All posts by ancestryangel

About ancestryangel

Irish, Native American, Spanish, trailing after my ancestors and mostly a wife and a mother with a great family

Lloyd and Maxine Bennett in the 1940’s and 1950’s

Miss Maxine Bailey traveled to the L.D.S. Chapel in McAllen, Texas in 1946. She was there for her mission. She spoke Spanish flawlessly and the Hispanic members of her church were very dear to her. I didn’t realize when Mormon’s went on a mission that they could be sent domestically. I had assumed that it was an over-seas event but Maxine traveled from Salt Lake to Texas.

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Mary B and Maxine

I only knew Maxine as an adult but I do have a good idea of how she must have been as a teenager/young adult. She was such an earnest person. While Maxine wasn’t overtly “touchy/feely”, she was so caring that you could always see how deeply she cared. I’m sure that is what she took on her mission.

What Maxine did on her mission is very well documented. She took hundreds of photographs while in Texas. As you can see, they are all very high quality photographs. Then, on the back of every photograph, is a detailed explanation including names, dates and events. Maxine would continue to identify every photograph that she took. I can assure you, I never had that kind of detail from my mom. Haha, not to disparage my mother but the kind of detail Maxine provided was something that can’t be duplicated.

This first photograph is labeled “Looks like the hen and flock or some of the Madonna pictures” haha. Those little girls are so cute. Maxine looks adorable in the picture, too.

The next is Shirley and LaVina Garrison, Christmas holiday 1946

The Fernandez family, Elvira, Tossie, Mollie, Raul and Senora Fernandez near Keene Street, Houston Texas February 19, 1947.

The next picture says there must have been an error in ordering this picture. That tells me that the photographs were taken by the missionaries of the church and then ordered through the church. I could tell they were a good quality.

The next is a picture of Maxine, wearing a red corsage made of pipe cleaners for Mother’s Day, 1947. She was given the flower for having a mother, lol.

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The next photograph is of small children but uncharacteristic of Maxine, no identification on the back. Such cute kids, though.

The next picture cracks me up. There are three young men but it is the gentleman on the right side of the picture. Maxine said his stomach hung over the picture so she drew it in. She is so funny.

This next picture is very sad. Maxine’s explanation says “This man is a neurotic, shell shocked returnee.”

His face looks like he is remembering a horrific experience and that is so sad. Clearly, he has returned from World War II and experienced a dreadful conflict. Terrible.

The last picture is Maxine. Her note says that maybe the hot sun during tracting was responsible for the idiotic expression. That made me laugh. I don’t consider that an idiotic expression, just the expression of a young lady who has a minute to slip off her shoes and take a quick break.

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She wrote home and also received newsy letters from her family. This one was sent by her father. As you can see, he calls her Tootsie. He tells her that her mother wanted a new electric range and water heater. He was hoping by spring he could put one in.

Lenard told his daughter he just wrote Vaughn a letter. He dreamed Vaughn was ill the other night. It seemed he was knocked out on an operating table with a young army doctor ready to manicure his appendix. Quite real, it was just “a wild life dream”. His son Vaughn was a soldier in World War II and thus clearly he’d been on his father’s mind. His letter goes on, “I swore in front of Christie the other day and she said, “We don’t say Son of a (bitch)” Christie was Aunt Mirian’s daughter who was about three at the time.

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pencil drawing of Lloyd by Maxine

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Maxine returns home to Salt Lake and works for a year at Olympus Junior High as a teacher. That is when she meets Lloyd. If you read the previous Lloyd post, you’ll recall she met him while working on a Roadshow put on by her church. Several churches would work them together and he was in college and living in Salt Lake

August 18, 1956

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She didn’t throw away anything, including gift cards from the showers

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A closer view of the article

Their wedding was very much a family affair. I love that his Jackson grandparents came from England for his wedding. That is very cool. Maxine’s two nieces were their flower girls. This reminds me of my wedding, also a big family affair.

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They took off to Canada for their honeymoon. Here is an article from the newspaper in Canada.

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Their children came fast.

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Grandpa Bailey and baby Carol

Carol was their first born in 1957, Mary Jean in 1959, Anita Maxine in 1961 and finally William Paul in 1963.

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Baby Mary, Maxine, Lloyd, Carol

 

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Baby Anita
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Baby William Paul

I can only imagine that she was relieved at finally having a son. I feel like she had a lot of pressure from her in-laws to produce a male heir. Silly, right? But I also know how she must have felt. I, too, had a female child first. Truthfully, I wasn’t pressured by my in-laws, but Great-Grandma Beatrice was very, um, excited, when we had Jacques and named him William. I think there was a relief that their name would continue. I, too, am glad that our line of the Bennett name continues. Now it is up to my son. But no pressure!

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Maxine and Lloyd spent their early years living in Holiday, Utah on Ridgedale Lane. However, one day he came home and said they would be moving to California, specifically to Stockton. He’d taken a position at Karl Holt Youth Correctional Facility near Stockton. I don’t think Maxine was thrilled at moving away from her family but she made the best of it. That was how she was. Given lemons, Maxine would make the best lemonade she knew how. However, I do think secretly she must have been a bit relieved to have some space from her in-laws. Lloyd was very close to his parents and I can’t imagine she had an easy time as a new daughter in law. Maybe that is why Maxine made such a good mother in law. She’d had a tough one and perhaps had vowed not to be that type of person. She was a woman who said, “What can I do for you?” and she meant it. Ask anything in the world and she’d do it if she could. That is the one thing to remember about Maxine. She had a heart the size of Texas. When she gave a hug, it was so tight you’d never mistake it for anything other than genuine emotion. So, the early 1960’s find my in-laws living in a new town writing lots of letters to Bea and Bill Bennett.

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Anita, Carol, Paul, Mary
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Jacques family reaches the 2000’s

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The dawn of the new century did not shine bright on the Jacques family. By early January, it was apparent that my mother’s health was in fast decline. By the first week of January, it was clear my mother would not make it to her surprise party. I’d already sent out all of the invitations, so I had to cancel all of our plans and turn around and call everyone, explaining the situation. Instead of coming to her birthday party, they’d be coming to tell her goodbye.  Several of her girlfriends from school came to Stockton to visit her. I believe every single family on my dad’s side of the family arrived. It is difficult to remember everyone as one day slid into the next over the course of the next two weeks. The one person who had been my best friend was preparing to leave us. I don’t have enough time in the day to explain my relationship with my mother, but I spent every possible minute with her that I could, and I won’t ever regret it.

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Of course, it was most difficult on my father. My parents had such a great love for each other. They knew each other as well as one person can know another and loved each other through every up and down imaginable.

Ruby Mae, whose father had nick named her Jubie, returned to her first family on February 1st, 2000. I know my Grandma Flora, my Grandpa Charles and my Aunt Jean were all so happy to have her home again. I was not. But I had two children, one seven and the other just past his second birthday. I would have to push forward.

The day mother passed away, Jackie and I had been sitting at the end of her bed. No one had left mother’s side and we had simply rotated, taking turns to just sit near her. When she stopped breathing, it was the absence of sound that shocked me. I felt as if I were in a magnifying glass that had been scrunched tight then turned upside down. When it was flipped back, my life was no longer felt the same. Mother’s hospice bed was in the dining room and everyone had lined up to kiss her goodbye before they took her out.  I bent over and kissed her forehead, but my tears rolled onto her cheeks. Dad had been standing behind me and said, “See that? Your mother doesn’t want to go. There are tears rolling down her cheeks.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him they were my tears.

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Mother’s funeral was well attended, and she was laid to rest at Cherokee Memorial Park. My dad was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease and thus he had a tough time getting around. He was still driving, just to the store or he’d meet me at church on Sunday morning. Eventually he moved into several different senior apartments.

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The following summer my nephew Eddie got married in North Carolina. We all flew to North Carolina, including Dad. I left Taylor here in California, as she was in my cousin’s wedding and I would be returning in time for that ceremony. Jacques stayed with his Grandma Bennett.

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When I got back to California, summer was ending. I’d taken you kids to the pool when I realized my bathing suit had shrunk. I thought that was so odd.

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A month later, I was laying on my back in bed on a Sunday morning when I felt Hailey kicking inside of me. I was so shocked. Truthfully, it was the best thing that could have happened to Dad. He was so pleased with that new baby. I was in a quandary. I wanted to name Hailey after my mother, but I also knew Momma wasn’t fond of her name Ruby and I didn’t know if I could put the name Jubie on a little baby. I settled on Hailey J. Marie Bennett.

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Dad, Taylor and Baby Hailey visiting Grandma Jubie’s cemetery

I finally gave Hailey just the letter J for her Grandmother. Papa was so damn happy and loved spending every minute with her he could. He would also say Hailey was stubborn. Boy, he exactly right. But Dad’s health problems progressed. I moved him into our home while he waited for another apartment to open up, one where he could have increased care.

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In 2001, my brother Tim took Dad on a cruise with Aunt Fran and Uncle Don. His health had declined but my brother was certain he could handle taking dad and he did. He did such a great job taking care of Dad. I can’t even tell you how close Tim became to Dad and my mother would have been so proud of my brother. Dad had a great trip. Tim would push Dad up to the casino and he’d play black jack for as long as he liked. Dad won a ton of money, too. It was a memorable trip.

 

Dad’s first great-grandchild, Kylee Marie O’Shea had been born and Dad was so pleased with that baby too. Those new little lives put a spark back in Dad. Also having Dad live with me really gave me an opportunity to learn how to cook chili. I had watched him do it a million times but now, he’d sit on a stool in the kitchen, next to the stove and show me step by step. I am so fortunate. Although I’d lost my best friend, I turned that role over to Dad. Jackie and I would never have gotten to know him so well with Momma here and that was a great silver lining.

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Dad and Great-Granddaughter Kylee

When my Dad turned 75, I had a birthday party for him. He loved his children and grandchildren and we took lots of pictures together.

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Jim Kosich, Jackie, Laurie, Tim, Me, Cammie, John Kosich and Dad
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Papa holding Hailey, Taylor, Tara and Kylee

 

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Dad had booked another cruise for 2003 but by February, the doctor decided Dad was too ill to go on the cruise. Dad had already paid for the trip and wanted me to take the cruise with Tim. First of all, I would be leaving Dad and all three of my kids. That was tough. I was worried Dad wouldn’t make it until I returned. But he assured me he would be here when I got home. So glad Jackie would visit him while I was gone too. It was a great cruise but very difficult to relax.

My husband did a great job. He took care of the kids, with his parents’ help, but he also took the kids to see their Papa while I was gone. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for me.

I returned home to find that dad’s decline was real. It was time for him to go into a rest home. We had him moved and it wasn’t long before Dad’s time was small. By the last week of his life, I called my relatives to come and say goodbye to him. But his humor didn’t leave him, not even at the end. Toward the last days, we were sitting around his bed and he asked for a coke. Paul went off to get a soda from the machine and when he returned with a Pepsi can, my Dad joked, “I said Coke.” Daddy had a fun sense of humor. Dad left us on June 30, 2003.

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Me, Dad and Mom in the 1980’s

Both of my parents were gone. So many great things happened for our family over so many years and the sadness will continue, but my parents go on. They really do. When I see Hailey’s eyes light up at gossip, I think, lord, my mother continues.

My parents surely must have been watching the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. My Mom would have jumped ten feet off the ground. Damn, she loved her Giants. That continues through each of us.

Where do we go from here? We go forward. We can’t go back. Every once in a while, I’ll have chili and beans and think, damn, Dad would have appreciated that meal. Or I see a Twinkie and laugh, cause Momma loved Twinkies. Our life wasn’t perfect. My parents weren’t perfect. But we had the best parents for us. We came from a great love. That continues. You children will continue. My parents would have been very pleased, indeed.

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Our Family through the years

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Jacques kids at easter

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The original three haha
When they met
Young, and in love

 

William Lloyd Bennett

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Bill holding Lloyd

William Lloyd (always went by Lloyd) was born on August 21, 1929 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. I never think of my father in law as a Canadian. When Lloyd was born, his mother Beatrice said that the doctor said, “You can’t deny this one, Bill”. Lloyd looked just like his daddy. He was raised as an only child until he was ten years old. Lloyd was born just as the depression was getting under way and his father had a very difficult time finding work.

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Grandma Bennett (Jane Powell, step-mother to Bill and treated him very well) holding baby Lloyd

Bea was at home with Lloyd and Bill searched week after week to find a job. One day he returned home to find Bea and Lloyd sitting in the dark, as their electricity had been shut off.  His parents lost their home in July of 1933 and Bea was pregnant with Lloyd’s baby brother.  His mother had the baby, but he died just after birth. Bea said he’d looked just like Lloyd.

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Lloyd
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Lloyd and Bea

 

The Depression forced his family to move to England, as well as Bea’s longing for home. They were able to both find jobs and moved to a home on Bushland Road, Northampton.  They would go to the market on Saturday afternoons. Bea, Lloyd, and Bill would get away and have fish and chips together. That was a meal Lloyd would continue to treasure his whole life.  Both of his parents had positions in the Mormon Church.  Bea was working in a shoe factory. She had to be at work by 7:30 a.m., worked until 5:30 p.m. and got home from work after 6:30 p.m.. She paid a Mrs. Frost to watch Lloyd, as he was just going to school. Lloyd remembered waiting on the corner, wearing his mother’s wrist watch. She’d given it to him to hold so he would know when she would return from work. His missed his mother.

 

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Bea’s sister Eve’s family, Bill, Bea and Lloyd, Grandma and Grandpa Jackson (Bea’s parents) and her sister Eileen and brother Bert

Eventually, his parents moved back to Canada in the fear that war was on the horizon. It was. Lloyd’s father was very homesick for Canada and was happy to return. This was September of 1939 and Lloyd was ten years old. They finally, after many travails, arrived in Cardston, where they were met by Bill’s family.

