Tying Up Loose Ends

Following up on a few recent posts from 2014

Remember that turtle rescue expedition that BH flew for Pilots N Paws? The one I couldn’t go on because the entire plane was jam-packed with Chiquita banana boxes filled with endangered turtles? Well, the good news is that all the turtles have now been flown to warmer climes, some even by the Coast Guard.

On New Year’s Day, we replaced the banana boxes with dog crates and finally had our first opportunity to work with creatures with actual paws.

BH flew two brindle lab puppies from South Carolina up to Richmond. Seriously, whoever manages the logistics of this “Pilots N Paws” organization ought to be hired by the Federal government. It runs like a well-oiled machine in which we are just one tiny cog. When we landed in Richmond, the pilot handling the second leg of the journey was waiting on the tarmac for us. We took a few pictures, loaded the pups into his plane, and he was in the air in no time bringing them to their final destination in Frederick, Maryland.

 


 

Speaking of Maryland. Do you remember I found some mysterious personal items in old furniture we bought for our guest room?

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And in the comment thread of that post,  my friend, Jim, at Road to Parnassus included a link to the obituary of Mrs. Harold Diehl, Sr. in which was mentioned the name of a son living in Maryland.

I wrote to the son. He replied via email the next day! Can you imagine? Yes, indeed, he would very much like to receive those items. A most gracious man, he sent me photos of his family including this lovely image of the young Mr. and Mrs. Harold Diehl and their children. Wasn’t she beautiful? And I was right, she was a brunette!

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Mrs. Diehl’s first name was Dorothy. She was a teacher most of her life, later going into school administration. That ended with a bad fall in which she broke her hip.

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Harold, Jr. also sent me this photo of his parents’ furniture along the wall of the auction house. The bed isn’t shown. The little nightstand atop the vanity and the two bureaus next to it are now mine. He estimates his parents bought the furniture new in 1940.

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And here it is in my little guest room:

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A huge thank you to Jim for giving me the lead to tracking down Harold, Jr. which resulted in a much clearer understanding of my old furniture’s history.


 

Last but not least, a follow-up to my ukulele post of last year. A few days after writing that post, I received a note in the mail from my aunt in Minnesota. She enclosed a photo of me as a child which I had never seen before. I had evidently traveled with her and my grandmother to visit family in Indiana in the summer of 1961. I was four here.

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Those of us who were born and raised before digital photography have a very limited amount of photos of ourselves and I’ve seen all of mine a hundred times. So to have one I’ve never seen before was really cool. But the real reason I’m posting it is the man behind me….evidently a distant in-law. For one heart-stopping moment, I thought he was playing a ukulele.

But I think it’s a mandolin. Close enough, right?

Thanks for reading,

Barbara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
This entry was posted in History, Random Ruminations, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

120 Responses to Tying Up Loose Ends

  1. carolwallace says:

    Oh, Barbara, the Diehls! That was so cool it gave me chills. XXX

    PS you obviously had good hair as early as 4.

    Like

  2. Mary Ellen says:

    What a heart warming story and I love the picture of you at four years old. What a cutie!
    Keep writing!!!!

    Like

  3. John says:

    Wow, this is all so amazing! Life is such a winding twisting road isn’t it! So glad this all worked out so well. 😃

    Like

  4. rixlibris says:

    My wife recently retired from a career in the classroom. The difference in today’s student’s attire and demeanor would have been impossible to predict back when the posted picture was taken. Also, as an art teacher, her classes were smaller than some, only averaging 35 students.

    Congrats on another successful Pilots N paws mission.

    Like

  5. A fascinating discovery! It’s amazing what we can find in second hand items! As a thrift store mama, I should know!!

    Like

  6. Yet another interesting post. So fun to read about the follow-up contacts you’ve received.

    I’m wondering if the instrument that guy is playing is a dulcimer?

    Like

  7. Sandra says:

    Great post, such lovely pups and a terrific picture of you too. And how lovely to get all that background on your find.

    Like

  8. suzicate says:

    That is unbelievably awesome to find out more of the story of the Diehls.
    We have several pieces of family furniture and items. I love the stories behind them and hope to preserve them for my own children and hopefully thereafter. For years I dreaded my kids wouldn’t be into antiques (old stuff as they called them) or family history as they wanted bright, new shiny things. They are starting to appreciate them, yay!

    Like

  9. nrhatch says:

    Thanks for tying up all those loose ends with such a lovely bow. Loved seeing the furniture in its new home with photos of its previous owners.

