Thursday, September 17, 2020

Happy Birthday, Sissie-poo!

Today is the birthday of my older sisetr (technically half-sister), which I've decided to celebrate on my blog, just because I can.  Oh, the joys of having a blog devoted to family history!

Laurie is my father's daughter from his first marriage.  Because my mother was very family-oriented, my siblings and I probably would have known about her anyway, but we really got to know her and her mother because they used to live with my immediate nuclear family when I was a child.  We were very forward-thinking for the 1960's, I know.  There's even a photo of the four of us from 1968:


After Mary Lou and Laurie moved out of our house, they were in California for a while before moving back to the East Coast.  But I always stayed in touch with Laurie by writing.

When my family moved back to the United States in 1973 after two years of living in Australia, we also went to the eastern part of the U.S., albeiit in Florida, and I continued to write to Laurie.  My brother and sister got to know her better because at different times they both ended up in her area and were able to visit in person.

Then, in 1991, plans were for my mother, my brother, and I to visit San Antonio, where my sister lived, for a big family Christmas.  And my sister decided to surprise everyone else by having Laurie show up.

They plotted and planned.  The day I was scheduled to fly in, Stacy went to the airport to pick me up and had Laurie come along.  Laurie was waiting in the area through which passengers exited.

I was walking along, looking for Stacy, when suddenly somone I had just passed said, "What's the matter?  Don't you recognize your own sister?"

I turned and had to take a few seconds before I realized that Laurie was standing there in front of me.  She later commented with great joy about me standing there with my mouth hanging open.

She also mentioned that after this wonderful surprise had been planned, for several days she had been telling her coworkers, "I'm going to see my sister I haven't seen for 23 years!"  Which of course just begged for an explanation she was happy to share.

Because we had all four siblings together again, we commemorated the occasion with another photo, all of us in the same relative positions as in the one from 23 years prior.


Which is one of my favorite family photos that I have.

Happy birthday, Laurie!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Grandparents Day


To celebrate National Grandparents Day today, here is a photo I recently found of my five children with my second (former) daughter-in-law.  It looks like they're having a fun, silly time!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Was Your Childhood Home Like?

Somoetimes the theme for Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is unexpectedly funny for me, through no fault of Randy's whatsoever.  This is one of those times.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) What was your childhood home like?  How big was it?  How many rooms did it have?  What facilities did you have?  What furniture was there?

(2) Share your response on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a comment or post on Facebook.


So the first thing I have to decide with a question like this is, which home?  While Randy was fortunate enough to have lived in the same home until he was 19, me?  Not so much.  A few years ago Randy's theme was the houses in which you have lived.  I had racked up 27 addresses, 21 of them by the time I turned 21.

I think I'll go with the house at 434 Randy Street in Pomona, California.  Not only was it a home from childhood, which I tend to think of as a younger age, but I can actually picture more of what it looked like than most other of our homes.

434 Randy Street in 2011

Going by the information on Zillow, the house is currently 1,190 square feet and has four bedrooms and two bathrooms.  That number of bedrooms sounds right to me.  I think all three of us children had our own rooms.  We had a living/family room and a kitchen.  I remember a back porch off of the living room and a big back yard off of that.  I think there was a door off the kitchen that went to the outside, probably the back yard.  There was a garage, possibly for two cars.  The house had a curved driveway and a good-sized front yard.  I think there was some sort of overhang over the front door.

On the right side of the driveway, where the phoot above shows a hard surface, it was still part of the yard and we had roses planted along the curve.

In the living room we had a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, which I used to climb up, which freaked out my mother, who was afraid of heights.  We had a credenza of some sort, probably that included a TV.  I remember on that piece of furniture was where my mother's status of a cobra with its hood spread out used to sit.  We had to hide the statue when my mom's sister came over, because she was morbidly afraid of snakes, even inanimate ones.  There was a big couch on the opposite side of the room.

There was enough space in the living room to accommodate a folding card table, because that's where my parents would set up the table when they had friends over to play cards, probably poker and pinochle.  My parents didn't play bridge; my father only picked up the game after marrying my stepmother.  Sometimes when their friends were over I would walk through chomping on an onion as though it were an apple.

I don't remember what any of the bedrooms or bathrooms looked like except that I had a window in my room.  That I remember because my cat, Velvet, used to go in and out that way.

For some time we had a pet snake — a green snake, I think — which lived in the garage.  It escaped three times.  My mother was able to retrieve it the first two times, but the third time it was gone for good.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Time Capsule Fun

I've missed creating new posts for the past few weeks of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, mostly due to repeated topics and my surgery, but I'm back this week!  I love magic computer tools that aggregate information in one place for me.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) Go to the dMarie Time Capsule Website:  http://dmarie.com/timecap/.