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Bill and Lloyd

They lived with Lloyd’s Uncle Marlin Bennett. Lloyd didn’t like being in Canada, as he wanted to go home to England. He was very popular in school because he was a proper English student and all the children wanted to hear him talk. Lloyd got a baby sister when Darlene was adopted in February of 1940.  His sister Miriam, also adopted, joined the family in 1942 and their family was complete.

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Bill, Lloyd, Darlene and Bea

 

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Lloyd went to school in Cardston, then graduated and went to the University of Utah. Lloyd enjoyed the Boy Scouts program and achieved the rank of Canadian Eagle Scout

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Bill and Lloyd when Bill joined the RMCA

 

Lloyd graduated from high school then took off to Salt Lake City to go to college. He attended the University of Utah. As he was raised a Mormon, he stayed active in the church. Lloyd had a lovely tenor voice and played the piano.

The Mormon Church is split into geographic locations. These levels include a Branch which is their home church, a Ward which is a number of churches in a larger geographic area, and then a Stake. The Stake house is a larger territory where they oversee Wards and  activities such as genealogy research. One of the activities that the Stake would perform was (and as recently up to the 2000’s) was called a Road Show. Here is an explanation of the Mormon Roadshow: “Roadshows, 15-minute skits acted by members of an LDS ward were performed over and over in all the wards in an LDS stake in a single night. Performers travelled between church buildings in a caravan of cars on a tight time schedule. They began as entertainment for weary pioneers and blossomed into a full-blown theatrical tradition in the 1950s and 1960s. At the roadshows’ pinnacle, the LDS Church sponsored an all-church competition, bringing regional winners to Salt Lake City for the final competition.” The Roadshow was said to have started with Brigham Young, to encourage the Pioneers to entertain each other.

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Lloyd

Lloyd met Maxine Bailey at a Roadshow. She was an excellent piano player and they both were very involved in their church. They worked together, built a friendship and then more. Lloyd and Maxine married on August 17, 1954. Lloyd was 24 and Maxine 28 years old. I, for one, am grateful for their meeting.

 

 

 

**Quote was taken from “Mormon Matters”, from an Article entitled, Roadshows, Are They Gone Forever?, http://www.mormonmatters.org/2008/04/07/roadshows-are-they-gone-forever/

 

 

 

 

 

1990’s Tim and Jubie Jacques’ family

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The 1990’s arrived and found my parents in a new town. They had moved to a retirement community, just south of Red Bluff, CA and east of Corning, CA. Corning was the area where Mother had moved to as a child in mid-1930. Rancho Tehama was down a very long 10 mile drive off Interstate 5, then past a cow pasture and up into the foothills. The houses were mostly mobile homes and Mom’s property had about a half-acre of land, on a hillside.  Their home had two bedrooms and a built in hot tub. There was one bathroom.

 

One of the consequences of our parents moving was Aunt Jackie moving into her own apartment. With our parents gone, her apartment was very close to our duplex and thus she came to our house all the time. We all traveled to Mom’s a lot.

In fact, when I was very pregnant with Taylor, about 8 months, we’d driven to Rancho Tehama for the weekend and traveled with Aunt Jackie. She was driving my car back, Paul was in the front seat and I was laying in the back seat (I wasn’t feeling great). We had our windshield busted out by a bird. It was very scary. We pulled over on the median and then I drove home the rest of the way, busted windshield and all.

 

Max Theodore Dodson was born on September 22, 1991 and the following year, Taylor Carson Bennett was born on September 14, 1992. We went to Rancho Tehama a lot when they were little. It was a three hour drive from Stockton. We traveled constantly.

We’d arrive on Friday night at 10 p.m., as we left when Paul got home from work at 7 p.m.  Mother would be in bed already and Daddy would be up watching t.v. but really he was waiting for us to arrive. Momma would come out to say a quick hi then straight back to bed. We’d get up on Saturday and they’d make a huge breakfast about 11. By the afternoon, I’d be playing Scrabble with my parents. The house smelled of cigars, as Daddy smoked his cigar while playing at the table.

For dinner, they’d make steaks marinated in olive oil and garlic. The smell of the barbeque always made your mouth water. There were twice baked potatoes and garlic bread. They were such great cooks.

 

By Sunday, we’d run to Red Bluff to grocery shop. I loved that little town. It was very quaint.  That was really when Walmart became a big box store and we’d shop at the one in Red Bluff because it was the only place in town to get what you needed. On the Fourth of July, we’d go to town for the fireworks display. The whole town showed up and the fireworks were shot over a pond. There was only one movie theater and we’d go there during the summer.

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Mom and dad had a huge satellite dish, in order to get all of the television channels that they wanted to watch.

Daddy planted vegetables and fruit, along with tulips. My dad planted flowers at every home they lived in.

My parents started traveling. The year Tara was five and Eddie three, my parents had taken them to Disneyland. I got to go on that trip as the teenager so that I could take them on the rides. This time, in the early 1990’s, my parents had purchased a van and took all five of their grandchildren to Disneyland. Tara was 15, Jim was 14, Eddie was 13, and Anthony and Nick were both 10. They had such a great trip. Of course, Nick and Tara fought the entire trip. It happens.

 

The 1990’s is the decade my parents took a trip back east. Mother had been wanting to travel so they got in their van and drove from California to New York to view the autumn colors. They stopped at my cousin Dickie’s house in New York. My parents got the biggest kick out of that visit. Dickie took them to where he worked in the Senate, and they were very impressed. They thought Lorraine and the kids were great. But mostly, my dad was so damn proud of Dickie and he knew his brother Epie would have been so damn proud of him too.

 

They also took an Alaskan Cruise. They absolutely loved Ketchikan, Alaska.  They were very impressed with all of the ice and of course, made wonderful cruise friends. That’s how my parents were, they could make friends anywhere, with anyone.

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They also took a trip to Alabama along with my Aunt Kay and my cousin Cynthia Paulson. They visited with all of my Grandpa Hardin’s relatives and my mother was happy to meet so many cousins. Most of them were redheads and Mother fit right in.

 

They also took a cruise with Aunt Fran and Uncle Don. They were the best of friends and just had such a fantastic trip together. Of course, when Mother traveled, (prior to everyone carrying a cell phone) I would go for days without hearing from her and it would drive me crazy. It drives me crazy now, not being able to call Momma. In Dad’s video, you can hear Uncle Don say, “Jubie, phone’s for you. Cookie’s calling you again”. Hahaha. That video made me laugh. As much as it makes me cry, it makes me laugh too. Yes, I’d called Uncle Don like seven times while Mom and Aunt Fran were shopping. I might have been a bit impatient.  And Uncle Don loved me.

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Aunt Fran and Mom

Every time my parents would go on a trip, I’d go stay at their place for a weekend while they were gone. It was never as fun when they were gone.

We also made more than a few trips to New Mexico. The first, when Taylor was just 6 months old. Here she is at the Grand Canyon on our way home.

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The next New Mexico trip was in 1996, when Taylor was four. Tim, Jackie and Paul and I along with Taylor, Cammie, Jim and Nick met up with Mom and Dad. They’d driven with Eddie. It was a great trip.

