Monday, August 31, 2009


After not being able to write for awhile it's nice to sit down and let my thoughts run.On Saturday I watched the funeral of Teddy Kennedy.For my whole life there has been a Kennedy in Washington.I know this family evokes strong feelings in people one way or another.all I can say is I'm a blue collar,working class girl from a family of the same and though they were far removed from any life my people ever lived I grew up knowing they worked for people like us.Most of what I remember about John Kennedy was learned after the fact as I was only 3 when he died.I do have a blurry black and white picture of me in front of a t.v. set with him on it.It could not have been long before he died.Bobby I have a real,live memory of.He stopped in Stockton at the Southern Pacific railroad station that was just a few blocks from where we lived just 6 days before he was assassinated.I remember my dad pushing through the crowd to the train and holding my brother Vernon who was 3 up to him and Bobby reaching down to shake my brothers little hand.Shortly after that I moved away from Stockton forever.
Watching Teddy's funeral did evoke the end of something,maybe the knowledge that for those of us with memory's of the brothers lives our time is passing swiftly .For me the memory for Ted will be it getting so dark you could not make out the casket anymore so they showed the eternal flame and the bugler playing taps,flag at half mast, silhouetted dark against the lit building on the hill above.Darkness giving privacy at the end to a family who's life's and death's have been so very public.
I will be 50 in November,my parents have become ancestors,I have become the one of the old ones.Not everyone is given that gift.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Spent Some Money Today

I don't have enough family photos,to much moving around as kid.So I have taken to adding the occasional postcard or old photo off eBay,or from antique stores, to my family history.I have imagines of main street in towns I lived in as a child in the same time period.Postcards of buildings and town's in the time frame my ancestors lived there.I even found a old postcard of the hospital I was born in!It's a fun,inexpensive way to add some image pizazz to your family history. Till today,I was bad,very,very bad.I did not have any stereo views before.And it showed the interior of the Mission church that multiple family members of mine have been baptized,married and buried from.It's pretty rare I think.It better be.When I get it I will post it for everyone to see.I am glad I got it though,rare or not.I have always loved walking in the church of San Juan Bautista.Knowing my ancestors walked on the same adobe tiles imprinted with coyotes paws,touching the font they were baptized in,making the same final walk their earthly bodies were carried on to the cementerio.I loved that place even before I knew for sure that it was part of me.I will treasure the picture.Even if the price was dear.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Truck Driver

My dad drove a truck.For most of my growing up years until he retired Vernon Ruse drove for the Anderson Cartage Co. out of Stockton CA.He tried long haul before I was born and for a bit when I was a baby but most of his life was spent driving up and down the valley on the then main road highway 99.In the years my dad drove a truck you loaded and unloaded it pretty much yourself.No air shocks or plush seats.It was a hard,physical job.But not as hard as the job it helped him escape from,working in the fields or cannery's.Cutting grapes or chopping cotton.Driving a tractor or laying irrigation pipe.It was a way out,and up.A union job.when that really meant something.Medical,a retirement,decent wages,and a turkey every Christmas.My parents often told me about when the truckers union went on strike for 6 months when I was very small,maybe a year or so old.My mom and dad cut grapes to make ends meet.They told me they set me in a high chair in the shade at the end of the row while they worked.We bathed in the river and slept in the car.All this is probably child abuse today but then it was survival,and the norm for farm workers children.My father and mother made sure it was temporary for us.My dad worked long hours and many days,he did not get to see much of us kids growing up,that was normal for family's in those days to.He did not have hobbies,he worked.The places he would talk about read like a litany of small town California-Merced,Madera,Colinga,Oakdale,Patterson,Vacaville,Dinuba and Kerman.Small towns that needed goods delivered in the days before Wal Marts and Superstores.I remember him talking about delivering appliances for the new housing subdivisions going in around Sacramento and Stockton.Delivering to the Army Depot.And a winter night around 1967-68 he came home from work late at night with two toes crushed by a 50 gallon drum.The company he worked for got a special order to do a emergency delivery to Travis Air base of inbalming fluid.They were loading it on planes for Vietnam because they were running out there.A drum had rolled off the hand truck during unloading and rolled over dad's foot.He never got the feeling back in those toes.
It remains my most vivid memory of the Vietnam war.

