Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 9

Well there’s two sides to every family (not always) and, you guessed it,  I have no information about the other side.  I can remember Uncles and Aunts names.  I remember my Grandfathers name that died before I was born.  I can remember grandma Clem.  The most fantastic lady you could imagine with blue hair.  Her favorite time of day was 6:00 pm when my Dad would come home from work.  They would take turns mentioning it.  Usually within 15 minutes my Dad was pouring a 7 and 7.  For Dad that meant 3 parts Fleischmanns to one part 7up.  For grandma Clem that meant 1 part Fleischmanns to 3 parts 7up.  There was always a bottle of 7up in the fridge.  I made a huge mistake of drinking what was left of the 7up one time.  We not going there with this story.

My Mom’s (Maggie) side of the family was so far away.  Today, you can text your friend that moved away to Japan 6 years ago and he gets the message and responds in under a minute.  In 1960 it was just a little bit different.  I’m sure as the family member was boarding the plane the last words said was I’ll write.  That meant a Christmas card in December with two or three lines scratched real fast because you had 20 more cards to get in tomorrow’s mail.  You would think that anyone that could type as fast as lightning would get more letters out.  Not the case, just too much of life to tend to.  I am sure anyone on the receiving side of one of Maggie’s letters was praying that it was typed.  You could spend all day trying to read her writing.  It is different now, every time I pick up a scrap of paper that has her handwriting on it, I get all choked up.  The smallest things get ya’.  The point?  I don’t have a phone number, haven’t seen anyone in 20 years.  I remember one of the cousins was working on a family tree.  I even got offered a copy of the work.  Why didn’t I pursue that?

How do you spell obsession?  I couldn’t sleep!

Continued . . . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kevin's Story, Part 8, read slowly

I guess the family history stopped in Texas some place.  What had happened to that file cabinet?  The answer that my niece needed was in the file cabinet.  If I could just take a look.  I remember they had a son.  I remember his name because it was the same as my Uncle the war hero,  (If you are following along, you will hear a lot about the war hero) I called 411 no help.  I remember only one thing.  He worked for Texas Instruments (TI).  411, I let there fingers do the walkin’ and there fingers found 24 phone numbers, “#@!?”.  This is going to be much harder than I thought.  I get the main number and call ‘em up.  Me; “I would like to talk to my cousin.”,  TI; “We have no one here by that name.”, me; “#@!?”, TI; “He may have transferred to the new division when the company split about 10 years ago.”   So I call up the split off company.  Why not, can’t hurt.  Me; “I would like to talk to my cousin”, TIsplit; “We have no one here by that name”, “we used to have a guy with that last name but that wasn’t his first name.”, me; “may I talk with him please?”  “He hasn’t worked her in years.  “#@!?”  411, not in that town, but we have one in another town.

Ring, ring, ring, “hello”, “are you my cousin?”  He actually was my cousin.  What’s the chance of that?  And he has all his Mom and Dad’s computer records.  I receive them by way of FedEx the next afternoon.  WoW!  Fifteen years labor, thousands of hours, vacation trips, thousands of dollars spent, and in my hand.  What a gift!  There labor of love and devotion, and I will try to honor them by keeping it going.  Any reference to Auntie M has nothing to do with a movie about Oz, but only to give credit where credit is due.

The next 24 hours I spend reading over everything.  So much stuff, now I have to get this organized.  That day Family Tree Maker arrives in the mail.  I load up the program and start to work.  I don’t think I left the chair for days.  With the program comes a trial offer for ancestry.com.  I upload my family tree.  Then something starts happening.  The little green leaf pops up, then another, then hundreds.

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kevin's Story, Part 7

The ancestry question is looming.  I now have a list with 22 names on it.  I remember my Aunt Marion and Uncle Henry were really into genealogy research.  They only visited a couple times as I was growing up.  When they did my Uncle Henry would get up early Sunday morning and say “you ready to go”  Off to church we would go.  Only a few times in my life had I seen a man have such a love of the Lord.  Not the going to church ‘cause he has to kinda guy, the kind that is just so positive about the Lords love for us.  He had a profound effect on the rest of my life.  (A different story)  Anyway Uncle Henry would take me to breakfast after church.

