Sunday, March 18, 2007
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UPDATE -- it's a girl for Alisha & Roddy!
Kylie Grace McNeill, 7 pounds, 3 ounces, and 20 inches long, was born to Alisha and Roddy McNeill of Dalton, Minnesota, at 5:12 p.m. Friday, March 9, 2007. Proud grandma is Peggy McNeill. (Proud great grandma is Gert Dake Pettit of Howard Lake, Minnesota.)
UPDATE -- this one's an Irish lassie, for sure!
There's a new baby girl in Ireland: Holly Bryan, 8 lbs., 4 oz., born at 4:10 a.m. Friday, March 16, 2007, to Keith and Sally Bryan. Keith is Victor and Alma's son. Victor is Tom Morgan's third cousin. Mother and daughter are doing fine.
UPDATE -- when March comes in like a lion...
I read in the paper this morning that the harbor in Homer, Alaska, is frozen shut and Anchorage is on track for the coldest March since they began keeping weather records -- with no relief in sight. What's a kitty to do? Well, I believe the best thing to do is find a warm quilt, make a warm nest and hope March goes out like a lamb -- and the sooner, the better. I'm plenty tired of winter! I try not to be envious, but Frans showed us pictures of crocuses blooming in the Netherlands weeks ago!
I grew up in the Litchfield, Minnesota, area where most of the Millers lived. I have known Dorothy and Don all my life. Dorothy's sister Blanche was my aunt -- married to Uncle Jim, my dad's brother. My parents are Robert and Jeanette Miller.
After graduating from college (at the University of Minnesota, Morris) in 1968 and marrying Joel Rude from Sacred Heart, we lived in Morris while he finished his last year of college. In July 1969, he went into the Air Force to become a pilot and got his first plane ride, to San Antonio, Texas, for OTC (basic training for officers). I joined him in October. We had five years in the Air Force with seven moves -- finishing in Michigan.
Joel got out in June 1974 and we settled in Great Falls, Montana, because we liked the weather best -- no humidity. I have now been here 33 years in June. We had the Service Master professional cleaning business for five years and Joel flew with the Montana Air National Guard -- the F106 -- same plane he flew in the Air Force. He was killed in an accident on a fly-by for a rodeo day parade over Dillon, Montana, on September 3, 1979.
So, at 32, I was a widow with Jason, 7 and Jeana, 2. I remarried in 1981, to a widower from Wisconsin: Russ Riesenberg. It was a package deal -- a husband, three teenage daughters (Lori, Sheila, and Fonda) and a dog. If I thought life was hard as a widow, as a stepmother, it was much harder. We have survived and Russ and I have now been married 26 years. I now have five children, ages 41 to 29, two sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law and three grandchildren, ages 18, 16 and 15, with a new one for Jason and Mona due in June.
I worked my way through college as a waitress and secretary, getting a double major in music and social work. I worked as a caseworker in Minnesota for 15 months, until I joined Joel. I taught piano lessons for 26 years, then changed careers to financial advisor. I have been with Waddell & Reed, first as a client for over 26 years, and then as an advisor for almost 15.
Russ was a welder when he was in Wisconsin and for a couple years in Montana; then, when FedEx started in Great Falls, he began with them and retired as a courier in 1997. He had to retire early with rheumatoid arthritis. He stays home and keeps the house clean and does a little cooking. I enjoy working and don't plan to quit anytime soon.
My hobbies are scrapbooking, which I have done for eight years, and I write a lot of letters, as I love to receive mail. I also started doing Suduko puzzles a year ago.
Russ really likes Great Falls now, too, and we invite anybody to come and see us. We have three empty bedrooms, so plenty of room to stay overnight.
Day to Day R
Donna's Day Care Closes
Beaver took me to the Alexandria hospital last Friday morning for a Myelogram. He dropped me off and went off to run errands, as the process takes a few hours. I was there at 8:30 a.m. and he picked me up at noon.
Then it was home to lay low for the weekend, to avoid getting a horrible headache. I had so dreaded this test, especially riding home ... not knowing if my head would be quite low enough. Very afraid if it weren't, I'd pay big time and then be 40 minutes from the hospital. Therefore, I was very pleased when I managed to avoid a headache.
