Portrait of Louise Rebmann

My Maternal Grandmother Louise Rebmann Moseley

Louise Jeanette Catherine Rebmann was my maternal grandmother. She was born May 11, 1898, in Buffalo, New York.

Grandma and Grandpa Moseley lived at 36 Broughton Street in Tonawanda, New York, when I was a kid. We used to visit there on holidays. I have a picture of my sister and I taken at that house on one such visit. They had a little black dog named Tiny that my grandmother was very fond of.

After my family moved to California in 1951 and my grandfather Edward (Shorty) retired, Grandma and Grandpa moved into a house built on to the back of my parents’ house on Dayton Drive in Lemon Grove, California.

Grandma and I were pretty close when she lived next door. Her eyes had a certain twinkle in them and she had an excellent sense of humor.

She left school after the 5th grade, when she was 10 and went to work sewing burlap bags and later in a millinery shop. She married my grandfather when she was 19 (he was 35). Her daughter Lillian was born in 1918. Grandma worked in the Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda during World War II as part of the war effort. They were making proximity fuses for the Navy at the time.

Grandma’s father came from Niederbronn, Alsace Loraine, and Grandma spoke the local German dialect. Her mother’s family was also from Germany. I remember her making German potato salad and potato pancakes (she called them “panacakes”).

My grandmother was cheerful and energetic. She used to tease me all the time. She had all these little sayings, like “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” I used to hear that one quite a bit because I was always messing up the basement of our house, which she was always trying to keep neat and tidy. She used to go “shopping” in San Diego on the bus, but she never bought anything! She just liked to “go bumming around.” She was very active and did not spend much time sitting around reading or watching television.

I spent many afternoons at my grandmother’s house on Dayton Drive playing Canasta. We played with several decks of cards, and she always beat me! I got teased a lot along the way. Every time the discard pile got high she would say things like “gee that pile sure is getting big!” and when she discarded (something I never could pick up), she would say “here’s a good one for you, Dick.”

When my grandfather died, Grandma sold her house and moved back to Buffalo. I saw her there once on a trip back to New York. She didn’t have much money. She lived in a small apartment and spent most of her time volunteering with the Salvation Army. The last time I saw her, we drove her around Tonawanda and she showed us some of the old haunts and introduced us to my Uncle Fritz and my Aunt Elizabeth, whom she called Lizzie. I remember she cried when she took us to see the old house on Broughton Street where she and my grandfather had lived for so many years.

She died of colon cancer in 1974. She left me $1000 in her will, which Anna and I used to buy a dining room table and some pictures.

Louise at her Buffalo apartment
Louise at her Buffalo apartment

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