Monday, August 10, 2009

16th Edition of Smile for the Camera--Bling

As a family-we are pretty much blingless.On my moms side there is my great-grandfather ElmondAlphonsa Arnold who was a jeweler.But I think that may have been more of a watchmaker,repairman than what we think of as jeweler today.But moms ancestors are plain,sturdy,southern stock.No bling in the few pictures I have of them. Dads Spanish/Mexican Californiano people would have lost anything they might have had that was bling in the battle to just survive the changing world they lived in.And the frontier life of Early California would have saw little use for decoration. Now I love bling.I don't live the kind of life nor have the funds for the real variety of bling but I do have a nice collection of costume jewelry that is great fun though I no longer add to it,to expensive and I really have no room for more.But here I decided to take a picture of the few family pieces I have and some little trinkets that have sentimental value that I hope will be passed on for that reason alone. The jewelry box belonged to my mother.She saw it in a store window every night when she walked home from her waitress job in Stockton Ca. in the mid 1950's.That jewelery box cost a weeks wages.Mom was not one to hang on to things and the only reason this is still in the family is she eventually gave it to her mother who later gave it back to me. The ring on the left was my moms,a gift from a boyfriend before my dad,it is the only "fine" jewelery in the picture.A pierdot set in platinum with diamonds.The other ring is my birthstone and was my 16Th birthday gift from my parents. The little dog pin was a birthday gift from my Aunt Delfino,anyone remember Sarah Coventry jewelery? The Thunderbird was a souvenir from the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas,it hung on my parents keys on and off for years until they gave it to me to play with. The mustard seed was given to me by a elderly couple that lived across the street from the little grocery store in the Stockton neighborhood were we lived from my birth till about age 7-8.Their names were Bea and Russel and they also gave me my first bible,oddly enough,they were Jewish.My parents had a number of elderly friends,I was taught to honor my elders from the beginning. The mans ring my father wore before he died and the little turtle pin I won as a child. The pin in the center belonged to my fathers mother,Estella Garcia Ruse Velasquez,the only thing we have of hers. The elephant pin was a souvenir of the San Francisco Zoo from a grade school trip I took. The rhinestone bracelet was a dime store purchase I made for my mother one mothers day. My late,former mother-in-law Juanita Marie Parker Hussey was a wonderful woman that I still miss a great deal.The dress watch at the top was a engagement gift from her future husband Martin Steven Hussey in the early 1950's.The bottom watch belong to my maternal grandmother May Pearl Arnold Byers. Yes,the tiny,beaded baby bracelet is mine.As many times as we moved when I was growing up it's a miracle any of this stuff is still in my possession. Oh,and the Tiara?In this family!?That's me wearing it about the second grade in the Halloween parade at school.It was purchased just for my Halloween costume at J.C. Penney's in downtown Stockton in the mid 1960's.My daughter wore it for one Halloween when she was growing up and both of my granddaughters have worn it for Halloween since then.My grandson will be a year old this September.I need to figure out a way to incorporate that tiara into a costume for him before he gets old enough to figure out what I'm up to.It's tradition!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Conflicting evidence

What to do? When you receive information about events,people, or places from various sources and they don't agree?This comes up in genealogy all the time.Sometimes you can gather a variety of evidence and then go with the majority.Some sources carry more weight than others.Some times though you have more than one "expert" or primary source and even they don't agree!With events in a individuals life I just try to record the variations until something,hopefully!,comes along to prove which event is more likely the correct one. With information on places and from different "experts" on events from the past it gets more difficult. I think because you enter more into the realm of opinion and conclusions made from a variety of evidence.Sometimes you have to go with what your best educated guess is and keep a open mind that it may change in the future and that we may never know the answer to some questions!