I've gotten quite proficient at typing while lying down, and have also adjusted to the laptop keys, finally. I still make more goofs on the laptop, but it's getting a lot better.
I feel there's been some progress (far too slow for my liking) towards healing. But, I do realize from what the physical therapist said, this will be a long haul, and even after I feel healed, I will have to be very careful for a long time. He said with most it's a year, and with my having fibromyalgia, too, it might take longer yet.
Lori had called and mentioned that it was "time" to talk to Beaver about quitting my daycare, as the possibility of my being able to handle it physically, anytime even, was slim. After talking it over with Beaver, he called my parents, while I was still in the hospital, and told them we were going to have to close the daycare.
It's with a heavy heart that I had to let "my" children and parents down. There is just not any daycare available, anywhere close, especially for the one with the baby and two more who are expecting babies. They were all very understanding that I couldn't go on doing this type of work, though, so that helped some.
As of this Saturday, it will be two weeks without getting out -- other than for the test (which was just to the hospital and back, for me). I'm looking forward to getting out of the house this weekend!
The Matriarch Speaks W
Who Is This?
Let's Play a Guessing Game: Whenever it is handy to do so, we will run a picture of someone of the subscribers or staff members of our e-magazine. Tell us who you think it is -- we will let you know who was the first to guess it right -- and the correct guess -- in the following week's Bulletin.
How many can you identify?
What about those guess pictures? I was going to guess Beaver or Donald but ... No. I think that is Captain Jack! And to take a somewhat wild guess ... is that Jerrianne ... or is it her sister, Kathlyn? I think Jerrianne.
Ginny (Dake) McCorkell
I loved seeing that cute photo of you (Jerrianne) in The Bulletin today! It is really a treat to receive The Bulletin each week!
Kathlyn (Johnson) Anderson
I was trying to imagine who the GUESS pictures might be. I don't know why Jerrianne comes to mind with the one of the little girl. The boy looks like from the same era, so could it be one of her brothers? I know she's going through old family pictures these days. But, come to think of it, the little boy is holding a guitar so it just has to be Capt. Jack!
What a shock to find out the baby Blanche was holding in last week's guess picture was my sister-in-law, Anita (Miller-Pfingsten) Weiland. What an interesting little additional comment from the Editor about having gone to visit Henry and Lenore when the baby was just a toddler.
Betty (Weiland) Droel
$ A Long Time Ago !
St. Patrick's Day Assignment
If there is any Irish in my heritage, it hasn't yet come to light in my search of the family tree, but in years gone by, we celebrated my late father-in-law's birthday on St. Patrick's Day. In 2002, St. Patrick's Day brought Anchorage's record snowfall -- a good three feet in my neighborhood -- and nothing moved for a day or two. But 25 years ago, on a St. Patrick's Day I'll never forget, my father passed away ... and bequeathed me a challenging assignment.
For many months, maybe longer, Donald B. Johnson worked on his "memoirs," writing down things he remembered, in longhand, in a series of spiral notebooks. Shortly before his brief, final illness, he bribed my sister Mitzi with a new typewriter and got her to type the contents of his notebooks into a 322-page manuscript: the first draft of his "book" that, he gleefully instructed, must NOT be published until after his death. No worries there -- he wouldn't let anybody peek!
Dad also reviewed our accumulated family pictures and carefully wrote the names of people he recognized on the backs. Usually, he was right ... though most of my cute "baby" pictures were labeled with my sister Kathy's name. Dad's sister felt sure he got a few others wrong, too. He gave up on a few old photos ... of people whose identities nobody then living knew...
When I went back to Ashby for Dad's funeral, the typed manuscript and the family photos were handed over to me to edit and publish as "Dad's book." He had no doubt I would do it for him, but I wondered just how it could be done. I found his narrative engrossing, but it is not so easy to pick up where a writer left off when the author is not around to answer the inevitable questions.
