Monday, December 17, 2012

The Five-Span Bridge

My interest was fixated on a bridge my grandfather Stephen Jackson helped build in my hometown of Paulding, Ohio. The adventure began when my husband Al and I made a trip across country in the late 70's or early 80’s to visit friends and relatives in various states and one of our stops was to see my childhood girlfriend, Gladys, in Holgate, Ohio. We reminisced about old times, we hadn’t seen each other since we were nine-years-old, but we had written back and forth over the years. 

Stephen Jackson
The next day we took a road trip with her and her husband Bob.  They took us to Defiance, Ohio to the last place where I lived in Ohio. I had been nine at the time my family of seven moved to Oregon so the area had really changed. It had been country and now was developed with houses. The old house had been torn down and someone had built a new home so it looked different, like nothing I remembered.

Me with brother James and Edwin in front of the house in Defiance, OH

We then went to see the bridge my grandfather had helped to build. Gladys said it was called The Five-Span Bridge. I had known about the bridge from my father talking about it but I never knew its name. The bridge crossed the Auglaize River in northwestern Ohio.  When we arrived, we got out of the car and looked at the plaque at the top of the bridge with my grandfather’s name on it. I took a picture with my old box camera but the plaque was far away and it didn’t really show up in the picture. 

Gladys told me the bridge was going to be torn down and a new one built in its place. I was disappointed because a landmark that my grandfather was somewhat responsible for would be gone. While we were standing there looking at the bridge, an old man in a pickup stopped and called out to us, “It will hold you, never fear. It is well built.” We all started laughing and couldn’t quit. The man drove off and probably thought we were nuts. 

Five-Span Bridge
Many years later I got curious about the bridge and wondered what had happened to the plaque with my grandfather’s name on it. I called several cousins that lived in Michigan but they had forgotten about the bridge. I called Gladys and she told me they had built the new bridge but she didn’t know what happened to the plaque - she was going to inquire about it. I called my cousin Paul, who lived in Finlay, Ohio, and he said he might have a cousin on his mother’s side who knew something about it because he had lived there a long time. I told him it might be in a historical museum and if he found it would he take a picture.  He said he would get together with his cousin and find out.

Soon, all I was thinking and talking about was the bridge.  My daughter and I searched the Internet for five-span bridges in Paulding, OH that crossed the Auglaize River.  All we found was information and pictures about the new bridge - no mention of my grandfather’s bridge, except that it had been replaced. We found out the new bridge was on US 127 north of Paulding and that they were doing work on its road. It's called 637 Bridge 5-span over the Auglaize River. It was built by Vernon Nagel Construction.

I wrote to Marilyn Smith, editor of Paulding Pathways, a quarterly historical newsletter published by an old Paulding County Genealogy Society. I also wrote a construction company that might know something about it but I seemed to hit a dead end.

Then one day, months later, I got a call from my cousin Paul and he said his cousin had found the plaque at the Paulding County Historical Society and they had gone together to take a picture of it. I had gotten Paul as excited as I was about the bridge. He sent me the picture of the plaque and I sent him a copy of the picture of the bridge I had taken those years ago.

Shortly after this Marilyn Smith from Paulding Pathways contacted me and said she hadn’t found the plaque but had discovered one of the members lived in the area when the bridge was torn down and her pictures said August 1983 for tearing it down and November 1983 (and some 1984) for building the new bridge. Marilyn also contacted Ohio Department of Transportation and the man in charge said the records of when the old bridge was built had been destroyed.

I decided the old bridge must have been built between 1908 and 1912 because my grandfather’s obituary said he was county commissioner of Paulding County, Ohio during that time and the plaque that had been at each end of the bridge had my grandfather’s name and that title on it. I also had the information on the plaque to go by and it said the bridge was built by the Oregonia Bridge Company from Lebanon, Ohio. It had the date 1912 above it so that might have been when it was completed.

Old family photo of bridge

Recently I found an old family picture of a five-span bridge in an envelope amongst all my stacks of genealogy materials.  It must have been my grandfather’s picture because it's from that era and looks like the region. When I found the photo I was thrilled because I felt it was my grandfather’s picture of the bridge he had built. The family had always been really proud of it.  Here was a gift after all I had gone through. With a little help from others I solved the mystery of the five-span bridge and the plaque with my grandfather’s name on it.

