Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Google Searches and a Hundred Posts

As those of you who have a website know, you can track statistics in almost every imaginable way through Google. I don't get an overwhelming amount of traffic, especially when compared to my brother's blog, Rhythm Connection. Though stats can't tell you who is looking at your blog, they can tell you the countries, states, and cities of the people who viewed your blog – if you wanted and had the time to review the information. Since this is my 100th post, and it's less then three months from my "Blogoversary" (yes, they really call it that), I thought I would share with you, my readers, what stat I find to be interesting: how people found my blog. Whether by accident or by design, I find it amazing that someone searching with some little nugget of text found deep within my 100 posts, Google would send them my link and they would enter my blog, Unshoveling The Past.

Since this is the end of the year, I also wanted to share with you some of the topics that I will try to cover in 2012. I have a few more stories in the Life In Botswana series, including my second trip to visit my parents. Also the new movie, War Horse, has made me feel guilty that I haven't shared any of my grandfather's World War I diary or stories. Carl O. Ericke put together an incredible war scrapbook which I will share with you over the course of the year. Research into the family tree is still ongoing, and I am hoping to post much more about my Norwegian ancestors as soon as I get confirmation on the photos from my Norwegian relatives. And if I can fulfill my scanning duties, I will start to post my father's photos and recollections of his many trips around the world. Peppered with a few more recent family tales and sagas, I hope to keep this blog interesting and informative.

I have learned a lot about my family and about the remarkable history and stories that have brought forth my generation. I am looking forward to continuing to learn and share more about my Norwegian, Swiss, and German ancestors.

I'd like to thank everyone who has visited my blog this year and found it engaging. I would also like to thank my family and friends who have encouraged me to continue writing, and a special thank you to those who have taken the time to write to me, either here, on Facebook, or by email. It means a lot to me that you have taken the time to send me your comments, and it inspires me to go on. If you haven't remarked on my blog, please do so, whether publicly or privately. I really enjoy the feedback.

Some of the Unshoveling the Past Google searches in 2011:

1700's family photos
1889 johnstown flood letters
1900 safari picture
1922 dodge brothers business coupe
1926 nash
1926 nash coupe
1966 calendar
1966 calendar may
1985 cape cod home
1990 bwast botswana
5 stages if grief wheel
80 year old dad dying of bladder cancer
african maid and white master
akc stud book
ambrose christmas mouse
american brake shoe
american brake shoe and abex
american brake shoe asbestos
american brake shoe co. mahwah, nj
american brake shoe co. model
american brake shoe company asbestos
american brake shoe company chicago
american brake shoe/abex
american brakeblok company
american motors
antique photo woman
antiques artifacts
autographs saying happy birthday
bedroom door has a skeleton key
benedict medal
blues brothers car registration
bostwana garden photos
botswana animals
botswana border
botswana flowers
botswana gardening
botswana november
boy scout snow
breed papers
calendar 1953
calendar of a month in 1953
can i be buried in my marine corps dress blues
carbon lime
celebrity fingerprints images
chapter opener design
chicago high school fraternities
chrysler 1922
cinder block homes ghana
cinder block house
concrete front stoop designs how to build in cinder block
concrete slab house
creepy doll
creepy group pictures
creepy high school pictures
creepy images
creepy images blog
creepy photo
creepy pictures from past
death and dying care home pictures
delray michigan memoirs
dodge brothers fountain
draftsman postcard
edgartown fun
espresso love, ma
family life in botswana
flood in pennsylvania 1889
folk art canada ben ploughman
foto life day funny
free hi-res images teenagers laughing
friends in past life
funny friday images
funny letter from africa
gaborone dam + botswana
gaborone street
goodyears department store ann arbor michigan
google 3harf driver
grief wheel
guy fawkes day gaborone
happy it must be alright
hospice how helped my mother
hospice workers support group
how to extend existing roof concrete slab
how to price out antiques and artifacts
i am named after my grandpa
jeffrey dahmer
jeffrey dinardo on long island new york
johnstown fireworks on july third -2010 -4th -hotel –ohio
johnstown flood
Johnstown flood 1889 video
johnstown flood orphans
johnstown flood photos 1889
johnstown flood telegraph
journey of a young woman blogspot
kids playing baseball in street
la ink friends mom dies from bladder cancer
life in botswana
life in gaborone
love poem handwritten
marine blues uniform
marines 1946
marines magazine photos
mary a tomengo
may 1966 calendar
mother died of blader cancer after 2 months
my class tallest
my father was creepy
my mother's past by oscar ngo
nancy ericke
nicholas voegtly
norwegian immigrant family portraits
old family picture 1925 children
old texaco
old world letter
øyvind botswana
packed hatchback
past on death
picture of a deed
pictures norwegian immigrants
pictures of jeffrey dinardo in new york new york
poems of remembrance written by hospice workers
quad hall cleveland
ran ran ruu
removal of restrictive covenant in darien
roses and gardenias floral border
ruth ambrosiussen
safari 1988
safari namibia sarah v. th.
sanyo microwave oven 1983
sarah ambrose american brake shoes
security guard
sintermet россия
six feet under porch house
smugmug first leotard
spatz ernest igl
stages of grief and the wheel of life
steiner & voegtly
street games
texaco 1946
texaco advertisement
texaco in 1965
texaco smiths falls
the gardener's color wheel
the lucky seven marines
toby the cat
top hats and tails danceers
torch lake amazing photo
torch lake archives
torch lake fishing photos
torch lake mi pictures
torch lake pics 2011
torch lake pictures
traveling packed so much
tremont cross country photos
two brothers and two sister 1925
unique flowers in botswana
unshoveling the past
unshoveling the past sara
wall in house
watercolor golfer olden days
watercolor hotel crowd
watercolor of desert
when my ship comes in story
where did american brakeblok corp start
who was the first person to discover torch lake michigan
work life in Botswana
young portrait photos
zeke drawings
календар 1966