As with any first draft, things had gotten a little bit scattered, with some events out of order, and it needed some reorganizing to make everything flow together. I chose to break it into two volumes and work on one at a time, splitting it after Dad and Mom married in California and returned to Minnesota, in 1937. It was relatively easy to tell whether events happened before or after their homecoming. I had heard many stories from the first volume, but they were all before my time. I easily recalled many of the incidents in the second volume; others were completely new to me.
I photocopied the first 222 pages and numbered each paragraph. Then I cut the photocopies up with scissors and moved things around, grouping like things together and breaking it up into "chapters," to help the story flow a bit better. I typed the first volume of the slightly reorganized manuscript into a "word processor" on my first personal computer ... a new invention in 1982.
Then I tackled the old pictures, copying them with my film camera, developing negatives and prints in my darkroom and organizing individual photos into plates. Eventually, I produced six handmade "books" with hand printed, hand toned, photographs, matching the plates with excerpts from the text on opposite pages.
When I sent one of the resulting "books" to one of my dad's cousins, she said she had many family photos that I didn't have -- and sent me 40 more! I scrapped the "books" and began again, organizing about 250 photographs into 60 plates and expanding the text excerpts. This time I made one master and eight handmade copies, again using hand printed, hand toned, photographs from my darkroom and matching appropriate text. I gave copies to my mother, Dad's sister, Dad's cousins and my four siblings.
It took several Alaska winters of "spare time" to place the oldest photos and part of the text in the first volume. There the project languished for another 20 years ... but, in the words of Robert Service, "a promise made is a debt unpaid." So, last December, I decided to transfer Dad's "book" project to the Internet, digitizing photos as well as text. On the Internet, it links to other web documents -- and is more more easily shared. It's far from finished, but the links make it a "living document" now, and it is underway.
So far, I've posted all of the text from the first volume and eight of the 60 matching plates, though a couple of those plates are still being refined. I'm digitally re-photographing and restoring historic photos -- a slow process, at best -- and I'm editing the second volume of text. I've linked to the stories from Dad's uncle Edward W. Miller that ran in The Bulletin. What I've done, so far, begins here (click on the picture of Dad for the menus -- text only or photos with text excerpts):
A "what's new" page records progress as new information is added:
Photo © Larry McCorkell
The journey over Bridger Pass was uneventful, its descent routine. And then came yet another crossing on the trail, where there was warmth for the cold night and some long overdue conversation. Conversation had been thin in recent days. Horses don't converse very well.
This trail crossing also brought hope of finding riding partners of the past. A message had been relayed ahead the previous day, to let these men know he would look for them, and it had brought a return message: "Come to one of the eateries in town" -- "Applemans" or the "Famous" man's eatery, or maybe "Elmer's," for real home cooking.
He chose "Elmer's." At this stop there was food in abundance and many a belly laugh shared. After the hearty meal was finished, they all rode across town to wash up the horses, as the bitter cold had broken. Then, on to the cabin of the men who were his friends, for a dip into the stock tank himself; the week had come to a close and tomorrow was church.
The morning broke warm and white. The horses were covered in snow and the trail was sloppy. The old man's friends thanked him for washing the horses last night. "We needed the moisture ... it sure has been dry here of late." The old man rode off to enjoy an hour of Good, with those he had met with in past days.
The sun was high in the sky before the old man got back on the trail. The load he was pulling -- a sawmill from the old man's shop, that he had sold to relatives who owned a lumber mill and logging company in northern California -- needed adjustment first. It had come loose during the Bridger crossing and one foot of the load had punched through the floor boards in the wagon pulled behind the team of horses. It was important that the sawmill arrive safely; he didn't want to haul damaged goods back.
"Fourth of July Pass," another mountain crossing of note, was very steep and difficult, with snow on the sides of the trail up to the backs of the horses. The old man wondered who named this pass, and why? Was it because that was the only time of the year that a safe passage could be guaranteed? Maybe so.
Once the final pass on this westward journey was behind the old man and the horses, Seattle came into view. This was the busiest town the old man had seen in quite some time! Where was the gold rush? This gold rush would bring shame to Sutter's Mill in its prime. There were more people on the trail than it was created for and he was not prepared for stop and go traffic with his heavy load.
to be continued...
