Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A New Year and 52 Things

My sister was telling me about a friend of hers that did this very cool thing when she turned 50. My sister said she plans to do this in the new year, and I thought it was so cool, I'd do it myself.

With the new year upon us, take your age in the new year and then create a list of that many things you've never done that you can do in the new year. So, for myself, I will be turning (gasp!) 52 in the new year, so I will create a list of 52 things I haven't done and do them. I shall then check them off the list as I go.

What is cool about this is that there is no pressure. I really believe the pressure to accomplish goals or resolutions can lead to failure so I like the rule that there is no pressure. You can even change your "things" as go along. The ultimate goal is to complete however many things (based on your upcoming age) in the new year. Your "things" don't have to be monumental either, but rather things you can really do. For instance, cook quinoa or go to a cemetery and photograph headstones that someone requested on You may even want to volunteer at a shelter one weekend, or start a journal. The possibilities are endless and open to change, just as long as you can do things you want to do that you haven't done yet! A kick back bucket list, I guess. I hope you'll give it a try!

I shall create a spreadsheet of things I shall do this year that I've never done and as I complete them, I will check them off. But even better (I know!), I will blog about them! These little gems will be tagged here as "52 Things" and the post titles will also contain "52 Things" so that you won't miss a single exciting moment!

I really hope others will join in and share their "however many things" with me. I really believe we can all inspire each other! Having said that, I'm getting an early start with some of my 52 things for the upcoming year.

1 - I will make a vegan German Chocolate Cake. As a kid, that was my absolute favorite cake in the world. It has been too long since I've had it, so, I'll come up with a recipe that meets my vegan diet.

2 - Request a coroner's report (my grandmother's). I learned that these are public record.

3 - Offer international shipping at my Etsy shop.

4 - Transcribe 1940 Census Records (I've never transcribed any census records and have already signed up as a volunteer)!

5 - Compile my mom's recipes into a cookbook (I have all those recipes of hers in my possession) and offer the vegan options. She really was a great cook, but now, it isn't something she does.

So, here's my start, and, maybe number five is a bit huge, but, I'll give it a shot. Remember, no pressure. That just really makes it more appealing IMO.

I hope others will join in and share their own accomplishments and goals here or share their links! I think my item 5 is huge and will take several months to complete, but I have others so far that will be easier. I look forward to seeing where this goes in the upcoming year. I also look forward to seeing what others do as I might find someone else's "thing" something I want to try.

Here's to 2012 and a prosperous, successful, healthy, safe and happy New Year! Do things! Make things happen and contribute something good to others while doing something good for yourself!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Weekend Recap

The Holiday weekend is ending and the New Year is on the horizon. It is Monday, but I seem to have the blahs like I tend to get on Sunday. In an hour or so, I will log on to the work computer and do some work as the morning deadlines will come either before I'm fully awake or while I'm preparing my mom's breakfast.

The weekend went fast. It seems the majority of it was spent shopping, running errands, calling in and picking up prescriptions, doing laundry, chores, wrapping gifts and cooking meals. Alas, the art projects fell short. That seems to have been my mantra this year and not one I like. I did some brief search through my posts here from this year and that has been a common theme. I really need to make a better effort. I know other people find themselves as working caregivers and make the time to do things that fulfill them on a personal level or make the time to do little things for themselves. I just haven't been able to successfully work that balance yet and am sitting here typing, thinking about how yet again, I have hideous regrowth and didn't seem to manage to get an appointment to color my hair. My escape time tends to be writing or doing genealogy research as that does not require dragging out art supplies and is something I can do while in the kitchen cooking.

My house is a mess and I feel that my life is too. I need to get my mom into activity programs that will benefit her while allowing me some time to do those silly little things like hair appointments and art projects. I need to get her house ready to rent out and get things in her house sold or donated. I also need to go through my own stuff and let go of things I no longer need or use.

Today I had planned to walk into a salon and get my hair colored, as well as (here we go again) make some art, but then I found myself making breakfast and lunch for my mom, checking her blood pressure, giving her meds, and helping her set up her foot bath for a soaking and foot massage. In between, I pretty much drank coffee, read some gen blogs, checked in on the Etsy happenings and thought about what I wanted to do (she moves so slow these days). Then laundry, dinner, dishes, and the weekend is over. At least the week is short and another holiday weekend is just around the corner.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Cool Yule and a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!
I had a very nice Christmas, prepared a huge dinner, and actually got everything I asked for. My sister and I got my mom a foot bath and she was very excited about that. We also got her two sweaters, a Sobakawa Cloud pillow (I got one, too, and it is very comfy), and a massage gift certificate.

Now I am so tired I can barely type this. I'll write more tomorrow (I can't believe I've been away for a few weeks). Where did this year go? That old saying is true - the older we get the faster it goes. The year flew by and I have to say it was a huge year of genealogy discoveries for me (I found my grandmother Lola), as well as being personally challenging.

Last Sunday, my BFF got my sister and I tickets for Christmas to see one of all of our favorites, Brian Setzer Orchestra (BSO)! We have gone to see his Holiday Extravaganza many times over the years and he NEVER disappoints! If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

Until tomorrow, I leave you with one of my fav holiday songs and the best cover of it, by BSO. The only time I saw him perform this live was the year the US bombed Baghdad and he dedicated it to a buddy of his who was there. It was very moving and brought tears to my eyes as well as many around me in that theatre. Until tomorrow...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays, and a Song of the Week

It is a rainy day and it is a Monday. Rainy days don't so much get me down, but Mondays tend to. And the rain today brought some cold weather with it, along with some cold winds, but luckily nothing like the winds we experienced last week that did much damage in certain areas.

Since it was so cold and rainy and Monday, I thought it was a good day for some warm comfort food. I made a really good batch of Lentil Barley Soup and some cornbread muffins. It did hit the spot! Unlike the recipe in this link, I did add two bay leaves and some torn Kale and it was fabulous!

I posted yesterday about Lena Cloos and her death certificate and indicated that I'd be calling the facility in Costa Mesa to talk to the woman that handles the patient records.  I did call her today and, as I suspected, my relationship may not be considered next of kin. But, I do have a homework assignment - I need to use my "detective" skills and find out if Lena has any living "next of kin" such as grandchildren or great grandchildren. Lena did have two daughters that are now both deceased, and from what I can tell, one of her daughters had a son. He is also deceased, but it appears that his wife and three daughters are still living. Now I must figure out who they are and how to contact them.

I also mentioned in yesterday's post that I had made a bunch of bottle cap magnets. The resin is drying now and they look so cool! Not all are totally dried yet, but I just couldn't help taking a pictures to share. Yeah, the little things. I'm so happy with them, yet the pictures I took tonight aren't that great. Actually they're pretty bad and I can't seem to fix them in PhotoShop. I'll have to wait until I can get pictures during daylight to share.

In keeping with the post title, it is a rainy day and a Monday, so I thought it was appropriate to share a Song of the Week. The weather may not be beautiful, but the song is and so is the voice of Karen Carpenter. She was such a talent and her life ended so tragically. Two weeks ago, a very nice man I worked with passed away suddenly from a heart attack. When I was telling my mom about his passing and how very nice he was, she said that it always seems that the nice ones leave us early and the bad ones seem to stay around. Maybe the nice ones are just lucky enough to leave while they are at the top of their game so that they can be remembered that way. Or some may not have gone while on top of their game, but we still remember them for the things they contributed. My song of the week, obviously, is Rainy Days and Mondays by The Carpenters. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lena Cloos, Part 2

Oh, man. I got Lena's death certificate this past Thursday, and have been taking it in since. Lena Cloos, aka Magdalene Moyer died in DeWitt State Hospital on 5 Nov 1951 in Auburn, CA (Placer County)! I really couldn't believe it, yet prior to getting her death certificate and knowing where she died, I did wonder. I wondered if Lena and Lola being in the same county and possibly city, were aware of this and knew of each other's whereabouts. I wondered if they were in contact with each other. I also wondered if Lena was for some reason at DeWitt, as their both dying in Placer County did strike a chord with me.

