17 December 2012

Matrilienal Monday: Helen Zumstein Geiszler in Photos

Helen Zumstein Geiszler about 1940
Helen Zumstein Geiszler
about 1940
My grandmother Helen Grace Zumstein married Robert Paul Geiszler on 9 Jun 1945. Helen is the daughter of Robert Victor Zumstein (1896  - 1967) and Clementina Comfort (1895 - 1963).

Helen was Robert and Clementia's first American born child. Victor, as he preferred to be known, and Clementina were both from Canada. Victor was attending the State University of Iowa when their first two children were born. However, Clementina would travel home to Canada when she was expecting her bundles of joy. With Helen, the family was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Victor was a professor. The family decided not to return to Canada for Helen's birth.

For the longest time, I only had the above photo of Grandma Helen in her young adult years. I had no pictures of her as a child. Every person who knew my grandmother, says she was known for keeping up with style trends and for dressing so nicely.

I visited her perhaps twice while I was growing up. I didn't appreciate her when I was a teenager as I should have. But now, I cherish the memories of my grandma bustling around her dark wood panel home, with crocheted covered pillows. She walked with a limp of sorts, but I don't know why. However, she adored her family and loved sharing stories of everyone on her hallway walls. And she tried to be a gracious hostess, serving all sorts of meals. My favorite was her baked potato casserole. I've yet to find anyone who makes a similar dish like she made.

Last year, NUMEROUS photos came into my possession. They tell a timeline of Grandma Helen from her earliest years to the years before her death. I obtained the older photos from her niece who still lives in Canada. I obtained the photos from adult hood from the albums her sister-in-law kept and are now in the possession of her niece who lives in Ohio. My mother also gave me a few photos. I'd like to share these photos now.

Helen Zumstein abt 1928
(l-r) Helen, Dorothy, and Robert Zumstein
abt 1928

Fay, Helen, Dorothy, and Robert Zumstein
Welcoming Baby Fay Zumstein in 1931
Helen, Dorothy, and Robert Zumstein
I love the photos of the kids in 'birth order'. I love the smile of little Helen in both photos. She looks like a cute handful. I have no idea what she was like as a child. But now I know what she looks like.


Fay, Helen and Dorothy Zumstein in 1936
The Zumstein Sisters, 1936
Fay, Helen, and Dorothy Zumstein
Look how stylish and well groomed these girls are. Perhaps this is where Helen learned her sense of fashion. With pretty girls like these, one is certain that great grandpa Victor was very protective of these ladies as they grew up in Columbus, Ohio. By this time, their dad was a professor at Ohio State University.

Helen Zumstein and her husband Bob Geiszler, only had one child, my dad Robert, Jr. I've shared this photo before, which came to me from my father's aunt. The above photos were emailed to me. This photo was mailed to me so that I could keep it. I will take photos any way I can get them!

Helen Geiszler and her son Robert
Helen Geiszler with her son Bobby
These photos came from my aunt Margie Geiszler Wasson's collection. Margie died in 2010 but her daughter still has many of these photos.

Helen Geiszler and her son Robert
Helen Geiszler and her son Bobby in 1954

Bob and Helen Geiszler and their son Robert
Robert, Jr, Helen, and Robert Sr
Geiszlers at Christmas time 1956

My mother had this photo of my father on high school graduation day. That was a happy day for the family as they didn't even think daddy would graduate at all. He ranked at the very bottom of his class. That's very surprising given the fact that his grandpa was a professor at OSU and daddy ADORED his grandpa Zumstein. I don't know whose house they are standing in front of.

Robert Jr, Helen and Bob Geiszler
Graduation day 1964

Have you noticed who stylish my grandmother was? She tried to look nice and keep up with fashion. She was a business woman, working for Norman Rockwell in Columbus. That need to keep current with the style of business wear, might have also played into her fashion flair. But perhaps she learned/liked fashion as a youth. In any case, the following photos show just how much style sense she continued to have in her 'empty nest' years. These photos come from Aunt Margie's collection as well.

Bob and Helen Geiszler
Bob and Helen Geiszler in 1970
Bob and Helen Geiszler
Bob and Helen Geiszler, Christmas 1975

This photo was in my mother's album as it was my father's graduation day from Franklin University in 1973. The style-sense continues. Too bad the wind wouldn't cooperate.

David, Bob, Bob, and Helen Geiszler
Graduation Day 1973

Unfortunately, photos of my grandmother stop until this next one. The quality of the photo is terrible and grandma doesn't look at all like grandma. She never would have chosen to look like this. The reason she doesn't look so styling is because she had had a stroke. Her husband had had a heart attack around the same time, if not before here. They both became unable to care for themselves and were placed in a nursing home. I love the stories about how much they would care for each other even in the nursing home, even though they both lost much of their memories.

Bob and Helen Geiszler
Bob and Helen Geiszler, about 1990 in Nursing Home.


I love looking back at the grandma I didn't really know and seeing her throughout her life. I love being able to date photos rather easily because of the styles she featured in the photos. I'm sad she couldn't leave the world as stylish as she lived in it. But something tells me, Grandma Helen is in heaven trying to impart some sense of style to me. (If only I wasn't too lazy to put the effort in to it!)

1 comment:

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