The LifeBio of:
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Disclaimer Page 2 of 35
I dedicate this book to my children and future generations who deserve
a legacy of stories and memories.
Dedication Page 3 of 35
This Page Intentionally Left Blank Page 4 of 35
Birth Date: 02/13/1969
Birth Place: Erie, Pennsylvania
Personal Information Page 5 of 35
Table of Contents page
The LifeBio 1
Personal Information 5
Table of Contents 6
Section I 7
The People Who Shaped You 7
Maternal Grandparents (Mother's Parents) 15
Paternal Grandparents (Father's Parents) 17
Section II 19
Your Memories 19
Growing Up 20
Family Fun, Vacations, and Celebrations as a Child and Teenager 21
Elementary School Years 24
Section III 27
The Real World 27
Home as an Adult 29
Children and Parenthood 30
Section IV 33
Bringing it All Together 33
Family Stories and Heirlooms 34
Opinions & Tough Questions 34
Table of Contents Page 6 of 35
Section I - The People Who Shaped
Section I - The People Who Shaped You Page 7 of 35
What is your mother's name (include maiden name), her date of birth, and her
My mom, Linda Payne, was born on
May 9, 1942 in Millcreek Township,
outside of Erie, Pennsylvania. She was
born at home in the little white house on
Loveland Ave. The house still stands
Section I - Mother Page 8 of 35
Share more details about your mother's childhood. How did your mother spend a
summer day as a child? What was her favorite toy? Who was her best friend?
Mom's best friend was Susie. Susie moved away from Erie, Pennsylvania when my mom
was six. After she moved, she would come back in the summers and visit her aunt who
lived down the street. My mom would have to work in the morning with her mother. They
would do "whole-house cleaning" (in the spring) down to the bare walls and floors. If
mom got her morning chores done, she would get to go down the road to play cards at
Susie's house. They would play double solitaire or canasta. They would watch old Charlie
Chan movies in the afternoon.
My mother's Uncle Kenneth, who lived next door, had the first TV in the family. My
mother and her three brothers would go to his house and watch "Howdy Doody" before
supper. By the time she was ten, they had moved into the new brick house that Uncle
Kenneth and her dad, Francis Stitzinger, had built. Uncle Kenneth had gotten a new TV
and they got his old one. This was exciting!
My mother also remembers that they had an old victrola. Mom and her three brothers
would use the empty living room, before it had furniture, as their dance ballroom.
Mom had two dolls she used to play with. Nancy was a wooden doll and Sally Ann had
real hair. Sally Ann's hair was my mother's color, red. Linda's mother made clothes for the
dolls. My mom played mother a lot. She also played with leftover pie crust which was like
The Stitzinger family always took a Sunday drive. A ride around the peninsula, or Presque
Isle State Park, was the perfect length. They would sometimes pack up dinner and take it
to the beach. My Mom says that her Dad (my Grandpa Stitzinger) would take the four kids
swimming and her mom (my Grandma Stitzinger) would rest. On very hot days, they
would sometimes go down to the end of Clifton Drive. They would swim until it got dark.
There was a really nice sandbar. My Mom's Uncle Kenneth went with the family
sometimes too. They had a can with rocks inside that was welded shut. My Mom and her
brothers would dive for the can.
Section I - Mother Page 9 of 35
How would you describe your mother to someone who had never met her?
My mom is always willing to do
anything for anybody. She cared for her
mother, Margaret Stitzinger, for over
five years and grandma had a very full
life because of this. Mom would take
Grandma with her everywhere, and
Grandma always enjoyed the scenery
and a good nap in the car. Mom is very
smart--good common sense and book
smart too. She is someone that you can
share your life with, and she really
listens and thinks about what you’ve
said. She enjoys problem solving and
puzzles. She always has a word of
encouragement for anyone. She “goes
with the flow” and follows dad’s lead
into different opportunities but always
enjoys a new adventure.
Section I - Mother Page 10 of 35
Tell one of your most vivid and unforgettable memories about your mother.
