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Merry Christmas Alice Ruedy - An Adventure in Ancestry.com
Hurry Home For Christmas!
Allow me to Introduce Mrs Robert Ruedy
Need a tad of Christmas cheer today? Want to hear a really cool story? It doesn't matter if this found you in June or July or December, Christmas cheer is something that you should carry with you all year long. This will be the best cool story on the internet you've seen in a long time. Guaranteed. This cool story even be considered a "Christmas Miracle" by some.
The lady over here on the right is Alice Ruedy. The cool story is about how we met? It's quite an interesting string of events. If you have any since of cosmic destiny and the likes, then pull up a chair, because, while this makes perfect since to me, for some of you, this may be, as they say, "a doosie!"
Alice and I met in Cambria, Ca at Antiques on Main. My wife and I were in the Central Coast of California celebrating her birthday for the weekend and went to Cambria for the afternoon. We both enjoy browsing in antique stores and poking around.
Personally, I've always felt a strong pull from the past and have often wondered how I wound up being born in 1972 when being born in 1902 would have made more since to my style.
I drive an 07 Ford Mustang, but let me tell you, a 1931 Ford Model A just fits me a whole lot better! While I enjoy contemporary music, Rock and Roll, and the likes, if I got stuck on a dessert island with a Victrola and a bunch of Benny Goodman 78's, I'd be OK. That's just me. So perusing an antique store allows me to touch those eras and time travel just a little bit.
So, back to Alice...
A little music to set the mood...
Back to Alice
I'm walking through this antique store and I come across and old box on an old stool. Inside this box, which probably held some kind of citrus in it's heyday, were photographs. These photos were pictures of people. There were tin types, brady stands, portraits, but nothing newer than the 30's.
The whole time I'm looking at these, I'm thinking, these pictures are someone's Grandma, Uncle, Sister, Brother, Family. What in the hell are they doing in this box in an antique store in Cambria California?
I have spent the last 6 years or so "tinkering" (and rather obsessively at times) over my family tree and learning my family's history. So let me just tell you that the last place on earth I'd want a picture of my Great, Great, Great Grandpappy Alonzo Bradley to be would be at an antique store in Cambria, California!
Now, one photo in particular "spoke" to me. I'm not sure what it was that captivated me, but as I looked on the back of the picture, lo and behold was a name, an address, and even an old telephone number.
The name on the back was "Mrs Robert Ruedy."
So I put the picture back and walked away.
Yeah, that's what I did. I then walked around the store some more. Within 10 minutes, I was back with Mrs Robert Ruedy. I though to myself, "what if..."
"No way, dude," I responded. Pipe dream, dumb-ass... "Yeah, but what if... come on, pay it forward and all that crap..."
"Dude, let me get this straight, you're trying to tell me right now that you're gonna buy this picture, take it home, hit the internet and find Mrs Robert Ruedy's family and return this picture to it's rightful owner. You're nuts!"
"Yeah, I guess you're right..." Back goes the picture into the old citrus box.
I argued with myself for another 15 or 20 minutes and "pay it forward" prevailed plus the feeling that this could easily turn into a story line for some Hallmark Cristmas Special or something silly.
Besides, the romantic in me couldn't let it go. Mrs. Ruedy deserved to go home. Where ever that may be.
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Tuesday Night (the one after Saturday in Cambria)
First off, I Google the address on the back, just for fits and shiggles. House is still standing. Then I Goolgle the name. There's a few out there, but nothing that fits or matches the address.
Ancestry.com What will YOU discover?
Off to Ancestry.com. Quickly, I find in the 1930s Census, living at the address listed on the photo, Robert and Alice Ruedy. Holy Crap!
After a few more searches and looking around Ancestry, I find a family tree with Robert Ruedy in it.
OK, I say, here goes nothing...
Email Number 1
This would sound strange anywhere BUT Ancestry.com, but I have a photograph I found in an antique store in Cambria, CA. The photo is of a woman in her early 20's and my guess is it was taken in the 20's or 30's. On the back is the following:
Mrs Robert Ruedy please call before coming
1358 E 78th Street
near Parmelee St.
Los Angeles, CA
Any bells ringing for you? I'm happy to scan and email the picture to you. If this is a relative of yours, I'd like to make sure this photo is in your possession and not for sale in an antique store.
Look forward to hearing from you,
The Next Afternoon...
Subject: RE: MRS ROBERT RUEDY
Thank you so very much for contacting me. Yes Mrs Robert Ruedy is my relative. Her name was Alice.
If you would scan it and email it to me that would be great. If you could mail it to me I would gratefully reimburse you for your postage.
If you come across any other pictures of the Ruedy's please don't hesitate to write.
Thank you in advance,
[relative of Alice Ruedy]
I'm attaching the picture as well as the back so you can review it. If this is for sure your relative, I'll happily mail it off to you and although I appreciate the offer, will not need reimbursement for postage. I would be curious to know how it may have wound up in an antique store in Cambria, CA however. I was amazed at how many pictures there were for sale in this box. These pictures are someone's parents, brothers, grand parents, etc and they each have a story and also belong with their family. So if this woman is your relative, it will be my pleasure to help this captured moment of her essence return to her family.
Coming back my way...
She is indeed a relative of mine. Some of the family (which was born in Illinois) moved to California, for health reasons and some just followed their older siblings. As to how their pictures would have ended up in an antique shop is beyond me. In 1930 they were living at 1358 E 8th Street, to the best of my knowledge they never had children together. He died in 1947 and she died in 1961 in Santa Barbara.
I really appreciate you finding me. Again thank you so very much!
Please send the picture to...
Chrismas in the 30's
So There You Have It.
Photo's going in the mail this weekend... Alice Ruedy will spend Christmas at home with her family. At least this one specific unique moment of Alice Ruedy's life captured in time will spend Christmas at home with her family. Did a piece of her essence survive in this photo and somehow communicate with me? I don't know. I'd like to think so...
This week I text-ed my wife the following statement:
"Use the Force Luke! 'Listen to the Universe when it's talking to you' is the moral of this story!"
And there you go. In life you will have "gut feelings" you will feel yourself being pulled in a direction. Listen to it and trust in it. We live in a massive universe with significantly more stuff out there we do not understand verses the stuff we do.
Cosmic connection? Big deal? Major Moment? I don't know. I called the Antique store where I bought the photo to let the lady I bought it from know what had happened, her response was slightly apathetic and she didn't remember talking to me. Maybe I had the wrong lady on the phone, but it sure sounded like her.
Here's what I can tell you for certain at the end of the day: this is just a very cool story and the next time I'm "spoken" to by a picture in an antique store, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm buying it!