My Life Story in a Suitcase...
These stories pertain to the items found inside
This suitcase came with us from Germany in 1950. It contains all the old family photos, some genealogy charts and stories of my families' past...
Yes, my life story in a suitcase!
It's one of the things that I would grab on the way out if a Tornado came *!*
This very suitcase accompanied my mother's travel's back and forth to Europe for many years. When mom passed I decide to keep it because of its uniqueness and her initials of EvM (Elfriede von Meyer).
Most of my family stories are unique and different from the norm, some are educational, informative and interesting in many ways...I do hope you will enjoy them.
Passports and personal items
Favorite things in the suitcase -
Recording the trips
Because mom liked traveling back and forth to Europe, she took a great deal of photos and kept all the tickets, napkins, receipts and cards that pertained to the trips.
As a child I found it annoying, her always taking photos...but now I wish I had more of them. One must remember, once that time in your life is gone... then it's only a memory.
Of course now I’m so happy she took photos, because all I have is the memory with the images. It brings her back to me, and that‘s heartfelt.
Having photos and or video's for that memory of past events, are the only things that can recapture a time and place with that visual.
Album of Circus and Trapeze days
Memorabilia of Mom in the Circus
Inside the photo album
They had this book at the Library, someone dropped it into a giveaway box...I gave it to a friend. Great book that helps you discover many things...like determining the type of image you may possess.
The clothing and hairstyles of the times, even accessories can help dating the time period.
If a name of a photographer is printed, you can research that name for a time, place and name.
Comparing facial features and recognizing similarities helps confirm identity
Talk to your elderly family members, ask questions and listen to stories, all the while writing or recording it.
There are many more suggestions and hints.
Some photos taken by my dad
Mom and several ladies sitting on a Trapeze at 1:54 minute
Reader Contacts and Connections
Someone read this story and discovered we were related through my mother's side of the family! I never had much information about an extended Fredersdorff family side. So to find that someone in Berlin contacted me to let me know that he had genealogy information and some photos of my mother and family. I was very excited and happy to have this new connection of a second cousin. It's amazing how much good luck I've had from my webpages regarding my family history.
Books related to old photographs & genealogy
Interesting books that can help you in identifying old photographs...it's amazing how much a photograph can talk.
Mom's "Fredersdorff" side of the family
Handwritten list of Birthdays, several of dad's photos from Garmisch
Genealogy chart and other saved items
Mom, dad, grandmother
Sis and me
Another Project I started
miniature paintings of my childhood memories
When I first went through this suitcase I decided to do another project, one that has been on my mind for many years.
Using the photos above were my inspiration to paint miniatures of my early childhood memories. I created a blog with these paintings once in a while...painting a day. It's not an easy task to paint "almost" every day. As an artist I have to be in the mood ...like most artists I believe.
My last painting for this series has been posted and I will work on a new type of series of my childhood memories.
Photos of friends
People that my Parents knew...
from show business to nobility...
Some of my parents friends were in German show-business, like Hannes Stelzer and Hans A. Schlettow and others that I can't call.
My father was a Baron and a bit older then my mom, he traveled in a circle of nobility, his godfathers where the famed Freiherr Richard Kapherr-Lockwitz and Graf Wilhelm Schwerin.
The well known Count von Strachwitz of the Panzer Div. was a very good friend and he asked my dad to bring us to the Castle Gross Stein to get us away from the bombings in Berlin.
Dad's best friend was a German Race Car driver named Hans Stuck and believe it or not, dad also was good friends with The Red Baron as seen below in a photo of them in the plane.
Pilot and movie star
Hannes Stelzer a movie star, a Luftwaffe flier and a man my mother use to date, they where friends for years. When we stayed at the castle Gross Stein, he was stationed there and wrote letters to my mom while on sorties. I happen to have three handwritten letters that where from Hannes to my mom. I could not make out the details in the letters because the handwriting was difficult to read, however I did see my name in it and the fact he was looking for dolls and candy for my sister and me.
Several years ago I had the letters translated by the famed Utah genealogist Horst Reshke. The last letter Hannes wrote was absolutely beautiful, touching and sad, it actually was several days before he lost his life. My aunt claimed he committed suicide in his plane, but on the internet it said he was shot down, well maybe he allowed himself to be shot down, because he was very depressed over the continuing war. He was so young when he died.
These letters where obviously love letters and I can't judge my mother or Hannes for their continued involvement, the war makes one very different in thought and actions. I will always treasure those letters and pictures, they must have meant a great deal to my mom, since she never destroyed them.
My dads dear friend Hans Stuck
Hans Stuck was my fathers best friend, he even mentioned Hans in his will. Stuck was an acclaimed race car driver and mountain hill-climb racer, Champion in both.
His son, Hans-Joachim "Striezel" Stuck is also a famed race car driver....as well are his sons Ferdinand and Johannes involved in racing.
The image shown here is a note that Hans sent to my father, it was given to me the last time I visited an aunt in Germany...I am so happy to have this, and how nice of her to have parted with it.
Dad and the Red Baron
Manfred von Richthofen the Red Baron
A photo of my father seated in the rear seat of the Bi-Plane, with the Red Baron in the front...this photo is from a larger version cropped and colorized...
please do not save or use this image without my permission, it is copyright protected
Hans Adalbert Schlettow, a German movie star
Hans Adalbert Schlettow
Hans Adalbert Schlettow was a friend of both of my parents, he also was in show business. I'm a bit surprised there‘s not more written about him on the internet.
If anyone knows more information about Hans Schlettow, please contact me.
My thoughts ~
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to keep old photographs and letters of the past. Ask your parents and grandparents questions, write them down. I'm talking to those young readers who like me didn't want anything to do with "old stuff." And ask questions, trust me you will regret it someday if you don't. Your parentage and your genealogy is very important, not only for the sake of knowledge, but for your DNA, health records and just the simple fact of "Who You are!"
If you find old photographs and items passed down from a relative, DON'T throw them away or give it to the Goodwill...place them in a safe place and keep it there till you get older, you'll appreciate these items. It's wonderful to pass on to your children, even if they were not famous or did anything grand, it's still who you are. As it stands now both of my kids have no interest. BUT, when I'm gone they will have wished they had talked about it...I think this is why I'm making webpages on this subject, and write about the ones that I can recall...I’m glad at least some of them are here...but I wished I had paid even more attention.
My family lost everything, some things were saved from the war, but what's left in Germany (property) I will never know. That information was lost when my mother died and I never bothered to ask.
Please think about what I have mentioned above....treasure your family items, even if not a good memory attached, it will change as you get older.
Copyright and All Rights Reserved, including the stories, writings and Photographs by Delia Pacheco.
© 2008 Delia