THESE KUTE KIDS ARE… Aviana Rodarte (2), Aniya Rodarte (5) & Amara Rodarte (11), enjoying a nice summer day. Brittany & Eric Rodarte from Hartford are the proud parents of these smiling sisters. Loving grandparents to this trio are Beverly Bloomer & Jeff Bryant of Decatur, MI and Jose & Mary Rodarte of Hartford.
Gift to a girl becomes the gift from a woman
By Angela Widdis Frances (Fran) Wooley, of Coloma, finds herself to be a real historian. The 94-year-old retired Whirlpool employee sees her postcards as documents of her family’s history and of everyday American life in the 20th century. The gift to the girl
RELISHING THE PAST… Frances (Fran) Wooley fondly recalls the years of enjoyment that her postcard and greeting card collection has given her. (TCR photo by Angela Widdis
The love of history was started when her late grandmother, Helena (Anderson) Froberg, started giving her birthday gifts from her own possessions. Money was tight in those times so one year, for her birthday, Fran was given her grandmother’s postcard and greeting card collection that she had started with cards that date back to 1905. Wooley stated that, “At the time I had no idea of the value.” As a young girl, Fran recalls that she played with the cards. She would spend hours sorting and resorting them until the album they once were contained in fell into disrepair. She reminisced that many of the cards in her collection were sent from relatives that would be written in Swedish and Norwegian so she, herself, could not read them. Little did she know that this gift would lead to a life-long pursuit to research her family’s genealogy. As the family stories told on the back and the photo or art on the front of these cards gave Fran many years of enjoyment as well as, glimpses into people and countries that she never knew. She became intrigued by the mystery of who these people were, where they came from, and the hope that she could find out more. In later years, Wooley was able to build a record of history by placing the cards in chronological order. Allowing her to trace her family history from Harnosand, Sweden to Chicago, IL, to the exact street addresses in Berrien County. The foresight of Fran to preserve these gems in archival sleeves has protected them from years of wear and tear. She would haul these cards back and forth from Coloma to Fort Myers, Florida, and would work on research and organize them by subject matter. Wooley has always been and continues to be willing to share her knowledge about postcard collecting or genealogy research. It is this passion that has led her to pursue ways that her collection can live on. The importance of the gift The history of the picture postcard is hard to pinpoint as the evolution of these greetings can be seen over the decades. Though it is true, the popularity of these correspondences is tied with the development of the postal service, the growth can also be traced to new printing capabilities and photography techniques of the times. One of the first introductions of the postcard was at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. It was here when the first commercially produced picture postcards were seen as Charles W. Goldsmith produced a novelty set of postcards depicting the pavilions and other interesting sections of the fair as a souvenir. During the 1900s the postcard became a method of fast communication as the postal service would run up to 12 times a day in larger cities and two times in rural communities. Someone could tell of their day’s events or about their travels and it would be in the hands of the recipient in just a few short days or in some cases hours. They are like the texting or tweets of more recent times; they tell more than just the words written, they tell of feelings, they shed light on what people value, and what they are proud of. They also developed into real photos that were taken of people and places and events that would portray life as it was. Postcards have always been a popular collectible. They were once kept in special albums that would be conversation pieces for people visiting one another. As the popularity of the postcard, then later the greeting card, would grow, so would the collection. Within a collection one could find a love-letter between two young people, memories of a voyage to a foreign country, or a photo of your hometown before the streets were paved. Now, they are collected by not only family historians, but people who have an interest in art, architecture, history, and much more. The gift from a woman Because many of Fran’s postcards captured scenes, places, and people that no longer exist – such as opulent buildings from a long-ago world’s fair or World War II-era – she has ended up preserving pieces of history with her expansive collection. As her ‘lifelong crusade’ for her families’ history has slowed down, Wooley wants to make sure her work is not lost to history. She has plans on sending some of her cards to be archived at the North Berrien Historical Society and to the Chicago Postcard Museum, where they will each be given the cards that are subject-specific to their interest. Fran said, “I recognized I had a responsibility to do something more than collect history, I need to share it with others that will want to share them with future generations.” Archiving the cards is important for preservation, and Fran realizes that not everyone one of her cards will find a home, but she is hopeful that the cards of interest will in fact be left to those who will appreciate the gift for all its historic, personal, and posterity value they can bring.
Caregivers must also care (financially) for themselves If you’re a caregiver, possibly for a loved one dealing with an illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, you’re probably already facing some significant emotional and physical challenges – so you don’t need any financial ones as well. Yet, they are difficult to avoid. What steps can you take to deal with them? First of all, you may be interested in knowing the scale of the problem. Consider these numbers from the Alzheimer’s Association: About 5.8 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease and in 2019, caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias contributed more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care – worth about $244 billion in services. Furthermore, about two-thirds of caregivers are women, and one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters. But whatever your gender or relationship to the individuals for whom you’re providing care, you can take some steps to protect your own financial future. Here are a few suggestions: Evaluate your employment options. If you have to take time away from work – or even leave employment altogether – to be a caregiver, you will lose not only income but also the opportunity to contribute to an IRA and a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. But you may have some options, such as working remotely, or at least working part time. Either arrangement can give you flexibility in juggling your employment with your care giving responsibilities. Explore payment possibilities for caregiving. Depending on your circumstances, and those of the loved ones for whom you’re providing care, you might be able to work out an arrangement in which you can get paid something for your services. And as long as you are earning income, you can contribute to an IRA to keep building resources for your own retirement. Protect your financial interests – and those of your loved ones. You may well want to discuss legal matters with the individual for whom you are a caregiver before Alzheimer’s robs them of the ability to think clearly. It may be beneficial to work with a legal professional to establish a financial power of attorney – a document that names someone to make financial decisions and pay bills when the person with Alzheimer’s no longer can. And whether you or someone else has financial power of attorney, the very existence of this document may help you avoid getting your personal finances entangled with those of the individual for whom you’re caring. Keep making the right financial moves. As long as you’re successful at keeping your own finances separate from those of your loved one, you may be able to continue making the financial moves that can help you make progress toward your own goals. For example, avoid taking on more debts than you can handle. Also, try to maintain an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. Of course, these tasks will be much easier if you can maintain some type of employment or get paid for your caregiving services. There’s nothing easy about being a caregiver. But by making the right moves, you may be able, at the least, to reduce your potential financial burden and brighten your outlook. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC