Update about blog

Summertime in Black Mountain

My other blogs: Alchemy of Clay
Three Family Trees...the Swasey, Booth and Rogers families, now being published every other day or so...

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Roving Toad

I guess I could sharpen this pic up a bit maybe.  But it's delightful when I remember the Kodak Instamatic tiny 110 mm camera I used to take it.  Then would take the cartridge into a drug store whenever we got home from the trip.

This trip is worthy of a whole story line, and I'll just hint about it today.  10,000 miles in 3 months, and covered most of the Midwest and western states, having started in Florida. The Van behind my son was The Roving Toad.

That's because it was an Open Road conversion, and of course a Roving Toad rhymed nicely.  Didn't look like a toad, but it kind of cornered like one.  And heaven help having crosswinds on a highway.  No less problems than many other campers of course.

The typewriter?  That's how I memorialized our journey, supposedly. But I also journalled other things too.  I'll have to look for those documents.  I already Xeroxed them and gave them to my older sons a while back, since they shared this journey with me when they were 7 and 11, or so.

Not as many photos of that trip as I'd like.  But I dare say there are already some of the National Parks available.  We camped in them, or State Parks, usually.  An occasional KOA was fun for the boys to go in swimming pools, or play pool while I washed our clothes, and enjoyed hot showers.

In 1974 we were a trusting civilization.  I never felt fearful as a single woman traveling with two boys.  It was a great adventure.  We certainly made many mistakes...and were blessed somehow to get through them all.  Our summertime trip took us from Tampa around the US returning to Tallahassee where we settled for a while.  I must have been the real Roving Toad myself.

Here's a better picture of the Roving Toad earlier when we visited my parents in Framingham, MA. 

I am submitting this to Sepia Saturday, for a theme related to vacations.  This week I think I get to say I'm posting something appropriate to the theme.  Yay me.  Come over to see the other posts that might come up from other bloggers...HERE.

My ceramic sculpture model looks a bit different.  But it is nice to have as a reminder of a faithful servant.

I sculpted it a couple of years ago, maybe 2012.  And as you can see, I drove it from 1972 to 1984.  I am sad to say my own negligence was it's demise.  I had lived in FL for so long, I didn't think of antifreeze at all.  I would just top off the radiator with water.  Ah, did it have a lovely engine too, a Chevy-Van 20, with a V-8, 356 engine (I think, not the 402) with a double barrel carburetor.  The camping equipment could run off a separate battery that was also charged when the engine was going.  So many mechanics had trouble figuring that out.  The design was far from perfect, but having been built in 1971 it was pretty spiffy.

So the story of the death of the Roving Toad is that I'd parked it in the parking lot in student housing at U of FL in Gainesville, and since there was a Christmas break, didn't drive it for maybe a week.  During that time there were 3 solid days below freezing...which was rare.  And when I went to drive it, it kind of sputtered.  So I checked oil and water, and the oil was gummy and full of water.  I'd cracked his little engine block from the ice in the system apparently.

So I was able to eventually sell it. I could get to classes still, on my trusty bike, which was the only way to move around campus. It didn't take too long to sell it because I had no way to get to a grocery store...I advertised it somewhere and sold it for a song.  The guy that bought it taught me something interesting about driving a vehicle with a cracked block.  He poured a big can of black peppercorns, not ground pepper, into the radiator.  And he said that might clog up the crack enough for them to drive it away.

He also got the 2 double beds, a flip over seat that was in front of the lower bed, a cabinet that included a small clothes closet, a full gas stove with oven and 2 burners, stainless sink, a working gas furnace, a portable toilet, a closet (where the toilet was located) and I don't remember what else.  I'd made curtains for the windows, and the upholstry on the seats and foam bed pads was kind of shot...but most of the equipment still worked.  I wonder how it all ended up.  Hopefully someone else got to enjoy it along the road as much as we did.  I think I had about 250,000 miles on it.  At least one transmission, lots of other bits and bobs.  

I bought a relatively little car next, also as advertised in one of those fliers, from a student.  It certainly wasn't worth sculpting to remember though.  Just a car.  There will never be another Roving Toad.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow all over today

It will be gone tomorrow.  So as soon as the thermometer says it's up to 20, I'm going to bundle up and take more pics.   Here are the ones out the windows and doors for now.

Out the back door, are those bird tracks?

Why would a bird walk across the snow?

Not very deep at least, and due to melt tomorrow.

You can't see because of the screen, but out the living room window, the bird tracks went under the car, then back out, then under again.  Must have been some good something or another there!

My industrious neighbor may have gone out, at least he swept the snow off his windshield.  Montreat Rd. traffic is traveling pretty slowly.  I like my little statue of Gaia having snow on top of her.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Now it's snowing...don't blame me

I am among all 8000 people in Black Mountain who wanted to see snow sometime this winter.  Well, maybe half of them did.  That's what all my friends were saying.

