Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oklahoma 1940 Federal Census Finds!

I had started out flipping through the Oklahoma 1940 Federal Census and found my Aunt Della Whitaker and their two sons.  I soon tired of flipping through because the size of the image took so long to download.  Thus, I waited. The Oklahoma 1940 Census Index is now online. Click on the link above.
I love FamilySearch Indexers! I help index Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri, but I am only one person and with my schedule it would be the year 3000 before they were finished.  The power of numbers is awesome!
I started looking for my dad.  I thought he would be in Pawnee, Oklahoma, but was surprised to find him in Saline, Alfalfa County, Oklahoma.  He was with his first wife and he was a section foreman with the Rail Road.  I expected to find this.  He didn't meet my mom until after the war and his divorce.
My grandfather was fun to find, because it proved he was a blacksmith with the WPA project.  As I understood from my grandmother he was working with the builders of highway 64 going through Pawnee.  They were living in Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma.  My dad owned property there.  Next to them was his youngest sister.  Wondering where my Aunt Lynn was.  It was too early for her second marriage and I don't know who her first husband was.  Not a lot of talk about that.
I hope I have peaked your interest in helping with indexing or going and searching for your ancestors.  There is so much to learn on this census.  Click on this #1940Census to see many articles on this census.
Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sentimental Sunday The Hero, A Young Son's Memory

We are in hurricane season.  My youngest son and I were discussing his memories of recovery and clean up he and the Hero participated in after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.  They were part of the Mormon Helping Hands.   Before they left they were given on of the Yellow T-Shirts.
My son was telling me of unsafe antics that several of the older men were doing and how safety was not adhered to in his group.  I asked him if he remembered what his dad did?  He thought for a moment and said,
"He was a overseer or manager of sorts over several of the service projects and would drive around checking on them.  There was one home where a tree was held up off the house just by a window frame.  The men were standing around discussing how they could cut at this angle and remove that part, when dad came up.  He looked at the situation and said 'No, sorry, we can not do this job.  It is unsafe for the men and the people's house.  We would need different equipment than saws.  We will not do it. They will have to get someone with special equipment to do this.'  They were disappointed, but mom they couldn't have cut it with out the house being hurt without on of those big crane-like machines."
As I listened to him, I saw he was proud his dad was smart, thought things through, and didn't take silly chances.  (Of course, he wouldn't admit that.)
The Hero was proud to be a part of the recovery groups helping others getting back into their homes.  He was a Hero even then.
Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and White Water Rafting

This is a story written by our oldest daughter and myself.   We included her perspective and the Hero's.

Why I have never been white water rafting.
We did not have pictures from the trip.
Note: I'm steering clear of using specific names.

Back when I was around ten yrs. old or so our ward (church congregation) went on a trip to Waco Rock (not a place - just a big rock in the river called that) on the Guadalupe River in Texas. We all camped together and then the next day we were to go down in canoes or rafts down the river. I had never been but was excited - it sounded SO FUN.   My father, ever the cautious one, impressed upon me the importance of doing just as he said, and wearing my life jacket.  "People drown doing this," he said.

For some reason, my mother couldn't go. (I was pregnant with our 4th child, so I stayed home with the little ones).   Anyway, the point is, it ended up being only Dad and I on the trip, sleeping in our orange Volkswagen Bus that Dad had converted the backseat into a bed.

We got there late, but I still remember having fun. Campfires were going and we were invited to hang out with our neighbors and roast smores. Yum. However, the buzz going around the camp was that there might not be any rafting/canoeing the next day because earlier rains had caused the river to swell. My father made the instant decision - I was not going to go. I was SO disappointed. He made arrangements for me to stay with someone else in case he went - can you believe I don't remember who that was? I have a vague feeling it was Sister "T", but I can't remember for sure.

The next morning a joyful shout flew over the camp - Waco was open for business! My father started to crumble - I really, REALLY wanted to go. His arm went around my shoulders as he started to vacillate - he hated to see me disappointed. I remember a feminine voice of caution telling him he didn't want me on that river. It was too risky the voice said. So he left me behind.
The next few hours were the most terrifying I have ever experienced in my life - literally. Here is why:

About 30 minutes later there was a shout in camp - a canoe with one of our families had been overturned! We sped to a spot on the river and picked up the young girl - she was bruised from the water slamming her over and over against the rocks. She was shaking so bad from cold, shock, and fear. In the car she slumped back exhausted, while they checked her for broken bones.

