Monday, June 30, 2008

Ann's (Minnie's) Table

Ann's table reminded me of the time I shared an office in an old building on the oval at Colorado A & M with a colleague.  First he filled up his desk to overflowing.  Then he had a big drafting table which he filled to the rafters.  Then he pulled out the slides on both sides of his desk and crammed them high.  Last I saw him, he was writing on a yellow pad on his knee.  I merely suggested to Ann she solve the problem by buying another table.  I got a rather strong impression I should not post the photo of the entire table.  However, these three volumes should give you a general idea of her personal progress:  Genealogy Fundamentals, most commendable book;  Principle-Centered Leadership, I seriously wonder about this one; and then the one I really wanted to show, Flat Belly Diet.  Wow.  That could save me.  Ann explains there is a magic elixir made up of ginger and other nasty stuff which they drink all the time and which has taken years off their lives.  We need the recipe.  Go water your flour barrels.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Aunt Rose and Grandmother Kray

This picture was taken in Rose's garden in Deer Park, Washington. It was well known that Aunt Rose loved to garden. In her waning years she continued to grow her beautiful flowers. I do believe this is one of the last pictures of Veronika (on the left). Either Rose was very tall or Veronika was very short!

Rose's Story Continued

"Father decided he would try digging a well. It was in a draw where it was very rocky. The farther down he dug the more rocks we found. To us it was fun finding all those pretty rocks; however that was all he did find; even if he had dug through to China!

That first summer we raised some wheat and in the fall had a threshing crew at the farm. All the farmers' wives were very wonderful in bringing foodstuffs and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves even with all the work there was to be done. That was stored in one end of the house until Father bought some sacks.

Father and Mother were ardent and beautiful dancers and, of course, they had to take us along all riding in the wagon box on some straw. Those of you who have read 'The Virginian' will have a good picture of everybody's kids being packed on the floor of one room to bed, while the parents enjoyed the dancing.

I remember the old covered wagon in which we moved out from Alliance, a dilapidated tarp covering it about half way. There was more of "us kids" than furniture. Mother's feather beds, some quilts made from samples of goods for men's suits, as father used to have in the shop.

Remember we stopped that first day going out, at Tim O'Keefe's farm overnight. She had some old lace curtains on the windows which I thought were very wonderful.

Stanley, Lou, and I started to school that fall; we had three miles to walk. Didn't seem to think much about it as walking went. It wasn't Kindergarten stuff, it was first Grade. You had to be smart in those days. Father and Mother had taught us the "1-2-3's" and ABC's before we ever started to school, but they were in the Czech language."

I wish that there were more to this story, but am grateful to Rose for sharing these tidbits, which help us envision this family which had left Cleveland, Ohio, and found their way to far western Nebraska to homestead. Imagination can fill in some of the pieces, but the rest may be a mystery for years to come. We cannot imagine what came about that there was a divorce between Veronika and Frank, and that he went back to Omaha to ply his tailor trade making uniforms for conductors for the passenger trains that went back and forth across the continent. But we can imagine a family striving to establish a soddie and make good on a homestead, and the difficulties involved therein. I'm so glad that Rose included the little paragraph about her mother and father being beautiful dancers, and that they did find some enjoyment in their lives.

Another Happy Penrose Memory

So, here's what'cha do. Click on play, close your eyes, and let me know if you find yourselves back in the living room in Penrose, with the old Philco phonograph playing, the smell of home made bread permeating the house, Mother busily putting things in order and Dad's laughter somewhere in the background. What a happy memory!

video

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Annie's Flower Barrels

Rose's Story

This picture of our great-aunt Rose B. Krajicek Allgeier was taken in 1956 at her home in Deer Park, Washington. The back of the picture has more information - Rose painted the vase and plate in the center of the picture. The German pipe by her head came from Joe Krajicek when he was in Germany in 1918 after WW I. He was still in the army of occupation. (Another note says that he was in Koblenz).
It seems appropriate to inclue the story that Rose wrote for the Kray Round Robin letter in January of 1967, as transcribed by our mother, Minnie Blood. I realize that most of my siblings have a copy of this, but there may be others who would find it interesting, since it is the only first-hand history we have of the family. The Krajiceks had moved to Nebraska by the time this story is told.

"Back to bygone years: When Mother and Father were building the sod house on the claim, they went to Pine Ridge across the Niobrara River and cut logs for the roof. We kids were supposed to debark them as our part of the work.

Henry was about 6 months old, and we had to take care of him. Mother had gone the three quarters of a mile to Mrs. Schultz's and Lou was using the little ax to loosen the bark. We had Henry sitting by, and like a baby, he had to help, so he reached over and his little finger mixed with the ax.

We were all frantic. Lou picked him up and ran all the way to Mother. Mrs. Schultz chewed snuff, I guess, or tobacco, anyway she grabbed a chunk of the stuff from her mouth and bound it to the little finger. It grew together in no time, but Henry always had that broken fingernail.

Stanley had a job herding cows for Tom O'Keefe at Nonpariel, which was 17 miles or so away. He would come home sometime on Sunday. Father had to stay in Alliance most of the time on account of his tailoring business. When he came out he would cut some sod and then we would help mother build the sod walls as high as our supply lasted. . . we thought it was fun to run up and down the walls as the sod was laid as if building stairs. . .

