Thursday, September 5, 2019

A MAN WITH ANSWERS


JOHN MASSON SMITH, Jr.
Feb. 12, 1930 - July 24, 2019

I have only a tiny little connection with this man and his research, but I'll introduce him via part of the Obituary that was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle in August of 2019.  It was sent to me by a friend who knew of my connection with Turkey..

Smith  was born in 1930 in Massachusetts.  He graduated from Harvard, served in the army for three years before getting his PhD. in Near Eastern History at Columbia University.  He and his wife spent a year in Istanbul, where he directed the American Research Institute in Turkey.  Then he spent over 40 years as a professor in the UC Berkeley Department of History.  

John was a world-renowned scholar of Islamic coinage and of the history of the Mongol Empire.  John's great achievement was enabling scholars and students to understand the history of steppe nomad empires not only from the vague statements of their sedentary enemies but especially from a quantitative analysis of material that had existed for centuries but which nobody had bothered to take seriously.

~0~

I was able to find online a reprint of one of his articles entitled "Dietary Decadence and Dynastic Decline in the Mongol Empire."  Now I'm not crazy about that period in history or those peoples, but I must say that I found his paper, which was printed in the Journal of Asian History, vol. 34, no. 1, 2000,  exceptionally interesting.  Frankly, I never thought of reading anything about  Mongols, but as I read various parts of Smith's paper, I did see of interest that they ate lots of meat but not grain, not herbs, not vegetables, "nor anything else."  They focused on meat and milk, especially mare's milk, which fermented and turned alcoholic quickly.  The mongols developed high-volume drinking habits ....and one of Smith's lines ends with "So far, then, we have the early Mongols on a high-fat and high cholesterol diet, somewhat checked by food shortages, and with a penchant for drunkenness offset by the limited supply and low alcoholic content of the only available beverage.  And along with the drunkenness was the great "hullabaloo" (my word) and festivities that it encouraged.  No wonder they had short lives!

Never did I think I would enjoy reading a 12 page paper on Mongols.  But I certainly did.

My friend who sent me this obit because it had to do with Turkey.  She was unaware that during the 18-months I was there, I often had contact with the then Director of ARIT, Dr. Tony Greenwood.  I was researching Americans buried in the Ferikoy Istanbul Protestant Cemetery, and not only did I receive much help from Tony while I was there but our contact continued until I finished my research.  I not only gave him a copy of my book but I left him all the research material that I had on hand.  

Dr. John Smith was with ARIT a long time before I was; I did not know him or even know of him, but receiving his obituary brought back many good memories, and then reading his paper gave me a whole new picture on Mongols plus a lot of chuckles!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

WHEN LIVES TOUCH


Charles T. "Chuck" Newmyer
July 31, 1935 - July 22, 2014

It is my recollection that I first met Charles Newmyer on the first day of school, September of 1945, when we ended up in the same fifth grade class at Whittier Elementary School in Long Beach, California.  From Whittier we went on to Alexander Hamilton Jr. High School and then finally to Long Beach Poly.  The picture above is from "Caerulea", our class of 1953 yearbook.  And then through the years as we met again at school reunions, this is how I remember Chuck.

But in a funny coincidence, he and I met shortly after his birth.  It's a short tale.  In the Baby Book that my mother kept for me, there were several notes about the made-up word "VELDERP."  Mother told me that before I was born, there were a group of young married women living near each other, and having no money for entertainment because the Great Depression was still hurting everyone, they formed a little weekly social club.  Whoever had tea to share would bring it.  Bread and butter often substituted for crumpets.  These young ladies made up the name for their club by using the initial of their first names.  Virginia was my mom......and L was Lois Newmyer.  When I was born on June 26, 1935, my baby book says that Lois Newmyer gave me my first dress!  I am sure that the next month when Lois Newmyer gave birth to Charles, my mother gave him.....well.....probably a pair of pants and a shirt. I never thought to ask my mother about that.  But I did ask mother if she took me to the party given when Lois had her baby and she said she certainly did!  

Mother and Lois reconnected 10 years later when mother learned that there was a boy named Charles Newmyer in my 5th grade class. On occasion through the rest of our schooling, Chuck and I kidded each other about out "long" friendship.

Then at our 60th class reunion in late October of 2013,, Chuck was scheduled to come, but he fell ill and postponed his visit.  Sadly, It was in 2014 that he passed away.

