Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet - "J"

Following with the challenge of Family History Through the Alphabet", [here], this week's letter is "J".

I didn't have a tough time coming up with this one!

I decided "J" was for "Junior"!

My maternal grandfather was Henry Condar Dreher, Jr. Now, there's a bit of a secret to Henry's name. His birth record, as well as his death record stated his middle name was "Conrad", however, when I was 15, he sat me down and told me a bit of family history, and several family secrets [some of which he insisted must go with me to the grave, and which today wild horses could not pull from my lips!]. One of Henry's secrets was that there was an error on all of his records, that his middle name was NOT Conrad, but was in fact CONDAR. Something which, until my dying day I will defend.

Henry insisted that Conrad was a "Russian" soldier name and was not Germanic, his father's middle name had been anglicized, he insisted, and was carried over to him, but that he insisted his family know the truth!

This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of Henry, taken 1925, when he was 23 years of age. This is a pose which I saw him in alot, reading.

Henry was a scholar. Until his dying day he insisted that a person should never stop learning. Henry read the dictionary and his Bible daily. Yes, you read that right! The dictionary! He said that one should try to improve his knowledge of language every day. He had a large library collegiate dictionary [one of those 30-pounders!] which he read from daily. He memorized every new word and its definition. A word a day!!! As well as Scripture! A new verse every single day. When asked to, Henry could quote entire chapters from the Bible.

He was a master carpenter! He made many beautiful items.
This is but one of a matching pair of hanging corner cabinets that Henry made for his daughter, my Mother. [That's his portrait hanging to the right of the cabinet]. Mother has these hanging in her living room.

If I could say there was one person I would aspire to be more like, it is Henry.

Henry was born on 31 Dec 1902. And he died on 17 May 1977. Of all the people who have come and gone in my life, I still feel the loss of him most profoundly. So many times I have thought how I'd love to be able to sit down with him and ask him what he thought about something.  I miss him so!!!

Yes... "J" is definitely for "Junior" today. Henry Condar Dreher, Jr. that is!

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