We hauled our water from the Niobrara River in a barrel, guess it was two barrels, which was five miles, and that road was old Indian trail which ran up and down over hills and rocky hillocks. Those barrels bounced around in back of the wagon and old Jack and Bill, the oxen, would run down with the wagon pushing them, back up hill they had to pull it. Mother surely had a time to control the entire outfit. Had to tie the barrels so we would get home with our supply; as it was we did get our backs soaked as the water splashed from side to side in the barrel. Crow Agency wasn't very far away and some squaws often crossed through our land.
(To be continued)

Louise Krajicek Blood

When I scanned this sometime ago, it had such an emotional impact on me. It is only now that I felt I could post it. Perhaps it is the reality of the length of her life: 26 years and 14 days. Because this is the same printing as Louise's and Rose's wedding announcements, I believe that it was the mother, Veronika that had this death card printed.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Krajicek (Kray) great-aunts and uncles.




Mother's perserverance in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s in keeping in contact with the Kray family members gives us a great deal more knowledge than we knew before. These great-aunts and uncles look at us from their time - styles have changed, but the pictures are timeless. There were not many grandchildren for Veronika - (we do not have an actual date for Frank's death as yet).
Stanley Kray had two children, Louise left one living child, Rose had three children, Henry 2, and Joseph had 1 child. Louise's one living child, (Russell Blood - our father) had six children, and they, in turn, gave Russell and Minnie 34 grand children (if I count correctly).


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Elsie Krajicek Riddle

And yet another picture of our great-aunt Elsie - the hat is absolutely wonderful; she was a pretty woman.

More of Elsie Krajicek Riddle

Born and raised by Bohemian parents, Aunt Elsie as a Wyoming dude ranch owner/manager with her husband, Dewey Riddle in Sunlight. While it sounds romantic and certainly brought the contact of rich eastern "dudes", the ranch was hard work and a financial challenge.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

John Mach - Our great-great-grandfather and his family

This is where the Bohemian line stops - we have no information beyond John and Anna Mach. We know that they came to this country sometime in the latter part of 1860's. According to daughter (our great-grandmother) Veronika Mach Krajieck, they came when she was around 7 years old. We have the married names for many of the children, or the spouses of the sons. This was a large family! They had to have come on a boat, but that information is still floating around out there somewhere. John and Anna lived at 12 Rock, Cleveland, Ohio, as listed in the 1880 census, with our great-grandparents, Frank and Veronika Krajicek, and some of the sons who were still at home. Everyone had an occupation, including the younger sons. Frank is listed as being a tailor. John died at the age of 82 of bronchial pneumonia, and Anna died a year later in 1893 at the age of 67. Married names include: Vlk, Greenwald, Smejkal, and Metlicka for the women, and Fink, Novotny, Greenwald, and Lewis for the men. We have very little information, except for the Greenwalds, and, of course, the Krajiceks, later changed to Kray family. It would be wonderful to find out more about these ancestors.

Elsie Krajicek

An early picture of Elsie Krajicek, a sister of our Grandmother Louise. She later changed her last name to Kray. She married Dewey Riddle and we knew of her as Aunt Elsie or Elsie Riddle.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mt. Ellinor 2008

Bob climbed Mt. Ellinor in the Olympic Mountains for the second time this year. This the view toward Lake Cushman and Hood Canal.
Bob on the edge. Not too bad for being 75 years old.

Ben and his wife JoLin (what courage).

At the summit: Jacob (grandson), David Gala (son-in-law), Ben (son) and the most happy Mountain Man.

video

Coming down. The video is easy to play.

Steve and Elizabeth

I don't remember what the clowning around was all about - this was taken 10 years ago, in September of 1998 at Cody when some of us went to celebrate Elna's 90th birthday. I love this picture, because it reminds me that Steve could always make me laugh - surely the best medicine there is.

Wasden siblings and spouses, 1974

In 1974, we had a small James B. Wasden family reunion in Lovell, Wyoming. Several pictures were taken - this one shows the six Wasden siblings with spouses. From left to right, including the front and back: Lucinda (Aunt Cindy) and Norman Sorensen, Delilah (Asay Wasden) Robb (Orville's widow), Elna House, Russell and Minnie Blood, Brooks and Lorraine Wasden, Sofe Johnson, Lucille and David Wasden. The six are Lucinda, Elna, Minnie, Brooks, Sofe, and David.
I'll post a few more pictures from this time later.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Music in Mother's Collection


Mother was certainly a teetotaler, but the top song was in her collection of hits from the 20's. She had a wider collection of classical music. Even though she had been without a piano for at least 18 years, we thought she could play very well. Her playing time was usually in the evenings. She purchased the beginning John Thompson books, and informed us that if we wanted to learn, we could study them, and she would help us. I learned to play, and sometimes, if she was in the house, she would call out if the timing was incorrect. Sometimes, she would sit down and show me how to finger certain passages, and one of the most fun things we did while I was in high school, was to play duets. Dad would get a chuckle out of our counting, and repeated tries to get the rythm and notes correct. Good memories.

Music began with Grandma Wasden



The piano sat in Grandma and Grandpa's parlor, and when we went to visit as little children, we would do some pretend playing - I'm sure it was never allowed to last very long because it would have been very noisy. The piano had taken place of an earlier pump organ. Uncle David was given piano lessons, because he was the oldest, and, in keeping with old world principles of primogenture, got the most privileges. Aunt Sofe, (next in age), who was very musically bent, would sit in a corner, listen to the lessons, and then when everyone had left, would practice the lessons on her own. She became a very proficient pianist, much to Dave's dismay, and, so was no longer allowed to listen to the lessons. (That did not stop her - she certainly played well most of her life, and probably was the one who taught our mother to play.) I donot know that Grandma ever played the piano - I don't think that any of us ever heard her. But, when I became capable enough to play the hymns for Sunday School sometimes, she gave me this book of hers to use for prelude and postlude music. She does not mention music in her little autobiography - instead, she talks about writing poetry. Pioneer times were difficult and demanding for a woman. There must not have been much time in her life to pursue the finer arts.