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Aunt Lucy, Mom, Taylor, Dad
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Cam, Nick, Jim in New Mexico

For as much as they loved living in Rancho Tehama, Momma kept her doctors in Stockton. Consequently, she would come back to Stockton every time she had a doctor visit, so in between our trips up there, they’d come back and stay a day or two at a time.

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Laurie, Taylor, Max and Dad
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Dad, Mom and Baby Dana Madsen

When I was pregnant with Taylor, Momma and Daddy came and stayed for about a week, driving us to the hospital. I went into the hospital and my Mom and Dad took your dad out to dinner. I was perturbed, to say the least. I thought it very unfair that I was laboring away and my parents decided he needed to go eat. Haha, makes me laugh to think of it now. With the pain my mother had, I knew it was very difficult for her to sit at the hospital hour after hour with me. Part way through the night, she had to leave for a few hours but Maxine stayed with me. See, Momma was very happy that Maxine was strong and resilient and able to sit for the long hours my mother couldn’t.
After an emergency C-section, my Mom and my Mother in law were outside of the nursery window, waiting for Taylor to be brought out, along with your aunts, and they both started screaming and jumping up and down when Paul came out with that baby. Paul couldn’t figure out how they knew it was a girl but that pink knit hat had given it away. Gosh, they were so happy. Taylor was the first Bennett granddaughter (followed by Lauren, then Hailey) and the second for my mom and dad. They took us home from the hospital, too. Mother let my dog, Buddy, smell that new baby, then told him that she was ours. Buddy was a very good dog and the only time he misbehaved was licking Cheerios off Taylor’s fingers.

In 1995, we had a 40th birthday party for Tim. That was a very fun day.

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Mom and Dad had a good run living in Rancho Tehama.

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Taylor and Max
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1996 New Years Eve. I let Taylor stay up. Mom and Dad had already gone to bed but got back up for the New Year.

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Mother battled health problems for the entire decade.

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Two more great events occurred in the 1990’s.  Aunt Jackie and Uncle Roger got married on September 27,1997.

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Jackie and Roger

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Jim and Stefanie got married on December 28, 1997 in Monterey, CA and then had a church wedding on November 28, 1998. Taylor was the flower girl in each of these weddings.

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Eddie was supposed to be in Jim’s wedding but Eddie had enlisted in the U.S. Army and thus missed the service. Anthony filled in for his brother.

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These were the last big events my parents were to participate in.

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Me, Tara, Jackie, Laurie, Cammie, Momma and Taylor

The last grandchild to be born while my mother was alive was William Jacques Bennett. I had toyed with the idea of naming him William Charles, after my grandfather but then I thought about it and really liked the idea of naming him our family name.

Brand New Jacques being bathed by Aunt Cammie and Grandma Jubie in the sink
Taylor, Ed, Anth, Nick, Max and Jim

The one event that crystallized our family life in the 1990’s was the year we all celebrated Christmas at my mom’s house. I don’t think Jacques was born yet, but every member of our family was present. Usually there would be someone missing from a holiday, but that Christmas, each and every one of us was present.  All nineteen of us, under one roof. And yes, one bathroom. That was a hell of a holiday. My mother was so damn happy. We sang songs, ate Christmas dinner, opened gifts, it was every holiday movie rolled into one, much to my mother’s delight. There were people sleeping in every room. Mother had the kids make Christmas lists for her and then she purchased every single item on the list. She said she needed to spoil them while she could.

 

In the last three years of the 1990’s, Mother’s health really deteriorated. She had a new tumor and we found that the cancer was active again and had spread to her brain. She was 69 years old and was coming up on a big birthday. By the new decade, she would be turning 70 years old. I had another  great brainstorm…we should throw Momma a big bash for her birthday. It was going to be a surprise party and I had her invitations designed. Unfortunately, the party was never meant to be.

 

The turn of the new century was kind of weird. Everyone thought that the whole Y2K thing was real, that at midnight, all of our computers would explode, that the internet would self-destruct and that time would stand still. It didn’t. Paul and I went to dinner on New Years Eve with Momma and Daddy at Stockton Joe’s. Then we picked up the kids and took them back home. But in a way, time did stop for us. Momma had brain surgery, trying to eradicate the cancer. It didn’t work. She and Dad had been forced to sell their home in Rancho Tehama and move back to Stockton. We spent our last Christmas together, as a family, in a small rental home here in Stockton on East Benjamin Holt Drive.

Growing up, my mother had been very particular about her Christmas Tree. She always liked a Silver Tip Christmas Tree. I went out and bought one with elegant branches and that Christmas Tree smell.

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I hung all of her lovely decorations and then tinsel, strand by strand. We tried to make it the best Christmas we could. But there was a pall in the air, one that we couldn’t run from, couldn’t hide from, one that would change us forever.

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Jacques, Taylor and Grandma Jubie

Jacques family in the 1980’s or the Party Decade

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By the dawn of the 1980’s, we’d moved to Stockton, CA. My Grandma Tonita had passed away in the 1970’s, but by the 1980’s my Grandma Flora was ill. After my Grandfather Charles’ heart attack and passing in 1960, she had remarried in 1965. She had married Neil True. My mother wasn’t fond of him, but got along with him, for my grandmother’s sake. We all called him Pappy.

By 1980, Grandma Flora was 78 years old, had suffered a stroke and was then diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother moved her off the hill where she lived in Nevada City, and moved her into a small duplex off of Quail Lakes. Pappy had health issues too. Aunt Kay took care of all the bookwork/banking for them, so my mother took care of Grandma and Pappy. My mother was very close to her mother and she did her level best to take good care of her. However, it was difficult for her to deal with Pappy. My mother would hire someone to take care of Grandma Flora and Pappy would fire them. My mom took a lot of stress from him. Eventually, my mother gave in and she cared for Grandma and Pappy herself during the day and I would get done with school and go and stay there at night, taking care of them. They were mostly asleep the entire time I was there, however I did make them dinner, help them get into bed and then sleep over.

me and mom

We finally found a nurse that was a godsend. Her name was Emily. Suffice it to say, Grandma Flora liked Emily and so Pappy wasn’t able to fire her.

My mother’s time was consumed by her parents. However, Momma also had three grandchildren with whom she spent a great deal of time.

 

When we moved to Stockton, Tara Lynn was about two years old. There was a double fireplace that went from the family room to the dining room. Tara would peek through the fireplace and say, “I see Papa through the willow”. Willow was her name for window. She was such a cute baby.

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Tara Lynn in front of the “Willow”

By 1982, Grandma Flora was very ill and not doing well. She finally passed away on May 22, 1982. My mom was devastated. I’ll never forget the sight of her laying on her bed, sobbing. As soon as my grandmother had passed, Pappy’s “family” had arrived to take over with Pappy. They immediately wanted all of the money in Grandma’s account and began packing up their things, including Grandma’s belongings. My mother was so incredibly hurt. She internalized all of the stress and pain

At one point, my sisters and I may have broken into my grandmother’s home and retrieved everything of hers that we could. We may have.

My father squired mother away for a brief trip, hoping to get her back on her feet.

