Somehow, much of my grandmother's hand written and (badly) typed notes and research wound up in my possession. Traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles and back to Chicago again. It sat, in the dark of my mother's closet, until my dad passed and my mom decided to begin her great purge. Knowing I had picked up the torch, the next generation to pursue the Greatest Hobby on Earth, the papers came to live with me. Unsure for many years on just what to do with them, I have decided to bring them out and share them with you - transcribed, of course - no one can read my grandmother's handwriting! But in her own words; mistakes, rambling sentences, and all. I think she will be pleased her work and her writing are once again out in the light.
Elizabeth Twining Potwin Thomas. Family matriarch. Genealogy Queen. My grandmother.
"On a beautiful autumn day I arrived in time for breakfast. A blue-eyed, yellow haired girl grew up to be a fun loving tom-boy, surrounded with a loving family five generations.
Church, school and community activities filled her impressive years as well as dancing, music lessons, Camp Fire Girls organization. She presented Anna Pavlova flowers after the ballet; taken into the Black Foot Indian Tribe, by given an Indian name during Pow-Wow. In High School she was presented a silver loving cup as winner in ice skating speed race.
With beauty in all seasons in state of Iowa, we traveled by train to southern area to visit my grandparent's homes summer and Christmas holiday, and to northern lakes, where I learned to swim and dive. I lived through the experience of W.W.I. My uncle went overseas with the Rainbow Division. Everyone raised 'Victory Gardens'; celebrated 'Armistice Day'. In summer before High School I took my first trip out of the state of Iowa.
I was first with 'Bobbed Hair'. I was the 'Flapper' generation! My father was a sportsman, the family camped, hunted, fished in northern Minnesota. This was by motor car before the highways, only paths through wilderness.
I went to college: love steered my destiny! I married at 18 my high school mate. We were blessed with five little ones. We lived in Wyoming, Michigan, Canada and Illinois. I traveled across the states with four little ones to visit relatives before our life in eastern Canada for six years. The railroad travel was perfect. Excellent assistance with little ones.
Having lived through W.W.I the World War II caught our sons. God brought them safely home. The education of the children was in progress when the father and husband was taken by death.
Having had experience in community organizations, religious teachings, D.A.R, League of Women, P.T.A., Red Cross, Girl and Boy Scout organizations, fitted me for position of Home Mother in Illinois University. After the children graduated I drove my car, self and possessions across this huge country. I fell in love with southern California after a summer on Hawaiian Islands. I became a house mother in girls private school.
While being a travel companion went to many countries in the world. I was active in D.A.R., fell in love with history, genealogy and became a Colonial Dames of XVII Century."
written as an introduction for her acceptance into Colonial Dames.
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©1980 Elizabeth Twining Potwin Thomas - private collection