Sunday, October 31, 2010

Glenn Cunningham

Yesterday's Person-of-Mystery was Glenn Cunningham.

Glenn is perhaps best known as the world record holder for the mile from 1934 to 1937 and winning the silver medal in the 1,500 meter race during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

While his athletic talent is impressive, his life story is even greater.  When Glenn was eight years old, he was horribly burned in a schoolhouse fire that took the life of his older brother.  Glenn lost all the toes on his left foot and the doctors predicted he would never walk again.  Determined to walk, Glenn would throw himself off his wheelchair and pull his body along across the yard and along a fence.  22 months later, he took his first steps and through sheer determination, learned to run despite the pain.  He soon discovered he had less pain while running than walking, so he ran nearly everywhere.

In high school, he set records for the mile and later attended Kansas University.  While at Kansas, he refused all scholarship money preferring to pay his own way.  By his sophomore year, he had set Big Six and national records, he also ran the 1,500 meter race at the 1932 Olympics, but finished fourth due to a severe cold.  By his senior year, Cunningham had set a world record for the mile of 4:06.7 and held seven of the top 13 fastest recorded times for the mile.

In 1936, he competed in the 1,500 meter race in Berlin, and broke the previous world record, but finished six tenths of a second behind Jack Lovelock from New Zealand (actually the top five finishers in this race all broke the previous world record).  He was voted "Most Popular Athlete" by his fellow athletes (Jesse Owens was second most popular).

Congratulating Lovelock at the 1936 Games

He went on to earn a master's degree from University of Iowa and later a doctorate from New York University.  While in New York, he won 21 of 31 races at Madison Square Gardens and set an indoor mile record there in 1938.  His fastest mile time was 4:04.4 at a Dartmouth track meet in 1938.

When the 1940 Olympics were cancelled, he retired from his running career and taught at Cornell College in Iowa.  During World War II, he served two years in the Navy.  A sincere Christian, he spent the remainder of his life, speaking publicly about his faith (which is what he was doing in yesterday's photo) and also running the Glenn Cunningham Youth Ranch for troubled kids in Kansas.  It is estimated that he and his wife raised around 9,000 kids on their ranch in the years until his death in 1988.

Glenn and his wife on their ranch

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Who could I be?  That's the mystery!

Go ahead take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Tomorrow's Person-of-Mystery contest will commence at 8 am Pacific Time.  Be there or be square!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuck On You

Here's an interesting bit of information that comes from the book, "The World Records Guinness Forgot," by Dennis, Holmes and Punt.

Did you know that there are now more than 400,000 professional Elvis impersonators in world today?

At the time of his death in 1977, there were only 170 professional impersonators.

That means if the current rate of impersonation were to continue at a constant rate, by 2020, one third of the people on this planet would be impersonating Elvis!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sovereign Cycling

Yesterday, I noticed that Blogger filters the postings on this site for spam.  Since I didn't even know I had a spam box, I apologize if your post to this site was not immediately posted.  I'm not intentionally filtering thoughts or opinions - in fact I welcome them.

Some of you are sending me personal e-mail and that's fine too, but you're welcome to post to this site.  I'll try and read your thoughts there also.

An anonymous reader wrote to me and commented about the ridiculous picture of Emperor Norton on his bike asking if the Norton pictures were staged or not.  Unfortunately, I don't have any way of knowing Norton's true mental state.  It is curious to me too.  Some of Norton's actions seem like he's playing things up, but sometimes he seems genuinely confused.  I think some people got a kick out of the whole event and fed his bewilderment.  For example, his uniform with epaulettes was not something he designed or created, but a donation from soldiers at a local military installation.  Some of his other outfits were too.

Many people were suspicious that Norton was actually rich and somehow making money of a grand charade or conning rich people.  When Norton died however, an inspection of his apartment revealed that he was completely broke.  Yet somehow, he seemed aware of the world enough to regulate his finances by changing interest rates on bonds he issued and to write timely proclamations to local newspapers.

I suppose his sanity may just have to remain a mystery.

