A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. by Susan Nugent. I would like to introduce my grandparents who were very proud hard working people. My grandparents were known for helping and caring for other people throughout their lives. The Morrison House is an extension of their love and care for the people of this area.
My Grandpa, Kenny, had a grandfather who was a Lutheran minister. He was raised in a large family. The family was very involved in Tiffin and the surrounding area. Kenny always had such a good outlook on life. Meeting my grandmother changed his life, and the life of so many others.
My Grandma Annie was born and raised in Ober-Urbach, Germany in 1904. Ober-Urbach is near Stuttgart in southern Germany. Grandma was four years old when her mother died. She was raised by her father and grandmother. Grandma used to sit and cry watching other girls and their moms walking together down the street. She knew the loneliness of being without a mom at a young age.
Life was hard in Germany during this time and the people did not have a lot of food. Grandma, and her family picked grass and tree bark to make soup. They picked berries and nuts when they were in season. During World War I the castle near her town was turned into a hospital and prisoner of war camp. Grandma volunteered time caring for the patients and prisoners. She walked to the castle, in Stuttgart, and back home every time she worked there.
After finishing school, grandma was sent to a Russian family as an indentured servant. She worked in the fields, cared for their house, took care of animals, or anything they needed. In return, food and money was sent to her family to help keep them alive. Grandma was proud that she worked so hard to care for her family back in Ober-Urbach.
Grandma's father was killed during a thunderstorm in 1922. Grandma was still living in Russia as an indentured servant during this time. She returned home in time for his funeral. Without parents, in post war Germany, it was hard to make a living. Grandma's uncles from Ohio happened to come to Germany for the Oberammergau Passion Play shortly after her father's death. It was agreed that grandma, her younger sister, brother and grandmother would go to America for a new beginning.
Grandma came to America on a ship named The Empress of Scotland. It took her two weeks to get to the new world by ship. Grandma's uncle stayed on the first class level while she had to go below to the lower class deck. She came to a new country scared and could not understand the language. Grandma went to her uncle's house, in Jenera (near Findlay) when they reached Ohio.
Grandma's uncle's wife was angry that a German girl was brought to her house. The aunt hated Germans since her brother was killed by Germans in World War I. Grandma was only able to stay one night with the aunt and uncle. The next day grandma was sent to her grandmother's brother's house in Findlay. She was told that she could not live there for free and would have to go to work to make a living.
Grandma took a job as a dish washer at a restaurant. Later, through the assistance of her preacher, grandma was able to get a job as a governess in Findlay for the Fort Flowers' family. Grandma cared for five children, assisted during parties and had other duties at the Flowers' home. Grandma was also able to attend English classes at The Findlay College. Grandma maintained this job for several years until her marriage to Kenneth Morrison in 1926.
Grandpa and grandma had three children during their marriage Paul, Anna, and Carl. Grandma wanted to become an American citizen like her husband and children. She proudly became a citizen on December 15, 1938. She and grandpa continued living the American dream raising their children, as well as caring for their neighbors.
While living in Tiffin, on Erie Street, some Junior Home boys were looking for a place to live. Years ago there was no welfare system to care for kids and families without money. The kids could be placed in orphanages such as the Junior Order of Mechanics Orphanage. Upon graduation, and reaching 18 years old, the kids had to leave the home. They would look for somewhere to stay to be near family. In some cases the Jr. Home kids stayed with grandpa and grandma until they had a job. Over the years grandpa and grandma opened their doors to fifty Jr. Home boys and one Jr. Home girl.
Grandma knew what it was like to have no family, no money, no place to go, and no one to love you. Years before grandma made a pledge to help people who were in need. Her opportunity came about with the Jr. Home kids. For years grandpa and grandma would take in the kids a couple at a time. It may have been a couple of days, weeks or months. Grandma would do their laundry, offer meals, a warm home and love to the kids in need. Grandpa and grandma even helped with saving accounts so the kids had money when they needed it.
In 1947 the Jr. Home closed its doors in Tiffin and the kids moved to other states. About this time displaced persons and people from Europe were coming to America. Post World War II Europe had massive destruction and people wanted new beginnings. Again the doors opened to Kenny and Annie's home. Annie lived through World War I in Germany and knew the hardships these displaced people were going through.
Grandpa and grandma were contacted by different churches, factories, collages, the YMCA and more. The people coming to Tiffin needed help finding jobs, learning how to set up their houses, getting the kids into school, learning the English language, filling out paper work, meals, a place to stay and much more. Some of these people were single men, while others were families with kids.
Grandpa and grandma gave something special to each person they touched. They respected and loved everyone. Grandpa and grandma gave of themselves letting each person know they were important and loved. Grandpa and grandpa gave people new starts and helped them get on their feet. Each person that was helped by my grandparents knew that they had someone they could depend upon. For many years after her husband's death in 1966 grandma took in or cared for people in need. Men, women and families came to grandma's house to get a new start or some place to stay until they got on their feet.
Their kids married and had children. Paul married Carolyn and had three children: Jeff, Eric and Michelle. Anna married Joseph Cholodewitsch and had four children: Steven, Susan, Michael and Carol. Carl married Marlene and had two children: Lowell and Lisa. Kenny died before all of the grandchildren were born. Annie loved her grandparents very much. Each grandchild was touched in a special way by the love of grandma.
The next time you hear of The Morrison House and the people that are being helped, remember our grandparents and how they changed the world, one person at a time. Thank you for taking your time to read a long and personal story of people we love so much.
The grandkids of Kenneth and Annie Morrison
Jeff and Katherine Morrison
Eric and Grace Morrison
Michelle and Damien Jones
Susan and Ed Nugent
Mike and Kelly Cholodewitsch
Lowell and Katrina Morrison and