Eventually, Pappy’s family took him to Washington to live out his days. However, once he, too, had died, they shipped him back to California so that he could be buried with Flora.

A short time later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mother felt certain that she had developed the cancer from the extreme stress she had suffered. She was probably correct. She also found out she was suffering from diabetes. She had a mastectomy then had radiation and chemotherapy. She fought back.

I used to play Scrabble with my parents. We’d sit at the kitchen table and play for hours at a time. We had such a great time playing that damn game. My mother was difficult to beat. She’d really get a thrill if she got a great word score. She was very competitive and found it impossible to hold back and then my dad would get tired of losing and decide he didn’t want to play any more. So my mom would think about letting him win but she just couldn’t do it. We played games all the time including Dominos, Black Jack, Thirty-One, Poker, and Uno. But we’d always go back to Scrabble.

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I graduated from high school in 1983

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My parents had two more grandchildren, Anthony Laubenstein and Nicholas Stromgren.

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John, Laurie, Dad, Mom, Jackie, Cammie, baby Nick, Tim, me, Rich, Tara, Jim and Eddie

My dad had been working in the Bay Area when we moved to Stockton and he continued to do so. He’d drive down to San Jose on Monday morning, some weeks he’d stay there for the entire week and then return to Stockton on Friday night. We lived at 3218 Harper’s Ferry Court. They were very happy to be back in the town where they’d met.

 

I met your dad, Paul, in 1984. We’d dated for several years then became engaged. My mother took my mother in law Maxine out to lunch by themselves. I was kinda worried about it but my mother drove them to the Nut Tree in Vacaville for a lovely lunch (as my mother was inclined to do). When they returned, I asked my mother what they talked about. She was cagey, just said that everything was fine. Truthfully, I think my mother was trying to gauge how Maxine would be as a Grandparent. I think my mother recognized that she wouldn’t be on this earth as long as she wanted, wouldn’t be able to grandmother you kids as she thought you deserved. The only thing my mother told me about that lunch was that she was surprised Grandma Maxine had said your dad wasn’t her hardest child to raise, haha.

In 1986, my cousins Rose Marie and Anna Marie Lujan threw a 70th birthday party for Aunt Flora (my dad’s double first cousin).

 

My parents and really our entire family had the best time. It was a Roaring Twenties costume party and they just had a ball. My dad had a few drinks and my brother ended up driving all of us home.

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1987 was the 35th Anniversary. I knew my mother was ill, I didn’t foresee her celebrating their 50th Anniversary, so I  put together a wedding for them. My parents had run off to Las Vegas (my Aunt Jean had notoriously given them six months before they divorced) and I just felt they really deserved a large affair. I planned it as if it were a wedding. It was amazing. All of my dad’s friends from when he was a teenager showed up. Relatives and friends alike, it was a hell of a shindig. I was very proud of how their wedding turned out. It was a great party.

 

By 1989, Paul and I got married. My parents paid for most of my wedding and it was a real opportunity for them to throw a fancy wedding.

 

We got married at Morris Chapel (yep, same place mother had married that other man) and had close to 200 people attend. Having my dad walk me down the aisle meant the world to me. My mom and Maxine lit two candles on the alter then your dad and I lit one unity candle. We had a nice wedding. Paul and I went on our honeymoon on a Mexican cruise. My mom was mad because I hadn’t called her during my honeymoon.

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By the time my wedding was over, Dad decided it was time for him to retire and for them to really start traveling.

We got married in September. We’d go to my mom’s house for dinner every night after work, because I knew Momma would be making dinner and really, why should I have to make a whole dinner too? Haha.

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By November 1989, my parents sold their home on Harper’s Ferry Court and had moved three hours away to Rancho Tehama. Their home was in a small community up in the foothills just south of Red Bluff, CA. We really enjoyed spending time there. I also learned how to cook for myself.  The end of the 1980’s found my parents squirreled away in a region where there were birds to watch, deer who visited and a daughter who called her mother every day, sometimes three and four times a day.

The new decade brought about new grandchildren, a new home and the end of the Jacques family as we knew it.

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(Venita) Maxine Bailey Bennett

November 13, 1925 – February 28, 2016

Maxine

Venita Maxine was born the fourth of five children to Leonard R. Bailey and Mary A Butterworth Bailey. Her siblings were (Leonard) Vaughn, Claron, Vayles and her one sister Mary Mirian Bailey Wadsworth.

The Bailey family

Before I started writing my blog, I had read a copy of a book that had been written by Aunt Mirian. She had given it to her sister Maxine and her writing was so beautiful, I was simply entranced. She detailed their lives of growing up as a family so perfectly, I could see and hear each of the family members without ever having met them. I was hooked. So, part of the descriptions we have of Maxine come from her sister. There was such a truth to her writing that I knew that I wanted to write something like she had written. She had loved her family and shared her words out of that love. That is what I have tried to do with my blog.

Aunt Mirian was five years older than Maxine and said that Maxine had been born at home. They lived at 3507 South, 13th East in Salt Lake City. Because of their age difference, Aunt Mirian thought of Maxine as a troublesome younger sister. She resented having to share a room with her because her sister seemed like a foreigner, mostly because from the day Maxine was born, she was a saint. Maxine had a quiet, sunny personality, gentle and obliging. Maxine lived in a secure little world of her own, reading and drawing, and excelling in everything she did. Except her housework. Mirian recalled chasing Maxine up over the canal bridge and literally dragging her down to the house to finish some chore. That makes me laugh.

When Maxine was three, she was given the privilege of naming her baby brother. I cannot fathom anyone letting a three year old name a baby, but she choose Vayles. And that, my children, is why we don’t let three year olds choose names.Maxine as a little girl

Mirian thought Maxine was predominately a Butterworth, like her mother, inheriting all the good and worthy traits and none of the Bailey fire and brimstone. Maxine moved serenely through childhood, playing with her friend Bernice Cummins across the road. She was undemanding and pleasant, never one to pick a quarrel. When she was two years old, their father taught Maxine to spell all of their names and he delighted in showing her off.

 

When Maxine was in the 7th grade, her mother had been hit by a car crossing Highland Drive on their way to a show at their church. She was taken by ambulance to the County hospital. Mirian said they had been waiting for a movie to start at the church when a neighbor came to take them to the hospital. Mirian walked into the hospital holding Vayles’ hand, scared to death what they would find. Her mother was lying on a gurney. Her hair had come undone and was hanging over the side of the bed. She had a great bloody gash on her head. Her mother’s face was white with pain and shock but she still whispered that she was alright to her children. Mirian couldn’t recall who had taken the children back to the house, but she’d spent the night next to Vayles, her youngest brother. They were all too upset to sleep. In the morning, a car came down the drive and Mirian thought her mother had died. She hadn’t. It was her Uncle John bringing her father home, but Mirian said she would never forget that awful moment when she was certain her mother had passed away.

sisters
Maxine and Mirian

Their mother’s pelvis had been fractured and her left leg was broken in eleven places. Some of the doctors thought it should be amputated but her doctor said no. He put a huge cast on it from her thigh down to her toes with ugly looking pins through the knee and ankle.

