Great-Grandpa (Carl) Rees was a fixture at family events through my tween years. He was a nice as could be. Great-Grandma (Mildred) Rees suffered an incapacitating stroke when I was still very young. I still have a lot of memories that include her. When she was healthy, she loved hummingbirds and collected various nick-nacks and quilts etc. that featured the birds. When we went to visit their house, my cousin Sarah and I would count the hummingbirds. Each time it seemed like we would find new hummingbirds we had never seen before. The count was well over a hundred and I am sure there were birds that we missed. Grandpa bough a handicap accessible bus to get Great-Grandma around. It was perfect for getting the gang together and driving around town to look at Christmas lights as well!
Great-Grandma Rees's Frozen Fruit Salad
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup heavy cream - "Whipped"
3 1/2 cups fruit cocktail, well drained
1/2 cup drained Marichino cherries
2 1/2 cups little marshmallows
- Quarter cherries
- Cream together the room temperature cream cheese and mayonaise.
- Add cherries, fruit cocktail and marshmallows, mixing it together.
- Fold in whipped cream.
- Put into a glass 9x13 pan or similarly sized freezer safe serving dish. Freeze until solid.
- Remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before time to serve.
- Cut into squares and enjoy.
A little family history:
Great-Grandpa Carl's dad, Henry Rees, was the founder of Rees Construction here in Quincy. They had many children including a set of twins that were so small they slept in shoeboxes by the fireplace to keep warm. Neither my great-great grandpa (Henry) nor great-great grandma (Helen) Rees drove a car. But here is a picture of them in San Diego where Helen was on an ostrich!
Great-grandma's dad, my great-great grandpa Langhorst, died on Memorial Day when she was less than a year old. He was helping to move a house to a new foundation. They hoisted the house up on a trailer and were in the process of moving it when the house fell off the trailer and onto him. After his tragic death, Mildred and her mother moved in with his parents. The Langhorst's were very important in town (Roselle, IL). My great-great-great grandfather started the bank, made wine for the churches and was the funeral director. He was also a partner in the general store. When they got phones in town, the phone company was located in his bank. He was the first man in town to own a phone, but it did not do him any good until some of his neighbors decided to buy one as well! Infant mortality was high in those days, and Mildred remembered helping her grandfather's business by dressing infants for funerals at her kitchen table.
Mildred and Carl met and fell in love. They got married and located in Quincy, where Carl was a partner in his father's construction business. They received many contracts to build sewers, which was a very dangerous job. Occasionally they would run into pockets of toxic gases, so they had to bring along canaries to test for fumes. The canaries were much more susceptible to the gases, so if the canary died, the excavation crew would leave immediately.