Monday, May 31, 2010

One Year Blogaversary!!!

Gosh, Teena came by and wished me a Happy Blogaversary and I had forgotten about it.  If you click here,First Post you will see where I have come from.  I am not great, but I know that I am better. I have developed a love for a wonderful community of geneabloggers. I have learned much about blogging, and about how to research, but most I have learned more about what I can do to assist my family in keeping their memories, finding out more about the past, and sharing.  The sharing is of knowledge of what you have learned yourself, of pictures you may be the only one in possession of, the memories.  The wonderful thing is that a memory of yours can strike a cord with someone else and send them off to remember an event they had forgotten of their own.  Thanks to all those that come by and drop a comment, you have helped me grow.
It is all good.  I love this!

Sharing a Slice of Life Prompt 2 A Hero Story

Texasblu prompted us to write about a hero that has in some way touched your life.
I write weekly about the man who was and is my greatest hero.  He brought so much to my life you all will be hearing stories forever.  LOL
I will address someone else that touched my life and my entire family's lives for this post.
It is a post on religious beliefs, as that is the core of our family.

Most of us have something that occurs that changes the the course of our lives.  For my family it was an act of courage and love of ones' fellow man that set the course for what our family would be.

The Hero was agnostic when he was a young man.  He had all sorts of excuses why God might not be.
He dated those that did not believe in God and he associated with those that blatantly taught the opposite of God's teachings.
It was after one of these dates that he walked into the Student center at the University of Houston in Houston.  When he walked in, he saw from words written on the blackboard that the prior meeting must have been a bible study group.  He started making fun of the scriptures written on the blackboard to impress the young lady he was with.  One young lady who was leaving the prior meeting spoke up.  [He decided that she had to study the scriptures because she surely wouldn't be able to get a date.  (bad attitude)]  She had the courage to face his ridicule and challenge him with "Don't you believe in God?"  He flippantly said, "I don't know, He might be or He might not be. He has never talked to me."  She responded with, "If I gave you a book, would you read it?"  He said sure, took the book, noted that it was called The Book of Mormon and walked off.
Years later he would say, when I asked if we could consider a church to raise our children in so they would learn of Christ, "one church I would like to look in to is the Mormon Church."  He had read the first pages and decided it had merit.
If that young lady had not had the courage to speak up, the family I have today might not have been.  She is my unnamed hero.  Christ is an important part of our lives and the Hero would attribute his finding faith in Christ to an unknown young lady he could never say thank you to. 
My thankfulness for missionaries goes all the way back to the Mayflower Days when my ancestor William Bradford listened to the missionaries and he sought a better way to worship God.
There are millions of missionaries in almost every faith or religion you can think of that shares their faith with someone and brings about a life changing experience for them.  I am thankful for those who have the courage to say would you like to know about something that could change your life....These are my gentle Heroes. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and Memorial Day Week End Trip

This story goes with a disclaimer...I gave each of the living a chance to put their two cents in and didn't get one response, so they have to live with the story as I know it.  They can add in the comments if they wish.

The Hero was always looking for ways to build relationships.  This one year, he decided that he had a four day weekend as well as his son-in-laws so he would plan what he called a "male bonding camping trip". 
I was given the task of procuring the food for the trip.  He got out the map and chose to go to the Guadalupe Mountains for camping. 

We had a large van that had a back seat that made into a bed, and the side seats made into 'sort of beds'.  The son-in-laws and oldest son agreed to go with him.  They packed to camp out, a tent and warm clothes, then they put in the food.

My daughters and I all went to stay with my oldest daughter because she had a pool and we thought we would kick back while they roughed it.  [I have to note here one of the older daughters had had her wisdom teeth out and therefore spent most of her time recovering.]

The group headed out.  The first night, I got a call.  "Mom, Dad wants to know where the food is."  "In the cooler, and in the sacks that are under the seat in the back." says I.  "No, mom the food."  Now, I am getting the picture. "That is the food." I explained.  "But, mom, it is grapes, and tuna, cheese, crackers, and apples.  Where is the ground beef to grill?.  The buns.? Chips?" "Your dad said to make the food healthy."  "We are going to starve."
That was the last we heard from them until they were on their way home. 

This is the Hero's side of the story.
"We made it to the Mountains, only to discover I should have reserved a camping spot.  I had for some reason, although it is why I had the time off, forgotten it was Memorial Day week end.  Everything was filled because they had had a forest fire and a portion was closed off...not to mention no trees.  We found a parking spot and we all had to sleep in the van ( 4 large men).  Not comfortable.  That did not help with resting.  We went hiking the next day. The scenery was beautiful where we chose, but the boys thought I was going to expire before we got up very high.  I enjoyed watching them hike ahead. The problem was, there wasn't any water since we didn't have a site, so the boys found a stream and cleaned up in it.