Chuck graduated from UCLA with a BS degree in mechanical engineering in 1958.  After several early jobs in that field, he had a 32-year career at the Naval Weapons Center near China Lake.  He retired in 1994.  In addition to his professional work, he also was a lifelong fisherman and eventually opened the High Sierra Flyfisher Business in Ridgecrest in 1982.
A full obituary can be found online.  



It is hard to know that one's long-time friends are no longer around.  I have lots of good (and early) remembrances of Chuck Newmyer.  Rest-In-Peace, my friend!


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A MUCH LOVED STEPFATHER


JAMES H. EUNGARD
Died 1 October 1921
Caldwell, Kansas

My great-grandma Nellie Stevens had an early marriage to Joseph Clinton Davis, a young man who lived in a farm adjacent to the Stevens farm.  Joseph and Nellie married in August of 1884.  In March of 1885 Nellie was back living with her father and mother, and in May of that year, my maternal grandma was born.  (Divorce records filed in 1887 indicate that Nellie was deserted by Joseph.)  In November of 1887, Nellie married James H. Eungard.  And it was Eungard who raised my grandma Jessie.

The family story was that when Jessie started school she was teased about not having a "real" father.  One afternoon he came home from work and found her under her bed, sobbing.  When he asked why, she told him about the mean kids who taunted her.  He picked her up and told her how much he loved her and counted her as his "real" daughter.  This is the only story of my grandma's early childhood that our family ever heard.  

As kids, we actually didn't remember much about our great-grandparents, although we did remember that James Eungard was killed in a train accident.  It wasn't until a few years ago that in my research I found this information:

DIES OF INJURIES

Train Strikes J. H. Eungard,
Caldwell, Former Wichita Grocer
---
J. H. Eungard, formerly of Wichita, was injured fatally Saturday afternoon at Caldwell by a Rock Island passenger train which struck him as he was returning from work. 

He died at 4 o'clock Sunday morning.  It was not thought at first that he was seriously hurt.

Mr. Eungard was employed for a number of years by the Lehmann-Higginson Wholesale Grocery company, and was later in the grocery business for himself at 458 North Main Street.

He was a member of the Knights of Macabees, Wichita chapter.,  He leaves his widow, one daughter, Mrs. Byrd Ryland, Mulvane, and one son, C. H. Eungard. Caldwell.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2 o'clock Wednesday at the Caldwell Christian church.  Burial will be at Caldwell.


The Wichita Daily Eagle, 05 Oct 1921.

In 1930 my grandma Jessie Ryland and her 5 youngest kids left Kansas for Long Beach, California.  She died there in 1946 at the age of 61.  She only had 3 grandchildren by that time, and it was the three of us who heard about how much she loved her stepfather.  But the big surprise in doing genealogical research was that she grew up knowing where her real father was and she had contact with him until he died in Colorado Springs in 1916.  When I told that to my sister and my cousin (those grandchildren referenced above), we looked at each other, shrugged and said "Go Figure!"

Saturday, June 15, 2019

OUR SISTER JUDY


16 October 1933 - 13 JUNE, 2019

Alene Judith “Judy” Title Hyzen, 85, died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, June 13, 2019, a week after undergoing a necessary surgery. 

Judy was born in Los Angeles on October 16, 1933 to Julius and Bertha Title.  In 1936  the family relocated to Ontario, California, where Judy attended Lincoln,  Vina Danks and two years of Chaffey High.  Her last two years of high school were at Fairfax High in Los Angeles, where she lived with her Aunt Betty.  She then attended and graduated from Woodbury Business College.  Sometime after graduation Judy met and married Bob Hyzen; their family was complete with the arrival of son Jay in 1954 and daughter Robyn in 1956. 

The Hyzens made the San Fernando Valley area their home. Judy spent many years working in financial positions in various companies before she retired, but she also made sure she had time available for her kids and their chums, who all called her “mom.”

Predeceased by her husband Bob and son Jay, Judy moved to Montclair in 2008 and later to Collinsville, Oklahoma, where her daughter, Robyn Hyzen Brown was living.   It was there that she passed away.

Judy suffered her whole adult life from ulcerative colitis.  Surgery did nothing but add to her woes.  Hence, wherever she lived, she found and became active in a support group for those with intestinal problems. These groups became her lifeline.

She had a heart of gold.  Judy was a kind keeper of kittens and cats, and although not having grandchildren of her own, she became a thoughtful and loving aunt to all the little Title offspring in her brother Jerry’s family.   


No services are planned; she asked that her body be donated to science.  We are missing her already.



