Friday, April 30, 2010
As we drove along a country road in Missouri, passing one of the sparsely spaced homes, Dad said, "Oh, look, they've got a white cross in their back yard. Do you suppose someone was killed at that spot?" When I looked, I realized there were TWO crosses! For a split moment I thought they must have lost 2 family member there.....then I realized there was a wire between the two crosses....it was a clothesline!! I guess it has been a long time since we saw one of those!
We happened to be going along a highway in Missouri that was close to a Mennonite settlement, and right at the time that they were going home from church. Their route consisted of mostly the side roads, but they had to use the paved highway for about a mile to get to the other side of the road, so we saw about four buggies full of families, the ladies all dressed in their long black dresses and bonnets. It was a neat sight!
We needed a gas station, and our GPS told us there was a Shell in about a mile. We were looking for it at what seemed to be kind of a main crossroad, and found that it had been there, but was now closed. It seemed very appropriate to have it missing when we saw the name of the crossroad..........a sign that declared that we were visiting Dysfunction Junction!
Well I’m Back and will try to write another episode of my flying career.
I think I will go back to the busy year of 1960. I really don’t remember exactly the chronological order of these experiences but just the year.
The worst earthquake and tsunami, they say in the history of the world, but I would say the known history of the world as I don’t think they have any way of knowing the whole history.
We were still stationed at Dover AFB in Delaware and I was still flying the C-124 though later in the year I changed assignments to the C-133. We loaded up with relief supplies for Puerto Monte, Chile in Houston and had crew rests in Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile. Another crew would continue on at each stop and we would pick up the next A/C coming through then we would shuttle between Santiago and Puerto Monte with that A/C for the rest of the time we were on that mission or till they would rotate the A/C back to the states, then after several missions we would then return to the States as other crews were worked into the system. We were amazed on our first flight into Puerto Monte to find only a 7000 ft. 150 ft wide concrete strip up and a plateau above the town with no taxiways or even a paved road connected to it. They had just recently poured the runway and for the first flight in there; they had to remove the hay and straw that they had covered it with to prevent the concrete from drying too fast. We were the first flight in that day so we landed and taxied to the end where we turned crosswise to the runway and opened our clam shell doors in the front, let down the ramps (which you could drive truck transports in or out on) and also we had an elevator in the rear of the cargo compartment with which they could also load and unload cargo. As they started unloading us another C-124 came in over the top of ours and went to the other end, turned crosswise and started unloading; he had not been on the ground very long and a third A/C landed over the top him and taxied down next to ours and did the same, then another A/C (All C-124s) Landed over the two of us and went down by the one on the other end….we had 4 C-124s on the ground at the same time. After we were all offloaded the third A/C to land took off over the top of the two at our end, then the one next to us took off going the other way over the on A/C left at that end then the next one off had to go over only one and the last had the whole runway left to themselves. It was a very interesting operation and that went on for many days. After the first day we just shuttled back and forth and rested in Santiago. There were other crews shuttling between Lima and Santiago and other crews from the States to Lima. The A/C would come in loaded to Lima change crews go right on to Santiago pick up a new crew who would take the load to Puerto Monte and bring the A/C back empty where crew would take it to Lima and another crew take it on back to the States, or wherever for another load. I don’t know exactly how long this operation lasted but I believe that we were out over 2 weeks before we came back to the states with a layover in Lima.
That was the operation: Very interesting in itself but I was starting to really confident as an experienced Flight Engineer. We had a few mechanical problems during that time. One was the Auto Pilot went out and the pilots were upset, it turns out that one C-124 had a gear collapse on landing and they had it setting off on the side of the runway; I grabbed the 2nd Engineer, we went over and took the box out of the crippled A/C and exchanged ours and luckily we had an A/P back. The Pilots were ecstatic! In fact, as I recall, I robbed quite a few small things from that broken C-124 over the time we were there. We called that cannibalizing, or midnight requisitioning; even though in this case we did it in broad daylight.
Another interesting thing about that trip was that I was only a staff sergeant. And my 2nd engineer was a master sergeant. He had just recently transferred to MATS (Military Air Transport Service) from SAC (Strategic Air Command) I was a bit intimidated at first as I thought he might be the most experienced but it didn’t take long to find out that while he had been flying for almost 20 years that he had very little actual flying time. In SAC he was on the KC-97 in flight re-fueler; they got a lot of pre-flight experience but then they would sit in the bunker waiting for an alert; they would live in that bunker for several days. They would go out daily to check the A/C over, get it ready to go and then maybe set there on alert for a week or so, when they would rotate to time off for awhile. It turned out that he had only a couple of thousand hours flying time during that 20 years. All of us in Mats who had been flying for any time, at all, had much more experience as we were getting a thousand hours each year flying all over the world with little maintenance support, while on the road, other that the Flight Engineers. When we came back to the States I was working the panel on our descent into Houston when I felt a little nibble on the #3 throttle and since I had experienced that before I informed the AC that we would probably be laying over there as we had blown and exhaust stack on that engine; everybody on board Laughed thinking there was no way I could know that but it proved to be so and we had to wait for the parts before the mechanics could get us back on the road. It was interesting that when we got back to the States the other engineer informed me that he had learned more on that one trip than he had learned in all his previous years on the KC. Several years later I had the same experience here in the Utah Air Guard while we were shooting touch and goes at the SLC airport. As soon as I felt it I told the AC that we had better stay on the ground as we had blown a stack; he didn’t want to quit but finally stopped as I strongly insisted. The other Engineer who was one of our veteran check airman went out on the wing to look at the engine while it was still at idle and was amazed to find that I was correct, so that training flight was over for the night. It was very easy for him to confirm the problem in the dark.
I am going to have to finish this story at this point; I have been without this computer all week as they were building up a new lap top for me which is finished now but I don’t have all the stuff transferred to it; Jeff is going to help me with that tomorrow and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to this project, so I’m going to send this before it gets lost or something in the shuffle.
I do want to say that I am ever grateful for the time I spent in the AF. I wasn’t much of a military type person but I certainly got some good training and experience which enabled me to make a descent living for many years.
