Sunday, September 23, 2018

Watermelon Party

Not A Happy Camper

I'm not sure what happened to Helen Jane (me) here, but it looks like she isn't a happy camper.  She is crying while her cousin, little Manny looks on.  I suspect that my little sister might have helped herself to a bite of my watermelon.

This photo was taken at my Grandpa Johnson's house in Stockton.  I guess we were stripped down for easy clean up.  I don't remember how we were cleaned up.  Maybe they took us outside and hosed us down. 

Manny is my first cousin and my Dad's sister's son.  Manny is six months younger than me.  I think both of us were about four years old here.  My baby sister's leg and arm are barely visible in the photo by my hand.

Left to right, little Manny, Helen, and Tudy's arm and leg

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Unexpected Genealogy Gift

A Gift From A Cousin

My husband Frank and I flew to Dallas a couple of weeks ago to attend our nieces wedding.  As we arrived, there was a very bad thunder storm with lots of lightning.  For safety reasons, all of the ramps had been closed down.  We had to wait for about an hour and a half before we could collect our luggage and our rental car and be on our way.

While we were waiting, I checked my email and my Facebook.  One of my cousins that lives in Oklahoma and who is from my Smith line had sent me a photo of my Grandma and Grandpa Smith that I had never seen before.                                                 
Left to Right is my Grandpa Fred Burke Smith, his sister Augusta Caroline (Callie) Smith Butcher, and my Grandma Stella E Marie Holland Smith

I was extremely close to my Grandparents and they practically raised my sister and me until I was eleven and she was nine and we moved from Poplar, CA to the San Francisco Bay Area.  We would still visit them frequently and spent a month every summer with them.

I couldn't find a date on the photo, but I believe it was taken sometime in the 1960s so that would have put my Grandparents somewhere in their early 60s.  This photo was taken when they went back to Oklahoma to visit relatives.

This is how they always dressed for most of my life.  Later on Grandpa started wearing striped overalls sometimes.  When he went outside, he would wear a straw cowboy hat.  Near the end of his life, he would wear slacks, a shirt, suspenders and a dude hat when he went to the doctor.

Grandma told me that when they met, Grandpa was known as that big eyed Smith boy.  Grandpa did have big eyes...big blue eyes.  One of his eyes had a little bit of brown in it though.  My Grandma had very, very, deep blue eyes....almost purple or violet at times.  They were a beautiful shade of blue.

Thank you so much, cousin Medessa Cook Montgomery for the lovely gift that you shared with me.    It turned an otherwise somewhat challenging day into a wonderful, blessed day!  It also gave me one more photo to share with my other Smith cousins.  Medessa's Grandmother was my Grandpa's sister, Aunt Callie.

I heard a lot about Aunt Callie.  My Grandma would talk on the phone to family members and would relay the conversations to my Grandpa who wouldn't hardly ever get on the phone. 

I miss them both so much and think about them every day, sometimes, I think about them several times a day.  They didn't have much money and they didn't have much formal education, but they taught me so much, and gave me unconditional love.  That was priceless!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Johnson News

Johnson Brothers Visit

The article below was found in The Walnut Grove Tribune (Walnut Grove, Missouri) printed May 05, 1915, Wednesday page 5.
It tells of how Josiah Johnson (my second great grandfather) came from Oklahoma to visit his brother Jap (Jasper) Johnson and other friends and relatives.  Joe (Josiah) and Jap were both sons of Williamson Johnson and Elizabeth (Betsy) Perryman Johnson, my third great grandparents.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Jump genealogy : an American family from colonial times

Jump Genealogy

The title of this post is also the title of a genealogy book written about my Jump line.  It also mentions other Jump lines that we may or may not be related to.

I have a copy of this book and have included a copy of the Table of Contents of the book here. 

I used this book to help me prove my lineage to John Jump who served in the Revolutionary War. 

If anyone believes they are descended from the Jump line and if you have any questions, I would be happy to look the information up for you.  Obtaining a copy of this book is not easy.  I was able to get a copy from a member of the Polk County Genealogical Society in Bolivar, Missouri.  I am very grateful to Carolyn for helping me out!