Wednesday, June 12, 2019

DOKEY & ME - BEST FRIENDS FOREVER


DELORIS ANN "DOKEY" MATTOX (r)
14 October 1935 - 17 January 2007

     There is no one in my scrapbook who appears more times than Dokey.  I met her on the first day of school in September of 1945 - it was the year we both turned 10.  I was the "new kid on the block," my folks having moved across town, necessitating me leaving Willard Elementary School on that side of town and going to Whittier Elementary School instead.  I knew no one, so my job was to make friends with everyone.  I was really rather shy, but a new Girl Scout troop was being formed at the same time and my mother knew it would be a good way to make friends, so she saw to it that I became a member of Troop #28.  I became friends with all those girls, but it was a quiet tomboy named Dokey who became my first friend.

     We were nothing alike.  She was athletic, I was a real dud on any physical activities.  I was a fast reader and she didn't like reading anything.  She was overall a quiet kid who liked everyone.  And everyone liked her.  She was fun, and funny.  Probably one of the things that made us friends outside of the school yard was that both her parents worked, so she was free to come over to my house after school and she often stayed for dinner.  Our social life was primarily through the Scout Troop.  

     In Junior High she and a bunch of the Scouts took up a musical instrument through the school music program.  I didn't, and that did separate us a bit, but she often brought her saxophone over to my house and I would "try" to accompany her on the piano.  She saw me through lessons on the piano, and later on the guitar, neither of which I cottoned to.  But Dokey continued her music for years.

     In High School our connection, again mostly through the Scout Troop, was the strongest in the summer, when we walked a mile to the beach every day.  It was something kids could do in those late 1940-early 1950 years.  We always said we went to the beach the day that school was out for the summer and came home in time for School starting in the fall.  We wore our bathing suits under our Levis, carried our towels and baby oil (for getting a suntan) and I brought along my transistor radio, a new development those days.   Meanwhile, the scout troop still stayed together until the girls either went off to college or got jobs.

     The picture above was taken at one of the Fall Scout Camps we had each year.  Dokey and I, still good friends, found the perfect place to be together and ponder the direction our lives would take from this point on.

     I went off to college.  Dokey got a job with the Park and Recreation Department.  Later she joined the U. S. Army and played the saxophone in a military band for many years, retiring in middle age.. I eventually married, had four kids and led the kind of life that most young women had in the mid '50s.  My kids grew up knowing that Dokey was my best friend, but they never saw her.  They knew her by the pictures we exchanged.  The Scout troop also had periodic reunions up until there weren't many of us left.  The last time I saw Dokey was in 2003 - when she came to California from Arizona for our High School class's 50th reunion.  It was as if no time at all had passed.  We were still  best buds.

      In thinking about this, I remember she was the one who introduced me to my first cigarette - at a summer Girl Scout overnight camp at a local park, of all places!.  When darkness came, we took a walk to a nearby drug store, and Dokey showed me how to puff on a cigarette; she had brought a pack from home.  When we returned to our group, we didn't think anybody would know we had been smoking.  Our leader told us many years later that we reeked of cigarette smoke, but she figured we all had to figure out for ourselves what we were going to do about smoking.  We had a very wise scout leader.

     In 2007 Dokey passed away.  She had a lovely service and the three of us Scouts who were still alive were there to honor her. She had been a heavy smoker all her life and it took it's toll on her breathing.   She is buried in the Veteran's Cemetery in Sierra Vista, Arizona, close to her home.

 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

THE MOUSE AND ME - ALIVE & WELL

BOBBY DOBBINS TITLE - 1935 to NOT YET

                 Sometime back I read a feature article n the LA Times that talked about the evolving field of designing urns for one's ashes.  And just as I never am able to pass a survey without taking it, neither can I not rise to the challenge of figuring out what "urnable" object best represents my understanding of my life.

               The newspaper features some very interesting and actually quite beautiful urns.  Even the urns that I laughed at were beautiful in their own way.  And yes, I did laugh at some of them.  One was the body of a fish that had two chicken-like legs holding the front end of the fish up, making a graceful swoop of the fish body, which of course is where the deceased's ashes were contained.  I can see that urn being used by one of two people - those who thought evolution was preposterous, such as a religious conservative, or those who thought otherwise, a scientist or a biologist, maybe.  Anyway, it made me laugh and if I tell into one of those categories, I would certainly want people to laugh at my ashes. 

               There was another "urn" that caught my eye.  It is a bird feeder - like a seed bell, but looked like a gourd birdhouse with a little hole in the side.  Under the hole was a perch inscribed with the deceased's statistics.  Now the uniqueness of this urn is that it is made of bird seed, beeswax and the deceased's ashes.  It is meant to be hung outside and eaten up by finches or chickadees.  Now this probably will be an off-putting idea to many people - but I find it a great idea to signify one's understanding of the impermanency of human life.  From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, you know.