Mom had a lot of fun records from the
60s. One that I remember well was the
soundtrack from the movie South
Pacific. One rainy Sunday afternoon she
put that record on and she taught us her
version of the hula dance. After all, she
had been to Hawaii when dad was in the
Army so she knew all about hula
dancing! We danced the hula and found
it particularly fun to try to write our
names in cursive with our hula hips!
Another fond memory is when mom
homeschooled us for a couple of weeks
while the Millcreek teachers went on
strike in the 1970s. I remember learning about John Smith and the early American
colonies from my mother.
The picture is of the Payne Family having dinner in the dining room. I think the sliding
glass door was a new addition.
Section I - Mother Page 11 of 35
What is your father's name, date of birth, and birthplace?
LaVerne Edwin Payne was born on
February 27, 1943 in his family's home
in Platea, Pennsylvania, 20 miles from
Erie, Pennsylvania. The house still
This picture is my father's graduation
picture from Northwestern High School.
He gave it to my mother when he asked
her to marry him.
Section I - Father Page 12 of 35
Describe your father's favorite memory of his childhood.
Life back then was not easy on the farm
or at home, but my Dad didn't seem to
mind. In fact, I think he remembers
these times fondly. He enjoyed hard
work. I believe he liked having
something to do all the time.
He remembers that their beds were straw
ticks. This was a sheet that could be
stuffed with straw and then placed on
exposed wire bedsprings. All seven kids
had their beds in the upstairs of the
house in Platea.
Dad's days began by bringing in wood,
firing up the wood furnace, or feeding
the chickens, pigs, or the milk cow,
Elsie or Caboss. The pigs were kept in a
fence that they moved every so often.
They had a barn made out of cardboard
and wood, where they kept the cows and
calves. They would get water from the
spring over the hill. It was probably a
quarter mile walk for water. There was
no running water in the house when they
were kids. They had an outhouse. Baths
were given occasionally in a metal tub,
but Dad avoided them as much as possible.
They would have eggs, oatmeal, blackberry pancakes, or blackberry dumplings for
breakfast. Grandma and the girls canned meat, tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, pears,
apples, plums, and more. Grandma would make apple butter at home. The kids would
churn butter by hand. Dad says he doesn't like butter probably because he had to churn it
as a kid. They used lard from the pigs for cooking.
Dad had handmade shirts sewn from flour sacks (with flowers on them), store-bought
pants, and Red Wing hightop shoes (not sneakers). He said that they always had good
shoes, if nothing else. Again, things weren't perfect, but that's the way life was and he
Section I - Father Page 13 of 35
didn't think it was such a bad life.
Dad got to go with his father to many places. He liked to go. When his father was laid off
from the railroad in the 50s, his Dad got a job hauling cars with M&G "Mother Goose"
Transport from Detroit to places in New York like Dunkirk, Buffalo, or Albany on a a car
carrier. This was from 1955-1957. Car carriers could hold four cars at the most. My Dad,
with Grandpa Payne, would go on the weekends to deliver the Chrysler, Buick,
Thunderbird, and Corvette cars to car shows. Grandpa also carried the payroll checks to
dealers in New York.
My Dad enjoyed working on the family farm in Girard that they bought in 1952. They had
also farmed previously in Bowmantown where they raised potatoes and pumpkins. In
Girard, they raised cows and sheep for meat and wool. Dad had all the animals named. To
feed the animals and as cash crops, they raised wheat, buckwheat, barley, oats, corn, rye,
and hay. Dad remembers his sheep, Sam. Sam was a Lincoln buck sheep who weighed
over 450 pounds. The kids rode him like a horse. He knocked holes in the barn with his
horns. Grandma used to yell at the kids in Platea for riding Sam.
Tell one of your most vivid and unforgettable memories about your father.
