In the Navy: a WWII story

I recently had the opportunity to record the story of my grandmother in WWII for a storytelling class. It tells the story of how my Nana, Mildred Kaiser, joined the WAVES and served in the Navy during WWII. It follows the timeline of that part of her life. Click here or click the video below to view the digital story!

Thank you to Prof. Kate McDowell and my UIUC Storytelling classmates who inspired me to share this story in a new way! I had previously written about her time in the WAVES in a three-part series.


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In memoriam: Ronald L. Kaiser

Ronald L. Kaiser, 87

Kaiser_GlendoraRonnieMillieMary
The four Kaiser siblings, about 1945. Glendora, Ron, Mildred and Mary Kaiser. (Image Source: Kaiser family photos, privately owned.)

Ronald “Ron” LeRoy Kaiser was born 18 May 1930 in DeKalb, IL, and passed away 30 December 2017 in Normal, IL. He was the son of Glenn and Mildred (Lawrence) Kaiser, the younger brother of Mildred, Mary, and Glendora, and the loving husband of Arlene. Continue reading “In memoriam: Ronald L. Kaiser”

Today in the Family Tree: 18 March 1945

This photo was taken 73 years ago today. It shows Junior (George) Florenz Weil Continue reading “Today in the Family Tree: 18 March 1945”

In memoriam: Ted C. Jordan

1989_Jordan_Ted_Trudy_Xmas copy 2My great-uncle, Ted Jordan, passed away unexpectedly last week. I last saw Ted when I was five years old, when he came to Christmas in Illinois. I don’t remember much about our encounters that year, but I remember him as jolly and friendly, and had a genuine smile. Although I didn’t know him well, I’ve gotten to know him through talking to those who worked with him, cared about him, and were his family. Below is my memorial to him.


Ted C. Jordan
Ted Clarence Jordan was born July 28, 1939 in Chicago, IL, and died February 15, 2018 in Portland, OR at the age of 78 after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. He was the son of Erwin and Dorothy (née Mueller) Wischmeyer.

Continue reading “In memoriam: Ted C. Jordan”

Favorite photo: Nana and Papa at the fair

One of my favorite photos from my family history is actually a set of photos. My grandparents, Ed Drake and Millie Kaiser, were out on the town and visited a photo booth. This set of tiny photos are the photos that were taken there! When I asked my grandmother about them, she said they must have been taken when a fair came to town. They both look so happy, and you can see some of the mischief in my grandfather’s face. He could always make us laugh. I remember both of them that way. I love these photos because although I knew them later in life, I can see that they had the same spirit when they were younger, too.

Continue reading “Favorite photo: Nana and Papa at the fair”