Friday, December 23, 2016

I DUB THEE FAMOUS, FREDDY KATZ

September 11, 2013


To the family of Fred Katz:

I read of Fred’s death in the LA times and was sad to learn of it.  He was a good part of my life.

I attended George Pepperdine College at 79th and Vermont in LA in 1953 and 1954.  It was there that I learned about progressive jazz – on weekends my friends and I would go to Shelly’s Mann Hole and The Lighthouse.  During the summer of 1955 my then-boyfriend and I discovered the Stroller’s Club in Long Beach, where Chico Hamilton and his Quintet were regulars.  Freddy Katz played with them.

I was underage for going into that club, but we behaved ourselves, drank plain Cokes, and listened until the performance was over.  Management let us stay. It was there that I learned that the cello, in the right hands, could make very modern and very interesting jazz.  My date turned into my husband, and during our years together we always had those early progressive jazz musicians, including Freddy, on our record player. 

Fred lasted longer than my marriage did.  But I still loved that jazz and all those players – Brubeck, Chet Baker, Cal Tjader, Shelly Mann, Chico, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, and, yes, Freddie Katz.

The last time I heard him perform was in the early nineties, I believe.  I saw a little announcement in the Orange County Register announcing that he was giving a free jazz performance in a little church in Fullerton on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say, I was there, and it was very, very special.  At that time Fullerton had several little jazz spots where the young kids liked jazz, not rap.  They were all there, filling the church.  I ran into several friends from “the old days” – almost your Fred’s contemporaries – among those crowding the church.  It was so good to see him and hear that he was still making such good music on that cello.  Don’t get me wrong; he didn’t know me from Adam, but afterwards I did go up to him and mentioned that I had first seen him at the Strollers Club in Long Beach.  He smiled and said, “Those were the days, weren’t they?”

I am now 78.  I walk two miles every morning with my iPod buds in my ears.  And what do I listen to?  Actually, any progressive jazz CDs I can find, but among them, and often up for the day, is Chico Hamilton’s Studio recordings, featuring Fred Katz. 

He meant a lot to me, and I will miss the idea of him still being with us.  But he surely gave the world some good music.  I just wanted your family to know there are a lot of little “me’s” of an age around yet who remember those wonderful sounds he brought out of his cello, and how he contributed to one of the special things in my life.

Regards, 

            Bobby

Sunday, December 18, 2016

ART FERGUSON, AKA CHARLIE TUNA


1944-2016

One of my pleasures is to pick who is, and who isn't, an ImmortalNobody.  There are no qualifications other than ones I choose.  And I don't answer to anybody for them.  Interestingly, I have a more difficult time thinking of my picks as a "Nobody" than the "Immortal" which in my book has no religious connotation nor statement on an afterlife.  These Immortal Nobodies I choose are because I personally value their touch in my life, whether it was a real "touch" or simply a finger of fate touching my soul.  

Today's ImmortalNobody went by two names.  I knew him by "Charlie Tuna," the DJ on KIIS every morning of the work week, but as noted in the headline he was, in the real world,  Art Ferguson, a name I didn't know until he passed away in February of this year.

I think most of us hope the life we choose to live will be important or meaningful to someone.  We rarely get feedback if and when that happens.  Charlie and I never met, but our lives intersected, and I wrote a blog about it.

After I posted this blog, one of my daughters called Charlie while he was on the air and sent him a link to the blog.  She then phoned me to tell me what she had done and said he would be calling me shortly.  He did, and on the air we had a short dialog about two things: one, how his patter on the air unknowingly kept me going through a very bad time in my life and 2) my story reminded him that when he first started on the air, his hope was that he would make a difference in someone's life.  A few words made a big difference in both of us.  Read that blog here.

Charlie Tuna stands with the other ImmortalNobodies I have picked, a group of people who are important to me for one reason or another.  He hardly can be called a "Nobody" but for my purpose, he's at the top of my ImmortalNobody list.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

AN UNEXPECTED DEMISE

RICHARD DAVID KOBER
March 28, 1953 – February 9, 2005

An insurance claims adjuster died early Wednesday morning when he was struck by a tractor-trailer rig on Interstate 40 near Brinkley, Arkansas while he was investigating an earlier accident.

Richard David Kober, 51, of Baton Rouge, was struck by an eastbound tractor trailer rig at 3:26 a.m. when he attempted to cross I-40 near the 208 mile marker.  Kober was conducting a claims investigation for Great West Insurance co. at an accident that had occurred earlier at 11:44 pm on Tuesday involving two tractor trailer rigs and a vehicle towing a horse trailer. 

The driver of the tractor trailer rig which struck Kober told Arkansas highway officers that he had slowed his vehicle and was attempting to change lanes because of the vehicles parked on the side of the road.  He checked his mirrors to make sure he had clearance for his trailer.  When he looked back around at the roadway he saw a pedestrian in the middle of the road.  The driver said he swerved his truck in an attempt to miss Kober, but struck him with the left front fender. 


Religious service was held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home in Baton Rouge; interment was in Liberal Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife, Veda Lynn Norfolk Kober, twin daughter and son, Ashley Lauren Kober and Stephen Mathew Kober, both of Baton Rouge, mother Beryl Kaufman Kober, of Lake Charles, brother and sister in law Ronald Kober, MD and Stephanie Kober.   He was a member of Beth Shalom Synagogue, president of Beth Shalom Men's Club and a graduate of LSU.

****


The Kober family were actually closely related to Jerry's first wife, Carole, she being a first cousin of Richard's mother, Beryl.  (Beryl's dad, Louis, was a brother of Carole's dad, Edward.) The families had stayed close through the years, even though miles separated them.  As one can imagine, the tragic nature of Richard's demise was a shock to everyone.

Friday, November 18, 2016

LUCY WAS A LADY!

LUCILLE M. SCOTT
1928-2004

Dear John, Brian and families

I was so sorry to receive the phone call notifying me of Lucy’s passing.  I retired from work about the same time as Lucy did and since I had moved out of the area, I had been unaware of her stroke or her worsening condition.  It saddened me a great deal to receive that call.

Lucy and I worked closely together for the six years I served at the Rehab Center.  We covered jobs for each other, consulted each other – and frankly, depended on each other a lot.  We also laughed a lot.  Lucy was a bright spot in a sometimes-grim environment. 

We also shared with each other a lot about our families.  I feel as if I know each one of the family members, including her sisters, even though I have never met any of you.

If I could characterize her in a few words, I would say that of all the people I have ever known, Lucy loved her family the most.  She thought her sons were the most handsome, the smartest and best sons a mother could have.  She was so proud of both of you.  And when she interviewed me for my job, sitting on her desk looking me straight in the eye were pictures of her three grandkids, who of course were considerably younger than they are now.  She was fiercely proud of them, and of course with their parentage they also were the most handsome (or in the case of Jessica and Justine, most beautiful), smartest, and cleverest grandkids anyone had ever had.  And how she loved her sisters.  I was envious that I did not have the kind of relationship with my sister that she had with hers.

