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A Family Story in a Suitcase...

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The suitcase

The Suitcase

The Suitcase

Stories pertaining to the items found inside

This suitcase came with us from Germany in 1950. It contains all the old family photos, some genealogy charts and stories of my families' past...

A family story in a suitcase…actually from what we had left after the war.

It's one of the things that I would grab on the way out if a Tornado came *!*

This very suitcase accompanied my mother's travel's back and forth to Europe for many years. When mom passed I decide to keep it because of its uniqueness and her initials of EvM (Elfriede von Meyer).

Most of my family stories are unique and different from the norm, some are educational, informative and interesting in many ways...I do hope you will enjoy them.

The Suitcase

The Suitcase

Passports and personal items

Passports and personal items

Passports and personal items

Favorite things in the suitcase

train tickets, Hotel receipts, napkins and many photos

train tickets, Hotel receipts, napkins and many photos

Recording the trips

Because mom liked traveling back and forth to Europe, she took a great deal of photos and kept all the tickets, napkins, receipts and cards that pertained to the trips, this making an Album.

As a child I found it annoying, her always taking photos...but now I wish I had more of them. One must remember, once that time in your life is gone... then it's only a memory.

Of course now I’m so happy she took photos, because all I have is the memory with the images. It brings her back to me, and that‘s heartfelt.

Having photos and or video's for that memory of past events, are the only things that can recapture a time and place with that visual.

Album of Circus and Trapeze days

Mom's Album of Circus and Trapeze days

Mom's Album of Circus and Trapeze days

Memorabilia of Mom in the Circus

Memorabilia from the Circus days

Memorabilia from the Circus days

Inside the photo album

Inside mom's photo album

Inside mom's photo album


More photos of mom

More photos of mom

Mom and several ladies sitting on a Trapeze at 1:54 minute

Mom's "Fredersdorff" side of the family

Mom's "Fredersdorff" side of the family

Mom's "Fredersdorff" side of the family

Scroll to Continue

Handwritten list of Birthdays, some of dad's photos from Garmisch

Handwritten list of Birthdays, several of dad's photos from Garmisch

Handwritten list of Birthdays, several of dad's photos from Garmisch

Genealogy chart and other saved items

Genealogy chart and other saved items

Genealogy chart and other saved items

Mom, dad, grandmother

Mom, dad, grandmother Georgianna von Meyer (Ives)

Mom, dad, grandmother Georgianna von Meyer (Ives)

My sister and me

Childhood photos

Childhood photos

Miniature painting


A new Project I started

When I first went through this suitcase I decided to do another project, one that has been on my mind for many years.

Using the photos above were my inspiration to paint miniatures of my early childhood memories. I created a blog with these paintings once in a while...painting a day. It's not an easy task to paint "almost" every day. As an artist I have to be in the mood most artists I believe.

My last painting for this series has been posted and I will work on a new type of series of my childhood memories.


Photos of friends

Photos of friends

Photos of friends

People that my Parents knew...

from show business to nobility...

Some of my parents friends were in German show-business, like Hannes Stelzer and Hans A. Schlettow and others that I can't recall.

My father was a Baron and a bit older then my mom, he traveled in a circle of nobility, his godfathers where the famed Freiherr Richard Kapherr-Lockwitz and Graf Wilhelm Schwerin.

The well known Count von Strachwitz of the Panzer Div. was a very good friend and he asked my dad to bring us to the Castle Gross Stein to get us away from the bombings in Berlin.

Dad's best friend was a German Race Car driver named Hans Stuck and believe it or not, dad also was good friends with The Red Baron as seen below in a photo of them in the plane.

Pilot and movie star

Hannes Stelzer

Hannes Stelzer

Hannes Stelzer

Hannes Stelzer a movie star, a Luftwaffe flier and a man my mother use to date, they where friends for years. When we stayed at the castle Gross Stein, he was stationed there and wrote letters to my mom while on sorties. I happen to have three handwritten letters that where from Hannes to my mom. I could not make out the details in the letters because the handwriting was difficult to read, however I did see my name in it and the fact he was looking for dolls and candy for my sister and me.

