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

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