Siblings of Louise Krajicek


Will Allgeier is Rose's husband. Elsie, Stanley and Rose are brother and sisters.
This was a gathering of the four daughters of Veronika and Frank Krajicek. From left to right they are: Rose (Allgeier), Anna (known as Nance Rice), Helen (McGinnis) and Elsie (Riddle).
On the back row are husbands: Dewey Riddle and Will Allgeier.

These sisters and brothers-in-law were extremely close, at least in their later years. In their letters to each other, they spoke liberally of their affection for each other. And they wrote often of missing their sister (our grandmother) Louise. They supported one another through illnesses and had a great time in health. I will be posting portions of those letters as I get them done.

The relationship of the Krajicek siblings was unusally strong, and but it has been duplicated in the six chidren of Russell and Minnie Blood.

Friday, June 20, 2008

One of the pole chairs



This fine pole chair which was once relegated to hang on a spike in the "new shop," and only taken down when Judy, Ann and I happened to be playing there, took it to use as a throne, a daddy's chair or whatever else we needed it to be for the afternoon. When the folks moved to Washington it sat next to the wood stove in the log shop, a nice place to warm up on a damp morning. I will not be insulted if I am corrected on this, but I believe this chair was made in Sunlight in the 1920s. I know it is our fathers because of the stories he told me about building it and other chairs.

Mother's Hospital Stay, March, 1941

We never knew the reason that Mother had to go 100 miles from home to be in the Deaconess Hospital in Billings from March 10-16, 1941, leaving Dad home with Four children, including Judy, who was not quite a year old, and obviously having a grand time teething. This is a long posting, but it tells a family story very well. I think that you can interpret the letters by clicking on them to enlarge them. When I scanned these letters in 1994, I didn't have a very good copier, and the graphite from the pencils used to write them was fading, so there are some unpleasant darker places.





































Obviously, Dwight was kind enough to write this letter that I dictated to him - this is before the summer when he wrote a book to teach me how to read, and then gave in with disgust because I couldn't comprehend the symbol "ditto". Anyway, thank you, Dwight for playing with me and making pinwheels to entertain me, and reading stories to me. You used to be very nice.









Thursday, June 19, 2008

Great-Grandmother Sarah Blood

Sarah Batty Hawkins Blood at Elitches Gardens in Denver.


Sarah Batty Hawkins Blood with two of her sons, Roscoe and Roy, and her grandson, Russell.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Russell with Relatives

Eva Blood, Grandma Sarah Blood, Roscoe Blood, and Russell Blood at the Redrocks outside of Denver. Not only did they dress up to go to town, but also when going for a ride. Do you think that Dad is having fun?
Aunt Eva and Russell Blood at Morrison. It must have been the same day. Be sure and enlarge for more detail.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Moving Picture

To go with Dwight's story on moving day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cowboy with Suspenders

Our Dad/Grandpa (Russell Blood) with his classic suspenders....pausing to rest against the digging shovel as he prepares the Olympia, Washington soil for yet another year of planting a garden. Our parents had always raised their own food as much as possible. The food always tasted better right from the garden. And it was a budget stretcher.
Notice his crossed hands, similar to questionable photos from his early years. It seems to be his label!

LAURA TANNER



Wasn't it yesterday when she was small? Just thinking about this darling neice and praying for her healing to be quick.

Aunt Eva


Upon the death of Roscoe Blood, his orphan son, Russell, went to live in Denver with his Uncle Roy and Aunt Eva. This was another mother figure in his life that caused him great misery and unhappiness.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

September Mornings: Chapter 2 Part 5

Chapter 2 Part 5
I need to go back.  I won't retrace all my steps, though.  I'll drive through Penrose and look at the valley where we spent so many years but I won't understand all the changes and I can't absorb them all.  I'll look at the little white house we lived in all those years and see if Burchell has cut down the tall cottonwood trees that shaded our first little brown home.  I won't go to church in Powell even though I spent hundreds of hours helping build the new chapel there, even to see the people who were so important to our family for so many years.  I just don't know how to sort it all out.  I don't know what to say to them.  It's too late for me to try and understand it all now.  Maybe just being in Cody will help.

And then, back in time once more.  Hey Min, it's time to go to Washington.  Did you pack my shaving gear?  Well, why not?  If you're coming, you can't sit on the back porch weeping forever.  Take a good look, Minnie.  This is the last time we'll ever drive down this lane to the road that will take us out of here.  Take a last look at that little white house.  Can you believe how fast I built it back in 1944?  Do you remember when we grew sugar beets right up to the back doorstep when we first moved here?  Can you believe we raised six kids in that little tiny place?  Well, Min, you won't have to raise glads and dahlias and strawberries in these bog clods any more; you can grow anything in that rich sandy soil on our place in Washington.  What do you think?  We're crossing the Shoshone River.  Should we turn back?  I'll tell you one thing, I won't miss those cows for a minute.  Now Montana.  Big Sky Country.  Missoula.  The wheat fields of Washington.  Then the peaks of western Washington.  Fear.  How will it all work out?