Thank you to Janet Pease and others who worked so hard researching the Jump Surname.

Please feel free to send me an email or contact me through this blog.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ellen Jane Johnson Simao

My Aunt Ellen


Aunt Ellen was my Dad's sister. She was next to the youngest in a family of five children and the only girl.  I remember when I was little and we would visit, she loved to pat my legs and tell me that she loved my fat little legs. 

When I was little I didn't understand why she loved my fat little legs so much.  I hadn't given too much thought to my legs at that time.  It was later that I realized why she liked my fat little legs so much.  Aunt Ellen was tall, about 5' 5" (taller than my Mom), and thin.  She was built up like my Dad.  Both of them were tall and thin with thin legs.  Of course, I thought her leg were fine.  See the photos below of Aunt Ellen in her youth wearing summer clothes and a bathing suit.

Ellen Jane Johnson with unknown sailor
I don't know how old Aunt Ellen was in the above photo, but she looks to be in her teens.

Ellen Jane Johnson

Now check out those legs!  I used to wish I had legs like Aunt Ellen!

Aunt Ellen was one of the most generous people ever born. She was always helping someone out, especially her family, friends, friends of friends, and friends of her children. She would give the shirt off her back to someone even if she didn't have another one.  If someone got into trouble, they went to Ellen. If someone needed money, they went to Ellen.  If someone needed someplace to live, they went to Ellen.  She had a huge heart. Of course she and her family were taken advantage of several times, but that didn't stop her from helping people.  Her daughter, Patricia Simao Nicolia is just like her in that respect...always helping people.  They were born with the helping gene.

I loved my Aunt Ellen very much and loved staying at her house.  This is one of the aunts that I was named after.  Her name was Ellen Jane and my name is Helen Jane.  She was a real character....she was funny and kooky.  She had red hair and wore her lipstick like Lucille Ball.

Aunt Ellen had my cousin Margaret Ellen at a young age.  She is shown in the photo below with my cousin Margaret (Marge), and my Grandma Cora Lee Meek Johnson Sinclair.

Ellen Jane, Margaret Ellen, Cora Lee Meek Johnson
In the photo above, I am guessing that Aunt Ellen was about nineteen or twenty.  Marge looks to be about three or four.  Grandma Cora would have been about forty two or forty three. 

When Aunt Ellen was about thirty six, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The docs performed surgery, but they couldn't get all of the cancer.  She was terminal.  It hit everyone in the family hard. Her oldest daughter was grown and out of the house. Her son was about thirteen and her youngest daughter was about eleven.

She lived for about four years after the diagnosis.  She had treatment for the cancer, of course.  She became paralyzed on one side and wasn't able to walk unless someone supported her.  It was painful for us all to see her decline and very scary for her young children.

Aunt Ellen and my Dad, Lawrence, aka John, were very close. Daddy was about two years younger than her.  He was devastated by her illness and spent a lot of time with her. 

In the photo below, my Dad is laying on the bed with her.  Back in those days, everyone smoked in the house.  In this photo, Aunt Ellen is about 39 and my Dad is not quite 37. 

Ellen Jane Johnson Simao and Lawrence Gerald Johnson, Jr., aka John or Johnny
Aunt Ellen was born January 9, 1933 which happened to be her big brother Charles Paul Johnson's birthday.  My wonderful aunt succumbed to cancer on September 21, 1974.  She was 41 years old. Like a Johnson, she fought hard. Like a Johnson, she kept living long after the docs said she should have died.  The docs would give her so many weeks, or so many months, more than once and she just kept going. Like a Johnson, she didn't know how to give up because that wasn't in her nature.  But, God saw his child was weary, that her little body was worn out, and he called her home.

Until we are all together again...

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Cousin Booger

Adventures with Booger

My maternal grandparents had over 30 grand kids.  My cousin, Booger was one of those grand kids and one of my many playmates when I was young.  I'm not sure exactly how he got the nickname of Booger, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was our Grandpa Smith that gave it to him.  I will refrain from saying what his given name is here, but those in the family will know who I am talking about.

Booger was an active kid and was blessed with red hair, freckles, and blue eyes.  He is about two and a half years older than me, and I remember that even as a child he had definite ideas of what he did and didn't like.  He is still like that to some extent.

