Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Day 2 - Christmas Cards

Card sent by my 2nd great grandparents William Harrison (1856-1937)
 and Mary Ann Barb (1859-1940) Hosaflook, date unknown. 

The second day of Christmas memories is dedicated to Christmas cards.

Today it seems like Christmas cards have been replaced by emails, animated images and musical cards with the heads of your relatives and friends on the bodies of dancing elves!  Gone are the days that I remember seeing the mailbox full of large square envelopes colored brilliant white or red during the month of December.
Growing up I remember my parents receiving no less than fifty cards, at least, during the holiday season.  In my parent's house there used to be two wooden doors separating the kitchen from the dining room.  The doors had angled wooden slats which would be filled from top to bottom with Christmas cards every year.  The overflow was placed in a wooden reindeer with a rectangular wooden basket as a body, which was located near the Christmas tree.

I tried to keep the tradition alive after I moved away from home but over the years it has dwindled down to nothing.  The intention was always there but before I knew it there would only be two days left till Christmas and I hadn't sent out one card!  So to make up for that I started sending out cards that said "Happy Holidays!" If I missed sending them out by Christmas I had an extra week to send them by New Years!  Even that eventually stopped.

Now it seems that Facebook is the vehicle of choice to wish everyone season's greetings by updating your status.  Facebook may be quick and efficient, but it loses the magic of receiving that letter in the mail and seeing the design/message that the sender decided to send to you.

Maybe this year will be the one where I restart that tradition ... but don't be waiting out by the mailbox, just in case I miss it again!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Day 1 - Christmas Trees

My maternal grandparent's first
Christmas tree in 1947.
(Yes, the tree stand is a wrapped suitcase!!)
Today is the first day of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories series and it is dedicated to Christmas trees.

I always loved helping to decorate the house for Christmas, but my favorite part was decorating the tree.  The tree seemed almost magical with the lights and ornaments.  The way the lights reflected off the glass bulbs and the tinsel was amazing.  I can't remember when my parents stopped buying tinsel for the tree.  It might have been a combination of my brothers and I having the tendency to toss handfuls of it at a time in the air to land on the tree (it seemed more natural that way) or our dog eating the tinsel off the tree!

1956, my grandparents got a larger tree after my mom
and her brother came along.  They had lots of tinsel too!

With or without tinsel, I loved decorating the tree.  My mother has collected dozens of the light up, motion ornaments from Hallmark over the years.  Some of them can be quite heavy. One year, on Christmas Eve, after all of us had gone to bed and she had placed the last gifts under the tree, she decided she did not like how I arranged some of the motion ornaments.  So she rearranged them, mostly to the front of the tree so they could be easily seen.

The next morning when we were unwrapping gifts, my mother reached under the tree to pull out the next gift and happened to get the one that was supporting the weight of the tree as a result of her rearranging of the ornaments.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a streak of lights and heard my mother let out a shriek as the tree landed on top of her.  My brothers, my dad and I were doubled over laughing while my mother was stuck yelling at us from under the tree.  Needless to say every year since, a brick has been placed on the back leg of the tree stand.

That is me in 1977!  Just look at all that sparkly tinsel!!

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Kline's Mill & eBay

The Kline [Klein/Cline/Clyne] family has roots stretching back over 200 years in Frederick County, Virginia. My fifth-great-grandfather, John Jacob Klein (b. 23 Aug 1736 in Germany, d. 27 Aug 1816) came to Philadelphia in 1735.  He married Anna Eva Dusong (b. 6 Oct 1739 d. 15 May 1814).  In 1764 they migrated with several other families to Frederick County, Virignia and built a flax-seed mill.[1]   In 1794, John Jacob and his son Anthony converted the mill from flax-seed to flour by adding the additional floors and using the Oliver Evans plan for an automated flour mill.  The mill still operated till the 1950’s.[2]

Here are some pictures I took of the mill when I visited in 1998 with my grandmother, Mildred DeHaven Kline.