Lucy was caring and compassionate, sometimes to a fault, and she often ended up on the short end of the stick with the residents of in her sober-living house.  But at work if we had a problem, Lucy would be the first one to step up to help us.  She was a very kind, warm person, a beautiful, beautiful lady, in body, soul and spirit.

One of my fondest memories is how Lucy always told me about lounging around the house in her silk pajamas.  One day she told me she had 10 pair of them.    She asked if I had any and I said mine were all flannel.  She insisted, as only Lucy could insist, that I go buy myself a few pairs, that I would feel better about myself, that my husband Jerry would appreciate it, and that it would make such a difference in my life.  I did not rush out to buy any, to her chagrin.  But last December I called her to announce that I had just bought my first pair – that finally in my retirement I could sit around the house in my jammies if I felt like it and her many admonitions had finally come home to roost!  And yes, I did feel quite elegant – and yes, Jerry DID like them, a whole lot!  She said to me, “Think of all those years you wasted!”  Vintage Lucy, right?

At Christmas the six of us girls in the office exchanged little Christmas gifts.  The only gifts I can remember specifically are the ones that came from Lucy.  Her taste was exquisite, and I am still using the vase, the scarf and the pill case that she give to me at various Christmases.  She always was careful to let me know that they were gifts she had received from friends but had put away because she didn’t really need them.  She wanted to be up front with me about how it was that I got such a lovely gift.  But I knew her friends to be as elegant as Lucy was and I cherished each one of the gifts.  I still use them and think of her each time.

It is hard to lose a mother and grandmother (and sister).  I am sorry I didn’t know earlier of her illness because I surely would have sent a card and come to visit her in the hospital.  Please accept my condolences at this sad time.  Unfortunately I was out of town on the day of her funeral.  I am grateful that Brian called to let me know the sad news.  She was a very special lady.  I shall miss her.

Hugs to you all.

                                                    Bobby Title



Saturday, November 12, 2016

CLARA & NELLIE C. LONG - Missionary Children


On January 1, 1868 an accounting was taken by the U. S. State Department entitled "Lists of Citizens of the U.S. residing in Istanbul on January 1, 1868.  (National Archives.  State Dept. RG59, Consular Dispatches, Constantinople, Microfilm T-194, Roll #9).  

This is how the Long family appeared on that list:

Albert Long, age 35, born Washington, PA,  Missionary – arr. 1857
Persis S., ----  [no age given], [no birthplace given],wife
Mary L.,   [no age given], b Massachusetts, dau.
Nellie A.,   age 9, born Constantinople,  dau
Clara S., age 7, born Constantinople, dau
Rosa C., age 5, born Constantinople, dau.

On a single tombstone in the Protestant Cemetery, Ferikoy-Istanbul, there is inscribed the names of both girls.   Under Clara's name appears this:  "Died Feb. 15, 1868" and under Nellie's name is ascribed this:  "Died 3 Aug 1879, age 21."  From the information above, we can see that little Clara died a month after the information for the State Department was collected.

Their father was the Rev. Albert Long, DD, at that time a Professor of Natural Science at Robert College in Istanbul.

In a book entitled "Fifty Years in Constantinople and Recollections of Robert College," author George Washburn tells about Dr. Long's work:

"Dr. Long, not yet 40 years old, taught several years in America, was a missionary of the American Methodist Church in Bulgaria for 12 years, and a co-translator of the Bible into Bulgarian."

"On our arrival at Constantinople…we found Dr. Long very anxious as to the health of his daughter, and not long after, Mrs. Long and his daughter went to southern France in the hope that a change of climate might restore her health…. His daughter died at the college on August 3, 1879."

"Dr. Long left Robert College in June of 1901 for a year of rest in America.  He had been in failing health and the doctor thought a year off would restore him.  He and his family left for Liverpool, England, where he was hospitalized.  He died on July 28, 1901 and is buried there….Mrs. Long died in December of 1901 at Enfield, New Hampshire leaving two daughters who still reside in that town."

Lynn Scipio, in his book "My Thirty Years in Turkey," wrote the following: "Dr. Long had been a professor at Robert College for 29 years.  He was born in December of 1832 and graduated from Allegheny College.  He came to Turkey as a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church."

When I was in Istanbul in 1992, the girls' tombstone was broken in half.  One half was tossed in a rubbish pile.  I was able to retrieve it, and in my rudimentary Turkish I asked the custodian who lived on the grounds to please keep these two pieces together because Nellie and Clara were sisters.  He said he would fix it.  I truly hope he did. 

It is all that is left of these dedicated Immortal Nobodies in Istanbul, Turkey.



Friday, October 28, 2016

A MOTHER-IN-LAW PAR EXCELLENCE



IDA MAY BARRY KIRKPATRICK
27 August 1904 - St. Andrews, TN
15 July 1987 - Orange, CA

Mothers-in-Law get a bad rap, I think.  I suppose there are some of them, like some daughters-in-law, who leave something to be desired, but I've had two Mothers-in-Law and I count myself lucky with both.

I became Ida May Kirkpatrick's daughter-in-law in 1955. I was young, only 20 and in college.  I didn't really know then why people said that about mothers-in-law, because my dad's mom lived far away and died shortly after my mother and dad married.  Hence, I didn't even have a pattern of a mother-in-law's function in the larger family.  All I really knew was that often, there was mother-in-law trouble in a family.

Well, Ida May knew instinctively how to be a good one.  She was born and raised in the south.  Her first child was a girl, a few years older than her only son - the one that I had married.  She adored both her kids and was predisposed to adapt and adopt into the family whoever her kids wanted.  I was the beneficiary of her open arms as she welcomed me as if I had always belonged there.

She was a warm and caring person, good natured and very giving.  My new husband probably told her that I didn't know how to cook, so almost every weekend we were invited to their house – early enough to let me help in the kitchen, where we learned a lot about each other all the while I was learning how to cook.  (I never mastered fried okra, much to my disappointment!) 

After the babies began coming, the weekend visits didn't end.  She made sure we learned some of the southern tricks to entertain the little ones as well as the bigger ones as they grew.  I was always so grateful for her warm loving arms around the newest baby when it was fussy, and by singing to them, she taught me lots of old southern rhymes and songs to add to my repertoire of mainly Girl Scout ditties from my childhood!

Later after our kids got older, she made sure that when summer came there was always fresh plum juice in the fridge for the kids, because she introduced them to it, along with the fried okra and other southern delicacies.  My own mother, who hated to cook and therefore wasn't very good at it, had little to teach me about cooking, and I literally and figuratively ate myself to a substantial size on Ida May's lessons!

