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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Arrives with Distinction -- Thunder And All

Usually September days are warm, sunny and beautifully refreshing -- and some of the days so far this Fall have been . . . but yesterday -- rain, lightning and thunder claps. Thunder and lightning here in our part of Northern California seems to be rare, but we had something like a Midwestern thunderstorm on Friday.

Dates for Next Week

Things are definitely "slowing" down in terms of both birthdays and anniversaries. The bit last post about birthdays and the ranking of the most "popular" dates came from a study that the NY Times had conducted over many years and was able to show that September not only had the most popular date -- September 16 -- but also many other days in the top ten -- e.g. # 2 is September 9 and #3 is September 23 . . .

There are only four couples with wedding anniversaries next week but still a bit above twenty folks with birthdays.

I'll talk a little more about birthdays later in the post -- but I did enjoy mine this last week. Of course it was a full day of receiving emails, phone calls and visits -- which were all fun and appreciated.

Just for the record too -- Dino had a birthday last week as well -- he turned three years old on the 24th.

The 24th happens to be #6 on the most popular dates -- but I don't think the same reasoning applies in Dino's case because as we mentioned last post the reason for September being so popular was because of the period nine months prior (holiday season and all). At any rate Dino had a very nice quiet day of celebration as well.

Still Searching for Butchers, Bakers & Candlestick Makers . . .

While rooting around the 1940 Census I happened upon my 3rd Cousin (once removed) and found that in that year he was a "butcher" or meatcutter as he was labeled.

In 1940 the meat business was quite a bit different than it is today. Most shops were the old style "service" counter where the meat is displayed behind glass and you deal one on one with the "butcher" to select the types and cuts that you want.

There are a few of these type shops still around today -- we have one in town -- they are giving the image of old time "quality" and service and a lot of folks seek that out. For me, I prefer the newer style of self-service where I can pick & choose from a variety of cuts and make my decision without the added pressure of the butcher waiting for my answer.

What is a bit amusing though to me is to slowly walk in front of the meat case of this "old-fashioned" service counter and find that I am being tailed by a butcher or two waiting to respond to any requests that I might have . . . sometimes I just like to check out the display without really being ready to make a purchase . . .

One thing I have to say is that since I was a "butcher" for six years I know how nice it was -- in someways -- to have a floor heavily covered in sawdust. Today, sawdust here in the U.S. is not allowed. And when I started meatcutting in the Midwest (Illinois) we were not allowed to sell meat on Sunday -- so Saturday night after cleaning up, new fresh sawdust would be spread over the floors and raked to perfection . . . I would miss that if I were working in a market today.

And What About Those Iowa Weddings . . .

So, again I found myself looking into to flesh out the details of some of my ancestors lives. I of course find it fascinating and one of the cousins that I found this week is Helen Marie Hiles, a second cousin (once removed) and if you click on the left graph you can see how she is related.

Helen lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin when on October 12, 1935 she married Delos Martin Johnson and they got "hitched" in Iowa . . . Decorah, Iowa.

You can see by the map to the right that the two
locations are only a little over an hour's drive away -- but I still don't know the attraction of an Iowa marriage versus a Wisconsin ceremony.

The downtown photo sure looks like many small towns that I have been to -- but I can not recall ever being in Decorah, Iowa.

And now a bit more about birthdays

Actually mine, earlier this week. While chatting with my sister I mentioned to her about the gift that Gail gave me -- which if a man were to give this to his wife it might be considered, not too appropriate . . . but in my case I loved it -- it was a new vacuum -- and since I do most of the vacuuming it was very much appreciated.

Let me share some history of my vacuuming experience:  growing up at one point in the 1950s, we had a memorable vacuum in our household and it was often my assignment "to do" the vacuuming.

As my sister and I both remember -- this was a machine to be reckoned with. It used water in the bottom tank that took all the dust particles and turned them into a sludge that then had to be dealt with -- I think we dumped it into the toilet as I recall.

But, Marilee reminded me of a story about the vacuum that I did not remember and I find amusing. This vacuum was very powerful and  had very strong suction -- so strong that once when my mother was using it around the holiday time near the Christmas tree -- the machine grabbed one of the branches and sucked in and knocked off ornaments and stuff . . . I can only imagine the panic that ensued.

