The Spechtacle

A site for sharing information, dropping dimes and plotting overthrows...

Category: Family History (page 1 of 3)

Who was who, where’s they go..

My Favorite Room…

These memories are from the deep recesses of my (mother’s) brain.

The house was on 9 mile road in Clermont County, Ohio. Daddy built the three houses before the second bridge on the right, down from SR 125.
My room was small but I was really thrilled, it was my room and no one was allowed in it unless I let them.  I remember playing Monopoly, checkers, and cards with Pat and Austin. Pat and Austin were my main childhood playmates. They were the sons of my mother’s best friend, Flo. I was in the eight grade and it was the year WWll broke out. Natalie, my sister, joined the coast guard. She was five years older than me.
My furnishings consisted of a steamer trunk from my Uncle Johnny, who traveled the world. He was a valet for a rich man. The trunk consisted of drawers and a hanger space. The drawer I really loved had a secret compartment. I also had my 22 rifle in the corner. I keept my shells in the secret compartment of my steamer trunk. I had gotten the rifle for Christmas, Daddy did not wrap it, he put It in my dresser draw. I think daddy got the rifle not mother because it wasn’t wrapped. I was thrilled to death.
There was a four post iron single bed under the eaves. Mom cut of the iron posts at the head of the bed because she didn’t like the way it looked. She turned the bed around and used bottom for the head of the bed. I helped her. We were making it look better. She had me stuff socks in the cut posts and cuff them over the holes so no one would get cut.
I had the table with wooden pegs from my childhood under the window that my grandma gave me.  A large “Molly Perkins” doll was in the corner on a chair. The doll was from mother’s sister Katie, I never played with it because it was an antique. Later my Aunt Katie asked for it back, I think she sold it, I didn’t mind.
My metal dollhouse, I had when I was younger, was on the floor full of toy soldiers, some were metal and some were more expensive and made from lead.
I had a small radio, I had sermons all over my little table. The walls I had religions plaques. i sent for the sermons and the plaques from the Sunday sermons on the radio. When I was little, Daddy and I would have tea parties with the new dishes he home from down South where he drove a bus.
The dishes and the toy soldiers ended up in the woods were I played with Pat and Austin. We would build shacks and I would sweep the floor, decorate and play with my dishes in the shack while Pat and Austin played with the mules and made more shacks.

picture of toy soldier

Clifford Morris’s D-Day story…

Uncle Cliff landed in Normandy on D-Day+2. He lost his rifle in the surf, as you still had to travel to the beach in a landing craft…. His CO said not to worry, there were plenty of rifles on the beach to choose from. He found one that looked pretty decent (Garand) and his buddies and him spent an afternoon setting their sights to 200 yards. He didn’t change them again for the rest of the war. He shot his rifle plenty during the next 11 months, but only fired it five times at Germans he could see plainly. He thought he got them all. He brought home a German Luger in .30 Luger caliber as a war trophy, and a nun’s cross filled with the bones of the saints… He never said how he got them.

CliffNov72

The Bank Street Pfeiffers

In 1900, William Pfeiffer and his family rented rooms at 902 Bank Street. 20 years earlier, William and his family lived down on Main Street where he kept a tavern close by. That didn’t work out and was now working at a Brewery on Liberty Street.

Picture of William and Elizabeth

William and Elizabeth


Times were hard, his wife Elizabeth was slowly going blind and even his oldest son had to quit school for work after the 3rd grade. William never got the hang of english, which didn’t really matter much in the Bank Street neighborhood, as everyone around was German. This heritage was to get stomped on in 17 years with the coming of World War One, even the German street names were to be changed, but for now, the whole town seemed to be imported from Bavaria.
Bank Street map 1920

Bank Street neighborhood in 1920


Most of the girls were working in laundry and tailor shops. Young Will Pius was 18 years old and working as a varnisher, learning his trade to one day own and run ‘Will Pfeiffer and Sons, Painters’. But for now, he supplemented his education by devouring an encyclopedia. Valentine would follow Will into the house painting business in the future, but in 1900 he stayed in school along with Mary. Painting would bite Valentine in the future when he was slowly poisoned by the lead he and Will had to mix their paints with. Elizabeth’s nephew, Carl Gaertner, had just recently immigrated to the US and was staying with them. Through one of William’s friends, he got a job as a porter.