She worked hard during the day as a cook at a little local diner, but she was never too tired to do what needed to be done.  When she saw that a certain item would help me in my wifely cleaning or cooking duties, she always tucked one in my purse (or diaper bag!).   

She was a traditional southern wife to her husband, who was a somewhat difficult man who worked hard as a blue-collar worker in the Southgate area, and she also took care of her mother-in-law Gertrude, who lived in the tiny garage apartment.  Once Ida May's children left home to be married, Aunt Bettye, her single sister-in-law, moved in.  All this was Ida May's responsibility, but the only time I ever heard her complain was when Gertie hid a pound of bacon in between her box-springs and the mattress and it was up to Ida May to trace where that awful smell was coming from.   Gertie was nursed by Ida May until her dementia drove her into a nursing home.  And Ida May nursed her husband Ray until he died at home of emphysema.   

Life was not easy for her.  Between her two children she ultimately had twelve different sons and daughters-in-law – (yes, her adult kids were the marrying kind).  She was my mother-in-law for 16 years, and never once during that time did I ever have an occasion to "roll my eyes" at something she did or said.  I loved her a whole lot, which made the dissolution of my marriage to her son a double loss. 

She spent her own final year in a nursing home, and I was able to spend some time with her there.  She barely could carry on a conversation, but she was able to tell me that "Aunt Bettye" (her younger sister-in-law) was a good person and asked me to tell her that, and she apologized to me for my ex-husband's behavior.  She also said she loved me a lot. 

Ida May Barry Kirkpatrick was truly a good-hearted, warm person.  My children, now mostly grandparents themselves, know how lucky they were to have her in their lives, and I am glad that I had as much time with her as I did.  She helped me understand the role of a mother-in-law, though I really think I fall short of her in the image I try for.


REST IN PEACE, MY SWEET MOTHER-IN-LAW


Sunday, October 2, 2016

WHO KNOWS J.J. WILLIAMS OF TEXAS?




I wish I knew.  But unless I get more facts about him, it is hard to give him the fullness of an Immortal Nobody.  I only have two letters….

What do I know about J. J. Williams?  I know that in late 1891 in Grosebeck, Texas, he wrote a letter to a young lady of 17, who lived in Kosse, Texas.  She was Maud McConnell, who many years later would become my grandmother.  In December of 1891, he writes that she was "the sweetest girl in Texas" and he called her "sweetheart." 

Apparently a misunderstanding followed, and his letter written from Hubbard, Texas dated February 14, 1892, ends with "Maud, now write me a long sweet letter and tell me that you love me as in the by gone days."   

~o~

On February 18, 1893, Maud's family received word that her sister Lillie's husband, (Ben McCammon) a train engineer, had been killed in a railroad accident in Colorado, and the McConnells, which included Mom, Dad, Maud and little brother Bert, left for Colorado City.  Lillie and her children lived in a big house at 18th and Colorado Street, and that is where the family stayed to help Lillie through this terrible time.  In due time, the parents and Bert went back home to Texas, but Maud stayed with her sister to help with the children.  Once the kids were of school age, she got a job in town and in 1898 married Scott Dobbins, a rancher and musician from Las Animas, Colorado.

Here's the beauty of this story.  In 1984 when I went back to Colorado, I went to the still-standing old  house, which in the meantime had been turned into a commercial property.  When I introduced myself to the current owner of the property and told her of my Grandmother Maud's relationship to that house, she went to the company safe and returned with two letters for me.  "I've been waiting for you," she said.  "These are yours now."

She gave me Maud's letters from J. J. Williams.  I had no idea they existed until that time.  It is obvious that she did not marry J. J., but it is interesting and maybe significant that those letters came with her from Texas to Colorado.  Sadly, we will never know the details of this story.

I have always wished I could share these letters with descendants of J. J. Williams. For genealogical purposes, the lack of his first and middle names, while common in the South is a real problem for genealogists,  the commonness of his surname, and the lack of an 1890 Federal census has made all my research to find additional details turn up empty.  There are a couple of things in the letter that might be clues:  He had a friend named Webb Price; J. J. and Webb had dinner with Miss Jennie; he mentions his school is having a concert and he wants Maude to come and hopefully stay permanently; he hasn't been anywhere since Christmas except to Hubbard.  He confesses to a spell of the blues, to which Mrs. Wood said he needed some one to make a living for him.


This is all I know, which renders J. J. Williams as the most nobody of the IMMORTALNOBODIES that I know.  Lest he be completely left out, at least this much about him we'll know forever – or for as long as this blog stands.  

McCammon house at 18th and Colorado - taken in the 1960s

*If anyone has THIS J. J. Williams in their family tree, let me know at <laughingallegra@aol.com>

Monday, September 26, 2016

A DEDICATED LIFE

ANNIE T. ALLEN
1868-1922

Annie was the fifth of six children born to Orson and Caroline Wheeler Allen, missionaries sent to the Near East by American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.  All the children were born in Harpout in eastern Turkey.  

Orson was born in 1827.  He graduated from Amherst College and Andover Seminary.  He married in September of 1855 and sailed from Boston in October of that year with his bride.  He remained on the mission field until 1896, when he resigned and returned to America.  His wife died in 1898.  The first three of his children had died very young, and at the time his wife died, two of his three children were still on the Mission Field, and Orson moved back to Turkey to be with them.  Daughter Annie had graduated from Dana Hall, Wellesley, Bible Normal, Springfield, Mt. Holyoke College in 1890. She left Boston in 1890 to help her parents in Harpout.  She received full missionary status and appointment in 1903.

According to the James L Barton, author of "The Story of the Near East Relief (1915-1930," Annie T. Allen, of Auburndale, MA, for many years engaged in mission work in Turkey, died from typhus at Sivas on February 2, 1922,  From the time that the Turkish Nationalist regime was set up in Angora (today's Ankara), she was the representative of the Near East Relief in that city and acted as a liaison officer with the government.  At the time of her death she had journeyed several hundred miles overland on horseback to Kharput in mid-winter to investigate conditions among Armenian and Greek deportees, then on the march to exile, and to adjust difficulties between relief workers and the local government in the city of Kharput.  The weather was bitterly cold and traveling difficult.  She contracted typhus from the refugees she was attempting to help.  She died in Sivas on 2 Feb 1922.  She was 54 years old.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

IMMORTALNOBODIES OF A DIFFERENT KIND

The animals below have played a very important part in our lives.  It occured to me the other day that these precious pets out to be considered as Immortal Nobodies too.  Why not give them the same treatment as I have when I've selected the ordinary human ImmortalNobodies.   Yes, why not!