Several years ago I had the letters translated by the famed Utah genealogist Horst Reshke. The last letter Hannes wrote was absolutely beautiful, touching and sad, it actually was several days before he lost his life. My aunt claimed he committed suicide in his plane, but on the internet it said he was shot down, well maybe he allowed himself to be shot down, because he was very depressed over the continuing war. He was so young when he died.

These letters where obviously love letters and I can't judge my mother or Hannes for their continued involvement, the war makes one very different in thought and actions. I will always treasure those letters and pictures, they must have meant a great deal to my mom, since she never destroyed them.

Hans Stuck

Hans Stuck famed race car driver

Hans Stuck famed race car driver

Hans Stuck

Hans Stuck was my fathers best friend, he even mentioned Hans in his will. Stuck was an acclaimed race car driver and mountain hill-climb racer, Champion in both.

His son, Hans-Joachim "Striezel" Stuck is also a famed race car well are his sons Ferdinand and Johannes involved in racing.

The image shown here is a note that Hans sent to my father, it was given to me the last time I visited an aunt in Germany...I am so happy to have this, and how nice of her to have parted with it.

Dad and the Red Baron

My father and Manfred von Richthofen the Red Baron

My father and Manfred von Richthofen the Red Baron

Manfred von Richthofen the Red Baron

A photo of my father seated in the rear seat of the Bi-Plane, with the Red Baron in the front...this photo is from a larger version cropped and colorized...

please do not save or use this image without my permission, it is copyright protected

Hans Adalbert Schlettow, a German movie star

Hans Adalbert Schlettow

Hans Adalbert Schlettow

Hans Adalbert Schlettow

Hans Adalbert Schlettow was a friend of both of my parents, he also was in show business. I'm a bit surprised there‘s not more written about him on the internet.

My thoughts ~

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to keep old photographs and letters of the past. Ask your parents and grandparents questions, write them down. I'm talking to those young readers who like me didn't want anything to do with "old stuff." And ask questions, trust me you will regret it someday if you don't. Your parentage and your genealogy is very important, not only for the sake of knowledge, but for your DNA, health records and just the simple fact of "Who You are!"

If you find old photographs and items passed down from a relative, DON'T throw them away or give it to the them in a safe place and keep it there till you get older, you'll appreciate these items. It's wonderful to pass on to your children, even if they were not famous or did anything grand, it's still who you are. As it stands now both of my kids have no interest. BUT, when I'm gone they will have wished they had talked about it...I think this is why I'm making webpages on this subject, and write about the ones that I can recall...I’m glad at least some of them are here...but I wished I had paid even more attention.

My family lost everything, some things were saved from the war, but what's left in Germany (property) I will never know. That information was lost when my mother died and I never bothered to ask.

Please think about what I have mentioned above....treasure your family items, even if not a good memory attached, it will change as you get older.

The Suitcase....

The Suitcase....

The Suitcase....

Copyright and All Rights Reserved, including the stories, writings and Photographs by Delia Pacheco.

© 2008 Delia

Comments taken here!

Tamara14 on April 07, 2015:

Delia this is such a priceless page. I remember being here before but recently I've been thinking more seriously about starting my own research and now seeing all your fascinating memories makes me wanna start right away. My mother passed away five years ago suddenly and so many questions are left unanswered, but her sister is still here and my inner voice is telling me I should sit down with her and simply start photo by photo, document by document. This page of yours surely is motivating :)

Delia (author) on July 10, 2014:

@jmchaconne: Yes you told me about the Wallendas before, mom knew them quite well and was the godmother to one of the kids way back then....the photo on my "moms tribute" lens, shows an ebay photo I purchased of mom that was addressed to Millie Wallenda...Thank You so much for your kind comment.

jmchaconne on July 10, 2014:

Fascinating, you inherited your mother's beauty. I wrote a lens called enrico-wallenda-vindicated, that contains a bit of circus history, and the Wallenda German roots in. Did I ask if your mother worked with the Wallendas? Thanks for a great lens I love family history's.

