Frederick Christian (Fred) Becker was born in Germany on 8/30/1865 and came to this country as a small boy. His family started their new life in Cincinnati, Ohio, in an area known as “over the Rhine.” When Fred was about 12, he broke his arm running along a railroad track. His arm was never set properly and from then on he couldn’t straighten it out all the way. This did not prevent him from becoming a skilled tailor for the Pettibone Manufacturing Company that made uniforms for fireman and policemen, as well as for railroads and lodges.
When my Mom was very small, one of her favorite pastimes was playing with the shinny buttons that her Grandpa would bring home from the uniforms. When my brother and I were very young, we fondly called him “Little Pop” since he was smaller than “Pop,” our Grandpa.
I have Little Pop’s naturalization papers, signed on 10/23/1888. He died at 82 on 4/17/1948.
Amelia F. Brandt Becker was born on 7/12/1871. Her family also started their new life in Cincinnati, Ohio. After she married Fred, Amelia became a typical “German Frau.” She did all the household chores including firing up the coal furnace and doing the bookkeeping and the shopping. Fred would bring his paycheck home on Friday night and she would take care of it. She was an excellent cook and housekeeper and made clothes for family, friends and neighbors.
She once played a trick on my Mom, her granddaughter, by asking her to help fit a dress she was making for a neighbor who was about my Mom’s size. It turned out to be my Mom’s birthday present. It was a beautiful, pale peach crepe dress with smocking at the yoke.
She had a stroke that left her paralyzed on one side and died on 3/3/37 at 65 after suffering a second stroke. My Mom, who was also a gifted seamstress, is gone now, too. I think of her and Grammy, and my Great Grandma, with great fondness and respect for my heritage, whenever I get out my sewing machine.
Shared by: Annie Folger of Mountain View, CA