Kline's Mill, Frederick County, VA 1998

Kline's Mill, Frederick County, VA 1998

A website created by historian Jim Miller also has several pictures of the mill and its history:  Kline's Mill :

I am sure you must be wondering how eBay fits into this story.  I have several ongoing searches set up on eBay and a few weeks ago I got an email alert for Kline.  I opened the alert and there was a postcard featuring Kline's Mill!  I used the "Buy It Now" feature and a few days later this piece of family history arrived in the mail.

Kline's Mill Postcard (Front)

Kline's Mill Postcard (Back)
 The card itself does not have a date but the caption on the front reads " Kline's Mill, Vaucluse, VA. Built in 1794."  The post card was stamped from Middletown, VA, a town just southwest of the mill, on 5 September 1908.  I had "seen" this postcard before because an image of it is on Jim Miller's website mentioned above.  But I was excited to own a copy of it myself.

Once I looked closely at the postcard I noticed two items that I had not seen from the image on Mr. Miller's website.  The first is that in the lower left corner it says "Pub. By R.A. Kline."  I did not know there were any photographers/publishers in the family so that is a person I will be very interested in trying to identify.  Also on the right side of the photo is the image of a boy.   I wonder if it could be a relative and if so ... who?

Never know what you might find on eBay to add to your family's history!

[1] Thomas Kemp Cartmell, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia (Winchester: The Eddy Press Corporation, 1909), 485-86.
[2] Jim Miller, “Kline’s Mill,” images and narrative, Mills and covered bridges from all over the world ( : accessed 30 October 2013).

Friday, July 19, 2013

Funeral Card Friday: Bertie Mae (Rhodes) Hosaflook

My great-grandmother, Bertie Mae Rhodes Hosaflook.
Photo taken in the 1940's


The funeral card was inside the memory book for Bertie Mae that was given to me by my maternal grandparents.  Also contained in the book were the pages of those that attended the funeral, flower cards, and a clipping of the following obituary that was published in the Daily News Record, on Thursday, 4 January 1968.[1]

Mrs. Hosaflook

Bertie Mae Hosaflook, 83, of
Mt. Solon died Wednesday
afternoon at an Alexandria
nursing home.
   Mrs. Hosaflook had been in
failing health for two years and
was seriously ill eight weeks.
She had been in the nursing 
home 18 months.
   She was the daughter of the
late Levi and Dorcas Simmers
Rhodes and was born Oct. 3,
1884 at Linville.  She moved to
Mt. Solon in 1918 and was a 
member of the Mt. Zion Evan-
gelical United Brethren Church.
   In September of 1903, she
married Harry Holt Hosaflook,
who died in February of 1962.
   Surviving are six sons,
Raymond R., Olin N. and Harold
H. Hosaflook, all of Mt. Solon, 
Meryl H. Hosaflook of Broad-
way, Warren C. Hosaflook of 
Springfield and JosephM. Hosa-
flook of Arlington; three daught-
er[s], Mrs. Mary Leach of Silver
Spring, Md. and Mrs. Nora Arey
of Bridgewater [Mrs. Bessie Mae Ragan not mentioned]; a sister, Mrs.
Sallie Taylor of Linville; 21
grandchildren, and 16 great-
    The funeral will be conducted
2 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion
EUB Church by the Rev.
Raymond Campbell and the
Rev. Arthur Pilgrim.  Burial will
be in Emanuel Church Ceme-
    Grandsons who will be pall-
bearers are Dewitt, Eddie Ray,
Nelson, Roger, Edsel and Harold
Hosaflook Jr.
    The body is at the W. L.
Rosenberger Funeral Home in
Bridgewater where the family 
will receive friends 7-8 p.m. Fri-
day.  Relatives will meet at the
funeral home 1:30 p.m. Sat-

[1] Bertie Mae Rhodes funeral memory book, Hosaflook Family Collection; privately held by Barry L Kline Jr., [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Annandale, Virginia, 2013.  Memory book contains signatures of those in attendance, flower cards, funeral card and obituary clipping; book given to current owner by maternal grandparents in 2011.  Obituary citing: "Mrs. Hosaflook," obituary, Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia), 4 January 1968, p.10, col. 5.