1975-1992
 SPOT came to us as a wedding gift from Bev & Ed Duffy. She was smart and sweet natured. She lived to be an old lady, looking like a bag of cat fur with some bones rattling around in it.  But she was beautiful to us, and we kept her forever until she got Alzheimer's at 18 and we had to put her down.
  

 1978 - 1989
DOLLY was originally Bryn's cat, but we acquired her when Bryn married.  We called Dolly our "dumb blond" - she was very pretty but a little short on judgment.  She loved her catnip!  She died from Feline Leukemia

1980-1991
ANNIE was Kerry's cat until Kerry graduated and moved out on her own.  Annie was not a very pretty tortie, but her smarts made up for it.  She took walks with us every afternoon, running across the lawns while we walked the dog on the sidewalk, no matter how far we went.  She lost her life when the house was fumigated for termites.  :(



1980ish-1993
This kitty, when about 4 months old, walked up to our front door one day and said he was lost.  I carried him around two blocks, hoping to find his owner, but to no avail.  So he became ours.  We named him Sammy Davis III, a black jewish cat, we said.  Everyone liked Sammy.  He was kind, gentle, friendly and never under foot.  He was easy to love.  When we went to Istanbul we passed him on to our niece, Robyn, who had loved him like we did.  He ultimately died of cystitis.

1985-1985
This is Chauncy, who appeared one day in our back yard and sauntered into the house to have a mouthful of the cats' IAMS.  He stuck around for about 4 days, long enough for me to give him a name that I thought would be an ego-boost for him (he was a scrappy male cat!), and then he left as silently as he arrived.  I was so sorry.  I did like the cat a lot.

1981-1995
Missy Maud was a "found" puppy, turned in at my cousin's vet clinic.  She was the first dog I'd ever had and what a pleasure it was, every minute of it.  All the little grandkids knew and loved her too.  She was just their size.  She got sick with an unidentified ailment and died from a stroke.

1991-2008
Tigger arrived at our apartment in Istanbul as a tiny little kitten.  That was our lucky day.  This cat gave us more pleasure that we ever would have expected.  He is the one we have cremated and will somehow find a way to have his ashes buried with us.   He was one loving cat, though he didn't tolerate any what he considered "nonsense" (like vet exams!)

1992-2001
Cipsi (pronounced Gypsy) was our second Turkish cat, arriving in the arms of a Turkish neighbor who heard her screaming underneath a parked car.  She was hardly even weaned and she wanted milk!  The Turkish neighbor spoke no English and I no Turkish, but the understanding was that if the lady could catch her I would care for her.  Cat lovers both won!  She had very long, thick hair, and once home, we had her "summer cut" done for the hot months.  In the winter she looked like a furry bowling ball.  She died in 2001 of diabetes.

19?? to 2005
This is GLORIA DARLING.  We moved into a rented house upon our return from Turkey, and it was in a neighborhood where the residents let feral cats run everywhere.  In the middle of them was this cat, who definitely had been someone's cat once (she had been spayed) but she had run with the pack for so long she was really skittish around us.  But we persevered, slowly bring her back to her real self, and giving her a name that should have let her know what we thought of her.  After a year, we had to move, and for some reason I can't remember, we left her at the old house.  The next morning at 7 a.m. I jumped in the car, pulled up in front of the old house and yelled, "Gloria Darling, I've come to get you."   She separated herself from the pack and ran to my car.  I tossed her in the cat carrier and took her to her new home with us.  She was a fabulous lady.  She ultimately died from cancer.  We'll never forget her.

1994-2000
Bucky was a fostered dog; he was a purebred sheltie belonging to my cousin, a vet, and lived with us, I think because we needed a dog after losing Missy Maud.  My cousin named him "Bucket of Fun", because as a tiny puppy he was the life of the litter.  He answered to Bucky.  He was such a dog, so much fun, so smart,  We were so lucky to have him until we retired and moved out of the area.  My cousin found a new home for him with a friend, but he died shortly of bladder cancer.  :(



2004-
Squeaky is our lovely old-lady cat now.  She all but talks to us and she understand exactly what we say.  There are three of us in the apartment, Jerry, Squeaky and me, and I swear we understand each other.  I used to baby-sit this cat when her owner went out of town, and at that time I told Joan if she ever needed to find a home for her, give me first crack.  All it took was a phone call about a year later and she became ours.  She resides on the end of my bed.

2011-
This is our newest, whose name changed from "Blue Eyes" to "Ziggy" when she took up residence at our apartment.  She belonged to Jerry's sister Judy, and we always were the backup for her if she needed to find another home for the cat.  When Judy decided to move to Oklahoma to be nearer her daughter, that's when Ziggy came to us, just a month or so ago.  We couldn't be happier.  She is a talkative cat, not a fussy eater, doesn't care which potty box she uses, and has commandeered my computer chair as her bed. And no, she isn't deaf. We hope we outlast both her and Squeaks; we would hate to ever have to give these two up just because we are getting old!  

So now you know the ImmortalNobodies who have touched our lives in the 41 years we've been married.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

STOPPING THE PARADE

PHILIP L. ASHER
1859-1911
New Orleans, Louisiana
July 20, 1911

PHILIP L. ASHER DIES AS ELKS' PARADE STARTS FOR THE DEPOT

Philip L. Asher, one of the best accountants in the country, died last night as a result of an attack of heart disease in the Elks' Home, on Elk Place, near Canal Street, just a few minutes before the great procession started to the Union Depot to receive Colonel John P. Sullivan, the grand exalter ruler of the order.

Mr. Asher was ready to get in line with the marchers when he was seized with a sudden attack and collapsed.  He was carried into the Elks' Home by friends, and Dr. Lescalle, who was present, attended him. The unfortunate man was beyond all medical skill, and passed away in a few minutes.

The news was broken to Mrs. Asher and her children in their home at 2407 Milan Street, and their grief was pathetic.  Mr. Asher was 51 years old.  For many years he lived in Opelousas and there he served as the exalted ruler of the Elks' Lodge.  Aside from being a member of that order, he was a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Red Men and the Woodmen of the World.  Leaving Opelousas with his family a year or so ago, he went to Baton Rouge, but he had an opportunity to locate here, and three months ago Mr. Asher came to this city with his family.  His eldest son, Julius, a young man of 22 years, became identified in commercial circles and Mr. Asher was employed in one of the big lumber concerns as an accounting.

Last afternoon he told his family that he was going to take part in the reception of Colonel Sullivan and looked forward to a great deal of pleasure.  A year or so ago, when Mr. Asher was at Dubuque, where he attended a big meeting of the Red Men, he was seized with an attack and was cared for.  He did not suffer seriously and returned to his family.

Mr. Asher was born in Jackson, Mississippi.  He located in Opelousas, and almost twenty-three years ago he married Miss C. [Cleona] Weil, of Alexandria.  Five children were born to them.  Four are boys, while the other is a girl of 10 years of age.

