Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On This Day: The Birth of John Edward Lundquist (31 December 1892)


John Edward Lundquist was born 120 years ago today on 31 Dec 1892 to Pehr Alfred Lundquist and Mathilda Lovisa Eriksson-Holm.[1] He was their first of three children.  The family was living in Stanton, Montgomery County, Iowa and his father was a farmer. His parents were both from Sweden but met in Iowa.

I have a copy of John’s birth record, written out in 1983. 
 
Birth record for John Edward Lundquist

Here his father was listed as Peter Lundquist and mother as Holm.  I also have a photocopy of the family bible where it was written in Swedish of John’s birth: Sonern John Edward föd den 31 December 1892” (son John Edward born the 31 December 1892).


John would later move to Hilmar, Merced Co., California with his parents and marry Signe Maria Hilena Johnson. They had one son. He spent his life as a farmer and died 23 Oct 1970 in Turlock.

-------------------------------------------
[1] Montgomery County Register of Births, Bk 2, Birth Record of John Edward Lundquist, 1481705, Bk 2 pg 40 #33.


Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dry Farming in Eastern Oregon – Land Records for William C. Gleeson

I love land records—though it is truly a love-hate relationship.

Land records can give you a lot of information but they are not as forthcoming with easy information like those of vital or census records.

You have to dig a bit.  You have to analyze a lot. There are complicated words and abbreviations you must understand.

One record does not tell you much. You need to collect all of the land transactions for your ancestor. There are some questions to ask, too, such as:

When did he get the first piece of land?
How did he get it? Did he buy it, get it as a land grant, homestead it, or was it bounty land?
What happened to it later when he moved or died?

This journey into land records began with the 22 October 1927 obituary for William C. Gleeson, the brother of my great-grandmother, Anna M (Gleeson) Sullivan. The obituary stated that he was “prominent in Eastern Oregon some years ago, where he was one of the first to engage in dry land farming.”[1] William lived in Harney County, Oregon in 1920 so I figured Harney County was a good place to start searching for possible land records.[2]

First, let’s talk about what dry land farming is. According to Wikipedia, dry land farming is “an agricultural technique for non-irrigated cultivation of drylands.”[3] It went on to mention locations such as the eastern Washington and the arid southwest. The area of eastern Oregon would be similar to eastern Washington. The type of crops that would be grown would depend on the availability of rainwater. In eastern Oregon, it would be spring rains. They would plant wheat, barley, or oats.

So to find land records, I checked out Familysearch.org for possible databases or images I could search about Oregon. And there it was “Oregon, Harney County Records, 1870-1991.” Clicking through I found “Land and Property Records.”

I always start with indexes, so the county indexes were divided by direct or indirect, and by years. I began with the indirect because those are the indexes of the “grantee” who was the one who purchased the land. You can’t have land unless you buy it first (or are granted it through some means—or maybe inherit it. Lots of ways of getting land, but I thought I’d start with seeing if William C Gleeson purchased some land.

So I chose the index around the time when he lived in Harney County: Deed index-indirect, 1917-1950, vol 3. These indexes are listed under the first letter of the last name, so I had to scroll forward looking for the “G” names. Once I found the “G,” they were also sorted by the second letter of the surname. The ones I wanted were “G-KLM.” Here you can see the first page. The heading for the page read from left to right: GRANTEE, GRANTOR, KIND OF INST[rument], WHEN FILED [month, day, year], RECORDED [book & page], LOCATION [sec, twp, range], DESCRIPTION.

About nine lines down you can see the first GLEESON entry: Margaret Gleeson as grantee (the buyer) and William C. Gleeson (the seller). There are several more transactions on this page with GLEESON surnames.




Because William was selling land to Margaret Gleeson, he is probably in an earlier index volume where he obtained the land. I will have to search vol. 2 as well.

In fact, I found lots of GLEESON transactions. I wrote down each one carefully so I could then look in each of the deed books for the actual recording of the transaction.

This is important. Although this index gives a lot of good information and the description of the land, the actual recording sometimes have more information, such as residence and names of additional sellers.