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Rosedale Park Christmas

Imagine living in a time when your neighborhood wrote and produced their own newspaper, put on their own musicals, threw block parties that would now rival most Memorial Day parades, and, yes, gave out awards to those neighbors who exceptionally decorated their property for the holidays. I live on a beautiful, quiet, side street where most of my neighbors put up lights and other decorations for the holidays. But I decided not to get a tree this year, or put any lights outside, a little ba humbug I guess. To be honest, I just bought my wreath on Monday, when I went to the store to get some milk. Maybe I would have put up decorations this year if there was a chance to earn a certificate? I think I need a little Rosedale Park Christmas in my life.

This is the Ericke house in North Rosedale Park in Detroit, Michigan, in the summertime, without the certificate-worthy decorations. This is where my mother, Nancy, grew up with her brother Bill, and their parents, Carl and Sally Ericke. The top photo is from the early 1960's. The bottom photo is from Google maps and was taken recently. The only big change I see is a lack of awnings (which I remember, oddly enough) and mature trees and plantings. It seems odd that the house is older and yet there is fewer vegetation surrounding it. Thankfully, the old birch is still standing.

On the right side of the house is the garage where my grandparents kept a small refrigerator stocked with orange soda, at least when we came to visit. Today I asked both my brothers if it was Crush or Nesbitt's in that fridge, and their answers differed. Maybe a picture will confirm their choice or change their mind?

The article below on the Rosedale Neighborhood Gardeners is from The Rosedale Tattler, their local paper. This particular clipping was originally saved because it announced my mother's wedding engagement (which I cropped out here). It is from January, 1953 and recaps the Christmas meeting of the garden club. With visions of kissing balls, mistletoe, corsages, and felt stockings, it sounds a lot like Rosedale Park invented the Martha Stewart Christmas. Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Norwegian Cookie Recipes

These recipes have been passed down many generations from my Norwegian grandmother's family, the Stangeland family from Stavanger, Norway.


2 cups flour
1/3 cup chopped almonds (blanched)
1 cup butter
¼ tsp. almond extract
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten

Cream butter, sugar, and extract. Add egg. Add flour a little at a time. Add nuts. Chill, then form in molds. Bake 375 for 6-8 minutes on cookie sheet. Cool and tap to release in 5 minutes.

My mother, having married a man who was of Norwegian descent, learned to make certain cookies, breads and cakes for Christmas. Sandkake (sand cakes) are my favorite, as is anything with almonds really. After you make the dough, you chill it and then quickly (and carefully) press them into these sandkake tins. It can't be too thin or too thick or it won't cook right. It's an art one develops over the years. For Christmas a couple of years ago my mother bought us kids our own sandkake tins. I have yet to use mine, but maybe this year?

The next recipe is for Krumkake (crumb cakes). For this recipe you need a couple of tools to mold the cookie – the press for cooking and then the wooden cone for shaping. You can find antique irons on eBay or newer ones online just about everywhere. You heat the iron on the stove, pour in the batter, flip it so both sides are browned, and when it's still soft enough, wrap it around the cone. You can also put them in a small dish to harden into a cup-like shape. My father used to like apricot pudding stuffed in the cones, topped with whipped cream. Yum!


3 eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ lb. butter, melted and cooled slightly
Approximately 2 cups cake flour
2-3 T cold water
3-4 T heavy cream

Beat eggs. Add sugar and beat. Then add butter. Add flour and water and cream alternately. Cook in mold until golden yellow. Heat iron slightly below the midpoint between medium and medium high on large burner. Cook approx. 30 seconds on each side (or 45 seconds at med. sometimes, depending on how it looks). Quickly roll onto cone form and let cool and harden.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

1966 Ambrose Christmas Letter

Written on December 14, 1966 

Sorry I’m doing this but time is getting short and I’ve got to get these cards mailed. I guess I am going to have to learn to write letters to keep in touch with you all since you never come to see us anymore. I’ll try to catch up with this one and write individually from now on. 

My Dad moved here in May. He was terribly despondent until then. He is still very lonely and sad but he has a new life here. He likes his apartment very much (ten minutes from here) and likes Stamford and the East. He’s been to New York several times and loves it. It’s a great relief for me to have him here – if a big responsibility. 