Then forward and backward in time.  Hey Elna, are you ready yet?  Well, I'll just wait here in the red Buick and read this old Reader's Digest a bit longer.  Everyone keeps after me to get some new reading matter in the car, but this tattered magazine is like an old friend; I've about got it memorized and I always know what to expect.  I'm a bit drowsy.  Maybe a quick nap . . .

Uncle Dewey, how much longer down this snowpacked trail before we're home?  Hey Min, remember when we got rid of most of the smell of those rotten beans after we scrubbed our little brown house with gallons of Lysol?  After we paste over the walls with pages from these stacks of Collier's magazines your mother gave us, it should be pretty clean.  Isn't this the most wonderful place you ever saw?  And it's ours, and I feel like a king.  I guess we'd better get moving; Dwight's going to show up pretty soon, this sunny September of 1932.

The old John Deere is pop-pop-popping right along this morning.  I should be able to finish cutting this upper alfalfa field if I don't break another sickle tooth and have to stop to fix it.  I wish I could have saved those two beautiful pheasants that ran into the mower, but I just didn't see them in time.  The green alfalfa stems, topped with their crowns of purple blooms, are falling smoothly behind the mower blade as I turn the corner of the field and head down the long east-west stretch, bumping rhythmically over the irrigation corrugations.  Great Caesar's Ghost, the sunflowers along the ditchbank are big this summer.  At least their bright yellow faces are cheerful, even if they are a sticky nuisance.  But look at all those grasshoppers.  Better get the hay cut before those devils take it.  Well, I'm not quite finished but, by my shadow, it's about 12:15 and Minnie will be waiting dinner so I'd better turn off the tractor and head for home.  It won't take me long to finish this afternoon.

But what is this?  The sun seems incredibly bright.  And here's a path through the fields that I've never seen before.  And who is that?  That's funny, I can see someone way off waving, waving.  Then nearer, nearer.  then, more light.  Now I can see her, coming through the fields to meet me.  Hey, Min. 

September Mornings: Chapter 2 Part 4

Chapter 2 Part 4
Well, come to think of it, I did put one over on Minnie once.  I'm really proud of that one and I laugh every time I think about it.  When she went to Laramie to finish her bachelor's degree in elementary education, I went to town and bought a TV.  When she got home, there it was, the antenna up on the roof as big as life, and we had entered the new TV era and there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it.  I should have done a couple of other things then, too, but I was lucky to get out of that one by the skin of my teeth.  I believe in working, but I don't think that woman will ever quit long enough to watch TV.  Maybe she'll run down a bit when she gets older.

Actually, I'm sick of farm life.  Farming wouldn't be so bad if you could make any money at it, but I don't want to be tied to these damned cows seven days a week, day and night, in 95 degree heat in the summer and  howling blizzards with 30 below temperatures in the winter.  Sleep for a few hours when I can, then start over.  Get out the milking machines.  Move the cows in and out of the stanchions.  Wash all the gear.  Then Minnie's gone all day since she started teaching school again and I can tell you I get awfully lonesome out here by myself all day.  And I sure as hell don't want to wait here in Penrose until they haul me up the hill to the Penrose cemetery.  Hey Min, let's sell the cows, sell the farm, and move out to Washington where Judy is.  We'll build a new house out there and see some different scenery.

Well, we did that.  We built the new house in Washington, every bit of it ourselves.  I even figured out how to do all the plumbing and wiring.  When I didn't know how to do something, I just studied the manuals until I could see how it worked.  We fixed up the shop.  Minnie planted and raised more raspberries than any human being ought to try to raise.  We were close to Judy and Liz and, for awhile, Steve and Ann.   But Minnie's been gone for a dozen years and Elna is away from her family and familiar places and I'm actually getting homesick for Wyoming and the mountains.  Hey, Elna, let's move back to Cody.  Then the unspoken words.  I need to see Rattlesnake Mountain and Southfork and Northfork and Sunlight.  I need to go back to my roots, to the place where I found a home and felt for the first time since I painfully learned when I was a little boy that my stepmother didn't want me around after my dad died and I soon discovered that my aunt and uncle didn't want me either.  Then, miraculously, I found a home with another aunt and uncle in Sunlight who leg me eat all I wanted and for the first time didn't feel like a castaway that wasn't worth a damn, a no-good worthless orphan boy that no one else ever wanted around until I got here and found Minnie.

To be continued . . .

September Beginnings: Chapter 2 Part 3

Continued from Chapter 2, Part 2
In his later years, and especially after Mother was gone, Dad became my counselor.  He patiently listened to me, as he did to all six of his children, without being judgmental, or without jumping in and saying, "Well, here's what you ought to do."  One time, I was in Fort Collins, Colorado by myself where I was teaching  at Colorado State University for a semester while on leave from Brigham Young University.  Dad and Elna, my stepmother, thought I needed company so they came from Washington to see me.  Dad and I went across the street from my apartment house to sit at an open-air picnic table that we came to call our "office" in the plaza of the little shopping center there.  We frequently went over to our office  during the week of his visit and sat and worked through the trials and tribulations of life.  In turn, when I went to Olympia to visit, Dad and I often escaped down to the shop he had manufactured from an old log cabin by pouring a cement floor and fixing up the roof and walls.  There, amid the woodworking tools and sawdust and familiar and much-loved smells of wood and wood finishes we convened to discuss life and how we were coping with it.  As Dad got older, he became increasingly frank about his own life and the problems he had faced.  His revelations, hardly startling, made me feel much more at ease about my own life, realizing that each new generation has few, if any, original experiences.

