Saturday, May 1, 2010

Purple Clover – Page 8, Part 3

On this day Chastena visited with the American poet, Emily Dickinson. Ms. Dickinson would have died in 1886, only a few years before this clipping was selected to appear in Chastena’s private collection. In our family, poetry was always a centerpiece. I think it was far more appreciated at this time than it is today where it’s nearly a lost art and poetry books languish on store shelves. What a shame. I’m so happy to share these with my children.
©Copyright 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sunday-afternoon Circle – Page 8, Part 1 and 2

I am including two clippings today because they come from the same page and may follow each other in dates. They are designed to be a study guide for quiet Sunday afternoons. (Where did those go?) Answers to last week’s questions appear at the bottom so I’m not sure if one of these clippings answers the questions of another. One of the benefits we enjoy is the luxury of the internet. The answers to these questions are at our fingertips. I will be Googling them and then looking up the references.
I won’t be typing the text today as I believe it is clear enough to read here. If I can keep this kind of clarity for future posts, I’d rather not type out the text because I love seeing it and reading it in its original form and I imagine you do, too. If any of you that are following find it too difficult, just let me know and I can type it.
©Copyright 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who Were The Bryans? Page 7 – Part 4

This clipping interested Chastena enough to cut it out and paste it in her book. I wondered who these people were and why she found them worth remembering? They were the children of the great William Jennings Bryan, the famous Democrat who represented his party as the Presidential nominee, served as Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, and probably most famous for his role during the Scopes “Monkey” Trial. Finding out that Chastena admired him gave me yet more insight into my great great grandmother.
Wikipedia has this to say:
William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in 1896, 1900 and 1908, a lawyer, and the 41st United States Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. He was noted for a deep, commanding voice. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a supporter of popular democracy, a critic of banks and railroads, a leader of the silverite movement in the 1890s, a leading figure in the Democratic Party, a peace advocate, a prohibitionist, an opponent of Darwinism, and one of the most prominent leaders of populism in the late 19th and early 20th century. Because of his faith in the goodness and rightness of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner."
In the intensely fought 1896 and 1900 elections, he was defeated by William McKinley but retained control of the Democratic Party. For presidential candidates, Bryan invented the national stumping tour. In his three presidential bids, he promoted Free Silver in 1896, anti-imperialism in 1900, and trust-busting in 1908, calling on Democrats, in cases where corporations are protected, to abandon states' rights, to fight the trusts and big banks, and embrace populist ideas. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Secretary of State in 1913, but Wilson's handling of the Lusitania crisis in 1915 caused Bryan to resign in protest.
He was a strong supporter of Prohibition in the 1920s, and energetically attacked Darwinism and evolution, most famously at the Scopes Trial in 1925. Five days after winning the case but getting bad press, he died in his sleep.[1]
Bryan opposed the Theory of Evolution for two reasons. First he believed that what he considered a materialistic account of the descent of man through evolution undermined the Bible. Second, he saw neo-Darwinism or Social Darwinism as a great evil force in the world promoting hatreds and conflicts, especially the World War.[
To read the full account of his life and politics, you can link here:
©Copyright 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Squirrel’s Arithmetic – Page 7 – Part 2 and 3

