BC: Created with love by Norine
FC: Remembering Virginia
1: Virginia Lucille Nieman (nee Sydnor) Born: March 24, 1913 Died: December 20, 2011
2: Virginia was born on March 24, 1913, to Harry and Josie Sydnor. She arrived a few hours after the devastating Easter Sunday tornado in Omaha, Nebraska. An unknown physician delivered her since the family doctor was aiding tornado victims.
3: Virginia was always a happy child.
4: These are Virginia's parents, Josie and Harry Sydnor, on their wedding day.
5: Virginia's father, Harry, was a fireman. Her mother often cleaned homes for others. | 50th Wedding Anniversary
6: Virginia (right) sits with her sister, Dorothy. Dorothy was two years younger.
7: Virginia attended Hawthorne Elementary School. She graduated in 1927. Can you find her in these photos?
8: Virginia was very active at South High School. She worked on the school newspaper, "The Tooter," first as a reporter and then as the advertising manager. She attended the Nebraska High School Press Association's 3rd annual convention in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1930. She and some of the other attendees rode the train to Lincoln. They attended several journalism-related sessions. While in Lincoln they also toured the State Capitol, the newspaper plant of the Nebraska State Journal, and attended a Nebraska vs Montana State football game.
9: Virginia loved sports. She was captain of the volleyball team. She received the Gymnasium Girls' Award (GGA) given for excellence in sports and gymnastics work. She also performed in the Passing Shows of 1930 and 1931. Above left is a photo of a song and dance group she participated in for the Passing Show of 1930. Above right shows Virginia in a pyramid group from her Advanced Gym class. She often lamented that she was always on the bottom.
10: Virginia graduated from South High School in 1931. She began attending Omaha Municipal University to get a degree in teaching. She wanted to teach kindergarten. However, the two-year program was changed to a four-year program and she was unable to continue her education.
11: Virginia secretly married Paul Petersen on September 22, 1934. On June 5, 1936, Virginia gave birth to a daughter, Virginia Annette.
13: Virginia divorced Paul. She and Virginia Ann moved in with Virginia's mother and father.
14: Virginia married Norman Nieman on June 28, 1940. They became an instant family of three.
16: On December 5, 1945, Virginia gave birth to her second daughter, Norine Alice. In a letter written to her Mom, Ginny Ann said that she looked forward to seeing her big baby sister. Norine weighed in at 9 lbs. 12 oz.
18: On November 7, 1953, Cindy Jo arrived. Cindy weighed a whopping 11 lbs. 14 oz. Whenever Norman went to the hospital to see her, the nurses were always showing her off next to the regular-sized babies. Above she appears with one of the nurses. Virginia always said that Cindy was like a three-month old baby when she was born.
21: "You should be showered with flowers" | In the summer of 1966 we almost lost Virginia. A severe thunderstorm was coming and Virginia was hurrying to the Westchester pool to pick up Cindy. As she was turning the corner at 144th and old L Streets, the car slid on the loose gravel and flipped upside down into the deep ditch on the south side of the road. She was unable to get out of the car and was worried that she would drown there! Luckily for Virginia some workers, who were leaving a nearby construction site, noticed her headlights shining up from the ditch. They pulled her out of the car and up the steep bank. She was then taken by rescue squad to the hospital. Miraculously she had no broken bones, but was bruised badly on her right side where she had hit the passenger side door handle. A blood clot later developed in her right leg. Later when the wrecker went to pull her car out of the ditch, the men were unable to get the car since it was under water. They had to come back after the water receded. Virginia had indeed been correct about that ditch and she was very lucky to be alive! In the photos Norman inspects the totaled car.
23: In 1970 Virginia traveled to Palma de Majorca with Norine and her friends. While there, she also flew to Spain and Algeria. She attended a bullfight, thrilled as the flamenco dancers performed, drank water from a well at a castle in Palma, watched street vendors selling their wares in Madrid, and saw kids begging for cigarettes in the casbah of Algiers.
25: Virginia's first grand-child, Amy Jo, arrived on December 5, 1976.
26: Grandson, Wade, arrived on July 17, 1981.
28: It's my vacation. I'm in front. | You spell that V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!
29: Virginia enjoyed her vacation to Wyoming and Colorado in 1994. She traveled with Norine, Julie, and Jillian. She loved looking in all the shops in Estes Park. Thanks to Julie for these photos and cute captions. | Here's to my vacation! | Can you hand me that remote?? I'm on vacation!
30: Virginia enjoyed visiting with friends and family.
33: Virginia loved to celebrate her birthday. She often received dozens of cards and numerous gifts.
35: the many faces of Virginia
36: Virginia worked for most of her life. She rolled bacon at the Armour Packing Plant in South Omaha. However, that really hurt her wrists, so she started working at the lunch counter instead. In the 1940's she and Norman boarded children for the Nebraska Children's Home. Children would come directly to their home from abusive or unclean environments. She worked at many different restaurants some of which included: the Nash Cafe, Penney's Cafe at the Westroads, the Old English Inn in Countryside Village, the Cimarron Room at the Center, and the Umbrella in Indian Hills. Sometimes she cleaned people's houses. She also worked in the kitchens at Swanson Elementary School and Westside High School. In the early 1970's she began working at Claire's Boutique at the Westroads. Soon she was the manager of the store. While managing Claire's she received record bonuses three years in a row for the highest grossing store in the chain of 110 stores. One day while she was working, she ran after a shoplifter and injured her knee. She then left Claire's and had knee replacement surgery.
37: In 1979, after Norman retired from working at the stockyards, Virginia and Norman applied for the job of managing A Storage Inn. They got the job and moved into the two-bedroom apartment that was attached to the office. Two years later Norman passed away and Virginia was very worried that her boss would tell her that she had to leave the job. But luckily that wasn't the case. He wanted her to stay on and manage the storage place for him. She worked long hours, but didn't have far to go to be home in her apartment. Virginia always loved talking with people. She became like family to many of her tenants. People would come to put things in storage and tell her about their divorce, estrangement, or death of a loved one. Virginia often felt like a counselor freely giving advice from her own years of experience. In a 1997 "Papillion Times" newspaper article Virginia said, "I've even cried with some of them. It really hurts me to see them so lonely or sad sometimes. I just try to make them feel better." She also had to call the sheriff's office a few times because people were doing illegal things in their storage units. She had many interesting stories to tell about these activities. Virginia managed the storage place until the age of 95. She always said that she loved life and people. It was the perfect job for her!
38: All My "Love and Kisses" Norman
40: Virginia spent the last year and a half of her life at the Avoca , IA, nursing home. She enjoyed the many activities that the home provided its residents. She especially liked the musical ones. She would clap her hands or nod her head to the rhythm. | She usually sat in the day room listening to the many different conversations that went on around her. She would often comment on what others were saying. Virginia enjoyed having her hair washed and set once a week. She was a little over 98 1/2 when she passed away on December 20, 2011, in the hospital in Harlan, Iowa. Virginia lived a long, full life.