Then in 2010 my daughter Lorita and I drove back east for a family wedding. On the way home we stopped in Ohio and we stayed with my friend Gladys and her husband Bob for a few days. I told them the story about finding the plaques and they drove us out there to see the new bridge.  As we stood there on the bank of the Auglaize River and Lorita took a picture I thought how neat it was to bring this story to its completion.

New bridge 

Gladys and I in 2010

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home is Where the Heart Is

Story by Louise Lahmann

After being remodeled
We moved into the home where I live in Oak Grove in 1963. The house was in need of lots of repairs and my husband Al being a handy man went right to work. There was a big hole in the front porch. When the previous owner left they took the kitchen cupboards and the sink with them. I had to wash the dishes in the bath tub until Al and his brother Ray built new cupboards and a new sink in.

Al did so many things to fix this house up it’s hard to remember now. He remodeled every room and built on to the bathroom and kitchen. He changed the stairway downstairs into a closet and made a new stairway down to the basement out of a little kitchen nook that wasn’t good for much else.

There was a partial basement (more of a dirt cellar) and Al dug more than half of it out and made a laundry room, huge bedroom and closet and a large family room. That was a lot of work and it turned out beautifully as he changed everything to suit him and he was a perfectionist so everything had to be just so. He took pride in his work and I had great admiration for all the things he did. He was quite a wonderful person.
Al & me later in life, after his illness took hold

I never liked the construction phase with all the dust and noise (even though he cleaned up afterwards) but it was worth it as it was so much nicer when the work was done. I helped him when I could.

He remade the front wood porch by pouring a cement slab. He built a small patio off the back door coming from the basement and another patio off the kitchen. There was no foundation on the north side of the house so he had to jack the house up so he could put a new foundation under it. I helped him with that, whew, a lot of work. It was all a labor of love.

He did all this work on his time off from his regular job as he worked full time at Publishers Paper Company. It was not an easy job at the mill either as he worked a different shift each week so had to keep adjusting to a new schedule. I know it was difficult for him but he hardly ever complained. He was a good provider.

Off to work
Later he built a fence around the property to keep out the neighbors dogs, as back then dogs roamed free. He put in three gates and paved the driveway back to the garage. He put in a gravel drive on the other side of the house and a carport so we could have a place to park our other car. Later, we put in an electric garage door. It seemed there was always some improvement and Al was up for the job. Sometimes I wondered where he got all of his energy.

Besides building and remodeling, Al was a master woodcrafter and had many tools to work on his different projects.  He built book cases, closets, lamps, picture frames, file cabinets and even grandfather clocks. He could make anything to order and designed and made up his own patterns many times. Anything he could see he could turn around and create. He had a good sense of humor and liked to build whimsical toys, whirligigs and a variety of windmills.

File cabinet he made
But after a while he got too sick to do much around the house and after he broke both of his ankles (at different times) it was difficult to stand for long hours in his workshop.  I know he missed being able to make new things and left many projects unfinished. He would get frustrated because he just couldn’t do it like he used to.

I love this house and all it means to me because of or shared labors. Every place I look is a reminder of my life with Al.  He was so talented and capable and left me with a beautiful home and thousands of wonderful memories.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Autumn Trip

Story by Louise Lahmann

October 17, 2009 was my 61st wedding anniversary and I wanted to do something special on that day. I  saw in the newspaper where there was a festival at Hood River and I told Lorita I wanted to go on  this trip and she was excited to go too. But when the day came it was cloudy and downcast. I said maybe it will be better there. So we proceeded to get ready. We got water and some food and my pills and dressed for possible showers. We decided we should go on the 205 freeway to the 84 - we were on our way. 
Al and I

It was fun to do something different but as we drove along it started to rain hard and got very dark. The wind was blowing with the rain making it difficult to drive. At times the car hydroplaned in the high water on the freeway.  Lorita said maybe we should turn back if this gets worse.  I said maybe it will get better when we get there. So we continued on and hoped it would get better.  It was a hazy day and it wasn’t as good as we had envisioned it to be. Lorita complained that she could not see the Fall colors and that was the main reason she had wanted to go. As we got closer to Hood River the rain wasn’t as heavy. They had another festival there on the river so we checked it out. We had to pay admittance there and so we decided to continue on to the original festival just outside of Odell on Highway 35. 