The 900 block of Bank Street was filled with tenements, meat packing plants, and other businesses. One thing the elder William liked about the neighborhood was St. Augustine Church, which was just past the Sacred Heart Convent down towards Ailanthus Street.

Picture of St. Augustine Church on Bank Street

St. Augustine's church on Bank Street


Past that were more houses, packing plants, cemetery monument makers, carpenters and furniture makers, saloons and blacksmiths. News about the new horseless carriages were around, but no one had seen one yet. Electric streetcars were brand new, and young Will was already trying to derail them by wedging scrap metal on the tracks. Soon he would look for more adventure and join the Ohio National Guard in 1901.
Picture of a Cincinnati streetcar

Streetcars were a target for unruly youth


The entire neighborhood along Bank Street, from Freeman to Baymiller and including Ailanthum Street, was bulldozed around 1970, and the ballfields of Dyer Park sit there now, quietly covering the basements and foundations of a unique German community.
Picture of Bank Street today.

Bank Street neighborhood today. 902 Bank Street would have been close to this corner.


William would soon be dead, a result of an accident at the brewery. Young Will would be married in another five years to Rose Beiting. Elizabeth’s eyesight was fading, but got along with the help of her daughters and son Val, who were still living with her in 1930, across the street from Roger Bacon High School, and her other son, Will. Will’s family would spread out from Cincinnati, and settle from one end of the country to the other, and pride in German heritage would return to Cincinnati.
Picture of William Pius Pfeiffer's wedding

Wedding of William Pfeiffer and Rose Beiting

Adventures in Spechtville.. the electric man

ChauffeurPa
Times were tough on 9 mile road in the thirties. The amenities we take for granted now were non-existant or rare. One of the things that we take for granted now is electricity. Our whole lives are ruled by it, and when is disappears for a few days, we are in trouble.

Art Specht and his family had electricity on 9 mile, but were loath or unable to pay for it. It was hard times during the depression. One trick the locals used was bypassing the electric meter with pennies. At times this had the unfortunate side effect of burning down the building the meter was attached too. This was how Mr. Arnold lost his chicken house. (and chickens.)

The electric company periodically sent someone down the road at night to see who was using electricity, but the neighbors were usually on their guard. A car coming down 9 mile road at night was a rare event, and the word spread fast that he was coming. Grandma would kill the lights, and take Marcy and Boot to hide in the closet and say a few ‘Our Fathers’. That was Ma’s answer for all disasters. Few people were caught.

ElectricMan
Well in the end, Pa’s chickens survived, but only till it was their turn for Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles.

marcy and greg

RVN 1970-72

Just remembering a few things…

greg

Art Specht and the Roofing Nail Caper

Art Specht.. footprint detective

Art Specht.. footprint detective


Art Specht was a man of many dimensions. He was the Go To Guy. He knew a lot about things, including human nature. Not many things got past him.

When I was in my ‘teens, Pa was building a house up the street. We lived on Cole Road in Amelia, Ohio, at the time. Pa had built our house and eventually the next three up the street. He always moved into the one he just finished and started on the next one, usually next door.

One day some kids broke into his house that was under construction and stole a few boxes of roofing nails. These were big boxes, not the little things you got at Home Depot. They spread the nails into the driveways of at least 7 of our neighbors, including us. During the next couple of days, everyone in the neighborhood had flat tires. It was an epidemic. We had at least 3.

So Pa spotted these 2 local kids walking down the street and somehow he knew they were the guy, as Monk would say it. He asked them to come in and help him with something, He had the shoeprints of the perps on the dusty floor. He asked them to go over to the other side of the room and get something for him, and he compared their footprints. It was them alright.

In the end, they cleaned up all the nails they could find in all those driveways, and their father paid for all the tires. (You can bet those kids paid for them in the end, though.)