(2) Select a date in your family history that you want to know about.  You might pick a birth date or wedding date of your parents or grandparents.

(3) Enter the date into the search form and select the news, songs, toys, books and other things that you want to feature.

(4) Share the date, why you picked them, and the results of your Time Capsule study on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a comment or post on Facebook.


I chose the wedding date of my great-grandparents, Joe Gordon and Sarah Libby Brainin, which was April 4, 1914, which I learned was a Saturday (and I realized when I chose it that my half-sister chose April 4 for her second wedding date, but she's my half-sister from the other side of the family, so that's just a random coincidence).

When I had an option, I chose events that occurred on that actual date.

The president in 1914 was Woodrow Wilson, and his vice-president was Thomas R. Marshall.

The top news headline for that day was that Perils of Pauline was shown for the first time in Los Angeles.

Of a few top songs for 1914, I chose "Play a Simple Melody" and "Land", both by Irving Berlin, because I thought there was a higher probability that they would have heard those songs.

1914 prices and numbers were:
Bread:  $0.06/load
Milk:  $0.36/gallon
Eggs:  $0.33/dozen
Car:  $500
House:  $4,800
Stamp:  $0.02 for first-class mail
Average income:  $1,055/year
DOW average:  75

Several top books were listed for 1914.  I know my great-grandfather was a Socialist in his political leanings, but I don't know anything about what he or my great-grandmother might have liked to read.  I picked Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm and The Promise of American Life by Herbert Croly as possibilities, mostly because the rest sounded less plausible.  Realistically, I would not be surprised if neither of them could read English in 1914.

And author Marguerite Duras (born Marguerite Donnadieu) was born April 4, 1914.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Disaster Genealogy Go Bag

The topic for today's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is one I should think about more often but don't, so it's probably a good thing that Randy Seaver posted about it.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

1. Thank you for this topic to Jacqi Stevens for her post today on Your Genealogy Go Bag on her blog A Family Tapestry.


2. My daughter Lori evacuated her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Tuesday due to a large fire.  Am I, or are you, prepared to react to a local disaster like a fire, earthquake, hurricane, or civil unrest?  

3. That prompted me to worry about "what genealogy/family history items would I take with me if I had 15 minutes to collect them?"

4. Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook post, or as a comment on this blog post.


Am I ready for a local disaster?  Not in the slightest.

I have stuff still scattered around the house from when I moved to Oregon three years ago.  I have far too many boxes that are not yet unpacked.  So I don't actually know where all the unique and important items I would want to grab and put in a go bag are.  But I can try to come up with a list of what I should look for.

• My desktop computer and Mac laptop are older and can be sacrificed.  My PC laptop is only a couple of years old and very portable, so that should go with me.  I do remote back-ups of my files on a regular basis, but I don't think everything is being backed up, so I need to check on that.

• Most of the books and periodicals I own can be replaced.  I do have some very uncommon, if not unique, items that I should have in a location where I could take them quickly.

• Most of my genealogy research is not digitized.  By coincidence, unrelated to any discussion of Randy's post, I was talking with my boyfriend today about beginning a digitization project for all those documents.  It only came up because he would love to see the papers gone, but hey, inspiration can come from all sorts of different situations.

• I do have many original certificates among all that research, however (which I warned him about).  So those should be separated out for quick accessibility.

• Photos, photos, and more photos!  And slides even!  I actually have digitized a good portion of my family photographs, but certainly not all of them, and none of the slides.  In addition, I would not choose to sacrifice many of the original photos if I could avoid it.  Some are unique.  So they need to be prepped for a quick departure also.

• I have only a very small number of items that equate to "family heirlooms", but most aren't easily transportable.  My grandmother's Passover china set is not a grab-and-go kind of thing.  My great-grandmother's silverplate flatwear would be easier to take with me if I kept all the pieces in the case, but I use them regularly.  Hmm, I have to think about how to handle that.

• The one earring I have left that was my great-grandmother's (because someone stole the second, along with a necklace she had made for me) I also count as an heirloom.  I have a few pieces of jewelry that were my mother's and grandmother's that are special.  Those are easy to collect together.

• One collection of items that isn't here but that is important to me to have saved is my father's racing trophies.  They are currently at my stepbrother's in Houston, which is prone to its own natural disasters.  As with my grandmother's china, the trophies are not something easy to grab and go when an emergency occurs.  But they are unique and an important part of my family history.  I'm still trying to figure out a way to curate them.

Well, that's what I can think of related to genealogy.  It looks as though I have some work to do!