By Dee Haviland Fournier, Instructor, Heritage Quest Research Library and Dorothy Wilhelm, Humorist, Confused about her family
Dorothy: My mother didn’t own a bathing suit in the hot August Days of 1928. Actually, at the age of twelve, she didn’t own much. What clothes she had were hand me downs or made by her mother out of printed flour sacks. A lot of people were in the same situation and like them she was pretty stoic, but on this day it was hot as only the Umpqua Valley of Oregon can be. She watched the throng of kids swimming in the river and she had to – she just HAD to – join them.
An idea formed in her mind. Her younger brother Peter had been swimming all morning. Surely he needed to come out. The girl who would be my mom tiptoed through the thick mud to the edge of the River. “Oh, Peter,” she called, “and when Pete climbed out of the water she begged him to lend her his suit. These were the days when men’s suits had complete tops much like women’s suits. She begged, and pleaded. “Only for five minutes. I’ll bring it right back.” Finally she was forced to fall back on a choice bit of sibling blackmail, “Well, otherwise, I’ll tell Mom . . . .” it was a simple question of filling in the blank. Finally Pete reluctantly handed over his suit. “Just five minutes,” he warned. Jessie put on the suit, promised fervently to come back – and disappeared for the day, leaving poor Pete crouched among the poison ivy leaves to be eaten alive by mosquitoes. Jessie had a wonderful time.
Dee: That’s a good story. Have you written it down?
Dorothy: Well, no.
Dee: Your family story journal is an important part of your history research work. It’s often overlooked because people think in terms of “just the facts” but actually those stories that you remember or have heard can tell a lot about who you really are. Don’t make a big production. Just jot stories down as you remember them.
Dorothy: You could use your phone, to dictate or send ideas back. I carry file cards in a case in my purse. I’ve always got them and you only have to jot down a line or two.
Dee: In our next installment, we’ll cover how to search census forms and Bible records. You’ll speed the search if you enlarge and print those census forms from the internet so you can read easily and take advantage of information available. Remember that each census asked different questions so what you can find is different.
Dorothy: I can hardly wait. It reminds me of the time that Jim Johnson . .
Dee: Shhhhh. Write it down, Dorothy. Write it down.
Plan to join Dee and Dorothy on August 16 at “From Hudson’s Bay to Downton Abbey and Beyond” family heritage workshop in a benefit for the DuPont Historical Museum. You may even win a copy of Dee Fournier’s new book, Stepping Stones to Genealogy. Probably not, but you never know. Details at www.itsnevertoolate.com.
FROM HUDSON’S BAY TO DOWNTON ABBEY AND BEYOND REGISTRATION
AUGUST 16, 2014 9:00 TO 3:30
City and Zip
Area of research interest:
$10 donation covers lunch, handouts, and ice cream social. Send check for Ten Dollars to DuPont Historical Museum, 207 Barksdale Avenue DuPont, WA 98327. Register online: www.itsnevertoolate.com Event info: 253-582-4565