I do wish I had been a better tourist and seen more of the world than just from the air; I had plenty of opportunities but just didn’t enjoy playing to tourist by myself; I thought maybe I’d be interested later when Mom could be with me but by the time I hung up my BIG wings I was not interested in traveling anymore and Mom doesn’t feel like it either; it won’t be long now till we’ll be able to go anyplace desire without wings!
Till Next Time
I am finally getting around with another installment of some of my interesting experiences; they were to me anyway. They may not be for many of you.
1960 was a bang up year for the M.A.T.S. (Military Air Transport Service) Here are some of the operations I was personally involved in; The Cuban Crisis, The Congo uprising against the Belgians, and the worst earthquake in the known history of the world in Puerto Monte Chile. I think I will start with the Congo.
I really got to see a lot of the world that year. We started for the Congo by picking up some troops in Tripoli, Libya who had been bivouacked beside the runway for 2 weeks waiting for transport to Leopoldville, Congo now called Kinshasa, We took them as far as Kano, Nigeria where we went into crew rest and another crew took them on down to the Congo. We let the ramps down on the old C-124 (It wasn’t very old at that time) for them to come on board which was much faster than if they had climbed up through the crew entrance behind the nose wheel. The poor loadmaster took the brunt of the punishment that whole leg of the trip as those troops were extremely Ripe, they had wool uniforms in that hot desert country. We, in the cockpit, quickly closed the door between us and the cargo compartment, we should have done it before they started loading. It is hard to explain but it was a truly traumatic experience and our eyes ran profusely!
Since it was so hot there on the ground I figured I would do them a favor and not turn on any heat, whatsoever, as we climbed out to 10,000 feet where we planned to cruise, as that is as high as you can legally fly without oxygen for everybody. (The C-124) was not pressurized) We were leveled off at altitude and getting comfortable, when I received a call on the interphone from the Loadmaster that they needed some heat back there. When the troops boarded they had been given some box lunches to eat in flight, which they already had done. They had decided it was too cold and had piled all those cardboard boxes in the middle of the floor, while the Loadmaster wasn’t looking, (I expect he was staying as far as he could from the sweat odor) and built a fire to get warm!! Needless to say I obliged. The scary thing about that is that the floor of that A/C was heavy duty plywood.
We got past that problem and by the time we got to Kano the A/C was really a mess! None of those troops except maybe the little Lt. had ever been anyplace civilized so when they used the urinals which just gravity drained out into the slip stream they had used the toilet paper nearby having been told to use it after using the toilet. By the time we got to Kano they had totally plugged all 5 or 6 of the urinals which had run over onto the floor; sometimes a language barrier can be messy! That whole A/C smelled worse than any pig sty that I’d ever seen or smelled by the time we landed.
None of that group spoke a bit of English except for the little Lt. and he could barely understand. He spoke French to the troops. After we landed the Loadmaster made sure that the little Lt. kept all on board till that whole deck had been hosed down and all the urinals etc. emptied and cleaned. We in the cockpit got out of there ASAP after we shut down. The relationship of that little Lt. and the men was amazing. All of the troops were big men, yet the Lt. treated them like dirt; he would be jabbering something to them in French and then suddenly back hand of them and walk off; the strange thing for us was that any one of them could have knocked his block off if they wanted to. I guess some of those people have been mistreated their whole lives and just accept whatever happens to them.
We spent a couple of weeks shuttling between Kano Nigeria and/or Accra Ghana and Leopoldville. All of the A/C kept shuttling back and forth with mostly military supplies and equipment. I really took a special liking to those Ghanaians; they were very smart and well educated as the British did well by them; the British were just starting to give them their independence at that time. I was told that their literacy rate was higher than the U.S at the time. Just as an aside I will jump forward 20 years to the 80s when I went back to Nigeria and Ghana again. During that 20 or so years the Government had been taken over by a dictators; the first being Kwame Nkrumah and the comparison was incredible! They had been ravished by several, or almost continual civil wars and Military Coups for most of that time. The beautiful hotels and the city in general instead of being in excellent condition with happy educated people all around had reverted to almost tribal conditions…Air conditioning didn’t work. Water was unsafe to drink. The comparison was enough to make one want to cry.
We had two interesting experiences during that tour. I’m not sure which order these came in but the first I’ll mention was In Accra. We were taxiing out for Take off, from a crowded parking area. The natives were awed by that big C-124. They had stadium seating around the parking of area which was jam packed with spectators. As we were taxiing out of that crowded area it was my turn to watch for the clearance of the wing tips from the top hatch. The Engineers swapped duties for each flight. The other Engineer was making that T/O and watching the wing clearance while taxiing was my job. The flight engineers swapped duties and made every other Take off and landing, it was my turn in the top hatch as the other Engineer was making this takeoff. The clearance on some light standards around the stadium was very close so we had wing walkers, also watching the clearance. They signaled me that we should stop so I told the AC to hold it, so he hit the brakes but for some reason he hit the right one first which made the left wing which was the one close to the problem; which sent that wing forward faster and the left wing heater climbed that pole, stopped and settled down impaled with the pole sticking up through the forward part of the heater with about a foot sticking through. I must say that colorful crowd was very impressed! I went out on the wing, inspected it and realized that actually no serious damage had been done to the heater and we really didn’t need wing heat in Africa during the summer anyway. We had them round up a hack saw and I had a native cut the pole off below the heater, then since we had no sheet metal people available we used speed tape to patch the holes and were off the ground within about an hour. As far as I know that A/C shuttled back and forth with that speed tape till it rotated back to the States. Several countries were represented during that operation, in fact I was able to get close to a Russian IL-18 A/C which was about the size of our DC-6; I was amazed that they hadn’t developed flush rivets yet when that A/C was built. Their crew wouldn’t let us go into the airplane (I guess it was still top secret) actually I don’t think they wanted us to know just how outdated and crude it was. We took them on a tour of the C-124. Speed tape was a wonderful thing and has even been known to get big jets back home after a bird strike knocking a hole in the leading edge of a wing without peeling loose; it is just heavy aluminum tape that is extremely sticky.
