May 26, 2015

Throw Back Thursday – When Greg Worked As A Deckhand

foot ferry, kitsap sun,

foot ferry, kitsap sun,

I [Greg Wilkerson] worked on this vessel as a deckhand in ’88/’89 when it was the passenger ferry that did the early runs to PSNS from the downtown Port Orchard, WA dock. Occasionally, I would work on the Retsil and Thurow as well. I also got to work on the Spirit of ’76 and every once in a while the Eagle. Each one was so different and special in their own ways. And each Captain I worked with while I was there was as unique as their favored vessel.

I learned a lot in those brief years working rain or rain (joking). Scraping rust, sanding, painting and washing just to do it all over again. In hindsight it seems so strange that there I was, as a 14-16 year old, riding my bike down to the dock and checking all the fluids (oil, coolant, fuel) and starting up the engines so they could warm up for the 1st run of the day and being responsible for the safety of the passengers while we were underway; and the counting and tallying of the fares, then going to school and then after school going back down and doing it again for the return passengers from the shipyard. I was very fortunate to have this opportunity and often look back on the experience and smile.

Our son Greg wrote this last November 2014 after I sent him an article about the Carlisle II that was in the Kitsap Sun (our local paper). He is now in his 40’s and has a son that is 15, the same age he was when he began working as a deckhand. That was his first real job and he matured (seemingly) overnight. A tall, thin young boy that he was when be began the job, he left it when we moved to Florida because Jim’s job took us there.

Greg the surfer 1991 FL

Greg in Florida 1991

He was exposed to the co-workers of his dad where Jim worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and saw them go into work each day ready to put in another shift, and took their fares as they went home tired each night. Most likely, in Greg’s eyes, he was “one of them”. Greg met friendly people, enthusiastic tourists, and became the personable guy he is today.

View of the U.S. Navy Puget Sound Naval Shipya...

View of the U.S. Navy Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washionton (USA), in 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Ships at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, ...

English: Ships at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, seen from Port Orchard across the harbor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: BREMERTON, Wash. (April 5, 2010) Work...

English: BREMERTON, Wash. (April 5, 2010) Workers at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility hold their TIP passes as they wait for transportation. The shipyard and maintenance facility Transportation Incentive Program, or TIP, has been recognized by the Washington State Department of Transportation for their commuter program, which along with the worker/driver program is a well-established alternative to driving to work every day. (U.S. Navy photo/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Grandmas Go Wild – Lillian V Epstein Moline

Eppie Moline and Dave Y

When Grandmas Go Wild

My Grandmas personalities seemed to me to be at opposite ends of the “wildness” spectrum, and it was most obvious in this picture of my mom’s step mother Lillian Vera Epstein Moline. My other grandmother, my dad’s step mother Josie McVey Yates, was as docile as they come. I did hear her say “shit” once, but it was not her normal language.

I didn’t see my Moline grandparents as often as my Yates ones because they lived in Seattle and when I was growing up going to Seattle was a ‘big excursion’. I say that because before Interstate 5 was built all we had for the main road was Highway 99, and it took hours to get to Seattle on a two lane road.

My two sets of grandparents knew each other because at one time they lived in the same mill town of Bordeaux, WA. Grandpa Yates worked in the mill as a “setter” for the saws that reduced the big trees to long slabs of dimensional lumber. My grandpa Moline, who had more education, worked for the Mumby Lumber company as a salesman. His wife, “Eppie” was a registered nurse, but when they moved to Bordeaux in 1933 she kept it pretty quiet that she had any medical training so as not to be constantly asked for help.

Grandma Eppie had a very outgoing and humorous personality. Most likely because when you’ve been a nurse, you’ve seen it all and some human behavior can be pretty funny. Eppie’s ethnicity was Jewish. She was loud, liked to tell jokes, play bridge and smother us with slobbery kisses. Kisses were given while blubbering when we first got together for a visit, and the same at the end of the visit.

