Before I back up a century, I'm going to rewind 12 months.

Before I back up a century, I'm going to rewind 12 months.

A year ago, The Friends of Schiller Park launched a project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the park with the commitment to publish a coffee table-style book containing works of art, historic photographs, and contemporary photos.

We issued calls for artwork and drafted three highly respected jurors, Mary Gray (director of the Riffe Gallery), Wayne Lawson (retired director of the Ohio Arts Council), and Jeff Stahler (a nationally syndicated cartoonist) to determine which pieces should be included.

A terrific number of artists from the region submitted work and the final selection is beyond our most aspirational hopes when we came up with the project.

The photographs were selected by a jury of one: me.

Larry Hamill turned me loose in his treasure trove of archived work that contains a collection of 40 years' worth of Schiller Park photographs.

Well, 40 years of his work, and another lifetime collection belonging to his grandfather.

Wait until you see this.

We also received a handful of wonderful pictures taken by amateur photographers in the neighborhood and I spent months pouring over the collections held by the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio History Collection, Grandview Heights Public Library and Southside Columbus Alumni.

But then, out of the clear blue sky, I made a connection with a family that doesn't just have lovely old photos, they also have a living connection.

Mary Kramer sent a couple of pictures and a note via email that said:

"Hi Katharine, My family on both sides grew up in German Village. My Great-Grandparents came to the US in 1874. My Grandpa was a photographer. I have several pictures of Schiller Park from the Early 1900s. Pictures of them on the Bear Den wall, with the umbrella girl etc. I have attached a few for example. I was wondering if you would be interested in having them."

Interested in having them?

Ummm, yes, please. So we arranged a time to get together at the German Village Meeting Haus.

When I arrived, I found Mary sitting on the bench outside with her papa, Charlie Kramer.

I don't know how to do justice to the two hours that followed.

Mr. Kramer answered every question I could think to ask. He told me all about playing, fishing, climbing and enjoying the park throughout his childhood.

He described the two lighted croquet courts that were installed for a very organized league made up of professional men.

Charlie Kramer was the only son in a family of daughters -- he went to St. Mary School, and because he took a deal that was offered his senior year of high school, he shipped off with Navy to serve in World War II and his father accepted his high school diploma in his stead that spring.

His dad was known for the Easter nests he constructed each year. Ten or more families would find a nest in their yard on Holy Saturday, and wake up on Easter morning to discover that it had been filled with treats.

When Mr. Kramer returned from the war, he settled into the life of Riley -- living at home (215 E. Whittier St.), working in transportation sales and dating casually.

He wasn't looking for a wife ... but a young woman on the bowling lane next to his reached for her ball as he reached for his, and ended up with a smashed finger -- and eventually a wedding ring.

I am skipping through the ties that go back to the Schrecks arriving in New York in the 1860s and making their way to 709 S. Third St. in 1870, and the story of the 1-year-old in this chain whose father went off to the Civil War, but didn't come home.

Thankfully nobody is relying on this column to document Mr. Kramer's memories.

John Clark is going to interview him for an addition to the collection of oral histories the German Village Society has collected.

Thank you, Mary Kramer, for making your photographs available for the Schiller Park book project and bringing your father for an afternoon conversation that was pure joy.

Katharine Moore, executive director of the Jefferson Avenue Center, submitted the Village Notebook column.