My Dad, my brother Ed, and I were
going to Lake City, PA to do some sort
of work. I don’t recall for sure where we
were headed, but probably before we left
the house, the dialogue went something
like this: "Come on Beth!” and I would
always ask, “Where are we going?” and
he would always say, “Come on!” This
meant that I was going to be doing some
kind of dirty, hard work. I would put on
my jeans and T-shirt and jump in the
blue F-150 pickup and hope to be home
for dinner. So Ed, Dad, and I were on
our way to Lake City in the blue pickup
truck when dad spotted a special
excursion train that they were taking
back to Albion. Dad decided to try to
outrun the train, and Ed, who was about
8 years old, was thrilled to be anywhere
close to a train. With our windows wide
open and our hair whipping at our faces, I watched the speedometer go from 50 to 60 to 70
Section I - Father Page 14 of 35
and then 80. As our speed rose, Dad and Ed’s laughter grew and for a minute I started to
worry that we might all die trying to beat that train. Then I thought, "O well, at least we
will all die happy."
I've included a picture of my brother, Ed, sitting on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA
during our 1976 Bicentennial family vacation. We had a great time! Mom kept a journal of
the whole trip.
What are your maternal grandparents' names, dates of birth, and birthplaces? Include
your grandmother's maiden name if possible.
Francis Stitzinger was born on August
14, 1904 in Forest County,
Pennsylvania. Grandma was born on
October 16, 1907 in Canonsburg,
Pennsylvania. They were married on
June 20, 1937 at Asbury United
Methodist Church in Millcreek
Township in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Section I - Maternal Grandparents (Mother's Parents) Page 15 of 35
What is a key lesson you learned from your mother’s parents?
My Grandpa Stitzinger was an inventor
and tinkerer. I suppose I learned
something from seeing him just make
things like his own woodburning stove
that he used in the barber shop or apple
candy that he made. He would also
make soap by melting down all the little
pieces of leftover soap. He really liked it
when I made a pinhole camera that
actually worked from cardboard and
electrical tape from my National
Geographic World Magazine. I
remember taking his picture with it; the
pictures came out blurry but the camera
My Grandma Stitzinger was such a great
woman of the Christian faith. Her life was a quiet witness to me and so many other people.
She was a good listener and a very caring Grandma. She made all of her female
grandchildren nightgowns and dresses when we were kids. I don’t think she was scared at
all about death; she knew that heaven awaited her and she had peace about it.
Section I - Maternal Grandparents (Mother's Parents) Page 16 of 35
What are your paternal grandparents' names, dates of birth, and birthplaces? Include
your grandmother's maiden name if possible.
LaVerne Edward Payne was born on
October 19, 1905 in Conneaut, Ohio. He
married Margaret Elizabeth Downer on
November 27, 1930 in Painesville, Ohio.
Margaret was born on May 24, 1905 in
Roscoe, South Dakota.
Section I - Paternal Grandparents (Father's Parents) Page 17 of 35
What are some skills, talents, or attitudes you feel you have inherited from your paternal
Grandpa and Grandma both had a love
of travel and adventure. I always
enjoyed going places with them.
Grandpa always seemed to be smiling.
Grandma always seemed to be
concerned with getting the work done.
I've included a picture of Grandpa and
my Dad working out by Grandpa' garage
in Platea. Grandpa Payne had an
antique, light blue Mercedes Benz car in
the garage that he never drove. Grandpa
had a unique taste in paint. The color of
the tractor is Grandpa Payne blue and
Grandpa Payne yellow. He was a good
Section I - Paternal Grandparents (Father's Parents) Page 18 of 35
Section II - Your Memories
Section II - Your Memories Page 19 of 35
What is your earliest memory?
I remember crawling under the trailer
that we lived in on 23rd street in Erie,
PA when I was about two or three years
old. I was following the cat. Going
under there meant I went through a very
small door that led to a big black patch
of dirt and, most likely, cat poop. My
mom came out of the house and yelled
for me. I think she was very worried that
I had wandered away. When I did come
out, I was covered with dirt and mom
immediately scolded me and carried me
inside for a bath.
