Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Grandma's Cunning Prank

Yet again, the stories and anecdotes unfold as I peruse over my great aunt's narratives. While reading about my great-great grandfather, I encountered this little gem as told by my great aunt:

"William made homemade 'Brew...' From this following story I get the impression that Grandma...didn't appreciate this very much. When William would leave to go to work—Ida put SALT into the mixture—she said the first time this happened it was by accident—but then she kept putting salt in the mixture every time William would make it...William blamed the failed brew on water and finally stopped making any. Can’t you just imagine Ida smiling in the background? Sounds like quite an ingenious lady."

Wife: 1
Husband: 0

Monday, October 6, 2014

Grandpa's Scandalous Purchase...Anecdote of the Day

Ah, the joy in finding small gems in the family histories you read through. I was amused to find the following anecdote as I was typing up my GG-Grandma Ella's history. The story centers on Ella and her husband David, lending a dash of color to the more pious members of my family tree.

So the tale goes as follows, told by the daughters of Ella and David:

"David, already in Oakland, had bought a rooming house (or Boarding House) and Ella was going to operate it. We stayed at the campground, and the next day Ella, David and I went to see the property David had bought. As we were going through the building Ella got VERY ANGRY..., and she took hold of Maud’s hand and started hurrying them along—cautioning Maud not to touch any of the walls, the doorknobs, or the bannister, and Maud realized Ella was VERY UPSET. Ella wanted us out of the building!!! And out of Oakland as soon as possible!!! I didn't know until years later that the property David had bought was...a house of ill repute, or whatever they called them in those days!..."

"...I have often wondered if my Dad had known about that house all along?? I don’t know how Mother found out what kind of a house it was—maybe the ‘tenants’ were still there? When she told me about it later, she...was very adamant about not telling me any of the details.”

Lesson of the day? Investigate your property before settling on a deal. And let your wife be part of the decision.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Going My Way--72 Years Later

USS Lexington exploding, May 8, 1942
May 1942...

A year not to be forgotten in the annals of American History: The U. S. had been fighting in the Second World War for less than a year, FDR was president during these troubled times, and newspaper headlines were reporting the overseas action on a regular basis. Many families were impacted, my own included--young men responded to the draft and their women left to pray for their safe return...

In the state of Utah, residents were also affected by the impending war...Headlines on May 8, 1942 reported U. S. Navy action with the Japanese, finances tied to military funding, Japanese atrocities in the Philippines, British troops in Madagascar, and many other stories about the war. As the newspaper progresses past world and national news, the reader finally jumps into local happenings. Towards the back of the newspaper is the event nearest and dearest to my heart: the obituary for my 3rd great grandmother, Harriet Lovinia Bowen Leavitt. 

Why would one obituary matter over others in my vast collection of obituaries? Because Grandma Harriet died where I now consider home. Although I did not grow up here, it has been home for six years now; it is here I went to school, found a job, dated, and started building my own life. What makes it most special is it's the city where she spent most of her life and where I first discovered my love of genealogy. 
Grandma came from Iowa, the daughter of prominent Mormon pioneers. After crossing the plains, they settled in my present area. Her husband, who was more than 20 years her senior, preceded her in death by almost 40 years. When Grandma Harriet died, she was currently the oldest women in town, passing away at the age of 97. Rest in peace, sweet lady, I am proud to live in your hometown and walk where you walked. 

Sympathy Saturday: Gone But Not Forgotten--A Poem to the Dean Family

I sit and ponder o'er your life
As by your grave I stand
Of how you brought into this world
The life now in my hand

You came into a muddled world
A small life to begin
Raised by the hands of those who loved
and gave their lives to kin

I think about your pains and joys
Your triumphs and your falls
I never met you in this life
But something to me calls

I feel I know you from those times
I read about your life
Your story lives inside my heart
And calms me through my strife

I feel a closeness words can't tell
I stand here by your grave
So grateful for a legacy
And what to life you gave