So, Lena was at the same state hospital that my grandmother, Lola was and they were there at the same time. I did review the medical records I have for Lola and there was no mention of an aunt anywhere in the files. That doesn't mean a mention wasn't there, but from what I understand, these records get purged over the years and therefore, what I have, has no mention.

Lena was a "resident" at DeWitt (according to her death certificate) for 3 years, 10 months and 19 days prior to her death. Based on that I figure she was admitted around 1947 or 1948 and the physician that signed off on the d/c indicated he had been treating her from 17 Dec 1947 until 6 Nov 1951 (her date of death). Interestingly enough, Lola was transferred from Camarillo State Hospital to DeWitt on 17 Dec 1947.

I wonder if Lena may have been at Camarillo prior to landing at DeWitt. Lena's usual residence was listed as Los Angeles. Or maybe she just somehow landed in Northern California at DeWitt in 1947. Sadly, my hope of an informant that may have been a relative  was shattered. Her informant was the DeWitt State Hospital Clinical Records. They did have good information, so either she provided it upon admission or someone close to her did.

I called the facility that holds DeWitt's records Friday and the person I needed to speak with was off. The records are held in Costa Mesa, CA because DeWitt is closed. It closed in the early 70s. I will have to call again tomorrow to see what my chances are of requesting and obtaining Lena's records. I imagine I may not the closest living relative, yet, I might just be the closest interested relative. I know Lena had children (they are now deceased) and I'll have to research their children.

I really find it rather sad that a few women on my dad's side of the family did die in State Hospitals. My mom always felt that my grandmother was in because of menopause. That is very possible as she did have her ovaries removed at 22 or 23 years of age, which could have started her change early and at a time when the only way "they" knew how to deal with the emotional aspects of that, was to declare them mentally unstable and lock them up. My grandmother did suffer from depression in 1930 (which was documented in her medical records). I can't help but wonder just how many women that were depressed or going through the "dreaded" change, landed in mental hospitals. Locked up and maybe given weird shock treatment and then released. Maybe after that, they were different and then put away forever. Who knows.

The scary thing is that it really wasn't that long ago. The other disturbing thing is that due to the diagnosis of the time, probably many women lost support of their families. How very sad. Mental illness was such a stigma back in the 30s through the 60s (and maybe even through the 90s). And to think that mood swings, depression, or the change of life could have been considered mental illness! Could it be considered that now?

On the art side of life, I have made a bunch of bottle cap magnets and more line art from my prints for screenprinting! I won't share pictures yet as the resin hasn't fully dried on the caps and the screens haven't yet been printed. I also FINALLY got my cut today! It has been so long and my hair was getting really ratty looking. The guy cut it a bit shorter than I wanted, but it will grow and he did a pretty good job. Curly hair isn't something that all stylists are gifted at. I know that from experience!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cocktail Cat Test Print

I have been thinking that I need to turn some of my groovy cats into line art for screen prints. I can then print them on towels and shirts. I get great feedback on my cats, but not really sales. So, my thought is that if I make them more "functional" they might stand a better chance of finding new "homes".

I have been working on many, but thought I'd share Cocktail Cat. In reality, I may get nice feedback on my designs, but do I really get any view on my Etsy shop? Not really. Is that disturbing? Absolutely. I can create treasuries until I'm blue in the face, but that doesn't seem to be what works (no matter what any Etsy expert might say). I can relist until I'm blue in the face, and, well the same.

Anyway, while I try to figure out what the hell I need to do to get my handmade items out there, I thought I'd share my first test print of my Cocktail Cat. I turned my collage into black and white line art and just tweaked it a bit.  Here are the "before" and "after" results. I was actually quite happy with the test print. Now, for the fabric printing. Of course, that will come after work, my mom's doctor appointment and my trip to the vet.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blood and Cats

I got home this evening and there was blood around the house. Not dark but still a lot. There was blood on the couch, on the chair, on the bed, in the kitty donut on the bed, and little bloody paw prints all around the carpeting in the house.

My mom had put a blanket over the blood on the couch and did say that she thought it was Petey as he had been sitting in the spots today where the blood was.

Basically, the blood was pretty much in all the areas Petey was today. Petey's little paw pad was cracked (kind of like my hands in this weather) and he left blood and blood prints all around. I have to take him to the vet tomorrow evening to make sure he's OK. He is acting normal - running, eating, sleeping, scratching on cat posts.

I called the vet to see if there was anything I could put on is paw such as aloe or something. I was advised by the receptionist not to put anything on it. I asked if it was possible that his paw pad cracked and bled like my hands do in this weather. I was told no. Naturally, I was told it would be best to take him in to see the vet. So, yeah, we're doing that tomorrow evening. If the vet tells me that is pads were dry and cracked and to put ointment on them, and then charge me for the visit, I will demand a refund.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lena Cloos

Lena Cloos was a name I came across a few times over the past few years while doing research and looking for my grandmother Lola. I saw a few Decatur newspaper blurbs about a "Miss Lena Cloose" and always thought she might somehow be connected to my family. It wasn't until I saw a blurb in one of those old papers about Lena and Emma Sowers visiting someone, that I knew there was a connection. Emma Sowers was the daughter of my great grandfather (Lola's father) George Cloos' sister Catherine Cloos Sowers Mauzy. Plus, Lola's middle name was Lena.

Until just recently, Catherine aka Kate, was the only sister I knew George had. There were several newspaper articles mentioning their visits, and Kate Mauzy was listed as George's nearest relative on his WWI draft registration.

Towards the end of October, I reached out on the Rootsweb message board for Decatur, IL, requesting an obituary look up for George. Someone came through almost immediately (the gen acts of kindness is truly beyond words!) and sent a transcription of the 1947 obituary. It confirmed my thoughts that Lena Cloos was connected.  Lena Morgan of California was listed as a surviving sister of George. The obit also listed a surviving sister from California named Louise Allen. I had not yet discovered a Louise, so this was another great find! It also gave me proof that George's mother, Elisabeth Groshauser had remarried a man named William Henninger (or Henninges - I've seen both spellings) and had more children (George's surviving half brothers Rolf or Ralph, and Roy). I did find Emma Sowers listed in the 1900 census as a granddaughter to William Henninger prior to getting the obituary.

As soon as I got the obit, I found a death record for Louise, the woman I didn't even know about. I found her on the California Death Index (CADI) on Rootsweb. It was easy to find her as she died as Louise Allen. I used her name, father's name Cloos, and birthplace "other" (I figured she too was born in Germany) in my search criteria and she popped up right away. Louise died in 1955 in San Diego, California. Her death index record even had her mother's maiden name of Groshauser. I also found Ralph's Illinois death record on Ancestry and it listed his mother's maiden as Groshauser, as does George's death certificate.

Lena Cloos or Lena Morgan, on the other hand, eluded me. I couldn't find much on her. I did find on the Illinois Regional Archives Database (IRAD) that Lena Cloose married Alfred Martin in 1893. OK, so maybe Alfred Martin and Lena Cloos divorced before 1947 and she remarried someone named Morgan. Actually, Alfred Martin died in 1935 from what I can tell. I cannot yet find Lena in 1930, but she did have two daughters with Alfred, Doris and Alfreda. And there the trail went cold, until last evening.

I was thinking about Lena and that in 1947 she was living in California so I was pretty sure she died in California as she would have been in her early 70s at the time of George's death and I just didn't imagine her moving around from state to state at that age for some reason. Previously, I had tried searching the CADI for Lena Cloos, Lena Morgan and Lena Martin but found nothing. So I decided to search only on birthplace "other" and father's name "Cloos". There were several hits and among them, Louise, but no Lena. As I looked at Louise's record it came to me to remove "Cloos" as father and put "Groshauser" as mother and leave birthplace as other (no first or last name) and I got a hit! Not sure why I didn't think of that before as that is how I found Lola after all!!!