MarcellaCarlton on June 16, 2014:

My 43rd Great Grandfather is Charlemagne. And I have stretched out and am exploring my "roots". I did not know that I was German, but there you go. I have an awful lot of royal blood in me, too. I love learning about your family and to see these pictures reminds me of how fleeting life is. It is to be treasured.

tfsherman lm on February 08, 2014:

What a fascinating background, what interesting people, what a trove of pictures. What a beautiful lens you've created here.

TerriCarr on January 06, 2014:

Fantastic idea for a lens. And very well developed. I am not sure if I could put this much personal stuff on the web :-) but it is impressive that you did it.

burntchestnut on December 26, 2013:

I've been making Squidoo lenses about my childhood memories. It's a fun way to document them. I also have many photographs my mother gave me and have asked her about her childhood, too. I wish I had asked my dad about his childhood, but he passed away many years ago.

Magpie Feathers on December 22, 2013:

I enjoyed reading about your family. So nice to know that you found a distant relative through squidoo.

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on December 14, 2013:

What a fascinating life your parents had. Your mother was so lovely and glamorous. :)

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on December 06, 2013:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your family through this lovely lens. Thank you for sharing a beautiful story.

Delia (author) on November 23, 2013:

@ecogranny: Actually I just have these items, no one is alive to help me do research on my family genealogy...I have been lucky,...if it were not for Squidoo I would not know things I know now, because people from different parts of the world have sent me things through Squidoo about my family.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on November 23, 2013:

It is wonderful that you have so much history of your family and their lives available at your fingertips. Thank you for sharing some of it with the world.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 31, 2013:

Your stories always fascinate me. What an interesting family.

girlfriendfactory on August 19, 2013:

Oh wow what a beautiful bit of history! So interesting and marvelous that you have so much information about your family! My son and I spent a month in Germany a year ago, a good portion in Berlin. We loved Germany! My best friend is also 1/2 German and I have a friend in Bonn. Oddly enough, we had a Doberman growing up named after the Red Baron!

I agree with you about photos and things ~ sadly my grandmother destroyed most of ours due to mental illness. :-( It was lovely reading about yours, however!

anonymous on August 15, 2013:

Hello, more information and photos in the actor Hannes Stelzer can be found here

jolou on February 11, 2013:

This is so beautifully done and really comes from the heart. How wonderful you were able to make a connection with someone through this lens. Blessed.

Elaine Chen on February 10, 2013:

there is great collection; I only keep birthday cards and letters that sent to my husband about 10 years ago

KaraAshton on February 03, 2013:

Wow, how interesting. You're very fortunate to have all that paperwork, letters and photos of your family. Thank you. Blessed.

MiaMusement on January 26, 2013:

What a treasure trove, and it's so wonderful that you know info behind the photos. So many times people inherit old photos but there is no information to go along with them.

John Norman Stewart from Cottonwood, CA on November 16, 2012:

What a terrific idea for a lens. I just gave a trunk full of old letters to my sister. They were correspondence between my great grandfather and his wife. He was working building the railroad tracks along the California coast.

anonymous on November 06, 2012:

Wonderful chronicle! Best wishes!

Tamara14 on November 05, 2012:

Beautifully done :)

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on October 25, 2012:

Thank you! Love the old photos... I'll stop back again... SquidAngel blessed! ;-)

anonymous on August 26, 2012:

What a neat lens. I appreciate your note below. My brother and I have hundreds of pictures and many videos of my parents that we never look at. Even though I don't look at them as often as I should, I'll make a point to always hold on to them.

robertzimmerman2 on July 29, 2012:

My father immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1931. He traveled all that way by himself and was only 13! Your story of the suitcase made me remember as he told me he w as barely tall enough to have the suitcase off the ground when he picked it up. Thanks for a great Lens!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on June 29, 2012:

Wow, what a fascinating history you have. This is a great way to memorialize your family's life.

jlshernandez on May 05, 2012:

Your suitcase has more than a lifetime of memories stashed in it. It was fascinating reading your stories. Thanks for sharing. Blessed ***

Morgannafay on April 13, 2012:

I loved reading about all the memories from your suitcase, you've got a well deserved purple star on this lens. :)

I also most enjoyed your miniature painting, and all of the beautiful old photographs!

emmesinger1 on April 06, 2012:

WoW your mother was beautiful! I look forward to reading more. This is an amazing and Squidoo-Wise lens to learn from.

Also, I PINNED it to my Pinterest board, "Strength and Resiliency".

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 03, 2012:

How very valuable this little suitcase of yours was then and still is. It virtually carries your family traditions and history within it.

jaredsgirl on March 28, 2012:

What a beautiful lens and story! Thank you so much for sharing this with us :)

KonaGirl from New York on March 27, 2012:

This is such a great story! How fortunate for you that you have all of this from your Mom's suitcase. You must have been truly amazed when you were contacted by your Mother's old friends from Berlin. Thank you so much for having the courage to publish all of this in such a lovely way. *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to My Squid Angel Blessings for 2012 in the "Relationships & Family » Family History" neighborhood. This lens is the 1st one to be listed in that category. Whoot!

Scriber1 LM on February 29, 2012:

This is such a beautiful lens! My sister has compiled a large collection of pictures and letters from our family and created books using copies and originals, so I can really relate to your story. It is so true, once the moments we live through have passed it is the mementos that keep the memories from fading. You have a real talent and I enjoy reading your lenses.

Renee Jaco Whitfield from Bogalusa, Louisiana , United States of America on February 26, 2012:

What a Lovely Lens! I wish I could put my Genealogy together like that ! Keep up the good work = ]

anonymous on February 25, 2012:

What a fantastic story! Such an interesting lens, great job!

Jules Corriere from Jonesborough TN on February 17, 2012:

What a lovely collection, beautifully put together. I hope that you will continue to have people connect with you, who knew your family, and who can help fill in some of those empty blanks. I'd also love to know more about your mother the trapeze artist. How wonderful! Well deserved purple star!

TransplantedSoul on February 05, 2012:

This was a very interesting read. Piecing together history from little fragments gives a more complete picture.

PapaKork on January 21, 2012:

I'm enjoying your lenses. Fantastic family photographs and background history. Thanks for sharing!

MBradley McCauley on January 19, 2012:

How blessed you are to have these wonderful memories and the photos/memorabilia. May your blessings continue.

oxfordian on January 15, 2012:

Just when I thought that your life couldn't possibly be more interesting, I read something else and am amazed! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful stories about your family. Here's another angel blessing for you.

whats4dinner on January 05, 2012:

Lovely lens!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on January 04, 2012:

I like your note below and totally agree. I have so many photo albums! I have separate albums for each of my children and grandchildren with photos of them over the years. They will be passed on to them. Enjoyed this lens.

goo2eyes lm on December 15, 2011:

really touching family story. you can write a book and perhaps, you can have the book filmed. your mom will be more proud of you (she was quasi in show business).

kathysart on December 15, 2011:

Beautiful, thoughtful lens.. THUMBS UP!

Delia (author) on October 23, 2011:

@MAMellott LM: Thanks for the visit and comment! I do hope you make a lens with your information and records...let me know when you are done.

MAMellott LM on October 23, 2011:

Wonderful lens! You have inspired me to go digging through old records and possible get them scaned in and displayed here on Squidoo. It had never occurred to me before that this would be a good online landing place for my genealogy hobby. Thank you for sharing.