Once I had all of the records saved, I made a table with all of the transactions together. I sorted them by date. From this table, I could see when a piece of property of purchased and then sold again. I don’t have all my questions answered yet but I am well on my way.  Just for clarification, Margaret Gleeson was William’s mother. Margaret T. Gleeson was William’s sister, as was Helen M. Gleeson.  Michael P. Gleeson was William’s brother. The Gleeson Brothers Company appears to be a company owned by William C. Gleeson. More research is needed to determine when the company was incorporated.

Land Records for Gleeson in Harney Co, Oregon
Date
Grantor, Place
Grantee, place
Cost
Lot description
Nov 24, 1916
William C. Gleeson, Harriman OR
Margaret Gleeson, a widow
$10
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
May 17, 1917
United States of America
W.C. Gleeson
Certificate
 07147
Patent no. 584617
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
May 19, 1917
Margaret Gleeson, Portland
Margaret T. Gleeson, Portland
$10
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
Jun 6, 1917
US Land office, Dept of Interior
William C. Gleeson, Lawen, Harney Co, Oregon
Paid in full, cert of homestead
Serial no 07148
SW¼ Sec 35, twp. 24 south, Range 32½ east.  160 acres.
Dec 10, 1917
Margaret T. Gleeson, Portland OR
Gleeson Bros, a Corp of Lawen, OR
$2400
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
Dec 15, 1917
William C. Gleeson, Lawen OR
Gleeson Brothers Co., Lawen OR
$400
SW¼ of Sec 35, Twp. 24 south, Range 32½ E, containing 160 acres.
Aug 12, 1918
Jesse L. Roberts & Lillie R. Roberts, Burns, Oregon
Gleeson Bros. Company, a corporation of Harney Co, Oregon
$3200
W½ of NE¼ of Sec 28, Twp. 23 south, Range 32 east, 80 acres.
Jun 2, 1920
United States of America
Margaret T. Gleeson
No. 07124, patent 752799
NE¼ and the N½ of the NW¼ of Sec 12 in Twp. 25 south of Range 32½ east, and lots 6 and 7 of Sec 6 in Twp. 25 south of Range 33 east, containing 319.43 acres.
Jun 23, 1920
Fred C. Timm,
Michael P. Gleeson
$1000
NE¼ of Sec 25, Twp. 24 south Range 32½ east, containing 160 acres more or less.
Oct 15, 1921
Gleeson Bros. Co., Harney Co (Wm C Gleeson, President; Margaret T. Gleeson, Secretary)
Jesse L. Roberts & Lillie R. Roberts of Burns
$3200
W½ of NE¼ of Sec 28, twp. 23 south, Range 32 east, containing 80 acres.
Apr 21, 1923
Gleeson Brothers Co., Portland
R.L. Anderson, Portland OR
$10
SW¼ of Sect 35, Twp 24, Range 32½ and S½ of the NW¼ and Lots 3 and 4, Section 2, Twp 25, Range 32½ east, containing 320 acres more or less
Dec 5, 1922
Margaret T. Gleeson, Portland
Helena M. Gleeson, Anaconda MT
$1
All of her interest, being the N½ of the NW¼ and NE¼ of Sec 12, Twp. 25, Range 32½ east; W.M. together with lots 6 and 7 in Sec 6, Twp. 25, Range 33 east; W.M. being 320 acres more or less.
Dec 6, 1923
Helena Gleeson, Anaconda MT, by W.C. Gleeson, her attorney Portland OR
Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company.
$10
Strip of land 100 ft. in width which shall include all lands of the grantor which are within 50 ft. on each side of the Centerline of the grantees, railroad grade and survey between Crane, Ore. And Burns, Ore. As the same is now located and stated out over and across the property of said Helena M. Gleeson in the S½ of NE¼ and N½ of NW¼, Sec 12, Tp 25 south, R 32½ east W.M. The course of said centerline is more particularly described as follows: beginning at a point in the East line of said Sec 12 2365 ft south from its NE corner thence N 69°30’ west, 2755 ft to a point in the west line of said NE¼ Sec 12, 89 ft. south from the NE corner of SE¼NW¼ of said Sec 12: Beginning at a point in the North line of said SE¼NW¼  250 ft. west from its NE corner thence 2495 ft to a point in the west line of said  Sec 12, which point is 480 ft. south from its NW corner. Said centerline being 5230 ft in length and said right of way containing 12 acres, more or less.  In addition to the foregoing, a strip of land 50 ft in width, immediately adjoining the foregoing strip on the north, beginning at the East line of Sec 12 and running thence 388 ft in a westerly direction, parallel to and joining with the tract hereinbefore described.  It is expressly provided that title to such lands herein conveyed as shall not be enclosed by the railroad right of way fence shall not pass to the grantor her heirs, executors or assigns by adverse possession, etc.

