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Showing posts from 2011

Asprin, Bellybuttons and Bandaids

Ah, spring.

This past weekend presented a couple of perfect 70F days with little or no wind and so we set out to rake and plant and sow seeds and celebrate the coming of a verdent summer filled with the smell of roasting brats and roses. Sunday evening, as we sat on the deck overlooking our day's work with a cold beverage in hand, it started. The first itch.

By Monday morning, my neck, nose (nothing's sacred) and chin were blistered. By Tuesday, the small families of ivy rash had moved to the top of my feet and legs. Clearly, maximum doses of Benadry and witch hazel weren't doing the job, so I cried uncle and called the clinic.

It was fairly obvious to my fellow patients why I was there. "Did you try a mud poltace?" A sweet voice whispered over her Ladies Home Journal. "Witch hazel" I replied. She nooded.

My mother grew aloe vera plants and at the onset of a rash, burn or cut would snap the end off a stalk, spit the shoot in half and bandaid the gooe…

Loosing your Marbles

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Two weeks ago, I drove to Nacogdoches to spend summer break with my granddaughter Lily, a fifth grader. Since we really didn't have anything planned, each day unfolded much as it did when I was 10. We woke up when we liked, ate what we liked, and spent most of the morning poking fun at one another's hair and choice of clothes.

The first day, I scanned the Internet looking for cool things to do in town. They'd just moved to Nacogdoches in January and immediately settled in to a new job and new school and so had not had the opportunity to scout out local fun spots. We had a picnic lunch at the arboretum and walked the azalea trail, and visited Millard's Crossing Historic Village where Lily tried the hand pump and corn husker. We made shrinky dink charms and shamrock-shapped cookies for St Patrick's Day. We didn't spend any time in front of the TV.

Since we didn't have television for most of my childhood, my brothers and I spent weekends and summer vacations i…

Brownies

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According to Kodak's history of page, the Brownie Hawkeye Flash Model camera was manufactured from 1950 to 1961 and sold for $7.00. The Brownie Hawkeye featured a molded Bakelite body, brilliant viewfinder, a rotary shutter and a Meniscus single element lens that was in focus from 5 feet to infinity and used 620mm film which I was surprised to find is still in production.  As are replacement spools, how-to articles, development houses both locally and online who specialize in black & white photography, and much more.

I found a model just like my father's (shown here) on eBay for $45.00 including the box and pamphlets.

I'm sure all of my baby pictures and those of my mother and brother were captured through the lens of this camera, but I'll save those stories for another time. Instead, I'd like to share an article from The Ladies' Home Journal, November 1892 and my thanks to Chuck Baker for posting (http://www.brownie-camera.com/articles/origin/origin.shtml).




Uphill in the Snow, Both Ways

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It took me 20 years to appreciate pinto beans and cornbread.
Mom was fond of reminding us of the starving children in Biafra and although I had no idea where that was, knew that it didn't make the weekly pot of beans and ham hocks taste any better. And it wasn't that I didn't like the taste of beans; I didn't like the thought of beans.

One of the patrons at the library today brought in stories written by his grandmother, one of the original settlers in northern Minnesota. As Jack read, he'd throw in a personal experience here and there: growing up without electricity or indoor plumbing, and riding 30 miles to school every day, in a wagon... in the snow, both directions. And so it started.

Pretty soon we were all bragging about who had the most snow on their bidirectional hill. Rita grew up in rural Wyoming (as if there were a part of Wyoming that was not rural) and shared stories about canning, baking bread and making the kid's clothes. I was still reading Jac…

Military Monday that I didn't finish until Tuesday

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When my father died, my brother and I found an old briefcase hidden under a table on the patio of his apartment. His wife Madeline didn't know it was there and suggested that we just throw it out. In the briefcase was his old address book, the Scrabble game he played with me and my brothers over 40 years ago, a couple of pictures of me and my brothers, my mother, and my children. And an envelope with 30 or so photographs of his ship and his shipmates.