The last time I saw Dad, I drove up to Cody in northwest Wyoming on a beautiful August day in 1992.  Dad and Elna had moved back to Cody from Olympia the previous year.  I drove over South Pass in southwest Wyoming, down the awesome eastern face of the mountain, through Lander and Riverton and Shoshoni and the Wind River Canyon, then through Meeteetse and into Cody.  We held our usual discussions and literary reviews, talking about Dickens and the Brontes and Louis L'Amour's superiority (in our minds) to Max Brand and other Western authors.  We pored over back issues of the Powell Tribune, our hometown newspaper, so we could provide needed commentary on weddings and other local happenings.  We talked about family and life and what it was like to be back in Cody.  I took along a bushel of Gala summer apples which Dad enjoyed immensely.  I began the journey back to Utah with a light heart and the sure knowledge I would be back next summer for a longer stay.

Then, in the early darkness of a cold March morning of the following year, my phone rang at 4:00 a.m.  I knew what had happened before I picked up the phone.  I didn't want to pick it up because I didn't want to hear the inevitable and painful news. Reluctantly, I lifted the receiver and raised it to my ear because I knew I had to.  It was my brother Steve.  "It's Dad, isn't it?" I said.  "Yes," he replied.  "How did it happen?", I asked.  Steve replied that Dad had gotten up to go to the bathroom in the Cody hospital where he was recuperating from pneumonia, suffered a heart attack, and fell to the floor.  Dad did not want to go to the hospital with his pneumonia, and we originally thought he had no more than a bad cold.  Unlike the time of Mother's las illness, no one entertained a thought that Dad would die.

Now there was nothing to do but make a numb and empty journey back to Cody without Gala apples, without hours of book and family discussions and without the recounting of slightly ribald old stories told countless times over many years.  Now I was without a Dad to listen to me tell him how I was doing and about what I wanted to do and reassure me that I would make it.  Now, my plans thwarted for a longer visit later that summer, all I could do was stand numbly by the open casket in the mortuary and place my hand on his cold hand one last time and run my fingers through the thin strands of white hair on his lifeless forehead while those around me watched in anguish.

Mother's illness allowed her more time to recycle her life in her mind than did the circumstances surrounding Dad's death.  But as he became more reflective in his las years when he wrote his life story and kept a sporadic journal, some of the following memories of his life may have filtered through his mind.

Russell's Story

I've worked long enough today.  Time to go home for supper.  Hey Min, what's for supper.  Anything good?  Guess I'll have to go to town in the morning and get a new part for the tractor.  Couldn't fix it by kicking it.  I'll take the cream to the creamery and see if I can get enough to pay for the tractor part.  Where is life going?  What good is it all?  Shoveling dirt, hoeing weeds, coaxing irrigation water that wants to run in the wrong direction, pitching hay, hauling manure, cleaning up the Jones place, cleaning up the Shumway place.  I'd rather be in the shop making inlaid pictures.  I need a new Stetson hat, but Minnie will howl about that.  Well, we should get the sugar beet check before long.  It looks big when it comes, but after we pay the bank and the Farm Security and the fertilizer and tractor fuel and gas bills and pay rent on the land to Grandpa Wasden I'll be lucky if there's enough left to take the kids to the movies.

To be continued . . .


