July 20, 2017

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Weather

It was a dark and stormy night… but I’m going to cheat a little bit for this week’s blogging prompt for 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Weather and do a link to a previous post I did on Disasters which included my recollection of the Columbus Day Storm when I was in junior high school.

iPentimento | 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Disasters

Week 18. Weather. Do you have any memorable weather memories from your childhood? How did your family cope and pass the time with adverse weather? When faced with bad weather in the present day, what do you do when you’re stuck at home?

This challenge runs from Saturday, April 30, 2011 through Friday, May 6, 2011.

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (http://wetree.blogspot.com/) has yet another successful series on her hands: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History (http://www.geneabloggers.com/52-weeks-personal-genealogy-history/).

Wordless Wednesday: Greg Age Progression


I’ll never be able to do a truly Wordless Wednesday, so just abandon that idea.  And so, I give you our son Greg in a mini-age progression sequence beginning in 1972.  I know the photo says it was in Feb. 1973, but that is when the photo got developed.

Greg was thrilled with the excitement of all the paper and bows and he would have been much more happy with getting just one or two gifts.  This was his first Christmas, and he turned a year old two days later.  Yes, that sleeper was gold.  Picture taken at Jim’s parent’s place in Clinton, IA.


Greg and my mom playing on the floor in our house on 6th St. in Clinton, IA. I think it was around September of 1973 that Mom flew from WA to IA for a visit.  Her first time flying in a jet.  Dad was home playing poker, as I remember.  Looks like Mom was “showin’ a little ankle” in this picture too.  😉 :::gasp:::: Greg would have been close to 19 months old here.  When he turned two we measured his height and he was 3 foot 2 inches.  Of course, we were sure then he would attain the height of 6 foot 4 inches.  Did he?


Another visit to Iowa, this time by both my mom and dad (she was never going to leave him home playing poker again, he lost $$!) so this time they both flew in for a visit.  I don’t know if you can tell it from this picture, but Greg really loved his Grandma Yates and by the look on Mom’s face she loved him a lot too.  I know that look…she’s creating a memory to store of that hug and the smooch that followed. ?


iPentimento | 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Disasters


Seattle earthquake aftermath 1965

I barely missed my first disaster by a year.  That was the 1949 earthquake here in western Washington.  Well, maybe I didn’t miss it completely since my mom was probably pregnant with me at the time.  Since I was conceived most likely in January of 1950 and the state was experiencing …

Record low temperatures and heavy snow plague Washington state for three weeks beginning on January 12, 1950.

…it was probably a good time to stay in bed and keep warm, don’t you think?

I don’t know if they were ‘disasters’ or not, but I remember we had some pretty deep snows when I was in grade school.  Deep enough that I was worried I’d get in over my head. Hey, I was a little girl and not so tall you know!


1965 Tacoma/Seattle Earthquake

OK, let’s get to it and I’ll tell you the first real disaster I experienced.  It was the earthquake of 1965 which was coincidentally 6.5 MAG.  I was in study hall in the lunch room at Tumwater High School when it began.  It happened that I was sitting on the last row of tables at the back of the room nearest the large plate glass windows.  None of the windows broke, but it was in the middle of the tremor that a huge plaster art piece fell off the wall above the folding curtain and crashed to the floor jangling already shaky nerves.

I got my first lesson in the ‘herd instinct’ that day too. Mr. Zahn, our study hall teacher had never been in an earthquake (he said later) and so when the shaking was all over he walked out in the hallway to head to the office.  He just didn’t count on a whole herd of us following him!  He shooed us all back to the hallway by the lunchroom and then went off again to the office.  I learned something else about myself that day.  As scared and shaky as I was after the quake, I remember some girls were almost hysterical and I was comforting one of them, telling her not to cry.  I probably fell apart later.  That’s my usual reaction.


Tornadoes, More Quakes, and Storms

I’m not putting all of these disaster recollections in chronological order, so bear with me here.  Before the quake of 1965, there was a killer wind storm we lived through too.  It was named the Columbus Day Storm of 1963, and it was a whopper.   I was in 8th grade at the time and I remember getting out of school that afternoon and coming down the steps of the back door of Michael T. Simmons Junior High in Tumwater and thinking it was unusually windy.  I had no idea of what was to come…

My brother and I got home from school that Friday and Mom had already been alerted by the radio that there was a storm coming.  None of us would know just how wild that night was going to be.  Our heat source at the time was an old Quaker oil stove.  It had a damper on the side of the vent pipe that went into the chimney and on normal days that thing would flap now and then as it opened and closed when the wind blew across the top of the chimney.  When the winds got up to gale force that night that thing really got a workout.  Morning brought a whole new world of surprises.  Our power pole at the end of our driveway had blown down, as had two others in line with it, just like dominoes.  The power had been out for hours and the power lines laying across our yard were being held up off the ground by our telephone wire. We lost trees, and probably some of the shakes off the roof, but our biggest catastrophe was that we were without power for three weeks because of those poles that were knocked down.