As it turns out, there are only 6 unique pieces of land in the above transactions. William C. Gleeson got two of his pieces of land from the United States government (Certificate 07147 and Certificate no. 07148). He purchased the other piece from his mother, Margaret Gleeson. His business, Gleeson Brothers Company acquired 3 pieces of land. His brother purchased land, and his sisters purchased and sold land.

Here is an example of how the land transaction was recorded in the deed book:

Harney Co. OR, Deeds, Bk Z p 162, WC Gleeson to Margaret Gleeson,[4] 
 So I'm off to analyze these records and search for more clues. There is an index called Miscellaneous files index, 1889-1929, vol A, where I found some lease records under Wm C Gleeson and Gleeson Brothers Co. Unfortunately the actual records are not found on FamilySearch. I will have to write to the County Clerk in Harney Co, Oregon for them.



[1] "W.C. Gleeson Was Active in Early State Projects," The Oregon Sunday Journal, 23 October 1927, William C. Gleeson.
[2] 1920 Harney Co, Oregon, population schedule, North Burns Prec, ED 70, Sheet 9b, dwelling 199, fam 208, William C. Gleason, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 27 Dec 2013), citing NARA Roll: T625_1493.
[3] “Dryland Farming,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryland_farming
[4] "Oregon, Harney County Records, 1870-1991," digital images, familysearch.orgHarney Co. OR, Deeds, Bk Z p 162, WC Gleeson to Margaret Gleeson.


Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Surname Christmas Tree

Here's my version of a surname Christmas tree. These are all the surnames I am researching on my side and my husband's side of the family.  The idea came from Randy Seaver and Leslie Ann. Thanks!  It was fun.





Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sullivan Marriages: Michael J Sullivan & Sarah Ryan and John M. Sullivan & Marie T O’Neill

Michael J Sullivan & Sarah Ryan, 30 Apr 1900
My great grandfather’s brother, Michael J. Sullivan had three children: Margaret Mary Sullivan, Daniel J. Sullivan, and John M. “Jack” Sullivan.  Michael’s wife was Sarah V. “Sadie” Ryan and they were married in Anaconda, Deer Lodge County, Montana on 30 April 1900.[1]

This family lived in Butte, Montana most of their lives and I searched the Silver Bow county records for Michael’s and Sadie’s marriage but couldn't find it. Well, today, I had luck. I found marriage indexes and images at FamilySearch.org. There they were, right in Deer Lodge Co in Anaconda. Why were they married there?  Well, the marriage record gave Sadie’s residence, and she was a resident of Anaconda! Still don’t know how they met.



The marriage included the license so I learned that Michael Sullivan lived in Butte, was 31, and born in Michigan to Jerry Sullivan and Mary Sheehan. Sarah Ryan was 25, lived in Anaconda, born in Iowa to Dave Ryan. No mother was listed. They received the license on 28 Apr 1900.  From the marriage certificate I learned that two days later they were married by the Catholic Priest, C.G. Tollet in Anaconda and the witnesses were John Sullivan and Agnes O’Boyle.



So who were Agnes O’Boyle and John Sullivan? Michael had a brother named John, who lived in Anaconda at this same time period. John went by the name of John H. Sullivan. The witness name at the bottom of the certificate record gave the name of John W. Sullivan. This is a clerk’s copy. Either this John is really a John W. Sullivan and not related or the H in John H Sullivan’s signature was difficult to read and was perhaps transcribed incorrectly. I have not figured out who Agnes O’Boyle was. She was in an O’Brien household in the 1900 census as a niece. So far I haven’t found a relationship with the Sullivans.

A little over a month later, Michael and Sadie listed in the 1900 census in Butte, Silver Bow county, living at 48 Mercury street.[2] Michael was an electrician.