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on July 19, 2011:

I'm so thrilled to read this lens! How excited you must have been to be contacted by an unknown distant family member who happened to read this lens. Also, it's fascinating to read of your mom. You must be very proud! Wonderful lens!!!

anonymous on June 19, 2011:

Very inspiring and I am amazed that you have treasured them all nicely in the memories, in the photo albums and most of all in this lens. Great !!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on May 28, 2011:

What treasures you have and I appreciate that you share these family memories on Squidoo.

oniArts on April 01, 2011:

Amazing story!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 31, 2011:

A wonderful treasury of riches! I wish I had more of these types of treasures from family members. Thank you for sharing. I will look forward to future lenses that explore more of your true wealth. :-)

Deadlego on March 31, 2011:

This really is a beautiful and inspirational lens. I'm so glad you squidliked my lens as it has brought me to discover your lenses which are fantastic! (Without copying in any way) I will certainly be taking away some ideas which have come from reading your lenses. Thank you!

Delia (author) on March 18, 2011:

@ramonabeckbritman: That makes me so happy that you got inspired by this lens, and I do hope you will make a lens on your little best it's cathartic - also very rewarding to have this on a so called hard copy of your memories....Thanks for your kind comment.

Ramona from Arkansas on March 18, 2011:

You are so right about treasuring family items. I wish I would have saved more pictures and STUFF in a Suitcase in my younger years. I regret it now. Especially since the passing of my mother. I never had siblings, never knew my father. Only have memories and a few photo's. You have inspired me to go through them and see what I an put together myself on my family history. thank you for such an inspiring lens. if I were a Sqidd Angel I would bless you!

Ruthi on February 16, 2011:

Fabulous family lens, Delia! It is awesome that you made a family connection through this lens!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on December 31, 2010:

You have so much history to share...I love all the old and new images you display on your lenses. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and an amazing 2011. Best wishes.

Kathy McGraw from California on December 29, 2010:

Having these memories is priceless...but finding some family through this is a real gift. I remember reading something before about your family treasures, so this was a nice refresher on the importance of knowing and keeping the mementos of family.

dustytoes on December 29, 2010:

What wonderful photos, and I totally agree with your note below. When I was young my parents split up and many of my things were given away which I always regretted. When we are young we don't realize what we will miss later on. I love your artwork too.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on December 28, 2010:

Thanks for sharing the wonderful legacy contained in your suitcase. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

anonymous on December 27, 2010:

I so enjoyed reading about your life that is tucked away in a suitcase.

Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on December 27, 2010:

How very interesting! Blessed and added to my December Blessings lens.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on December 27, 2010:

What fascinating photos and interesting memories you found in your mom's suitcase. Preserving memories for future generations is very important; otherwise, a piece of history is lost forever as each 'family' creates their own little part of the history of the time they lived.

GrowWear on December 27, 2010:

Wonderful work about your life story in a suitcase -- a most interesting life story in a suitcase.

kimmanleyort on December 27, 2010:

Yes, this is truly amazing. What a gift left to you. No wonder you are interested in genealogy! I think it is brilliant to leave these types of memories in a suitcase - a metaphor for something you take with you wherever you go. My Life Story in a Suitcase would make a great title for your memoir.

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on December 22, 2010:

Absolutely fascinating story and it's amazing the stuff that you were able to preserve. Thanks for the note below as well...I agree! Very well written, presented and loved all the photo compilations. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

aerome on December 12, 2010:

Wow, wow, wow. This is truly amazing. Such a nice 'treasure box' you have there.

ShamanicShift on December 06, 2010:

Amazing and wonderful lens story -- Thanks for sharing so much interesting inspiration!

Sami4u LM on December 04, 2010:


A wonderful story :) Blessed

ohcaroline on November 04, 2010:

Wow, what a treasure you have. I also study genealogy so I know how valuable these things are.

jgelien on October 20, 2010:

This lens is absolutely fascinating as was your SunMaid Raisin girl story. You are so right about the value of preserving old photos, etc. I don't know how many times I've come across very interesting old pictures in thrift stores and wonder who they were and how important this photo might be to their present family. Thank you for the reminder.

