52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee,
the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Disasters!

I have, actually, experienced some pretty amazing disasters in my lifetime. Two of them, in particular, stand out.

On March 28, 1964, I was at Copalis Beach, Washington. My dad's friend and partner, Fred  Paligali (not sure of the spelling), and his family had an ocean-front cabin there. My parents let me go with them for the weekend. There was no telephone or radio. I'm not even sure there was electricity, but I was young and didn't notice such things.  I know there was coffee. :)

I loved running through the tall beach grass through the hot, dry sand to the cooler, moist sand near the water. It was a beautiful day. I had been to the ocean with this family before, and loved it.

On this particular day, I remember running toward the water. It was a low tide, so naturally, I had to run further from the cabin. I remember thinking it was a very low tide, because I ran through tide pools with sea creatures in them I didn't normally see in such numbers. For some reason, I have a very distinct memory of more starfish than I'd ever seen. I was very careful not to step on them. I also remember clearly that there was a straighter path to the bluff, or hillside to my right. I thought I must have run a mile!

Eventually, I reached the water. I played with Fred's children for some time before we tired and returned to the property nearer the cabin. It just seemed like it was a long way back. I was nine years old. 

In the middle of the night, I thought I heard the waves really close to the cabin. Because of the wide sand dune covered with tall grass between the sandy yard and the beach, we couldn't usually hear the water. I remember thinking it was odd.

When we were on our way home the next day, we got stopped on the road because a bridge had been washed out by a tidal wave during the night. We learned that there had been a huge earthquake in Alaska on the March 27th, Good Friday. It was 9.2 on the Richter Scale and had caused the tidal wave (we didn't know all of that, then). That was the reason the tide had been so low when I was out on the beach. So, I think I must have been on the beach as the water was being pulled out before the wave came in, probably on March 28th. Apparently, the water came to about 30 feet from the cabin, so I really did hear the water in the middle of the night! We were very lucky to have escaped any injury.

My parents, of course, were frantic! Fred tried to help me call them, but we had recently had our phone number changed, and I couldn't remember it. I can imagine my parents were greatly relieved when I was delivered safely to our home.

The other major disaster I experienced occurred many years later, in 1999, when I had the great opportunity to visit Turkey. Rob was building log homes in Turkey. He had an apartment we could use while visiting, so Sally, Harold and I flew over there for a few weeks.

On August 17th, an earthquake occurred at about 3:00 a.m. We were in our beds in the apartment in Göktürk, Turkey, north of Istanbul. The earthquake was centered near Izmit on the Asian side of Turkey. It had a magnitude of 7.6 and seemed like it lasted forever! You can read more about it here. We saw some of the destruction, though the western portion of Istanbul sustained little damage. The two days before, Sally, Harold and I had spent time at Akcacoka on the Black Sea. Our plan was to spend the night in Izmit before returning to Göktürk, but Sally just wanted 'to go home.' I am very, very grateful. Most of Izmit was decimated by the earthquake.

It was very sad to watch the reports of the devastation on television. When we visited Istanbul, hundreds of citizens had moved into the streets in fear that their homes would be destroyed in the aftershocks, or in another large earthquake.

These were amazing experiences; not the kind I want to repeat, or wish on anyone! I am very grateful to have survived them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


There have been nearly an infinite number of technological advances during my lifetime, it seems! And technology just keeps marching on. But, during my childhood, things moved a little more slowly.

Probably the hugest advance to impact me in a global way was the lunar landing in 1969. I still have the front page of a Seattle newspaper from that date. It was amazing to me! I am still amazed at the heavens and how we can navigate them, and place equipment and space stations there. This is the stuff of science fiction from my childhood.

Other advances had more of an impact personally because
my dad almost always did his accounting work from home, so we had typewriters and adding machines and the big posting machine. He taught us to use them, at least, I remember Jaci and I helping him. I learned to type before I was 12 on an old, black typewriter. I don't remember the brand (Dad probably knows), but it looked something like the one pictured here. I took a  typing class in summer school after sixth grade. All of the typewriters were electric, by then. When I got my first job after high school, as a secretary, I was the first one in the office to get an IBM Selectric, the Cadillac of electric typewriters!

The adding machine was replaced by electric and battery-operated calculators. When I was 18, a 10-key calculator cost about $75. We thought we would probably never own one. Now, you can buy more advanced calculators for $1! 
Computers were not in general use in either the business-place or the home when I was growing up. It wasn't until about ten years into my married years that the TRS-80 became somewhat commonplace in homes.

The advent of the VCR (video cassette recorder) was also a big one. I mean, really. Who ever thought you could watch any show, any time? We could suddenly go somewhere during our favorite shows and view them later. Now, VCR tapes fill boxes and shelves at garage sales and thrift stores, along with 8-track tapes. Oh, the memories!

I actually love technology! I love what I can do because of the advances. Just the power to communicate worldwide from my desk at home is an incredible thing. Not to mention the research, the jobs that are home-based because of the technology available. And, do you love your cell phone? How about your remote control(s)? 

