East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

“Storytelling Inspired by Family Heirlooms”–A Story

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 22, 2017

At our March meeting Judith Porter, Superintendent of Antique Judging at the McHenry Co. Fair, shared the stories behind many of the treasure trove of objects she brought. “All of these objects are back in the neighborhood they come from,” she said, with obvious delight. Her talk revealed the rich interplay between genealogy, family history, and the stories that go with our stuff.  She ended with a call to action: “Journal! Write about your life, for your children and grandchildren. And for goodness’ sake, label your photographs!”

After Judith’s presentation, several attendees shared stories of objects they had brought with them, either actual mementos or photos.

Carol Walker shared her story of the first guests in her new home.  Carol and her husband, Richard, bought the house at 110 N. Fair Oaks Ave. in 1993.  It was built in 1948. Her parents, brother, nephew and friend had Sunday dinner on May 30th with Carol and Richard, dining at two card tables in the second bedroom which they converted into a dining room.

110 N. Fair Oaks Avenue

Carol also shared the story of caring for the white oak tree in the front yard. (Yes, even a tree can be a treasured family heirloom.) She recently hired an arborist to judiciously trim the tree, which she estimates is 130-140 years old, to keep it healthy. With the loss of so many mature canopy trees on the east side, we applaud our neighbors who, like Carol, help preserve our elderly arboreal friends!

Carol likes to think that the stand of oaks near her home might have inspired the choice of “Village of Fair Oaks” that was the area’s original name from 1906 to 1912. (Another possible origin for the name comes from one of the men who promoted the Village idea, who was wounded at the 1862 Civil War battle site called Fair Oaks in Virginia.)

Carol Walker with her husband Richard, who died three years ago.

 

 

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