Twenty five years go by and I travel to Texas to work at Bell Helicopter.  My Aunt and Uncle do not live far away so I decide to look them up.  I visit with them for four hours and ten minutes, four hours of which they show me the family tree they have been working on.  They are so excited because they just found a long lost family member.  They take me into the hobby room, which has every horizontal surface lined with family tree pages.  A file cabinet full of paper, and stories of trips they have taken to find stuff.  They devoted years to the project, It’s all coming back to me.

Fifteen years go by and I’m thinking, I’ll just give them a call.  Not in the book.  411 no help.  I have no idea how to contact anyone on that side of the family.

To be continued . . .

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 6

We made it to California in a week not a day.  Family history?  Hold your britches.  (That’s what they used to tell me.  Not sure why.  I assumed it meant wait a minute.)  What did I know about the family?  I am trying to remember stories.  My parents have been gone for 10 years, and I can’t remember yesterday.

Okay I remember my Dad grew up on a farm in Iowa.  I think the name was something simple, Jones or Brown.  He was farmed out a lot of his childhood because his parents split up when he was about five.  My Mom would tell me that when he was growing up he worked hard even at his young age.  A typical Christmas morning for my Dad was up at the crack of dawn (that’s how they talked then), get the chores done, and get back to the house to celebrate Christmas.  My Dad would have to go upstairs until the family finished with there Christmas celebration, and then he would get to come down and have Christmas dinner with them.

My Mom’s story is way better.  Remember she was born on Christmas day.  Christmas was a huge celebration for her growing up.  Even though she lost her Mom when she was seven, Christmas was always great.  Think of it this way.  The whole family gets together to go to midnight mass.  As they come out of the church, happy birthday Maggie.  (They didn’t call her Maggie, but I didn’t want you to get lost.)  How many kids get a happy birthday one hour into it?  Not only that but, every one comes over on your birthday.  And everybody brings something.  A cherry pie for your birthday.  A ham, mashed potatoes, a huge feast for your birthday.  No one gets treatment like this on there birthday.

Oh yeah, that ancestry question.  Got sidetracked, I have to start with my Aunt and Uncle.  If you look up Genealogist in the dictionary you will most likely find there picture.

To be continued . . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monument Monday: Bunker Hill Monument on the Accessible Archives Blog

Monument Monday: Bunker Hill Monument on the Accessible Archives Blog

Kevins Story, Part 5

I am the oldest of five children.  One brother is no longer with us.  My brother called and asked if I could help his daughter with a family history project that she was working on for school.  “Sure” So he asks the question and I have a blank stare.  You would think the oldest would know something.  Who gave you that idea?
“I’ll get back to you!”  Not the answer my niece was looking for.  Where do I start.  I remember on my mother side there were three brothers, a sister, my grand fathers name, and his second wife.  On my fathers side, there was a brother that died fighting so we could be free, and a sister.  I remember his mother, her husband, and my grand father.  Where do I start.  I really have no information but there are people on both sides of my family that have been doing research into family history.  How do I get in touch with them?

In 1959 we migrated west.  I remember a 1959 Ford station wagon.  You could fold down all the seats in the back and that left just enough room for your legs to hang down, and your face to be level and right between mom and dad in the front seat.  Bangor Maine to Wilmington California, I’m thinking we should be there by dinner.  Super highway’s, not yet.  Fancy hotels, dreamer.  Air conditioned car, what is that?  Views straight over the cliff on the right side of the car?  “Fathaaa, you are to close!!”  Two lane roads over the summit.  That’s one lane that way and one lane your way.  Four year olds don’t remember how hot it is thankfully.  My mother never forgot.

To be continued . . .