We are along for one ever-changing ride. Hold on! It's getting faster :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Favorite toy? Hmm. I had a Barbie doll that I loved, and we all know Barbie is still alive and kicking. My mom made a gorgeous string-crochet wedding dress for her. I had it until someone vandalized our cabin in Indianola and took it. I'm sad about that. Barbie looked something like this picture.
I had a Chinese jump rope, which was fun.
I don't really remember any other toys. Our family played games and read books and played outdoors. If I think of another toy, I'll put it here.

Radio and Television

I do not remember a time when we didn't have a television in our home. I have no memories of listening to radio 'shows,' but I have heard of them.
My earliest memory of TV is from when Jaci was a baby. I would have been about four years old. My memory is that I went and got Rich out of his crib and quietly took him down to the couch to watch "J.P. Patches," our favorite early morning show. I was trying to be helpful to my mom, letting her sleep in with the new baby.

Some of the other shows that come to mind as favorites are:
  • Captain Kangaroo
  • Stan Boreson 
  • Johnny Quest
  • The Ed Sullivan Show
While I don’t recall sitting in front of the television for long periods of time, we did have our favorites. I suppose we watched JP nearly every morning before leaving for school. The other shows were mostly weekly shows that we generally watched with one, or both, of our parents. Good times!

Lost in Space
The Rifleman (one of Dad's favorites)
    Wunda Wunda
     The Lawrence Welk Show (a family favorite)

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    My Favorite Food

    My all-time favorite food is pizza - homemade using my Aunt Margie's pizza dough recipe. If I remember the story correctly, Aunt Margie's aunt, also named Margie, brought the dough recipe from Italy. My mom got it from my aunt, but didn't like to wait for the dough to rise, so she adapted it. It has worked fabulously for all these years!

    I don't remember when my mom started making it, but when I was a teenager, Mom got a job that took her away at dinnertime. I started cooking nearly everyday, and what was my favorite? PIZZA! I could whip it up really fast and we always had the ingredients. Usually, we had simple pizza using tomato sauce (no additional spices or herbs), hamburger and mozzarella cheese. We all loved it. I'm not sure about the younger kids, but I know I never tired of eating pizza. It is still my favorite food.

    Aunt Margie's Pizza Dough
    6 cups flour
    6 T. sugar
    1 T. salt
    1 T. yeast
    1 cup warm water
    1 cup milk
    5 T. oil

    Mix half of the flour and the other dry ingredients in a bowl. Add water, milk and oil. (I have also substituted dry milk powder and 1 cup of water for the milk. It works fine.) Mix well. Add remaining dough a cup at a time until you can work the dough. It should be slightly sticky. If you get it too stiff, it is hard to spread. 
    Lightly grease baking pan. Spread dough out using the heels of your hands. and the pads of your fingertips. Use flour to keep from sticking. Cover with favorite toppings. Bake on the bottom rack at 425 degrees for about 18 minutes. Of course, ovens vary, so check it until it looks the way you want it. This recipe will make two cookie-sheet sized pizzas.

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Describe the house(s) in which I grew up... whoa! Another thinker...

    Oh, my! I've lived in a lot of houses, so I didn't really 'grow up' in any one of them; but, all of them. I'm going to post in list form, to start. Then, I'll expand on them. This will be the ever-changing post!

     The first house I remember was in the Rainier Beach area of Seattle. It had a long front porch, and I can remember running across it and jumping off one end into my dad's arms. I remember the big back yard, and I had a bedroom in the front part of the house. If I understand it correctly, my parents sold this house when I was about four years old. Apparently, the sale fell through and we moved back here by the time I started kindergarten. I attended Emerson Grade School for all of kindergarten and the first part of first grade. {UPDATE: Since posting this, I have learned that I didn't attend kindergarten. This explains why I could never remember two different teachers while at Emerson! I guess the levy failed the year I would have been in kindergarten, so I only attended about 1/3 of the school year at Emerson - that being first grade.}

    Between the two times living in the Rainier Beach house, we lived in an apartment in Wallingford (all of our homes were in Seattle or the Seattle area until we moved to Sandy Hook). I think it was an old house divided into apartments. I'm pretty sure Jaci was born there because I remember watching JP Patches in the morning with Rich and knowing our mom was upstairs with the new baby. My only dramatic memory from this home is that a baby bird, too young to live on its own, fell from a nest in a tree in the front yard and died. I remember being very sad.

    Also before moving back to Rainier Beach, we lived in a cute yellow and brown house somewhere in Ballard. While we lived there, I was the flower girl in my Uncle Fred's wedding. I had a babysitter there named Beth. She was really nice and I think her dad made sausages and hung them in the basement. I also fell out of our car on the way home from church one Sunday. I had bandages on my face, elbow and knee. I still carry dirt, or something, in my right knee from that little adventure.