As we continue with the book, the family history is growing. Utilizing my membership with the Daughters of The American Revolution (DAR), I have been able to identify this branch of our family. Little did I know how the Lila/Chastena book would lead me, literally, to the doorstep of so much more family history.
It has become obvious that this book didn’t belong to Lila alone. There is another owner and it would have been her mother, my great great grandmother. Her name was Chastena O. Alcock Richardson and her husband was Horance J. Richardson. Horance came from Illinois and was born Oct. 28, 1855. He died April 1931 in Los Angeles. That was the same year my father, Douglas Richard, was born in Los Angeles. At some point, Marjorie and Bradley, my paternal grandparents, and Lila and F. Ray, my paternal great grandparents moved to Los Angeles from Oelwein, Iowa. It must have been in the late 1920’s or very early 30’s. I don’t know what brought them out here but surmise it was Lila’s sons who owned property here. My grandparents and great grandparents obviously moved back to Iowa, but why and how I do not YET know. My mother would meet my father in Oelwein as a teenager, in the late 1940’s, and they wouldn’t come out to California until the early 1950’s.
Chastena, Lila’s mother, and my great great grandmother, came from Masonville, Iowa. She was born December 29, 1863. She died December 24, Christmas Eve, 1925. Chastena obviously passed “our” book down to Lila where she continued to add to it with the last entry being three years after Chastena’s death. She would have then passed it to Marjorie, my grandmother, who gave it to Sandra, her daughter, who passed it to me. When I think of all of the hands it COULD have ended up in (with seven children and scores of grandchildren – great and great great) I am even more honored to have this special piece of history. My Aunt Sandy states that Chastena was reported to have been profoundly deaf and not just in old age. I don’t know why but that makes my book even more special to me. Perhaps it was one of the only ways she could fully express herself.
I hope you’re happy with what I’m doing with your book, my great grandmothers. :) I love you and look forward to meeting you in Heaven. And Lila? Your love of Judy, my sister, will always be a great warmth and comfort to me. Your daughter, my grandmother, Marjorie, never liked her and degraded her mercilessly as a tiny girl. She, along with others, played a part in her suicide. I am glad that Judy is with you now where she is loved and happy. What happened to Marjorie to make her who she became is a subject for another day.
(I am making an exception today and adding two clippings because the second is so sweet about grandmothers – my two greats are the ones I’m thinking of.)
HIGH on the branch of a walnut tree
A bright-eyed squirrel sat;
What was he thinking so earnestly?
And what was he looking at?
He was doing a problem o’er and o’er;
Busily thinking was he
How many nuts for his winter’s store
Could he hide in the hollow tree.
He sat so still in the swaying bough
You might have thought him asleep:
Oh, no; he was trying to reckon now
The nuts the babies could eat.
Then suddenly he frisked about,
(the poem is disintegrated here and only gives me pieces of the words “-an and doubt” but the rest is lost so I’ll make it up!)
Then suddenly he frisked about,
And up the tree he r-an,
He gathered nuts, without a doubt,
Because a father does all he can!
Waking Grandma
Mamma said, “Little one, go and see
If grandmother’s ready to come to tea,”
I knew I mustn’t disturb her, so
I stepped so gently on tiptoe.
And stood a moment to take a peep-
And there was grandmother fast asleep.
I knew it was time for her to wake;
I thought I’d give her a little shake,
Or tap at her door, or softly call;
But I hadn’t the heart for that at all-
She looked so sweet and so quiet there,
Lying back in her high arm chair,
With her dear white hair and a little smile
That means “She’s loving you all the
I didn’t make a speck of noise;
I knew she was dreaming of little boys
And girls who lived with her long ago,
And then went to Heaven-she had told me
I went up close and I didn’t speak
One word, but I gave her on her cheek
The softest bit of a little kiss.
Just in a whisper, and then said this:
Grandma, dear, it’s time for tea.”
She opened her eyes and looked at me
And said, “Why, pet, I have just now
Of a little angel who came and seemed
To kiss me lovingly on my face” -
She pointed right at the very place.
I never told her ‘twas only me-
I took her hand and went to tea.
©Copyright 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Woman Behind The Man – Page 7 – Part 1

In this next piece we see a woman who very much realizes the work she does and wants a voice about it. I can’t help but think this is true or this particular work wouldn’t have been selected to grace the pages of her book. I don’t know who wrote it, no credit is given, but she had a bone to pick. It’s idealistic but speaks to the hardships of women, while diminishing the efforts of men. I think her life must have been a difficult one, without much help or acknowledgment from her husband and Chastena must have shared her sentiment. Of course, it’s also possible that a man wrote this and saw the struggles women went through.
I’ve researched this poem and can find no copies of it or mention of it but the saying is certainly famous. Did that saying come from this long-lost poem? This makes it even more important to save. I realize the book, and blog, have become a preservation project not only for my grandmothers and my children, but for the public. Many of these works might be lost forever if not for people who cut them out and kept them back in the day.