On one of those shuttles to Leopoldville we had and expander tube which is what actuated the brake shoes against the brake drum burst on landing at Leopoldville. We were able to stop with prop reversal but it was not safe to taxi and they had to tow us off the runway over to the terminal. The AC (Aircraft Commander) asked me how long it would take us to get the problem repaired to which I responded that it would depend on how quickly they could get the part to us. We decided to go get a bite to eat in the, very, new terminal before we made any decisions. We had heard some rifle fire outside the perimeter of the airport on our way into the terminal but were not very concerned. The restaurant area was on the 2nd floor. We, engineers, were following the pilots up the stairs when I noticed a few of the banister supports had been hit by bullets which had broken them, then I noticed that the wall had numerous bullet holes and blood splatters covering it; I caught up the AC and told him to go ahead and file his flight plan and that we would have the A/C ready to go by the time he was ready.
I then found the Major who was the acting Maintenance Officer and had him find me some plumbing type plugs for the hydraulic line which fed the brake lines, which he did. I plugged the line but then we needed to re-service the hydraulic reservoir which, if I remember correctly, required 20 to 30 gallons of fluid. I also informed him that we would have to run each inboard engine up to 1800 RPM to bleed the pumps and system. He had the AC towed over to the maintenance area for that operation. When I got there I noticed that he had the tail of the AC pointing directly toward his maintenance office which was attached to the side of the hanger. He had the main tires backed up right to the edge of the concrete ramp and there were several feet of pure sand behind them. I suggested that we should probably tow to another area and explained the 1800 RPM again; he got a bit irritated with me and let me know that he was the maintenance officer and that is where he wanted us; I just shrugged my shoulder and said “Yes Sir!” He had recently purchased a practically new Studebaker Hawk, and had it parked in front of the maintenance office, from one of the exiting Belgians who was anxious to get out of the war zone. I’m sure he had gotten a steal of a deal. We had his maintenance men pour the fluid into the reservoir. The other engineer got in the seat and I put on a headset and went out into the #2 nacelle, established communication with him and he started up the engine and put it up to the required 1800 RPM. I loosened the output line from the Hydraulic pump and bled the air out, tightened it back up and shuttled through the wing tunnel, fuselage and into the # 3 nacelle where we repeated the process. We shut everything down and I came down out of the nacelle over the landing gear. As I hit the ground I was met by an exceedingly disgruntled Major running up saying something which I really couldn’t understand and probably wouldn’t have wanted to. When he got settled down a bit he was irate because due to the door being open to his office the hurricane winds from the props had papers strung all over the place and the room was full of SAND and it was my FAULT! I kinda chuckled and reminded him that I had suggested that we move the airplane before we ran the engines. We walked back to investigate the damage and saw a sickening sight; That beautiful Studebaker Hawk had absolutely no paint on the side that had been toward the airplane. We had done a good job of sand blasting it right down to the bare metal! I suspect that Major had a tendency after that to pay more attention to suggestions from some of the old Sergeants floating around.
In regards to my job I really enjoyed 1960 except that I was gone from home for several long stretches of time.
This is becoming way too long for one setting so I will continue the Cuban Crisis and Chile Earthquake in a later edition.
I LOVE YOU ALL
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
As we traveled back toward Kansas, we stopped at another little County Library where one of Benjamin King's son's was born, thinking we might possibly find something there, but no luck. On one of those Missouri roads somewhere, we were behind a huge semi truck, and the car ahead of us passed him. As we started to follow that car and pass him, he came steadily over into our lane, thinking the other car was the last one, I'm sure. We were pretty much up even with the cab, so there was no chance to slow down and let him just go ahead of us, so Dad/Gpa headed toward the center ditch. At the very last possible moment, the truck driver saw us and yanked back into his own lane. We could see the trailer rock from the sudden change in direction! I watched in the rear view mirror and saw him quickly pull off to the side of the road. We're not sure whether he was sleepy and decided to take a nap, or maybe he needed a clean pair of shorts!
We passed a very, very remote rest area in Missouri - in the middle of NOWHERE, and the sign said "We have wireless"!! Guess they thought someone might be in dire need of communication with no people to turn to!
Finally, we arrived in the great state of Kansas. Augusta, Kansas is where my great grandmother Maggie Jane (Harris?) Adams' sister lived and died. Her married name was Selvage, and I had corresponded some with one of her descendants who gathered all he could for that family. I made a couple of phone calls to Selvage names in the phone book, and one of them told me the person that was interested in genealogy. When I called him, he came to the motel to meet us. We talked for awhile, I showed him what I had on my computer for the family, and we discussed the problem with my great grandmother and her sister's surname. We are not sure what it was, and I wanted to be sure everything in Aunt Sarah's place of residence had been searched. He said it had, and nothing came up about their name. BUT --- he took us to his home and showed us all the stuff he had on the Selvage family. It was four large white three ring binders full of genealogy and pictures and stories! I asked him if I could go somewhere and copy some of it. He thought for a minute and said, "You know, I don't have any children and nobody else in the family is interested in this at all since Charles died (that was the man I had corresponded with several years earlier)......you can just have it!" I was dumbfounded! I will try to get it back to him after I take out of it what I want, but he didn't act like it mattered much. It was as if he had been waiting for someone that was truly interested in it! This man had never heard of me or met us before in his life!
We saw a little town sign as we passed about four houses and a gas station....the name said "Smileyville, Kansas"! Cute, huh?
Cousins and Aunts
We arrived in Wichita and called my Rintoul cousin, Dwayne. He was glad to hear from me, and we visited for awhile there. Their little granddaughter, Bayley, was there, too. It was fun; I hadn't seen him in several years. I also tried to contact Loretta, a Clodfelter cousin that lives there, but her phone number was no good and she wasn't in the book, so I had to give up.