John M. Sullivan & Marie T O’Neill
Michael & Sadie’s youngest son, John M. was married to Marie T. O’Neill also in Anaconda on 5 Sep 1936 by the Rev. D.J. Sullivan.[3]  The license portion of the record stated that John Michael Sullivan was 27 years old, the son of Michael Sullivan and Sarah Ryan, and lived in Butte.  Marie O’Neill was 24 years old, daughter of Timothy J. O’Neill and Margaret Shea, and lived in Butte. Ah, but they, too were married in Anaconda, even though neither of them lived in Anaconda. What was the connection this time?



It was Rev. D.J. Sullivan, who was John’s brother, Daniel J. Sullivan, a priest who was serving at the time in Anaconda.[4] Perhaps that was the reason for the marriage in Anaconda.  The witnesses were Donald O’Neill, who was probably Marie’s brother, and Margaret M. Sullivan, who was probably John’s sister.




[1] "Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950," database & digital images, FamilySearch.org (http://familysearch.org), Deer Lodge Co, 1900, p 255, Sullivan-Ryan, citing FHL film 1906089, Marriages, v. 2-3 1894-1903.
[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Silver Bow County, Montana, population schedule (digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA microfilm publication T623), Butte, ED 120, sht 7b, dwl 121, fam 162, Michael J Sullivan.
[3] "Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950," database & digital images, FamilySearch.org (http://familysearch.org), Deer Lodge Co, 1936, Sullivan-O'Neill, p 3730 citing FHL film 1906092, Marriages v. 11-12 1935-1942.
[4] Polk's Anaconda (Deer Lodge County, Mont) City Directory, R.L. Polk & Co, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), 1936, p 140, Rev. D. J. Sullivan.

Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 9: Halloween


I am participating in the The Book of Me, Written by You project which will last 15 months. Prompt for week 9 is Halloween. 
  • Have you ever participated in a Halloween event?
  • When was it?
  • Where was it?
  • What did you dress as?
  • Trick or treat?
Hiawatha_costumeHalloween was always a fun time when I was young. We lived on a small street with only a few houses, so Trick or Treating went by pretty fast. Mrs. Peterson at the end of the block always had some really nice home-baked goodies to eat and hot chocolate. At the other houses we got the typical miniature candies. Only Mr. Gardner would give us apples!
Some years our parents drove us over to a block with lots of houses. These streets had sidewalks so it was much safer for us to walk.They would park at one end and wait while we hit both sides of the street. I went Trick or Treating until I was about 12 or so. After that I took my sisters Trick or Treating and waited for them to dole out some candy to me.
I don’t remember too many costumes. I was an Indian once. Perhaps a ghost out of a sheet another time. My sisters liked being princesses; my brothers hobos or pirates.

1993-10_Halloween Party at Horks (2)
Fast forward to adulthood: My parents liked having Halloween parties after we well all grown up. They would invite us kids with our spouses and children. We had pumpkin carving contests and costume contests. One year my Dad dressed up as a nun and another year as a woman. Gosh, he looked just like his mother!




1997 Halloween










My daughters loved to dress up in costumes. Some years I made their costumes and other years we bought costumes. A neighboring street would decorate with colored lights and other decorations and it was a great place to go Trick or Treating. After they got home, the girls would sort out the candy into types and count them. I would hope they would pass along Mounds, Almond Joys, or anything Cinnamon-flavored like Red Hots or Hot Tamales to me.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         There were times when my friend invited them over to make cookies. Basically they were Christmas cookie dough but they cut them out with Halloween shapes and frosted them.







2000_halloween party at the Kellys









I found a photo where I did dress up. My daughters and I attended a Halloween party given by a friend of theirs. This year I made their costumes and we three won the costume contest!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by Me--Prompt 8: Time Capsule

I am participating in the The Book of Me, Written by You project which will last 15 months. Prompt for week 8 is Time Capsule.

·         You can choose who to create the time capsule for as that will influence what you put (or would put into your time capsule).
·         The creation of a time capsule:
o    you can do this in the literal sense or
o    you can simply write what you would place into your time capsule and why. It is much more fun to create though!

