Saturday, November 12, 2016

My grandfather Sidney's mother

From my Facebook page, October 2, 2016:
I just this moment learned that my great grandmother's cremains are unclaimed. I've learned a lot about her (and my great grandfather) in the last 36 hours. Her name was Virginia Ann (Miller) (Mellen) Giroux; at death she was said to been born 9 December 1855, although in the 1900 census she is said to have been born in 1857. She was divorced by my great grandfather in 1895 when my grandfather, Sidney Allen Mellen was 6. That divorce was the subject of articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the three days following the decree. I will post them on my blog soon. In 1900, my great grandfather, William S. Mellen, married Olive A. Kelley. In 1901 my great grandmother married Thillesphore Giroux. She died of cancer in 1905 and was cremated.
I just learned most of this and I will post more later.

"When He Says Daddy to Me"

My grandfather Sidney Allen Mellen wrote a column called “What’s Going On,” using the name Mock Allen. It appeared in the Plymouth Wisconsin newspaper when he lived there in 1917 and maybe after. Sometimes it consisted of humorous verse.
When my father was about nine months old, this was the column on November 10, 1917. I have transcribed it verbatim as it appeared without editing a couple of likely misprints.
“When He Says Daddy to Me”
I’ve met with actors erratic,
Who’s antics caused laughter galore;
I’ve met with singers dramatic,
At whom I laughed, til sides were wore sore,
Of all the antics I’ve been lampin’,
There’s none that gives me the glee,
As the baby, when after some vamping,
Tries to say “daddy” to me.
I can speak to him of Horatio,
I can prate of Wagner’s technique,
I can deliver a complex oratio,
I can tell him of Athens in Greek,
I can warble of Browning and Keating,
I can lisp of the old Pharisee,
But he has me hands down and a bleating
When he stutters out “daddy” at me.
I’ve told him of Yaphank and Hoboken,
I’ve whispered of Kalamazoo,
Of the baker whom they’re always a jokin’,
Meaning Bunn of old Baraboo.
I’ve told him a bit about Reno,
I’ve jollied him ‘bout Kankakee,
By the little tyke gets my goatino,
When he tries to say “daddy” to me.
I’ve talked on questions portentious,
And he lends a listening ear;
I’ve expounded on matters momentous,
Of which he seems glad to hear.
He pays most ardent attention,
And I spout entertainingly,
Until he tries intervention,
By saying “daddy” to me.
At times I think he’s most trying,
As a bit of temper’s evinced,
And when that bambino starts crying,
Of his waywardness I am convinced.
His voice I’m sure is projected
Far over the land and the sea,
But from harshness he’s fully protected,
When he tries to say “daddy” to me.
Of tricks he has a full measure,
Each one an accomplishment rare,
To do them gives him great pleasure,
On this “parlor stuff” he is a bear,
But the stunt that makes me most happy,
The one that fills me with glee,
Is when he looks up at his pappy,
And tries to say “daddy” to me.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ethan's Baby Book and his First Press Notices

My grandmother, Jessie Mae (Green) Mellen, labeled the Notes page of my father’s Baby Book “Baby’s presents.” The first entry is “Mrs. C. F. Kade This Baby Book.”
Another page is labeled “My Press notices” and contains six clippings, some dated, some not. Among these are:
The brightest son shines and at the same time joy reigns in superabundance upon one branch of Mellens in our city of late, notwithstanding the fact that the barometer has been doing stunts way below the zero mark this week. It is not Old Sol, but the first son that shines at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Mellen on Kensington Avenue, the glad event having transpired on Wednesday about the noon hour. The glad dad thinks that he will soon have some one to help him hustle the news for the REPORTER.
“Some Climate” He Says
C. F. Kade has opined that the climate of Wisconsin is some salubrious, when you can raise eight pound Mellens in the winter time.
On another page is a Christmas card to “Ethan Allen” signed “Grandma and Grandpa” Kade. I don’t know who the Kades were, but I’m on the case.
I’m posting images of the relevant pages.

This post first appeared on my Facebook page.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Begin again

After a five year hiatus, I am resuming this blog with a new focus.   Partly in response to queries from my cousin Barbie and my niece Michelle, I have begun again to work on my family history.  (Sorry, Barbie, but I'm starting on my father's side.)   I plan to post here  any family history material that I have posted on Facebook, as well as other pieces.  We'll see if I can do it.