The Elks had the body cared for by Undertaker Lynch, and the remains were kept in the mortuary parlors for the night.  This morning the body will be conveyed to Opelousas, where it will be interred.

~O~

NOTE:  The little 10 year old girl noted here is Sylvia Julia Asher, who became the grandma of my stepchildren Kathie z"l and Garry Title.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

LOST & FOUND


In 1815, the young wife of Jacob Kellum, Catharine Kellum died.  On her tombstone of white marble, all that was recorded was her name and age – 29 years, four months and six days.  Jacob, a farmer, buried her in a small hilltop graveyard on Section 20 of Ezra Martin's farm along what is now County Road 400, a few miles west of Connersville in Fayette County, Indiana.

Between then and 1999, the elements – wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail and of course withering heat in the summer – took their toll, until the stone broke into bits and eventually  these were buried in the ground.  There is no record of how long they remained hidden, but eventually one of the few gravestone restorers in the United States, who happens to live right there in Indiana, found 24 chunks of a tombstone that when matched like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle turned out to have Catharine's identifying information (above) on it.

In an article published by the Indianapolis Star in 1999, the story of John Walters, the grave restorer, and Catherine, the young wife who died in 1815, is told, along with stories of other graves he has found and worked on. 

It seems to me that Catharine has been lost for too long, and getting her tombstone back up and visually accessible is a step toward putting her in front of the genealogical community to be claimed. 

And she is certainly a good candidate for being an ImmortalNobody.


Detailed information can be found at the link below. 

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GAEMANUE/1999-12/0945659667  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

1854 BOILER EXPLOSION ON OREGON STEAMBOAT


Many years ago I remembered  reading about a fellow surnamed DOBBINS who was killed when a boiler on a steamboat blew up.  At the time, I had no interest in genealogy, but the article caught my eye because my maiden name was Dobbins and I wondered if maybe he had been related in some way to us.  But I soon forgot all about this....until recently when I read an item that indicated explosions on steamboats were just one of the hazards that befell folks as our nation grew toward the west.

When this long-forgotten Dobbins death came to mind recently, I asked Google to do something my mind couldn't do -- and sure enough using the few words I put into its search engine, it brought up the very Dobbins that I was looking for.

Here's the article from the the Quincy Daily Whig, Illinois 1854-06-01:

STEAM BOAT EXPLOSION IN OREGON

TWENTY-FIVE LIVES LOST!!
TWENTY-FIVE WOUNDED.


An extra from the office of the Oregon Spectator, published at Oregon City, dated April 8th, received in this city yesterday, from Thos. Pope, Esq., contains the following:
The Wallamette Fall Co.'s new steamer Gazelle left her wharf this morning at 6 o'clock, and had just landed at Canemah at 15 minutes before seven, when a terrible explosion of her boilers blew her into atoms, killing twenty persons and wounding many others.
Probably a more heart-rending scene has never occurred on the Pacific coast. As soon as the smoke cleared away a little, hundreds of citizens, who were ready to assist the dying, gathered on the wreck, and the work of aid commenced.
 The newspaper article went on to name the dead, and describe the gore of both the dead and the  injured. It indicated that CRAWFORD M. DOBBINS lost a leg and ultimately died.  

His family was from Illinois, but he was on a boat in Oregon.  Since he is not a member of my family, I have not researched him, but I can tell you that he has a large tombstone in the Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, Oregon, and from what is written on it, he died four days after the explosion. 

In 40 years of genealogical research, I have never found that any of my Dobbinses were in Oregon. But now after finding Crawford Dobbins for a second time, I don't want him to be lost again.  And for researchers, he also appears in Findagrave. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

KEVIN, DAVID, WILLIAM, JONATHAN

Image result for FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS Graphic

A building boom has hit hard in the rural area south of the city of Ontario and in the north-western part of Riverside County.  What used to be farm and dairy land is now turning into wall-to-wall housing.  But along a street named Belgrave, there is a long stretch that has been waiting for its turn at the building boom.  It is a fairly isolated street, not very well lit and is one of those streets where kids like to drag race.

Late one night in August of 2006 four young men lost their lives when their speeding car hit a semi-truck hauling grapefruit.  The details aren't important here except to say their car ended up wedged under the the truck.  Two boys were killed outright, two died later at a hospital. 

The young men were Kevin Limbaugh, David Barros,William Barefield, and Jonathan Hopson; all were either 19 or 20 years old. 

The north side of Belgrave in the area of the accident is lined by a white wooden fence that surrounded the property of a former ranch, now vacant and waiting for its turn with the bulldozer.  More houses would be built on that land.  But after the accident, the part of that white fence nearest the crash became a shrine dedicated to those young men.  For days, then weeks, then years, wreaths of fresh flowers, home-made crosses and posters with the boys' names were placed on that fence.  The details of the accident were immaterial; what mattered was that their family and friends – and the drivers who used Belgrave in their regular travels – were always reminded of the tragedy that happened that night, when four boys out having fun, were lost forever. 

Now eight years after the accident, the land is being readied for houses.  As I often use Belgrave, I have seen the fence come down, where the remnants of the shrine could still be seen if I looked hard.  I thought it would be nice instead of having a house on that site, a couple of acres could be turned into a park as a remembrance of those four kids.  But no, I can see it is not going to happen.  And I wonder, who will remember?  And will the people who buy that house know what happened so long ago on their very property?  Time passes, and people forget.


So for the families of these kids I say that the best I can do is to name them as ImmortalNobodies.  Mothers and fathers know that it could have been one of our children.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

BIRTHDAY PARTIES IN 1942



I was turning 7 years old, and this was an extra-special birthday party.  I am the somewhat disheveled little girl with the sagging belt in the back row.  The girl to the left was a neighborhood friend, whom I have long forgotten  The dark curly-headed boy on the right, the woman in the photo and the little boy in short pants were honored guests -- Gail Stegall and her sons, Virgil Eugene  and Michael. They were at our house in Long Beach, California on a visit from Denver.  The last two girls were my sister Ginnie Lou with the doll, and my cousin Shirley, kneeling.  Gail and my mom were best friends, and after high school had shared an apartment while they set out on their first jobs.  But marriage made a change in that, and "Virgie Gene" (as we knew him) was born in 1934 and I was born in 1935.  I was given the middle name of Gail, after his mom.

Looking at this picture,from my baby book reminds me that as a small kid, I always intended to marry Virgie Gene.  However, my sister made claim to him also, simply because in this picture he had his arm "around" her.  My sis and I had many squabbles over which one of us this darling boy was going to marry.