We travelled on to Newton, KS where another cousin lives, Earl Rintoul (Aunt Mart's son). He and his wife both have had pretty serious problems with their health lately, and she been through several operations. He is eating very strictly, because he had another bout of angina and it scared him badly. We had a nice visit and laughed a lot. He's always been one of my favorites, ever since I played so much with him as a baby, before I left Garden City when I was almost 7. He is 5 years younger than I. I thought I would DIE as I watched them through the back window, waving goodbye to me. I cried for an hour, my Mama said! They were all I had for siblings, and I honestly didn't know if I could live without them! He was only 2 at the time, so I'm sure he doesn't even remember ever playing with me! His Daddy is the one that was killed in an auto accident when Earl was 9. Earl and his brother, Fred, were here to visit us, either when my Mom died or when Johnny was killed, I don't remember which, so some of you met them.
Next was Hutchinson, KS, where one of my two living Aunts lives. We couldn't get anyone to answer a phone that evening, so we got a motel and waited until morning. We just got to see Aunt Millie, which was good because that was my main concern. She is 89. She lives in a very nice assisted living home, and is still getting moved from her house. I think she's having some trouble with that change. It was good to see her, and to let her know that I think of her a lot.
We went on to Garden City that night and got there in time to see Aunt Vivian for awhile. She was thrilled to have us come see her in her assisted living place there. She is not one whit challenged with memory or her normal characteristics! We ate supper with her, and it tickled me to see how she had to be sure we "had enough" and that it "tasted alright" and kept asking if we "wanted anything else", etc. JUST LIKE SHE ALWAYS did when we would go to visit her in her own home! She will be 92 on the 4th of May, and her only problems are a few aches and pains! She called her girls, and Merlene and Kay were able to come see us while we were there. We stayed in Garden that night, and then went back to visit with her some more and had lunch with her. That is the best little place I've ever seen for feeling like a real home!
Aunt Vivian was a beauty operator and gave me my first permanent on those horrible old heavy rod electric machines! I was so little (because I had straight stubborn hair from day one) and that machine was SO BIG! Her original perm machine (the one she used on me) is now in the Garden City museum!
Down Memory Lane
Before we left town, we went on a little memory tour. We drove past my Grandma and Grandpa Rintoul's home, where I spent a lot of time during my first 7 years. It is still the same little house, but it is run down and there are no flowers!! Oh, my goodness, Grandma must turn over in her grave if she ever looks down on that little yard! She was SUCH a flower lover, and every morning, she would go outside to her back yard, in her apron (which she always wore almost the whole day because she cooked so much) fold her hands behind her, and stroll up and down each row of flowers. I watched her do that so many times, I can still see it very plainly! To see the little run down yard now almost makes me cry. That is the house where I went during my 17th summer to help take care of my Grandma while Grandpa was still working.
Another memory there is always, always seeing my Grandpa walking down the street, either going or coming from work, whistling a tune, pulling his big red wagon with his wallpaper and/or paint buckets, brushes and rollers, to do someone's house. He had a constant business and was very good at it, but he NEVER liked to drive. He did have a Model A sitting in the driveway, and he let me use it that summer to run errands and go to the youth group of the Christian Church.
Historical Honeymoon Site
We went by the house where my Mom and Dad slept on their honeymoon, and found out it has become an official historical sight! I'll try and attach that picture with this so you can see it as you think about the story I'm going to relate to you. (Interesting that we did this on what would have been Gma C's 95th birthday, March 25!)
When Grandma and Grandpa were married in 1932, it was considered almost an automatic thing that your "gang" chivareed you. A chivaree was some sort of trick like kidnapping the bride for an hour, or blindfolding both of them and taking them out in the country for a traipse in the wilderness. Never a very fun thing for the bride and groom, and I think they finally gave it up as a bad idea (I'm so glad!) However, Gma and Gpa C. knew they would be chivareed, because Aunt Mart's boyfriend at the time, who became my Uncle Charles, was such a teaser and he was usually the leader of the gang. Soooo, the house where my Gma and Gpa Rintoul lived was two stories, with the upper story bedroom perked on top of the first story (see picture). There were windows in the bedroom upstairs where you could actually get out and lay down on the roof of the bottom story. They climbed out there, knowing the gang was coming after them, and laid down on the roof after carefully shutting the windows from the outside. (They didn't have window locks in those days, and evidently no screens) They heard the group drive up, go into the house, look around in the upstairs, and finally, they gave up and went somewhere else to look, driving away. Gma and Gpa had won! They climbed back into the bedroom and went to bed..........only to find that Grandpa Rintoul had tied cowbells to the springs underneath the mattress! I thought that was hilarious, but I'm not sure they agreed at the moment! Remember, Gma C. was only 17! Think how embarrassed she must have been!
In the pictures, you'll see the house and then the placard that explains the historical status. I've been there within the last 10 years, and I know it didn't have that placard then. So that was really fun. As you look at the house, you'll see the little roof around the house at 2nd floor level, but you can't see it very well on the right side because of the tree.....but that's the side where Gma and Gpa C hid.
The Richard Paul Whicker Family
We drove on to Ft. Carson to visit Richie and Jessica and little Sierra Samantha, and to take her very belated little kitten picture. Got there too late to visit that night, but the next day we arrived there just in time for Richie to go back to work after an early lunch, as he was hoping to get off early that evening. However, instead, they kept him LONGER than usual, so we played with Sierra and watched TV with Jessica until he came in, then we took them out to dinner. Jessica made her announcement to us about being pregnant again! Sierra loved her kitten......in fact, I realized that when they are babies they don't even pay any attention to them, of course, but at Sierra's age, they are much appreciated by the recipient themselves!!
Richie had cleaned the house for us, and he was very pleased with himself! He said he should have taken before and after pictures so we could appreciate his efforts! Jessica is having a tough time, I think, with the beginning of this pregnancy.
After dinner, the three of them went to our motel with us, and Dad/Gpa showed them our 50th wedding anniversary video. Richie was tickled to see what he looked like 9 years ago! He also showed them most of the video Ry made for her Dad's b.d. He was very interested in all the planes Gpa had flown.