The day had brightened considerably and now we could see all the autumn colors of red yellow, orange and rust. Lorita said I’m taking a picture of that scene of the Hood River. So we stopped so she could take several shots of the river with its fall colors. 

Then we continued on down the road and saw many little farm stands with lots of fruit, vegetables and pumpkins galore. They called the road we were on the Fruit Loop. The flyer says it is “approximately 35 miles of orchards, forests, farmlands and friendly communities.”  We decided to stop at Cody Orchards farm stand. They had herbs, flowers, fruit, crafts and many other things. We got some apples and pears and they were 35 cents a pound, wow! We also got a piece of home made apple pie and shared it. After getting directions to the festival, we were again on the road. 

The festival was on the WyEast school grounds and had three auditoriums filled with all their arts & crafts and food items. There were Gorge wines, prepared foods, fresh fruit and produce, jewelry, clothing, flowers and more. Three women played their folk music on guitar and violin outside under a little roof. There was a salmon dinner prepared by the Native Americans. They had salmon, frybread, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. We decided on one dinner and divided it. We didn’t get the frybread so they gave us two ears of corn with our dinner.  The cook said, as you are sharing the dinner we will give you a larger piece of salmon. It was delicious and all we needed. 

After lunch we went inside to see the crafts. Lorita found a multi-colored knit cap. There were lots of artists and many beautiful paintings and photographs.  A photographer commented on my hat and then added, I can tell you are a mischievous one. I wondered who he was referring to, but no one else was there. Lorita said he was flirting with me. Lorita wanted me to mention this little tidbit but I was embarrassed. Then we went on to another booth and purchased a bottle of honey for my grandson Ryan.  He loves honey and this was fresh from the bee hive. As we were leaving we enjoyed a picturesque scene of the sun in the clouds with a rainbow.

On the way home the rain was lighter and it was brighter so now we could enjoy the autumn leaves and be glad that we continued on with our trip and hadn’t turned back. We went the scenic route for a while along the Columbia Gorge.  

Later when I got home I made applesauce and I wished I had gotten a whole lot more apples because it was so good.  They cooked up just beautiful.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pursuing Family History

Story by Louise Lahmann

In the late 70s my sister Josie was getting married and moving back east and on the way stopped over with an overstuffed manila envelope full of papers and pictures that were to become the beginnings of my interest in genealogy. She told me she didn’t have time to work on it now and wondered if I would like to. It sounded fun. I looked at all the stuff and realized there was so much she didn’t have and I became curious to find the missing pieces.
Mother Mildred, me and sister Josie

I started contacting family members and getting birth dates, marriages and deaths. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed the correspondence and learned a lot. I liked the letters coming in the mail because I never knew what I was going to get. It was exciting. Eventually I was interacting with people that weren’t related but they were interested in family history also. It was helpful to learn about the other genealogist because I discovered how to do it better myself. For instance, I wasn’t very good at documenting in the beginning and later I didn’t know where I got some of my data - so I corrected this.

My uncle Ben had worked on my grandmother Cora’s paternal side and he had a lot of material that was useful and my interest grew because it added a lot to the tree. He had done research since 1920 and his aunt Leona had done work on it before him so the information went way back.

About this time I found out about the Family History Center and started going to Portland and using the computer to research for free on I found the people there very helpful and they guided me so I found census and other records. I had never used a computer before so I had to learn and the staff there showed me what to do and worked with me. I developed some good friendships there.  Later I found out about the center in Gladstone and started going there since it was easier to get to.

Uncle Ben Jackson
My family tree grew and I began contacting even more people that looked like they might have data about my ancestors. I got a lot of addresses from the computer on different sites. People who had information for me but some who needed it too - we traded.  I found Shirley, a distant cousin, in Louisiana and we wrote for many years until she died. I got stacks of information from her on that side of my family.

Then I discovered Sandra, another distant cousin in Canada who sent me whole trees and gave me tons of valuable info that helped me in my search. I also found some data that she didn’t have so we exchanged much and emailed each other every so often.
There were two other people I became close with. Alan Potts was another very distant cousin that I exchanged info with. He sent me three informative books that he had written on the family. I was even able to fill in some missing pieces for him. Then, my cousin Leon Jackson sent me four valuable books he had written. He was a professor in Indiana and had traveled to many of the locations to research and look for records.
Cousin Sandra Janzen

A couple years ago quit offering info for free at the Family History Center. The staff told me I would have to pay to access that info now. So what I could learn about my family began to dwindle. By this time Lorita had moved in with me and so I had access to a computer at home now. In my search Online I would go to open a document and discover it was and I had to be a member to see it. I was upset that they wanted to charge for what I got free before. Honestly, I didn’t like very much and complained about them every time. Lorita tried to get me to buy a membership but I refused because I felt it was too expensive.