This is an interesting concept. What would I put into a time capsule so that some future descendant would know a bit about me? Genealogies will have all the facts but this time capsule should have the items that tell about my feels and character, and perhaps would I love to do and what is important to me.

GS vest, Troll, SF cap, Softball photo
From my childhood, I would put in one of my Troll dolls. (I even still buy them if one from a flea market tickles my fancy). I did not care for regular dolls or Barbies much but loved making clothes and troll houses for my trolls. I bought my first troll for $.75 in 1965 after saving for two weeks (at 50 cents per week). My mother found a pattern where we could make clothes using felt fabric. I would also add my Girl Scout sash from my two years as a Junior Girl Scout and two years as a Cadette Girl Scout.

From my teen years, I would put in a softball and glove. I played on a city league team while in high school and played some in college, too. I would probably add some San Francisco Giant’s memorabilia, too, since I have followed them since the early 1960’s.

My trips on Greyhound
In my college years, I was very involved in model railroading, so I would add something about HO scale—perhaps my Great Northern Ry locomotive model or Western Pacific Ry caboose. I also traveled across the U.S. and Canada twice aboard Greyhound using their Ameripass. So I could create a map showing my route and the places I stopped to visit.








Reading, bird watching, playing the guitar, doing crossword puzzles,
& working for BART



I worked 32 years at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BARTD) and could put in some BART memorabilia such as anniversary buttons or pins, or my train operator baseball cap.

I love reading and writing. A copy of a book from any of the following authors would be good: W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Tony Hillerman, Louis L’Amour, Victoria Thompson, William Kreuger, Dorothy Grimes, or Elizabeth George, to name a few. I also wrote some stories and novels but they have not been published. Putting in pages from the hand-written notebooks would be cool.

Favorite past-time items could include binoculars & bird guides for bird watching, guitar music sheets, Scrabble or Boggle games, and a crossword puzzle from the Wall Street Journal.  I’m not sure how to show activities such as hiking and bike riding.  Boots and a bike would be too large to add to the capsule.

For attitudes and values, I would add “I Voted” sticker; environmental action brochures about clean air and water, planting native plants, and saving endangered species; and COEXIST and NOH8 bumper stickers because everyone should be allowed to live peacefully among each other.

Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 7: Grandparents

I am participating in the The Book of Me, Written by You project which will last 15 months. Prompt for week 7 is Grandparents.
  • What were their names?
  • Where were they from?
  • Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
  • Where were they born, another Country or state/area
  • Photos
  • What did they do?
  • Did you know them?
  • What was your relationship with them?
    If you didn't know them have you researched about them?
Intro
I knew three of my four grandparents. My mother’s parents, Tom J & Pansy Johnston lived in Pleasant Hill, California not far from us. We called them Tom-Tom and Mam-ma. My father’s mother, Anne M. Hork lived across the street from us in Pittsburg but when we moved to Walnut Creek, she moved to Burlingame and San Mateo. We called her Nana. She was separated from my grandfather, so I never met him and he died when I was 13. All of my grandparents have since died.

Mom’s Parents
Mam-ma and Tom-Tom
Mam-ma & Tom-Tom
Tom-Tom and Mam-ma were born in Texas, married in Texas, and had my mother in Texas. During World War II they traveled west to work in construction camps and finally settled in California. Tom-Tom was a carpenter and could build just about anything. We have some pieces of furniture that he built. Tom-Tom’s last job was with the Contra Costa Community College District at the Diablo Valley College campus. Mam-ma was a great seamstress and did alterations for men and women to earn money. Later she worked as a sales associate in a woman’s shop called The Clothes Horse. I worked a few weeks with her one Christmas season where I was to wrap the purchases in Christmas paper.

Mam-ma_Angel
Mam-ma with Angel
Tom-Tom was kind of a gruff guy—not the typical grandfather, but he liked watching football, especially his Dallas Cowboys, and playing with his dogs. I remember the poodle Pierre, who he taught to stand on his hind legs and sing “I love Mama.” Mam-ma loved her dogs, too. Her last dog was named Angel.