This next picture, also from my baby book, was taken at an earlier time.  Mother noted that it was my third birthday (June 26, 1938) and that we were in Denver, visiting the Stegalls.  Mike had not yet been born. Virgie is the sailor.   (Note:  I think I had the hug this earlier time.)  




As the demands of motherhood grew more involved, the vacation visits ceased, but mother and Gail wrote each other faithfully through the years.  In those days, one didn't make long distance calls to chat; the cost was too high.

So it was a surprise when mother got a call from Gail in the summer of 1946 from Denver.  The news was not good.  Virgie Gene had unexpectedly died.  As I recall, he had played in a softball game, and at the conclusion drank a lot of water.  And he died shortly thereafter.  That may not be the story at all; but it is what I remember my mother telling me.  Those were the polio years; there was some speculation as to whether or not that played a part in his death.

I am sure mother eventually found out from Gail what the cause was, but we kids never knew.  And life goes on.  Mother and Gail communicated until they each passed away in the 1980s.  My sister didn't treasurer her baby book like I treasured mine, and I doubt if she ever gave Virgie Gene a thought. But quite often I have occasion to delve into mine - either by way of reminiscing, or to confirm something genealogical, or even to use as an illustration when I give a talk on "Writing Your Family History." When I do this I always see little Virgie Gene's pictures, and I remember how important he was in my life, -- as a future husband, I hoped!

He is buried in Denver, and his name is inscribed in the lower left hand area of his father's tombstone. It is a bit hard to read when looking at the photograph on Findagrave.com.  But it's there.

VIRGIL EUGENE STEGALL
1934 - 1946



And it's here, too, as an IMMORTALNOBODY.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN

REST IN PEACE
WILHELMINE MEINHOLTZ
1911-1935

I never met Wilhelmine, because she died the same year I was born.  But even so, I felt like I knew her because at Colorado Springs High School she was my mother's best friend.  By the time my sis and I got to be maybe 6 or 7, we were very active in wanting to know all about our mom...when she was born (Colorado), where she lived (on a farm), did she have brothers and sisters (yes, a lot), and who were her friends in school, (and she always named Wilhelmine as her best friend in high school.)

I suspect part of the lure of having mother answer all these questions was that we had never heard of such a name as Wilhelmine had.  I can't say as my mom's family had very common names - a brothers Nevalyn, Byrd and Hugh, and sisters Florence, Marie and Margie.  Mother was Virginia.  All name of that time but not very common for us little girls.  But for some reason we were totally taken by Wilhelmine's name, and not only that first name but her good German last name, too.  

Perhaps this is why at age 81, I still remember Wilhelmine, and how mother always told us she was very nice, very smart, and very friendly - always the attributes she expected from us.

The years passed.  Mother died in 1982.  I began researching my family tree as a result of my mother's death: I realized there was no one left who could provide me with answers as to my family in those early years.  I began by researching in Colorado, pre-Internet times.

One day not too long ago I was on-line looking at obituaries in Colorado Springs, seeing who I could find whose name rang a bell.  I was startled to find Wilhelmine's obituary, dated 1935.  And I was sad to think that she died before she even had a chance at life.  Here's what the obit said:

Colorado Springs Gazette, 3/29/1935, page 1

Mary Meinholtz Dies At Her Home

Popular College Graduate Ill Only Few Days; No Funeral Plans

Miss Mary Wilhelmine Meinholtz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meinholtz, 1624 North Cascade Avenue, and popular Colorado College graduate, died yesterday afternoon at her home, following brief illness. Her condition was regarded as improving, when it suddenly took a turn for the worse and death followed quickly.

Mr. Meinholtz, who was out of the city, was promptly notified and his return was expected momentarily last night.

Miss Meinholtz, who was born in Henryetta, Okla., in February, 1911, was graduated from Colorado College last year. During the time she attended college she was one of the most popular members of the student body. She was a member of Delta Gamma sorority and the Tiger Club. Before entereing Colorado college she studied at Northwestern University and Colorado State Teachers College.

Last year Miss Meinholtz was awarded first prize in the Colorado College beauty contest.

Following her graduation she entered the employ of the Alexander Film company of this city.

Surviving, besides her parents, are three sisters, Helen and Marjorie Meinholtz of this city and Miss Lucille Meinholtz, who is a student at Lindenwood college, St. Charles, Mo.

Funeral arrangements will be made at the Law mortuary.

I am constantly surprised at the amazing things I can uncover when I research.  I am very pleased when I find somebody who I think needs to be remembered in my IMMORTALNOBODIES blog.  And frankly, at my age (81) I am surprised at the things I do remember, especially since I mostly can't remember what I had for breakfast on any given morning!  

I don't know that there are any present-day Meinholtzes who will stumble across Wilhelmine here, but should that happen, I want them to know that she has been in my mind for a long, long time - and that my mom always remembered her with great fondness.  

Photograph is from High School Yearbook.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A LIFE WELL LIVED, FOR SURE!


Cathryn Ottun Marcellin

1935-1999


I met Cathy in college.  One year behind me, she was the hit of the class that entered little George Pepperdine College in the fall of 1954.  She was one of the most personable girls I met in that class and when she walked into a room, the room simply lit up with her bubbly, confident, and cheerful self.  She liked everybody, and everybody liked her.

We quickly learned that she was from Bishop, California, and while being in a small college near downtown Los Angeles was, on the one hand, a real treat for her,  on the other hand not a day went by that she didn't miss Don Marcellin, her boyfriend, who was "back home."

She gave a great deal to the music department at Pepperdine, which is where I met her.  She had a versatile singing voice, capable of doing wonderful things as solos, in trios, and in the full choir.  She had a true talent and a stage presence of a professional.  Hearing her sing was a real treat.  I was lucky enough to sing in the trio with her and became her good friend.


She made sure that even though her heart was in Bishop, she didn't waste time moping around in college.  She carried a full load of classes and for social life, pledged a sorority but didn't attend events that required a date.  "It's ok," she'd say.  "I've got Don waiting for me."

Shortly before the school year ended, she decided she'd had as much time away from Bishop as she wanted and would not return to Pepperdine the following year.  For a long time, we kept in touch via Christmas cards and then eventually we lost contact.

It was during my genealogical research a few years ago that I found her name listed on the Social Security Death Index, and I was able to locate her oldest daughter, Sandy, via the Bishop library and the internet.  Sandy told me that she had been unwell for some time; heart problems ran in her family, and Cathy died quite suddenly, probably because she didn't want to slow down from spreading the gospel to anyone who would listen.  Cathy had become a Christian early in her adult life, and in her obituary I read, "Mrs. Marcellin's family says she never hesitated to share her faith with those around her, and it didn't matter whether she knew you or not."  As to the time of her death, Sandy wrote me that "she'd asked a friend to read to her Ephesians 1, out of her 'wordy' Bible (the Amplified)."  It was at this time, at the young age of 63, that she passed on.  She left two daughters, Sandy and Kelly, a son, Doug, grandchildren and other family members.  Her beloved Don preceded her in death.

