Monday, November 21, 2011

Artifacts: Flow Ware Tea Set

Last Tuesday, during the Book Club at Second Life, we all began to mention items we had inherited. It was suggested that we post a picture and a story about these special items from our family history. This is the first such post from my household.

This is the remains of a tea set in a pattern which is called "Flow Ware;" a mistake in an early firing lead to a blurring of the pattern. You can see this on the side of the sugar bowl and the open bowl next to in in the back row.

This tea set belonged to Mary Seitner Lautzenheiser who was aunt-by-marriage to my paternal grandmother on her mother's side and also her second cousin on her father's side. Whenever I visited North Manchester her granddaughters and also my Grandmother referred to Mary as "Grandma Seitner." I am curious about this naming pattern. I do understand why "Grandma" would become the family name, even among relatives who were in reality nieces or cousins; I believe that such use names are still common in the United States in our century.

It is the use of Mary Seitner's maiden name that interests me. My best guess it that there were several "Grandma Lautzenheisers" around town; and that "Grandma Seither" was a way of distinguishing between them. Alas, I shall probably never know why because I didn't think to ask when I was young.

My grandmother inherited these dishes from her aunt and in turn designated that they were to become mine. (She left a piece of paper in one of the teacups that read "for Sue.") They remained in North Manchester until after my aunt died; then Mary Seitner's granddaughters gathered up the tea set and saved it for me.

They told me that my grandmother had inherited the set because she had saved them from a fire. She was visiting the Elias Lautzenheiser farm when a fire broke out. Grandma placed the tea set in a pillow case, then lowered them through a first floor window to the ground. I wasn't told when this happened or how old my grandmother was at the time. Mary Seitner and Elias Lautzenheiser were married in 1852; my grandmother was born in 1858. My guess is that the fire took place after the Civil War, but that is just a guess.

None of the dishes were broken at the time of the rescue, but the set was not complete by the time it came to me. Some of the pieces are chipped and some of the glaze is crazed and discolored. I do not use these dishes; they are on display in a glass fronted case in my dining room. My family and I cherish these artifacts from my "forerunners."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poem for Bill West's poetry "collection"

This is my entry into Bill West’s contest. Whenever I think about Lide’s childhood after her mother’s death, I think of this poem. Lide DID have family when she and her siblings returned to Wabash County, but she and her siblings moved from house to house (often separately); they seemed to feel a need to contribute to the family work while living with each family. (I believe that in the 1860s and 1870s children on farms and in the homes in farm support towns like North Manchester all did chores, but I sense that “earning her place” was important to Lide.)

So here is a poem from the appropriately named “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley


Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was 'company,' an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you