Memories and Faces

Putting our footprints in the sands of time for our children

Memory Lane

Wandering down memory lane and recounting the stories of my families.

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Summer on the lake

Posted by Patricia Dettloff on August 18, 2012 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (3)


“A B C D goldfish?

L M N O goldfish!

O S A R!

C M P N?”

Sitting on the back or the bow of our boat, this ditty was repeated every time someone was fishing off the side, whether early in the morning or late in the day. We grew up on a boat… from a 20’ Sorg to a 32’ Richardson… we spent the majority of our summers “at sea,” aka Lake St. Clair. Mom would spend all day Friday cooking up a storm… fried chicken, potato salad, desserts. We’d pack up the food, suits, towels, kids and a dog and off we’d go, for an evening ride in the late spring or for long summer weekends anchored at a favorite swimming spot.

(Funny, today our very favorite spot now hosts the yearly “Jobbie Nooner” on Lake St. Clair!)


“Little fishy in the brook

Daddy catch him on a hook

Momma cooks him in the pan

Kids eat ‘em up

Fast as they can!”

Whether in the dining room or in the galley, this little ditty heralded the coming of a favorite dinner.

While watching an episode of “Chopped” recently on the Food Network,childhood memories were triggered of my dad. One of the show’s surprise ingredients was Lake Perch. While each of the contestant chefs either never had them or called them, if I remember correctly, a “dirty fish” and not worthy of their talent, those of us who grew up on the east side of Detroit remember this as a delicacy, worthy of a Meatless Friday feast! Many’s the time we watched Dad clean the fish on the boat’s back deck or on the bow and then cook it on the stove in the galley.  Thinking of it today, how did they manage to cook in, at most, a 4’ x 4’ space with 4 kids and a dog? But mmmm-mmm-mm, was it good!

When Dad came home from a very early excursion with one of the uncles or a Grampa, we knew what was for dinner that night! We had a deep fry unit on our stove that was filled with “fish grease” and the fish (that were thankfully cleaned back on the boat) took a “little swim.” Dad would place a plateful of freshly fried fish on the table and before he got back to the next batch (only a few short feet away), the plate was empty and we were begging for more, more, more! Another burner held a pot with “french fry grease” for the best French fries in the world… outta the pot, into our tummies! Can’t get much better than that!


The family ties that bind

Posted by Patricia Dettloff on June 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Remember being able to take a walk and visit your relatives who lived on the same block? When our ancestors came to America, they stayed together not only in their thoughts and hearts, but on the same block!

I look back fondly of visits to Gramma ‘Carroll’s when we would each day take our walk and stop partway down the block to visit Uncle Vern and Aunt Ruth. A little snack, some time to talk and off we’d go further down the block to Aunt Helen and Uncle Morris’s house. Vern and Helen were Gramma’s brother and sister. After another snack and more talking, we’d make a trip upstairs to visit Great-Gramma Rose, who by then was bedridden. If we were lucky, we’d cross the street to St. Bernard’s Convent to visit Gramma’s cousin Edna, aka Sr. Stanislaus.

Each visit, mostly in the summer and a week long, we kept in touch with our roots and relatives… and we didn’t even know how special that was, learning the faces, names and personalities that we still lovingly remember today. And as I scan in that myriad of photos left in my care, I know who I’m looking at… mostly.

Our street in Harper Woods was like a split classroom in grade school. Two blocks were Harper Woods, the third block was in Grosse Pointe Woods. And guess who lived at that end? Dad’s brother Ray and his family! Is there a pattern here? Now in New Baltimore, my sister and I lived next door to one another for about 18 years. Hmmm… She moved a few years back but the memories for us and our children are priceless.

Three generations with a special bond not everyone can boast… how did you keep in touch with your family?

Don't you just love finding treasures?

Posted by Patricia Dettloff on April 3, 2011 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (1)

Within the last few months, I’ve found a number of families and/or a family member in the US Census reports posted on

One find was especially exciting.

My maternal grandmother had a cousin who was a nun. We would visit the convent at St. Bernard’s Church and School every time we had a sleepover at Gramma’s. She referred to it as visiting her cousin and referred to her “cousin” by her birth name (Edna) most of the time. We always went to see Sr. Stanislaus, a Sister of St. Joseph out of Nazareth, MI.  So where was this “cousin” she kept talking about? For years we had no idea who she was. As I got older, I asked the question… “Who is Edna?” And what was her last name. Well, turns out Edna and Sr. Stanislaus was one and the same person.

Now it’s 50 years later and I have a photo of a nun in her habit. I remembered that it was Sr. Stanislaus, but what was her birthname? How can you ever find a nun? They didn’t give out their real names. How could I find her spot in the family puzzle?

In the boxes and boxes of Gramma’s photos, I found a picture of a young woman with an older lady. My notes (in my handwriting) said that the young woman was "Sr. Stanislaus (Edna) and Aunt Jennie," Edna's mother, and this information was based on the faltering memory and eyesight of the older generations. How exciting! Ah, a piece to this very large puzzle.

Now which Aunt Jennie was the older lady? Jennie was a popular name back before 1900 and there were many with that name in both the Rose and the Sharrow families. Thank you, Family Tree Maker and I was able to search my family tree lists I created of all of the family members back a long way. That and the family trees that were passed down to me from both sides of my Gramma’s family gave me food for my trek through history.

This week I found that Sr. Stanislaus was Edna Mae Perrin at birth and her mother was Jennie Sharrow Perrin. I found 2 censuses – 1900 and 1930. The earlier one gives me her family and age and she was a telephone operator at that time, the second one told me that she was Edna Perrin, occupation: nun. I can say with only a modicum of doubt, I found my nun.

I LOVE doing puzzles! Don’t you?

Family is just a phone call away...

Posted by Patricia Dettloff on April 3, 2011 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Today I received a phone call from someone who got my number from the local historical society president. He knew what families I was researching and knew he could send this woman my way. Lo and behold, she is related through the Rose line through a brother of my great-grandfather. Jennifer, it was great meeting you and I hope we can keep in touch.

Also, the president is very probably a relative as well. His last name, although spelled differently, is similar to that of my great-grandfather... I've seen it spelled as his is in various publications and family trees. Thank you,!