On another note, as I reflected on Norton on the bicycle, I kept thinking how the bicycle can be a rather undignified mode of transportation for a leader.  Somehow epaulettes just don't seem altogether right on a bicycle (and I hope he wasn't wearing his sword).

Then I got to thinking that the last time I recall seeing a world leader on a bicycle, it certainly seemed less than regal.

Hmmm.  Okay, rigid posture, high seat with lowered handlebars, seat post attachment thing, and I'm all for safety, but that helmet with the strap seems to convey a sense of an overprotective mother (and I feel bad about even thinking that because I'm all about safety on bicycles).

This hasn't been the only time that I've noticed Obama having a hard time looking good on a bike.  Here's another one...

Okay, a little better, but I'm sorry, this still looks like a guy who has never ridden a bike before renting one.  Maybe if he were wearing shorts it would look better.  Then again, maybe not.  Either way, he's got to get a different style bike.  This one almost looks like a lady's bike.

I started doing a quick Google search and it turns up that other leaders have a hard time looking dignified on a bicycle.

Here's UK Prime Minister David Cameron...

He certainly looks more comfortable on a bike, but what's with the safety sash?  The thing that really bothers me about this is he's wearing a silly reflective sash while his helmet hangs from the handlebars!  And green shoelaces?  Seriously, you're not in middle school anymore!

So then I was thinking it must be the wearing of pants or something and I figured Jimmy Carter must have some ridiculous photo of him on a bike.

But I was wrong.  President Carter looks just fine on a bike, without a helmet and in more formal attire.  What gives?

Can you figure out the formula for leaders looking okay on bicycles?

After seeing a photo of Bill and Hillary Clinton, I started thinking that maybe it was the helmet throwing things off...

But then I remembered that President Bush was an avid biker.  Here he is...

He's got a helmet and looks just fine, but then again he's wearing shorts.

Here's one of a young Ronald Reagan on a Schwinn...

And an even younger Gerald Ford...

Maybe it's because we associate bicycle riding with childhood that it doesn't automatically look good to see our leaders on two wheels.

Of course, I'd be totally remiss if I didn't mention that the Netherlands has a long and honorable history of bicycling monarchs.  Queen Juliana took to biking around Holland after World War II to connect with the Dutch people, a practice that has continued with Dutch royalty to this day.  Here's a statue of Queen Beatrix on a bicycle...

British newspapers derisively refer to the Dutch Monarchy as the "Bicycle Monarchy," but I think it's out of envy.  I was fairly certain that Prince Charles wouldn't look at all good on a bicycle and I was correct...

A quick image search showed that the leaders of Korea and France look just fine on bikes.  Figured the image conscious Vladimir Putin would look more like Bush, but I couldn't find one of him.  Although I did find one of him on a chopper...

Okay, mirrored sunglasses, black gloves and open shirt.  I'm sorry, I think our leaders still have a bit to learn from Russia on how to project authority.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Emperor Joshua Norton

Okay, so I'm back from Los Angeles.  The wedding went well.  It was a very pleasant trip for me.  I was able to visit my younger brother and his family and also my good buddy Leon and his family.

Congratulations to DAG who correctly identified our last Person-of-Mystery as Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico!

Josh Norton was definitely one of the more unique characters to come out of San Francisco's past.  Basically, he was an eccentric man who lost a fortune when he invested in the rice market and it tanked.  He took to proclaiming himself Emperor of the United States and would write local newspapers and issue proclamations, the first of which he sent in 1859.

Newspapermen would publish Norton's decrees and in short order he became an eccentric celebrity.  He dressed in military garb and walked around with sword in tow.  Often he was associated with two stray dogs, Bummer and Lazarus, although Norton disliked the association between him and the two canines.  Norton would at times review the local police, check on city works projects, and was vigilant in seeing local ordinances enforced.  He also printed his own currency in denominations of 50 cents, five and ten dollar denominations and would pay for his meals at local restaurants using his own currency.  Being a local celebrity, most businesses took his currency and gave him free meals.