Section II - Growing Up Page 20 of 35
Describe your favorite celebrations when you were a child. Religious holidays?
Thanksgiving? Fourth of July? Reunions? Just "Get Togethers" for no special reason?
I always loved getting dressed up for
Halloween. However, one year my Mom
made this nice pumpkin costume, but I
stayed home from school because I
refused to wear the green tights that
went with it. We always had homemade
costumes—my sister and I were Holly
Hobby and Heather one year. I dressed
up as a Pilgrim one year.
Thanksgiving was always delicious and
Christmas was fun too. We would eat a
Tootsie Roll every day until Christmas.
On New Year’s Eve, we would stay
home and bang pots and pans, make
popcorn, and eat all the Doritos we
wanted. Sometimes our cousins would come over too. It was great fun!
The picture is of LeAnne, Ed, and me on Christmas morning. Lance hadn't come along
Section II - Family Fun, Vacations, and Celebrations as a Child and Teenager Page 21 of 35
What would your family do for fun in the fall?
Back to school time was always fun and
we enjoyed thinking up Halloween
costumes. One of our favorites was
playing Holly Hobby and Heather or
Mary and Laura from Little House on
David and Melissa had a lot of fun
during Halloween 2000. Here is a
picture of them dressed up as a princess
and a cow. They had some chocolate
Section II - Family Fun, Vacations, and Celebrations as a Child and Teenager Page 22 of 35
What is/are your most memorable vacation(s) with your family as a child or teenager?
Who did you see? What did you do? Where and when did you go? How did you travel?
The Payne family’s most memorable
vacation was our 1976 Bicentennial
vacation. We traveled by car and we
must have stayed in motels (certainly
not expensive hotels). We traveled to
Philadelphia, Washington, and New
York. Ed got to sit on the Liberty Bell.
We went up the Washington monument,
the Empire State Building, and we saw
Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. I
loved history so this was the perfect
vacation for me. My mom kept a journal
of our trip.
Another memorable one was the 1982
World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN. I really
don’t remember seeing anything at the
fair that impressed me, but we had fun
tent camping down and back. I
remember arriving at a campsite after dark. My Dad made Chef Boy-ar-dee Beef Ravioli
on the Coleman stove while Mom and I set up the six-person tent. We arrived in Knoxville
and found the fair. After a hot day at the World’s Fair and VERY long lines, we went to a
discount store in Knoxville. This cute little monkey had clothes on and was riding a
motorcycle on a stage in the store. We laughed and laughed as the monkey performed
astounding feats. This is the most memorable part of this vacation. So much for the
Section II - Family Fun, Vacations, and Celebrations as a Child and Teenager Page 23 of 35
Describe your elementary school experience. How did you get to and from school? What
did the school look like from the outside and inside? What was it like to walk in the
halls, to play on the playground, to eat in the cafeteria, or to sit at your classroom desk?
I remember kindergarten at Lakewood
Elementary with its hardwood floors that
I could clomp on when I came off the
bus. I took the bus to Lakewood, Tracy,
and Ridgefield Elementary Schools. At
Tracy, I learned this rhyme that I’ve
taught to my kids.
Eany Meany Pepsa Keany, Ahh Bahh
Boona Meany, Archie Farchie
Liberarchie, And his brother George. A
peach, A plum, A half a stick of
chewing gum, And if you want the other
half this is what you say: Man, Man,
Man Diego, San Diego, Hockus Pockus
Dominockus, Sis Sis Sis Kumbah, Tracy
Tigers Rah Rah Rah!