Then on my birthday Lorita and Ryan bought me a one year membership for the entire world (that’s more than just the U.S.).  Now I love - I have learned so much and met so many people and we email back and forth. I help them and they help me. It’s very fun because I get new information on my family tree every day, make exciting discoveries, and find people that had long been only a blank space on my tree.

My great grandfather's sister found on
On my mother’s side I found great great grandparents and their families that I had never known about before and I had been searching a long time. Sometimes I’ll find an unknown husband or wife or child in a census or on someone's site and its another puzzle piece that fits in place.  Sometimes I feel like a detective.  I love to solve the mystery.                              

Another thing I love is finding photos on someone’s tree - one’s I had never seen. I have shared many of my family photos with others too and I like to help them and they appreciate it as much as I do.

Besides my mom and dad’s family line and extended family lines, I have also been working on my husband’s family tree and also my grandson Ryan. I took his tree back on one side to the 1500s. And Ryan’s dad, Bob O’Leary, who had thought all his ancestors were from Ireland found out most had come from Scotland. That was a surprise for him.

Bob O'Leary's grandparents on the Carroll side. His mom is one of the twin babies.
Every person on the computerized tree has a place for a photo.  If I don’t have a photo of their face then maybe there’s a picture of their gravestone. I also like the time period before photos because on the place where a photo would go I can find etchings of a immigrant ship, a flag,  coat-of-arms or the likenesses of men and women and the way they dressed during that time period and put those in place of a photo.

Researching family history has been a great hobby for me.  It gives me a happy feeling to connect the people together and it helps me understand more about myself and my roots.  I’m glad I got because now I’m back to finding documents and things I never would have found otherwise. I decided it’s well worth the price because it brings pleasure and gives me something to look forward to.  It’s a legacy I can leave to my descendants, if they’re interested.

Mom with all her children (I'm in the white blouse)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Angels All Around Us

Story by Wilda Lahmann

It was a warm summer evening in late August 1986.  Daily Vacation Bible school had just had its closing program. Both sets of grandparents were able to attend along with the kids and their Daddy, Randy.  I had to work that evening but I made sure the twins Jeremy and Melanie had their nice clothes set out for the program before I left.  Jeremy hadn’t wanted to wear his dress shoes. He wanted to wear his beat up, grungy looking sneakers with Velcro closures. “No, you are not wearing those shoes to church tonight,” I told him sternly.  I gave him a quick hug good bye and then I was out the door for work.

Randy was busy in the kitchen making the kids’ favorite: macaroni and cheese.  He discovered the milk was nearly gone and bread was low too, so he asked our 13-year-old son Scott if he’d mind running over to the corner market for milk and bread. “No problem,” he replied. He knew that a trip to the “GetnGo Market” usually meant a soda or candy too. Jeremy, age 7, asked if he couldn’t please go along too. Randy wasn’t sure as neither of the twins had been allowed to cross the busy street…ever. “Please Daddy,” he begged with his huge, brown “puppy dog” eyes. “I’ll stay right with Scotty.  I promise.” After a few more minutes of begging, Randy relented and said yes and gave them each extra change for a treat from the market. The boys excitedly headed out the door together, 2 brothers hand in hand. Melanie never asked to go. She stayed behind with her Daddy, fixing “mac n cheese.”

My brother Randy with Wilda, Scott, Jeremy & Melanie

It was a busy Friday night at the restaurant.  I was the evening hostess and I loved my job as it allowed me to interact with so many different people. I knew the regulars by name and I would serve them water and coffee and visit with them for a few minutes beside their tables. That is exactly what I was doing that evening when the phone call came in. My manager motioned to me from the front desk. “Phone call.”  Usually, we weren’t allowed to take personal calls while working but he must have known this was an urgent call from a frantic 13-year-old on the other end of the line.

I put the phone to my ear.  It was Scott. He was crying and breathing heavily. “Mom, there’s been a terrible accident.” More crying…. and background noise.

