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SPOILER ALERT: This post should only be read by those calloused to the harsh realities of corporeal life who don’t suspend belief for flights of fancy and wonder. It may contain suggestions that confirm Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth,” but be a rude awakening for those under the age of 12.
I never knew there was such an observation as “National Tooth Fairy Day,” but I suppose the Tooth Fairy should have her own day too, if there is a “National Cookie Day” (Dec. 4), a Johnny Appleseed Day (Mar 11), and even a “Multiple Personality Day” (Mar 5).
What is this topic doing on a family history blog? Well, first of all, blame Thomas MacEntee and his wonderful “Geneabloggers” website that lists such things and transports me down memory lane when I really should be making a trip to Home Depot and the CPA. Secondly, this is the “Year of the Story” per many genealogy conferences and speakers, and telling a story about the Tooth Fairy is just one way that we can be remembered by that third generation from us that normally might only know our name, if even that. It is a way to help future generations connect to us.
I have kept a journal for our son about his life from the time before he was born- not entries every day, but just when I want to share something with him that I think he will enjoy knowing in his later years. I do hope that he reads all the volumes one day and shares them with his children. (I also hope that he and his descendants will be able to read cursive then. Cursive is already almost a foreign language to teens and twenty-somethings!) My sister has done the same for her son, though she is smart- and a good typist (keyboardist?)- so she has typed them for him.
When our son was in 4th or 5th grade, I was chauffeuring a mini-van load of Cub Scouts home from the bowling alley, where they got a back-of-the-lanes tour to learn all about how the mechanisms work, and then they got to bowl a few games to earn their Bowling Beltloop. We were stuck in traffic, and during a lull in the conversation, I heard one of the tired boys pipe up, “So, you don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, do you?” My heart stopped for a moment, my mouth started to form words, but I held back as I saw in the rear-view mirror the panicked look in our son’s eyes. All the other boys had older siblings except for ours, so I was afraid to hear what would come next.
A rollicking discussion of preteen male bravado and smarts followed, with our son totally silent on the subject. The existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were debated hotly along with the Tooth Fairy, and the benefits of each, including what kind of swag was received and the quantity. Science intervened with these smart boys, and our son did chime in on the physics of some of these journeys. Somehow I held my tongue, knowing this was a rite of passage I was witnessing. I also knew that some of the boys had recently been believers, so it was interesting to see how they were processing the information. Being a parent was/is a wonderful psychological and sociological laboratory, and as a Scout leader, I got to witness all my book-learning in many ways. My fear and reactions were a part of this laboratory exercise as well.
The bottom line was that they decided that they believed in the Easter Bunny but NOT Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and we thankfully finally escaped the 5pm traffic jam. I later called each parent to relay the discussion, and then asked our son about what he thought. He told me that he thought the other boys were wrong- they thought they knew everything because they had big brothers. He had seen the Easter Bunny in his room one night, after all, and the Tooth Fairy too. (He did- he really talked to her, all sleepy-like. Somehow I do know that for sure…) I mentioned that one had to believe or those events would not happen. A mercenary nature blended with our son’s rich imagination, and the traditions continued at our house for some years.
Despite a much better knowledge of science and nature, the Easter Bunny still leaves tufts of his cottontail on the floor into our son’s bedroom these many years later, and gifts magically appear under our Christmas tree, although usually before Dec. 24. The annual Easter egg hunt usually reveals restaurant gift cards and dollar bills instead of toys and change, so I guess believing really can make things come true.
So “National Tooth Fairy day”??? Yes, let’s celebrate it and all the other crazy days with stories. Maybe they are meant to make us stop and reflect on how the everyday affects us throughout our life. Maybe they will evoke those sweet memories that should be shared with our children and their children.
I hope that those reading this, and the many more who will never venture to this blog, will write down their precious memories and stories told by their ancestors. It is such a sweet, rich legacy for our future!
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Image from Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 2/28/2014.
2) http://geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogging-events-week-28-february-7-march-2014. Accessed 2/14/2014.
Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.
Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
Thomas MacEntee has a great post for December 30, 2013, entitled “2014: Putting the “Gee” Back in Genealogy,” at http://geneabloggers.com/2014-putting-gee-genealogy/. In this post with a great leading image, Thomas shares his genealogy goals for 2014, and talks about “Reclaiming the Wonder of Genealogy.” I like how he talks about a kinder, gentler genealogy community too, sort of like in the good ‘ole pre-computer days of a SASE with every query. The article is a good read and provides some food for thought, as do so many of Thomas’ posts. I am definitely a follower of his blogs and always enjoy and learn from his webinars.
As an aside, I really like his title because it suggests the ‘proper’ way, i.e., the way I think, “genealogy” should be pronounced. All those phonics lessons in a midwestern Catholic school would require that first “e” in “genealogy” to be a long vowel- if a short vowel, it would be spelled “gennealogy.” Additionally, since the first syllable is “ge-,” again, Sister Mary Phyllis would insist that “e” be long. It seems these days that the short-vowel “gennealogists” are now out-numbering the long-vowel “genealogists,” and now dictionaries include both pronunciations. (Long “e” first though in all I checked.) So I guess I just need to move on and direct my energies to finding the parents of Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885, see http://heritageramblings.net/2013/12/09/mystery-monday-the-murrells-of-virginia-and-iowa/), rather than worrying about pronunciation of my favorite hobby.
Happy 2014 to all!
Harold “Harry” Broida was the last of eight sons born to John (Zelig) Broida (1857-1938) and Gittel (Gertrude) Frank (1859-1898). Born December 25, 1897 in Pennsylvania, his mother passed away the next year, and he was living with his Uncle Jacob Broida, and Jacob’s wife Annie, in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1910 US Federal census. His brother Morris was living there too.
[Correction 12/2/13: Harold/ Harry and his brother Morris were not living with their Uncle Jacob, even though the 1910 census states they were nephews of the head of household. Jacob was actually the cousin of their father, John. John’s father was Joseph, and Joseph’s brother Theodore was the father of this Jacob (1857-1932, lived in St. Louis after he immigrated to US in 1886). This solves a mystery that Hilda, grand-daughter of Morris who was the son of Peter, always had- she wanted to know who “Yankel” (Hebrew for ‘Harold’) was that lived with Jacob. Thanks to AG for the correction- and the 2 nice chats on the phone.]
Leah Schreiber immigrated to the United States in 1906 from Russia when she was just 5 years old. Her parents are unknown. She was working at Frank & Seder, a clothing store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she was just 15, as a clerk. In the 1917 Pittsburgh City Directory she was listed as a Stock Girl at Frank & Seder. She may have met Harold Broida there, as he was the Head Stockman in September, 1918, per his World War I Draft Registration. Harold married Leah Schreiber about 1917-1918- he was 20, she just 16.
Harold’s World War I draft card completed 12 Sep 1918 lists him as being short with a medium build, and brown hair and eyes. He stated Leah Broida was his next of kin, and they were living at 114 Wooster Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was just 20 years old, so it is surprising that he was not drafted for World War I.
Harold and Leah lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the remainder of their married life. In 1932 they were living at 418 Highland Ave S, Apt. 610 in Pittsburgh, and in 1946 were living at “The Frontenac Apartments.” The 1940 US Federal Census noted that he was working 45 hours per week as a buyer, and made $5,000+ – only 2 others on that census page made that amount, and most neighbors made much less. Harold and Leah never had children.
Harold died in 1953 at the age of 55.
Leah lived another 18 years, with her death occurring in 1971.
Notes, Sources, and References: 1) Family oral history 2) 1910 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: St Louis Ward 4, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_812; Page: 23A; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1374825. Ancestry.com, accessed 15 Nov 2013. Living at 1448 N. 11th St. 3) World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918: Source Citation: Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1908016; Draft Board: 4. Ancestry.com, accessed 15 Nov 2013. 4) 1932, 1946 Pittsburgh, PA City Directories: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed 15 Nov 2013. 5) 1940 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3655; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 69-166. Ancestry.com, accessed 15 Nov 2013. 6) The Jewish Criterion, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, 27 Feb 1953, p21, c4. 7) Find A Grave: Harold H. Broida Memorial # 79579417, and Leah S. Broida Memorial # 79579467. Headstone photographs used with permission of photographer. Accessed 15 Nov 2013. Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.