We headed for Utah the next morning, going through Canyon City on Hwy. 50. When we filled up with gas, there was a young man there with long locks, filling his truck. He had on beautiful silver earrings....made up of filigreed butterflies.....at least 1 1/2 inches wide!
We didn't stop to visit in Grand Junction because we were just so tired and wanted to get home. We will go there next week, if all goes well, and spend two or three days visiting with Aunt Max and Ben, and Aunt Lois and Uncle Gale.
We did stay in a motel there, and it was quite unique. A family from Bulgaria had purchased it, and their accent was so fun. They had put sweet little touches in the room, like a bouquet of flowers on the table with a nice doily underneath, and beautiful embroidered shower curtains. Everything was so clean! A much homier feeling than you usually find in motels, especially the moderately priced ones! We complimented them on the room and they seemed delighted!
We went to church in Fruitvale long enough to take the Sacrament and then headed home. A wonderful trip..........and also wonderful to reach our beloved Kaysville and our home and family!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In Springfield, we visited with Edwin for a couple of hours, and he showed us a scrapbook he had made of his life. He has only one daughter and one granddaughter, so I sure hope one of them takes an interest in that treasure.
Edwin's daughter has cancer, and they were doing a biopsy the next day after we got there, so he was quite tense. We went to a really nice little Inn that had a kitchenette, living room, and couch! We enjoyed our time there, and the next day we didn't hear from Edwin until quite late so we decided to stay there another night before taking off. (Edwin doesn't have a cell phone or computer, so when he is waiting for a call, it has to be his home phone. He is quite a worrier and doesn't want his personal life "exposed" by a cell phone or computer, so he's way behind the times!)
The morning of the 31st, we went to West Plains, Missouri, where a genealogy research client of mine lived. It was 120 miles one way, but I hadn't heard from him for years, and I had a lot of important papers that he had sent me during my research that were originals (bad idea) and when I returned them to him by mail, they came back! I figured he was dead, but thought at least I could find a relative to give them to, as I wanted to be sure they got into the right hands to preserve for his family. I was right, he had passed away about 6 years ago, but in the phone book there was a Hilburn Photography Studio listed, so we went there and found that his wife still lived there -- I don't know why she didn't get the packet of papers I sent. Anyway, we found her phone number, called her and she told us where to send the materials; she seemed totally uninterested, though, and I certainly hope that someone in their posterity will take good care of these records.
One sad note was that Dad called one of his cousins, Betty Jean King James (Gma Whicker's oldest brother's daughter) and she evidently has Alzheimers, because she had no idea who he was and he couldn't even help her recognize the name KING.
He called several King cousins who were having family illnesses. Galen King, Uncle Floyd's youngest son, and his wife Kathy were well, and seemed very excited about seeing us, so they came over to Carthage and we took them to dinner, had a great visit. He talks so much like Uncle Floyd it is amazing! They came back to the motel with us and watched our 50th Wedding Ann. video and I showed Kathy some of our genealogy files. They are a sweet couple. They very much believe in God and are active in their church.
For some reason which I cannot remember now, I googled John King's name (Uncle John's son) and came up with a genealogy query that he had submitted on some site that I can't remember now!! (Note all the "can't remembers") I found that he was looking for Grandma Beulah King's great grandfather, Benjamin A. King. He mentioned Putnam County, Missouri as the death place for Benjamin. All I had was the year of death, 1892, the approximate date of birth and the state of birth...and I did know he died somewhere in Missouri. Actually, I hadn't ever done any research on this man at all....so I have a very strong witness that finding him at this particular time was important! We were planning to leave Missouri the very next morning and go to Kansas to do the research on MY great grandmother that I had so looked forward to, but something was pulling me another direction! I quickly looked up Putnam County on the map, found that it was THREE HUNDRED miles away from the part of Missouri that we were in, and asked Dad if he wanted to go so far. He was willing to do what ever I wanted to do, and I think he, too, was a little excited about finding something on his GGGrandfather.
So, the next morning we headed North to go way up near the Iowa border! Before the jaunt was over, we realized that the WHICKER family lived 16 miles north of the KING family in the 1890's when Grandpa Benjamin Archie Whicker was born! The reason that is interesting is that they did not meet and merge families until they all moved to Southern Missouri, where Grandma Beulah King was born 5 years after Grandpa Benjamin Archie!
Benjamin A. King was b. about 1805 in Tennessee, county unknown. Since he died in Putham County, MO, I was hoping to find some biographical material on him, and since he lived in the County Seat (Unionville) I was sure there would be some records. As we wandered farther North and away from Kansas City, houses got more and more sparse and farmland was everywhere! I thought, Boy, I am sure thankful that he lived in the County seat, because it doesn't look like there are many towns of any size for many, many miles here! We eventually turned East off the main highway, and went miles and miles without seeing any sign of a house, vehicle or any indication of a human being! Except, of course, all the wheat and corn fields standing there, lonely, on the quiet roads.
After about 5 hrs. of driving, a lot of it at about 50 mph, the metropolis of Unionville was right ahead of us. The outskirts of town were pretty old fashioned looking.....but we soon discovered that the "outskirts" were actually the "middle" of town! There were two medium size grocery stores, no restaurants, 1 service station, and an interesting little warehouse looking store whose marquee touted "Tools, Ceramics, Dolls and Misc."
(Picture attached.) We stayed in the only motel in town. It was clean and comfortable, with a bed that we considered better than the modern ones in motels today because it had beautiful wooden headboard and footboard with upright planks and crowns on the corners (think 1920 style) and was very comfy. There was no cell phone reception, no wireless at the motel....however, they did have wireless at the library, thank goodness!
The next morning was Saturday and the library was only open 3 hours that day, so we were there right at 9 a.m. and stayed until noon. I didn't find anything biographical about Benjamin King, but I did find several of his children's marriages and their children's births and marriages. This is one of those little places where the church hasn't ventured to film, so I was SO glad that the Spirit guided us there.