I watched with growing fear as the women around me took her back to the camp, whispering that no one should have gone. I asked some questions about the teen, and they quickly tried to cover up what they had been saying, but the damage was done. I knew my daddy was in danger.  They tried to get me to play with the other kids, but I vividly remember the lazy dragonflies in the air as I looked across the way at our Volkswagen Bus and wondered how I would get home if my dad died. How would we get his body home? What would my mother do? I didn't want anything to happen like that. I remember crying.
What can I say - my imagination was always too good; twisted.   
Through that first part I learned my father & and a huge 6’+ man of about 290 pounds  had teamed up  to canoe. My dad’s partner showed up at camp awhile later, emerging from the trees. He was limping and had a broken nose. With me standing there, he spoke openly about how their canoe had flipped and pinned my dad underneath and knocked him into the rock. He said he'd had enough and decided to walk back to camp, but my dad had joined up with some kid that needed help. The kid's partner had also abandoned him on the river.
Dad was furious with Hugh for the spill they took. Here was his version: Before we started down the river we studied the approaches and decided that we would go down a specific side of the rock.  We gauged our paddling.  "As we started towards the rock, I was yelling at him to paddle to the left so we'd go one way but he kept paddling to the right against me... so we ended up against that damned rock and flipped. And I'm pinned under the canoe with my face smashed on the river bed against it like this (and then he'd do a mime of being pinned down).  My thoughts were I may die here.  And I would have drowned, except a canoe that was traveling just under water flowed over me and broke the suction popping me up off the floor of the river, letting me rise to the top."
 Back to my story:  I must have been beside myself with fear at that point. I vaguely recall someone saying, "take her to the end of the river so she can watch  the Hero." I can still see the rapids flowing over the rocks when we drove down to the ending point, my nose pressed against the glass, searching every raft that swept by. There were rangers of some sort all over the place. People were shaking getting out of their canoes and rafts. Word got around that they had shut the river down - it was a matter of just getting the people OUT now.
Kayaks, canoes and rafts, one after one showed up around the bend, some folks giving the rangers a hard time about having to get out. Then there was the guy who had a broken leg. I began to wonder if my dad had fallen in again - it seemed ages since his partner had shown up at camp. But finally, there he was - with a young man in a canoe. He made it, and gave me a BIG hug when he saw me.
My dad did go off on the park and how dare they allow anyone on a river like that! You had to know my dad. ;) 
But that's why I can't go white water rafting. I still WANT to, and I plan to force myself to overcome someday, but for now I still break out into a cold sweat thinking about it. We went floating down the Brazos at New Braunfels one year with my husband's parents, and although I didn't say it, I was terrified. But I did it - in a raft, not a tube. The saving grace - there's no rapids to deal with there. =)
From the Hummer:  I was just glad I wasn’t there and heard the story from them later.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sentimental Sunday A Hero Camping Memory

Memorial Day Camp out with the kids brought on many family memories of previous camp outs. 
It turned off chilly at night and we were laughing none of us had brought blankets for nighttime.  I said, "This reminds me of when I forgot to bring jackets when we camped out it Denver."  'No,' said the daughter, 'I remember that you took them out of the van after Dad had us put them in, saying "We won't need these."  Oh, all right, it was my stupidity that nearly gave us all pneumonia in July and the Hero is still the Hero.  You just can't rewrite history in this family.
Back to the story.  The Hero had planned a great trip for us through Colorado to Utah.  We were going to visit Leadville, because all of the family loved the movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown".  His first words as we were packing were, "Make sure there are blankets and jackets."  I was rolling my eyes saying, "It is 100 degrees, I really don't think we will need those.  They take up too much room."  The kids dutifully brought down their jackets and stuffed them in the back.  When I was trying to organize the back of the van, they were just too bulky, so... Yep, I removed them quietly and took them back to the closets. 
We arrived in Colorado in the late afternoon somewhere off Hwy 24 at a camping ground. It was beautiful, a stream nearby. I don't remember where exactly just the general location. This looks like the approximate area.
Everyone was busy setting up the tent, and the fire for cooking.  Then the sun started setting, it was getting very cool. Dare I say more that a bit chilly.   Oh yes...  The Hero (this is the man who donned his red parka when the temperature dipped to 70 degrees in Texas) began looking for the jackets.  He searched, called the children to him to inquire if they had brought the jackets as told.  I had a flash back and sheepishly came forward saying.  "I took them out at home for more room."  It was a good thing that the Hero did not have the powers of Zeus, because I probably would have been struck by lightening and they would have warmed their hands over the coals.  Oh my.  He never let me live that one down.  "Don't forget to pack jackets like you did..."
Needless to say we all snuggled and crowded together that evening.  The next day, jackets were purchased.  Good thing he loved me...
The moral of the story is... Listen to someone who knows about the climate you are going to.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Interesting How Time Flies.

I just noticed this morning that I missed my own blogiversary by two days. I was checking my links and there it was, 363 days to blogiversary. I can remember the day my daughter helped me start this blog. I was already doing my personal blog and we decided to start a family history blog.  
I am so glad I began to write the Hero stories, because they would have been lost like his Journal are.  
Now, if I can get back on schedule with my posts.  Holidays and children's demands get in the way of my organizing, but it is more important to build memories!
Love to all who drop by and those that leave comments, thanks for letting me know what you think.  
Life is grand.