Winter Vacation, Hawaiian Islands J
First Stop: Molokai
On February 4, Charlie and I left 4-degree weather in Minnesota to spend 2-1/2 weeks in Hawaii. We heard the next day that it had gone down to 17 degrees below zero at home.
Our first stop was the island of Molokai. We were part of a missions team that went over for a week to help wherever we could for the locals. The five guys did repair work on several doors and porch railings, made sink repairs, and did a car clinic where they changed oil and air filters on about 17 cars, for free. The four women did landscaping around the conference center buildings where we were staying and also painted four bedrooms and baths.
We had two vans we were able to use for the week. The ceiling of one of them had fabric coming unglued and hanging all over the place. I convinced Charlie to help me remove the ceiling panel. I pulled all the fabric off, cleaned up the old foam pad and painted the panel (faster than putting on new fabric). Looked cute once we got it back in the van.
The second day in Molokai found us on the east side of the island at a taro patch. We met Lawrence, who is a local Hawaiian. He had left the islands for California, where he got a degree in hotel management. He came back and worked a while before he decided he wanted to re-establish taro plants on his ancestors' land.
The taro plants are used as a staple, like we use potato here. He grows his taro in wet patches, in a grid pattern with about two feet between plants. We learned a lot about the local culture, religious beliefs and the peoples' respect for their heritage. In the afternoon, we hiked a mile up the mountain to a hidden waterfall that was beautiful. The water was extremely cold but felt great on my sore feet.
Molokai would be considered more rural, compared to the other islands. The weather was 74-80 degrees, most of the time. Although, generally, more rainfall is common, we only had a short downpour one afternoon.
Saturday was our warmest day, but we spent it walking downtown at a street fair. Nothing better than mangoes straight from the tree ... well, maybe the fresh pineapple, mango, and papaya smoothies, or the fresh bread from the bakery, filled with cream cheese and strawberries, or ... to be continued ... next stop: Maui
Winter Time Waster
Here is a little something to pass the time for you snowbound folks! I came across this many years ago (I believe in a psychology class) and was kind of intrigued by it, so here goes. But first I am going to do something I promised myself I wouldn't do: brag about our weather. The forecast for Fort Lauderdale today: sunny and a slight breeze this morning, some clouds this afternoon with a high of 86, slight chance of rain late this afternoon. Currently it's 81 degrees.
Mental Flexibility Test
This test does not measure your intelligence, your fluency with words and certainly not your mathematical ability. It will, however, give you some gauge of your mental flexibility and creativity. Since the test started it's been found that few people could solve more than half of the problems. Many people reported getting answers long after the test had been put aside: particularly at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed. Have fun! Example: 5 = F. on a H. 5 = Fingers on a Hand.
26 = L. of the A.
Celebrations & Observances
This Week's Special Days
This Week's Birthdays
This Week's Anniversaries
More March Birthdays
More March Anniversaries
March Special Days
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:
Dear Miss Hetty,
I noticed that Mason's birthday wasn't listed as a March birthday. Just a reminder, that his first birthday is March 30th.
I do have it on my Master Calendar, but must have missed transferring it to the March one... I slipped it in, as we certainly want to celebrate Mason's first birthday! --Miss Hetty
Ending up in the hospital again, after Dad's party, made me forget to do something I'd intended to do sooner.
I want to send out a belated THANK YOU to Patty and Curt Henderson for treating us all to the birthday meal at Rudy's Grill. What a special treat! (That is a big group!) That was above and beyond, but I have a very stubborn sister. :-)
Thanks, too, to Don for picking up the gift certificates that we all gave as Dad's gifts. Also, a large thank you to everyone who brought food. What a delicious array it was! We never lack for something good to eat at our gatherings, that's for sure.
So, a very belated thanks to all!
Donna Anderson Johnson
Keep Us Posted!
Please drop Miss Hetty a line and tell us who, and what, we've missed. And how about a report (photos welcome) of YOUR special celebration?
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITORS?
Seems quite evident that writing is an inherited trait ... Donald, Beaver, Miss Kitty, Wyatt, Weston, and others. I enjoyed the account of Jerrianne's arrival as told by her father.
And what about those guess pictures?