But we used that vacuum for many years and it probably would still be operational today as it was built like a truck -- ugly -- and awful to dump -- but effective if used carefully.

NOW -- enter the Roomba -- the robot vacuum that I received this week. The only thing it has in common with the Rexair is that they both start with the letterr "R" . . .

I have been fascinated with the idea of a "Roomba" for sometime.

After charging the unit for a few hours we decided to "check it out".  It charges up and then we pushed the button to put it into service. The iRobot Roomba left it's charging station and proceeded to move out into the floor area.

At first it startled Dino -- but he quickly reacted the way we did -- we were fascinated with watching it. It made a fairly quiet vacuum noise and began moving around the family room -- it disappeared beneath our sofa several times vacuuming an area that we would have had to move the sofa to do.

A long story short -- the Roomba wandered about the whole house for two hours -- it went into every room including the bathrooms. We actually had my brother over while all this was going on and we did not always check on it's progress but could hear it moving about.

Another positive was that it spent a lot of time under our bed -- another area that is not always easy to vacuum. After about two hours the Roomba made it's way back to it's charging station and docked itself to recharge -- very impressive.

When I cleaned and emptied the receptacle the next morning I found a ton of dog hair and associated dust things that Roomba had picked up. So far we love it . . . wouldn't our folks just be amazed.

Also on September 23rd . . .

Another great birthday gift was the premiere show of the second season of this excellent show. We actually have not seen it as yet but it is recorded and we can watch it whenever we want to -- which will be soon.

We had so many things going on this week the DVR feature again has proven how valuable it is to have.

But "finding your roots" is a really good genealogical show -- Henry Gates does a fantastic job with every episode that we have seen.

Having this recording ready to watch is like having an "ace in the whole" when we are looking for a show to watch. We record almost everything for that reason.

So, that was a bit of our week -- it is Saturday and that means "maybe" burgers . . .

See you all in a few!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A New Set of Downs . . . 1st & Ten

This week it feels like a new set of downs are coming our way . . . besides the fact that it actually rained one day we sense that "fall" is almost here.

Autumn is such a pleasant time and we look forward to the change in the season.

There is still over a month before the "time" changes back from Daylight Savings time to Standard. (November 2nd)

We have divided our time between NFL and MLB. The Niners/Bears game was a "wake-up" call as was the Seahawks/Chargers game this week.

And the Giants looked good in some of their games this week and hopefully will be in the playoffs.

Also this week we enjoyed the premiere of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), that show continues to be so entertaining. And the finale of AGT -- America's Got Talent -- which is also a very entertaining show, brought us a magician as the winning act which was refreshing to see.

We actually did do some other things besides view TV this week . . . but not a whole lot.

Dates Next Week

September is a "busy" month for birthdays for folks in our tree. And as it turns out September is the busiest month for birthdays for a lot of folks -- more details coming up.

What I found interesting is that I pretty much felt that all months were fairly even in the number of birthdays -- but not so!

For example, a study conducted by the NYTimes regarding this pointed out that September had the top 11 most common days for birthdays.

My father's birthday is in September (the 9th) which happens to be the second most common birthday of the year.  My birthday falls next week (the 23rd) and that is the third most common birthday of the year. And my father's father's birthday is in September (the 6th) but that day does not rank near the top (111th).

So, if you click on the chart on the left you can see all 30 days of September and how each one ranks. And the 16th of September turns out to be the most common birthday of all.

The facts and figures came from a variety of sources -- Dick Eastman's blog for one: Dick had the main article that caught my interest. The NY Times put together the chart at the left for every day of the year.

And if you wanted to see the month of September shown graphically  as a "heat map" for the days, check out

What I found to be fascinating is that I always thought that September was a very busy birthday month but I never really gave it much real thought -- until now, and it makes a ton of sense.

When you count back from the days in September by nine months some of the reasons are more apparent -- those days would be in the "holiday" period when "things were lookin' up" . . . so-to-speak.

For my own personal "day" I came along just about nine months after "Pearl Harbor" . . .

One of the Butchers in the Tree

A couple of posts ago I mentioned the "Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick Maker" and that all three could be found in the tree -- so today I quickly mention one of the "butchers" who can be found in our tree:

While it is a "stretch" to say how I am related to Vern, I am kind of like a "shirt-tail" cousin. Vern is actually -- from the description listed by Family Tree Maker -- a first cousin once removed of the wife of a first cousin once removed of mine . . .