I remember he and I were sitting next to each other one morning at Grandma and Grandpa's house having our breakfast.  Booger was quite active to the left of me, giving a lot of attention to the food on his plate.  I asked, "Whatcha doing, Booger"?  He said, "I'm mixing my egg (fried), gravy, and potatoes (fried) together".  I asked, "Why"?  Booger said, "Cause its good"?    I thought it looked like a big mess to me, but since my big cousin, Booger said it was so good, I thought I would give it a try.  I proceeded to try and create the same kind of mess on my plate as Booger had on his.  I ate some of it, but that was the last time I ever tried out one of Booger's recipes!  I wasn't as impressed with it as Booger was.  Lol

I remember my Grandpa telling about another Booger adventure as I was growing up.  Grandpa liked to tell how Booger was expelled from Kindergarten and then he would laugh and laugh about it.  Back then, if a boy stood up for himself, it was a good thing.  I could be wrong, but I don't think Booger was expelled.  I think he might have been suspended for a couple of days.  I don't know what he did, to be kicked out of school for a couple of days, but most likely he was just being active or maybe had a skirmish with another kid.  Remember, Booger always was a little stubborn, knew what he did and didn't like.  I think it goes with the red hair. 

None of us had very many toys, but I remember one time, I had gotten a doll for Christmas and I believe it was Booger had gotten a gun.  It might have been one of his brothers, but I think it was Booger.  I wanted to play with the toy rifle.  I always thought that boy's toys were so much better.

Booger is a good guy, who is highly intelligent, has a great sense of humor, was a good Husband, is a good Father, and is a good Grandfather.  He always has loved his family.

I always looked forward to visits with Booger and his family.  I am so blessed to have had so many cousins, playmates, and friends in one family. 

Booger definitely left an impression on me!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Smith's House

A Smith Family Thanksgiving

One of my happiest memories as a child was spending Thanksgiving day at my Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house in Poplar, CA.  Although, I spent almost every day at their house, Thanksgiving was even more special because there would be so many Aunts, Uncles, and cousins visiting. 

Grandma would stuff and cook the turkey early in her stand alone electric oven so it would be ready to eat by noon.

Grandma's stuffing recipe:

white store bought bread or stale biscuits
chopped celery
chopped onion
minced garlic (optional)

couple of boiled eggs
couple of raw eggs

salt and pepper to taste
Boil giblets until done.  Let cool, and chop liver, heart, and gizard meat.  Remove meat from neck and chop. 
Crumble cornbread, and tear bread into small pieces.  Mix in large bowl with chopped meat, chopped boiled eggs, celery, chopped onion, water from giblets, seasoning, milk, until the right consistency and taste.  Add a couple of raw eggs to help hold stuffing together before stuffing bird and putting remainder of stuffing in pan to be cooked. 

I still make my stuffing like this but sometimes add spinach to it.

We would always have mashed potatoes, gravy, sometimes green beans and corn or some other vegetable.  We would always have pumpkin pie, always have banana pudding and sometimes we would have a cake.

Sometimes the Clay cousins (family of 9 kids), and the McKay cousins (family of 7 kids) might be there at the same time.  Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill Smith had 2 kids.  Aunt Betty and Uncle Don Smith had 4 kids.  Aunt Pat and Uncle Junior Smith had 5 kids, and my Mom and Dad had 2 kids. Grandma and Grandpa had six kids and thirty one grand kids.  The house was only two rooms, but I don't remember it being crowded at all when there was a lot of people.  Of course, I spent a lot of time outside playing with my cousins. 

Grandpa later added two bedrooms and an indoor bathroom.

We didn't have many toys, but we would play Red Rover, Red Rover, Dog Pile, Jump rope, Chinese jump rope, marbles, etc. 

It was so much fun with so many of my cousins there and the food was so good!

I am very Thankful to God for blessing me with my Grandma and Grandpa Smith, my Mom and Dad, my sister, my children, my grandchildren, my aunts and uncles, and all of my cousins that I grew up with.  I'm also Thankful for good health and all of my other cousins that I have.  I have so much to be Thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!