    And you, at four ~>>> ADORABLE!!!! I know we would have been besties and I would have looked up to you with my 3 year old eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, You were adorable! I’m surprised that there aren’t lots more photos of you as a little girl. And you are right about that being a mandolin. They were very popular instruments, along with ukuleles and banjos–your relative probably belonged to the mandolin club in his high school or college.

    Those dogs look all set to start enjoying their new life, thanks to you and the others in the rescue mission. And finally, it’s often fun to speculate on the antiques and second-hand items we have acquired, but so rare to actually know about them and the lives of their former owners. You have done an A-1 job in documenting the provenance of your handsome bedroom set.
    –Jim

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    • Thanks to you, Oh Great Internet Sleuth!! And thanks, too, for clearing up the mystery of the musical instrument. I really, really wanted it to be a ukulele just so it would fit into my “Year of,” but I knew better. There were mandolin clubs?

      Like

  11. Jodi says:

    What a great post filled with awesomeness! The Diehl’s story is the best! How great that you connected. I wonder if he plays the ukelele too?! 🙂 Goodness comes full circle. And what a cutie you were at 4. Almost as beautiful as you are now!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary Thompson says:

    Barb, isn’t it great that so many people responded to your letters and posts. I love the history and the picture of you. Have you shown that picture to Dad? He may know who that man is. Keep up the good work. We all enjoy it so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, because he’ll make a snide remark about the man-boobs, I just know it. The man was married to one of Grandma’s sisters. And you, dear sister, I was thinking of you when I wrote this because as few pictures as exist of me, you have even fewer. But, gosh, you were the cutest little thing ever. XXX

      Like

  13. Dianna says:

    I’m not sure how I missed the post about finding the personal items in the furniture you bought. How wonderful that you found the son of the owner!!
    And I love that photo of you as a child. I understand completely the feeling when you see an old family photo for the first time!

    Like

    • Hi Dianna, I have had those items for about eight years now and finally decided to write a post about them. It never occurred to me that it would then result in me finding out so much about the family. Really, it’s been very moving to contemplate. Oh, I no longer have the items — they are back where they belong with the family.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sue Mayo says:

    Barb, you are so good at tying up loose ends. Love having closure to unsolved mysteries.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can’t resist reading a post that includes Chiquita banana boxes in the second sentence.

    Like

  16. Carrie Rubin says:

    How nice that you were able to contact Mrs. Diehl’s son and give those items to him (and learn a little about her in the process). It really is a small world, and the Internet makes it that much smaller. Now, knowing these things about her, you’ll have a whole new perspective on your lovely furniture. 🙂

    Like

  17. joannesisco says:

    Oh my goodness – there is so much in this post to like – a lot!!

    You are such a little cutie!! I love this photo ❤ I know what you mean about having limited photos from our youth. Photography just wasn't something my family was interested in, so there are chunks of years without any photo "evidence".

    Finding the history to your furniture is a really cool story! That must make it so special 🙂 That was really kind of him to respond … with pictures. I love the little guy in the family photo!
    … and the furniture is gorgeous 🙂

    Like

    • Yes! Huge expanses of time where evidently my parents didn’t bother to buy film. I go from this age to an awkward pre-teen. Come to think of it, that period could have gone with photos. COL!!

      Yes, I think I’m going to have to start calling it Dorothy and Harold’s room from now on. Thanks, Joanne!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Barbara Stevens says:

    What a wonderful story teller you are Barbara! It is so good to know that the turtles are safe and that there are pilots generous with their time and fuel.
    It appears that Dorothy Diehl was not only meticulous, but beautiful. I did spy the Hummels and Mecki hedgehog in your inviting guest room. Your adorable four year old self looked like a little Hummel girl too.

    Like

  19. la_lasciata says:

    So much to comment on, Barbara !!!
    (1) Those poor dogs ! – look how terrified they are, cowering like that. NOT !!!!!!!
    (2) What a totally gratifying ending to that story ! – down here someone would make a TV show about it, and thousands of people with weep in a satisfied fashion.
    (3) Ukelele … mandolin … gotta be in the same bracket, *I* reckon. 😀

    Like

  20. Oh how I loved this post! We watched the transport of those turtles from the warmth of our TV and were so happy to know of their safe arrival. We have on occasion seen the dogs delivered to their new homes. So very interesting to know of your husband’s connection with Pets N Paws. What a great organization.

    The mysteries connected with old furniture are intriguing. I like “antique Roadshow” and the provenance connection of old things. Like houses, some furniture seems to hold the essence of former owners. I wonder if what we leave behind will give their future heirs the same goose bumps?

    Yes, the instrument playing beside your 4 1/2 year self IS a mandolin. My great uncle had one, and taught me to play, though not well. A really lovely instrument.