Mam-ma expected us grand kids to behave--no running around, yelling, or slamming the screen door. We had to eat all the food on our plates—even the black-eyed peas! She would try out new recipes on us before serving them to “company.” Mam-ma took us shopping every year for new school shoes and she took us to lunch on our birthdays. Still, she was not one of those lovey-dovey grandmothers, who played games or read to us. She only had a few toys for us to play with at her house, but they had a great sycamore tree out in the front yard to climb!
 
Dad’s Mother
ANNA1
Nana
Nana was born in Montana. She attended a Normal school where she learned to be a teacher but also played basketball and tennis, and sang in the Glee Club. After her marriage to William Cyril Hork, they moved to Southern California and had 4 children. After separating from her husband, Nana brought her family up to Napa. She had to return to college to get a valid credential to teach in California. She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Napa county. Later, she moved to Concord and taught at Williams School until she retired. She was a devout Catholic and also taught CCD over the years.

Nana was one of those fun-loving grandmothers who loved to play games and read to you. We learned lots of cute little songs that we sang while washing dishes or doing other chores. She also always had sour ball candies or other goodies to eat. One memory I have was the yearly Christmas present of pajamas that we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve so we could wear them to bed. They would always be made of the softest flannel material. She came to take care of us when my mother had the last two babies—the last time at Christmas. In the apartment building in San Mateo, there was a large park where she would invite all of the grandkids to have a big picnic. It was lots of fun!








Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 6: Journals & Diaries

The continuation of the 15 month, weekly writing project about my life and memories, created by Julie Goucher.
The prompt for week 6 is Journals and Diaries

  • Do you keep a journal or diary?
  • How far back do they go? What do you record?
  • Where do you keep them?
  • Do you always buy the same one or vary them?
  • Have you inherited any?
  • Do you intend to pass along your journals or destroy them?
  • Pictures
  • Do you have a favorite?
  • What do you use to write with – biro, pencil, ink or fountain pen?
I currently do not keep a journal or a diary. I have not really kept either one any long period of time. In high school we had to keep a journal in an advanced writing class I took as a senior. I mostly wrote about the stories I wanted to write, nothing really about myself.
I often keep short journals when I am on a trip, writing about the things that I do on the trip. My first one was started in 1974 when I traveled with a school friend across the country on a Greyhound bus with an Ameripass. There was lots of time to write while riding a bus and in those days and taking photos was expensive because of the cost of developing and printing the film. Mostly I wrote in English, but sometimes I would write in German.
The next time I took a similar trip on the bus with a different friend, I wrote, in addition to the sights we saw, a story. Part of the story started on the bus, so it was easy to be factual about the sights seen from the bus window.
PA100331
I still keep a brief journal/diary on trips so if I put the photos taken on the trip into a photo scrapbook, I have the details to include for the captions.
I have inherited some diaries. My husband’s great grandfather wrote in little notebooks during the Civil War and continued long after. It is dry reading, but does give a glimpse into their everyday lives.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me—Prompt 5: My Childhood Home

 
I am continuing the 15 month project to write about myself using prompts created by Julie Goucher. The prompt for week 5 is “Your Childhood Home”
I lived in at least three houses as a child. I know the addresses and have photos for three of them.
1954 West Pittsburg house - Lea & Lisa HorkWhen I was born, my parents lived at 35 Wharf Drive in West Pittsburg.[1] They purchased the house when they had married the year before and had to wait for the house to be finished before moving in. It had a flat roof. I don’t think they lived there long. I certainly don’t remember the inside and have only seen the front of the house from photos. The house still stands but the community is called “Bay Point” now.
 