Instinctively I asked “Is it Jeremy? What happened?”
Jeremy Lance Lahmann

Before he could answer I heard what sounded like the whirring of helicopter blades over the phone, so loud that I wouldn’t have been able to hear Scott if he had been talking. Then “Mom, there’s a helicopter landing in the front yard!”

It hit me like a blow to my stomach: Life Flight. They come to the aid of only the worst of accidents.

After a few minutes of unsuccessfully comforting my eldest son on the phone, I knew I had to get to the hospital ASAP. I had to be with my baby, to speak words of encouragement so he would know that he had to hang on. He couldn’t leave our lives already. We had just celebrated the twins seventh birthday, fifteen days earlier.

What hospital? Emanuel. How do I get there? I’ve never driven in that part of town before. I talk with a few waiters and waitresses who tell me that I really shouldn’t be driving at a time like this anyway. But who can drive me?

A smaller dark haired lady was waitressing that night. It was her first day on the job and I didn’t know her, but she came up to me and offered to drive me to the hospital. I readily accepted and we went out to her car and began our drive. It was a beautiful night. Stars were shining, the moon was bright. How could it be possible that I was riding to the place where my youngest son was likely taking his final breaths.

I asked her name. “Anne,” she told me softly.  She had the most comforting voice. She reminded me that regardless of the outcome, Jeremy was already a child of God. She quoted scriptures for me that gave me hope for the future. She also told me that I would need to be strong for the rest of my family. When we got to the hospital she walked with me to the main doors and then told me goodbye. I asked if she maybe wanted to come inside?  She told me “no” that she knew I had family and friends waiting for me inside the hospital. She was glad she was able to give me the ride.  And then she was gone.

Jeremy made his transition from his life on earth shortly after being struck by the drunk driver in the crosswalk in front of our house. It happened so quickly he likely never knew what hit him.  He never regained consciousness. Our beautiful baby boy, Melanie’s twin brother, Scott’s little tag along … was laid to rest beneath a tall fir tree overlooking the valley and Mt Hood to the east.

Mt. Hood from Mountain View Cemetery
I returned to work a week or so later and I wanted to see Anne, to thank her again for being there for me when I needed her. I was told that Anne had never been seen again at the restaurant. She had never returned for her paycheck and they didn’t have a phone number for her.  It was then, while talking with others who had been there that Friday night, I had the feeling I had been visited by an angel.  Others agree.

Since then I have learned that a few of the meanings of the name Anne are “messenger of God”, “God’s gift” and “favored by God”.

The Anne I met that night, was every one of those … and so much more.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Summer 2012 - A Busy Time

 Story by Louise Lahmann

Some of the garden, looking toward the new studio
 It was a whirlwind summer. We had lots of work done on our home. We added a window and door onto what used to be Al’s woodworking shop and Lorita said its going to be her studio eventually where she can work and be creative. We used a large picture window, we took it out of the living room when we put in new storm windows, and Lorita bought a heavy duty door with a full window in it at the Rebuilding Center that sells reused building supplies. What a difference! Now there’s lots of light out there. Lorita hired a man to come and do the job and he completed the entire task in six hours. He was a busy man. I’ve never seen a job done so well and fast.  It is really nice.

Rachel helping plant seeds
 From the window we can admire the flowers, the garden and the birds eating in the bird feeders and taking a bath in the bird bath. We had a beautiful garden this year and had the best tomatoes. They were perfect, no rot. Lorita said she blenderized banana peels and poured it around them after she read that was good for them. She is the best gardener and she said she hopes to get better. This year her friend Rachel moved to Portland from Seattle and she came over and offered inspiration and help in the garden. They both planted chard, carrots, radishes, lettuce and beets. Lorita had already started the tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peas and beans from seeds. Everything turned out but the radishes which were damaged by worms. Lorita just planted a fall crop to see what happens, as she’s never done that before.

Heirloom tomatoes - very yummy
We talked about putting a roof on the house and even got two estimates but later decided to paint the house instead. Our neighbor across the street painted his house and we got the same guy to do ours. I decided I wanted a light color because I was so tired of the dark brown it has always been. The contractor, Joe, was very good and did everything we wanted and more. Lorita gave him extra vegetables from the garden from time to time too as he had a family with six teens.

Joe made new columns for the front of our house and we used some old wood shingles Al had stored in the attic. Before, it was just some metal poles and 2 X 4’s on each side and now it looks like the new columns were part of the original house. It makes such a difference and when I walk out the front door the new columns help make everything look more beautiful in the yard.

