1969: The second half

July – Bob’s family – 20th Anniversary picnic

No details on this one, at all. But I did have a photo – not sure where it went – of a family gathering when I was about 11 years old, in our backyard, with all of the cousins and aunts and uncles. I’m betting now that the occasion was this 20th anniversary party for my Uncle Bob (my godfather) and his wife Mary Ann.

November 23 – Mother, Sr. Clement, Aunt Claude

Mother is Gertrude Ruhl, my maternal Grandmother. Sr. Mary Clement (Felicitas Ruhl) is my maternal Grandfather’s sister, a Franciscan nun. And Aunt Claude was my maternal Grandfather’s sister-in-law. She married my great-uncle, Clem Ruhl, aHamnd had two daughters.

– Ham with raisin sauce (Better Homes & Gardens clipping) with currant jelly
– mashed potatoes; green bean casserole; tossed salad; cranberry pineapple jello; rolls
– rhubarb pie

So this date was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I’m thinking that Thanksgiving that year was celebrated at one Bob and Mary Ann’s house, so my Mom probably wanted to invite her side of the family for a nice dinner in advance of that.

A few thoughts: the currant jelly was probably homemade by my Grandmother, from currant berries grown in her backyard. To this day I love currant jelly. And the rhubarb for the pie was possibly from my parents’ own backyard, though I’m not sure if Mom already had her own rhubarb plant there. If not, then it was rhubarb from her mother’s plant.

And that raisin sauce: that was a popular condiment for ham in my parents’ house for years and years. I actually made it a few times in my own kitchen – until I realized that hardly anybody in my family likes a) ham or b) raisins. Sad days.

To close out the last year of the ’60s, we have:

Christmas at Mother’s

and then…

December 27 – Dick’s family, Bob’s family, Grandma (Mueller) and Aunt Catherine (Ennis); 22 children, 9 adults.

That’s right, for those of you doing the math: 31 people for dinner. And to feed the crowd, Mom made:

– Bride’s chicken casserole (made 5, ate 3)
– 3 jellos (Grandma brought 2)
– potato chips, pickles, rolls
– 3 angel food cakes, vanilla ice cream, 4 boxes frozen strawberries

I checked her cookbook for Bride’s chicken casserole and came up empty.

Bride’s Chicken Casserole: Not in this cookbook.



Turning to Google, we find this – a dish made with browned chicken pieces, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts.

And oddly enough, this was the exact dish that I helped my friend Kathy make, in 1985, for her first child’s Baptism party.  She didn’t call it “Bride’s Chicken Casserole”, and I don’t know where she found the recipe, but it was indeed delicious and I’ve made it a few times since.

Next up: we head into the 1970’s, a decade memorable for its utterly awful fashions, crappy economy, and lousy Presidents.

Let’s see what Mom dished up, shall we?

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