Mirian says, “I remember dreaming one night that she had indeed died and I ran from the sleeping porch where Maxine and I slept, down the hall to her room and stood by the side of the bed straining in the night light to see if she were breathing. She (her mother) must have sensed me being there because she awakened. I was so relieved I began to cry. She held out her arms and I fell on top of the covers as close as I could manage to get to my mother in her narrow little bed and she held me tightly against her until I could stop crying.”

Maxine was forced to miss the 7th grade completely. She stayed home and cared for her mother after not being able to find a nurse. Maxine was chosen to stay home because Mirian was a senior in high school and her parents wanted her to graduate with her class. Mirian says it didn’t slow Maxine down one bit. Maxine went straight into the 8th grade and brought home straight A’s.

 

Mirian was given $1 each day and she would have to decide what to make for dinner, walk to the store and then go home and make dinner for “three hungry brothers, a sometimes impatient father, uncomplaining Mama, Maxine and myself.” She’d feed 7 people on that $1 a day. Ground beef was 2 lbs for a quarter and their cow provided milk. They churned butter from the milk and they had plenty of eggs.

Mirian said her diary, during this period of time, was filled with her own withering disapproval of Maxine’s adolescent laziness (as she judged it) and the mountains of wash and ironing she had every Saturday.

We are so lucky to have such a clear picture of Maxine’s childhood: how her life was impacted by the way they grew up on a farm, her mother’s accident, and how the consequences of that accident played into their futures.

Maxine and mother
Maxine and her mother,Mary Bailey

The Bailey family was a fine Salt Lake Mormon family and took their religion seriously. One of the tenants of their church is to write in their diary every day. Maxine took this seriously indeed. From the time she was a young girl, Maxine kept a diary and wrote in it every day. Her diaries are very fun to read because most of the diary entries would contain where she went and what she did, but every once in a while, the real inner Maxine comes out. These little gems make each diary a wonderful read.

big bailey kids
Bailey kids

In the diary from November 13, 1940, her fifteenth birthday, Maxine says she left for school in a “I must appreciate my blessings mood.” She wore an orange dress and her stockings kept sliding down at the knees. She says all in all, school wasn’t much fun that day. Maxine received $2 for her birthday. At the eleventh hour, she went to a carnival at Z.C.M.I. (a department store in Salt Lake. It stands for Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution, the very first department store in the United States. This store was founded on October 9, 1868). Claron didn’t get a doughnut, none of them had cider but it was fun. She ended her birthday by deciding she would ask Eugene to go to the dance with her the next day at school. She didn’t do any of her homework and didn’t put up her hair. She ends her post, “good-nite”.

 

By 1943, Maxine’s birthday entry says her dinner was super. Her best friend Bernice brought her a lovely green scarf and was asked to stay for supper. Mirian and Milton gave Maxine a bracelet and necklace. Vayles gave her a huge bottle of lotion and Claron contributed $2.01 toward the gift. She says they wrapped wedding cake until 11:30 p.m.. and that the bride to be (Mirian) was rather silly. This makes me laugh and we get to see some of Maxine’s thoughts of Mirian. Mirian and Milton Wadsworth were married on November 19th, 1943.

 

 

Maxine graduated from Granite High School in 1943 and not surprisingly, went to McAllen, Texas, on her Mission for the Mormon Church. She learned to speak fluent Spanish and had a terrific experience there.

Next up…a Tuesday Bride

Bride

 

 

Jacques Family in the 1970’s

Sylvaner

After our Santa Clara home sold, we lived for a brief time on Sioux Lane and then moved to our next home at 6027 Sylvaner Way in San Jose. Today, that home is valued at $1,446,000 but back in the 1970’s it was a just a lovely home in a new subdivision. It was a single block off Almaden Expressway and the streets that surrounded it were Zinfandel, Rhinecastle and McAbee.

Camille had moved out with her friends, Susie and Annie Ellis for a brief period of time, but by 1973, she was married to David O’Brien.

Cammie gets married
Starting on the bottom step, David, Cammie, Dad, Robert (a gentleman friend of Aunt Jean’s) Mom, Aunt Jean, Sam, Laurie and Sally
cammie's reception
At Reception for Cammie and Dave

When we first moved to Sylvaner, Tim was just graduating from high school and then he took off for Europe to go backpacking with his friends, Rainey and Christie. Laurie had a bedroom there too, but in short order, both she and Tim had moved out and the only ones left living at home were Jackie and myself.

mom and dad
Mom and Dad

It is important to stop for a minute and reflect on my mother’s health.  Her physical health was greatly impacted by a single event that took place in 1968. She had been working for Lockeheed Electronics when she fell down a flight of stairs, damaging her shoulder and breaking her back. She suffered great pain and for most of my childhood, my mother was either in the hospital, just getting out of the hospital or simply in pain. She eventually had five back surgeries, a knee replacement, and rotator cuff surgery. She suffered from debilitating migraines as well and physically her pain never ceased. However, my mother was the single most optimistic person I knew. She would be in devastating pain physically, but she’d plaster a smile on her face, sing a song and just be the nicest person around. She loved dancing with Tim. On Sunday mornings, they would get the newspaper and read it in bed. We would eventually find our way into their bedroom because we loved hearing my mom and dad talk about everything. It was so wonderful to listen to their conversations that everyone would end up in the same place. We’d climb into their bed and just chat up a storm and laugh. Eventually, mother would head to the kitchen and start breakfast. She’d make eggs and fried potatoes, but the crème de la crème were her biscuits. She made homemade biscuits that were simply heavenly.

holiday family
Laurie, Jim, Tim, Bob, Cammie, Mom, Grandma Flora, Aunt Jean, me, Dad, David

Dad would come in to help her and she’d turn on her favorite music, usually a Frank Sinatra tune. She always wanted to dance with my dad, and even though she knew her back and leg would suffer, she just couldn’t resist. They really did have a great love for each other. It was a fun way to grow up.

 

Because the “big kids” had married or moved out, Jackie and I spent a great deal of time with our parents. In 1974, they took us on a road trip to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and we visited Expo 74’, the World’s Fair. This took place in Spokane, Washington. We had a fun trip.

Expo 74
Expo 74 trip

We also visited the 1976 American Freedom Train. It was a train that pulled into San Jose and it was filled with American Memorabilia. This included George Washington’s copy of the Constitution, Martin Luther King’s pulpit, a rock from the moon and the one item that impressed me the most, Judy Garland’s dress from the Wizard of Oz. This was such a cool event.

 

About this same time, Marriott’s Great America was opened in Santa Clara. We also visited this upon their opening as a family, including the big kids. This was the only time I ever rode a roller coaster, as my brother in-law David made me ride Willard’s Whizzer. By the way, there were no seatbelts nor bars, only the force of the ride kept you in the seat. There was a fatal accident on this train and it was eventually taken down. Scary to think about it now haha.

me three
a French Doll costume my mom made for me, a role in the Babe’s in Toyland play
me
Can we say Perm, anyone?
me two
PeeWee league bowling  trophy
me five
Perm wasn’t tight enough? Nope

By 1977, Laurie was married to Brian O’Shea and she was pregnant with Tara Lynn. My parents were elated about their first grandchild.