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    • Oh, wonderful, Kayti, that you saw the coverage of the great turtle transport! Pilots N Paws is a terrific organization and my husband is so happy to be a small part of it.

      I watch “Antiques Roadshow” avidly always on pins and needles for one of those moments: when the appraiser says your painting is worthless, Madam, but the frame is a priceless work of art!! They came to RIchmond this year and I tried to get a ticket, but alas….it was not to be. Kayti, maybe we should stack the deck a bit for the inheritors of our furniture and place little notes and photographs behind the drawers….

      You play the piano and the mandolin. You continue to impress me. My knowledge of mandolin doesn’t extend much beyond my great love of early Rod Stewart….he even had a song called “Mandolin Wind.” Soundtrack of my youth.

      Like

  21. Barbara Stevens says:

    It is Steiff, Barbara. Mecki was the boy and Micki was the girl. So charming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara, I’ve been looking on-line in total amazement. I had No Idea. Mecki and MIcki indeed. And when I was looking at the Steiff website there was the most precious vintage Steiff fox terrier!! I am really pleased to have a clearer picture of these little toys from my childhood. OK, let’s see what else I’ve got hanging around this old barn…..

      Like

  22. Grace says:

    Barbara, what an interesting post! Being connected to Mrs. Diehl’s son was a kismet moment. It was so generous of him to share those pictures so you could get to know his mother a little bit more. The pieces you purchased are beautiful.

    I admire your husband’s participation with Pilots N Paws. Our current dog as well as our two previous ones were rescues. Such a great organization!

    Like

    • Really, Grace, he was beyond charming. I only wish the few small items I had for him would have been more significant somehow, more meaningful. But a friend helped me see that to him, the items are more meaningful than they appear. Good for you to have rescue dogs. We all know there is an infinite supply of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. dorannrule says:

    How I love it that you are transporting critters and saving lives. And the tied up loose ends of the Diehl story are wonderful. You have such an eye for detail and a never ending curiousity that makes your blog unique. And BTW, you were a darned cute kid too! 🙂

    Like

    • Dor, I admit to being helplessly curious about so much sometimes with a mounting sense of panic that I will never get to learn or see everything I want to. In the meantime, I will torment the rest of you with whatever comes my way! COL!! Really, with no false modesty, we get off the easiest of all the people involved in the Pilots N Paws thing. All we have to do is transport – and that’s important – but you know those people at the other end who bring these pups into their homes are really working hard. I bet you were cute as the dickens too.

      Like

  24. Diane Ahlberg says:

    Love the furniture for your guest room!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  25. Almost Iowa says:

    I love the picture of the classroom! Look how sensibly they are dressed!

    Like

    • Talk about a time capsule, right? I do remember orderly classrooms like that at least in elementary school, but by the time high school came around for me, dress codes were relaxed and we felt compelled to let our freak flags fly.

      Like

  26. markbialczak says:

    Barbara! The Diehl photos forwarded by her son are priceless. What a wonderful man to share them with you. Oh, happy day.

    And your distant in-law is playing a mandolin for cute little you. Also a wonderful lost moment discovered, my friend.

    Finally, my Terrapins have given way to your dogs. That makes me happy. This is a great catch-up post. I almost expected an update on your ketchup antique kitchen find. 🙂

    Like

    • I cannot believe you remember that ketchup tomato, Mark, you crack me up! That’s so great. Well, to tell you the truth, the tomato hasn’t been up to much lately so I have nothing new to report. You’ll be the first to know if that changes. Yes, isn’t it just the best thing ever to see that lovely picture? Oh,happy day is right and I’m so happy you liked it.

      Like

  27. Eliza Waters says:

    Fun post. It’s cool that you were able to track down the previous owners of your furniture, they are really lovely pieces.
    I think it is grand that BH flies rescue pups (among other things). I wonder how my Wren came up here – I never asked at the shelter home.
    I learned that the turtle rescue was the biggest ever– 6X the average of 200/yr. Wow- that’s a lot.
    Lastly, what a sweet photo of you – and your hair is still an awesome color! BTW, we’re the same age. Happy to be a late boomer (the elders paved the way for us!). 🙂

    Like

    • I read this thinking now what does Eliza mean we’re late bloomers? Oh! Late Boomers! True, true. Actually I guess I am both come to think of it….COL! I see you are a “silver sister” too. Someday I plan to write a post about the decision to stop dying my hair and the shock waves that ensued. How is Wren doing, BTW? Lighting up your life, I’m sure.

      Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Funny, not a typo!
        Yes, I no longer wanted to be slave to the bottle of hair dye. My hairdresser kept wanting to ‘highlight’ my hair in my forties until it was every 6 wks for another round. Not my style and I am suspicious of chemicals. It is tough bucking the system, but luckily, we’re ahead of the trend and gaining support daily. Silver power!
        Wren is definitely lighting up our lives. I had forgotten how much energy a young dog has! That dog can run!

        Like

      • Are you on Pinterest at all? I have a board on my account called “Bye Bye Dye” which features dozens of the most gorgeous women….all silver sisters. I was shocked how almost angry some women were at me. That does it, I am going to do a post on the experience!!

        Yay Wren!! You hit the doggie lottery!

        Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Go for it – I like the post already 🙂
        It is interesting how threatening it is for some women when you go contrary to their world view. My response is “I don’t tell you to go natural, so please don’t tell me you think I would ‘look better’ if I dyed my hair.” In whose opinion anyway? My spouse likes it (we are a matched pair after all!) and who I am is the same no matter what color my hair is.

        Like

      • Exactly! I was shocked at the NERVE, Eliza, of some and the feeling that I was somehow breaking some unspoken rule. It’s just hair, for god’s sake. “Look better?” Really, how insulting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza Waters says:

        To be fair, I get quite a few compliments as well, as I would expect you do – your color is awesome! Folks have grown used to it by now, but I still get ‘the look’ every once in a while when I am out, but my husband says they’re just jealous of my good looks – sweet guy, huh? I think I’ll keep him. 😉

        Like

  28. bkpyett says:

    What interesting stories you have pieced together here Barbara. It’s wonderful the work your husband is doing transporting animals! I do love the photo of you when you were four. it is very special, as you say, to discover a new photograph, enabling you to wend another story together.

    Like

    • Thank you, Barbara. My husband really enjoys doing this because he loves to fly and loves animals, so he can kill two birds, as they say. Have you ever discovered a new photograph of your self from the past? It’s quite startling, actually, in a good way.

      Like

  29. A bow tie as school attire? Fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Great tale of past and present. The pups look very enthusiastic straining to get at the photographer. It is always nice to look at old photos even if to remind oneself that we still look a bit like that today and haven’t really aged. That kind of look in the 4 year old is still there today.

    Like

  31. Close enough, indeed, Barbara. And I love the (turtle and canine) rescue stories. So much good going on in our (and more specifically, your) world. Thanks for the upbeat update!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Fabulous! Everything is fabulous!
    Yes, it’s a mandolin. The only way it is similar to a ukulele is in its size. A mandolin generally has eight strings (in four pairs) and is usually plucked rather than strummed. It originated in Italy from the lute.

    Like

  33. The story about your furniture and Dorothy is giving me goosebumps. It was meant to be, that someone like you who appreciates the history of a piece, acquired these. How wonderful to now have that personal connection. And, yes, Dorothy is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doesn’t it make you reflect a bit on our impermanence, Audrey? Not to get all zen early on a Tuesday morning, but I do sense a sort of message about how very fleeting our time is when faced with these traces of past owners. Sigh.

      Like

  34. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks for such a fascinating and good hearted post. Not too late to say Happy New Year. Regards Thom.

    Like

  35. kristieinbc says:

    I’m happy to hear the turtles were successfully relocated, and that your dog adventure went well. Isn’t it amazing that you were able to discover that information about the previous owners of your furniture? And I love that picture of you when you were young!

    Like

  36. Outlier Babe says:

    Went back and read the turtle post–fun!!–later today, will head for the furniture post and get this back story I’m so lost about. And maybe catch-up about that tomato ( 😉 ) Mark referred to!

    BTW, you’re just a baby–I’m older than you, Barbara!

    Like

  37. RMW says:

    Interesting story with the furniture… and the puppies… very enjoyable.

    Like

  38. Oh, what a precious picture of you as a 4-year old. And what a gift to receive that for yourself. BTW, I really think you should consider a career as a private detective – you can track anything and anyone down 🙂

    Like

  39. reocochran says:

    I loved how you closed all these unraveling loose ends, Barb! the turtle rescue photo and story was great, always happy to see another photo of your hubby and such a worthwhile cause. I also loved the photos of the furniture, so glad you jumped and got the ball rolling and what a wonderful connection you made! The photograph of the family and the one of the boy’s school, all because you wanted to figure out whose things were stuck in the back of a drawer. Lovely furniture, Barb, too! I also am so happy you got another small piece of your childhood back, you were an adorable sweet towhead, Barb! I want to hug this little girl you!! I hope someday we may get Ned Craun to connect with my Cedar Point Amusement Park days and the stories would be mostly G-rated, and his wife would be welcome! Smiles, Robin