Rich is keeping us in suspense ... I can't wait to see how this Wild West tale plays out!
The Captain got a whale of a HeeHaw from me! That poor teacher!
I loved the "Big Brother" account ... seems to me it "fits" quite nicely!
Ginny (Dake) McCorkell
How do I subscribe to your paper? I haven't read very much, but they're so interesting -- of people I knew from childhood. I correspond with the Weilands and didn't know Betty wrote in it. So that's neat, too.
Judy Miller Riesenberg
Editor's Note: Judy, you are welcome. Bulletin 247 has been sent. The way to subscribe is to ask to be added to the list (120 subscribers now) and then we ask you to write an introduction and send a photo of yourself (or of your family). With your introduction, the rest of the subscribers will know who you are. --DMA
I enjoyed a peek into past history between two siblings, and the warm and affectionate tribute Elaine wrote regarding her big brother, Don, for his 80th birthday and celebration! The Andersons are very fortunate to have such a close-knit family! :-)
Thank you for another wonderful Bulletin. This week what I enjoyed the very most was Elaine's "big brother" letter about my dad. Thanks so much, Elaine.
Marlene Anderson Johnson
Well, happy birthday to the "big brother" -- even to us! It's been a good year, if you're still continuing on... Keep on going.
Bill and Donna Vaughn
I want to tell you about Sunday: Warren (Tabor) was here and he asked if I had anything interesting to show him on the computer. We went through The Bulletin and he enjoyed it so much! He guessed the mystery picture of Don Spangler right away! (We went back a few issues.) He thought it was a pretty wonderful way for people to keep track of their relatives!
We have greatly enjoyed Betty's comments each week on the previous Bulletin. She is gifted in finding and adding just the right thing to say about each story that brings back again to our memories the happenings of every story or picture that us older folks would probably have forgotten otherwise, over a week's time. :) Thank you, and keep up the good work, Betty.
We also want to extend a word of thanks to Jerrianne and Dorothy for all their work and to each one who contributes, whatever it may be, to this marvelous and magnetic Bulletin that has drawn us closer as a family, and closer as friends, because of knowing how each one is doing in their everyday lives.
Mavis Anderson Morgan
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
I always know the first picture will be spectacular and an attention getter, but didn't expect it to be so extreme! What an most unusual eye catcher, and that moment of sun through the slats in the handrail on the deck would have lasted just seconds before it would change somehow. Good job, Bitzi, to have your camera ready at all times, and looks like you won first place this week ... again! I spent a lot of time studying that picture for artistic and nature and colors.
We were expecting that UPDATE from the Matriarch's husband after he celebrated a birthday of 80 (as in EIGHTY!) years old. I see you have a box of candy to share! (Did you?) Very good picture of the Editor and Don. Looks like the years aren't doing any damage. When we realized it was such a winter storm, we were afraid all the anticipation of the big birthday would be off. Congratulations, and once again you find how much your family and friends love you and care.
Fun to see the UPDATE of Anita presenting the 2007 EMS excellency award. Of all the many Yankton Ambulance Service personnel, Troy Cowman must have proven to be most worthy, which would inspire him to try even harder to give and to be to others.
When I saw the picture of Mason Henderson at the girls' basketball game, I said to myself that I have never seen anyone that looked as much like Verlaine as the person (hiding behind) holding Mason in the first picture. Then I looked at it more in detail only to find that it was Verlaine, and the picture had been taken by Rich. I didn't realize they had even been at that game, so Rich's story about the DeLaSalle Islanders game was a total surprise. Verlaine is related to Brian Frye, the coach, so no wonder they had been there Verlaine was retelling very "animatedly" (Editor, is that a word?) about the excitement of the close win by the Islanders.
The update of Chuck Anderson's 1940 Ford restoration was most interesting. I remember those cars. I was 10, but my dad loved cars, so we all noticed them, too. No wonder that Ford looked familiar. What a pride and joy (like my dad used to say) for Chuck to own that.
I have been thinking of Donna Mae so very much with her serious back trouble. It would affect every part of her life, especially trying to get up and down out of a sitting or lying position. It would take a long time and much patience, having to put up with all the hours of inactivity.
