Voices from My Past: Heard Through a Blog Post!

It is amazing how small this world has become thanks to technology and the reach of social media and blogs. My posts are viewed more than a thousand times each month including a sizeable percentage of views from outside the United States. Two months ago, a mid-west reader responded to one of my earlier posts with the comment: “I believe we are related!” Inasmuch as I had long ago (1948), at age eight, moved with my family to California from Chicago, Illinois, I was surprised and intrigued.

It so happens that Mary is a “lost” second cousin of mine originally from Chicago whose Grandfather Elmer was my Uncle Elmer – the older brother of my dad. Here is Elmer standing in front of his father’s radio repair shop on Diversey Avenue in Chicago, sometime in the early nineteen fifties. His dad was also named Elmer, and he was my paternal grandfather.

It is my grandfather and his tiny radio repair shop, mentioned in that post of mine, which caught second cousin Mary’s eye. The last portion of the post contains a picture of my grandparents (Mary’s great-grandparents) standing behind the counter of their little shop in Chicago (circa 1947) – the only photo of its kind in the entire family, apparently.

Inasmuch as I grew up only a mile or two from my grandparents and their “mom & pop” store with living quarters in the back, I quite vividly recall that shop and have often wished there were another picture of it and them… somewhere. Mary fortunately was able to provide the first photo, used here, showing the exterior of the shop which no longer exists. I well recall the red/orange neon sign in the window announcing: “Radio Service.” My memory bell “rang” at first glance.

On a 2004 vacation trip to Chicago, my wife and I returned to the scenes of my boyhood. I was amazed to find that most everything was still there, including our old brick apartment building, all looking just as recalled some 56 years later. Sadly, the building which housed the little radio repair shop at 6755 Diversey Ave. had long ago been cleared away for a large banquet hall/restaurant which today covers much of the block. I had really hoped to find that little storefront, the seat of so much of our family’s history…and my boyhood consciousness.

Soon after “finding” second cousin Mary, I met her cousin Linda, via E-mail. We have begun to fill-in a number of blanks in the Kubitz family history by exchanging recollections and pictures. Interestingly, both Mary and Linda were not at all sure about the history/existence of my grandparent’s radio repair shop on Diversey Ave. I, on the other hand had no knowledge at all of their grandfather’s (Elmer, pictured in the first photo) later radio repair shop on Belmont Ave. in Chicago. And so begins an interesting quest to learn more about the family history!

I am glad that second cousin Mary “discovered” me and my blog and took the time to verify the family connection. As so often happens, family history gets lost as time and distance take their inevitable toll. For me, leaving Chicago in 1948 when United Air Lines transferred my father, meant severing close ties with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There were no overt reasons why that should have happened so completely as it did. Coming from a family of five kids, as in my father’s case, family dynamics are always a part of the equation, but, mainly, the effect of time and distance took their toll. The daily scramble for a better life takes time and attention away from extended family solidarity. That was especially true back then when Chicago seemed so far away from San Francisco, California.

Thank goodness I was old enough to have collected indelible images and impressions of my close relatives before leaving them. I have always remained curious about them and sad that I never really got to know them as well as I would have liked.

For more background on this post and my personal/family history, click on these links to other applicable posts of mine:

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/vintage-radio-tv-repairing-and-building-things-yourself/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/chicago-returning-to-my-boyhood-roots/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/the-work-ethic-and-the-dignity-of-excellence/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/family-funnies-great-laughs/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/a-most-unbelievable-encounter-thanks-to-lawrence-welk/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/aviation-scrapbook-a-long-lost-treasure-from-the-attic/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/cowboywestern-music-from-chicago/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/ruth/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/fifty-years-of-marriage-and-five-days-more/

https://reasonandreflection.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/my-wife-related-to-anne-boleyn-and-a-movie-mogul/

Time for a Change: My New Blog Posting Routine

After posting a weekly reflection (mini-essay) for close to two and one-half years, now, I have decided it is time for a change. Beginning now, future posts will be on an occasional basis, following no fixed schedule. For those of you who have enjoyed my regular, weekly posts but have never listed yourself with WordPress as a “follower” of my blog, your best option, at this point, is to become a follower of my blog by clicking “Home” on my blog header and then clicking the grey “FOLLOW” button at the upper right-hand column. Some early readers who never enrolled with WordPress as a follower have been receiving E-mail notifications of new posts directly from me as a courtesy. That will no longer happen, so be sure to find and click the “FOLLOW” button to be notified directly by WordPress of each new post as it appears.

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Being a follower entails nothing more than receiving an E-mail notification directly from WordPress each time I post a new reflection. There is no other connotation or obligation involved, and your E-mail address goes nowhere else other than to WordPress for the stated purpose. That is a simple, convenient way for you to know when a new reflection is posted on my blog – so much better than periodically searching for a new post. You can opt-out as a follower at any time.

Notion of Motion Author_LightInstead of a regular, weekly schedule, I plan to post only every three or four weeks, typically. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed reasoning and reflecting these past months with you, my readers, other things in life demand more of my time at this point. There is no greater pleasure for me than sharing with kindred spirits the simple pleasures and, occasionally, the profound revelations that life has to offer. Along with providing the joy of sharing with anyone interested, my blog has served this writer as a written record of who I am, my personal life experiences, and the people, events, and ideas that have seemed important to me throughout my life. In other words, these 123 mini-essays have done double-duty as a written memoir for my grandchildren and their children, someday…and I propose to self-publish them in total as such at a future date (in suitably limited numbers).

My blog archive (click “Home” on the blog header) contains all 123 of my posts, and these are organized by date. They can be searched by category and/or “keywords.” I hope you will make full use of the archive and continue to enjoy my past posts in this way.  Thanks for coming along with me on this journey – I hope to see you all on future posts!

Best Wishes,

                                                                             Alan

THINK BIG THOUGHTS, BUT RELISH SMALL PLEASURES!