Lena died in Auburn, California (Placer County) 6 November 1951 as Magdalene Josephine Moyer. There it was - mother's maiden name Groshauser and father's name "Closs"! As with the census records I found for Lena Martin, Magdalene Moyer was born in 1873. What was so surprising to me was that Lola died in 1960 in Auburn, California! I immediately ordered Lena's death certificate. I wonder if they were in contact with each other. Lola was in the state hospital at that time in Auburn. I can't wait to find out where Lena was and who her informant was. I realize she died many years ago, but hopefully her informant will be someone that will be "searchable". I keep hanging on to the thought that someone will be alive with pictures, stories and information to share.

I also found that someone added a memorial to her on How cool that strangers do that!

I can't wait now to get the death certificate and wish I could somehow convince all State and County offices that maintain vital records to get automated. I can't understand why in this day and age, one must still print out paper applications and send checks and wait weeks for informational copies of vital records. Of course, we can use a third party online service that these offices contract with, but the fees are astronomical.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holidays, Kitty Drama and Caregiving

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is now over in the US. It was certainly nice having four days in a row off to veg. On Thanksgiving eve, I began my ritual of prepping food for the big day. Generally, I have a house full of family and friends, but this year was different. Things came up which prevented friends from coming for dinner and to visit, but that didn't stop my food ritual. On Thanksgiving eve (last Wednesday) I prepared tons of food - marinated tofu, vegan green bean casserole, tofu pumpkin pie and vegan scalloped potatoes.

Since the week had been rather hectic, I was cool with the lack of company as that meant I didn't have to find the time to add house cleaning to the schedule. Thanksgiving morning rolls around and the first thing I did after making a cup of coffee was to pop the pie into the oven. I was in the kitchen and so was my sister (she was making our mom breakfast) when my little 14 year old Louie let out a loud and guttural yell. Not once, but twice, and something I've never heard come out of him before. At first we didn't even know where that came from.

My sister and I realized it was Louie and the other cats were disturbed by this sound. We followed Louie and he went to a cat box, but could not go. I said to my sister that I was going to wash my face and take him to the vet. He was "constipated" and clearly in pain. My sister washed up too, and we ran him to the vet. Being the holiday, I wasn't able to call in a regular appointment so was stuck with the "emergency" fee. That was fine as I only wanted my baby well.

Louie at the vet on Thanksgiving

We spent about two hours at the vet and then left Louie there while they did x-rays and gave him an enema. After about three hours, I called to check on him and found out that he still hadn't "gone" and they said to call back in two more hours as they were going to give him another enema. Poor baby.

Louie at the vet on Thanksgiving

My sister and I cooked the prepped dinner and did laundry while my mom kept asking for updates on Louie. When I called back the second time, the tech said he still hadn't gone but the vet said he could go home. My sister went to get him while I finished our Thanksgiving dinner. Louie came home with a huge bottle of liquid stool softener and we enjoyed our dinner and monitored him that night. The vet felt that he wasn't comfy enough to go and would probably be able to once home. He finally did! Thank God.

Louie's x-rays showed that his intestines were pretty full and needed to be "evacuated". The vet sent instructions home to give him a tablespoon of pumpkin pie filling (from the can and sans all the sugar and spice) daily as that is a good "cleanser". Turns out Louie LOVES pumpkin and will eat it right off of a spoon!

He's doing better now and I'm so happy about that. Wasn't quite how I had planned my day, but, do daily plans ever 100% materialize? The food did come together though, and was really good. The art I planned to work on, didn't really happen. Sigh. Louie's OK and I can work on art in the weird wee hours of the night. That does tend to interfere with sleeping though.

So now I just have to get my art going so that I can hopefully supplement my lost income with art sales. My day job work hours were cut after I moved my mom in. Maybe I can learn something from the "mommy preneurs"! I've got to do something! The difference between me and "mommy bloggers", probably not much. They are caregivers to little kids and I'm a caregiver to my mother and my cats. The bottom line is that we are all individuals caring for others while possibly trying to maintain our own "thing", hopefully somehow helping others, and have the means to provide for our loved ones.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Edna Vina Beck Coffman

Edna Vina Beck Coffman was one of my great grandmother Effie's many sisters, and was my grandmother Lola's aunt. Edna was the sixth child (and fourth daughter) of Wells Marcus Beck and Emma Mayben Beck. She was born In Prairie Home, Shelby County Illinois on 1 February 1876.

Based on information I've found online, I am only able to present her dates of birth, marriage and death, along with the names of her spouse, children (Rose, Elzie, Everett and Hazel), parents and siblings, as well as where she was living during the various census years. As with the others in my tree, I do hope to find pictures of Edna and her family.

At twenty years of age, Edna married William Wesley "Wes" Coffman in Shelby County, Illinois. By the 1900 census, they were living in Penn, Shelby County, IL, with two young children. By 1910 census, they were living in San Antonio, Texas with their four children, and 1910 was the year they went to Laramie.  By 1920, Edna and Wes were living in Laramie, WY, with three of their four children. In 1930, Edna and Wes were living in Laramie with their son Elzie.

I did find a memorial on for Lester Coffman (1898-1904) and the memorial listed his parents as Wesley W. and Edna Beck Coffman. The burial is at Prairie Home Cemetery in Shelby County, IL, where many of the Becks are buried. I did not find a child named Lester on the 1900 census, though, so I checked another great resource for Illinois, IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository) and checked the pre-1916 deaths. I did find a Leslie Coffman that died 12 Oct 1904 in Pickaway Twp, Shelby County, IL. The database lists Leslie as a 2 month old male. I also found a newspaper article on from 18 Oct 1904 announcing the death of the "babe of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Coffman". I will have to verify this by ordering a copy of the death certificate. I could not find it on

Edna moved to Denver, CO in 1943 and died there on 19 Sept 1948. She is buried with Wes at Greenhill Cemetery, Laramie, WY.

Transcription of the obituary:

Mrs. Edna Coffman Dies in Denver

Mrs. Edna V. Coffman, 72, former Laramie resident, died at noon yesterday in Denver following a brief illness. She had lived there for the last five years.

Mrs. Coffman was born Feb. 1, 1875 in Decatur, Ill. She came here in 1910 with her husband, the late William W. Coffman, Union Pacific Engineer who died in 1933. She was a member of the Christian Science church.

She is survived by three children; Mrs. O. C. Dinelly, Laramie; Mrs. L. M. Cole, Denver;  and E. E. Coffman, Denver; three grandchildren: Mrs. Duane Cordiner, Laramie; Lloyd Cordiner, Denver, and Delano Dinelly, Laramie; five great grandchildren and a sister, Wade Thompson and one brother, Edgar Beck, both of Decatur, Ill.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Stryker mortuary. Pallbearers will be H. B. Pope, Henry Larson, J. R. Sullivan, James H. White, Joe Vesley and Walter Fredericks.

The Laramie (Wyo.) Republican-Boomerang, Monday, 20 Sept 1948

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My "Famous" Great Grandmother, Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby

This evening I was talking to my mom while watching Katie Couric's interview with Regis Philbin on the eve of his retirement. My mom used to watch his network show and we used to see one of his early shows from Los Angeles back in the 70s. His co-host then was Sara Purcell.

I was washing dinner dishes and my mom came into the kitchen and tried to see the show on my small kitchen TV. That wasn't easy for her as she has macular degeneration. Suddenly she couldn't remember his last name and I tried giving her clues, but rather than getting it, she started laughing so hard she had to pee. Afterward, I think the interest in remembering Regis' name was gone and the discussion turned to Dr. Oz's show and ended with my reading an article I had found a while back but never saved. I recently went back to and found the article. My mom had a good laugh, although she did comment that at the time people did what they could to make money (and I have to agree with that).

I have referred to my great grandmother, Effie (Lola's mother), as "famous" before and I'm doing it again. I have found more articles on her than anyone else in my tree pretty much (you can search Effie here for all the posts). Effie had a hard life, there is no doubt about that. She gave birth to a daughter at 17 years old and the "Lothario" abandoned her. She then married and had five more children that I'm aware of, and her marriage broke up. She and her children ended up separated, living wherever they could get shelter and work.