Some of his best known proclamations include:  proclaiming himself Emperor of the United States, abolishing the US Congress and both political parties, demanding royal attire be made for him and royal residences be built, dismissing Abraham Lincoln, declaring that Maximillian of Mexico surrender and be sent to the US or refusing to do so be shot, supporting air travel, called for a bridge be built from San Francisco to Oakland, banned the use of the term "Frisco" when referencing San Francisco, demanded a royal allotment of the Central Pacific Railroad profits, called establishment of one true Christian religion, and announced his intention to marry (many assumed the widowed Queen Victoria).  There were many other edicts and as his fame increased there were numerous false decrees written by others.

Emperor Norton died in January of 1880.  It is said that 30,000 people attended his funeral and the cortege was two miles in length.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Who could I be?  That's the mystery!

Go ahead take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

Special thanks to faithful reader, Brian, who wrote in to suggest today's Person-of-Mystery.  Aloha, Brian (and yes, I know it's not pronounced that way)!

I am again out of town.  Today I'm in Los Angeles serving as best man in my buddy Trent's wedding, so the reveal may come later in the day on Sunday (or even Monday).  Thank you for your patience.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Tomorrow's Person-of-Mystery contest will commence at 8 am Pacific Time.  Have fun!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Last weekend out Boy Scout Troop was camping at Camp Rancho Alege in the hills above Santa Barbara, California, to participate in the Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA).  JOTA is a nationwide Scouting event involving all things radio.  I'll post some pictures to give you an idea of what it was like.

And for those of you that follow OPOD, camping does make it difficult to compete in PJM's contest.  I had to wake up before sunrise and hike to a hilltop to get reception for my cell phone.

So I thought I'd share some photos from my weekend to give you a glimpse into my life.

(Some of my Scouts learning how to build their circuit boards)

(Alex talking to another Scout in Idaho via ham radio)

(killing a few spare moments)

(the guys learning how to send television signals over ham)

(Mitchell with a homemade radio direction finder)

(Madison on a live wireless television feed)

(a completed oscillator board - way to go!)

(a view of our campsite)

(Sam monitoring the spectrometer in a mobile ham van)

(Alex working on his oscillator)

and I had to include this last one.  The boys got a big kick out of the social nature of this pit toilet.  One of the guys came out and said that a girl must have designed this one because you know they like to talk all the time...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm Tired

Yes, I'm tired.  For several years I've been blaming it on middle age, iron poor blood, lack of vitamins, stress, air pollution, water pollution, saccharin, excess weight, dieting, poor genetics, and a dozen other maladies that make you wonder if life is really worth living.

But now I find out, it is none of that.  
I'm tired because I'm overworked.

You see, the population of this country is 307 million, but 124 million are retired.  That leaves 183 million to do the work.  Subtract the 85 million in school and that leaves 98 million to do the work.  Of this total, there are 29 million employed by the federal government.

That leaves 69 million to do the work.

Four million are in the Armed Forces, which leaves 64 million to do the work.  Take from that total the 24,800,000 people who work for state and city Governments and that leaves 39,200,000 of us to do the work.

At any given time there are 24,000,000 in hospitals, so that leaves 15,200,000  
to do the work.  As of today, there were 15,199,998 people in federal and State prisons.  That leaves just two people to do the work, you and me.

And you're sitting there reading this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jock Hume

Sorry for the delay in the writeup on the Person-of-Mystery.  I'm still unpacking from our Boy Scout campout this past weekend.  Blogger allows me to schedule a post date for my entries and I posted Hume before I left, but didn't get back until later on Sunday.

I couldn't figure out if a minor Titanic figure would be easy or not, apparently I'll need to up my game for this upcoming weekend.  Good job again Roger!

Recently, a teacher friend of mine was lamenting the increasing pressure being put on teachers.  I agree with the poor fellow.  I'm working myself silly and it feels like the harder I work, the more it seems is required of me.  We have six candidates running for our local school board and all six favor pay cuts in teacher salary next year, so unfortunately, next year is not looking so bright either.  During our conversation, my friend used the phrase, "You can't get blood from a stone," in reference to our situation.

