The first gift on my list would be the Brooch that was worn my paternal grandmother, Mrs. Emily Strike, born Russell, in at least three pictures which I have seen of her as a young woman. I noticed that there seems to be a miniature portrait on the face of the brooch. Emily’s mother died about 1892 in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, and left five young children, two boys and three girls, on the hands of the father, Thomas W. Russell. Emily the third-born child who survived (the first two children died early) was about 12 years old. The oldest girl in the family, Jane Ann, was not much older. Nevertheless, the three girls in the family took the mother's place and kept the house clean and their father and brothers well fed. The only existing picture of the mother, who was the former Eleanor Hartley, might be the image on Emily’s brooch. Unfortunately, the brooch has not been seen for years. I hope that it may still be in the hands of one of Emily’s descendants. Actually, writing up this wish list has given me renewed motivation to ask around for it.
The picture below shows Emily on the left wearing the brooch and on the right, Emily’s younger sister, Janet Russell.
I have been over this picture, particularly the brooch with a magnifying glass, but the resolution does not allow me to indentify the image with certainty. I can not even make out the person's gender. Recently, I have thought the image might be Emily’s husband, Otto Strike, rather than her mother. I overlayed a close-up scan of the broach with a scan of Otto as a young man (see picture below). The picture of Otto was actually cropped from what I presume is a wedding picture of Emily and Otto. Is that Otto in the brooch? Was it customary to have a picture of a woman's husband, or perhaps her betrothed, on a brooch?
I lived in Geneva, Switzerland, for two years (1973-1974) on a research fellowship. While there, I bought this carving of a man blowing the Alphorn. My maternal grandmother was born in Canton Thurgau, Switzerland in 1894.
I am thinking big here. I do not know where I would store such an instrument. So, my practical wish would be to have someone show me how to make just one long, sweet sound from the alphorn. Christmas morning, around 6 am, would be a good time.