11 May 2018

My Great-Grandmother Owned a Monkey

Not my grandma, not her monkey!

See the original on the fascinating
Tumbler Blog
"An Unnatural History."

Oh, how I wish I had a photo of Mary Elizabeth (Klein) Dixon Payne and her monkey to share with you. [If, by chance, you have one, I hope you'll share it with me!] This Fun Family Fact comes courtesy of of a step-cousin, who's father, Thomas Payne, Jr. brought the monkey back from his Navy travels and gave it to his step-mother.

Just another example of the treasures you find when you contact cousins, and step-cousins, you've never met. This particular step-cousin has shared some great information about the Payne family, and has helped me identify some photos. Love it!

Did anyone in your family have unusual pets?

18 February 2018

Welcome to 2018

Wallace A. Dixon (1926-1988) sitting in the lap of unidentified young woman. Taken in Elizabeth, NJ c. 1926-1927. Collectionn of E. Ackermann, 2018.
Wallace A. Dixon, circa 1926, in the lap of unidentified woman.
Elizabeth, New Jersey. Personal collection,
E. Ackermann, 2018.

Happy New Year!

I generally start my year on the blog with a baby, a traditional icon of new beginnings in the New Year. This year's New Kid on the block is my dear Uncle Wally [Wallace A. Dixon, 1926-1988] in the lap of someone I don't know. Not his mother, not any of his maternal aunts. Possibilities include paternal aunts, or possibly a cousin or family friend. If you recognize her, give me a shout. [Hey! It's a two-for-one! New Years baby and a Mystery Photo! Yippee!]

13 December 2017

A Musical Interlude

Jingle Bells!

I have had this music box since I was quite young (1960's). The angel is missing her wings, some of her hair, and she should be holding a little Christmas tree. Also, there is a small tree missing from the base. But it still plays! In fact, I just set it out on the mantel and the start pin slipped out enough that it started on it's own.

I can remember taking the base apart to "see how it worked" when I was a kid. I'm glad I didn't tinker with the moving parts and break the music box.

In the background you see a small feather tree that is about the same vintage, and one of the lamps that used to grace my Grandma Dixon's bedroom dresser.

09 December 2017


Ancient and decrepit these pinecones may be, but they've been part of the tree decor for many decades. They are made of some sort of metal foil. Through the years they've gotten a little crinkled, but I still love them.

06 December 2017


 A few old favorites are sparkling on the tree today. I love these little glitterers.

I have a few of these elves and birds. No clue how old they are, and I don't remember when we got them, but I think they're pretty "vintage" by now.

05 December 2017

Basement Baubles

Season's Greetings!
When my Dixon grandparents hosted a family gathering at their house in Roselle it was held in one of two locations - in the backyard for warm weather gatherings, or in the basement for cold weather parties. When the family gathered at 1023 Thompson for Christmas it was down to the basement.

We had all of the amenities there, surrounded by green cinderblock walls. There was a  stove to keep the food warm, a bar which the kids used as a play space and the adults used for adult beveredges, a stereo for music, a big trestle table and benches for seating, and we even had a bathroom down there. Like I said, all of the mod cons (that's modern conveniences, not groovy criminals) that a person could ask for.

The red plastic reindeer.
And of course, at Christmas, there was the Christmas tree. Small, artificial, and because there were young children and pets, decked with plastic ornaments. Naturally, I still have some of them. And they still dominate the bottom of our tree, where a happy tail wag from our pooch is not a recipe for disaster. These suckers bounce, and bounce right back.

Here's a peek at the party in progress, Christmas 1961 or 1962.

The best part of any holiday - the family! Second best, the food! Those ladies could cook.
From left to right : Alice (Rimkus) Karvoius, and her daughters : Tess, Estelle, and Sophie.

 Here are a few more baubles for you.

This one says "Merry Christmas.
The reindeer were always my favorites.