Joe’s also a handyman and can do many things. He told us our roof didn’t need to be replaced yet. He said later we could do a little repair on it and possibly put larger vents under the eaves. But we should get five to ten more years out of it. Lorita tore down the old rotted picket fence along the side of the yard and Joe was nice enough to cut the metal posts off at the cement so they weren’t sticking up. Lucky for me, Lorita likes gardening and landscaping.

He also pressure washed the metal car shelter we have out front that I park the Toyota under. Lorita wanted to figure out how to make the dark blue shelter fit in with the house more so we decided to paint the trim on the house the same color. Now its the best looking house in the neighborhood. It has real personality.

Now the trim matches the shelter (left)
We had a big estate sale at the same time our neighbors across the street did. Lorita sold many items on Craigslist also and started posting things on ebay. We have been going through Al’s tools and things he collected. Its hard to let go of them but there’s other people out there who would love to have them and use them. I even sold some of my things, as did Lorita.

The house when we bought it in the late 60s
Our neighbor across the street, Sharon, was not able to come back home after her stroke and had to go into an adult care home. Her cousin ended up buying the house and the family had a huge estate sale that was professionally handled. They posted ads and signs. So Lorita said, “Let’s have our sale on the same weekend and take advantage of the free advertising.” We had hundreds of people come through over that weekend and sold over a thousand dollars. We were all surprised that so much went and so many people stopped by. One of Lorita’s friends even brought some stuff over and helped us with the sale. A month later Lorita took the left overs to a friend’s house up in Beavercreek and sold a few hundred dollars more. Last week she said, “I’m done with yard sales,” and boxed the rest of it up and we hauled it to Goodwill. She said it would get more as a write off on our taxes than we would make trying to sell it. She kept out the nicer things and started posting on Craigslist and ebay again.

The house before painting - the fence and metal poles are gone
Lorita has her little projects and next moved on to collecting the metal she had noticed all around the house. I didn’t realize Al had so much metal stored all over our property but Lorita gathered it all, sorted it and sold it for scrap metal, bringing in a few hundred dollars. Now there’s so much more room in the garage, shed and attic. Plus the areas behind the garage where some of it was stored. I think Al saved everything because being the handyman he was, he never knew when he might need it. I’m sure he knew exactly where everything was.
Pile of metal

Now its time to get ready for winter. We got our rain barrels set up and bought adjustable spouts that guide the water there. Lorita said she doesn’t see what good it does because they don’t hold that much water and you don’t need to water when it’s raining so they will overflow, but I like them and they’re here to stay.

Monday, September 24, 2012

An Active Week

Story by Louise Lahmann

February 9th 2010 I got up at my regular time. I take my medicine at 8 AM and then trek downstairs to the treadmill. I usually do a load of laundry while I'm walking (they're in the same vicinity of the basement).  Its just enough time for it to wash and when I get off the treadmill I can put it in the dryer. My memory's not as good as it used to be so this way I remember to throw it in the dryer, or its been know to sit wet for days. Then, I put on my track shoes and get ready for action. I walk for a leisurely time and then up the speed some. Not too much, don’t want to overdo a good thing. While I walk I compile my story in my mind. Decisions are made as to the story line so hopefully it will be interesting. Then I think about my every day chores to complete and meal making. After 30 minutes I’m ready to do my next project – which is a breakfast snack.

Ryan hangs out waiting for his car to get serviced
I love to have my fruit smoothie in the morning. Lorita has always made it but today it is my turn to do it for the first time as she has to leave today to go to Phoenix AZ with a friend for a yoga exercise class. She told me I had to learn how to do it so I could still have my drink every morning. I cut up fresh apple, banana, pear, pineapple, carrot and frozen peaches and put them in the Vita –Mix. Then there’s protein and vitamin powder to add and I let the Vita-Mix do the rest. It blends it all into a smooth, delicious drink. I also take vitamins and a fish oil tablet with my smooth drink.

Next is time for my shower and dressing. By this time the mail has arrived. With Lorita and Ryan living here we generally get lots of mail which a goodly share goes to the recycle. Sometimes we get a movie to watch from Netflix which Ryan subscribes to. That is a nice pastime.

Now it is time to take Lorita to the Airport. She is flying out on Alaskan Airlines. Ryan drives her there and off she goes.

