I never meant to be so completely out of touch.

Below: My great-great-great grandmother, Lucy
Osgood. 1783-1873

But it seems that life has other ideas, among which the issues I mentioned in my last post, plus a load of other problems and surprises.
About ten days ago, Chicago got hit with some severe storms. On Tuesday while Mike was scraping all the saltpeter and old paint off the wall around my bedroom window (I think that may be what gave Caddy the seizure; I caught him licking at it.) we were hit with something like four inches of rain in about forty minutes. The force of the water coming through the sewer behind my building blew the manhole cover off, and backed all that water up into the antique pipe which carried it out of my house. Pipe burst, water poured in, brand new sump pump chugged away but couldn’t begin to cope. Mike heard noise in the basement and went down to find it knee deep in water with more just gushing in all the time.

I consider myself fortunate to have had him working upstairs at the time because he went right out and got an industrial strength pump, and cleared the basement that night. Unfortunately and in spite of a very thorough cleaning last summer, a lot of things ended up under water, including the two old family cedar chests that held a huge amount of memorabilia. My mother’s wedding dress, a lovely, simple 30s spill of white silk was soaked, and the dye from around the buttons is now imprinted in several spots on the dress. The family Bible is in my freezer waiting until I have a couple of hours to try to dry it out. (Freezing inhibits mold growth. The books that I had no room to freeze are now covered in mold and probably can’t be saved.)

I brought up three baskets of things found at the bottom of the two trunks. Most turned out to be boxes of photos which began to stick together as they dried, so I was racing through the job, trying to separate them — hundreds of them — and find places to let them dry.

In spite of how much was lost, I found I did enjoy the process of sorting these things. I found a good deal of family stuff from my father’s side, including his grandfather’s citizenship papers, wherein he formally renounces all allegiance to the Kaiser! Things like that, and like the stacks of photos, tintypes and daguerreotypes have provoked me to go looking for more information on my ancestors. I appear to have relatives who are descended from royalty, but my line? Healthy and obscure. Still it’s been fun. And by way of apology for having been away for so long, I’m going to post some of the photos. Enjoy.

Right: A daguerreotype of John and Walter Wilson, abt. 1850
Below: Walter Wilson, abt. 1900 He was my great-grandfather

Left: A tintype of my grandmother, Mary Belle Wilson with what appears to be a group of school friends.

Right: My parents in the late 30s. They’d been married for a year or two. I can tell this because they’d both put on the requisite twenty or so pounds that newly marrieds so often do.


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