Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Learning Opportunity

I am the type of person who loves to learn.  I don’t read any fiction of any kind (books or magazines).  With that said, I enjoy going to Genealogy Conferences as it is a great opportunity to learn new things as well as meet some very well-known (and not so well-known, but knowledgeable) speakers.

Our local Genealogy Society is holding its 43rd Annual Conference celebrating their 50th year on Friday and Saturday this week.  Friday afternoon has breakout sessions (new this year) and I will be learning about NARA Records that Genealogists Aren’t Using, Getting the Most from FamilySearch, Scanning Tips and Tricks and Treasures at the Courthouse.  Just the type of information I need!

On Saturday, our Speaker will be Jana Broglin, CG, OGSF (whom I have never heard of before) and she will be talking about black sheep ancestors and how there may be clues in unusual records that lead to locating more records, alternative Civil War records, newspaper research including how to add social history to your ancestor’s lives, and organization of your home office (which I could use more than anyone could imagine!).

I can’t wait for Friday to get here – these topics are all of interest to me!!  I sure hope I can learn some valuable information and find more records from all the sources I will be learning about!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Grandma Modrell

Maxine W. Eneau was the only child of Perry B. Eneau and Carrie Alice Young.  She was born May 24, 1907 according to the St. Joseph, Missouri Record of Births.  My father had told me her middle name was Wilhelmina, however, he had told my stepmother it was a different middle name so I guess there is some debate there.  I have nothing stating what her middle name is.  I will update my information when I find something (if I ever do).

She graduated in 1926 from Lafayette High School in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri in 1926.  Her High School Yearbook states “Humor is my philosophy of existence”.  It went on to say “Maxine is a prominent member of the orchestra.  She says she is going to be a stenographer but we are inclined to believe she will be a musician and maybe a professional.  Glee Club, ‘Gypsy Rover’ and ‘College Days’.”  I can only assume the latter two (2) are plays she was in.  I have a violin that she had played, but I am unsure if it was one she played in High School or one she acquired thereafter.

Harry House Modrell and Maxine W. Eneau
in front of our house in Grandview, Missouri
She married Harry House Modrell on July 8, 1927 in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.

I don’t have any memories of her other than they used to have a bird in a cage (maybe a parakeet).

She died September 17, 1967 and is buried at Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grandpa Modrell

Harry House Modrell was born October 24, 1903 in St. Joseph, Missouri according to the St. Joseph Record of Births, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.  He was the only child of Arthur Ernest Modrell and Hattie Catherine House.

He used to tell a funny story about growing up across from a graveyard and having to check on the animals on their land on the other side.  It was a very dark night and he couldn’t see much.  He said he heard a noise behind him and turned around to see eyes staring back at him.  He was so scared that he doubled up his fist and hit the thing between the eyes.  After it stammered away, he realized it was a donkey he had just hit.  I can’t do this story justice, he was the only one who could tell this story to both keep you on the edge of your seat and, at the end, laugh until it hurt.  I hope to someday discover where this land was that he lived on.

He graduated from Central High School in 1924 in St. Joseph, Missouri.  His Senior Yearbook states “Harry has an enviable record, he has attended Central for four years and has never missed a day in spite of the fact that he must drive a long distance. He will attend Junior College.”  This is very impressive to me, and was something my father (Harry’s son) instilled in me.  My dad always said, you will go to school and if you can’t make it (due to illness), I can come and get you.  It sounds to me like my dad and I learned a valuable lesson of dedication from my Grandpa Modrell, one I still follow to this day.

He married Maxine Wilhelmina Eneau on July 8, 1927 in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.  I need to find the marriage record so I can discover where they were married.  I wish I had a wedding photo of them. 

Harry House Modrell and Maxine Wilhelmina Eneau
They had one (1) child, Jerry Eneau Modrell (my dad) who was born April 27, 1928.

In the 1950’s, they owned and operated a Grocery and General Store on Main Street in Dearborn, Platte County, Missouri.  I have a newspaper article dated April 14, 1977 titled “27 Years Ago” from the Dearborn Democrat in which it speaks of them as the owners.  The store was on the bottom level and they lived on the top level of their building.  I need to see if I can find an earlier article from when they opened the store.

