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Category Archives: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Challenge

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Week 18

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“Week 18. Weather. Do you have any memorable weather memories from your childhood? How did your family cope and pass the time with adverse weather? When faced with bad weather in the present day, what do you do when you’re stuck at home?

This challenge runs from Saturday, April 30, 2011 through Friday, May 6, 2011.”

Funny that you ask… LOL! As I have sat here through the very recent flooding of Branson, MO & my home town Harrison, AR, and the tornadoes ravaging the states, I have pondered many moments in my life that I have sat through & survived amazing weather moments…

When I was little girl, about 4, I was out at my Grands old place there in Urbanette, Carroll Co., AR. I spent a lot of time out there growing up. She had an old farm house on 40 acres of land.

Being an old farm-house, when the bad weather rolled in you could watch it roll in. The house was susceptible to lightning going through it. I remember many stories Grands shared about being struck or shocked by the lightning as it went through the house.

One evening the storms were rolling in good. She & my mom were rushing me through another one of my shallow “save the water” baths… which the water came out of the faucet into a cut off house into the tub, mind you… when it got really ugly really fast. They yanked me up, wrapped me only in a towel, & off we rushed to the stinky old mildewy basement cellar out in the old workshop. I won’t forget it. It was so dark, so stinky…

She had an old metal bunk bed set up in there with an old smelly mattress, some canned goods, & a few spiders & a lizard. I was more worried about snakes though. However, over all, I thought this was one really cool moment in my 4 years of life. I was in a place that I had never got to see. My mom wasn’t that thrilled, having been in there more than once in her lifetime, & Grands was just worried about the storm.

To this day it has been the only cellar I have been in & the only time I have been in one that I can recall. And I wonder why so many people don’t have these “storm shelters” anymore…? Have finished basements replaced old stinky cellars?

I have escaped many many many tornadoes over the years. From hiding under a mattress in the hallway, to showing my baby sister how to duck & cover for them even, to the tree that missed the house my a foot… even the one I sat through that went down in Ponca City two weeks ago. The sound of the house withstanding that kind of storm will remain forever recorded in my head.

And I would be short to say it was just tornadoes… the wind storms of March 2010 in Japan that took down a 1,000 year old health ginkgo tree was rather amazing to witness, along with the typhoon I sat through in 2003 in Japan. :)


52 Week of Personal Genealogy & History Challenge – Week #12

“Week 12: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

This challenge runs from Saturday, March 19, 2011 through Friday, March 25, 2011.”

There is always going to be the first movie I ever saw in the theater. I was three! My mom took me to see “The Fox and The Hound”. She was so worried I wouldn’t sit still long enough to even enjoy it.

We went to our local tiny theater and what was once considered the mall… and unlike today, it used to have a lot of little stores in it. That was back in 1980-1981… She let me pick out my seat, which of course was the very first row right up close to the screen :) I was all kinds of fidgety before the feature started, but once it did… (you know back when they hadn’t wasted 30 minutes of your time with “previews”)… I sat through the whole movie! I was clued to the movie & the story line I completely understood. I am pretty sure this is partly where I got the concept of die-hard loyalty.

It is one of my fondest memories of my mom before the rest of our lives set in. It was one of those moments that when I need a good memory, I recall it & smile :) To this day, “The Fox and The Hound” is my favorite Disney movie no matter how many new cool ones they come out with. And I have already started sharing it with my little man!


What If This Was Your Last Living Photo?

My family & I have been blessed & survived this 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan yesterday & its aftermath with no loss or damages. We haven’t had to leave our home since the tsunami warning. Outside some hours without electricity or cell services, but Facebook remained intact, we have simply remained shaking up as aftershocks continue averaging 4-5 per hour at magnitudes at 5.0+!

However, as the tsunami struck it wiped entire communities off the face of the earth. One of those communities was the small town of Sendai. Small if you consider 1 million people small. Many seemed to have survived, but news reports gave me us this photo below:


People take shelter as a ceiling collapses in a bookstore during an earthquake in Sendai, northeastern Japan March 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Kyodo)


Immediately my thoughts were taken away with this photo & genealogy: What if this was your last living photo? How many generations came up missing? How many family linages ended today? I am not sure why this photo reached out to me but it does.

Amy Coffin has challenged us to 52 Week of Personal Genealogy & History, … last week was disasters where I had nothing. Now I have a story. The aftermath & devastation has swept Japan, leaving us all quiet & on alert… but truly, what if this was your last living photo? Amazing what technology has given us!


52 Weeks Of Personal Genealogy & History – Week #10: Disasters

“Week 10: Disasters. Did you experience any natural disasters in your lifetime? Tell us about them. If not, then discuss these events that happened to parents, grandparents or others in your family.

This challenge runs from Saturday, March 5, 2011 through Friday, March 11, 2011.”

Geez… I can’t say that I have… well unless you count tornadoes, but they are so common place in OK, AR & MO that really… do those count?

As for family, no one had reported much either; no newspaper clippings, or photos. I think we have luckily escaped most disasters, outside of a few Thornton’s in the south during the drought of the 1930’s followed by the The Great Dust Bowl. I haven’t gotten to this topic in my research,…

However, on the other end of this story, as the Great Dust Bowl cleared its way through parts of Arkansas & most of Oklahoma, the terms “Okies” & “Arkies” emerged into common vocabulary across the  United States.

My Grands was born in 1935 in Los Angeles, CA, and as a child she surely adopted the negative attitudes that came with the “Okies & Arkies” as many migrated into  California looking for a better tomorrow.

Though history quickly states that the Dust Bowl only lasted from 1930-1935 (1940’s in some histories), it didn’t end there with the effects it had on the people or the United States. Even the Great Depression was happening simultaneously! Can you imagine living without the ability to grow, wash, water & without food crops or livestock, and no income?! That had to be the lowest place you could get in one’s life, I would imagine.

As another great migration pattern began, my Great Great Grandmother, Rosa Mason, was the house-mother at the Sunshine Mission for Destitute Women & Girls down on today’s “Skid Row” in Los Angeles. My Grands helped out at times at the mission… and this is where it began…

Here my ancestors witnessed a flux in the destitute populations as they emigrated to California. Many women & children that ended up in the Sunshine Mission were from families trying to find a better life out west. My Grands saw first hand the filth, desperation, & hardships that came with these extremely poor families.

Rosa, as reported by many & in clippings, was the most tender-hearted individual you can find. She never hesitated to accept a stranger into the mission, beat up “roughies” to protect another woman in need even in her 50’s & 60’s, and she would even wash your feet if you needed it! She was truly a gift from above.

My Grands on the other hand, grew up in a rather poor situation herself, so her heartstrings didn’t reach out as much. She took on the same attitude as many other native Californians who were also in great need as they watched the Okies & Arkies come in to get handouts where they could not. Though much later in life she developed a much softer place for “Okies & Arkies” as she married a man from Arkansas & later moved there, she never quite gave up that distrust of anyone from these regions.

A natural disaster affects more than just the eminent location or persons involved. It changes the face of time, places, & the people around the event! It also exceeds it’s time in history books as it passes down from generation to generation.

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