Saturday, September 7, 2013

Grandma Mollie's "California Flower Beads" Necklace


Amalia Koleber, age 13, 1915, Wakeeney, Trego, Kansas
My paternal grandmother was Amalia "Mollie" (Koleber) Margheim. This photo of her at age 13, taken in 1915, is my absolute favorite photo in my entire collection. It speaks to me because it tells me a lot about her as a teenager. I was at first amazed that it portrays her as being more dark-complected than she was. Maybe it's just the dark background, or the dark-colored dress, or the lighting, or the middle part in her dark hair. By the time I was born, Grandma appeared as an "old" woman (she was all of 45 years old!), wearing those big black laced-up shoes with thick raised heels, flower-print dresses and her hair was short, starting to gray and styled with a tight curly perm. I had never imagined her as a teenager with very long, dark flowing or braided hair, as in this picture. Grandma was a hard working woman but not the serious type, as reflected in the above photo. 
Mollie Margheim with twins Becky and Dennis, 1949, Hoisington, Barton, KS
As I was cleaning out "treasures" from my father's house last Fall when he took up residence in a local Care Center, I discovered the necklace that Grandma was wearing in her teenage photo. I am so blessed to have it! I looked up the "California Flower Beads" company on the internet (see the photo at right). The beads were made by the Restall Manufacturing Company of Long Beach, CA in 1915-1916. I know the photo of Mollie was taken in 1915-16 because on an accompanying portrait in which she's standing beside the same chair she has written "age 13" and she was born in October, 1902.

It amazes me that Grandma owned a brand new necklace. I'm very happy for her. She obviously valued her jewelry. Notice on the photo at the top that she's wearing a broach (pin), three rings and a bracelet! That's my Grandma! 
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