So there you have it, Vern is related, he was a butcher in 1959 per the above city directory for Faribault, Minnesota at Harry & Fran's Red Owl Store in town. And I'll divulge another butcher from our tree -- yours truly -- in 1959 I was starting my apprenticeship as a "butcher" at the Hinsdale IGA store.

For me, I worked as a butcher -- meat cutter -- for six years, the last three as a journeyman at various stores in California while going to college -- providing me with an ample income while also being a "poor student" . . . in a financial sense of course.

Status of other Searching

I am still searching for the details of my own parent's wedding (if anyone knows, please give me a clue . . . thanks).

But in the meantime I did find some details of another HILES' wedding that I did not know previously:

Leland Blair Hiles, a second cousin (once removed) lived in Viroqua, Wisconsin and ultimately was buried in the Viroqua Cemetery and my wife and I visited there in 2003 when we visited with my nephew, Jeremy who with his family lives in Viroqua.

However, this week while searching for HILES' wedding information I stumbled across Leland and his wife Mildred's information.

If you click above you can see that they were married in Iowa on 26 July 1934. At first I did not think it was the right HILES because they lived in Viroqua, Wisconsin and why would they get married all the way over in Iowa . . .

Until I checked the map:

Waukon and Viroqua are less than 50 miles apart and even in the 1930s it would not be such a great distance away.

I still don't know "why" they chose Waukon, Iowa as the site of their marriage but perhaps there were some extenuating circumstances that made Waukon appealing.

So, that was a bit of our week -- it is Saturday and I have a craving for maybe "taco salad" tonight as we watch the Giants play the Chargers . . .

Tomorrow we plan to watch NFL football and the Niner's in particular along with one or two other games as well . . .

See you all in a few!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back Into the 90s . . .

That decade was pretty exciting for us . . . we both were still working at our career jobs, we got married, we moved from San Francisco, and we retired and began life in Healdsburg. Our families were off and running in their directions and we worried about things like "Y2K" . . .

Actually I was referring to the 90s as in the weather . . . it has been in the high 90s most of the week and the a/c has been running all that time. The mornings have been starting out as if it would be an overcast and/or rainy day and then -- boom -- the hottness hits and stays around late into the evening.

But back to "Y2K" . . . it was predicted that all the world's computers would cease to function after 31 Dec 1999 due to the new century dating and all -- well, we all know that that did not happen. Only some of the computers ceased to work -- fortunately ours were among the ones continuing to run.

We actually did venture out a couple of times during the week -- mostly to run to Costco or Trader Joe's or to Safeway all for needed supplies and medications . . .

Dates Next Week

There are many September birthdays next week and among them James Norris Gillett who was born 154 years ago on September 20, 1860. A little more about Governor Gillett later in the post, but it is fascinating to me that he was born in Viroqua, Wisconsin where we have relatives still living. He then made his way to Eureka, California where we also have relatives living -- small world . . .

And we have nine couples celebrating anniversaries next week -- best wishes to all!

More Back 2 School

I sure do love and their collection of yearbooks and I found another relative among those pictured:

Fay Adele is a 1st cousin of mine and I always had good feelings about her. Above you can see her pictured in Wheaton College's yearbook in 1944.

Wheaton, Illinois was not that far from where we lived in LaGrange, Illinois at the time,  I believe that I only saw Fay Adele a few times in my life -- but she did attend my first wedding in Glendale, California as she was a school teacher in nearby South Pasadena, California.

The Search this Week

Mostly I found myself working on fleshing out some of the details surrounding the life and family members of James Norris Gillett.

In looking at the information that I had accumulated over the years about the Governor I realized that I was missing various details -- e.g. the date that he and his first wife, Adelaide Pratt got married. I did not readily see anyone with a tree showing that date.

After searching through, eventually I found the information -- James Norris Gillett and Adelaide Pratt were married in Alameda County, California on Christmas Eve 1886. She was 23 years of age and he was 26.

It is always a "high" when I find a document proving a life event and this case is no exception. On the bottom entry above is the proof of the marriage.

The unfortunate facts are that Adelaide only lived til the age of 33 as she died in 1896. She and James had three children at that time, two daughters and a son. James would marry again later and have another son, James Jr.