TheMuseumArtistsfromAroundTheWor on October 19, 2010:

spent 19 months in Germany - great country - great people - stationed with 509 Airborne US Army in 1963 -1965 (the people still lived in fear then); was back in 1986 and again in 2000 - so many changes - it's the children I worry about - but the German People always seem to get it right after a stumble here - stumble there

tssfacts on October 18, 2010:

What a delightful story. I have always begged my parents to tell me about their lives when they were younger etc. But they didn't want to talk about it. I did have aunts and uncles that I have gleamed some things from. I treasure the knowledge that I have.

TedStrutz on October 17, 2010:

I stopped watching a football game to read this lens... lovely! What treasures you have.

eccles1 on October 15, 2010:

What a nice lens !!

anonymous on October 10, 2010:

A most interesting lens. So well illustrated.

Mona from Iowa on October 06, 2010:

What a beautiful lens. So many families lose touch with their heritage. Lovely.

Katherine Tyrrell from London on September 27, 2010:

So nice to see somebody valuing their family mementoes - and yours are more interesting than most! :)

RedSportNiac on September 17, 2010:

Old photos are treasures and I wish I could have kept mine. Great lens by the way.

Marijoyce on August 24, 2010:

Another unique and wonderful lens. This was so enjoyable to read and the photos and art are, as usual, marvelous.

anonymous on August 15, 2010:

Brilliant that you have shared this with us. A unique period of history, rapidly passing from living memory.

burgessvillian on May 28, 2010:

I think this lens is fantastic. A beautiful way to show your history.

jolou on May 25, 2010:

Wow, what a wonderful lens. Your family background is so interesting. Great you have all these photos to treasure. Definitely a 5 star lens.

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on April 28, 2010:

You were right I found this lens very interesting. What a fantastic family you come from. 5 *****lensrolled and favourited so I can catch up with you.

Indigo Janson from UK on April 14, 2010:

You have captured and lovingly presented a precious piece of history here. I just had to return and leave you an *~*~ Angel Blessing ~*~*

MB7Art on March 25, 2010:

Very interesting story, photos and documents you have here! And your mother is beautiful.

Thank you. By the way I graduated my high school in Berlin (at that time it was East Berlin and my father was a soviet army officer there).

Joandearc LM on February 26, 2010:

This is such an amazing lens and an amazing story. I look forward to reading your other lenses!


Abseaz LM on February 20, 2010:

So I suppose the suitcase acted like a time capsule, in a way. Funny how things work out!

noxid25 on February 19, 2010:

This is a really nice lens! The pictures themselves and the layout in which you put them, are great! Great stories. 5 stars!

stefanruse on February 18, 2010:

I like the way you constructed the lens and how nicely you approach the readers.Great lens.5 stars of course.Very nice pictures.

poppy mercer from London on February 17, 2010:

This is a magical lens...I felt transported to a world so different to mine, and a past so close in years, but so far away from us now. Thankyou for sharing.

FRPhotographer on February 17, 2010:

WOW this is such an amazing collection of photographs! Thank you for sharing.

RaintreeAnnie from UK on February 16, 2010:

What a lovely page of treaured memories. Beautiful...Thank you for sharing.

Indigo Janson from UK on February 15, 2010:

Another fascinating look into history, and also lensrolled to True Life Family History Stories.

myraggededge on February 15, 2010:

Fabulous photos. Thanks for sharing your memories!

KNicholls on February 14, 2010:

What a great lens full of special memories. Thanks for leaving it on my Angel lens. I have sprinkled angel dust on it today.

MarcMooney on February 14, 2010:

Great Lens I left my comments on the forum, and yes some people do critique lenses.

gia combs-ramirez from Montana on February 13, 2010: glad you're making lenses about it. Blessed by an angel.

julieannbrady on February 02, 2010:

Pretty awesome stuff Delia -- you know, I can't help but think that all of this really begs to be included in a published book or ebook to capture it for posterity! Please consider that rather than "just" making a lens about it my dear. Hugs. I have been touched by this experience toay.

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