Russell Marion Blood and Father's Day

It seems appropriate as Father's Day approaches, to include some of Dad's own words on how he came to marry Mother and father six children. At the time that Dad met Mother (Minnie Arrilla Wasden), he was living and working for his Aunt Elsie and Uncle Dewey in Sunlight, Wyoming, (mailbox, Painter, Wyoming), which is to the north and a little west of Cody.
"In 1929, Minnie Wasden came up to work at the ranch for the summer. She was a school teacher. But I must go back several years and tell about my romance with another schoolmam.
Dewey's brother Prestly had a ranch at the lower end of Sunlight Basin and they had four children, so they built a small school house and the county hired a school teacher. Her name was Bernice Bruce. She had black hair and dark eyes with long lashes, a tad on the plump side. Needless to say I fell madly in love with her, so did Dewey's boy, Jack, so we took turns courting her. I always felt that I had the upper hand, but later found out that I was being two-timed after a few exchanges with Jack. So then we just strung her along for the rest of the school season.
I thought that Minnie was kind of homely at first" (Mother's pictures of the time do not reflect this - Dad was obviously used to a different kind of beauty), "but she had the kind of classical features that showed so many different facets of character that I found her fascinating, and so established quite a romance.
But, alas, we had a couple of girls from the East who were visiting for a couple of months, and I, feeling my oats, latched on to a girl who was six years older than I. Her name was Pauline Beck. She was a nice girl, and so I abandoned Minnie; mostly, it was an ego trip because here all of a sudden I had a rich girl, also two in the same summer.
There was a rodeo in Cody every summer the third, fourth, and fifth of July, and there was always a big dance. The dance hall was called Wolfville. Minnie and Pauline were there, and I picked up Bernice, who at the time was working in Cody, so I was a busy boy trying to keep all of my girls straightened out. Was I on top of the world! Minnie fooled me, though, because she had taught school at Meeteetsee the last winter, so she had a lot of cowboy friends who took over all of her dances, so that took me down a tad.
I was driving the truck into Cody about two or three times a week, and Pauline usually went with me, so I completely abandoned Minnie, but like all dreams, Pauline went home, and as I watched the train pull out of the Cody train station, I had a terrible feeling of loss. Of course, it was a kind of dream world that I was living in. I really thought I was in love with this twenty-six-year-old girl who probably had never done without anything, and here was this twenty-one-year-old kid without anything except a couple of pairs of Levis and a pair of boots and a big hat.
So, through the long winter, I kept busy working on a new dining room, kitchen, and rough neck dining room, making pole furniture and mourning my lost love. . .
Minnie came back to work in the spring after school was out, and we patched up everything, so we were off to a fresh start. No more rich dudines, but back to reality.
And so our romance blossomed, and how. In the fall she started teaching in Powell, and I did most of the trucking, so we used to meet at Corbett, which was the ditch rider's house. Elna, who was Minnie's sister, and her husband, Oscar House lived there. He was a ditch rider for the Powell irrigation district. Elna used to fix us goodies to eat, so she helped our romance considerably.
Minnie's father was not too keen on the situation. He thought she was maybe chasing after me. I forgot to mention that she was Mormon, and here I was, a Gentile who smoked cigarettes and had a drink occasionally. I left the ranch about Christmas time in 1930. I joined the Mormon Church and we were married on the 23 of December in Bishop Carlton's house in Lovell, Wyoming. Minnie's mother and her sister Sofe were there, but not her father. I'm afraid he thought I was a pretty poor husband for his daughter. On the 24th, Minnie's mother had a family dinner to celebrate the occasion, and on Christmas day we took off for Denver in Minnie's Model A. Coupe. . . "
Now, I want to skip ahead to part of the story that Dad wrote about much later: "When I said I left the ranch to get married, I didn't give a full account of how I left it. Uncle Dewey had gone to New York, and Aunt Elsie, Jack and I were left at the ranch. Aunt Elsie, thinking that Jack and I needed a vacation, gave us each fifty dollars and sent us to Cody. I spent most of mine on a suit" (this was the light brown Hart, Schaffner, and Marx suit that Dad wore for years and years), " and Minnie drove up to meet me and took me down home [Penrose] to face the music. Unfortunately, and this I have always regretted, I left Jack without saying where I was going. I always wondered how he felt when I disappeared - likewise, Aunt Elsie."
There are six adult children alive today, who are very grateful that Dad married Mother, and that we were able to lead the life that we did because of their planning and hard work that they accomplished all of their lives. So, on this Father's Day, we celebrate and say, "Thank you, Dad. We're grateful that the orphan boy finally found a family and a home that he loved all of his life."

Friday, June 13, 2008

September Beginnings: Chapter 2 Part 2

Chapter 2
Russell
Part 2
I also think about Dad coming into the tiny kitchen-eating area from the barns or the fields or the shop, leaving his irrigation boots or muddy and often manure-covered Wolverine work shoes on the porch, hoping a mouse would not take refuge in them during a break.  We knew he was back in the house because he would lighten up the air with a Great Caesar's Ghost," a "Holy Moses," a "Judas Priest," or a "Man oh Mystery."
I think he liked the Caesar's Ghost expression the best, with great emphasis on the Caesar part.  I never did learn the origins of the "Man oh Mystery" bit.

Then I think about him getting up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. to go change the irrigation water, shoveling dirt and coaxing water down countless furrows, struggling for years against the overwhelming pain of a stubborn hernia.  Sometimes he would come home in excruciating agony after trying to push his stomach back together, his anatomy defying the assistance of the miserable truss he often wore.  He neither thought he could afford to have his hernia fixed nor that he had the time to do it and besides was probably afraid of the operation.  Later, as an older man, he had his repairs made and wished he had taken care of things years earlier.

I can still see Dad poring over the veneer and shop tools catalogues, carefully working out an order for a few more pieces of bird's-eye maple, cherry, walnut, or other beautiful kinds of wood that were like wonderful friends to him.  His passion for wood and for making beautiful inlaid pictures enabled him to find energy and time to pursue his woodworking skills until the end of his life.  A familiar memory is one of Dad sitting on an old white stool as he cut the intricate pieces of veneer on a Delta scroll saw.  This stool had been in our family forever and had only recently been cast aside without due regard for all the bottoms it had supported during its long and uncomplaining service.

Whether Dad wanted to be a farmer or not, he loved the outdoors and the peace and quiet that Penrose offered, the smells of plants and animals and the sounds of livestock and poultry in the barnyard.  He pursued his farm work with unrelenting energy, never giving up on his hopes for a better sugar beet crop, a larger milk check, more hay to last the winter, more heifer calves, and the possibility that he could skunk the grasshoppers.

Dad hated to kill animals.  He used his .22 rifle only as a last resort to put suffering animals out of their misery.  But no amount of betting from me would ever persuade him to teach me how to shoot a gun or learn how to hunt.  Similarly, Dad had little use for dogs which he alternately called pothounds or potlikkers, explaining that a pothound was a large dog and a potlikker a small one.  We had two when I was a child, and I do not know whether they were pothounds or potlikkers.  The fate of one remains a total mystery.  The other tangled with a skunk and I never did learn what happened to it either, so we had two unresolved dog mystery.  Dad had a love-hate relationship with his dairy cows.  The gentle ones were long-standing members of the family, cows like Blackie and Blondie.  But his relationship with Old Red was much like that of Captain Ahab and the Great White Whale.  They both approached each other with extreme wariness.  Our milk stools were "T"-shaped, made by nailing two short pieces of 2 x 4s together.  I usually made an extra one, just in case Old Red demolished another one.