I had gone through all of the cemetery listings, which the librarian said were all complete....and then as we went to leave, she said, "What name are you looking for?" I told her, and she said, "Oh! You know, there is a cemetery named the King cemetery....and it isn't listed here in our materials. But, it only has one grave." The grave WAS for a King, so she then guided us to another person that might be able to tell us more about that grave. We called him, and sure enough!!! It WAS our Benjamin King! The grave was on what had been his property in the late 1800s. We didn't get to see it because it had snowed that very day and everything was so muddy from the spring rains and snows. I guess you had to climb a couple of little hills to get there, too. But it was a great great grandson of Benjamin's that I talked to, and he said the grave is well preserved, with a stone wall around it, and everyone who has owned the property since 1892 has kept it in good shape. I hope to soon get a picture of it from a gal that is doing a cemetery project there.
A couple of days later as I was again surfing on the Internet, I found a lady who had an ancestor named George Clinton King, b. 1809 in Tennessee. On the slight possibility that he might be related to Benjamin, I emailed her and asked her if he happened to have a brother named Benjamin. She wrote right back and said he DID have a brother named Benjamin, who was married to a Priscilla Cates! THAT'S OUR BENJAMIN!! She didn't know the parents, either, but she did have an idea about the county they lived in Tennessee. So now I have a sibling to help identify the correct parents!
On Sunday, we left in plenty of time to get to Trenton, Missouri, where the LDS church started at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m., as reported on the Church website. We got there 20 minutes ahead of time and met a man going into the building. He said there was only 20 minutes of church left, but we were welcome to come in! The church site was wrong on this one!
Our GPS misbehaved during the miles in the wilderness up in that part of Missouri. It told us twice what road to take as we travelled toward Trenton, and both those roads ended up ending because of a major washout!
Monday we drove to Lamar, Missouri, where Grandma and Grandpa Whicker met and married, and went to the tiny historical department there. We did find some dates that were missing in our data, but most of it we already knew. Grandma did a good job of covering those items!
This is getting too long, so I'll do a Part 4, and try not to be so long getting it written!
Love you all!
Monday, April 5, 2010
The weekend was very special in all of our lives! We thought about all of you, and missed the ones we couldn't see or talk to!
Glenn and Pam and some of their family were in Logan for the weekend, and so Glenn, James and Perris came down to go to General PH meeting with Dad. Chuck went, too, and then they came home and had rootbeer floats and played a couple of games on the Wii. Would love to keep that tradition going, and when possible, we'd like to have all the Growing Group of Grandsons join in each Conference!
Chuck and Dad and I all watched morning Conference together and enjoyed it very much. I continue to be impressed with the spiritual giants that we have leading us. In the afternoon, we got to spend some time with Rea Jo, David and Abby and Anna when they came over, and we were all watching Conference again when Jack, Natalie and little Jackson (not so little, though!) came by. It was so wonderful to have them here! They are cute, bright parents, and their babe is just absolutely adorable! We couldn't believe how much he had grown! We took pictures of Dad and I and Jackson, as I am trying to get a picture of every great grandchild with us sometime during 2010. My reasons for that are simply that I would give just about ANYTHING if I had a picture of me with my Great Grandma that was still alive when I was little. I don't know whether they will ever care about it as much as I do, but if they DO care, they will have a picture!!
Awhile after Conference, all of Benj and Connie's family came over except for Richie, who is in Louisiana doing a month of training for going to Afghanistan, and Jessica and Sierra. Those two are here, but Jessica wasn't feeling too well. What a fun time that was! Connie, Misti, Mary and Cody, Ronnie, Talon, Owen, Kayani, Benji, Stacy, Ethan, Aubree, Ryan, Sarah, and Jaycee............AND of course, little Sarah, Jr. was definitely THERE (note from Sarah....Thanks a LOT grandma!!! Everyone was giving me crap yesterday for being gigantically pregnant, but I never thought grandma would make sure even those who weren't there knew! :), although she is still keeping her face hidden for the time being! Those three little girl cousins are the cutest thing to watch together! The three boys were outside most of the time, and they have a ball together, too.
We were taking pictures of babies and us, and thought we were through..........not so!! Suddenly, Cody said, "OK, Ronnie, get up there with the baby!" I didn't quite realize what was going on until she jumped up on the couch (where we had the boys standing to take their pictures) and pulled her shirt up to show us the area where our THIRTY-FIFTH great grandchild presently resides! If I get her permission today, I'll put a couple of pictures on FACEBOOK! Congratulations, you soon-to-be family of SIX!
Sarah took on the ardous task of helping me get my pictures from last Halloween transferred to Facebook, and also getting all my pictures from our trip transferred on to my computer. I seem to be not picking that talent up very fast, hopefully it's because I just don't do it often enough rather than because I'm not smart enough! She seemed to laugh at me a lot with reference to computer stuff.....I didn't ever quite know WHY, but I'll bet most of you can easily see that scenario! I DO know how to do genealogy on the computer better than most of you 8-) !!
We also learned that Cody and Ronnie and fam are moving to MONTANA! He has a better job there, with better chances of advancement as I understood them. They've been away before, but this still seems sad in my heart. I am especially feeling sorry for Ethan right now. Such a cute family! I guess now, Gpa and I will have to take a trip to Wisconsin and Montana one of these days!
Mary got a massage from Chuck on his new massage table that he got last Christmas from Rebecca, and when Kayani saw them, she immediately told me about it, in a very worried tone! I tried to reassure her, as all of us did, but she just couldn't believe that he wasn't hurting Mary! Finally, she did get under the table and see Mary's face through the "face hole" in the table, and decided it wasn't quite so bad, but she was still concerned! So cute!
Thanks to all of you for giving us such a wonderful family, and may God Bless you in your desires to grow in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in His ways.
He said something that has been a powerful lesson to me, and I would like to share it. (Some of you have heard me say this before....sorry!)
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
To me, that is a pattern for me to consider and follow throughout my life. It is simple enough to realize that those who crucified Him did not know that they were crucifying the Savior of the world, but there is more meaning in my heart. I believe that every time anyone, including me, commit a sin, that at that moment (at least) they do not realize what they are doing. By that I mean, they do not realize the implications and the consequences and the import of their acts. If we truly knew of eternity and the love of God and His plan, we would all choose not to sin. It is our lack of "knowing", it seems to me, that causes us to fail.