 
1963 Birthday party - Lisa HorkWe next lived at 467 East 9th Street in Pittsburg.[2] This was a two story house with a basement and a cellar. There were two bedrooms upstairs with a bath. Downstairs was a living room, dining room and a kitchen. From the kitchen there were stairs down to what we called the basement. It actually had an outside door to the backyard. Below the basement was a small cellar. I remember in the early 60’s some official came to the house to see how big the cellar was in case of a big air raid.
After four children were born, my parents created a bedroom out of the dining room and two girls had one room and the two boys had the other bedroom. I always loved the big picture window with the curved top. My mom bought a silver fake tree and would shine a different spot light on it each year at Christmas. I remember Mom cooking at the gas stove and washing our hair in the kitchen sink. We’d lie down on top of the counter with a rolled up towel at the end for our neck and our head hanging down into the sink. This was a weekly ritual. Most of my memories are of the kitchen but most of the photos taken inside were of the living room. Mom made strawberry jam every year and I can still see in my mind all of the jars she’d collected over the year filled with jam and wax on top. One year made grape jelly, using diapers as the cheese cloth. Then my sister had purple colored diapers after that!
Outside, the yard seemed so big. We had a couple of the kid-powered metal cars that we pedaled. My car was blue and the chain would fall off all of the time. Behind the house was another smaller house that had a renter. One of the renters was a man who did not mind fixing the chain in my car when it fell off. Later, my mother rented the cottage so she’d have a studio where she could paint. I think she also liked the idea of not having others living on the property. We drove the cars, rode bikes, roller-skated, and played hopscotch on the sidewalk and driveway. One day I drove by the old house and the yard seemed so small as an adult!
1970s House 130 Paulson Ln WC - after additionOur third childhood house was at 130 Paulson Lane in Walnut Creek.[3] My parents managed to save enough money to buy this house in 1963. It was only three blocks away from the LoRay store where my father worked in the produce department. This house was barn red with white trim and had board and batten siding. There were three bedrooms and one bath, a large living-dining room, and a kitchen with an eating area. The walls throughout the house were made of knotty pine boards and the floors were hardwood. It was a good size for two adults and four children.
My sister, Danna, and I shared a room. The room had two closets with doors and we’d pretend we were one of the Mousketeers from “The Mickey Mouse Club” show and come out of the room saying our name! I once had the class rat stay over in my room and he ate the curtains at the window. Mom wasn’t too happy about that. I don’t remember the first wallpaper but I picked out a light blue one with flowers. My brother’s room was made of knotty pine boards and had a built in bureau between their two closets.
The kitchen was probably the favorite room as we all hung out there. Mom papered the dining part of the room with white brick wallpaper. We had a huge table that could seat all 8 of us, the two youngest in high chairs. The kitchen side had knotty pine cabinets and an electric stove. The electric stovetop was built in islet that made it easy to pass food from the stove to the table. Mostly Mom served our food onto our plates as there wasn’t room for serving dishes on our table.
The kitchen table was also where all homework was done. In the winter, Mom and Dad had drinks at the table. We played games like cards, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Chutes & Ladders at the table. When I took piano lessons one year, the piano lived in this part of the kitchen as well.
The house was also situated on a quiet country-like lane that ended at the creek where we played often wading in the cool water or catching tadpoles and baby frogs. Other houses that lined the street all had mature trees that shaded their yards. Many also had a variety of fruit trees that kept us all fed between meals! We spent our summers outside except when called for meals by a huge bell. All the neighbor children played outside. It was a fun time.
The first year we lived there my best friend was Maryann who lived next door. She was in my class in 3rd and 4th grade. We played with our Barbies (Back then, older girls played with Barbie—not like today) or made up stories. Later in 5th and 6th grade my best friend was Joanne who lived up the street. Instead of dolls, we played with trolls, making houses out of old cardboard boxes and clothes from felt fabric. By the end of 6th grade she was into boys and I wasn’t quite ready. My new best friend in 7th grade and on was Beth, who liked to read and take walks. We’d meet downtown and just window shop or read books & comic books at the drug store.
When I was in the 5th grade, my mother had another daughter, child number 5 and when I was in 7th grade, the last daughter was born. This necessitated the adding of another room. The garage was converted into a bedroom and the screened porch was glassed in. That was where the T.V. got moved. Still we had only one full bathroom for now eight people. Oh, what a life.
The first to move out were my sister, who shared my room and one of my brothers. I was paying my way through college and needed to stay home. For my room and board, I carted kids around to various activities. I finally left once I had a full-time job and moved into an apartment all by myself. That lasted about a year—I moved in with my husband after returning from our honeymoon and we still live in the house we purchased together.