Her eldest son died at 16 while working as a laborer on a farm for his board. Her youngest son ended up in a different state at 8 years old being adopted by the family he was with, and her two daughters ended up in State Mental Hospitals. She did remarry a man named Ellsworth Elmer Roby at least by 1920 (the year her divorce from George Cloos was granted) and was married to Ellsworth at the time of her death.

I so desire to take a trip to Decatur, IL to really scour through the historical society documents and those at the library. I also want to check court and police records in hopes of pictures. Considering Effie was known to the police, surely pictures of her exist. And surely pictures exist elsewhere, as she was a person that did exist. I firmly believe someone has pictures of her but may not know who she is.

The following article was published in the Decatur Evening Herald on Friday, October 7, 1927, page 10. I know it isn't easy to read and I'm not going to transcribe the entire article, but basically Effie was arrested for running a bootlegging establishment (or speak-easy) and charged with illegal traffic in liquor. According to the police, Effie had a gallon of "mule" at the time of the raids and arrests. Effie did manage to "furnish" the bond money on the same day of the raid to appear on charges and I assume walked because, as usual, money talks!

Effie really does intrigue me. At a time when she should have been content with being a "proper" young woman and "proper" older woman, she was anything but that! I want to know more about her. As I've said before, I believe her story alone, would make a great book!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leah Furst Beck

Leah Furst Beck was my great great great grandmother. She was the mother of my great great grandfather, Wellls Beck. Leah was born on 30 June 1818 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania and was the daughter of Thomas Furst and Anna Margareta Ilgen.

She married Joseph Beck at 23 years old in 1841. Leah and Joseph had four children, Wells Marcus Beck (1842 - 1928), Orlando Carson Beck (1843 - 1913), Agnes Amanda Furst Beck (1844 - 1911) and Luther Thomas Beck (1851 - 1935).

She and Joseph moved from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania to Prairie Home, Shelby County, Illinois in the spring of 1864 and lived there for the remainder of their lives. I do not yet know much about Leah but will research her more in the future. I am certain pictures of her are out there.

Transcription of Leah's obituary from Findagrave:

Death of Mrs. Leah Beck

(Review Special Service)

Prairie Home, Ill., April 27--Mrs. Leah Beck died at her home, three fourths of a mile west of Prairie Home on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock, aged 86 years, 9 months and 21 days.

She moved from Mifflin county, Pennsylvania in the spring of 1864 and has resided in the same place ever since.

Her husband died almost eight years ago. She leaves four children, one daughter, Agnes A. Beck of Pennsylvania, Wells M. Beck of Prairie Home, Orlando Beck of Montana and Luther Beck of Kansas, besides several grandchildren, great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter.

She was a member of the Lutheran church in ___ when she moved here when she united with the Presbyterian church at this place, of which she remained a member until death.

Daily Review, The (Decatur, IL) 27 Apr 1906

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 and Happy Veteran's Day, Happy Remembrance Day and my 200th Blog Post

Well that was a long title! Today is 11-11-11. It is also Veteran's Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada. This is also my 200th blog post!

First I must thank all Veteran's, past and present, for their service. Theirs is a service I was never up for. As a teen, the thought of someone yelling at me at the crack of dawn to remake my bed because a quarter didn't bounce on it, turned me off! As an adult, that isn't an appealing thought! However, serving your country is obviously much more than that.

I do come from a long line of veterans, and as far as I can tell, they all came home. I know I have veterans in my tree of the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War and Viet Nam.

Both my parents were WWII veterans. My dad served in the United States Marine Corp (Semper Fi, dad) and my mom served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In honor of this special day, I took my mom out for dinner. She had been craving "old school" meals (not my vegetarian stuff) and all day I wracked my brain trying to figure out where I could take her. On my way home from work, I had to stop for gas by the house (the fuel light was on), and I noticed a "family" restaurant across the street from the gas station. I decided we'd go there.

I got home and googled them and found the menu. I read it to my mom and she was very excited by the huge selection of items! So off we went. She was smiling as we walked in and the hostess seated us. As we were seated, I flashed back to my childhood. This place reminded me so much of a restaurant we used to go to on Friday nights back in the 60s when I was kid.

This place has a massive menu, a full bar, wood panelling on the walls, oil paintings hanging on the wood panelling, is open 24 hours. The extensive menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, kids menu, cocktails, you name it pretty much. Earlier in the week, my mom had been craving pork chops, but just couldn't remember what they were called and referred to them as ribs, but not ribs.

As we sat on our booth that was upholstered like a vintage car, I read her the menu options. As soon as I said pork chops and apple sauce, she said that is what she was trying to say the other night and she wanted that. Her dinner came with a baked potato with whipped butter, sour cream and chives, a little corn on the cobb, dinner roll and salad, and her choice of jello or tapioca pudding! Oh how old school!

I was able to order spaghetti with vegetarian marinara sauce. My dinner didn't come with all the extras my mom's did (which was fine by me). We both did get a lovely dinner salad prior to our meal that was served on chilled plates with your choice of dressing (including blue cheese or thousand island). We both picked Italian. The other throw back was that the salad also came with a package of Rye Crisp crackers and Saltine crackers!

The clientele as well as the waitress were basically of the senior generation. My mom just loved the entire experience. There was a couple there with a baby (a grandchild possibly) and young hip guy, but other than that, I think I was the youngest person there! My mom just loved the entire experience and so did I. I told her I was tempted to order from the kids menu because I flashed back. We will go there again. When I got the bill I was so surprised. My mom's meal, my meal, her glass of wine and my iced tea cost half the price that a meal for two cost at Olive Garden (two meals, glass of wine and glass of water)!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family Research - What Would They Think?

I was just reflecting on my past two years of "hard core" genealogy research - all the people I've found, the living cousins I've found, the documents, pictures, etc., and about the blog posts I've dedicated to various family members.

I don't come from famous folks, but rather, working class people. I started to wonder what they might think if they knew that I (in some little way) have "immortalized" them via my blog. I'm not so sure my dad would like it (or at least my attempt to find his mother) but maybe some of the others would find it kind of cool.

I wonder if many of the people in my tree may have felt no value in their lives, but this exercise in gen research has proven to me that everyone does have value.

Does anyone else ever think about this and how their long gone relatives might feel about being "out there" via this new technology?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Donald Elmer Robinson

Donald Elmer Robinson was my dad's first cousin. He was born 16 May 1928 in Lincoln, Logan County, Illinois and was one of the many children of Harry Ward Robinson (1889 - 1960) and Luella Sutton (1899 - 1943).

Don's father, Harry, was my grandfather Earl's (aka Red) brother. I couldn't tell you if Don and my dad knew each other, but Don did live in the Southern California city of Long Beach and died there at 40 years of age on 5 January 1969. Before my dad retired, his final work location was in Long Beach.

Once I learned about Don and that he died in Los Angeles County I had to go pull his death certificate. According to the record (and mind you these records are only as good as the informant), Don lived in California for 16 years (yet according to his father's obituary in 1960, Don lived in Phoenix, AZ). The informant listed on Don's death certificate was Records - VA Hospital, 5901 E. 7th Street, Long Beach, CA. Don died in that VA Hospital. He was a US war veteran - an Army Sergeant in Korea.

According to the death certificate, Don never married and had worked for 7 years as a cook at a place called Fleet Inn. I assume that was in Long Beach as Long Beach was also his last known address. Like so many others in my paternal family tree (both Red's and Lola's sides), including my dad, Don died of congestive heart failure.

His body was transported home to Lincoln, IL on 8 January 1969, and he is buried at Bowers-Templeman Cemetery in Mount Pulaski, with his parents.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Robert Clay Beck

Robert Clay Beck was the brother of my "famous" great grandmother, Effie, and the uncle of my grandmother, Lola. He was born in Prairie Home, Shelby County, Illinois on 21 Aug 1869 and was the second son, and third born child of my great great grandparents Wells Marcus Beck and Emma Mayben.

My research indicates that Robert married Cora Patton on 9 May 1892 in Shelby County, IL and that they had three children, Alverna Beck Taylor (1892-1971), Alma Lucille Beck McConnell (1897 - 1975) and Wells Marcus Beck (1899 - 1961).

