Because I don’t have enough of my own family’s photo albums and scrapbooks to sort through, I like to bring home other peoples’ photo albums and scrapbooks and plop them on my living room floor, where they sit for months until I do something with them. That day is today, people!
I spotted these photo albums and scrapbooks at a garage sale in Traverse City earlier this year (not the family’s garage sale), and, well, I couldn’t bear the thought of them ending up in a dumpster headed to their final resting place. So, of course, I brought them home. I’m hoping some family will be delighted that I’ve rescued their precious photos and memories, and overjoyed when I drop them off to wherever they might live.
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Here’s what I’ve been able to deduce about these photo albums and scrapbooks:
- They belong to Patricia Elliott and her family. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Elliott, and they lived on Sixth Street in Traverse City in the 1930s and 1940s.
- It appears that they also had a log cottage on a lake somewhere. I made a note earlier in the year that it might be Long Lake, but didn’t find that reference when I looked through the photos this morning.
- They had an adorable dog named Ricky.
- They had kin in Ironwood, Michigan, and Sandusky, Ohio.
- They were related to or friends with the Wilhelm family; specifically, Gloria Wilhelm and Dorothy Wilhelm.
- They were friends with Mary Lou Strang and Mozelle Sawyer, who I believe grew up to be a violinist, and whom I may have played with in the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s.
- Patricia – noted as “Pat” in all the photo albums – went to MSU and was there in the mid-1940s. She had a date with Fred Linderman, at some point during her college days.
- She took fencing at MSU and also taught a fencing class to the sophomores.
- She was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority.
- She worked at the Traverse City Record-Eagle when she was home on vacation.
So there you have it. Anyone know any Elliotts who lived on Sixth Street in the 1930s and 1940s? Can you help me get these family archives back to them?
Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section at the bottom of this story, or email me at [email protected]. They look like a lovely family. Check out a few photos…
I tagged Mozelle Sawyer Bell in the Facebook post shared by Traverse Area Historical Society and also emailed Mozelle, with whom I’ve been friends for several years. We connected through an online blog about female violinists that mentioned her mother, Mozelle Bennett Sawyer, who was my violin teacher in the 1960s. Mozelle Bell lives in Florida but has stayed at a condo at The Homestead every summer for many years, and she also attends the adult chamber music session at Interlochen Center for the Arts every August. She’d make a wonderful interview subject, if you are interested.
By the way, I played violin in the Northwestern Michigan Symphony Orchestra from 1969-72, and I also worked at the Record-Eagle from 1978-88. Have we met anywhere along the line?
Hope this helps you solve the photo album mystery!
Thanks so much, Suzanne! It seems like there must be some Elliotts still around, and I hope Mozelle can help us get these photo albums back to them.
It sure seems like you and I must have crossed paths at one time or another. It was the mid- to late-1970s when I played in the Symphony. They recruited a bunch of us from the high school orchestra to help fill out the group – me (violin), Sally Rogers (bass), Beth Hawley (violin), Tim Meyer (bass), maybe Becky Nichols (violin) and Michelle LaCourse (violist) and some others. I think I was in the back of the first violin section for most of my time there. I still play in church every Sunday – Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church. 🙂
By the way, are you related to Lorraine Beers?
Some of those names sound familiar, but I think I was a few years ahead of you. Several of us from the high school orchestra were also recruited my senior year (I graduated in 1970) and I stayed two more years while attending NMC. Did you know Lisa Kuuttila? She was my neighbor growing up on Washington Street.
You’re fortunate to live on Old Mission Peninsula! It has been one of my favorite places over the years. My family often drove out to the lighthouse, and we loved seeing the fruit trees in bloom. I did an extensive photo survey/report of its features for my geology class at NMC. I now live in a house my husband and I bought in the late 1980s just inside the city limits at the base of OMP – as close as I could get!
I know Lorraine (her married name), but we’re not related. But in junior high, I shared a locker with her husband, Mac’s, sister, Nancy. My parents moved here in 1950 from Lansing. I’m not related to any other Beerses in town except my brother, Doug, who just moved back home to retire last week.
I hope you hear something soon from Mozelle. She may be visiting relatives for Thanksgiving and not checking emails.
Lisa’s name sounds really familiar, but I’m not sure I’ve met her. My brother, Dean Johnson, graduated in 1969 (and still runs Johnson Farms out here with my brother, Ward – class of 1974).