We also had a dog by the name of Muffin. Mother said she looked like a ragamuffin when she was brought home and so that was what we called her. She was pregnant at the same time as Laurie. Muffin was a very intelligent poodle/terrier mix. She wasn’t allowed down the hall in our bedrooms and was to stay in the family room. Muffin would sneak down the hall to my bedroom, snatch up a Barbie Doll and chew her feet off. I lost a lot of my dolls like that.

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Muffin

In the spring of 1977, Mom and Dad took me and Jackie on another trip. This time, we drove to my Aunt Fran and Uncle Don’s home in Florida. The Jones’ were friends that my parents made in Santa Clara. They would play cards together and just have the best time. My mother was a little older than Aunt Fran, so mother took Aunt Fran under her wing. They had started out as friends with Uncle Ron, Uncle Don’s brother, and his wife Aunt Bonnie. Our families grew up together and felt like family. We drove from CA to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Dad did the driving. The first day he drove all day and night, then we stopped by noon the next day. After that, we headed to Alabama and had a chance to visit my Uncle Bryan and Aunt Lillie in Birmingham. He was my mother’s uncle and she was very close to him. We also got the opportunity to meet Uncle Tom, my grandfather’s other brother.

Afterward, we drove out of Alabama, just ahead of a tornado. The sky was very black and quite frightening. We pulled into Pensacola, Florida in the afternoon. After securing a hotel, we drove around to see the town and have dinner. The entire town was closed. We couldn’t find anything open. We finally got back to our hotel and found that they were on a hurricane warning. That was scary too. The next day, we arrived in Titusville. We stayed at Aunt Fran and Uncle Don’s for several days. We visited the Glass Bottom Boats and the Kennedy Space Center. We also visited Uncle Ron and Aunt Bonnie and when we left Florida, we stopped to visit Uncle Don’s parents in Georgia.

 

On the way home, we drove through Memphis, TN but my dad refused to stop at Graceland, Elvis Presley’s Estate. I still hope to get there one day haha.

 

We drove back across the US and ended our trip in Las Vegas. We stayed in a two-room suite and we went to a dinner show and saw Dean Martin. He put on a great show. We spent Jackie’s 16th birthday in Las Vegas.

When we arrived home, our dog Muffin had a litter of 9 pups. That is a big litter for such a small dog. A couple months later, Laurie had her first baby. My dad thought she should name her baby Tara Linda because he liked the name Linda, but she was named Tara Lynn. My parents were so thrilled with that new baby. A short seven months later, they had their first grandson as well. Cammie had her first baby, James Matthew, in 1978 and by 1979, Laurie had her next baby, Edward Allen.

grandmas
Dad, Mom, Grandma Flora, baby Tara, baby Jimmy

As the 1970’s came to a close, my parents’ lives were filled with their grandchildren. But they were itching to move out of San Jose. The traffic was getting worse and they really wanted to return to Stockton, the town where they had met. Our parents sold our home and in November of 1978, we moved to Stockton. Jackie wasn’t pleased to be moving in the middle of her Senior year of high school. She stayed with a friend for the last month of school then joined us at Christmas. She graduated from Lincoln High in June of 1979. My parents were pleased to be back in Stockton. My Grandma Flora’s health was getting worse as the 1970’s ended and she, too, moved back to Stockton. As we close the 1970’s decade, my parents were relatively healthy, certainly happy and busy with parents, children and grandchildren. But as always, Tim and Jubie’s great love was the cornerstone of our family.

grandkids
Jim, Eddie and Tara, the original three

 

 

Check Your Sources!

I am a big proponent of obtaining as much documentation as possible. You cannot verify information without it. When you are researching an ancestor, there are some records that I love.

birth certificate for Tim

This first record is my father’s birth certificate. As you can see, he was born on December 9, 1927 at 5:00 a.m. Also, my father obtained the copy of this record on March 1, 1954.  His name is spelled out as Celestino Timoteo Jaquez. He is listed as the 11th child born to this mother and that upon his birth, he was the 8th child living. My grandfather Celestino’s occupation is listed as Odd Jobs, my grandmother Tonita’s occupation is listed as housewife. Interesting to see Grandma Tonita’s birthplace listed as Gobernador, NM which was located in Rio Arriba County. The county seat for Rio Arriba is Tierra Amarilla.

Celestino is listed as being born in Blanco, NM.

I know my cousin Tom Martinez is working on the records from the church, so I hope to be able to obtain a copy of those records as well.

celestino

The next record is a death certificate for Grandpa Celestino. This one is much easier to read. I like seeing who provided the information for the death certificate. This one was provided by Aunt Della and gives Grandpa Jacques’ address as her address, 1840 Charmeran, San Jose, CA.  She reported that Grandpa Jacques had been in California for 38 years, bringing us back to 1935 when he arrived here. That fits with the information we know. He died of pneumonia and Arterial sclerosis heart disease. It lists his date of birth as November 15, 1886 and his date of death December 29, 1973.

Juan N.

The last record here is for Juan Nepomuceno Jacquez. I had a harder time obtaining this record and so I received a letter back, stating that they could not give it to me. They said only a child/grandchild could obtain it. I laughed and said, my Grandfather died in 1973 and my father died in 2003. I had to send them the death certificates for my father and my grandfather both in order to get this one. As you can see they stamped it for genealogical use only. Juan N. was born on April 8, 1856. His father is listed as Jose O. Jacquez and his mother listed as Franciquita Vigil. They were both born in Colorado. Interesting to see that this time, it is my grandfather Celestino providing the information for the death certificate. He died on May 28, 1943 and is listed as a widower.

I have been searching for a death certificate for one of my great-grandparents. My Grandma Flora’s father, Henry Carter Burgess. I have been searching for a long time. I don’t have his date of death, nor do I know where it occurred. I don’t know where he’s buried and it drives me crazy. I found a few people had a date of death for him on Ancestry.com. Now, sometimes you run across someone else who has pertinent information to your research. However, I felt like I had discounted those individuals and thought, shoot, I should revisit this information. I pulled the Find a Grave site and found this picture.

Henry C Burgess

I still didn’t feel like this was correct. Then I found the death certificate online.

HC Burgess death certificate fake

Okay, once I found this, I was certain. This is not my Henry Carter Burgess. The date of birth is wrong, the spouse name was wrong. Also, his father’s name was John W. Burgess and my Henry Carter was born in Kansas, not Indiana. This was not my ancestor.

One of the biggest lessons to remember when searching on Ancestry.com or any other site, is that you must know what you are looking for, or you will end up with incorrect information on your tree. The best source for you is to interview your relatives now. Now, before you lose the opportunity.

 

 

Flora True Leadership Award

My grandmother was such a powerful force in my life. She was a hard worker from the time she was a young girl. She worked in lots of office jobs and in the credit department of a store. She used her initials so that no one would know she was a woman. Flora also had a gift. She could talk to anyone and everyone. Eventually, she went to work for a vitamin company. She left that company and went to work for Shaklee Corporation. She was sued by the company she left because the company knew they were losing a good saleswoman. Flora showed up to court in a housecoat and the judge had a hard time believing this was the person that companies were arguing over.