Like many impassioned young men of the time, my father enlisted in the Navy in July of 1942 with a falsified birth certificate. He was 16 at the time and had just completed his junior year in high school. After recruit training at the NTS Newport, RI, he was transfered to the US Navy Training School and received a completion certificate as a radioman with a second-class petty officer rating. After a quick trip to the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, he was transferred to the Amphibious Tra…

Rainy Days

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In her later years, my mother began our telephone conversations with a weather update. "Are you okay?" she'd start. "Yes mom, why?" I already knew the answer: she'd called to advise me of the tornado over Tulsa and to remind me to stock up on candles, fresh water and canned soup. When we were children, our home in Dallas had a fallout shelter in the back yard and at the first scent of metal in the skies, we'd scamper across the wet grass, bedclothes under arm to sit in the damp darkness and listen to the wind howl overhead.
The skies today are gray with a low-hanging fog lying heavy on the lake. A pile of research notes, journals and several wads of first drafted letters to the Board for Correction of Naval Records crowds my keyboard. I'm not sure how to finish the drafts. And not ready to turn my back on them either.

Sometimes my research takes me in directions I'd not expected. For all of the sunny day discoveries I've made, there have al…

Facebook for Farmers

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Ever wonder how your parents met? Your great-grandparents?

I've succumbed to a daily dosing of Facebook to catch up on friends, my kids, my grandkids, the status of our pending 40-year high school reunion and to get the skinny on who's-dating-whom. Technology has made it possible for that information to be available realtime on my moble phone, on my desktop computer, or as a picture-in-picture snapshot on my HDTV. Rather than a paper-based subscription to our local newspaper with my morning tea and banana, I subscribe to an online feed through iGoogle. This morning's eye catcher focused on social networking.

"1 in 6 Marriages Met Online" I found the headline interesting and unnerving at the same time and so I read on. Match.com recently conducted a survey of 11,000+ of their members who'd met and married within the past three years to determine the number who had met through an online dating service. Admittedly, the article was a sales pitch and the metrics, …

Bending the Map

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In 2004, Cessna Aircraft Corporation announced the integration of the G1000 glass cockpit in their C172 single-engine airplanes. The good news was that this new avionics and navigation package provided pilots with a host of tools including: integrated weather, entroute charts, airport diagrams, Sirius satellite radio, and a moving map display. And, they allow the pilot to choose howthey'd like their maps displayed: north up, or track up.The goal of this integrated solution was to provide the pilot with a greater awareness of their position. But good tools do not make a good pilot.

The photo on the left was clipped from the blog site of a newly certificated private pilot in his G1000 equipped 172. You can see that he lives north of LA and that he's proud of his equipment. As a flight instructor, I see that his oil temperature is high and oil pressure low, which means that he probably forgot to check the oil, which in turn could make for a very short flight.
Prior to GPS navigati…

Time Travel

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I'm a planner. Walt once remarked that I'm not one to be spontaneous. "I'm spontaneous...I can be spontaneous" I remember replying. "Yes" he responded "but it's well-planned spontaneity." And so the prelude to all my adventures are laced with subtle panic attacks.

Two weeks ago today, I started the morning early: 4am rise and a hot shower coupled with a cup of caffeinated coffee and a final weather check before launching off on a trip to California. For some thirty years, this would have been a typical work day; but since retiring, I've started doing something that had always been a dream: flying airplanes. Today, I was delivering a new airplane to its owner 1500 nautical miles away in the winter, across some very large mountains, through military training zones, avoiding restricted military airspace and across the Mojave dessert in a 700 pound airplane.

The day I received the contract for the flight I started planning. The trip would…

Change

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Late last summer, my Conneticut cousin Mark came for a visit. The last time we'd seen one another was in 1965 at a small family reunion; we were both 12. Mama, my brothers and I took the Greyhound from Dallas to Norman, Oklahoma to Aunt Mildred's house, where the reunion was to be held. Although it had been a couple of years, she, Uncle Forest and their kids once lived in Euless, Texas and so I knew those cousins. Mark's parents Rosemary and Hank and his sisters Margaret and Judy were also making the drive. That would be our first and only meeting.