Cathy is a good example of my idea of an IMMORTAL NOBODY, and I am reminded of a bible verse that  certainly applies to her:  Matthew 25:21 "…Well done, thou good and faithful servant"




Thursday, June 9, 2016

THE FAMOUS GREAT-GRANDFATHER?


JAMES (JIM) SELLERS DOBBINS
1834-1902

 In the family stories told to my sister and me when we were growing up, it was always James Sellers Dobbins (my dad's grandfather) who was oh, so famous.  According to the stories, he was one of Kit Carson's Scouts, was at one time captured by the Indians, and was given one of Kit Carson's rifles at some point in the relationship.  Now, for two little girls growing up in the 1940's, amid all the radio and movie cowboys - Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Cisco Kid, the Lone Ranger, Red Ryder, and so many others, having a real life great-grandfather (though long dead) who not only was a cowboy in Kansas and Colorado but also a Scout with the famous Kit Carson, was a real thrill.

As the story went, the gun was ultimately passed on to Jim Dobbins' son Robert Gaston Dobbins and thence to his son Percy, who was my dad's cousin.  We girls had never met any of these Colorado Dobbinses but my dad and Percy were buddies growing up; undoubtedly the gun story was passed around between them.  My sister and I were very impressed and were true believers in what we were told.

And so it was that when I turned about 40 years old, I became interested in genealogy and the first family I researched was the famous James Sellers Dobbins.  Was I in for a surprise!


When my mother turned over to me the few Dobbins family documents she had been given by her mother-in-law Maud Dobbins, I saw first of all the picture above, which was old and a bit faded -- and certainly didn't look like the handsome dude in the top photo, although it was the same person.
I learned that Jim Dobbins spent his life after the Civil War raising stock out on the dry prairie of eastern Colorado.  Dry, dust, hard work: that pretty much sums up what the "real" picture of Jim looked like.

But still, I wondered about him being one of Kit Carson's scouts.  Below is part of what was written on the back of that "Hawes" photograph by Maud.  Typescript is below:


Fought in the Civil War, Union side 1863.  Was Indian Scout in Kit Carson's Brigade patrols to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Santa Fe, N.M. over the Santa Fe trail.  

Now it is true that Kit Carson spent a lot of time around Ft. Lyons near Las Animas where Jim Dobbins, his wife Nannie, and sons Robert Gaston and Scott Walter Dobbins lived.  But Kit Carson died in 1864, which was long before Jim and his family moved to Colorado, which happened in 1875.  As to the gun, Percy Dobbins, son of Robert Gaston Dobbins, gave it to a museum in New Mexico and they authenticated it as belong to Carson.  However, in the pile of material my mother had, there was also an old article that said one of Carson's attendants in his latter years was given the gun, and as he aged, he in turn passed it on to Percy.  

Within a few weeks of researching my now "not so famous" relative, I was convinced that what my family handed down was like that old game we used to play as kids - with telling a story to one person and having that story repeated from person to person and seeing how changed it was at the end.  

Jim Dobbins in 1860 left Kansas for the Colorado gold country and went back empty handed.  In 1863 he did fight in the Civil War in the 11th Kansas Cavalry.  His regiment was sent out to settle some Indian problems around the various forts.  And as nearly as I can prove, he did once own a rifle belonging to Kit Carson.  But a famous Scout?   I think not.

Best I can do for him is an IMMORTAL NOBODY. 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A GOOD MAN BUT A SAD OUTCOME



In Istanbul there was a cemetery with a tombstone for Paul D. Peltier.  However, I learned there some months after he was buried, his body was sent back to his mother in New York for final burial there.

What I learned about him while I was researching in 1992 those Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Cemetery and had tombstones there.  Paul's name was on one of them.

Here's what I learned from a book "Story of the Near East Relief (1915-1936) New York, Macmillan, 1936, page 136.  Author James Levi Barton."

Paul, of New York, a pioneer Near East Relief worker, died on 1 Apr 1919 at Eskisehir, Turkey, following a railroad accident while he was on his way from Constantinople to the interior.  Mr. Peltier was among the first group of relief workers commissioned after the armistice.

From the College Park Branch of the National Archives I learned the following:  His mother was Mrs. Frederic Desnoyers Peltier, 144 E. 36th St. New York City.  In a letter of 27 October 1919, she wrote to the Consulate: "Can Paul's body be shipped to us soon?"  Consulate later replies the body is ready to ship on Black Arrow about 27 Nov. 1919.  This was found on Form 192 - Report of Death of American Citizen, original copy in State Dept. RG59, Decimal File 367.113 (1910-1929).

In 1975, the Consul General in Istanbul asked the Secretary for the American Board of Missions if he could prepare a list of Americans buried the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  The Secretary, Melvin Wittler, created an up-to-date list and noted beside Paul's entry that he may have been interred in the cemetery originally and then later the body was removed for shipment to the United States.

The above information has been in my book "A Fine Place of Rest: Americans in the Protestant Cemetery, Ferikoy-Istanbul, Turkey" 1992.

Through the years that I was researching (all before the internet was available) I wondered what these people looked like, as well as what tidbit of information I hadn't found that would make them more "real" to me.

Tonight I ran Paul's name though Google Search and discovered this:young man had graduated from Columbia University, Class of 1918.  Here's what else I found on that website:

Lt. Paul D. Peltier, U.S. Army, died in Eskishehir, Turkey, on April 1, 1919, as the result of an accident.  He was sent to Turkey as a bacteriologist for the American Committee for Relief in the Near East.  

Yes, he belongs to the group of Immortal Nobodies, don't you agree?                      

Friday, May 13, 2016

CASSIUS CLAY IS CASSIUS CLAY IS CASSIUS CLAY

We all know the famous Muhammed Ali, formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay.  Not everybody knows that he was a junior, named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay.  But I'd wager that very few of us knew that there was a Cassius Marcellus Clay even farther back in time…a fellow born on October 19, 1810 in Kentucky, who became a major figure in the abolitionist movement during the Civil War and was not in any way related to the man we know.


This early Cassius was the son of General Green Clay and Sallie Lewis Clay.  According to Wikipedia, General Clay was an early explorer of the American wilderness and an acquaintance of Daniel Boone.  He lived in Kentucky and was a wealthy man who owned many slaves.

Cassius was highly educated, and at Yale in 1832 he heard William Lloyd Garrison speak against slavery.  This influenced him to take a stand that was at odds with his father's beliefs and practices.  However, he was more attuned to being an emancipationist, which meant that he favored the gradual ending of slavery through legal means sanctioned by the Constitution, rather than the more direct abolitionist actions.

