Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Maria Rogers

My maternal great-grandmother, Maria Rogers. This photo was taken during the 1940s in front of my grandparents' house in Ravenna.

Maria (pronounced Mariah) was born in Ireland in 1859. I don't know a lot about her background. She came to America in the late in the 19th century (my grandmother was born in 1898). She lost her husband who left her with a number of children to raise.

She was living with my grandparents in Ravenna when she passed away in 1946. She is buried near my grandparents' grave in the Ravenna cemetery.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


This is a photograph that was found in my uncle's possessions. It's a picture of a T-6G "Texan" training aircraft. We don't know if this is a stock photo or a photo of the actual plane in which he trained. I found several websites with information about this plane.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

"Uncle Jimmy"

This is a picture of my mother's brother, James Kostal. "Uncle Jimmy" was five years younger than my mother. He was an excellent athlete in high school and enrolled at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He left school and enlisted in the Air Force. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force with the 462nd Strategic Fighter Squadron. On October 15, 1953, he was practicing carrier landings in the Sea of Japan when his plane crashed. Despite a lengthy search, his body was never recovered. I was only 14 months old when he died. I did meet him once as we have a picture of him holding me. Ironically, my mother and I were visiting my grandparents in Ravenna when the telephone call came from the Air Force notifying my grandparents of the accident. My grandfather was so shaken up that he gave the telephone to my mom. There is a small military marker with his name on it in the Ravenna Cemetery next to my grandparents' grave. He was only 23 when he died.


I'm sorry I never got to know him.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

"Deeply regret to inform you..."

Click on the picture for an enlargement.

This is a telegram my great-grandfather James Kostal received in late November 1918. My grandfather Ed Kostal was wounded in action in the Argonne Forest in late September 1918. The telegram states that he was wounded on the 30th, but we always understood that it was the 29th.

My grandfather was severely wounded in the leg and arm and left for dead on the battlefield for several hours. He eventually required several months of hospitalization and rehabilitation.

Because of limitations in the way information flowed back to the States in 1918 (no Internet, no satellite links, no cell phones, no embedded journalists!), my great-grandfather received this message nearly two months after his son was wounded. We have letters from my grandfather to his sister dated after September 30th and before November 26th (the date on the telegram). We don't know if these letters made it home before the telegram reached the family.

Ironically, the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 (ending the war in Europe) so the telegram was received after the war ended.

My mother found this telegram in late February with some old family papers. Thank God she's a pack rat!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Gmail invitations

I use Gmail (Google mail) and like it a lot. I have 50 free Gmail invitations that are available to anyone who wants one. Don't be shy, just ask.