[1] California, Department of Health Services, Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics, Certificate of Birth, Contra Costa Co, 1954, Lisa Suzanne Hork.
[2] Pittsburg-Antioch City Directory. (Los Angeles, California: R. L. Polk, 1957), 1957: 304, Wm J. Hork (Lela N).
[3] Walnut Creek City Directory, (Los Angeles, California: R.L. Polk, 1964), 1966: 134, Wm J Hork.


















Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me—Prompt 4: Favorite Season

I am continuing the Book of Me, and this week’s prompt no. 4 is ‘Favorite Season’. You can learn more about the prompt & the 15 month challenge at Julie Goucher’s page.
It would be easier to choose a least favorite season: I’m not a big fan of summer. I like wearing shorts but I do not like being hot. I loved being out of school—well for a few weeks until I was bored—and couldn’t wait to get back to school. I even played school teacher with my brothers and sisters. In summer we were forced to play outdoors all day and we never went on vacations, so it was the same thing day after day.
P4062560So spring could be my favorite. My birthday falls just a few days after the first day of spring. The baseball season begins in spring and I can begin to root for my favorite Giants. The budding trees and new wild flowers begin to bloom. My favorite spring tree is the red bud with its dark red blossoms and favorite flower is the California poppy. Hikes in the neighboring hills and parks always reveal beautiful wildflowers all through spring.
 
P4271475
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Fall could be my favorite. It’s the time to start wearing sweaters and sweatshirts. The days become shorter as the trees turn to yellow, gold and orange. The liquid ambers in my yard and the Japanese maple in our neighbor’s yard compete to see which will have the most colorful foliage. It was also the time for school to begin again and each year was always an exciting new beginning. Fall is also the start of the fall migration of birds flying south for the winter and a chance to see visitors to the feeders.
 
 
DSC01029


Winter might come in as a second favorite begin spring and fall. The Christmas season was always an enjoyable time—Christmas music playing on the stereo, cookies and gingerbread being baked in the oven, the tree being decorated with traditional balls and tinsel as well as the handmade ornaments made at school, and the intense anticipation as the packages grew under the tree as Christmas approached (this was only after Santa Claus no longer came to our house). Winter meant rain and more stews and soups cooking on the stove. These are savory favorites of mine and today continue to be comfort food.
So if I had to pick? Spring: my birthday, spring wildflowers, Giant’s baseball.















Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 3: “My Physical Self”

 
The prompt for week 3 is:
Describe your physical self
  • Your size – clothes size
  • Scars
  • Eye color
  • Draw your hands
  • Finger PrintsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I am 5’2” at least that is what my driver’s license states. However, I know I have been shrinking. Age will do that as the bones in our spine settle together. But I also have scoliosis and that also has an effect on my height. I used to be quite thin, weighing only 100 pounds when I got married, but also with age, the weight has inched up instead of down. I’m not nearly as active as I was when in my 20’s. I always wished I was taller. It would be best to add a few inches just to the legs to make up for my long body and keep me from having to roll up my pants. Still, I wear mostly size 8 or 10 clothes.
I have very dark brown hair that is cut short with a part on the side. I have a huge cowlick in the front but I make use of it by flipping up my bangs. This is the same cowlick that is passed down from the Johnston Family. There is a bit of gray throughout, too, and I don’t even care. After watching my mother bleach her hair/roots, I decided it is too much work to color hair.
I have dark brown eyes and brown skin that easily tans. When I was young I thought I looked like my dark-haired father, but as I age I can see I’m looking more like my mother and grandmother with the high cheek bones.
I have a scar on my right eyebrow where I fell on the corner of the coffee table when about 2 and had a bunch of stitches. People used to ask about the scar when I was younger but I haven’t been asked in years. I think a scar on the face is a rite of childhood. So many people have them.
I have all my parts except for 4 wisdom teeth and 4 molars that were removed when I had braces. I’ve never broken a bone, nor been in the hospital except to have 2 babies.
I wear size 7 shoes and hate heels. I have bunions so prefer shoes that are wide and comfortable. I always wear shoes and rarely walk barefoot. Give me Birkenstocks, Keens, or Eccos! 
My hands are small with very short fingers. It made it hard to play the piano and I cannot make a bar chord on my guitar. I try to keep the nails short and never paint them. I wear only my wedding band and a watch on my left wrist. Occasionally I’ll wear a bracelet on my right wrist.