Staying in Focus: Focus On: Photographs Preserve our Memories

family memories are the threads
 that weave the tapestry of our lives
they remind us of the past
enrich the present
and guide us into the future
they are our story…
– pat coyle

For all of my family living in the northeast,and out west,  here are a few photos you may enjoy:

Photo 2009-07-03-1

This is my most treasured photograph of my grandparents, Frederick Vincent Struble and Mary Minerva Marion on their wedding day.  Her dress is quite different from those we see brides wearing today. Long sleeved and high-necked as it is, I think she looks sophisticated and very proper.  They have such serious expressions on their faces, but that was typical of that time.  I like the little feminine touch of the white ribbon in her hair. My grandfather looks a bit tense, his hands are tightly clenched. Maybe he didn’t like to have his picture taken. My grandmother has her arm entwined with his as is she is afraid he is going to bolt. I’m not sure how old they were when they married but I can use the birth date of my Uncle Richard (1904) as a starting point, which would make my grandfather 23-24 years old and my grandmother 18-19 years old.Do you think they could foresee what this union would bring to the world? Next picture, please.


The Struble family.  Look at those strapping sons and pretty daughters!. My mother believes this photo was taken when Blanche’s daughter Phyllis married her first husband, Hank Connolly. That would explain the corsage Blanch is wearing. Bet it took awhile to make dinner for that crew!

Photo 2009-07-03-2

These are my father’s parents, Grace Carroll Wetzel and Charles Louis Wetzel.  I do not have  a wedding picture of them, but they are smiling in this picture. They had three children, Marie, Jack and Etta. I didn’t get to meet my father’s parents.  They both died early from heart disease before I was born.

Photo 10

From left to right:  Etta, Marie, Grace and Lou Wetzel (and 2 furry friends)

I knew my grandmother Minnie the best – she lived next door to us all my life.  My grandfather, Fred, was not an overly affectionate man – or a very talkative one, and I can not recall any specific conversations I may have had with him. One thing  I do remember, however, was that I lost the gold cross I received for my First Communion in their backyard and my grandfather found it.  He had just had surgery for cataracts on his eyes and was so proud to be able to see well enough to find it. It resides now on my gold charm bracelet and I remember him when I see it to this day

. He passed away in 1963, when I had just turned 10. .My grandmother dies ten years later in 1973.




No wonder my mother fell for him. Just look at those eyes and that smile! I love the jaunty, little tilt to his cap. My father, John(Jack)Martin Wetzel

Photo07He was drafted into the service before Pearl Harbor.  He was home on leave for Christmas when the attack occurred   My mother remembers President Roosevelt’s address to the nation on the radio and his call for all persons in uniform to return at once to their respective base. When they shipped out, no one at home knew where they were going.  My father’s unit was sent to Panama to guard the locks and the canal, as there was fear the Japanese might strike there next.  After a while, they were able to contact their loved ones  at home. He attained the rank of Tech sergeant, and served his country  by serving his fellow troops – he was a cook.

We benefited greatly from this, as he would cook for us as we were growing up.  We especially liked his corn fritters. They often became a Friday Night Special. Dad roasted the turkey for Christmas dinner and his stuffing was heavenly – he’d grind up all that extra stuff they stick in the turkey like gizzards and necks.  He added the most finely chopped vegetables, and his secret blend of spices, and all you needed for Christmas dinner was some stuffing and gravy.  Everything else was a side dish. When he retired, I bought him a wok, and after that there was no stopping him – he became a stir-fry master.  He also made the best sausage and peppers served on fresh hoagie bread. He really enjoyed cooking and applied his usual perfectionism to everything he served.

My parents were married on April 24, 1944 when my father returned from duty in Panama. He had one more year of service to complete, and so my mother accompanied him to Georgia.  She became pregnant, and had to return home before my father completed his duty, but he was home in time to be there for the birth of my brother, John.

Photo 03

This is one of my favorite family pictures, even though my brother, Steven was not born yet.  This was taken on our first big trip as a family to visit my father’s Uncle Cecil in Florida. As you can see, the world had turned color by this time. I like this one because it’s so the 1950s  My dad looks like he could be Buddy Holly sans the glasses and John could be Bud on Father Knows Best. My mother is the epitome of a  50s wife, wearing a dress, and probably high heels.  All she needs is a string of pearls! When I look closely at this photo, I see that my father, mother and Mary Lou are all looking off camera, to the left.  What is so fascinating over there? My mother has  a smile on her face so it must be something or someone good or perhaps entertaining.  John isn’t distracted  however, and is looking at the camera. I, on the other hand, have my eyes squeezed tightly closed. I can’t tell if that’s a smile or a grimace on my face.  I do like my little red patent leather shoes!


Here is a photo of my brother, John, on his Confirmation day.  His cousin Floyd was his sponsor.That shy, little sprite is me.

And finally , the funniest picture I came across.  One night after work my mother, Ann and her sister, Blanche ,joined those wild and crazy DuPont girls for a night on the town. Certainly these young women deserved  a night out to relax and de-stress.  These brave women did not get the recognition from the nation that they deserved..  They  worked during the war for the DuPont company where they made explosive caps.  My mother remembers hearing hem go off at times and being worried that a friend had lost a finger or a hand..They were young, proud to serve their country and very, very brave That’s Blanche driving and Ann right behind her. .My question is, how did they all fit in that car?:)

Photo 19

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