Robert's wife Cora died in 1901, and he married her sister, Lulu Patton on 26 Feb 1903.  They had a daughter Dorothy Beck in 1907.

By 1910 they were living in Rio Grande, Colorado (where his sister Zadie Beck Loser was living) and that is where he died on 22 May 1925 at the age of 55.

Transcription of obituary

Robert C. Beck

Robert C. Beck, aged fifty-five years, and husband of Mrs. Lulu Beck, died suddenly in his home in Monte Vista, Colo, Friday afternoon, May 22, at 1 o'clock. Mr. Beck was born in Shelby county Aug 21, 1869. He is the son of W. M. Beck Sr. of Decatur.

Mr. Beck is survived by his wife, Mrs. Lulu of Colorado; four children - Mrs. O. C. Taylor of  Decatur, Mrs. Ray McConnell of Moweaqua, Mark Beck of Decatur and Dorothy Beck of Monte Vista; also five sisters and one brother - Mrs. Oliver Loser of Monte Vista, Mrs. W. W. Coffman of Laramie, Wyo; Mrs. William Wempen of Santa Ana, Cal; Mrs. E. F. Roby, Mrs. Wade Thompson and E. B. Beck, all of Decatur.

The funeral arrangements have not been completed  as yet, but will be held at the Prairie Home church, east of Moweaqua.

The Decatur Daily Review, 23 May 1925, page 10

Friday, November 4, 2011

See The USA in a Chevrolet and Song of the Week

Unless you grew up in my house. We didn't see the USA nor did we have a Chevrolet. We did see California in a Ford, but there are not songs about that! However, my  big sister did have a Chevy Camero in her teens.

Me, sisters, Puddles (our dog), 59 Ford Fairlane
Chevrolet turned 100! Can you imagine? What an impact Chevy had just in music - Elton John, Dinah Shore (yes an ad for Chevy), and maybe the most famous, in my opinion, was Don McLean's American Pie. I know so many people that actually tried to analyze that song (including myself) and I can't hear it without getting a bit choked up. Why, I don't know. Maybe because my mom loves that song or because it reminds me of a time when life was less stressful.

So, may you have happy or sad memories, or be inspired to analyze the song, I hope most of all you enjoy it! It was, and still is so very cool. My song of the week is American Pie by Don McLean.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Aunt Sadie

I love this picture and came across it while going through a large box of old photos. It is my maternal aunt Sadie McPhee and her precious cat Sam. This was actually in a little plastic photo book that contained pictures of Sadie's cats, her dog Brandi, and me with Sam when we were both babies.

Sadie and Sam, 1962
Growing up, Sadie was the "fun" aunt. She took my younger sister and I to our first walk-in movie, That Darn Cat! I naturally thought Sam was in the movie.

She was a glamour girl in her day and was tall. She used to tell people she was 5'12"! She also drove small cars for many years (a Karmann Ghia, a VW Bug and a Toyota Cressida).

Patricia McPhee Dolan, Clara McPhee McPhail, Sadie McPhee

When Sadie passed away in 2004, I made the funeral cards. I found a great old photo booth picture of her that I used and printed the cards with my Gocco.

Sadie McPhee in photo booth in Toronto

Funeral Card

She was always very organized and had her entire funeral planned and written out and everything was paid for. She is buried next to my aunt Pat in Rowland Heights, CA.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - George Cloos

Earlier this week I posted about the genealogy community and how helpful they are. To briefly recap, my sister posted a message to the message boards for Macon County, Illinois, a request for an obituary look-up and a kind researcher offered to go find my great grandfather's obit! This request was to be filled in a few weeks as the researcher had surgery recently and wasn't yet released to roam!

Well, yesterday afternoon, this awesome stranger went to the Decatur Public Library and found George Cloos' 1947 obituary and sent the transcription of it! We were so happy to get it and it not only answered some mysteries, but also added a few more possibly. My great grandfather wasn't apparently as mysterious as we believed and that might very well be that my dad didn't really know much about him. I do know from my grandmother's medical records, that the State Mental System did know of him and how to contact him, therefore, George knew that Lola was in the system.

I knew from my research that George had a sister Kate and that she had several children, including a daughter, Emma Sowers. A few weeks ago, I began to search for Emma as I hadn't found her in 1900, and I found what I thought was her living with a family named Hennings (or Henninager or Henninges - all spellings I have encounter).  Emma was a young girl about 13 years old listed on the 1900 census as the granddaughter of the head of household - Wm. G. Henninager. William's wife was Elizabeth and one of their children was a son named Rolf.  Yes, they were German. I printed that out and wrote notes on it and filed it away. I came across it early yesterday when I was trying to organize stuff.

I also had seen the name "Lena Cloos" pop up in a few newspaper articles on and in a few, both Lena and Emma were mentioned in the same articles. I felt Lena was connected somehow, but just couldn't pinpoint it, that is, until receiving a transcription of George's obituary! Here's the transcription.

George Cloos, Former Foundry Worker Dies

George Cloos, 2312 East Main Street, a resident of Decatur since 1882, died at his home at 10:55 a. m. today after a long illness.

Mr. Cloos was born in Germany Dec. 23, 1872, and came to the United States and Decatur 10 years later. He was an employee of the Union Iron Works for 27 years, retiring in 1941 because of ill health.

He was a member of the Knights of Pythias and the International Association of Machinists, and the German Lutheran church.

Mr. Cloos was married twice, the second time in August, 1925 to Miss Grace M. Abel of Decatur.

He leaves his wife; four children by his first marriage, Mrs. Bessie Trump of Alton, Mrs. Lola Robinson and Wells Cloos of Huntington Park, Calif., and George Cloos of Libertyville.

He also leaves two stepdaughters, Mrs. Mary Beckham of Boody and Mrs. Catherine Kessler of Decatur; two half-brothers, Roy and Ralph Hennings of Bloomington; and two sisters, Mrs. Louise Allen and Mrs. Lena Morgan of California.

The body was taken to the Monson funeral home where services will be held at 3 p. m. Monday. Burial will be in Mt. Gilead cemetery. Friends may call at Monson’s after 3 p. m. tomorrow.

Decatur Daily Herald
June 28, 1947 – Page 8

The obituary answered a few questions I had, and has now given me a few new avenues to research. I knew that my great great grandmother was Elisabeth and Elizabeth Henninager was the grandmother of Emma Sowers in 1900. I knew the mysterious Lena Cloos must somehow be connected and there she was in George's obit as his sister! The obit also mentions another sister I had never heard of or prior to this, Louise. I did find a death record in the California Death Index for Louise Allen. Her father's name was Cloos and she died in San Diego (either the city or the county - I'm not sure yet) in 1955. I shall order Louise's death certificate tomorrow and I hope that it will list a child as the informant! I haven't yet found Lena Cloos Morgan but shall continue to search for her.

The other strong clue I got was the surviving half brother Ralph Hennings. I did find a death record of him. He died four months after George in Illinois and his mother's maiden name was Groshauser. That was also Louise's mother's maiden name. On George's death certificate, it lists his mother as Elisabeth Graushausen. I also found a Roy Hennings on He died in 1956 and is buried in Bloomington, IL. Like a good mystery novel, the plot just thickens when you're researching your family history not really knowing much to begin with! Certainly there will be much more to come on the Cloos family.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Call to AAA in One Week, and Some Dish Towel Printing

Today marks the one week and one day anniversary of my mom's new pacemaker.  She is doing quite well and did take all of the prescribed antibiotics. That wasn't always easy as she wanted to stop taking them because they made her nauseous. It was also "fun" because these were to be taken on an empty stomach either one hour before a meal or two hours after a meal twice a day. The morning pill was hard as she had a routine down - get up and have a cup of coffee and then have a bowl of cereal. For the past week, she had to get up and have a cup of coffee with an antibiotic and wait an hour for the cereal.