I've mentioned before about how oddly comforting it is to meet a relative for the first time. You can't deny physical simularities and mannerisms. Mark is tall: 6'4 or 6'5 with Dudgeon dark hair and eyes. He has our great-grandfather John Pigg's profile and smile. He laughs easily and has a gentle curiousity about our family and its history and by the end of the first afternoon, we decided to take a road trip…

Look it Up.

Wednesdays were vocabulary word day in grade school. "Mom, what does reticent mean?" "Look it up." was always her reply. About 1964 a book salesman knocked on our door and sold mom two copies of the Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (enlarged from the consise edition) with Student Handbook. With student handbook means that the first few pages include color pictures of the presidents from George Washington (1789-1797) to Lyndon B. Johnson (1963- ). I wrote "1969" in black pen when Nixon took office.

Aside from the over 10,000 words in this particular dictionary, you'll find sections on astronomy and space, biology, chemistry (including nuclear energy and valence... another vocabulary word), the plays of Shakespeare, modern physics, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, homonyms, music history highlights, the Constitution of the United States, and calorie chart.

Other than magazines and the Bible, these two dictionaries comprised …

"I have come to the conclsion that History is not history; it is legend or just literature." (William E. Paulson, "Orrick as I Remember" 1975.

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Once again today I found myself spinning wildly down a rabbit hole in search of some real pioneer stories. It started with my great-grandmother Julia Dudgeon's ledger.

Julie Dudgeon was a writer. As the Secretary for the "Ladies of Hope and Comfort," she documented not only meeting notes, but who was visiting whom, who'd just had a new baby or bought a new hat. She wrote in charcoal pencil the date, where the purchase was made and the price she paid somewhere on every piece of furniture she bought. And she kept a ledger to the penney of everything she and my great-grandfather bought and sold.

The front cover of the ledger reads "1896 to 1896," but the last entry is dated 1952. On the first page they sold a hog for $7.35, chickens and eggs for $6.00 and bought tobacco ($.10), curtains ($2.35), a dress ($.35), life insurance ($15.00),shoes ($1.00),an ax handle ($.15), harness tools ($.30) and whiskey ($.23) along with dried peaches, salt, stamps, nails, and…

Treasures

What do you do with a 30-year old macaroni necklace?

Going through boxes this weekend, I found a Father's Day card I made in 1959. I'm sure it spent time taped to the refrigerator and then later, tucked into an old shoebox. As children, most every accomplishment is an attempt to gain praise from our parents and loved ones. My father left when I was 7, but the need to please him did not.

Mom worked long hours to provide for us and so wasn't available for parent-teacher conferences, to watch me compete in sports, or to attend the school plays. She did make it to my 5th grade piano recital and walked to the community pool one hot afternoon to watch me practice sprints. And she kept macaroni necklaces.

Mom loved my adventures. The retirement complex where she lived in California had a central meeting room where the residents would play cards and "one-up": verbal banter with the winner being the person who's child or grandchild was the most accomplished. Mom woul…

Who are these guys?

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I know...blog fade. Since I haven't posted since 3rd Quarter 2010, I wouldn't blame the two of you who follow this blog for not following the blog. Today, however, I could use some help.

The good-looking dark haired fellow in the top center of this photo is Thurman Dudgeon. My guess is that the rest are as follows:

Two tall men flanking him are either George Tate Dudgeon, James A. Dudgeon and/or William C. Dudgeon. The two women standing are probably Minnie Lee Dudgeon and Fannie Bell Dudgeon, his half-sisters with Linda Lyle. My 3rd great grandmother Martha Lou Phillips died; he and Linda married in 1877.

Any takers??