We were all hungry,  and we decided we would go to Carlsbad to go to the caves and to find some good food.  ( I rolled my eyes at this) We saw a sign that said "Best Steaks in New Mexico"...That sounded great. And off we went.  We arrived at 6pm.  We were hungry enough to eat a paper sack. (Oh please)  Well, it was close to that.  The salad bar looked like yesterday's offerings, and the meat was TOUGH. We made it through, but we decided it should have been called Roadside Kill Cafe, not Chef 'Whosits' (name withheld to protect the innocent) ."
The boys ( they were in their mid 20's except for our son who was about 15. ) did build relationships.  They came back with funny stories that I can't repeat here. 
Red Beard called it the trip from hell. One of them is now studying to be a chef.  The youngest thought they were all funny and that my choice of foods was hilarious.

The oldest said he was a pathfinder.  He got them lost.  He also didn't pay attention to the gas gauge and they all ended up pushing the van the last half block to the gas tank. 
They fussed, but none of them ever forgot the trip.


We found some Road Kill Cafe t-shirts and gave them as presents for Father's Day.  They wore them out.  It was their club. They survived the food, awful sleeping arrangements, without their wives, and each others teasing. 
Grandchildren, if you want the rest of the story, you will have to ask your dad.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Scanned Blackeyed Susan

First experiment with scanning a wildflower.

Tombstone Tuesday: New Cousins in the Burleson Line

I had the great fun of working with a young 16 year old girl who is greatly desirous of helping build her family tree.  I was looking over her shoulder as she worked.  A name caught my eye, Sarah Kessiah (Kizzie) Burleson who married John "Link" Hughes.  I have several Kessiah's in my tree and I knew if they were Burleson in Texas the chances of tying into the same tree was better than 90 percent.  I went to work.  Sure enough, Moses Burleson was the father of Mary Ann Burleson who married my William B Self and the father of William Russell Burleson who was Sarah's grandfather.  That makes my young 16 year old friend and I,  1st cousins 4th removed.  I love it when a search comes together.This was the tombstone I wanted to work on, oops...haven't gotten it done yet.  I am grateful to at least have her tombstone.  Wish it was a picture.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and Witness Protection Routes.

The hero was an adventurer.  He loved seeking where a road went to.  It was a favorite activity of mine also.  The end result was we knew almost every alternative route to the main streets in Houston.
When the Hero started his own decking company, the knowledge came in handy to avoid traffic jams. 

Red Beard, my son-in-law, went to work with the Hero.  The Hero's habit became of point of confusion to Red Beard because of the different routes on how to get to a job. 
One afternoon, the Hero said he had an appointment the next morning, Red Beard would have to go to the job without him.  After a few minutes consideration, Red Beard said "How do I get here?...Do you have a map?"
The Hero said, "What do you mean?  You have come in with me every morning?"
To which Red Beard replied, "But you have taken a dang witness protection route everyday.  We haven't been the same way twice." 
The Hero was surprised.  It was so second nature to him that he did not even recognize what he was doing.  After a good laugh, instructions were given, but the description lived on.  We still laugh when someone takes an alternate route somewhere saying, "Did you use dad's witness protection route?"

A note of endearing thought to the family.  When they had the funeral procession from Conroe to the cemetery, we were concerned how those that did not know the location of the cemetery would handle going down the freeway to Willis to the country.  As we started out, I began to smile.  The police officers took us through the back country roads to the cemetery.  Not the main thoroughfare at all.  Quite appropriate. ; - )

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sun Bonnet Viola Brown Thompson

You will have to forgive me my amateur drawings.  I just hate writing with no illustrations.
This post is about a wonderful person who greatly influenced my attitudes towards life and other people.
Viola Brown Thompson was born in 9 Nov 1890 in Oklahoma to Edwin F Brown and Etta Olmstead.