At night it wasn't as tough because two hours after she took her medication and vitamins (containing zinc, calcium and magnesium), I would wake her up to take the second antibiotic of the day. She told me that she felt the pill was making her have crazy dreams and she was yelling in her sleep the other night and woke herself up. In her dream, she was with some people somewhere and a woman came in with a gun. My mom began to yell at this woman to "get out of here" and other choice words.

Anyway, she is doing quite well and today  we had a follow up appointment with the surgeon. The readings appeared to be good and the scar is healing well. I could tell she was very tired and was looking forward to getting home to have another cup of coffee. As we were on the freeway heading home, chatting away, I suddenly heard a strange noise. I turned the radio down but still heard this noise. I then thought it might be the truck next to me until I felt the car attempt to swerve a bit and I realized it was me and that I had a flat or a blow out. I immediately began to hit the brakes and was able to easily get into the shoulder of the freeway just two off ramps from home.

For the second time this week, I called AAA for a tow truck. I knew I needed to replace the front two tires, but just hadn't done it yet and was sort of pushing my luck. The tow truck arrived in about 20 minutes and took us to a Goodyear Tire Center, and in just under an hour, we were out of there with three brand new (and safe) tires! Got home and my mom's urge for coffee was gone. Instead she wanted to have me read her blood pressure and take her medication that we didn't get around to taking this morning prior to the 9AM appointment. After that she was ready for soup for lunch and then was so tired she took a nap on the couch with my cat Petey curled up next to her.

It has been a tiring week and that might be because I feel like I'm trying to come down with a cold. These past two evenings I have been so cold I put on two sweatshirts and warm socks. Even slept in sweatshirts last night because I was so cold.

I did attempt some creative stuff the other night. I experimented with iron-on transfers of a few of my cat prints on dish towels. The first towel was a HUGE experiment - the first one didn't transfer well at all and I forgot to print in mirror image! Ugh. The next one was a bit better and the third was the charm. These are cold peel transfers so the third charm transfer was a bit too glossy for me and I read that the cooler it is when you peel it off, the glossier. Excuse the bad lighting here that makes the transfer look like it has glitter on it!

I did a second towel and decided to peel it while still warm and much prefer the matte look, yet I think the towel wasn't stretched as good as it could have been so the transfer looks a bit off. Isn't this supposed to be so easy to do?

I also FINALLY printed a stencil I cut about a hundred years ago! I only did one print as it was done on another experimental towel and the space was limited. I liked the way it came out though (and again, bad lighting).

Now to see how the towels actually work and wash up before possibly making new ones to list in my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday and the Genealogy Community

I can't say enough good things about the genealogy community! Strangers are so willing to offer help, and I've found I've become that way when I go searching for documents locally. Before I go, I look on message boards in my area to see what requests are out there so that I may be able to help someone in a different state find information they are longing for.

On that thought, my sister posted a request to the Rootsweb/Ancestry message boards requesting an obituary look up for our great grandfather, George Cloos. I have a subscription to, but George died in 1947 and NewspaperArchive doesn't have Decatur papers that "recent". Someone has already volunteered to go to the Decatur Public Library and find it on microfilm!! A total stranger. That is just so cool! He also offered to get George's widow, Grace's obituary as well!

So, while I wait to see grandpa George's obituary, I'll share a picture of his grave marker that can be found on I made a photo request and a wonderful lady was kind enough to get it.

Photo by Carol Perry

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby

My paternal great grandmother, Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby, is rather famous on this blog. She was the daughter of Wells Marcus Beck and Emma Mayben. She was born in Prairie Home, Shelby County, Illinois on 9 Aug 1871 and died in Decatur, Macon County, Illinois on 13 Apr 1931.

Effie was the mother of six children, Zetta Fern Beck Younger (1889-1969) , Bessie G. Cloos Trump (1893-1976), Lola L. Cloos Robinson (1894-1960), Monroe B. Cloos (1895-1912), George W. Cloos (1899-1968) and William Marcus Meents born Wells Cloos (1901-1977). She married my great grandfather, George Cloos in December of 1892.

Effie had a rather hard life and much more research is required to truly pull her story together. Currently, there are so many gaps and missing pieces. I am convinced that Effie's story would make a great book.  Sometime before 1910, she and George split. By the 1920 census she was remarried to Ellsworth Elmer Roby of Decatur. Effie died in their home.  I recently learned that Effie has no grave marker.

I am fascinated by the fact that her son Monroe who preceded her death, was not listed as a child. I am also fascinated by the fact that her son George was not mentioned as a survivor, nor was Bill (rather his wife was listed as a surviving child). The other child not mentioned as a survivor or even a child was her daughter Zetta. The mysterious child to me is Miss Georgia Roby of Chicago. I still need to look into that. I suspect she may have been Ellsworth's daughter. I'm also intrigued by the mention of her sister, Zadie. The obit claims Zadie was from Los Angeles, but I cannot find that to be true. Zadie and her family lived in Colorado for many years and I don't believe she ever lived in Los Angeles.  Zadie's daughter, Mabel Loser Smith did live in Southgate (a suburb of Los Angeles at the time and died there in 1936).

Transcription of Obituary:

Mrs. Effie Roby

Mrs. Effie Furst Roby, wife of Ellsworth E. Roby, died at 7:35 o'clock Monday morning at the family residence, 522 North Witt street. She would have been sixty years old in August. She had been in failing health for the last two years, but her condition did not become critical until five days ago, when pneumonia developed.

Mrs. Roby was born near Prairie Home, in Shelby county, Aug. 9, 1871, and was a daughter of Wells M. and Emma Beck. She is survived by her husband and the following children--Mrs. Ben Trump of Greenville, Mrs. Earl Robinson and Mrs. Wells Cloose of Los Angeles, Cal. and Mrs. Georgia Roby of Chicago. She also leaves a brother, Edgar Beck, Decatur, and the following sisters--Mrs. Zadie Loser, Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs. Hattie Wempen, Ontario, Cal., Mrs Edna Coffman, Laramie, Wyo. and Mrs. Grace Thompson, Decatur. The body was taken to the Moran & Sons funeral home where friends may call.

The funeral will be held at 3:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Moran & Sons chapel. The burial will be in Fairlawn Cemetery.

Decatur Daily Review, The (Decatur, IL) 13 Apr 1931

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Car Battery Saturday and a Song of the Week

 My mom has been doing remarkably well since getting her new pacemaker on Wednesday. What a relief. Today, I took her to get her hair done and then ran out to the post office to mail an order I had from my Etsy shop! Yeah, finally! So, I dropped her off and ran to the post office. Ran in and shipped my package. Got back in my car that was parked in the 30 minute parking zone and it wouldn't start. It sounded like the battery! Ugh.

I called AAA and waited for a tow truck. Since I told AAA that it seemed to be the battery, they said they'd probably send a truck that could tow but also had the ability to check the battery on the spot. Murphy's Law was in my space big time, I should add. The plan today was to get my mom's hair done and then go to a birthday party. My dear friend's mom was celebrating her 81st today (oh, I mean, 29th!). It was hot today and there I was in the heat of the day, dead car, needing to pick up mom and go to a birthday party, with my tinted moisturizer melting all over my cell phone. Not pretty.

Anyway, the truck arrived quickly, it was the battery, and he was able to provide me with a new battery on the spot! Yeah. I didn't have to drive somewhere else to get a new one so that was perfect. Picked up my mom, went home to change and off to a fun party we went. Tons of great food and great company and wonderful friends.

After returning home and kicking back for a bit, I decided to run to the store to get quarters so I can do laundry early in the day tomorrow as I forgot to get them when I stopped for a pretty bouquet of flowers before the birthday party. When I got in the car my favorite local radio station was playing album sides and they were in the middle of Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic! The song, Adam's Apple was just starting. I can tell you that I had that album (yes, vinyl) and wore it out. I loved it and every single song on it. I haven't heard Adam's Apple in so LONG that when I parked at the store, I sat in the car to finish hearing the song before going in.