For me and my life, this means that I need to get to KNOW Him better, KNOW who He is, and what His plan is.
For others who may choose to judge me unrighteously or strive to offend me, inflict pain or anger against me or those I love, etc., it means that I will forgive them, because truly they know not what they do.
The gifts that we have been offered as a result of His sacrifice are many. I know that I am not even aware of all of them as yet. I am so grateful.
Friday, April 2, 2010
I think I left you with our visit to Tara and Andy's household.....but I forgot to say something I wanted to say. I was fascinated to watch Andy with his kids. He isn't home a lot with his work and church callings, but it seemed to me that he used every opportunity to communicate, respect and just "be there" for his kids, in his own quiet way. He and Tyler had several conversations that I witnessed but didn't actually hear what it was about, and the tone of voice Andy used was much like he would use on another adult, I think, but using words that were on a child's level to understand. One time when I did understand the context of the conversation, Tyler was rather whiny about not being able to play a game that he had hoped to share with his Grandpa Whicker (Glenn). Andy had to be firm, and yet he did it in such a respectful way! Andy's calmness was contagious, and Tyler or the girls were always positively affected by his methods, which is just very rare, I think! I wish I had known 50 years ago how to do that, and I even wish I knew how NOW! Tara and Andy are just fantastic parents, even though Tara has quite unavoidable stressful times because of all her duties as wife, mother, RS president, friend, counselor, etc.!!
So now we were on our way to Colleyville, TX, near Dallas, where Marinne, David, Townes and Lillie Mae live. We were so excited to see them. It has been so long since we've been able to spend more than an hour or so with any of them, and even that has been rare.
About two hours into the trip, Dad handed me his cell phone and asked me to check for messages. The first message I heard was Jeff's voice. I was stunned as I heard him say "Dad, I hope Mom isn't right by you. Don't even look at her!" A sick feeling hit the pit of my heart. I told Dad we had to pull over to return the call, because I didn't want him to be driving when we heard the news, whatever it was. It sounded very bad, to me. When we called him, there was no answer, so we left a message. We tried several more times for the next hour or so, and of course, having him unavailable made me worry even more. (I'm sure Dad was worried, too, but he didn't let me know it) We got to Marinne's house a couple of hours later and still hadn't heard from Jeff. I was afraid we would hear from him while we were in Marinne's house with the little ones, and I didn't want to go to pieces in front of them, so we drove on past her house and went and checked into a motel. (Marinne had seen us drive by and I'm sure was disappointed when we went on!) Finally, we got Jeff on the phone. I asked him what had happened, and he said....."Nothing, why?" I explained what I heard on his message and he was astounded, I think! What he had really said was, "Dad I hope Mom's (n) right by you. I need to look at her." (He was trying to use Dad's terminology, he said.) The reason I put an (n) between those two words is because when I relistened to his message, there definitely was a sound that sounded like "is'n" instead of "is" and that's why I guess it came naturally for me to think something bad had to have happened. The voice fluctuations for "Don't even look at her" and "I need to look at her" are the same. Well, whatever the reason, I had gone through several hours of agony, trying to just stay calm (like my new motto says). Jeff felt SO bad! He said how sorry he was, and I said "Don't be sorry, you have just made me SO HAPPY!" It was such a relief to find out the benign truth!!
Later, Rea Jo observed that my subconscious mind may have been remembering what happened the last time I was in Texas, in 1996, and set me into an automatic fear mode, but I sure didn't realize it consciously, if that's true!
When we got to Marinne's house, we explained to her what had happened, so I'm sure that she understood.
We had such a great visit there! That little Townes is so smart....and I think his parents are smart enough to guide that intelligence in the most productive directions. He loves words, and if he hears a new one, he has to know what it means and how to say it correctly, then he USES that word; he owns it! He is so full of questions and things to show you and explain to you! He asked me why I had that "stick" (my cane) and I explained that I sometimes feel like I might fall and it helps me not to. He said, "Oh, you mean like a third leg?" The best explanation I'd ever heard!
He and I played Blockus (a small travel version) that I had brought to him, and he loved it! He was a little pouty when he lost, but then he would pause, laboriously correct his attitude, and then say something like "It's fun to play a game. It doesn't matter if you lose." It was like a lesson he had learned and memorized, but had to be repeated often!! Reminded me of Gabriel's comment when he and I were playing Tetris..."It's OK! I just wanna have fun, OK?" referring to my efforts to persuade him to move the pieces so they would fit where they fell!
Little Lillie is a darling. A bit clingy to Mama at this point, but she did actually come to me, while I was sitting on the couch, touched me, and looked at me without recoiling! By the time we left, she smiled a lot at us. The Mommy and Daddy in that home are also respectful of their children as they correct them. David takes Townes to work with him on Saturdays, and talks to him about adult things all the time! You can tell that Townes truly enjoys his time with his Daddy and thrives in the conversations they have.
We were there for Marinne's birthday, and David had wrapped several presents up for her. She was thrilled to find that he had purchased several real canvases along with paints and all the accessories except for an easel, which she said she didn't think would work well for her, anyway. David is so quiet, and quite sober looking most of the time, but his heart is always smiling, I can tell because of the way he interacts with his family. It was just a joy to be with them! We took Marinne and the kids out for lunch on Friday, and did a take home dinner for her birthday celebration that night, even though it was a day early. We were there for her gift opening, and then left about 2:30 in the afternoon.
We had a pleasant drive to Hennessey, Oklahoma, where Dad's cousin, Barbara (Aunt Irene's daughter) lives. Our GPS did just fine, and the chief navigator finally learned how to understand it well, so things went very smoothly. Barbara and her husband, Walter, live in the wooded outskirts of the little town, lots of land and trees all around them. Their daughter lives next door to them, and the daughter's daughter lives in a little trailer in the back area of the lot. Annie, the great granddaughter, was at Barbara's house a lot, so we got to know her a little. She's a great person, and so is Walter. They were so glad to have us come. They just lost their daughter to cancer in January, and this other daughter was having a very hard time with it. I was trying to comfort her a little, and mentioned something I learned when our John was killed, which I guess she hadn't known before, and she just hung on my every word. When I finished, she said "thank you!" so lovingly, and put her arm around me. She said I had helped her so much, which was quite surprising to me, but I'm so glad I could help a little.