I found other items for many of the James Norris Gillett branch which I'll share in later posts.

Lastly this Week

Thank goodness for the NFL. It has provided us with many hours of enjoyment this last week. We watched several games -- and some I actually can recall the scores . . .

I know we actually watched five games last week but I can not recall the fifth game at the moment.
We also watched two Thursday Night games as well as Monday Night Football . . .

We look forward to watching da' Bears and the Niners tomorrow and we'll peek at the Raider's game too and see how their new quarterback is doing after losing the first game . . .

So, that was a bit of our week -- it is Saturday Night so it is burgers Salmon (poached) tonight . . .

See you all in a few!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

RUB - A - DUB - DUB (All 3 in the Tree)

The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, all three are found in our family tree. We'll identify  each in future posts -- but I know some of them . . .

It felt like November this morning when I went outside with Dino. The late nights and early mornings have definitely cooled.

The activity at the school by us has certainly made us aware of the schedule and the voices at recess bring us to another period of time and is pleasant.

Next Week Dates

Several birth-dates to celebrate in the coming week as well as a few September weddings:

Best wishes to all!

Speaking of Dayts

Growing up it was a treat for us kids to visit with our Grandparents in Chicago AND every once in a while we would be treated to a ride in their auto and often it was for the purpose of taking us to the store for clothes.

My Grandfather Dayton Bumgardner kept his car in their garage behind their house. Most of the time when visiting we would go with my Grandmother, Mamie, to shop for groceries and for that kind of shopping we always walked pulling a cart to carry purchases in.

We would go to an individual meat market, an individual bakery, an individual produce stand and an individual grocery store -- not at all like the super stores of today. But my Grandparents usually knew all these folks and the trips were mostly pleasant.

But for the times that we visited and did other shopping -- Dayton would get the Pontiac out:

That is Dayton in his finest and that is his (I think) 1937 Pontiac Deluxe touring sedan. Actually the picture of the car is one that I took after my brother pointed out to me that someone had a car just like our Grandfather's close by in town.

I hustled over and took some photos and while the car is being restored I have started to restore some of the pictures. The car needs a lot of body work but all in all it looks like Dayton's car and has brought back some very nice memories. Who knows, maybe it IS Dayton's old Pontiac . . .

The Status of the Searching

I did a lot of searching this week and a lot of it wound up related to the Gillett family. I have taken to working the "hints" in and have been having a lot of luck filling in and documenting tons of folks.

What happens is that when I find a relative and work the "shaky leaves" I find more and more relatives and details.

Above are just some of the Gillet cousins that I updated this week. The interesting thing about their name is that so many of the records report an "e" on the end when there shouldn't be one. And I have to think that after a while families just let the "e" stay.

Also the above four cousins had pictures associated with the information that I found -- either for a school photo or possibly an obituary photo. I love being able to see the folks that we are related to which makes the connection that much better.

My process is usually to work the tree then put the info into Family Tree Maker and finally into  Hiles & Related Families Genealogy Pages. Sometimes as well I put some into GENI.

I look forward to starting the day doing the above and working at various times during the day finding "just one more" relative.

Housing Projects

We have been somewhat lax in doing any major improvements the last several months. Earlier we did so many that we took a break for a bit.

But now more out of necessity than anything else we are going to replace all of the fences around the home. And five of our neighbors also have gotten together and we have agreed on style and height and we have a company putting together an estimate for each of us five homeowners.

It is so nice that our neighbors all agree and want to move forward with replacing these original fences -- all the homes were built about the same time and all of the fences are the originals and all are in risk of total collapse.

Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be looking at a fence like the above. They are higher than our present fence and needed agreement from all the families involved -- which everyone did.

Lastly This Week

We were so happy to see the football season begin on Thursday night this week -- and the game was a thriller -- probably not for the Green Bay Packers though.

Once Seattle took the lead they kept it and won a very convincing game. The Packers are having to reexamine some of their playing . . .

We are hoping that the Forty-Niners do as well as the Seahawks when they play the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow -- we'll see.

After I finish writing this I'll check out the USC / Stanford game which we have recorded and is usually fun to see,

So, that is a bit of our week -- it is Saturday and that means burgers Salmon Steaks.

See you all in a few!