typed account, with all of Uncle Max’s eccentric spellings and typos, now is a treasured family document. It was a basis for Uncle John and Uncle Milt’s quest to Salem, Missouri, and Cambridge, Nebraska, (where their father first moved to find a job on the railroad) to find family graves and information about the family in local museums and libraries.

To the best of my knowledge, they never found family graves in Salem, and a flood of the Republican River in May 1935 wiped out many graves and public records in Cambridge.

On the other hand, the local paper (The Cambridge Kaleidoscope when Grandpa Thomas’ sister’s husband owned and ran it) still exists as the Cambridge Clarion.

If you want a copy at the office, you help yourself, and there’s a box by the stack where, on your honor, you put the price of the paper! It is a small town, but, clearly, a very nice one, too, one it’s nice to know I have some small connection with!