I can’t be sure who took this picture, but I suspect it was my grandpa Al (Elvin Moline) because Eppie would have done this kind of pose for him, and my brother Dave would have posed like that to go along with the frisky behavior. Grandpa Al always had a camera with him and usually one of the more expensive ones, rather than the “Brownie” box camera that my parents had. I’m just guessing, but I think this picture was taken in the 1950’s sometime, just going by the makes and models of the cars. The Ford in the background belonged to my Grandpa Yates and as far as I know he bought it new, with cash.

Other clues in the picture are my brother’s size which makes me think he was around twelve or thirteen. The shed in the background eventually was re-roofed and dad built a car port off the side facing us in the photo. I know one thing, this picture was taken before October 12, 1962 because several of the trees in the picture didn’t survive that storm. Surprisingly enough, the tree under where Grandpa Yates parked his Ford was a huge cherry tree and it did make it through the “Big Blow”. The other big tree in the background was an apple tree and it didn’t survive.

I realize that anyone else looking at this old black and white photo won’t have the same feeling about it that I do. Even my brother probably has other, deeper, memories than I do since he was older. This picture, for all of its ‘old-timey’ look and the antics of my grandma, is my connection to my history when we lived on Dennis Street in Tumwater, Washington. We didn’t live in a grand house, and we lived all the way at the end of the end of the road, but it was my world. I have history here. I have good and bad memories of living here. And, for the time the photo or this article lasts, it’s proof that we lived interesting lives. Rest in peace Grandma Eppie, you are not forgotten.

Lillian Vera Epstein Moline 1904 – 1975

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Weather

How To Use Genealogy Criteria To Improve Your General Communication Skills

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Make Yourself Understood

When I first began doing genealogical research I was participating in online message boards and mailing lists. One of the things that really became apparent to me early on was that I needed to be specific to make myself understood for the best communication results.

For instance, if I was in a chat room it was imperative to say for whom I was looking, where they had lived and what time frame. Subject lines needed to include surname, location, and possible years, etc.: “YATES, Roane, TN 1840-1918” is one example. On message boards and mailing lists, it was much the same, but I could also include more in-depth information such as collateral names, etc.

Who, Why, What, When and Where

I’ve noticed in this era of shortened messages via Twitter or texting, many people don’t make themselves specific enough when speaking verbally to one another. I know they are trying to be expeditious and get their thoughts out while they have them fresh in their minds, but really, you are short changing yourself and your listener to leave out some facts. The “who, why, what, when, where” of old should always apply.

So, if you are speaking to someone, even if it not about genealogy, make sure you include whom you are speaking of, the location you are citing, and give some sort of time frame at the very least. Example: “When I was in Howell County, Missouri in 1972 I didn’t get to see any of my Yates, Pentecost or Smith cousins because we were just passing through West Plains and I was just picking up a postcard for my grandpa Will Yates who was then living in Washington State, but was born in the Brandsville area.”

Many times, my conversations with family and friends just leave me more confused as they jump from one person to another. It might be their style of conversation, but my advice is, Slow Down and think about what the other person might be hearing. If you get to the end of your story and people look puzzled, or need to ask for clarification, you need to spend extra time thinking about how you present your thoughts.

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Old Ents and Monster Trees of Pacific Northwest

Logs on train

One of my Bordeaux, WA connections sent me an email today with the title being about “Monster Trees” with content about logging. I’ve been asked many times if I know what was the tallest fir tree logged in Washington state. Sadly, I do not. But if the pictures in the blog post at SBYNEWS entitled before Chainsaws Logging Monster Trees don’t provide any reasonable examples of one or two, I don’t know what will.

Here’s an example of one from the article that makes me question whether it was just one tree or not. If it was, all I can say is “Wow”.

I know the photo above is small but you can see a larger one by following the link above to the site.  You might have read my earlier article

1938 Bordeaux Washington Old Growth Logs

that included one of our personal family photos showing trucks loaded with some fairly large old growth logs.

These pictures bring up all sorts of questions like, “how did they get those big trees down, how did they load them on the trucks, and how could that small looking truck haul that big log on a dirt road”?

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