Meyer (07/15/1884 – 11/16/1918) and Family

Meyer was born to Hannah Wolfson and Aron Itzak Bliden. We are not sure if he was born in Zagare, Lithuania, or in the Riga, Latvia, area. However, he did grow up in the family house which was attached to their sawmill and was possibly also a grain mill. There was a stream on the property and Meyer and his siblings loved to go log rolling down it.  This was a story that my aunt, Mildred Blieden Rich, heard from her grandmother, Hannah Wolfson Blieden.

His father died in 1883. For many years, the family remained at the mill. However, one by one, the children started leaving to carve out their own path. In 1902, Meyer decided it was his turn to leave.

He and his brother Abe, are listed in the New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924 Event Date: 06 Oct 1902. Abraham Blieden born 1881 aged 21 and his brother Michel born 1885 aged 17 came from Winden. They travelled from Antwerp on the ship Vaderland to New York. Their contact was an uncle Berel Blumberg. They were listed as watchmakers. (Page Number: 93 Affiliate Line Number: 000)

Ship manifest for Abe and Meyer Blieden, 1902

In 1904, Meyer was listed with his brother as a jeweler in a Brooklyn Directory.

1904 Brooklyn directory for Blieden

By 1910, he and his brother, Abe, moved out to Kansas City, Missouri. Abe is listed as a watchmaker, while Meyer’s occupation is now list as “cigars”.

Meyer in 1910 in Kansas City, Missouri

Meyer separated from his brother, Abe, and settled in the Harrisburg, PA, area by 1915. He married Rose Tuch at some point in 1918. He was working for his brother-in-law, Barnett Handler, as a collector. In November of 1918, Rose is listed as his contact person on his WWI draft card. He is described as being of medium height and weight with brown eyes and light hair.

Meyer Blieden's WWI draft card

He died in the 1918 flu epidemic right before his daughter, Myra (Mickey) was born.  His sister, Reve, was also sick at the same time, and felt guilty that she recovered and Meyer did not.

Meyer Blieden death certificate, 1918
Obituarty from the Harrisburg Telegraph, Nov. 7, 1918. Hs brother , Abre was not mentioned while his sister, Reve, did not live in Kansas City. She lived in Brooklyn. Abe lived in Kansas City.

Meyer was buried in Chisuk Emuna Cemetery in Harrisburg, PA. See Find-a-Grave for photo details.

Myra (MIckey) Blieden Spira

His daughter, Myra, was born December 14, 1918, just a little more than a month after her father passed away. She was named for him. Although she was named Myra, she was known to us as Mickey.

MIckey went to William Penn High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Below is her yearbook quote and picture from 1936. Note that she was known as a “cute red-head”.

Mickey Blieden 1936 Yearbook Quote
MicYearbook Picture
Cousins MIckey and Mildred
Cousins MIldred Blieden and Mickey Blieden

You can see MIckey as a young girl with some of her Blieden relatives in the blieden Family Video Clips under the Blieden menu.

Although her birth father had died before she was born, her Aunt, Reve Blieden Bricker, made sure she stayed in touch with her Blieden family.

Mickey married Abraham Allen Spira in 1946.

Allen, as he was known to us, was born in 1917 in Palestine to Mina Landau and Isaac Spira.

They had three daughters together. The oldest is 6 months younger than me, and the oldest and youngest had red hair like their Mom.

Mickey also filled in as a bridesmaid at my parents’ wedding. My mother’s bridesmaid got sick and couldn’t attend and my father grabbed MIckey and asked her to fill in!

MIckey Blieden in ther wedding dress
MIckey in her wedding dress
Mickey and Allen, 1995
Mickey and Allen, 1995
Mickey Spira

After Allen died in 1997, Mickey decided to sell her home and move to an independent living apartment that was part of an assisted living facility. She enjoyed having her own apartment, but seemed to go downhill fairly rapidly. Eventually, she had to downsize to a smaller rooms in the main building.

My family has many fond memories of MIckey. We visited her home and stayed with her family for a week or two every summer. She had endless energy and car-pooled her family and us all over the place. She used to make English muffins and hot chocolate for breakfast. That was such a treat for me and to this day, whenever I have either one of those, I think of her.

MIckey died on April 10, 2007, in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.