She became friends with Dr. Forest Shaklee, the gentleman who started the Shaklee Corporation. He started the Shaklee Company in 1951 and the first building was at 12th and Harrison Streets in Oakland, CA.

Early Shaklee Corporation days
Original Shaklee building

Dr. Shaklee adored Flora and he believed in nature’s ability to heal. When she first met him, she was reading an article about Royal Jelly. The article said that Royal Jelly was a cancer preventative and Dr. Shaklee told her, don’t you believe it. It was no more cancer preventative than any other good nutrition. Flora thought she had found an honest man.

in her office

Dr. Shaklee ran his business by the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This was a rule Flora lived by. When Dr. Shaklee honored Flora during a convention, Flora arrived on the stage wearing a beautiful red gown. He said she was wearing red and was always out scratching for business. Right there, he affectionately called her his “little red hen.”

flora and dr shakleee too
Neil, Flora and my cousin Bobby on the far right

Shaklee Corporation sold vitamins, diet and health products, along with all natural cleaning products. Grandma Flora became a driving force in the company. Dr. Shaklee started selling products in 1946 and by the 1950’s, the company was close to going out of business. Dr. Shaklee credited Flora as being the crusader who changed the course of Shaklee history.

Grandma and dr shaklee
Getting pinned

Dr. Shaklee was trying to keep the business going and worried about paying bills. Flora said, “Those bills are going to be paid.” That month, she went out and sold half the company’s business. It had never been done before and has never been done since. My mother used to say that if Grandma got on an airplane, she would have sold to five different people and have three more wanting to sign up to be a distributor under her. She worked her truth and believed in her products with her whole heart. It was easy to see why she was so great at spreading her message.

addressing salespeople
Addressing a sales force

Dr. Shaklee said that, above all, Flora True stands out as the leader of all other salesmen.

at a convention
Flora at the microphone

Flora earned the first car that was ever given away. It was a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air.  She said it took her one month to earn that car. She earned a new car every year.

1956 Chevy Bel Air
I believe this is the 1956 Bel Air (My grandfather and cousins standing in front of it)

 

new car
Always a new car

In 1981, Shaklee Corporation celebrated their 25 Anniversary with a Golden Jubilee. They paid to fly my grandmother, my step-grandfather, my mother and myself to San Francisco from our home in Stockton for the celebration. My grandmother had been ill but was determined to  make it to the ceremony.

Dr. Shaklee paid tribute to Flora, as much as Flora paid tribute to Dr. Shaklee. She had suffered from breast cancer, had a mastectomy, had suffered a stroke and was in ill health. She forced herself to walk across the stage and Dr. Shaklee came out to meet her. You can watch the video here.

 

The next year, on the occasion of Grandma Flora’s 80th birthday, we held a celebration in Stockton for her.  Dr. Shaklee and Dorothy came to Stockton for Flora’s party, along with the rest of her family. It was the last birthday the Little Red Hen would celebrate.

flora and dr shaklee three

Flora died on May 22, 1982.

After her death, Flora’s reputation continued at the Shaklee Corporation and eventually, an award was established in her honor. They invited my mother Jubie and my Aunt Kay to attend the ceremony in Montreal, Canada in 1984. They were presented with the first award

Flora True Leadership Award Presentation
Jubie and Kay being presented the first award
Flora True Leadership Award
Letter that accompanied the award
Flora True Leadership Award statute
Flora True Leadership Award

Because we had grown up with the Shaklee products, my family had continued to use them. My father used Basic H (as a floor cleaner and a shampoo, because, you know, why not?) and so I needed to replace his bottle of Basic H and I simply looked up a sales associate in our area, called her up and went to retrieve the bottle.

When I arrived at her home to pick up my product, the lady gave me the Basic H and we spoke for a few minutes. I told her my grandmother used to sell Shaklee products and that perhaps she knew her? The lady assured me that she didn’t know anyone in the business as she had only been in Shaklee for a few years. I said, “Oh, my grandmother, Flora True, used to sell here in town.” The lady starts shrieking, “Flora True? Oh my god, are you kidding me? Never in a million years did I think when I got up today, I’d be meeting Flora True’s granddaughter.”

Haha, I didn’t realize being related to Flora was that amazing. I don’t think we really appreciated how they felt about her because she was just grandma. We knew she was an amazing person, but it was so nice to have others think of her in that way as well. I cry every time I watch the video of her, because it is such an accurate reflection of who she was, even though she was already very ill. She was damn determined that she would walk across that stage, and she did.

P.S. The picture of the Shaklee building was provided by and used with permission by the Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee Facebook page.

Celia Jacques Herrera Family

My Great Aunt Celia was a wonderful little lady who loved to laugh, tell a story and have a shot, if you don’t mind. She was great to us and I know how much my dad loved her. I can still hear her voice in my head. Some of my cousins have asked me to look for information on her husband, Fred Herrera. I have found a lot of documents that appear to be for him. This World War 1 draft card is one of my favorites.

Uncle Fred's Registration Card

She lost her husband in 1974, but I know their love endures. We see it very clearly in the faces of those beautiful babies like sweet Adeline and Ezra. Cousins, here is your list. As always, if there are any corrections, please feel free to shoot me a quick message and I will get it addressed promptly. Love you guys.

Edna’s Family

  • Priscilla Lujan Lerwill
    • Ray Lerwill
    • Kathleen Lerwill
    • Daniel Lerwill
    • Pamela Lerwill
    • Brian Lerwill
      • +13
  • Willbert Lujan
    • Melissa L. Martin
      • +1
    • Tim Lujan
      • +2
    • Daniel Lujan
      • +1
    • Kayli Lujan
  • Ben Lujan
    • Perri Lujan
      • +1

Effie’s Family

  • Linda Edwards
    • Jeff Davis
      • +5
    • Shellie Hardin Garcia
      • +2
    • Kenny Hardin
      • +2
    • Wendy H. Barbieri
      • +3
  • David Cree
    • Kimberly Cree
      • +3
    • Tania Cree
    • Bert Cree
    • David Cree

Freddie’s Family

  • Jeanie M. Herrera Nixa
    • Rachael Nixa
      • +4
    • Justin Nixa
  • Paul Herrera
    • Paul Jr.
    • Atlantis
  • Joyce Herrera Holiday

Polly’s Family

  • Steven Stewart
    • Heather S. Dahlenberg
      • +1
    • Steven Stewart Jr. (Esteban)
    • Jacob Stewart
  • Mary Frances S. Zaklan
    • Hillary Zaklan
    • Matthew Zaklan
    • Melissa Zaklan
  • Scott Stewart

Leroy’s Family

  • Monica Herrera
    • Denae Beland
      • +2

Gerry’s Family

  • Jack McMurry
  • Julie Raymos
    • Kathleen Speed
      • +1
    • Samuel L. Raymos
      • +1
  • Robert Raymos Jr.
    • Robert Raymos III