At some point after Grandpa Modrell retired, he came to live with me and dad.  I believe it was around 1972.  Dad relocated to Topeka, Kansas in 1973 and Grandpa Modrell did not want to move with us.  We kept our house in Grandview, Missouri and Grandpa Modrell kept his house in St. Joseph, Missouri.  We would drive back to Grandview every weekend to take care of our house, while Grandpa Modrell would drive to St. Joseph every weekend to take care of his house.  Grandpa Modrell had told me he was keeping his house in St. Joseph for me to have someday.  This arrangement continued for many years.  In the latter 1970’s, someone had broken into Grandpa Modrell’s house and he had it boarded up.  He didn’t go to St. Joseph as often after that, but we continued to drive to Grandview every weekend to make sure Grandpa Modrell had groceries, and to pay the bills.

Each year on Memorial Day Weekend, I would go with Grandpa Modrell to lay flowers on the graves of my mother and Grandma Modrell.  I still make that trek as often as possible.  Grandpa Modrell’s health declined over the years and he eventually started walking with a cane, then went to a walker, then was placed in a small house owned by a nurse that would take care of her patients daily when he was unable to walk anymore.  On January 21, 1982, she called trying to get a hold of my dad because she had taken my Grandpa to the hospital.  I gave her his work number and waited for dad to let me know something.  When dad came home from work, I asked about Grandpa and he said my Grandpa passed away that afternoon from complications of Pneumonia.

He is buried in Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

1967 - Not A Typical Year

I was only five (5) years old, so I can only assume this year started off as a typical year.  However, before the year would end, I would have a few tragic losses.

On May 18, 1967, my parents (Jerry Eneau Modrell and Leona Frances Scott) filed for divorce.  The divorce was granted June 30, 1967.  I have the Kansas City Times newspaper clippings that prove those dates.  My dad had told me that he was granted the “care, custody and control” of us kids.  I need to get a copy of their divorce decree that would prove that statement.  He had said he was one of the first men in the state of Missouri to be awarded that type of custody.  My brother lived with my father, and for a very short time, I lived with my mother (see this post).

On September 17, 1967, my Grandma Modrell (Maxine W. Eneau) passed away.  I was told it was from eating with a dirty fork in a restaurant.  She got real sick and was placed in a hospital and within a short time, she passed away.  I do not have proof of this story and I did not hear this from my dad so I need to see if I am able to find some documentation to prove this statement.  She was laid to rest in Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.

On November 7, 1967, my mother (Leona Frances Scott) passed away.  She had not been feeling well and called my dad to see if she could get a flu shot (according to my dad, she was still on our insurance since back then the only choices were either a family plan or single plan and since he had custody of us kids, he carried the family insurance).  He let the clinic know she would be coming in for a flu shot.  On the way home, she stopped at friend’s house as she was getting sicker by the minute.  She laid down on the couch and within a few minutes, she had passed away.  She had a reaction to the Streptomycin shot she had received.  My Uncle Bill (one of her brothers) had told me he worked with a man who was in the hospital and received the same shot and died before the needle was out of his arm earlier that year.  I lost my mother twice this year – once to divorce, and then forever when she passed.  She was laid to rest in Green Lawn Cemetery, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri (it is located in Swope Park).

Several people have told me this year is the reason I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood.  From this point, I can only provide maybe five (5) different memories until I reached high school age.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Goin' To The Chapel

Scott-Modrell Marriage License

Jerry Eneau Modrell and Leona Frances Scott were married on June 12, 1954 in Raytown, Jackson County, Missouri.

Following is a rather long newspaper article that was cut from an unknown newspaper describing the wedding in great detail.  I will have to locate the newspaper so I can source this clipping.  It was given to me by an aunt (the wife of one of my mom’s brothers).  There are a lot of misspellings in this article and I will try to bracket [ ] those as much as possible.