We went to church on Sunday with Barbara and Walter, came home and their kids and grand kids had brought Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, so we all ate and visited. Since we hadn't ever really known her daughter, son-in-law and kids and grand kids, it was a great experience to get acquainted with them.
Monday morning, we got up and packed and left to go to Perry, Oklahoma, where my cousin Judy Farabough lives (Aunt Verna's daughter). I have not seen her it at least 30 years! We found her after driving on roads that don't exist on the GPS, and had a nice visit. She looks so different than she did when she was young that I can hardly relate her to my young cousin. She is a widow now, living alone, has lots of her family around her and is active in her church. She'll be 79 this year. If you remember my Dad's hair being black, and also Aunt Verna's, hers is just the same. NOT grey like mine! Judy enters competitions every year for her day lillies, and has several trophies for them.
A short drive took us to Oklahoma City, where Forrest Andrews, Dad's cousin (Aunt Sylvia's son) lives. He is a widower, has had his colon removed and has had both knees replaced, but still is very active! He took us for a driving tour around the city, then we took him out to dinner, then we left shortly afterward. He has a collection of classic cars, especially Corvairs. He had a Comet the same year as Dad's, so they have a lot in common.
We stayed the night in Miami, Oklahoma, then continued on to see Edwin King (Uncle Johnny's son) in Springfield, Missouri. We'll continue on from here in the next episode!
I just haven't been able to get an email written, we've been having so much fun! I'll give you a quick rundown on our travels.
We stayed in St. George for a week, waiting for Glenn and Katie to get out of school on Friday the 5th of March so we could take off that afternoon toward Houston. It was a crowded but delightful time with that little family, and probably an experience that we won't get to have again. I'm quite sure that Katie got the worst of it, as she was the only one that could ride even half way comfortably in the middle backseat! She got pretty bored, I know, but she was a good sport. We tried the "Tell a Story" game, like Misti, Sarah, Jenni and Alaina and I played on our way to California when little Johnny was born....do you remember, girls? I remembered that we laughed our heads off when we did this game then, so we decided to try it. So, we are telling this story about a little boy with big ears who could hear extremely well (this is a short version) and eventually heard three other boys at school talking about slashing their teacher's tires. He wanted to stop them, but couldn't figure out how. Then our innovative Dad/son/Uncle/grandpa Glenn added to the story by saying that he decided to install a video camera so that he could watch the parking lot any time the teacher was there. The next person to add to the story was Katie, and she said...."BUT, even tho he thought about doing that, he found out that he couldn't afford it --- BECAUSE HE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH ALLOWANCE BECAUSE HE DIDN'T GET GOOD ENOUGH GRADES!! We all had a good laugh over that one! A true case of experience speaking! In another part of the story, this little boy became so discouraged over the bullying he was getting, that he went home in the middle of the day. But immediately after that it was Pam's turn, and she quickly added that his mother said he had to go RIGHT back to school because he HAD to get his MATH done! (Can we guess that this might be a familiar phraseology in her life with some of her children?) It was really fun, but Grandpa, who doesn't have too good of an imagination but who loves rhyming things, kept just rhyming with the last person's last statement instead of really telling any part of the story!!! So funny. He eventually was so stumped that he just said, "And the little boy lived happily ever after!"...........and that didn't even rhyme!
I think it was about 7:30 on the last day of February when we got to the Hart Home. Andy was at a church meeting (he is the Stake Auditor, I believe). It was so good to see those little ones! We have only seen Kaylee at a few months old until this trip. She and Tyler and Audrey are SUCH little love bugs! Tara was exhausted from her day but still excited to see us and had a lovely dinner prepared for us. After dinner, it was just about bedtime, and every night, Tyler reads to the family from the Children's Reader version of the scriptures. He is such a good reader, and it was so easy to understand that I think I might change over to those readers!
On Tuesday, Kaylee seemed very interested in my playing the piano, so we put a stool by me so she could "play" with me. She played quite daintily with one finger on each hand, so I just watched which note she was playing, and I made chords to match it on my part of the piano. She loved that! Soon, I drew my hands back to my tummy (unintentionally, rather quickly) so I could just listen to her play by herself. She grinned after playing a few notes alone, and abruptly withdrew HER hands back to HER tummy very quickly and smiled up at me! I quickly understood that this was a GAME! So I did it again after playing a few notes, and she did it again, and etc., etc., etc. Pretty soon she broke into a full giggle, and it was SO darling! We had such a fun time!
Oh, I have to tell you about Katie's heart which was stolen by the puppy at the Hart home! Bella is their new dog, and although Tara is quite doubtful about enduring a dog in her house, she has bowed to the emotional needs of the kids............and ANDY! Well, Katie was head over heels in love! I got a couple of cute pictures that I'll try to post soon.
Wednesday, we all (except Andy) went miniature golfing in a psychedelic indoor course, made up with all kinds of huge statues of wild animals. The darkness and the bumpy floor made it scary going for me. I didn't play but I did get some good pictures. The kids had a great time, though!
Thanks to all of you who were there for making our stay so memorable. One thing I've often thought about that kind of bothers me.....when a family of our descendants live in our town or nearby, we NEVER get to go and visit for a day or two like we do with you who live so far away!Being with you guys for several hours a day lets us have a good view of what a fantastic family you are! We get to see fantastic "moments" with those close to us, but they are always all too short! (Don't worry, all of you who are close, we won't invade your homes for days at a time like we did Tara's!) There are, of course, many advantages to having you Northern Utahans close to us, too!
Thursday morning, Glenn and Pam and Katie were taken by Tara to the airport, and we packed up and took off in the car on our month long adventure! Next chapter to follow soon.