She was a very special lady to me.   She was a mentor for my dad when he was first starting out after recovering from loosing his leg and finishing air conditioning school.  My mom had just finished her student teaching and was accepted by a school in Oklahoma City as a teacher.  It was an exciting time for them, but they were broke.
While he was waiting on the College in our town to reply to his resume/application as a heating and airconditioning assistant, we lived in one of Mrs Thompson's rent houses.  It was small, but fit the needs of my parents.  My dad helped Mrs Thompson around the "farm" which was about 6  blocks from the center of town.  When he finally got the job with the college, she helped him find a house to purchase.  It turned out it was only 2 blocks from her house and it had 2 lots associated with it.
My dad still liked "farming" so he leased her barn and about an acre so he could have some animals.  This he did until I was 15 and that is how I became acquainted with her.
She was like an adult Sun Bonnet Sue.  I best remember her always wearing her sun bonnet outside to protect her skin as she worked in the garden.  She had the loveliest flowers and a productive garden.  I think that is what I always saw her pulling around in her little red wagon.  I believe she would share with those less fortunate than herself.  She would give me a giggle.  Here she was quite well to do by the day's standards, owner of many acres on the edge of town, owner of several rent houses, and member of the ladies societies of her church, but her choice of dress on an ordinary day was a pioneer type dress, boots like that seemed like army boots, and a sun bonnet while pulling her red wagon down the street to deliver or shop in town.
Now I realize, she lived and prospered through the 'Dust Bowl' days and the 'Great Depression'.  She must have felt a need to gather and store, while she felt the need to share and assist at the same time.  My father always spoke of her as a great lady. 
She was always kind, never hesitated to answer my many questions that I had as a little girl, and had a sunny smile.
I so wish I had a photo of her, but alas, her grandson would not acknowledge my request.  Let me describe her to you,  beautiful pink complexion, smiling eyes that had a crinkle around them (I do not remember the color).  She has silver white hair when I remember her. 
I told my hero about her when we married and said I want to grow old just like her.  There were many times on the farm he would smile and say you are a lot like your Mrs Thompson. 
She died in Apr 1985 many years after I had moved away from my home town.  I do not know what her last years were like, but I hope she continued to have a joyful life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and Zeb the Zebra

When our children were small, the hero loved to tell make up tales for them.  His favorite pass time was playing with them with hand puppets.  He could spin a tale then.  One of his favorites was Zeb the Zebra, I do not have a photo of him, but here is my drawing.

Zeb was a crocheted hand puppet.  The Hero took on a new personality of total mischief maker when he would don the puppet.  The children would howl with laughter as they forgot who was making him talk.
Their favorite activity as we drove to visit family, which was always at least a two hour drive, was to have Zeb entertain.  I would drive, and the Hero would play.
The time we took a long trip from Texas to Oklahoma was probably the most fun.  The Hero must have been bored, because he out did himself.  He had me drive in the "fast lane" so he would be next to the other car lane.  He had Zeb revved up.  When a car was approaching, Zeb would jump up and down going ooh ooh!...then he would talk to the other car's passengers and discuss things with the Hero.  I worried, because the other car's passengers, and the driver were looking back at us after passing...Oh my...Our children would howl at the antics and the children in the other car would be looking out the back window wanting more.   Zeb was a sure cure for riding doldrums.
It was a sad day when poor Zeb was put to rest after much wear and tear covering the roads. The Hero looked high and low for another Zeb, but to his dismay, was never able to replace him.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday Henry and Martha Reynolds

Never discount learning new facts about your family.  You never know what you are going to discover when you are cleaning and working with old files that you think you are finished with. 
A case in point, my mother-in-law was born on July 5 1919.  She loved to tell the story that until she was 9, she had always thought that July 4 was her birthday because they celebrated it on that day. 
As I was creating a grave site for Henry and Martha on Find a Grave, I just recognized a new fact that she never shared or maybe she never knew...or didn't remember, because she moved away from her grandparents when she was 9.  That was the time she started paying attention to dates.  This family had been assembled years ago and I apparently had just plugged in the numbers, not coordinating it with other information in the family.  Here is the new/old information:

Her grandmother Martha Wells was born July 6,  a day after Mom's birthday. 
Her grandparents were married July 7, two days after her birthday.
Isn't that something. 
I bet Mom's grandmother felt a special bond with her.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and The Country Line Dance Lessons

If you all have not figured it out yet, the Hero took a lot of teasing from me. 
He was usually very tolerant although he had some talks with the Lord about me occasionally.  Rightly so.
This story centers around Mother's Day in the mid 1980's.  A couple at our church loved country western dancing, so they brought in a teacher to help the rest of us learn how to do the country dances of the day.
It was the Hero's 'gift' to agree to take the lessons.
The Two Step was a snap, the Hero had taken ball room dancing when he was little.  
Then we attacked the hard steps...the 'Cotton Eyed Joe' line dance.
(Here are some examples of the steps instructions: 
2    Kick forward with LEFT foot
3&4    Shuffle (polka) steps moving back on LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT (back-together-back)
    Note:  When moving back, maintain the curve of the circle.  Do not move straight back!)
Here is 'the look'

It looked easy enough when we watched the kids do it at dances we had chaperoned. 
I don't think I have ever laughed as hard as that night watching the Hero with his legs in the strangest contortions and his mouth matching as he concentrated on how to get the rhythm and steps together.
You know the yellow happy face on the "emotions" that rolls  around beating the floor with its feet and hands as it laughs.  That was me.  Poor Hero, he was trying so hard and his feet and legs were not cooperating.  He being a good egg, gave the tolerant look then started laughing too and soon gave up. 
I really didn't care if we learned to do the steps or not, we didn't go out dancing.   The point was, he was willing to try and learn and have fun with me.  His ego was strong enough to have me ROTFL and teasing him for months afterward about his rubber legged Cotton Eyed Joe steps. It was a fun Mother's Day Gift.
Grandchildren, don't take yourself too seriously.  Look at the big picture of life and have fun.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sometimes We Need a Different Perspective

As we were facing a possible flu pandemic last year, it never occurred to me to look into the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic as a possible cause of family deaths.