These were wonderful times and I especially liked recess. When I was in 2nd grade, I was
such a tomboy, spending every recess racing the boys in my class and jumping off the
swings. We jumped off swings until Doug broke his arm. In third grade, being a tomboy
wasn’t cool anymore so I had to adjust my behavior on the playground and do the things
that girls usually do on playgrounds. In fourth grade at Ridgefield, Jenny Johnston and I
would challenge a couple of boys from our class to a balancing contest on the seesaws. We
would literally spend all of our 15 minutes of recess sitting still on the seesaw. By fifth
grade, going outside for recess lost its appeal as the movie Grease came out. We begged
Mr. Tague to let us stay in for recess so we could stand on our chairs and sing “Go Grease
lightning. ..” while moving our arms like they did in the movie. We even wore bandanas
around our necks like they did in the movie. In fifth grade, I fainted in the cafeteria line for
some reason and someone dripped orange juice on me. My teacher made me go home
from school, and I missed the sex education talk that day. As a result, I still thought that
kissing could cause babies.
Section II - Elementary School Years Page 24 of 35
Section II - Elementary School Years Page 25 of 35
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Section III - The Real World
Section III - The Real World Page 27 of 35
Have you found true love? Describe what true love means to you.
I have found true love in my relationship
with my husband, Jeff. Jeff understands
me. He is fun to be with. Sometimes we
barely talk to each other as we go
through a busy week of work, but I
know he loves me. Also, he is someone I
can trust completely. I think it helps that
we have our faith as a foundation. He's
my best friend.
Section III - Love Page 28 of 35
Describe the places (cities, towns, homes, neighborhoods) where you have lived as an
Jeff and I lived at 2720 Calumet Street
first. I remember sleeping on the
mattress on the floor the first night and
wondering if I was going to like this
place. The noises were different from
what I would have heard near
Westerville, and I wasn’t sure if this was
a safe place or not. The house, located in
the Clintonville area of Columbus, was
built in the late 1920’s and it was a
duplex that Jeff and his dad bought in
1988. The old house made many noises,
and the floors creaked almost every time
we took a step. We fixed up 2720
Calumet St. (actually Jeff did almost all
of the work with me helping) and then
we moved to 2722 Calumet St. and
continued the home improvements. Jeff
had wanted to knock out the bedroom
wall on the 2720 side and make a big
closet, but I did not let him. The closets
had only been about 18 inches deep—
you had to put clothes in front of each
other on a dowel rod that stuck out from
the wall. Very impractical. On the 2722
side, he knocked the wall out one day
when I wasn’t home. We now had one
smaller bedroom but two large closets.
Jeff was right; it was a good idea to
knock out that wall. Our house on
Calumet St. had a great neighborhood
surrounding it. We watched a helicopter land at the North High School track across the
street once. When Melissa came along, we went on daily walks to Big Bear or the smaller
health food store down Calumet St. We also spent a lot of time over at the track because
there was a playground there too. In general, it was a nice neighborhood to stroll in with a
baby. There were always people around to talk to. We could even walk to our church,
Clinton Heights Lutheran Church, if we got ambitious enough to make the mile walk. The
Section III - Home as an Adult Page 29 of 35
other great thing about the area was that we could be to anywhere in the Columbus area in
15-20 minutes. It was so convenient and central.
Describe the day you held your child or each of your children for the first time and how
you felt. Did you feel prepared, scared, happy, or worried?
On the day Melissa was born, I was
exhausted. I had completed the natural
childbirth thing and it wore me out. I felt
prepared but still worried and very
happy. I knew Melissa would be a joy.
A gift from God. I thought motherhood
would be pretty easy (it was harder than
On the day David was born, I was quite
relaxed. This time I had an epidural and
labor had been very easy. I wondered
how Melissa would handle having
someone else that takes up mommy and
daddy’s time. I knew David would be a
joy and another miracleous gift from
Section III - Children and Parenthood Page 30 of 35
Tell a story about your child/children as a small child.
Melissa never liked going to bed and she
never liked being alone. She’s five and
she still doesn’t like it. When she was
probably two, we stayed in a hotel in
Erie that had two rooms, the bedroom
and the living room. We put Melissa’s
crib out in the main living room and we
were in the next room in bed. Melissa
yelled that she needed more milk,
another story, and covered up with her
blanky. Then she got creative. “The
phone’s ringing!” she said. Now it
wasn’t ringing but that was a great idea
for getting us out of our bed. We
laughed, told Melissa good night again,
and went to sleep.
