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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??