Dad provided the leavening in my relationship with my mother who always expected more perfection than I was willing to display and greater speed in attaining it than I often demonstrated.  Mom and I had a continual contest of wills which did not diminish the typically unspoken affection we both had one for the other.  But when things in the house were a little on edge, I could always escape to the fields or the cowbarn with Dad, and there we could manufacture rewritten songs we dared not sing in the house, and discuss the affairs of the day.  I could listen to his favorite stories of devilment and mischief he had perpetrated as a youngster, convincing me I was not half bad after all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

From September Beginnings: Searching for My Wyoming Legacy, Chapter 2 Part 1

This post is a continuation of the earlier post under the same heading.
Chapter 2
Russell
When I think of Dad, I think of him out in the cowbarn while we were milking cows and in the hayfield hauling hay and in the beet fields hoeing and thinning countless rows of sugar beets.  I remember him on frigid winter Saturday mornings when he enlisted my help to haul hay or sugar beet tops or haul a pig or a cow to the Powell Livestock Auction Market.  I think of his frustration while fighting kicky cows after already having worked twelve hours in the fields.  I remember countless times when Dad tried desperately to find a bolt or fix machinery without having to take an offending part to Gail Burke at the blacksmith shop in Garland for repair or go to town for a new one, thus unexpectedly throwing the work schedule off for a half day or more.

I remember with great glee when Dad rounded up "us kids" to go off to the movies and when he uncomplainingly sat through endless band concerts in the Powell High School gym, always assuring us how wonderful they were.  I believed him and glowed with pride.  I remember when we would park the old Model A by Lord's Feed Store or by the Wyoming Hotel while he would go to the movies and we would go to a band practice or to a Halloween party in the old Powell High School Cafeteria, which perennially smelled of my detested carrot-and-raisin salad.  I remember the night that the movie was "The Song of Bernadette."  We thought it was going to last all night before Dad would come and take us home.

I always knew how hard Dad worked but I have only recently come nearer an understanding of just how close to the edge of financial disaster my parents were through all the years we were at home and for some years afterward.  Every bit of cash spent on us was painfully spent, for my Waltham high school graduation watch--which, sadly, did not run very long--and then for my blue plaid dress suit bought from J. C. Penney's in Lovell (which I would quickly outgrow, being only 15 when it was purchased), and for my brown Samsonite suitcase which I plastered with decals of the Future Farmers of America emblems.  This suitcase accompanied me on countless FFA and band trips and then was borrowed by several friends at the University of Wyoming who had even less money than I, and who had no luggage to take on their honeymoon.
To be continued . . .

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Missionary Journal

Both Elizabeth and I have worked on transcribing Grandpa Wasden's missionary journal. I am not very far in the process, but in sharing this small portion, I don't want Dwight to think that he can get what he asks for every time (i.e. recipes and now Grandpa's journal). However, when he has a good idea, it is definitely worth responding too. Transcribing the journal is a very tedious task. I keep wanting to correct his spelling and punctuation, but Elizabeth was instructed that we should not make any corrections in order for the transcription to be authentic. So, this has been typed exactly as it is written in James Brooks Wasden’s missionary journal. There have been no spelling, punctuation or grammatical corrections made. For those who do not know the history of James B. Wasden, he was a self taught man with very little formal education.
A Missionary Blessing.
Given upon the head of Elder James Brooks Wasden, in the Salt Lake Temple Annex, March 16th, 1898. by Presidant J. G. Kimball.

Brother James Brooks Wasden: By the authority of the Priesthood which we hold, we ordain you A Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, and seal upon you all the gifts and blessings, keys and powers pertaining to this high calling in the Holy Melchisedek Priesthood. And we pray our Father to bless you as you have never before been blessed, that you may comprehend the powers that are conferred upon you in this ordination for you are A witness of the Lord. It is your privlage and your duty to preach the Gospel, to be A preacher of righteousness, to labor among the children of men in the world. It is your privilege to leave your home, to take upon you the cross and to follow Christ, to forsake your father and your mother, your brothers and your sisters and every blessing that is given unto you in this your home and country, to preach the Gospel. If you are not willing to do this, you are not worthy of being A disciple of Christ. And we pray our Father to fit and qualify you for this labor; and in as much as you have been called to labor as a missionary in the Southern States, we set you apart to perform that duty, and pray our Father to give unto you wisdom, to help you to be wise and choice in your word, that you may learn to love the souls of the children of men, and have there confidence and there sympathy; and when you shall speak in public or in private, that your words shall carry conviction, that they shall be weighty, that the children of men shall consider them and realize that you have spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Do not be deceived by rong influences; but remember that the Lord will not forsake you, if you are faithful; He will come to your rescue, light will dawn upon your mind, intelligence will be given unto you, no harm or accident shall be fall you, but you shall go in peace and return in safety. The hand of the Destroyer shall be staid in your behalf, and you shall be able to faithfully fulfill this mission. If you desire any greater blessings than have been conferred upon you, you are entitled to the same if you will live for them. So we admonish you to be encouraged, to be hopeful, to have your heart filled with charity, and you shall succeed. We bless you to this end, Dear brother, and say unto you that you have received A great blessing, A great privilege, this day. WE set you apart to this mission, dedicate you to the Lord and to the ministery, reseal and reconfirm upon you all your farmer blessings, and we do it by the virtus of the Priesthood, which we hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
1898
Dues paid to Confrance President.
All paid up until the last of August 1898.
July 24th Sent $4.50 cts to Chatanooga Office. To be placed to my credit.
Sept 22 Dues to Pres J Z Brown 10cts