Later I go to my acupuncture appointment. Today I have to drive myself. Usually Lorita takes me. Since my acupuncturist Diane moved to 37th and Belmont it seems a long way there. I told Ryan I am going to try a new route and take Woodstock. He asked for the address and said he would look it up on the computer to give me the shortest route. He came back and said, “Just go down McLoughlin until you get to Belmont, turn right and go until you come to 37th, turn left and you’ll be right there.” He is very computer wise. So I took his directions and sure enough I made it in 20 minutes where before it was 30 or 40 minutes. When I told Diane I came a shorter way, she said, “Neat.”

At acupuncture I visit with Diane and we were talking about meat and how sometimes it is not good. I told her I liked the meat at New Seasons better than most. She said she got her meat from Trader Joe’s – especially her ground beef because Trader Joe’s has meat from Australia, which is her home country, and it is the same as organic, as Australians are very careful about their meat – no antibiotics and their cattle are never put in pens. I was shopping there after my treatment and thought I would try their hamburger. I made Ryan and I hamburgers for dinner that night and they were very good and tasty. Lorita called to say her flight had made it and she was on the shuttle to the hotel.

Most of our week was uneventful - reading the paper, and my novel “Half-Broke Horses”, watching the Olympics, cleaning, shopping etc. I decided to go back to the Church of Latter Day Saints family history center to work on my family’s genealogy. I hadn’t done it for a long time and when I came in the door the head gal Marilyn said, “I haven’t seen you for 100 years.” She got me set up on a computer and they help me. I was on a family tree and they had my dad’s name in there so I wanted to see what they had to say about him. But when I clicked on his name the computer froze and I wasn’t able to get it. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find out anything.

One day Ryan took his car to the mechanic because he was having some problem with the brakes and he walked home while they worked on it. I told him I could have brought him but he said he liked to walk. Later he walked back to pick it up and found out nothing was wrong. He also works out on an exercise machine plus he plays basketball at the park with other guys once in a while.

Mom and brother Ben
On Saturday my brother Ben and his wife Cathy were at a doll show in Portland. His wife was selling some of her doll collection – I guess it is quite large according to Ben and he’s glad to be rid of some of them. They live near Eugene so had a long ride. I decided to go to the doll show and see them so I invited my friend Rose. I've know her about 55 years. When we got there I realized I had no cash and couldn’t pay the $6.00 entry fee. I told the guy I only had $2.00 so he said he would let us both in for $10.00. Rose said she would pay and I agreed to pay her back.

We went into the doll show and found Ben and Cathy’s booth. It was a busy place and lots of dolls. Ben and I visited while Cathy sold her merchandise. Then Rose and I walked around. There was a woman in a wheelchair that bought a small doll but was complaining to her daughter that she didn’t want it anymore, that it smelled. The daughter said she often changed her mind. There were dolls of Shirley Temple, Princess Diane, Charlie McCarthy, lots of antiques, and some that looked like real babies – their eyes looked real. They even had rubber pants for sale for the baby dolls. Rose said she thought it was a lot of junk because she would never be interested in dolls for herself. That’s just the way Rose is. But it was interesting to look around and some people do take it very seriously and love their dolls.

Some of Cathy's dolls
When we got back to Ben he was alone as Cathy had gone to look around. He said Cathy did fairly well with selling. Ben even sold one of the dolls while Cathy was gone. The lady didn’t want to pay the $8.00 requested so Ben said he would let her have it for $6.00 and she took it. He said, “At least I sold it so that’s one more gone.” Cathy came back and showed us what she had bought – a pendant and little necklace for her dolls. After that we left and I told Ben I was glad I got to see him.

Lorita called on Valentine’s Day in the evening to wish me a happy one. I was watching the couples skating on the Olympics. She called again on Monday to say her and her friend Ginnie were taking an extra day and renting a car to drive to Sedona, AZ to see the sights. I got confused about the day she was to come back and I wondered where she was and began to worry so I called her friend Lee, who was to pick her up at the airport, and she told me it was the next night. I said, “Oh good, I’m glad to hear that.” She arrived home around midnight on Tuesday the 16th.  All's well that ends well.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

All in a Day's Work

Story by Louise Lahmann

On one of the beautiful days this week Lorita and a friend went to Portland to see the sights. This is a perfect time for me to vacuum as Lorita hates the noise - our vacuum is pretty noisy. It doesn’t bother the person making the racket but if you’re in the same part of the house it can be annoying.

