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The Wedding Party   (Original Etchings: Literature)

The Wedding Party

The Wedding Party (see story below)
Image Size 8 1/4 " x 5 7/8 "
Matted Size 13 " x 16 "
Edition Size 100
Cream Paper
$90
To Order
P: (585) 278-8160
E: ElizabethAndrewsStudio@gmail.com

The Relatives who had actually lived my Family History were already gone by the time I became interested in my German Ancestry.

As a child I overheard, and collected, fragments of stories about living and dead relatives, family lore, and historical events. My maternal grandparents, emigrants from Germany, raised their two daughters on the East Side of Buffalo, NY. Upon retiring from the Buffalo Evening News, my Grandfather bought a home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Both homes were Germanically clean, (George, Opi, had to smoke his cigars outdoors) with beautiful upholstered furniture, wall to wall carpeting in the living room, and a china cabinet filled with fine china, crystal glassware and small porcelain figurines. Meticulously baked cakes and pastries were served with black coffee for the friends and jovial relatives who gathered often. During these gatherings I often overheard the "Bailey’s" mentioned. Hard working, fun loving and doting, my relative’s accents sounded like royalty to me.

Years later when I began to share family history with my own children, I stitched together a history from the bits of information I knew or thought I knew. I described to my daughters how their Great Grandmother, Laura, the oldest of 4 girls, left her home near Stuttgart to come to Baltimore, Maryland. Through hard work and determination, I said, she was able to pay off her passage as a house keeper for the World Famous Bailey Family. My Father had often joked about my Mother being a ‘Southern Belle,’ because she was born in Maryland, and for some reason I thought this was where the Barnum and Bailey Circus was headquartered. I knew of some of the dirty jobs she had to do and assumed only a wealthy women would make someone else do those things. I elaborated upon the story by saying Laura had meet George, my Grandfather, on the voyage over and he courted her until her commitment to the Baileys was fulfilled.

Years later I began to sketch out an illustrated novel about my 19 year old grandmother working in the Bailey mansion, surrounded by circus folk and wild animals. The curious and exotic experiences she could have encountered would offer delightful illustrative opportunities. As soon as I began researching the project I discovered Mr. Bailey had died in 1906, 21 years before my Grandmother had arrived on Ellis island. Alas, it seemed I had embellished my Family history a little. So I began trying to corroborate the rest of the information I had already shared. The online resource, Ancestry.com provided some dates, names and scanned documents. The ship's manifests also disproved the courtship of George and Laura had begun on the voyage over – he had arrived 4 years earlier with his brothers, Kirk and Heinz.

Historical records favor the male lineage, so I traced my Grandfather though census reports which provided addresses and occupations. My Grandmother seemed to disappear after a relative signed for her on Ellis Island and noted their final destination was Indiana. A marriage certificate could have given me a location for their wedding, but I could not find one on-line. Only knowing the birth location of my Mother ( through my Father’s teasing ), I wrote a letter to Baltimore Office of Records. I received a photocopy of my Grandparents’ marriage certificate within a week. I was surprised to discover my Mother was born a scant 9 months after the wedding date! My original story may have been inaccurate, but now I was even more piqued to learn why she was the only one from her family to immigrate and to learn the story of my Grandparents’ first meeting.

At this point I am shamed to admit there was one relative I could have stayed in contact with who had all this information Aunt Helene was my grandmother’s sister-in-law and she was still alive, living in Florida. She had been president of Krumholz Stainless Steel, a family business, and a Staff member of the Florida Women Pilot’s Association. A women this intelligent and dynamic would remember stories; even the gossipy ones, I hoped! I sent another letter, full of apologizes about how quickly time passes, and hoped I could come visit her in Ft Lauderdale. I received a very sad and disappointing phone call from her 3rd husband. Dementia had stolen Aunt Helene's memories and voice, and she was now under round the clock supervised care.

The Etching that you see here is a story that I have created from my imagination. It shows 19 year old Laura, my grandmother, attending the wedding of an ex-suitor. She has turned down a marriage proposal from the Circus Fat Man, worried that he would not be able to manage the traditional Deutsche Spaziergang. They have remained friends and he has moved on, marrying the Circus’s Mustached Pencil Women. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey are also enjoying the reception, with a few other members of the Circus. Laura’s bosses, the Baileys, told her if she wanted to attend the party she would have to bring the new baby elephant, who has recently arrived from Africa.

E. Andrews 2014


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