               Perhaps this one appeals to me because for the last five years or so, Jerry and I have purchased dozens and dozens of birdseed bells and hung them on a wrought-iron staff outside our front window to watch the birds eat at the seeds.  This year I told him that I was finished with the seed bells.  The pile of seed husks had raised our lawn under the seed bell about 2 inches, had killed the grass, and would be blown all over the porch whenever we got a wind from the right direction.  So even though this one has great appeal to me, I think having one's ashes rain down on the lawn along with the husks (if the birds didn't eat all the ashes at the same time) probably is a good reason for me not to choose that one.  And my kids might object to its impermanency.  (Though to my chagrin they might not even notice.)

              Before I tell you what object I have decided on (if I were to change my mind and give up "my property" at the Montecito Ash Garden in Colton, which isn't likely), I'd like to encourage you to take a peek at theese really amazing designs, either at the LA Times online, which you can find via Google, or at Funeria.com, which is headquartered in Graton, California.  (Yes, Dorothy, there IS a Graton!)

               So now for the big moment.  I have decided that the objet d'art for my ashes should be a computer mouse.  I considered a monitor, a CPU, a legal-sized file cabinet, a ream of paper (this one came close to being at the top of the list) and a stack of CDs. But I think that a simple mouse, complete with left-and right-click panels and a tail, is what would represent me quite nicely.  And not to mention that even the shape of a mouse is similar to how I've morphed in my old age - kind of thick in the middle.  It may not be as dramatic as a birdseed bell, but I'm thinking it is pretty much "me."

                Anyway,  here I am, still on terra firma and heading into my 84th year.  I am still feeding the birds and sweeping up after them.  I have my pills and my support stockings, my hearing aids and glasses -- and a few more unmentionable things that seem to be a part of the package we were provided with at birth.  I haven't figured out hw I'm going to actually get myself to this column once my time comes, but for now, you've got a glimpse of my thinking about the whole event.

                                                                                   -30-




                         

     



Thursday, February 21, 2019

SAD, BUT TRUE

ELIZABETH CAROLINE DOBBINS WINTON
24 January 1831 - 27 January 1922

~o~

In the Civil War Veteran Widow's Pension Files there is a letter that Elizabeth C. Winton sent to Washington DC in 1898 after she heard the news of her husband's death in an old Soldier's home in Leavenworth.  She appeals for assistance as the widow of John R. Winton, a Civil War veteran.  

….Now I will tell you something of the former part of our lives.  John R. Winton and I were married at a hotel in Lawrence, Kansas on the 26th day of October in 1857 by a Camalite [sic] minister, and we lived at what was then Prairie City, now called Media, Douglas County, Kansas until about 1863 in the spring.  We then went to Dayton, KY where we lived until the fall of 1881, when John R. Winton came home in July that year with a very loathsome case of gonorrhea.  In all those years we had had four children, two girls in Kansas and two boys in Kentucky.  

Now in 1881 we just had one daughter living about 14 years old.  She was already very sickly so I was compelled to leave him.  I stayed in Dayton till in December 1881 then came here to Las Animas [Colorado] to my brother [James Sellers Dobbins] and have been right here ever since.  John wandered about from one [Veterans] Home to another, up in Wisconsin, at Leavenworth, and Dayton, Ohio, and finally wanted to come back to me.  He said he was well and wanted to come back.  I had not applied for a divorce but heard that he had, but he denied ever getting a divorce, but I said I would not live with him unless he married me again. 

So you see he came here to my home that I had earned all myself and had three hundred and ninety eight dollars laid by beside taking care of my daughter and making the living for her.  She died in 1885, and now my money is all gone and I have broke myself down waiting on him for he has been sick nearly ever since he had come here.  I have been an invalid ever since last May, am scarcely able to cook a bite for myself.  Can you do anything ….?  Mrs. E. C. Winton

There IS a record of a second marriage to him in the Bent County, Colorado Courthouse, and she did receive a Widow's pension.


Her obituary provides most of what I know about her life.  It says she "was one of the pioneer residents of 1882...accompanied by her daughter, Alvira, who later passed away.  She opened a boarding house shortly after coming to the city and conducted it for some time, after which she followed dressmaking as long as she was able to do this work.  She was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas, Colorado."

She was my dad's "Auntie Winton."


~o~