The world is certainly a very small place and as the Internet increases that becomes more and more evident. The proof came to me when I received an email from Jade Sylvan and she told me she was the great granddaughter of John Schaibley and she wondered if she could come and see her great grandfather’s ventriloquist figure and his journals. I of course said an emphatic yes to her coming to see the collection and her great grandfather”s very old ventriloquist figure. This figure was made by louis Grannat of Brooklyn New York somewhere around the turn of the 20th century and became John Schaibley’s very first figure in 1916.
We arranged for her to come visit today Aug. 25th and at 10:00am sharp Jade arrived here at my home. This was a really nice meet and greet we had, she met my wife Helen and son Jason, Then Jade came into the Ventriloquist Central Collection room and was awed by the collection and by the fact that she was actually able to hold her great grandfather’s figure and journals.
I must explain that Jade is without question from that entertainer’s gene poole. She is a very talented poet, published writer and singer songwriter. She actually changed her name legally to Jade Sylvan, because of her stage work, but her birth name was Jennifer Schaibley and her brother is John Schaibley IV. Please take some time and check this talented woman out:
Jade had a great time and so did I being able to share some of her families past with her and the best and most unusual fact is that she lives in Somerville MA, which is just down the road from me about 4 miles. As a matter of fact I am a Constable in the City of Somerville. So it just proves how by way of the Internet, she never would have found me and her great grandfather’s figure with out same, how small the world has really become.
Jade it was a pleasure having you over and I hope to see you again soon.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2010 by Dan Willinger
NOTE: You may use this blog article provided you run it with the bio box intact. Please email a copy of your publication with the blog article in it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I had an absolutely fabulous time visiting! I hope to see you and Helen again soon. :)
My father William Schaibley was John R. Schaibley’s baby brother. I remember both Ruth Ann and Raymond when I was a little girl visiting them in Ohio. My mother Frances Schaibley (now 91) lives with me in Florida. My brother Robert W. Schaibley lives in Colorado. I am happy that you are keeping the collection alive.
I asked my big sister about our relationship to them. Here is what she wrote:
“Aunt Ruth was our father’s sister. She married a ventriloquist – to the horror of the family- and traveled the vaudeville circuit for years as part of the team “Raymond and Ann Raymond.” When they were in Dayton they always visited us and we kids loved it because they were so much fun and brought dumb trinkets they picked up on the road. Aunt Ruth was the funny one in person but I understand that Uncle Ray was the funny one on stage.
Aunt Ruth had jet black hair which was at least originally real and the longest purple-red fingernails I have ever seen.
They had one child – a son – called sonny. He graduated from Purdue engineering school and lived a more ordinary life than his parents. He died while his parents were still living and they were really torn up. They settled in a little house in Maumee. Ohio where they lived til they died. Don’t know any dates, but Uncle Ray came here, (Wisconsin), to visit Aunt Elizabeth after we moved here. Lena, the woman who brought him, told me that Uncle Ray – ever the performer – delivered a farewell ‘it’s been a great life’ speech to Aunt Elizabeth in the restaurant and had all the other diners crying.
We called them Aunt Ruth and Uncle Ray. They were cousins, I think on the Williams branch of the family. They would come visit us in Dayton, OH from time to time. Aunt Ruth would fix me spaghetti, but she wasn’t much of a cook. Too much time on the road I suppose. I ened up in a different branch of show business. I was a ballet dancer, hence the “Stravinska” name.
Ruth was my father’s aunt — hmmm maybe we are related? My last name is Williams.