Those kids life of crime continued for a short while though. They stole of bunch of concrete garden statues from a local gardening place, but proudly displayed their catch on their front porch, easily seen from the road. They didn’t get away with that either. However those kids did turn out alright, and lucky for them as a life of crime for them would have brought them disaster…. They couldn’t get away with anything. Anyway, another case solved… not much got past Art Specht.

shoeprint

Also:
Footprint Intelligence Technology system

greg and marcy

Obit.. Aunt Irma Gelhaus (nee Pfeiffer)

I hate funerals, but Aunt Irma had a nice one. It was at St Clements Church in St. Bernard. No matter how much the Pfeiffers spread out, it seems like St Bernard is their ground zero. They seem to take over the church, as most of the paintings on the wall were painted by my Aunt Clara, Irma’s sister.

Aunt Clara's painting behind the altar

Aunt Clara's painting behind the altar

Aunt Irma was born in 1919. Of course that was the year of the Spanish flu, to remind us that things haven’t changed that much. She grew up (eventually with 12 brothers and sisters) in over-the-rhine and Vine street, a really nice neighborhood at the time, but dangerous and trendy now. Uncle Herb was caught in the Army in WW2, but married Irma after the war. The latest count includes 5 kids, 17 grandchildred, and 10 great grandchildren. Whew.

Dick Gelhaus’ wife Peggy delivered a moving eulogy, that included how many times the kids shot themselves with BB guns! She was a great Aunt and will be missed.

St. Clements Church..

St. Clements Church..

Kathy and Greg.. 8th wedding anniversary!

Kathy and I have made it past the 8 year hurdle. We got married on July 21st 2001. I wanted to wait till september to get married, however it’s a good thing we did do it when we did or we would have got caught up in all that 9/11 stuff.

Of course our honeymoon got off to a rocky start, as the plane broke down. We waited 8 hours in the airport for them to fix it, then off to the Bahamas for a wonderful honeymoon. We finally got up the nerve to visit the World Trade Center site in 2006. It really is a big hole in the ground.

Tired of waiting for plane, Kathy takes action...

Tired of waiting for plane, Kathy takes action...

Well the time has really flown by. Kathy’s daughter Ashley has a 1 year old now, and Boo Bear just breaks your heart. We’re settling down to the next 8 years and the eight after that!

Anniversary dinner at Dee Felice Nightclub...

Anniversary dinner at Dee Felice Nightclub...

greg

My short lived time as a short order cook…

s

Back in 1969 I lost my draft deferment when I graduated from a local two year college. While I was waiting to get drafted, I realized that no one would hire you. Who wanted to invest training or whatever in some guy that would be in south east asia in 3 months. So when a friend who worked in a restaurant told me they needed a short order cook, I jumped at the chance.

What I knew about cooking at the time (and now) could be summed up in two words. Fish Sticks! I could cook anything at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Or so I thought.

Things went along kind of OK till the night of the Green Mayo. I didn’t realize at the time that mayonnaise had to be refrigerated and that green wasn’t it’s normal color. The next night the proverbial you know what hit the fan. About 25 people had called in wanting us to pay their hospital bills for food poisoning. Needless to say I got reamed pretty good.

About that time, My uncle Fred and aunt Boot dropped in to support their nephew and get something to eat. Pretty bad timing. The waitress told me they were there and wanted to see me, and see about what was best on the menu. I couldn’t take it. I confessed my abilities were a little less than stellar and convinced them to eat somewhere else.

They did… and I was drafted soon after that anyhow. Somehow I never got around to learning to cook. Its intricacies have always eluded me.

My wife is a pretty good cook though. Thank God!

greg

Some notes on Nellie…

mom.jpg
When Ma married Art Specht, he moved her out to the country. She was a city girl not used to a primitive existence. And since he was an over the road bus driver he left her to her own devices for days at a time. She had a stove, but winter just started and they had no stove pipe. She didn’t let that bother her though, the neighbor had a good stove pipe. He had a bakery in town and just came home for the summer. So Ma and Flo approriated the stove pipe. Things did good till summer came, and she had to put it back, but couldn’t get it back up so just left it on the porch. When the neighbor got back he hit the roof, but Ma’s baby was warm for the winter!

Marcy

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