    Like

    • Yes, mystery solved and I am happy for it. I think we should all leave a message tucked behind a drawer when we sell a piece of our furniture, don’t you? Have a good week, Robin, I’ve been too busy to do much blog reading lately, will try to catch up with your world soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        No worries, I am always running around the blogs like a chicken with my head cut off. I did post one that may interest you, a mystery about a sister… smiles!
        I will definitely if I ever sell much more of what little I kept from my house, tuck something with a message about the previous owner. She was a nice elderly lady from Chicago, Highland Park, I think and it is a nice dresser which I use as a keeper of my tablecloths and my pretty plates, Barb! I have a stack about 11″ high of postcards from my Grandpa tied with a shoe string. I may place one of these in the antique piece of furniture, which could be a ‘high boy’ if someone placed a mirror above it with a silver tray with silver coffee service on it, as I did in my final house…

        Like

      • Fabulous idea. I just finished reading about Nannerl. Fascinating.

        Like

  40. Mandolin is pretty cool Barbara! I believe Spencer Tracy is playing a mandolin in Captain’s Courageous… I loved that movie. Maybe it is some other instrument… ? How touching the correspondence between you Harold, Jr. Lovely furniture. Glad the turtles are happy turtles! 🐢 You were a cutie kidlet and that is such a cool memory photo! I miss my laptop… Waaaaaaah!!!

    Like

    • And so he is, Pix! What a memory. I didn’t share very much of Harold’s correspondence with me but what came through was a deep love and appreciation for his parents which I found completely endearing. I hope you solve the computer issues, amazing how attached we grow to our devices.

      Like

  41. What a lovely post, Barbara 😉 And what a precious photo of you as a young girl. You were beautiful, even then. I’m glad that all the connections were made and these wonderful stories all have happy conclusions. The classroom photo looks just like my first classroom when I began teaching, right there in ACH. Well, the Weather Channel is broadcasting from Richmond today, and I see it is colder out in your part of the state. Our trees are covered in ice, but we are above freezing now and it will melt by afternoon. Is your power still on ? Everyone doing OK in your family? Best wishes, and hugs, WG

    Like

    • It’s icy but not as bad as we saw last winter. Glad it’s okay where you are too. So far, so good with the power. Shhhh, don’t want to tempt the weather gods though. Isn’t that classroom photo a hoot? Even posture has gone downhill. God, I am such a curmudgeon lately….what is wrong with me? LOL. Hugs to you and yours, WG.

      Like

      • Not a curmudgeon at all- just an acute observer. Everything about that photo has changed, especially the demographics. My last years I often had 32-36 in a class. Did you see that class is under 20 kids? Unheard of these days. And all sitting still… remarkable! It is only getting wound up outside, Barbara…. we tempt know one, but know the patterns around here. I just hope the ice melts off of our trees before any snow showers tonight. Living near the coast has some advantages… Have your oil lamps trimmed, my friend 😉 and huge hugs to Roger for his rescue missions. I would have had a hard time handing off those beauties! What sweet pups. Hugs, WG

        Liked by 1 person

  42. You never cease to amaze me! First of all, HOW COOL that the son of the Fabulous Panty Hose lady wrote you and wants his Mama’s panty hose and other prized possessions! That’s so sweet, and especially that he included a family photo. HOW AWESOME that you get to work with displaced dogs and turtles (among other creatures, I’m sure)! You have such a lovely heart and soul, and this just evidences it further. AND HOW WONDERFUL that you got a brand new old photo of yourself that you’ve never seen! Even if it technically wasn’t a ukulele, I say it’s close enough. 🙂 What lovely items to post! ❤

    Like

  43. Sheryl says:

    Wow, it’s amazing that you found the son of the owner of the items that were in your furniture–and it’s so wonderful how he shared the pictures. It’s such a heartwarming story.

    Like

  44. Aquileana says:

    I nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award (pink version)
    You can check out the nomination on this post
    https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/%E2%96%BAgreek-mythology-the-nereids-fifty-sea-nymphs/
    Best wishes, Aquileana 😀

    Like

  45. Phil Taylor says:

    I love that you got some follow up on the Dorothy Diehl story. So interesting! The internet is an amazing tool.

    Like

  46. ChristineR says:

    Reading about finding Mrs Diehl’s son made my scalp prickle! Wonderful. It’s always a joy to get a new photo of yourself as a child. My aunt sent me a couple last year. Lovely post.

    Like

  47. cat9984 says:

    Learned something new – I didn’t know there were brindle labs.

    Like

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