Bitzi is telling a snow story in pictures! First of all the snow began to fall, and then it continued to fall and fall and fall. But eventually it stopped, just short of filling the mailbox. It really did make for some nice snow pictures. We haven't had snow like that here in Minnesota in recent years.
Thank goodness Tom Miller (Doctor) got home safely from his Florida motorcycle rally trip. I hope he tells The Bulletin about it. Very interesting. The only doctor along, and the only one that got sick.
Donald Johnson was a gifted story teller by nature. We laughed at his honest admissions about being afraid of that new baby, and I know for a fact that she became his dear and beloved daughter over the years. The history of her name was quite a story for Jerrianne to realize now, but I do remember Donald and Twila always referred to her as Jerri when they discussed the fact that she had moved to that remote, far away place called Alaska.
A Travelogue by Richard Johnson continues as part two of four parts. So, eventually, even though not this week, we will find out who this old man is. So far, he is still trekking his way west. I remember some of the names of the places in Montana he went through, so part of it is authentic.
The Snow Oak picture in itself is beautiful, even though it suggests snow and wind. A typical scene depicting the next subject of Capt. Jack in his youth. He did live to grow up, though, and even has clones to prove it. He would have to be cloned to make use of all the guitars he says he has. All four clones even wear the same outfit, but each holds the guitar just a bit differently. That took some photography and clever computering ... I suspect another Bitzi-inspired creation.
That was such a sweet, precious, old picture of the four children beside the next picture of the four children now, in 2007; of course, Dwight was too young to be on the first picture!. I would say they had grown old gracefully. We would never be able to tell that three of them were nearing the 80 mark. But we know that one has just passed it. The story about "Big Brother" was so touching. What a tribute, and a lifetime of earning all those kind comments by a sister who cares even more as the years pass by. Elaine, you must have just started writing that story, and all the memories came flooding back -- or had you been planning that story for a long time?
Elaine, I have a "Little Brother" that is a keeper, too. He will not like me telling you this one bit, but we called him our Golden Jewel, because he was always such a good boy, and he still is. That's Rich Weiland. He's 12 years younger than I am, and I loved taking care of him. He is a clone of my dad.
What a beautiful picture of the birthday flowers from Sharon Nault for Jerrianne's birthday. That was a professional camera, I'm sure. See all the perfect coloring and the finest details? Thank goodness Miss Kitty finally got a chance at the keyboard to tell us about the birthday. Could anyone figure out which one it was? Well, I had to get a jar of Nutella. I had never heard of it until this story. We picked it up at Target, and it was the last one on the shelf. I should make a list of all the things I don't want to miss out on if we ever go to Alaska. The dinner Kathy and Arg make of the Halibut Olympia will be one. I know Kathy is an excellent cook.
Diana, thank you for the UPDATE about you, too. We think of you and need to keep in touch by Bulletin as you are able. Am sure those puppies are growing. Between you and Maralee and the cats, you just might have to move over and give them some space.
I smiled to read Mavis's letter to the editor about the cozy snow. I wonder if Mavis and Tom even remember snow as they bask in the sun and on the shore at Estero, Florida. We hope it's all melted away by the time they head back north again (if they do), but it will take some thawing to ever get rid of our snowbanks before the 4th of July.
Last but not least is the CHUCKLES, Foto Funnies. And of course this time it is about, what else? SNOW! Actually, people were almost upset at no snow before it started and then it didn't quit. Another Bitzi/Douglas with the snowflake and matching coordinating colors, emphasizing the tough job of snow shoveling Doug was facing. Again, I have to comment that I just love the creator name of "McDouglas."
Roy has been waiting for his dinner while I wrote this, and now I must stop and get busy. I just want our Editor and Photo Editor to realize how this Bulletin, as all the rest, captured us from the first picture and word until the last. They are all so original and so personal. I am very thankful to be a subscriber.
Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
Virginia Adair ... and friend.
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EDITOR'S POLICY: If you wish to subscribe to The Bulletin, simply send me a statement of that fact. If you wish to keep receiving it I hope you will contribute to one of the columns that are running in this family epistle (at least occasionally!). My e-mail address is email@example.com