In 1973 we were living in Clinton, Iowa and I was just learning what it was like to live in tornado country.  Luckily, the house we were renting had a basement because every time the wind would come up and the tornado sirens went off, I grabbed Greg and cowered down there until the coast was clear.  Jim happened to be home during one storm, which was fortunate because it was the worst one I’d been in yet.  The radar said there were funnel clouds sighted north of us and we headed to the basement.  When it was over we headed outside to assess the damages and the ground was just white with hail. Our chimney had blown off and I think there was a bird that mistakenly had flown down into it to get out of the wind. We heard some flapping around when we were in the basement, but didn’t figure out what it was until days later.  There was a cleanout in the basement for the bottom of the chimney with a little door.  When Jim opened the door there was the poor little dead wayward bird.

And last, but not least, the most recent disaster was our February earthquake of 2001 that registered 6.8 MAG.  I was in the family room, as was the cat, and when the house started shaking, I was running out of the room and he was running in.  We just about collided at the doorway into the room.  I wanted to be at the other end of the house, away from the hot water heater in the garage and the fireplace chimney that could possibly fall into the living room or family room.  What was weird was, this earthquake lasted a really long time.  I’d made my dash down the hallway and was standing in a doorway watching the two pictures over the fireplace dancing wildly back and forth and the house just kept on rockin’.  When it did, my phone rang and it was our son Greg in California.  He asked if I was OK, and said he had been on the phone with a client in Seattle when the quake started and she told him she had to get under her desk.  They hung up and he called me right away.


Columbus Day windstorm disaster blows Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound on October 12, 1962.

HistoryLink.org Essay 5325 – by By David Wilma, February 28, 2003


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Week 10: Disasters. Did you experience any natural disasters in your lifetime? Tell us about them. If not, then discuss these events that happened to parents, grandparents or others in your family.

This challenge runs from Saturday, March 5, 2011 through Friday, March 11, 2011.

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (http://wetree.blogspot.com/) is the originator of the challenge.  Thanks also to Thomas MacEntee for further promoting it.  We’re all Geneabloggers.



Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Religious Services


The Will and Josie Yates House – Olympia, Washington

My family, except for my Grandma Josie, were not the church going type.  In fact, I don’t think I ever attended a church service of any kind with either of my parents.  I did love to spend the night with my Yates grandparents on Christmas Eve though, and early in the morning on Christmas Day Grandma and I would walk down to the church nearby to their holiday services.  If the weather was bad Grandpa probably drove us down there and picked us up. Grandpa never went to church with us either.

I don’t know how Grandma accomplished it, but after we got home from church she would change her clothes, put on her ever present apron and tackle the cooking of Christmas dinner. I think the Christmas spirit she received at the church services had a lot to do with it.

The turkey had been prepared and put in the oven early that morning as a combined effort by both Grandma and Grandpa. I remember one year Grandma forgot to turn on the oven and dinner was a little “late”.  Even though I didn’t do any of the cooking, I did the little things I knew would make Grandma happy, like dusting under the dining room table, getting out the china and silver and setting that table, and unearthing her “special” dishes from the cupboard she liked to use as serving pieces.

One I especially loved was the footed crystal dish she used to for cranberry sauce.  We always had olives and pickles (and Grandma would sneak a drink of the olive juice :::ick:::) and she would make yeast rolls from scratch.  The table cloth was always a white linen damask which of course would invariably get something spilled on it like gravy or cranberries.

Before we would begin eating, either Grandpa or Grandpa would say the blessing, thanking God for the wonderfully cooked meal, the bounty that was before us, and for those who were there to celebrate the day.

I think the funniest ‘tradition’ we had during Christmas dinner was when we would be in the full throes of eating and Grandpa would reach under the table to his left and pinch Grandma’s knee.  She’d give out a loud squeal and say, “Oh Daddy!” and then giggle till she lost her breath. Grandpa thought it was great fun, and obviously it was memorable for Dave and I too.

I’m participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 sponsored by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame.  Won’t you join us as we blog about our memories through the month of December?

You might also like to read:

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010: The Tree

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Christmas Cards

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Outdoor Decorations

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Santa Claus

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Fruitcake

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Stockings and Shopping

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