Friday, October 31, 2008

Winter of Death

I recently blogged about my great aunt, Emma Kostal Psota, who died at a young age as a result of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. This week I received a copy of a new booklet by local Ravenna author, Valerie Vierk, that chronicles the flu pandemic.

The booklet is called Winter of Death: Ravenna Area Victims of the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic. Readers of this blog who may be interested in obtaining a copy of the booklet can do so by contacting Valerie directly by e-mail. The cost of the booklet is $10.00 plus $1.50 shipping.

[Disclosure: I provided Valerie with some material for her book. I have no financial interest whatsoever.]

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brad Tilsch

A “shout-out” to my old neighbor, Brad Tilsch. He and I lived in the old Northbrook neighborhood in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I spoke to him on the phone a few days ago and he told me his daughter had read this blog!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Emma Kostal Psota

My grandfather, Edward Kostal, had four step-siblings and three full siblings. He was the only boy among his full siblings. Two of his three sisters grew to adulthood and lived long, long lives. I knew both of them.

While in France with the AEF, my grandfather learned that his third sister, Emma Kostal, contracted Spanish Flu during the great pandemic of 1918. Even though The Great War ended on November 11, 1918, my grandfather was severely wounded and did not return to the states until the following spring. It was too late as Emma succumbed on April 2, 1919. She was 23 years old.

Emma married Fred Psota and they had a daughter together named Jeanette. After Emma’s death, my great grandparents took care of Jeanette. Fred remarried another Emma and moved to Fairbury, Nebraska.

Emma is buried in the Ravenna cemetery. This photo has been in the family for a very long time. Back then, it was common practice to hire a studio photographer and have him/her take photos of the deceased with all of the floral decorations. For a small town like Ravenna, this was a lot of flowers!

I’m unsure if this was photographed at a funeral home or in a private residence. I know that some memorial services were held in the home rather than in church or a funeral home. For example, the service for my great grandmother (Emma’s mother) was held at her home.