    When we left Rainier Beach permanently, we went to a  house in Highline or White Center. I went to Highline Elementary for the middle third of first grade. I don't really know why we moved; I was just a kid and didn't ask. I remember the house was nice, but I have bad memories of mice. :( It did have a pretty cool closet. From the living room, it was the coat closet; but, it also opened into my bedroom. I thought it was neat that I could go into the living room from my closet.

    Then, before school was out that same year, we moved to a house in Loyal Heights. I think this is near Ballard. I went to Loyal Heights Elementary School. One of my memories of living there is of when my Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary came to visit. They were always a lot of fun. Another memory from Loyal Heights is of when my parents brought my little brother, Gary, home from the hospital as a newborn. I thought he was the hugest baby I had ever seen!

    That summer, 1962, my parents bought a home in the Wallingford district of Seattle. It had two floors with a full 'daylight' basement. We lived in this house for six years. So, if I 'grew up' anywhere, it was here. Jaci and I had a bedroom upstairs that overlooked the Lake Washington Ship Canal. We loved to watch the boats. We also watched as they built Interstate 5. They had to build a double-deck bridge over the canal. Even now, when I drive or ride on I-5 over the ship canal, I look out to the west to find our old home. I have many good memories from living at 3618 Meridian Avenue North.

    In June 1968, we moved to the Sandy Hook community on the Kitsap Peninsula. We were very excited. Our property had two small vacation cabins on it, and for the summer months, we lived in both of them. During the winter of 1968-69, which is one of the snowiest I can remember, we all lived cozily together in the cabin with the fireplace. It had exposed beams on which we displayed numerous pieces of melted Tupperware called 'Mom's Masterpieces.'

    We only lived there one year, but I loved it. My favorite memory is probably climbing one of the tallest trees on our property with my school bag full of books. I would climb until I could see the water, which must have been Agate Passage. From my perch, I did my homework, read books and wrote poetry. I really missed Sandy Hook. I think I still miss the peacefulness of that home.

    We then moved to a house on the waterfront in Suquamish. I loved it there, too. Our house was at the top of a 100' bluff overlooking Puget Sound. We could climb up and down the bluff, but we usually walked down the street to the public path. The view was phenomenal! We could see Bainbridge Island to our right, downtown Seattle and all the way north to about Richmond Beach. Closer, to our left, was Jefferson Beach and Indianola. It was especially amazing during a storm and on Independence Day.

    The house had a deck on three sides where we could sunbathe. It wasn't the safest deck, being very narrow on the longest side. But, we spent a fair amount of time out there when it was warm. There was a basement with two bedrooms and a large 'family' room. Our piano was down there, so I liked to be down there for musical relaxation. We could walk out onto the front yard from the basement. The main floor had the living room, with windows facing the water and a fireplace. There was also a narrow kitchen, a bedroom (our parents'), a bathroom, an enclosed porch that became Jaci's bedroom later, and a 'wreck' room. There was lots of space for our family.

    The yard on the street side was fairly large. We had apple trees. I loved climbing into a tree to read and eat.

    I lived in this house through the last four years of school and right up until my marriage in September 1973. My parents moved from Suquamish in 1974.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    CARS (or - a can of worms!)

    My very first car, the first one I bought, was a 1963 Rambler. I had to get a $150 loan at the Navy Credit Union to be able to buy it. Wow! It was a three-speed (three on the tree). It's color was white. I was living in Suquamish and commuting to Seattle for work. I needed a car so I could get from home to the ferry boat. While I was at work one day, my fiance hot-wired it and blew the clutch. So, I was carless (or, is that careless?), again.

    I have tons of memories of cars. My dad had many, many different vehicles during the years I lived at home. We made a list one time of all the cars he could remember. It numbered well over 50! I think I need to get that list from him again.

    Here are the vehicles that come to mind first for me:
    • One-ton red farm truck - I'm sure we were the only family in our neighborhood with a farm truck. We packed our family of six into the cab. Dad let us take turns shifting. Sometimes, we got to ride in the back. I remember one time when our washing machine was broken. We loaded our laundry into the truck and drove through the city. Poor Mom!
    • The Cun-O-Car van - Dad was a 'mobile' accountant. His 'office' was in a van, sort of like a bread delivery van. We loved going in it with him.
    • Blue Fiat - it caught on fire one day when we were near 45th and Wallingford. The fire department came.
    • Mom's T-bird
    • The little, very old, black truck - Dad gave me a ride to school in it one day and all the kids on the playground ran over to the fence to see it.
    • 1951 Ford three-speed I drove around Suquamish before I had a license
    • Volkswagen bus - I was helping my mom with Avon deliveries right after we got it. Neither of us knew how to get it into reverse, but my friend, Dean Belgarde, happened to walk by just then. He drove a VW bug and showed us how. Embarrassing!
    • Dad's Mercury (I think) - the headlights went out when the car was off, so when we were really low on fuel and Dad turned the car off to conserve, the headlights went off, too!
    • GTO!! (but, I was married by then)

    Just a beginning....