The other night, I was doing my usual probing in the newest records on  when I came across one of the sons of  our Heimbach family.  Joseph Frederick Heimbach had died in Chicago in Nov 1918.  His diagnosis was Lobar Pneumonia. Influenza was put in parentheses as a secondary cause.
(A reminder you can click on the images to make them larger)

 Just prior to that in June, Joseph's brother-in-law, Edward Ellsworth, (our ancestor) had died of Myocarditis secondary to Hypostatic pneumonia.

According to Librarian Ann Maggio of Chicago,  "The virus made its first appearance in March of 1918 when, in Fort Funston, Kansas, over 200 soldiers complained of flu symptoms and nearly 50 died from the disease.
Health officials hardly took notice at the time, and the U.S. had other things on its mind: fighting World War I
the virus popped up in other pockets around the country that spring, it seemed to disappear as quickly as it came.According to newspaper reports from the period, for the week ending September 28, 598 new cases of Spanish Influenza were reported in Chicago and 176 deaths."

...the flu was 'officially declared an epidemic in Illinois in October of 1918'.
This particular article reappears quite often in the East St. Louis Journal during the fall of 1918.

As a matter of fact it wasn't until October of 1918 that it is even mentioned in the Chicago Times.

This is an excerpt from Jan 1919 Chicago Times: 

The majority of the news during Spring of 1918 until October 1918 was focused on WWI.  Even with the large death tolls, the only focus it received was to say for prominent people, funerals were not public.  It was sad to note that many did not even have a funeral because of the epidemic.

I  feel the Helena Heimbach Ellsworth must have been a very sad lady to have dealt with the death of,  first her husband, then her brother within a 5 month period.  She must have been a strong person.  Her daughter in law, remembered the time because she was in the hospital having her son, our ancestor, at the time Edward died.  She was worried about her baby's health.

I think both men were victims of the flu.  Edward seems to be one of the popped up and disappeared pockets. 

Other than giving an accounting of the huge number of fatalities as a result of this virus, there has been little information documented, with the exception of the military where it appears to have started, and epidemiology statistics.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and the Long Walk Home

The kids would tell you that the Hero was prone to late nights at the office.  I used to think have mercy can't he get it done in the eight hours of work.  After he died, I spent 6 months helping the company finish out the old books and start the new bookkeeping system.  I began to appreciate his comment that it was easier to accomplish the book work after everyone left in the evening.
This story centers around the fact that the Hero would start working when his dad would go home in the evenings because of interruptions. Invariably, he would call at 7 pm and say "I am on my way home."  It was an hour and 15 minute drive from the office to the house.  At 10 pm, after some fretting and worry, I would call, knowing that he was going to say, "I was trying to finish one more thing and it took longer than I thought it would.  Sorry, I forgot the time."  Shame on him.  Well, it came to pass, that one night I had waited, called at 10 pm, he said,  "I am on my way."    At midnight, I threw my hands up in disgust and went to bed.  Two areas to note:  I was tired, so I fell soundly asleep.  It was before cell phones were widely in use.
At 4 am, I was awaken by the hero flopping on the bed.
Here is his story.
"Why didn't you come check on me?  I have been walking since 11:30 to get home.  I broke down about 7 miles from town and thought I would walk to call you know that there are a LOT of dogs on country roads? I never saw them, but I could hear them breathing, and barking.  I was afraid to try and go up to any of the houses ( now this was back in the 1980's and the number of houses on the highway you could count on one hand).  I finally made it to town.  (A big Sigh) The 7 Eleven Store was closed, and the pay phone was broken.  I thought about stopping at Stan's but I was afraid to wake them up.  Do you know it is freezing outside.  I am so cold.  Anyway, I kept on walking and just got home.  I am so tired."
Well, after my initial reaction, which was, if you had come when you said you would I would have been looking for you and would have gone out to search for you....oh never take the same route twice...(that is another story). Then I remembered he was right, the weather man had said it was going to be in the 20's that night.  (cold for Texas...cold for the would get to 70 and he was reaching for a
I reached over and hugged him and snuggled him to warm him up.  BUT warned him...if he had been true to his word, he would not have suffered so.  He agreed and changed his ways, for about a week... ; )

 The long walk...The red building is Houston 2854, the car broke down 7 miles from State hwy 105 then another 6 miles home.  The roads are not straight nor are they flat.
The moral my grandchildren is always do what you say your are going to do.
Yesterday was The Hero's birthday.