(Titanic Musicians)

For whatever reason, it sparked in my memory the story of Jock Hume and his poor father.  Jock as you are aware was a violinist on the Titanic.  He was awakened the night of the collision and asked to quickly dress and come join the rest of the orchestra up on the deck to help calm passengers with his music.

By all accounts, the musicians performed with great courage and continued playing until the ship went under.  The public was greatly moved by the valor of these musicians.  As the bodies were recovered, there was an outpouring of emotion in the newspapers of the day.  It is estimated that 40,000 people attended the funeral of the band's director and a number of memorials were set up in their memory.

(Titanic Musicians Memorial in Southampton, England)

Jock Hume's body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett and was logged as body 193.  He was still wearing his musician's uniform.

What many people don't know is that a couple weeks after Jock died, on April 30, 1912, Jock's father Andrew was sent the following note from C.W. & F.N. Black, a firm that had been contracted to provide musicians for the ocean liners:

Dear Sir:
We shall be obliged if you will remit us the sum of 5s. 4d., which is owing to us as per enclosed statement. We shall also be obliged if you will settle the enclosed uniform account.
Yours faithfully,
C.W. & F.N. Black

Yes, they were asking for remittance for the uniform Jock was wearing when he died playing on the Titanic.  Jock's pay was 4 pounds a month and no uniform allowance.

Two years elapsed until the Hume family was visited with more tragic news.  In 1914, word was given to the family that Jock's sister, Grace Hume, was killed by Germans while working as a nurse in Belgium.  It was said that she was tortured to death and papers like The Star published accounts like the following from September 16, 1914:

News has reached Dumfries of the shocking death of a Dumfries young woman, Nurse Grace Hume, who went out to Belgium at the outbreak of war. Nurse Hume was engaged at the camp hospital at Vilvorde, and she was the victim of horrible cruelty at the hands of German soldiers. Her breasts were cut off and she died in great agony. Nurse Hume's family received a note written shortly before she died. It was dated September 6th, and ran: “Dear Kate, this is to say good-bye. Have not long to live. Hospital has been set on fire.

Germans cruel.
A man here had his head cut off. My right breast has been taken away. Give my love to --- Good-bye, Grace.” Nurse Hume's left breast was cut away after she had written the note. She was a young woman of twenty-three and was formerly a nurse in Huddersfield Hospital.

Nurse Mullard, of Inverness, delivered the note personally to Nurse Hume's sister at Dumfries. She was also at Vilvorde, and she states that Nurse Hume acted the part of a heroine. A German attacked a wounded soldier whom Nurse Hume was taking to hospital. The nurse took his gun and shot the German dead.

This proved further evidence that Britain was justified in its declaration of war against Imperial Germany.  Kate Hume, Jock's younger sister produced several letters including this one from Grace:

Dear Kate, — This is to say “Goodbye.” Have not long to live. Hospital has been set on fire. Germans cruel. A man here has had head cut off. My breast taken away. Give my love to —. Goodbye, Grace.

and another from a friend of Grace in Belgium:

To Miss Hume –

I have been asked by your sister, Miss Grace Hume, to hand the enclosed letter to you. My name is nurse Mullard, and I was with your sister when she died. Our camp hospital at Vilvorde was burnt to the ground and out of 1,517 men and 23 nurses only 19 nurses were saved, but 149 men managed to get away.

Grace requested me to tell you that her last thoughts were of ---- and you, and that you are not to worry over her. She would be going to meet her Jock. These were her last words. She endured great agony in her last hours.

One of the soldiers (our men) caught two German soldiers in the act of cutting off her left breast, her right one having already been cut off. They were killed instantly by our soldiers. Grace managed to scrawl this enclosed note before I found her, but we all say that your sister was a heroine.