So Mother Gaia is trying her best to give it to us today.  Finally.

This time it's sticking...to the pavement at least...There's also that stream of ice from the dripping tap across the walk, which is the darker color at the junction of sidewalk and driveway.

And the little bits on tree trunk and evergreen bushes do look pretty.  Not so much yet over the grass however.

Nobody has driven or walked on Beech Street yet today.  It may be slick.  Buncombe County schools are closed, but Charles opened the studio in downtown Black Mountain.  I wonder how many folks here will go to work in clay today.  Not me.  I got cold enough opening the doors to take these pictures.  I'm counting that I'll have enough goods to get through this storm, if I do end up being snowbound.  I got more litter for the cats and some laundry soap yesterday.  The cats will have lots of dry food to eat. 

I feel for the folks further north...believe me I do.   But for Black Mountain, I guess we're living the saying "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."  Sigh, I'll be so glad to have a chance to wear my snowboots I've been wearing for 2 years without any snow.

Monday, January 27, 2014

When it did snow

This is what we got a few days ago...nothing stuck for more than a few hours.

It was pretty coming down.
We haven't had a real snow for 2 winters now.  And if we get one, I'll probably let you see so many pictures of it, you'll be bored.  I know my friendly blogger potter in Ithica, NY has enough snow by now for all of us.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My pets have pets

These lovely gold fish cost a whalloping $0.15 each.

Miss Panther is really taken with them.  But why don't they come outside and play with me, Mom?

Well, it's ok for you to have some dumb pets, since I'm smart enough for all of us!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bright goddess Brigid

As the light begins again in the turn of the wheel of the year, I am dealing with multiple physical problems. I can't even do what I most want to do to ignore them, because lying down to sleep brings one of them on. Hopefully medical professionals can help.

Brigid, whose day is celebrated Feb 2 every year, on a holy day of Imbolc. (which I originally published as Feb 1, but nobody who reads this knew I was wrong or bothered to correct me.  We've got to find some Celtic people out there to read this sometimes.)

These Brigid prayers are adapted from prayers and incantations collected by Carmichael.

Brigid Dark and Bright

In the steep and common path of our calling,
Be it easy or uneasy to our flesh,
Be it dark or bright for us to follow,
May your perfect guidance be upon us.
Brigid of the Forge, be thou a shield to us!
Brigid of the Fold, be thou our shepherd and our healer!
In each secret thought our minds may weave, Brigid of the Loom, give us sweet clarity.
In our grief or pain or sadness,
Brigid of the Well, heal us, strengthen us, stand with your mighty shoulder near to ours.
And in our joys and in our bliss, Brigid of the Hearth, Keeper of the Bread plate, Maker of Beer,
Dance with us as we waken the great round garden of the world.

And we cannot forget she taught the Irish how to keen for their lost loves, and to whistle so that in the dark friends would know each other's positions when soldiering.

I lie half awake, at least comfortable for a while, and tears start pouring out.  My cat lies next to me, her tip of tail still twitching while the rest of her settles into relaxation.  Twitch twitch twitch...just an inch of it says she's still alert.  I stay alert rather than closing my eyes.  The tears are saying, I'm not done yet...there's more to do still in this lifetime.  Twitch.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Samuel James Webb, Ancestor Wednesday

A few weeks ago I talked a bit about Leroy (Larry) Francis Webb.  Samuel James was his father, from Maryland.

I include this as a Sepia Saturday post, though it doesn't have a thing to do with the theme of snow.  Sorry about that, maybe I can get on theme again soon.  But if that's of interest to you, please go to this link, then go to the bottom of the page and see what all those other people have posted.  It's really interesting! 

He had been born Jan 28, 1827, in Vienna, Dorchester County, Maryland.  In the Census of 1850 he lived with 2 other young men also by the name of Webb, in Baltimore in a home of a married barber with 5 children, named Phelan.  Samuel was 21, and his probable brothers were James, 22, and Edward, 17.  Their occupations were listed as Machinists.   They all were born in Maryland.
DeWitt County, Texas

In 1856 he married Ellen Ann Delemater, also from Maryland, but by then they lived in DeWitt County, Texas.  He was 29 and she was 14.   They raised their family there.  My grandfather's father was their eldest son, Leroy Francis Webb, born 11 months after their marriage.