Ed has been around the world three times this year and still loves it (who wouldn’t?), especially since he makes sure he sees something new each time. This trip he has been away since Halloween – I expect him home this weekend. Besides his usual stays in Japan and India, he has been to Egypt and Chile. He saw the pyramids and went on a four day safari in India. I spend most of the time he’s on a trip in our car, as I’m sure you ladies must be spending your days, too.

Bobby (sixth grade) is vice-president of the Student Council, a position to which he was elected by vote of the whole school, following a campaign complete with posters and a speech before an assembly of all the students and teachers. He was captain of his Little League team last Spring. He is also in the chorus, a Boy Scout, and belongs to a science club that meets on weekends. 

Billy was also in Little League and is now taking trumpet lessons and is a Cub Scout. He is a math whiz and is being given advanced work that I can’t do. Billy is in fourth grade. 

Sarah (second grade) has ballet lessons and Brownies. She is quite talented in drawing and had a picture in the all-town art show. With it all they are doing very well in school, the boys especially. Hope this doesn’t sound too boastful, the they are asleep at the moment and I’m able to think of the good things. There are days when I think I’m cracking up – they’re always a step ahead of me. The excel away from home, I’m sure, because they’re looking for the approval they don’t get here. We mostly yell and fight with each other, especially when Ed’s away.

We now have two cats, one dog, two mice, one chipmunk, and a 35 foot sailboat. We are expecting a baby leopard in March – one of Ed’s friends in India is sending it to us. Our vacation was spent on the boat and, since I get scared walking down the dock to the boat because there’s water on either side, the trip was quite an introduction for me on the life of the sea. It’s a great family thing, though, which we need with Ed away so much. The kids enjoyed it – lots of fishing and swimming – and the boys proved to be good sailors and will improve each year. Ed was only able to race the boat once this year but did very well despite the lack of a spinnaker. Now that we have one he hopes to do a great deal more racing next year.

The children are in different schools. We were redistricted last year but they let Bobby finish where he was. This confuses things some – two PTAs, etc. I work in both school’s libraries which are run entirely by volunteer mothers. Becauss of this experience I have been appointed to the town building committee for the addition of a new library and science room at Bobby’s school, and that has been politically enlightening. I hope to someday do a Peyton Place on corrupt suburban government. Heaven knows these days I couldn’t do one on sex! I’m a room mother and active in the League of Women Voters. With Ed away so much I have to take what chances I can get to see adults, since nights are a great big bore.

Well, that’s spilling out the family news. I’d love to hear about each and every one of your children, and of course, about yourselves.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Show Tunes and Broadway in 1956

Click on image to enlarge.

In 1956 my grandfather, Carl Ericke, was working at Carpenter Steel in Detroit as a regional manager. Based on this letter I found in his archives, he was planning a visit to New York in the summer of 1956 for both business and pleasure. His escort, of course, was my grandmother, Sally.

My grandfather requested a co-worker (and New Yorker) to buy him a couple of tickets for three Broadway musicals. The content of the letter is typed below, in case you can't read it clearly. The total cost for the six tickets was $78. More than half of that was for My Fair Lady, which meant the other plays were between $8–9 a seat. Less than a movie costs today! I wanted to know what shows they took in, so I did a little research and this is what I discovered:

My Fair Lady, Mark Hellinger Theater, August 14, 1956

My Fair Lady opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in 1956. This musical production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, produced by Herman Levin and directed by Moss Hart, ran for 2717 performances. Rex Harrison, who had never acted in a musical before, was cast as the phonetics professor, while young Julie Andrews was cast as Eliza Doolittle. My Fair Lady won the 1957 Tony Award for Best Musical. In the same year, Rex Harrison won the Tony Award for Best Actor and Julie Andrews received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress. My Fair Lady received seven Tony Awards in 1957 and three nominations.

No Time for Sergeants, Alvin Theater, August 17, 1956

The stage production of the comedy No Time for Sergeants, written by Ira Levin, opened at the Alvin Theater in New York in 1955 and ran for 796 performances. Based on a book by Mac Hyman, the play recounts the misfortunes of a country redneck who gets drafted into the Army during World War II. Andy Griffith received a 1956 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor, and later reprised this role in the 1958 movie of the same name. This musical also starred Roddy McDowall and Don Knotts in his Broadway debut. No Time for Sergeants won a 1956 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design.

The Most Happy Fella, Imperial Theater, August 16, 1956

The Most Happy Fella opened at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in 1956, and ran for 676 performances. This was a musical version of Sidney Howard’s 1924 Pulitzer Prize winner, They Knew What They Wanted, the story of a Depression-era Italian winemaker in Napa Valley, California, who finds himself a bride through the mail. The Most Happy Fella was nominated a Tony Award in 1957 for Best Musical, with a total of six nominations (and no wins).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo of the Day: Sarah Berra?

My brothers used to tease me when I was little that if I married Yogi Berra my name
would be Sarah Berra. Oh, the things one still remembers years later!