I know – it’s just sheer luck that both my husband and I 1) grew up here and 2) figured out a way to still live here. We bought this property from lifelong friends, built our own house, and are still building it 25 years later. 🙂 We are not part of the wealthy crowd that you always hear lives on the OMP. We barely scrape by from month to month, but it’s worth it. There ARE lots of wealthy folks here (who help build libraries and schools and keep Old Mission Gazette going, for which we are ever grateful), but there are also a lot of us working poor out here, too. Wrote a little bit about it here:
Thanks to my high school yearbooks, I “knew” a lot of people from OMP from my class and a year or two on either side, even though I didn’t really know them. Some I met later – allow me to drop a few names. Kathy Kroupa and I had a Spanish class together at CMU and got to be friends through rides home on weekends. After college, when I was working at the Record-Eagle, Steve Fouch used to bring in his columns to me when he was the MSU Extension Agent, and we worked together on one of our class reunion committees. At that reunion, I connected with Frederic Dohm, and we dated for a few months, though after a while we lost touch. But not before he invited me to be his “date” at the wedding of his sister, Barb, to Joshua Wunsch at Bowers Harbor Inn. Eventually I met my to-be husband, John McCarthy (not from OMP, but he was in the class of 1969 with your brother).
Thank you for the link to your Gazette article. Some of the drive leading to PDR happened while I worked at the R-E, and I followed it fairly closely. (When I was growing up, my grandparents used to visit us every summer from Lansing, and we would go with them out to various orchards to get fruit – just about every kind available – that my grandmother and mother would can in our kitchen. It was always wonderful to be able to go to the basement all winter to bring up cans that they preserved for us the previous summer.) Your article led me to several others, and I plan to go back to read more of your writings. I subscribed to your newsletters, followed your Facebook page, and made a donation. Even though my journalism career ended early to raise my family (older son has autism), I’m glad to support others in the field, especially while following stories about the OMP.
Back to the two Mozelles – have you read the elder’s memoir (edited by the younger) about her violin career, Joy Fills My Heart? If not, I highly recommend it. There’s a lot of Traverse City history, as well as stories about her life as a violinist, including performances in New York – even Carnegie Hall. There is supposed to be a copy at TADL, but it was missing when I tried to find it. I was able to buy a used copy online.
Thank you so much for the lovely donation and your kind words! We so appreciate the support to keep the Gazette chugging along.
Love all the name-dropping! All beloved OMP friends. Mom and I played at Josh and Barb’s wedding – mom on piano and me on violin. As I recall, I broke a string that day and didn’t have a backup, so I had to improvise and/or play in third position. 🙂
I wonder if John remembers Dean. I don’t know what he was like at school, but at home, he spent a lot of time messing with his short-wave radio and reading Popular Mechanics magazine. 🙂
I do have Mozelle’s book! Will have to dig it out and give it another read – so good. You know, wherever Tim and I roam (which isn’t far), we always run into people who have a connection to the OMP in one way or another. Such a joy to talk about days of yore on this much-loved piece of land.
Have you heard anything yet from Mozelle Bell about the photo albums? She didn’t reply to my email asking if she knew how to reach the family. If you haven’t, I can try again.
I guess we did cross paths before, at that wedding. Never fear, I don’t remember your broken string. Your improvising was successful!
John passed away two years ago, so I can’t ask if he remembers your brother. I hadn’t met hm yet in high school, but he was active with the school literary magazine, never mentioned short-wave.
Patricia was born in Ironwood in Sept. 1926. Her father Harold was working as the manager for J C Penney, then was transferred in 1928 to Escanaba to manage the Montgomery Ward store there. By 1932 they were in Traverse City where he was associated with a department store– I believe it was Montgomery Ward. They did have a cottage on Long Lake- I found an article that confirms that. Patricia and Mozell Bennett were classmates at MSU- probably graduated from TC high school together. Patricia graduated from MSU in 1949 with a degree in journalism. I can email you the clippings I found if you’re interested. I am still trying to find out what happened to Patricia after school. In fact, she may still be alive. I found a Patricia Corinne Elliott living in Warren, MI, age 91. Corinna was her grandmother’s name– mother’s mother, Corinne L Jenkins ( died in Chicago in 1955- buried in TC) Her grandfather was Edmund P Jenkins– (died in Detroit in 1935). I’m not sure if those are the grandparents in the photos above. Patricia’s mother Ibrena died in TC in 1984 but there is not a digitized version of the paper for that year so I don’t have an obit to confirm where Patricia was living then. I’ve found a 2000 article in the Detroit paper that shows a Pat Elliott (looks to be correct age) working at FAO Schwartz for the holidays. Anyway, Please let me know if this is at all helpful. You are welcome to email me and I’ll reply with the clippings I’ve found.
According to her book Joy Fills My Heart*, Mozelle Bennett was born in the 1890s (I think; I can’t put my hands on my copy right now for the exact date), married Charles Sawyer, and they lived at 510 Sixth Street. It was their daughter, Mozelle Sawyer, born in 1927, who attended MSU. I believe it was the daughter (now Mozelle Bell, who lives in Florida) who would have been friends with Patricia Elliott. Mozelle and I are friends. I have emailed her about the photo albums, but have not received a reply.
Thanks for the correction. Yes, it would have been Mozelle Bennett Sawyer’s daughter.