David is a sweet little guy. One day we were outside looking for our new kitty in the
summer of 2001. We thought she had run away from home. David was standing in the
driveway as I kept looking around for the kitty. I said that I wasn't sure we would find
little Sandy Sanders. He said, "Can we get a dog now?" Another memorable thing David
said when he was only 28 months old was, "Daddy, when we get home, do you want to
play tractors with me?" We understood what he wanted and Daddy did play tractors when
they got home.
It is so wonderful that both Melissa and David have the chance to know all of their
grandparents. Grandma Sanders in Westerville watches the kids once a week and Curt
helps of course. David loves using the Thomas the Tank Engine train set or riding the big
wheel. Melissa likes to play Madeline dress up dolls with the felt board there or she rides
the scooter. Grandma is working on phonics with the kids too. They love the zoo!
The kids also know it’s a special treat to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Erie, PA.
Grandpa will always have some riding toy for them or plenty of tractors and cars to play
with. They also like sitting in the automatic chair and moving it up and down while trying
not to fall out. Grandpa reads them stories and Grandma always has lots of help baking
cookies or making pancakes. They love going to Erie because we always go to the beach.
We had a lunch picnic on the beach with Grandpa and Grandma, LeAnne and Amelia, and
Drew and Savannah last time we visited Erie. The kids like to run into Lake Erie and to
Section III - Children and Parenthood Page 31 of 35
play in the sand.
I've included a picture of them playing in a cardboard box playhouse. They loved this little
house and it was so simple to make.
Section III - Children and Parenthood Page 32 of 35
Section IV - Bringing it All Together
Section IV - Bringing it All Together Page 33 of 35
Describe any family heirlooms you have inherited.
I have my mother's piano that I used for piano lessons as a child. I still enjoy playing the
piano just as a good way to relax.
I also have my great Aunt Betty's Korean stand that she brought back with her from her
Jeff's Grandma Sanders made each grandchild a quilt. Somehow we got two quilts maybe
another came because Jeff got married. These quilts were stitched by hand. They are very
beautiful and they have unique patterns. It is special to use them because you can really
see the work that went into making such intricate pieces.
What was the best time of your life? Why?
I feel that this is the best time of my life. Life seems to be always more and more
interesting to me. I am 35 years old and I have been blessed with good health, a great
husband, two adorable kids, and a family that surrounds me with love and support. I have
a great job, a business idea for the future, and a vision for what is to come. God is my
foundation. I must remember that His will is to be my will. I pray that my family will be
kept safe and endure trials along life's way with courage and with hope.
What are your secrets for living the good life?
My secret for living the good life is listening for God’s direction in my life, and doing
what I feel is the right thing to do. I am happy to accept the gift of each day of my life. I
try to see each day and each minute as precious. I live in the moment, but I plan and dream
for the future too.
What does it take to succeed in life?
It takes vision and then hard work to succeed. The key is to keep your eye on the dream
and take even small steps toward it.
Section IV - Family Stories and Heirlooms Page 34 of 35
What has life taught you?
Life has taught me to dream. Life has taught me that unexpected, unexplainable challenges
can come my way. I have to be ready for them. I have to be grounded in my Christian
faith. This is a good foundation for life. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He
makes me lie down in green pastures.” He makes me lie down in green pastures means to
me that He wants me to find a place of joy and happiness. I need to keep close to God. It is
important to help others find joy and happiness too.
What do you want to be sure that future generations never forget about your family's
past background and beliefs?
I want future generations to remember that past generations worked hard for everything
they gave to their children. In this day and age, it may seem that things come easy and we
have children who have everything they need or that they could possibly want. Do your
best to teach your children to value hard work and make them earn things they want. Make
their muscles work!
Our family has also valued education. I hope that future generations will be sure their
children do their best in school and go on to college or trade school or some other
advanced training. Make their brains work!
Section IV - Family Stories and Heirlooms Page 35 of 35