Flag of Wauls Legion

Brig Gen Thomas Neville Waul CSA.JPG
General Thomas Waul

Samuel Webb fought for the Confederacy in Company B, as a private, in Waul's Texas Legion..  (see Thomas Waul)
...in the spring of 1862 (Thomas Waul) recruited Waul's Legion, for which he was commissioned colonel on May 17. He and his command were captured at the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, but he was soon exchanged. Waul was promoted to brigadier general on September 18, 1863, and given command of the first brigade, formerly that of Brig. Gen. James M. Hawes, of Maj. Gen. John G. Walker's Texas Division, which he led during the Red River campaign of 1864. After the battles of Mansfield (April 8, 1864) and Pleasant Hill (April 9, 1864), Waul and his brigade were transferred to Arkansas, where, at the battle of Jenkins' Ferry on April 30, 1864, they helped to repulse federal major general Frederick Steele's attempted invasion of Texas and where Waul was wounded in action
Waul's Texas Legion Monument, Vicksburg National Military Park

I don't know how much Samuel James Webb was involved in these battles.  For a man from Maryland to fight in the Confederacy it seems he must have really believed in some of the values of the south where he had made his home.

DeWitt County, Texas

Of their 8 children, the three born in 1859, 1864, and 1866 all died between 1865 and 1866. 

Samuel died August 15, 1877 and is buried with his wife and at least one daughter in the Old Clinton Cemetery, DeWitt County, Texas.  His wife Ellen Ann was only 34 when she died in 1876.  Her youngest son, Samuel Jr. was born in 1876, but I don't know the month.  He lived to be 16.

Old Clinton Cemetery, SJW Cemetery according to a relative who took the picture

Monday, January 20, 2014

Remembering the dream - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

"Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence is more relevant, I believe, than it was 10 years ago," King's daughter, Bernice, told Reuters.

In a time of school shootings and increasingly violent movies, television shows and video games, his message of non-violence should continue to resonate, said his daughter, chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King Center which promotes his philosophy of non-violence.

As a young minister in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, King led a bus boycott that was sparked when Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to relinquish her seat to a white passenger. In his autobiography, King called the Montgomery bus boycott "the first flash of organized sustained mass action and non-violent revolt against the Southern way of life."

Those of us living in North Carolina know that the efforts of King and others are not over.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ram Dass said...

Along with faith comes the requirement for dogged persistence. At first meditation may bring you mild highs or some relief from suffering. But there may come a time — just as there does in the development of any skill — when there will be a plateau. You may be bored, discouraged, or even negative and cynical. This is when you will need not only faith, but persistence.

Ram Dass

This applies to lots of other things in life, 

doesn't it?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ancestor's Saturday and WW I

For this week's Sepia Saturday post...click here and see others.  (I post on Friday, because I'm sure it's Saturday already somewhere.)

I'm finding out so much by reading what other Sepians post, the history of people living in England, Canada, Australia and the US.  Sort of on topic, though often not at all...they are (mostly) all enjoyable to read.  It's an education of "items in a bottle" that, when opened, are bubbly and colorful for sure.

This week's theme is related to World War I.  It asks for us to think that "2014 is, of course, the centenary of the start of that conflict known as The Great War or the First World War...and a chance to remember loss in any of its manifestations."

I spend many hours, er, days researching the lives of my ancestors, but find it very sobering to think of those who fought for what they believed in.

The World War I records I have are the draft cards.  I don't believe any men of the age to go to war in my family did fight in that conflict.

Grandfather Web registered for the draft on June 5, 1917.  (My mother was 3 months old at the time)

Albert Bud James Webb 2
Albert "Bud" Webb

 He turns out to have been "tall, medium build," with "blue eyes," and "slightly bald," and hair of "light color."  He also gave his birthday incorrectly, having been born in 1891, rather than 1892.   I wouldn't have known that he was tall from any of the few photos we have of him.  And he doesn't give any "next of kin" information besides wife and child.  I think Edna (who filled out the form) may not have pushed for more information. She couldn't spell where he was born anyway. (More info about him on my blog HERE)

Interestingly enough, on the same date, my soon to be step-grandfather (Frederick A. Munhall) also registered for the draft, in Chicago.  (Albert Webb died in 1919, and my grandmother remarried around 1921).  Both of these men stated they were born in 1892 (according to these draft cards), making them 25 at the time they registered.  Both were tall with blue eyes, and salesmen.  That tells me something about my grandmother's choices of companions.  (More on Fred Munhall HERE)

Fred Munhall was 2 years older than he listed.  Putting a younger age on a draft card must have carried some weight, but it would seem the opposite effect in my reckoning. 
Frederick Munhall
Moving along from San Antonio and Chicago, here's what happened in Fort Worth.

My 41 year old grandfather George Rogers registered on Sept 12, 1918 for the Draft for WW I.  This was the first indication I found in my research that his mother was still alive in Galveston, since he gave her as next of kin.  His wife and children in Fort Worth somehow didn't qualify.  (His life is commemorated in my blog HERE)

George Rogers Sr. in 1942, Dallas, TX

As far as records and family photos indicate, not a one of these men served in WW I.

My Uncle Alex did serve in the Navy in WW II, and I've given a brief review of his life HERE on a previous blog.  He didn't live to raise his lovely daughters.

Alex Rogers with Dona V, and children Claudette and Sandra