I always vacuum outside the front door on the porch and rug before I finish up. To do this I have to open the front storm door and use the lever to hold the door open. We recently bought a new glass storm door and I figured out how to push the lever to hold the thing open but when I was finished I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to release it. I tried everything I could think of but I didn’t want to force it and break it so I decided to just leave it open until Lorita got back.  I just shut the main door.

What I wasn’t aware of was a huge horse fly had come in while I had the door open. He buzzed around inside like a dive bomber. I decided to try to get him to go back out, so I opened the back sliding glass door and tried to shoo him out but, no, he flew the opposite way and went into the garden window where I couldn’t get to him. I figured I would out wait the dastardly thing so I went back and closed the screen on the slider to prevent more flies from coming in. I already had my hands full.

Meanwhile the wind picked up outside and I looked out the front window in time to to see the wind hit the storm door and push it back. It released the catch and closed. Lorita later told me that’s how it works. You push it back a bit and it releases. It took the wind to figure that out because I sure couldn’t.

Just when I was about to get back to my vacuuming, the fly came out of the garden window and buzzed around close to the floor. I was getting disgusted with him so I decided to get the fly swatter.

I said, “If you won’t go back outside the door, I’ll swat you.” And I proceeded to hunt him down. I soon realized he was on the outside part of the sliding door so I said “aha” and hurried over to shut the door enough so I could still reach my arm out and slide the screen open.

Standing there armed with the swatter he must have decided the smart thing to do was take off because that’s just what he did.

Between the door and the fly and the vacuuming I decided I can still multi-task after all.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Grandma's Favorite Uncle

Charles E. Farr

My grandma Mildred Farr had a favorite uncle named Charles E. Farr. He sent many postcards to her when she was a child after he had retired to Florida with his wife Albertine (Berta). Charles mother, Jane, had moved in with Mildred's family in Cedar Springs, Michigan so when he wrote he always inquired about how his mom was doing.

Grandma Mildred Farr

Charles wrote with a wit and flair keeping Mildred up to date on his doings. I'm sure she looked forward to all of his colorful postcards arriving in the mail and they must have been special to her because she kept them in an album. After grandma died my mom inherited her postcard collection, so it is cherished to this day.

Postcard from Uncle Farr

"Dear Niece How would you enjoy a ride like this [?] come down this summer and you can ride our poneys"

Charles E. Farr was born July 1851 in Ellisburg, New York.  He was the third born. First came Ophelia in 1846 followed by Lucy in 1848 and William in 1853.  In about 1854 the family moved from New York to Kenosha, Wisconsin. A sister Lucetta was born in 1855 and brother Frank in 1858. Shortly after that they moved to Cannon Township, in Kent county Michigan which is 20 minutes northeast of Grand Rapids. Here were born Herbert, Fred, Mark and Ralph (my great grandfather) - 10 children in all.

1863 map of Cannon

Charles parents, my great great grandparents Henry and Jane Farr, worked hard to raise their large family. In New York, Henry was a stone mason and dug wells. Later, in Michigan he farmed the land.
Jane (Clark) Farr

Henry Francis Farr

When the Civil War came, Henry became a Union enlisted man at the age of 38 in 1st Michigan Light Artillery Battery "E" where he was injured and sent home. He died in 1903 at 77 years old.  Jane lived 10 more years, she was 83

Sunfish Lake in Cannon Township

My mom discovered a mystery while researching this family. There was another Charles E. Farr born in Michigan the same year as my great uncle. Though my Charles was born in New York, it seems a few people on were getting them confused.

One day a man emailed mom to tell her they were related through Charles, but she discovered his Charles had different parents. She began looking into this and saw that his Charles had multiple wives, none named Albertine (although this man had Albertine married to him on his tree).  Later mom found an obituary that gave the other Charles wives names and Albertine was not mentioned. Also the children’s names were different.  This man just had not done his research well.

More postcards to Mildred
It was interesting though to discover that two Charles E. Farrs were born the same year, both lived in Michigan and both died in 1927 - one in January and one in December. Its easy to see how these people had gotten confused.

If it hadn’t been for my grandmother’s postcards from Charles and Albertine all those years, mom may have been a lot more confused. Thanks to that and the census she made sense of it all.