My daughter was in Arlington yesterday and took a few photos as flags were being placed at all gravesites in preparation for Memorial Day.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
On March 6, 1944, an uncle I've never met died in WWII on an island in the South Pacific. Per the newspaper article below, he was a member of the famed First Marine Division and fought in many places during the war including Guadalcanal.
One of the many stories I've heard over the years is that Raymond's parents - my maternal grandparents - refused to accept the insurance money detailed in the two letters below.
Many years later, a decade after my grandparents wrote to the VA and asked them to stop sending the checks, it was discovered that someone in the US Postal Service was intercepting the monthly payments and cashing the checks.
Above/Below: Ray on the South Street Bridge in Wilkes-Barre PA in July 1941
Raymond M. Raykovitz was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on March 3, 1949.
Above: My Mom/Raymond's sister - pics taken 57 years apart
Posted by Forty Ghosts at 1:47 AM
Sunday, January 17, 2016
To the best of my Mom's recollection, and that of her siblings, the "Seven Sisters" rose bush in the pictures below was planted approximately ~65 years ago in the yard of their parents' home on Kent Lane in the Mayflower section of Wilkes-Barre, PA. Although the stories do vary a little, based upon other photos I have, it does appear to have been a Mother's Day gift from Mary's son Stanley and his wife Jean.
As I was cleaning out the Kent Lane property between 2012 and its eventual sale in October 2014, I pondered the fate of that bush. It had seen better days, but it still bloomed every year and - in addition to the hostas along the sidewalk - was one of the few plants surviving on the property from when John and Mary Raykovitz were alive.
About a month prior to selling the property, my sister and I decided to dig up some of the hostas ( they survived ) along with the rose bush. Based upon the 60+ year-old root system I was able to hack out of the ground, I truly doubted the bush would survive. When I got it home, I kept it well watered, prepped the spot I decided to plant it in, and mulched it liberally to protect the roots for what turned out to be a very harsh 2014-2015 winter.
Little by little, the transported rose bush began throwing out new shoots. This past summer, several roses bloomed that we were able to share with my Mom and her sister Helen.
As the new owner transformed the Kent Lane property into his home, one of the first things he did was to remove the front hedges and all of the trees and shrubs in the side yard to allow for off-street parking that is hard to come by on that narrow lane. The pink-flowering dogwood tree in the 4th picture below - now gone - was a Mother's Day gift I gave to my Mom in 1980. Seeing that ripped out did not disturb me as much as it would have if the rose bush was a casualty of his changes...but thankfully it was not.
As the bush appears to have established itself at its new location, I'll be doing some heavy pruning this spring to - hopefully - encourage new shoots to emerge.
In the end, I view that simple rose bush as a living touchstone to the past.
Above: Mary Barbara (Geffert) Raykovitz (circa 1960)
Below: Mary's three daughters - Rita, Helen & Mary (circa 1980)
Above/Below: Rose bush @ Kent Lane circa June 2014
Below: Relocated rose bush in 2015
More to follow.
Posted by Forty Ghosts at 3:46 AM
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Out of the blue...again, I've received additional pics and pieces of the past from a descendant of Frank Geffert, my mother's (Mary Barbara (Raykovitz) Williams) grandfather.
My thanks to Pat Hennessey-Wing for providing the items below.
Below: Frank Geffert, daughter Josephine Geffert and granddaughter Helen Geffert-Reggie
Above: Josephine Geffert-Gutkowski and brother John Stanley Geffert
Below: Mary Banik-John Stanley Geffert Wedding 27 July 1914
Above: Josephine Geffert-Louis Gutkowski Wedding 21 November 1922
And here's a pic I took in Georgetown that I do not believe I've posted previously.
Posted by Forty Ghosts at 1:59 AM
Friday, January 1, 2016
Above: L to R
Helen Raykovitz Bolacker - 85
Mary Barbara Raykovitz Williams - 83
Both are granddaughters of Frank & Helena Geffert
Stanley & Katherine Rajkowicz
Picture taken on 27 December 2015
On the wall above them is a plaque awarded to the Raykovitz family in ~1940 for having the most children enrolled in Marymount High School ( Wilkes-Barre, PA ) at one time.
Three other Raykovitz siblings are still alive and well; Rita (91), Stanley (88), and Bernard Michael (Mickey) (81).
Picture taken on 27 December 2015
Above: And here's a pic of the great-great grandchildren of Frank & Helena Geffert;
L to R:
Bryan Williams, Lisa Williams, Aunt Helen, my Mom, Lauren Williams and Andrew LeVasseur.
More pics to follow.
Happy New Year.
Keep the pics coming...and thanks.
Posted by Forty Ghosts at 1:27 PM
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
I began this blog in 2013.
I was rehabbing/recuperating @ home from injuries sustained in a fall on 13 January 13 while cleaning out my mother's family (Raykovitz) homestead in the Mayflower section of Wilkes-Barre.
Over those 6 months, mostly while sitting in a wheelchair, I went through dozens of boxes and containers taken from the Kent Lane property and sorted through hundreds of family photos and documents.
Over the almost three years that have passed, mostly through Statcounter, I've seen evidence of people from all over the world visiting this blog. It was my hope that, eventually, family & friends that I've never met would stumble across it and add to the Raykovitz/Geffert - Kras/Maslyk family history with photos, documents and anything else they wished to share.
Turns out another descendant of John Geffert ( my matrilineal grandmother's father ) lives in southeastern PA less than 30 minutes away. He sent the pics below, and I'm hoping there are more to follow from other members of the extended Geffert/Adamczyk family.
This is just way too cool.
Above: (Aunt) Josie Geffert-Gutkowski
Below: Mary Barbara Geffert-Raykovitz and Josie
Above: Mary Barbara Geffert-Raykovitz
Below: Nellie Geffert-Dotzel and Sally Geffert-Adamczyk & others
Above: Sally Geffert-John Adamczyk Wedding
Below: (L-R) Unknown, Mary Geffert Raykovitz and Sally Geffert Adamczyk
Above: Sally Geffert-Adamczyk & unknown
Below: Sally Geffert Adamczyk
All photos above courtesy of Jeff Kascsak - great-grandson of Sally Geffert-Adamczyk.
More to follow...
Posted by Forty Ghosts at 1:24 AM