A pleasing form, A generous heart.
A good companion, just without art.
Just in her dealings, faith to her friends.
Beloved through life, lamented in the end:

Browards Neck, Duvalle Co. Fla
September 7th 1898
Received word of President Wilford Woodruff death in California at San Francisco U.S.A
Cash Credits and P.O so on and so forth
July 16 1898
16 Rec from Mrs. … $1.00 and b stamps .24 cts
“ “ Christena Christenson $1.00
Rec from W W Wasden 25 cts in P.O. Stamps
“ “ Mrs M Metcalf 10 cts Lost dates between …
“ “ Mrs T C Wasden 25 cts

Aug 5th “ “ 8 cts
“ “ 1 Photo
Aug 17th P/O Elder C. B. Snowball $3.00 for shoes
20 cts sox
Received at E. Ellis Maryety Duvall, and give C. B Snowball credit at Chattnooga Tenn Office $3.25
Placed to H Summerhays 60 cts at C. Office for ½ doz B of M

Aug 30th
Rec from C Office 1 …. Fluid. 1 box lether preserver, 1 tie, 1 pack envelopes. 1 writing pad
Sep 5th
24 cts P O stamps from Mrs. T C Wasden
“ 14th Rec from Chattanooga Office 2 W shirts $1.10 2 C Collars 30 cts. 1 Record Book. 1 Pack Envelopes 1 copying Pencle
“ 14 Charge to Eld A G Sedgwick account. 1 W Shirt. 1 Record Book. 1 C Collar. 1 Copying Pencile

1898 Mar 25 Jacksonvill Fla
Got up at 6:30 this morning went down twan and harbor of the St. Johns River. Seen meny Ships, some of larg size. Went back to lodging house – took Breakfast for Elder Wixon and Elton and myself. After Breakfast went to Depot took train for Sanderson Fla at 9.25 am for our dest. Which we arrived at 10.40 a.m. Met Elder John Z. Brown. At station and Bro Westor and Bro Kenova. Took dinner at Bro Westor.. Then walked 3 miles to Bro Mann’s took supper and held meatting in eavening. Had good time stoped all at Bro Mann.
Mar 26
Took breakfast with Bro Mann. Passed fornoon at studing and walking in the woods. Had dinner at Bro Mann s. after dinner studied awhile then about 3 oclock road out with Bro (. _ Terrell. Took supper and held meatting in eavning Was good attendance and had good meating. Blessed three children of Sister Sapp s oldest 6 years July next. Slept at Bro J K Terrall s
Mar 27
Sanderson. Baker Co, Florida
Sunday morning arised at 6.40 oclock. Took walk in woods, come back and dressed for Sunday School. Which was held at Sanderson. Which was well attended about 40 all together, and had agood time and good Order was kepet. After noon meating was held at Bro Mann School house, had good meatin. Went to Bro Mann s, held eavning meating and staid all night. And after afternoon meating pertook of an harty Supper at Bro Mann s. Walked about 8 miles all total.
Mar 28
Took breakfast at Bro Mann s. Took short walk after Brekfast. Came back wrote too letters. One to C and one to W. Took dinner at Bro Mann s. Then went to Bro Terral s and had Suppper. Bless too Children and then went to bed.
Mar 29
Took Breakfast at Bro Terral s then went to Bro Mann s. Took dinner and Supper. And stad all night. Enjoied a pleasant rumble after supper.
Mar 30 Sanders Fla
Took breakfast at Bro Mann s. Studied in fornoon. Then walked over to Bro Terrall s for Dinner. Then went to Bro Manns and met Bro Pres Cuttler and Elder held Elder s meatting in the woods. And rec instructions worldly of following. Elder Wixon goes to _eva Ga and Elder Elton to Putam Ga, and Jas. B. W. to St John s Ga . To supper at Bro Terrall s and held meating at Bro Mann s and staid all night. Elder Wixon and Elder Geo went to Sandars on there way to there field of labor.
Mar 31
After taking breakfast at Bro Manns Pre Cuttler and Elder Brown Elder Elton and my self started for Sanderson. A distance of 3 miles. After making a few nessary arrangements Elder Brown and my self started on our journey southward, arriving at Bro Hills for dinner and staid all night and visited.

Report for Month of March 1898
Miles rode by rail 35
Miles walked 26
Families visited 8
Families revisited 8
Books give away 8
Meatings held 7
Report for the month of April 1898
Miles walked 232
Familys Visited 10
“ Revisited 75
Tracts Distributed 16
Dodgers “ “ 16
Books sold 12
“ “ Givaway 1
“ “ loaned 2
Meetings Held 28
Gospel Conversations 1
Children Blessed 1

Step Mother


This is Mary Quick Blood, who married our Grandfather Roscoe after the death of his very young wife, our grandmother, Louise. Mary became our father's step-mother, who did not treat him equal to that of her own two children.

An Old Envelope


Remember these? It is fun to look at the price.

Great Spelling


In posting this you should come to know I have little pride (left). It is difficult to imagine that I went on to the county spelling bee, was hired by the Second District Court because I got all spelling words correct in the spelling portion of their employment exam, and have spent 44 years (as of tomorrow) helping Paul figure out how to spell certain words. That just goes to show we have to always look at "potential". I don't know how I came to have this letter, but as I went through more stuff, there it was.