            Miss Leona [Francis] Scott, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Scott of Buffalo, Mo., became the bride of Mr. Jerry Modrell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Modrell, of Dearborn, Mo., June 12, 1954 at the First Christian Church in Raytown.  Large baskets of colorful [gladolius] and white carnations decorated the chancel.  Rev. [Canegy] read the impressive double ring ceremony in the presence of the immediate relatives and close friends.
            The bride, who was given in marriage by her father, was lovely in a white lace and net gown.  The lace fitted bodice had self covered tiny buttons down the front from a Peter Pan collar to the waist line.  She wore matching elbow length mitts.  The skirt was double net over white satin with lace incersion panels down each side.  Her illusion veil fell from a band of lace and seed pearls.  She carried a white Bible topped by a single Orchid, with white satin streamers.
            Mr. and Mrs. “Bud” Miller, close friends, attended the couple.  Mrs. Miller, who acted as matron of honor, wore pale blue nylon with a halo of blue Lilacs and carried pink Carnations.  Mr. Modrell wore a navy blue business suit.  “Bud” Miller, acting as best man, wore a grey business suit.  Each had a white Carnation boutonnieres.
            Mrs. Scott chose for her daughter’s wedding, a blue-grey nylon with white accessories.  Mrs. Modrell was dressed in [biege] with white accessories.  Each wore a corsage of pink Carnations.
Scott-Modrell Wedding Photo
            Shortly after the wedding ceremony, a reception was held in the lovely home of close friends of the bride and groom.  In the living room the arrangement for the receiving line was most beautiful with huge baskets of flowers and palms.  The bride’s table was very pretty – covered with a [corcheted] lace table cloth which the bride’s mother made as a wedding gift to her daughter.  The wedding cake was three-tier topped with a miniature bride and groom, and was surrounded by a blanket of fern and blue daisies, flanked by white candles.  After the bride cut the first piece of cake and served her husband and herself, Mrs. [Isarode] (Main) Mann, cousin of the bride, had charge of cutting the cake.  Mrs. Geneva (Beth) Jennings presided at the punch bowl.  Mrs. Wm. Scott, sister-in-law of the bride, assisted in serving of the guests.  Mrs. John Roy Johnson had charge of the guest book.  Mrs. Mattie (Main) [Laffon], cousin of the bride, assisted by an aunt, Mrs. Raymond Johnson, had charge of the beautiful as well as useful gifts.
            Mr. and Mrs. Modrell left on a two [weeks] honeymoon trip through the West.  Upon returning, they will be at home in Kansas City.  They both are employed by The Kansas City Life Ins. Co.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I Wish I Had Known Her Better

My mother, Leona Frances Scott, was born March 2, 1935.  I am still awaiting proof of that birth date, but for now, that is the only date I have.  Her tombstone only gives the year of birth and death, so that proves to be of no value here.  I also need to find out where she was born.  I know she lived in Hume, Bates County, Missouri, but I don’t know if she was born there.

She married my father, Jerry Eneau Modrell, on June 12, 1954 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

My mother and father were divorced on June 30, 1967 and my father was awarded custody of us children, although I do remember living with her for a very short period of time in an apartment in Belton, Cass County, Missouri.  When I was in my early teens, I asked my dad why I was living with him at the time of her death.  He told me that one day I had called him crying really hard and told him I wanted to come home.  He told me he did not ask any questions, he just hung up the phone, drove over to my moms and took me and my things back to his house.  And that is where I remained.

She passed away November 7, 1967 and her funeral was on my 6th birthday.  This is where I pulled the title of this post – I wish I had known her better.

According to my father, one of her brothers (I believe it was my Uncle Bill) requested that he bury my mother as his wife and the mother of their children instead of just a single woman leaving two (2) children behind.  I was never able to confirm this with my Uncle Bill prior to his death.  I just know that my father did make all the arrangements for her funeral and even purchased a plot next to her in the cemetery in case something happened to one of us kids.

I know very little about my mom as my memories seem to be suppressed.  Some people believe it is because I suffered a lot of tragedy when I was young (my Grandma Modrell - my dad's mom - passed away just two (2) months prior to this and just three (3) months prior is when my parents were divorced).  So I had a lot of life-changing events in a very short time frame while I was little.  I am in the process of getting some “stories” about my mom from her family so I can get to know her better.

Some members of my mom’s family have found a few mementos and photos and were gracious enough to pass them on to me.  I am extremely thankful to them for those items.

My mother is buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Swope Park, Kansas City, Missouri.