The Woman Behind The Man
I’ve been a readin’ these months past
‘Bout a man behind a hoe:
An’ a man behind a grip-sack
With lots o’ snap an’ go!
Then the man behind the engine,
An’ a man behind the ball,
But one soul hain’t been mentioned
That you bet can beat ‘em all.
Right a gettin’ down to bedrock,
If it hadn’t been for Eve
All the hoeing Adam ever’d done
You could put it right up your sleeve.
An’ I guess that poor old Noah
Wouldn’t thought it very fine
To hoe around his grapes all day,
An’ mosey out to dine.
A’ then a comin’ right on down
To this ‘ere time o’ ourn,
You’d find the men a sorry lot,
Without their right-hand-bowers!
Who is it gets up with the lark
An’ cooks an’ scrubs an’ cleans,
While way out ‘near the spreadin’ oak
Her man rest on his jeans?
His work can wait, but her’s cannot,
And while he hoes the corn,
She does a hundred different things
An’ at 12 she blows the horn.
An’ when at night the hoin’s is done
An’ lays down to rest,
Who is it tired and weary-worn,
Lulls the baby on her breast?
An sews, a talkin’ low to Tom
How he must sleep, an’ grow
To be a big, strong boy right soon,
So he can help paw hoe.
An’ if perchance his country calls,
The man drops his hoe to go,
Who is it then picks up the tool
An’ finishes out the row?
An’ when, all battle-scarred and maimed,
He comes back, one arm gone,
Who is it hopes an’ sings an’ prays,
A hoeing right along?
Ah! talk about your boys an’ men
An’ praise ‘em all yer can,
But remember, the man’s behind the hoe
An’ the woman’s behind the man!
©Copyright 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Page 6 – The Horseless Age

Well, it’s not exactly the Christmas season but it is in this book. Now, if I’m to accept the sequential order, it’s not even 1900 yet. That’s significant because there is a note on this page in what would appear to be a mature hand. It says, “This looks like Marjie & Harold.” I have no idea who Marjie and Harold are. It wasn’t my grandmother, Marjoree. She wasn’t born yet. Was it someone she was named after? And Lila would have been a pre-teen at this point so I don’t think she would have a hand like this.
I’m sleuthing and finding more mysteries than I’m solving. Before I found the gravestones I thought Lila was born in 1882 and would have been a late teen when this was started. In fact, she was born in 1888. That may change many things. Was this, in fact, NOT her book as I had been told and my aunt believed? Was it her book only by ownership? Was this, in fact her mother’s book, great great grandmother Richardson? Curiously, the book ends in 1928 and Eva passes away in 1931. The coincidences seem striking.
Now Lila and her mother are inextricably linked and by more than biological pairing. Are two women represented here in this book? Just one? I don’t know. There is a letter in the book from my aunt at nine-years-old and written to my grandmother, her mother. That must have been tucked in many years after in the early 1950’s. And what of the mysterious letter my grandmother said came from Lila’s Ferdinand? Wouldn’t my grandmother have known her father’s writing?
I thought this would be a simple transcribing project but these women are alive in these pages and they won’t let me rest!
I have GOT to find Evelyn, my grandmother’s sister. She’s the last living link to these mysteries.
©Copyright 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Page 5 – Part 5 – Rare Writing

Lila’s/Chastena's final clipping for page five appears today. I have researched this piece and can find nothing on it, which, where Washington is concerned, is rare. It probably exists somewhere but it certainly isn’t easy to find. That’s one thing I truly appreciate about this collection: many of these writings are long gone, out-of-print for decades, and for all intents and purposes, are lost to us. We may be reading something that hasn’t been seen for a very long time. I love that.
W is for Warren, a soldier brave and bold.
A is for General Arnold, a traitor, I am told.
S is for General Schuyler always foremost in the fight.
H is for John Hancock, who stood firm for the right.
I is Independence, for which our soldiers fought.
N New York, a city, for which both armies sought.
G is General Greene, a soldier of renown.
T it stands for Trenton, an old historic town.
O is for “Old Putnam,” Washington’s firm friend.
N is for the nation they both fought to defend.
Some of these references are not familiar enough to me. Better go study my history again.
As George Washington commanded General John Sullivan, our great (add more greats) Uncle, I now think I know why he played such a prominent role in my great grandmother(s) life. I was always told we had relatives to be proud of but honestly, I NEVER believed it until I had DAR papers in hand with my name on them. I was also told we had ancestors on the Mayflower and I REALLY poo-poohed that and got a few good chuckles out of it. But now, as all the rest has proven true, I'll be tackling this piece in the future. If I did (by proxy) land on Plymouth Rock, I'm sure my ancestor was the one who fell out of the boat and hit his head on that rock! THAT might explain me.

©Copyright 2010