As I sat in the parking lot at the store listening to Adam's Apple (and finding myself flashing back to a different time in my life) a car pulled in to the space in front of me. This car contained about 5 twenty somethings. The driver got out and opened the backdoor to let the backseat passengers out. Well, out came a young lady in probably the shortest and tightest dress I've seen in many years! Good grief. I don't think I mentioned that the neckline was elastic, which made it super easy for her to slide the fabric down and expose her left shoulder before she entered the supermarket in her skimpy little outfit. Man, where the hell is my camera when I need it!!! You know, the song Adam's Apple was really perfect background music.

So, without further ado, I present a new "Song of the Week". Aerosmith (before the rehab years)! Enjoy and if you have any memories of this song, please feel free to share here. You are also free to just comment in general.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Very First Contest!

I am having a contest. Please check out my main characters in my Esty Shop - Guitar Cat, Art Cat, Mid Century Modern Poodle, The Girl Cat (Mid Century Modern Cat and others), Music Lesson poodle, and tell me which character you would like to see in a "scene" of your choice. Now, this is a "family show", so please keep it clean. If I pick your suggestion and make a collage, you will win a FREE print of it! Submissions end at 7PM PDT on Sunday, Oct 23, 2011.

I'll do my best to produce the art in a timely fashion. I look forward to seeing what suggestions people come up with (here's hoping I get some)!

You can add your suggestions/submissions here or over at the FaceBook page!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...and a New Pacemaker

This is a picture of my mom in Toronto, Canada around 1947. Yesterday was very stressful and that kind of caught me off guard. She was scheduled to have her pacemaker changed today and we went through all the pre-op tests just fine. But for some reason, I started to get nervous yesterday about this. Probably because I could tell she was nervous in the morning before I went to work and also because of her age and how frail she seems now.

It was a long day and the doctor and the staff were amazing! The procedure went well and although she has a really scary looking incision, it looks so much BETTER than the last pacemaker. This doctor changed it around and moved the wires so that the wires do not show through her skin and it just doesn't seem so obvious now. I know it will look a thousand times better once the incision heals.

She is home and sleeping but has been in pain which is natural under the circumstances. I did run out to fill her prescription for antibiotics and to pick up some regular strength Tylenol after we got home. The Tylenol was a challenge - three stores were sold out. A manager at the third store mentioned there was some kind of recall and they have not received any since.

Murphy's Law - my cell phone died today (forgot to charge it last night) so I had to come home and call the doctor to see if a generic Tylenol would suffice. I was told yes, and ran out to store number four and was able to get the generic just in time for her to take two more. I look forward to her healing and the pain going away. 

An interesting thing is that this was the very first time I have ever heard a doctor say that you need to take yogurt while taking antibiotics! My sister and I grew up knowing that because of my mom. If we ever were taking antibiotics, she made us have yogurt every day. I've known people on antibiotics that ended up in the ER and when I mentioned yogurt to them, they said they were told that in the ER! I guess our old nickname of Doctor Mom during my teen years had some truth to it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Emma Mayben Beck

Emma Mayben Beck was my great great grandmother. She was born 7 March 1844 in Mifflin County, PA and was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Carson Mayben.

On 12 April 1864, at 20 years old, she married Wells Marcus Beck at Lewistown, PA.

In 1870, at 26 years old,  she lived in Shelby, IL, and was the mother of three young children. She lived in Shelby, IL and raised her family there until sometime before 1910. According to the 1910 US census report, Emma and Wells were living as lodgers in Decatur, IL. By 1920 they were was living in Canon, CO with eldest daughter Zadie. They returned to Decatur around 1921.

Emma and Wells had 10 children (Zadie Mae Beck Loser, John Carson Beck, Robert Clay Beck, Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby, Mary Laura Beck, Edna Vina Beck Coffman, Grace Mabel Beck Thompson, Hattie Bell Beck Wempen, Edgar Bruce Beck, Bessie Cornelia Beck). Emma was preceded in death by her son John Carson Beck (1867-1875), daughter Mary Laura Beck (1873-1878), and daughter Bessie Cornelia Beck (1884-1893).

Emma died 23 January 1922 in Decatur, IL. Her obituary was published on 23 January 1922 in the Decatur Review.

Transcription of obituary:

Mrs. W. M. Beck Dies at Age 78

Was Mother of Eleven Children.

Mrs. Emma Beck, wife of W. M. Beck, died at 8:20 o'clock Monday morning at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Wade Thompson, 235 West Cerro Gordo street. She would have been eighty-eight years old in March. Her death was due to the infirmities of old age.

Mrs. Beck was born March 7, 1844. She and W. M. Beck were married April 12, 1864. For forty-five years they lived on a farm near Prairie Home. For the last twelve years she has made her home with her children and only two weeks ago returned from a visit with a daughter in Monte Vista, Colo.

Mother of Eleven

Mrs. Beck was the mother of eleven children, a son and two daughters preceded her in death. She is survived by her husband and the following children: Mrs. Oliver Loser of Monte Vista, Colo., Mrs. Effie Roby and Mrs. Wade Thompson of Decatur, Mrs. Hattie Wempen of Ontario, Cal., Mrs. Edna Coffman of Laramie, Wyo., Robert Beck of Monte Vista, Colo., and E. B. Beck of Decatur. She also leaves a sister, Mrs. Carrie Stanton of Lake City and a brother, Jake Mayben of Minneapolis, Minn. There are twenty grand-children and twelve great grand-children.

Decatur Review (Decatur, IL) 23 Jan 1922

It is interesting that Emma's obituary refers to her as the mother of eleven. She really was the mother on ten. The eleventh child was actually Zetta Fern Beck, my great grandmother Effie's illegitimate child. Zetta lived with Emma and Wells and was not mentioned in the obituary by name, nor was she mentioned in Wells' obituary or Effie's obituary.



Mrs. Emma Beck.

The funeral of Mrs. Emma Beck was held Thursday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Wade Thompson, 235 West Cerro Gordo street. There was a large attendance. The services were conducted by Rev. C. E. Jenney, pastor of the First Presbyterian church.

The music was furnished by Miss Bernice Taylor and Miss Gladys Phillis.

The flowers were in charge of Mrs. C. E. Taylor, Miss Rosetta Thompson, Miss Eva Thompson, Miss Viola Beck, Miss Ethel Hinkle, Miss Jessie Hinkle and Miss Laverne Hinkle.

The pallbearers were Robert Baird, David Coulter, Russell Smith, George Ford, Frank Compton and William Jesse. The interment was in Fairlawn cemetery.

Decatur Review, Decatur, IL; 27 Jan 1922 

Emma and Wells are buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Decatur IL (Macon County).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sympathy Saturday: Monroe B. Cloos

Monroe B. Cloos was the first born son of my paternal great grandparents, George Cloos and Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby. He was born 15 October 1895 in Shelby, Illinois, one year and one day after my grandmother, Lola Cloos, was born (she was born 14 October 1894). I actually just noticed that as I began to write this post! I wonder if his middle initial, B, was for Beck.

I do not yet know much about my grandmother's childhood or her siblings. I know some things such as where they lived in 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 because of the census, spouses they had, when they died, but it does appear that to date, many people still living, know little if anything about these people. From the information I currently have, only two of the five children (one being my grandmother) had children, and of those three children, two are deceased (my dad and his brother) and one is still living, but sadly, has Alzheimer's disease.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, my great grandparents split up. I can find Effie and all five of the children on the 1910 census, but  I cannot find my great grandfather George. The story my dad told us was that George left the family to return to Germany to fight for the Kaiser, yet, I don't know if I really believe that as I've not found any documents to indicate he left the US. I also think it would be odd as from everything I can find thus far, George was very young when he came to the US from Germany, and I can find proof that he was in Illinois in 1915. But, that doesn't mean he didn't go to Germany. I haven't yet found his immigration records when he came to the US as a boy, but I did find an article about his becoming a naturalized US citizen on August 15, 1898.

So, in 1910, Effie and all of her children were living in the homes of others as either servants, domestics, or working for board. Monroe was living and working in Bremen, Cook County, Illinois, a 14 year old "hired help" on a farm owned by one George Schultz, who was a farmer. George Schultz was also born in Illinois of German parents, and in 1910 was a young farmer of 33, married with three young children.