She was out on the fields looking for wounded soldiers and on one occasion when bringing in a wounded soldier a German attacked her. She threw the soldier’s gun at him and shot him with her rifle. Of course all nurses here are armed.
I have just received word this moment to pack for Scotland. Will try to get this handed to you as there is no post from here, and we are making the best of a broken-down wagon truck for a shelter. Will give you fuller details when I see you. We are all quite safe now as there have been reinforcements.”

What was not realized at the time was that the whole report was a hoax concocted by none other than Jock's younger sister Kate Hume (17 at the time of the hoax).  Andrew Hume had contacted the Home Office to verify the letters and the report, but news of the Belgian horrors had already reached the newspapers.  Soon thereafter, Mr. Hume received a telegram informing him that his daughter Grace was safe and no such incidents had ever occurred.  Grace followed up the telegram with a personal letter apologizing for her father's distress and concerned how anyone could know so many personal details about her time in Belgium.

Shortly thereafter, Kate Hume was put on trial for fabricating stories about her sister.  After an emotional trial in which she pled adolescent hysteria, she was found guilty but allowed to be released based upon her already three month imprisonment.

Many attributed Kate's desire for attention to the same attention paid to her brother Jock at the time of his death.  Others believed her sincerely deranged and the sudden loss of contact with sister Grace as something akin to her suddenly losing Jock.

Either way, I feel strong sympathy for Andrew Hume who had to endure his son's untimely death, then the prospect of his daughter's torture, then the embarrassment of a public trial for a crazed daughter.  How very tragic.

The Grand Reveal

Congratulations to Roger, winner of Saturday's Person-of-Mystery!

He amazingly recognized John Hume as the unidentified man.  I am rather impressed as I almost didn't even use this picture, thinking it would be too difficult.  Good job, Roger!

John Hume was indeed a violinist on the Titanic.

More to come later today...

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Who could I be?  That's the mystery!

Go ahead take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.  However, as I am out of town camping with the Boy Scouts, the reveal may come later in the day on Sunday.  Thank you for your patience.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Tomorrow's Person-of-Mystery contest will commence at 8 am Pacific Time.  Happy hunting!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Leaving Footprints

I'd like to thank El for a recent comment regarding family history.  It got me thinking about what kind of history we're leaving behind.  Of course we cannot regain things that are lost, but I think it's worth preserving history that we might take for granted.  The family stories that everyone knows or the photos that everyone recognizes may not be familiar a few years from now.  I'm very thankful for thoughtful people who write names on the back of old photographs.

(Erie Harts in January 1866)

It also got me thinking about another ancestor of mine, my great-great-grandmother Erie Irene Harts Burrows.  She went by the name Irene Burrows.  She was born in 1850 in Pennsylvania and at a young age moved to Illinois.  Shortly before her death in 1933, she wrote a short little autobiography for her kids and grandkids.  Oh, how I wish I had something like this from everyone.  It is short, but something is better than nothing and I'd encourage everyone to leave something like this.  I'm sure some of these things seemed pretty mundane at the time, but are pretty interesting today.

Here's her life in her own words:

Mrs. Erie Irene Harts Burrows was born in Nippenose Valley, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, on the seventh day of December, 1850, the daughter of John and Rachel Harts. Here on a small cleared farm, in this little valley surrounded by dense forests and rugged mountains, I spent my childhood days until the spring of 1856 when the little farm was sold and I with the rest of the family came to Illinois. My father, John Harts, bought a farm on what was then called the Delaware Prairie in Logan County, Lincoln, Illinois being the county seat. On this farm the town of Hartsburg was later located in honor of my father. The family spoke German or Pennsylvania Dutch. My Parents being very religious, it was seen that we all had an opportunity to attend Divine Services. Although the nearest "Little Church In The Wildwood" Union Church, a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was six miles distant, my good parents were eager to have us all with them. "Rain or Shine" we were always found in the House of God. So, very early in life, I was converted, along with my three brothers and two sisters, and united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Our school was over one mile distant. Here I attended school until after the Civil War, which broke out in 1861. My two brothers, D.H. and P.W. enlisted in the 106th Illinois Infantry in 1862 and served until the close of the war. When the war was over, a young soldier from the 2nd Illinois Calvary came to our locality, Charles E. Burrows, formerly from Milford Center, Ohio. This meeting ripened into love and on the second of July, 1868 we were married. Mr. Burrows was a farmer, and this we did for some time, renting farms. Later we moved onto some land of our own, where we built our first home. Here we lived until 1883, when we rented our farm and home in Illinois, and moved to Cheney, Kansas. My husband engaged in the Lumber and Coal Business with my brother, S. H. Harts, at this place and here we built our second home, a five roomed cottage on an acre of ground. We were now the parents of three children: Ella, born July 2, 1869; Maud, born July 5, 1871; Clarence born August, 26,1881. After three years at this place, we rented our home (later selling it) and moved to Wichita, Kansas, where we built our third home at 1153 University Avenue. Here my husband had work on the Police Force, appointed several times as Chief of Police of Wichita. In this home we lived for twenty-five years. Here our little daughter was born November 13, 1887: Jessie Irene Burrows, who later married W. E. Benton of Wichita, While living in Cheney, we all, except the youngest, united with the M.E. Church. Now, you see, all of this has covered quite a bit of tie, and now I must tell you something of my own individual life during all of this time. My greatest pleasure was to care for my family, husband and little ones, and next but not least, attend to our religious duties. I didn't say "Go" to my children, but said "Come, or we may be late", and went with them. I joined most of the different activities of the church--the W.F.M.S., H.M.S., Aid Society, was a teacher in the Sunday School, Steward on the Official Board, a member of the W.C.T.U., sang in the choir, lead the singing in the Sunday School for some years in Dodge Avenue Church, also president of the W.F.M.S. the same length of time. Was teacher of the Martha Class for many years, also. Gave that up when I came to California. I loved to take parts in entertainment's. After coming to Kansas, I gave readings--"Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight"; "Only the Moonlight"; "I Will Paint You A Sign Runseller". In Illinois I was the leading lady in a play "The Last Loaf". Gave it two nights. Said to be very good. So you see I was a busy woman. My Earliest Recollections Before I was four years of age my parents took me to Philadelphia to visit my fathers people. I remember that distinctly. Then at four, when my youngest sister was born, I remember my father bringing we children downstairs and showing us our little sister. About that same age my mother took me to a home where a young man lay dead, to rub his hand across my neck to cure a thick neck I was afflicted with. I think it did the work. My life was a happy one. Had many pleasures. My first sorrow was the death of my dear, good father in 1867 at the age of 58 years old. In 1905 my mother passed away, aged 82 years. Then my youngest sister in 1906, aged 51 years. Then later in 1909, my companion, aged 62 years. Some years later my brothers, all in a good age--76, 78, 77. So that leaves my one sister, Mary M. Shull, Fort Scott, Kansas, and myself out of a family of eight. Father, mother, and three brothers and three sisters. All gone but she and I. I had quite a few pleasure trips. In 1878, I with my little daughter Maud, had a trip from Hartsburg, Illinois to Trinidad, Colorado. Here we spent ten weeks at the home of my sister, Mrs. R. Hatfield. Then later had a trip from Hartsburg, Illinois, to Wichita, Kansas, a visit this same sister. Some years later my mother and I had a trip to Missouri from Wichita, Kansas, to visit an uncle, my mother's brother, Lafayette Minsker. Spent six weeks at the World's Fair in Chicago, Clarence, Jessie and I. Their father being a guard on the Fair Grounds, we went to visit with him. Then later at the United States Prison at Leavonworth, Kansas where he was on duty as a guard for six years. After