He was elected to the Kentucky state legislature twice in the 1830s, in spite of his stand against slavery.  In 1844, he freed all his own slaves.  From that point on he was active in the anti-slavery movement and supported Abraham Lincoln's candidacy for President.  Later on, he was appointed an Ambassador to Russia, a post he held twice. 

According to various sources, he had some "foibles" in his life that were quite unusual; one writer described him as having a great deal of conceit and very little sense.  "Ridiculous" was also applied to some of his actions. 

Be that as it may, the man did accomplish much in his life to be proud of, and certainly the good overshadowed the bad. 

Undoubtedly his role in abolitionist movement is what encouraged the parents of Cassius Marcellus Clay (Senior) to name their child as they did.  And of course that name was carried down another generation and given to the man we all know now as the famous "Muhammed Ali."

I have been unable to find any earlier Cassius Marcellus in history.  Seems to me there might be another Immortal Nobody hanging around.

I found this story, sketchy as it is, so very interesting.  I was simply reading the book "Washington, A History of Our National City" by Tom Lewis and came upon a short bit about the Legislator Cassius Marcellus Clay.  A little snooping told me a lot, and from that point I knew he would be one of my Immortal Nobodies.  And all of you who love American History, let me tell you that Tom Lewis has written ONE GOOD BOOK.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

CHET DANIELSON - A PERSON TO REMEMBER!


Chet Danielson, was my boss and my pastor for three years in the late 1960s.  He was my boss first, choosing me to fill in as office secretary at The Salvation Army Corps in Ontario, California, and then bumping me up to what we casually called welfare worker when that position opened.  I just wanted to work there, and I really just did whatever needed doing.  In rank, he was a Captain, and with such a small office as we had, he most of the time answered to "Cap."  After about a year, my husband and I began attending the Ontario Corps, feeling that our ministry should be there, too.

I loved the "helping" part of my job, and Cap taught me a lot about christian compassion, warmth, caring, and he especially demonstrated in his own life what General Booth so had intended The Salvation Army to be.  I had lots of lines drawn in my own understanding of "church" and "christians" - and it was Chet who exemplified by his life, both business and spiritual, that drawing lines are NOT what Christianity was about.

My husband and I moved out of the area in 1971, and the Ontario part of my life was over.  I was pleased when in the 1990s, I got a call from his daughter Dawn asking if I would speak at his retirement celebration.  I had a lot to say about the ministry of Chet and his wife Vicki.  It was factual and it was personal, and I meant every word of it.  Chet, by then a Major, told me afterwords that he was dumbfounded that I remembered so much and especially had learned so much.  And I told him it was all true, no flattery involved.

Chet died in April of 2014.  But here I am, myself at 80, still remembering the times that Chet ministered to the south end of Ontario, California with love and compassion, and remembering specifically the little kids and their families who came to church on the bus that Chet drove, learned about Christ through his Sunday School classes, and taught them how to play musical instruments, supplying the horns, tambourines and music books so they could join the little Salvation Army Band that went out on Sunday afternoons to witness at John Galvin Park.  What lovely memories I have.

Chet's got stars in his Crown, for sure!

 

Friday, April 22, 2016

PALS, REALLY GOOD PALS


In February of 1987 my pal Jerry Russom died.  He was only 51, way too young for sure!  He was taken swiftly by a rare and terminal neurological disorder, leaving a wife, two teenage daughters, his folks, his sister Patsy and a passel of friends.

Until Jerry and I headed off to different colleges, we had shared three years of intensive work in our high school journalism department.  I had been in classes with him through junior high school but it wasn't until meeting again as sophomores at Long Beach Poly High in 1951 that our friendship really jelled.  In our senior year of Poly each of us held the position of Editor of the weekly school newspaper "High Life" for a semester.  The picture below is from our yearbook.



It is certainly true that one can have a "best friend" of the other sex, for Jerry and I were inseparable, especially the last two years.  Early on we had tried dating, and that just wasn't in the cards for us.  But truly, my joys of high school happened because Jerry and I were together constantly, both in school and after school.  In the summers, many evenings a bunch of our journalism classmates got together at my house in a backyard patio  my dad had built so his "girls" would have a safe place to hang out – and each night we tried to solve the problems, big and small, of our world.  Or we would go to Jerry's house where his mom and dad (and his little sister) always sat in with us while we laughed ourselves silly over all the nonsensical thing that teenagers think about. 

Jerry and I kept in touch throughout our lives, mainly with little notes now and then.  The last time I saw him was when I was in San Francisco in the mid-1980s.  I dropped by his public relations business  downtown.  We had a good chat about our lives and once again shared that special feeling of being pals forever.

Interestingly, several years later when word of his death came down to Long Beach, I received a couple of sympathy cards from old friends who remembered our friendship – and who knew I would feel his death very personally.  I did.


In my estimation, Jerry is definitely not an Immortal NOBODY, but I figure he would laugh like old times if he knew that I was putting him in that category here.   He doesn't need me for posthumous prestige, for sure.  He "made it" himself – but it makes me feel good to know he won't be forgotten.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

GOLD CALLED, AND HE ANSWERED!

TIMOTHY MADDEN
1828 - ?



Timothy was the second child and first son of Stephen & Hannorah Hurley Madden, who started their lives in the Parish of Kilbrogan, the town of Brandon, County Cork, Ireland.   Their tombstones in the Catholic Cemetery of Mendota, Illinois gave me the information of where they were born.  

Their first three children were born in Ireland - Julia in 1825, Timothy in 1828, and John in 1830.  Their last child, Ellen, was born in Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1834.  Ellen was my great-great Grandmother.  

In the late 1850s the family moved to Mendota, LaSalle County, Illinois.  All can be accounted for on the censuses except for Timothy.  

While I was actively researching this family and nosing around Mendota by mail, one of my letters was passed on to a fellow named Peter Donohue, who was a descendant of the Peter Donohue who married Julia Madden.  This, of course, made me a distant relative of Pete himself, and he was a gold mine of information on the Maddens.  

In one of those all-too-rare surprises in genealogical research, in the 1960s he had received, and kept, a letter from another Madden researcher (Lucille Fulton York), who descended from Ellen Madden just as I did.  Ellen was her grandmother, and Lucille remembered a lot of what her grandmother had told her about the family.  Pete forwarded a copy of her letter to me, dated from 1967, and it was there that I discovered why Timothy was absent.  There were no details, but it simply said that Timothy went to California looking for gold and was never heard from again.

Timothy Madden was a very common Irish name, and in my research I found dozens of Timothy Maddens in California during the gold rush period.  I could not find the one to whom I was related, which is not at all surprising.  

It is for this reason that I have picked him to at least be acknowledged as part of a family by appearing here --- but without a date of death.