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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yet Another Wacky Ancestor

I have posted before about the nuts on my family tree. They're my favorite part of the family tree because I can tell stories about them.

My parents have been working at a family history library for a year or so now, and have unearthed lots of interesting genealogical information. A few weeks ago, I had a message from my mother on my answering machine. It said, "Call me. Have I got a story for you!" So of course I had to call her. She really did have a story for me.

We are related to one James Madison Campbell who lived around 1846. He was a U.S. Marshall, and worked to stop cattle rustlers. According to records, he single-handedly rounded up a band of cattle rustlers early one morning. He shot them all, then settled down to eat the breakfast they had so kindly left behind for him.

We don't just have criminals in our background! We have the good guys too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I was just trying to be a really cool Mom.

I had seen a couple of craft projects that I thought would be a great addition to my collection of travel/wait time toys. They would be easy to make with my oldest child, and would keep her busy in the car or waiting rooms. The projects were to take small soda bottles, and fill them with various things. In one, you filled it with birdseed and inserted buttons and beeds to create a "seek and find" bottle. In the other, you put in glitter, jewels, and sequins with karo syrup and food coloring. You could then tilt the bottle back and forth and watch the sparkles flow from one end of the bottle to the other.

We had a great time making the bottles. A real bonding moment between mother and toddler. I sealed the lids with hot glue, and gave them to her to play with. They worked like a charm- keeping her busy and interested. She loved them, and kept them in her room, pulling them out to play with frequently.

Shortly after that, I found some sequins on the floor. A search found that the sequins had come from a stocking my mother had made for the baby. I was storing it in the hall closet until Christmastime. It was decorated with sequins, and the sequins had been cut off, along with some fabric. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who had done it. I asked my oldest about it, and she said, "Well, see, I collect sparkles." I had to explain that while it was FINE to collect sparkles, you couldn't just cut them off of someone else's things.

I got suspicious. What ELSE was in this sparkle collection of hers? I found the small metal box on her shelf, dripping with a sticky green liquid that was oozing down the side of her white shelves. Inside the box was the entire poured-out contents of the karo-syrup bottle. She had worked off the lid, and poured all the lovely sparkles into her collection box. She had also cut off shiny pieces off of some beanie babies her grandmother had given her, off of Barbie dresses, and one of her own dresses that had some beads attached. She'd also stolen pieces of jewelry out of the Pretty Pretty Princess game to add to the viscous sparkle soup.

I freaked out. I made her wipe up the shelves, and threw the whole mess into the garbage, giving loud lectures on how to have a collection that didn't involve stealing or cutting up things. Later I felt bad and we started a REAL sparkle collection of gems and beads and sequins that now fill a jar lamp on her nightstand. I did not replace the karo syrup bottle.

So much for just trying to be a cool Mom.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hellish Honeymoon

My parents were married in September. This was right at the beginning of hunting season, and my father was an avid bow hunter. They decided that for part of their honeymoon, they would go on a hunting trip. They were poor young newlyweds, so they borrowed a pickup truck with a canopy over the back. That way they could put blankets and sleeping bags in the pickup bed, and sleep under the canopy.

They got married, then after the reception, left to go to eastern Oregon. They found a small hotel in Oakridge, Oregon to spend their first night together. It was the first hotel they could find on the way. It was also filthy and infested. They were understandably up early to continue on to their hunting trip.

They travelled up to Hart Mountain Reservoir, way up in the mountains of eastern Oregon. They were poor young newlyweds, so they borrowed a pickup truck with a camper shell over the back. They put a plywood board down on the pickup bed, and had a foam mattress on top of that to sleep in. Thus they spent night number two. They woke up early, soaking wet, and shivering, wondering where the water was coming from. It took a few minutes for them to realize that it had gotten so cold, their breath had frozen onto the roof of the camper shell, and had dripped down onto them, getting them wet. Not wanting to stay in the camper shell, they tried to get up and fix breakfast, and found that the eggs they had packed were frozen solid. They spent a few hours hunting, and while my Dad got a couple of shots at some deer, he was unsuccessful. They were so miserable, they decided that they were done with hunting, and packed and left just as it became light.

The third night was much better, because they ended up going to Lakeview, Oregon, where my parents met with a college friend, and had dinner. It was a pleasant evening. They couldn't delay and stay long in Lakeview, because my father had a bowling tournament up in Portland the next day, and they were at the wrong end of the state. It was hard driving to get to the tournament in time.

The bowling tournament was a Pro-Am tournament, and my father got to play with some famous bowlers my parents both admired. They both had a wonderful time, and finally the honeymoon started being fun. If perhaps not terribly romantic.

Ask them about the honeymoon, however, and there is no mention of dinner with friends or bowling tournaments. It's all frozen breath and frozen eggs. Happy happy honeymoon.

"To be a person
is to have a story to tell."

- Isak Dinesen  

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