the marriage of Jessie, and she and Will moving to Florida, her papa and I decided to spend some days in that place, something we had planned and talked over for some years. So in the Fall of 1909 we spent the month of November in that beautiful sunny clime with our dear loved ones who had gone so far from their home. We had many happy hours while with them, one of the most joyous was the fishing in the St. Johns River. Papa not being good in health, we were back home in less than three weeks when he passed away the 27th of December, 1909. This left me all alone, all the birdlets having left their old nests to make new ones of their own. My days being lonely now, I spent much time away from home. In the Spring of 1910 I made another trip to Sanford, Florida. Something seemed to draw me in that direction. Returning home in July of that same year. Then again before the holidays, I took the third trip south, remaining until Will, Jessie and baby Paul moved up north to Topeka, Kansas. My old home on University Avenue where I and my family had lived for twenty-five years and all our four children had grown to womanhood and manhood, married and gone to homes of their own, seemed so empty and lonely. I felt I must sell, get me another home where all the old memories ever stood before me, so I found a purchaser, sold and built me a new home a few blocks away on 625 Martinson Avenue. After this I took three trips to California, later selling my home in Wichita and moving out there. And here I am, living in Laguna Beach, within a stone's throw of the ocean. Lived one year near Santa Monica and some years in Upland. In all I have lived seven years in this beautiful state of California. My children all live near me but Mrs. Roton , "Maud". She's still in Wichita, Kansas. I have lived to a good age, 81 years old the 7th day of last December. Am Grandmother to 12 Grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren and expect to live to see one Great-Great-Grandchild. And so ends the chapter of my life. Much more I could write; how I cared for some of my loved ones when sick., made short visits to see them , helped care for my Dear Mother for five months, day and night in her last illness, etc. But I will stop for now and think over my many happenings that have transpired in my long life. Have had many lovely friends, no enemies, and feel I'm ready to go Home. But before I close this history of my life I must tell you some of my pleasures. All my earliest years were spent on a farm. But those who have not lived a part of their lives on a farm have missed some of the most perfect pleasures of this life. My good parents were a very busy people, and yet they believed in doing some things for recreation and pleasure. Do you think you would enjoy going to a creek and fishing and swimming, gathering wild grapes , plums, crabapples, black walnuts, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, wild black berries, and to those who cared for them, Paw-Paws? Well, this is what we did many times of Saturday afternoons, while the seasons for such things lasted. And sometimes we would find a bee tree with combs full of honey. That was a great find. We would be obliged to go home, get some containers, go back and fill up on honey. Of course the tree would have to be felled in order to reach the sweetness. Those were happy days. Then when winter came on apace we had a bin of apples, also potatoes, and my good father would butcher about 8 or 9 big fat pigs and a beef and divide that up with a neighbor, and how we did feast on the good things we all liked so well. We were at this time living in a log house and we children would go upstairs around the Kitchen stove pipe where it was warm, and make a raid on the black walnuts which we had hulled and dried ready for use, when the snow began to fly. There was no depression at our house in those days. The children of this age do not have the opportunity to do some of the things we did in those primitive days. When I was a very small child, how well I remember helping to plant the corn. My sister Mary, just fifteen months older than I, took our little baskets on our arms and dropped the corn in furrows of a forty acre corn field. And Illinois had some windy days at that time, and how the wind did blow and switch our dress skirts around, and scatter the corn as we tried to drop it in the furrow. And our brothers followed us and covered up the corn with the hoe. There were no idle men at that time. Machinery was not in use yet at the time of my life I am writing about. Many inventions have been perfected in the 82 years of my life. We burned tallow candles, lard lamps, I remember well when I saw the first coal oil lamp and sewing machine. Many were the moulds full of tallow that I had to use. We had to keep a supply on hand or be in the dark when the sun sank to rest. Also had to keep on hand a supply of bread, cakes, etc. For we couldn't but it, like now. We did all of our sewing by hand. My Grandmother had to make the cloth to make her men's clothes out of. She was the mother of twelve children. Raised eleven of them, and died at ninety years of age. All these things, I was blessed with as a child, and many more things that I haven't mentioned, but will close by saying my life has been a very happy one.
Cheerio, Your Mother

Jacob and Maggie Grow

Following up on my post from Monday, I received two e-mails requesting a photo of Jacob and Maggie.  Here's a photo of the couple.