On May 9, 1912, 16 year old Monroe died in Blue Island, Illinois, from peritonitis. The farmer, George Schultz was the informant on the death certificate. Monroe was stricken 4 days earlier and also had appendicitis. On his death certificate where it asks for father's name and mother's name, and it says "not known", yet his birth date was known, as was the correct spelling of his last name (oftentimes spelled Close). I began my search in 2009, and 97 years after his death was able to name the parents of that young man who died without his birth family. Monroe was buried on May 11, 1912 at Burr Oak Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.

The interesting thing about the burial is that Burr Oak Cemetery, from what I can find, is located in Alsip, IL and was founded about 1927. It was founded as an African American cemetery, and clearly founded 15 years after Monroe was buried. When I first discovered his death certificate, I thought this was his burial place, but that was before I realized the approximate date of it's origins.  Now I need to research more to see if there was an earlier Burr Oak Cemetery. The Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip is the resting place of such notables as Emmett Till and Dinah Washington, and was the subject of scandal in 2009.

Turns out there are two Burr Oak Cemeteries in Illinois, one in Alsip, Cook County and one in Leroy Township, Boone County (approximately two hours from Alsip). Now I must really determine which Burr Oak Cemetery Monroe is buried in. Based on the circumstances, I'm quite sure he has no grave marker. I'm also thinking that he might be buried in Boone County based on dates.

I now want to list the names of George Schultz's family in the hopes that maybe a descendant might be doing a google search and find this post. My hope is that in some old family photos or records, there might actually be information and/or a picture of that young man, Monroe Cloos, that worked as a hired hand on the farm in Bremen, Cook County, Illinois, belonging to George Schultz. That young man, Monroe, all these years later, has family actually looking for him.

1910 United States Federal Census

George Schultz

Age in 1910: 33

Estimated Birth Year: 1877

Birthplace: Illinois

Relation to Head of House: Head

Father's Birth Place: Germany

Mother's Birth Place: Germany

Spouse's Name: Ricke Schultz

Home in 1910: Bremen, Cook, Illinois

Marital Status: Married

Race: White

Gender: Male

Household Members: Name Age

George Schultz 33

Ricke Schultz 29

Lillie Schultz 7

Ester Schultz 5

Hilbert Schultz 4

Monroe Close 14

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Non-Traditional Wedding Photo

When I think of all the extravagant weddings of late (especially during such financially challenging times) I can't help but appreciate the weddings of years gone by. A time when stockings were rationed along with food. A time when a world war was in progress, yet the farmer's daughters always looked well dressed and glamorous! A time when average "folk" didn't have video cameras to stupidly film their own "sexcapades" that would land on the world wide web causing them to try to fight that distribution in court and spending all their money (either inherited or riches from their reality television shows). And a time when a bride did not make a huge profit by getting married.

So, I shall step back to a time when people may have not always been so smart, but maybe just not so blatantly stupid. A different time indeed. A time when a girls form of rebellion may have been to marry a man her father did not approve of. Yes, that surely happens now, but probably not as much as stupid videos.

My maternal aunt, Patricia McPhee Dolan married a man named Frank Dolan in Canada in the 1940s. The marriage didn't last and I'm really not sure of all the details but when I was going through an old FANTASTIC photo album that belonged to my late aunt Sadie recently, I came across some wonderful pictures of the ceremony and discovered that my maternal grandfather, Dan McPhee, was not happy about this union (although he was there). I'll post more on that later.

I just love this photo and the dresses my aunts were wearing. If I recall the story correctly, someone made these for Aunt Pat's big day. Nothing fancy or extravagant, but beautiful nonetheless.

L-R Frank's uncle, Frank Dolan, Patricia McPhee Dolan, Sadie McPhee

That Darn Treasury Challenge

Oh man, that darn Etsian Artists Treasury Challenge is back and I have participated again. I do enjoy these challenges because we are given a theme and that is fun. However, I'm not the only participant and every time I submit to a challenge, I face fierce competition. This week, is no exception.

You can check out all the awesome "competition" here. The participants have really stepped up to the plate, and, if I was a lesser person, I probably wouldn't share this here. LOL. I really encourage you to check out all the talent here, both by the contributors and the art they've included. It is really cool and a great way to support artists out there trying to be discovered.

Here's my contribution to the challenge. The theme this week is "harmony".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday and Happy Birthday Dad

For Wordless Wednesday I'm sharing a picture of my dad from July of 1958. Not really sure where this was taken, but it was one year after my parents got married. Maybe an anniversary trip, or maybe the wedding photos weren't developed for a year. My mom doesn't remember where this picture was taken, yet she does think it was taken in a motel room somewhere.

Dad, July of 1958
If my dad was still alive, he would have turned 94 yesterday! I find that so hard to imagine - 94! He was strong and stubborn and set in his ways, and towards the end of his life, he was very frail. I love this picture as he has a smile like I've never seen on his face! And dig those argyle socks. This outfit is much better than his favorite from his later years.

He had these "fake" jeans that were wine colored and he would wear them with a red and white checkered short sleeved shirt! Yikes! We always thought some cheesy guy possessed our dad, as he was a dapper guy in his younger years. When we'd question that outfit, he'd always say it matched - it was red. Ugh. He didn't get that the pants weren't really "red". Sadly (or maybe luckily for you readers), I may never share a picture of that insane outfit.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Scary Stories

I just read a fab blog post about spooky stories and was inspired to share my own. Check out Akemanartist's post (via the above link) and I'd like to thank her for her that post as it reminded me of this story that I'd actually forgotten about.

One afternoon, back in my teens, I went straight home from school. I think I must have been grounded, otherwise I would have been hanging out with friends. I got home and began chores, cleaning the kitchen and prepping the dinner (my mom worked out of the home at that time).

The phone rang (land line and not cordless either). It was one of my friends and we started a typically marathon long teenage girl chat. As I chatted on the phone, I saw my younger sister walk in the front door. She said hello and put her school books on the kitchen counter and disappeared from my view. I had hoped she'd pick them up since I had been cleaning, but, I continued to blab, periodically calling out to her to pick up her stuff. When I finally hung up, I was annoyed that the book clutter was still on the counter and began calling out to her and walked through the dining room, kitchen and down the hall looking for her.

She was nowhere to be found and I was certain she was hiding from me. By now I more than annoyed, to be honest. There I was, standing in the hallway, walking in and out of bedrooms, calling my sister, and nothing, until the phone rang. I ran to my parents' room and answered the phone as it was closer than the phone in the dining room. It was my sister! I didn't see my face turn white as a ghost, but I could feel it. I could also feel my heart racing. She called to tell me that she stopped at her friend's house after school and had been trying to call me to let know but the phone busy for a long time. She was clearly upset that she couldn't get through to let me know because she didn't want my dad to get home from work and have me tell him I didn't know where she was.

Upon recovering from my initial shock, I thought this was some kind of joke as I saw her walk in the front door and drop her books on the kitchen counter. I told her to hang on, dropped the phone and I ran out of my parents' room, down the hallway towards the dining room fully expecting to bust her on the phone. There used to be some trick where you could dial some numbers and make your own phone ring and I thought she had done that. Well, she wasn't there and the phone was on the hook. I picked it up and she was still on the line. I then knew she really wasn't in the house as we didn't pass each other running through the house!

I told her what had happened, and as I told her about the books on the counter, I looked at the counter, and nothing was there! I freaked! When we hung up, I called my friend back because I wanted to ask her if I really was calling out to my sister to pick her books up off of the counter. My friend confirmed it and said she heard my sister talking to me when she first came in.

When my mom got home from work, I told her about it. The only conclusion we could come up with was that my sister being upset when she tried to follow the rules and let someone know her whereabouts (but couldn't get through) must have somehow projected herself home to get my attention. Who knows really, but it was rather scary as it was unfolding. As she is still alive, I know it wasn't a "traditional" ghost visit, and to this day, can't think of anything other than our above conclusion.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Have you had similar experiences or any hauntings or scary stories you'd like to share? Please feel free to share your thoughts or stories here.