Thursday, January 29, 2009

California Courtship and Marriage

Sometime in 1947 my brother Eldon had gone to California to stay with Aunt Florence and Uncle Evan. He had been bothered by rheumatic fever that had affected his heart, and our parents thought the lower altitude would be good for his health.

"Sunny California - our happy boy"
Eldon, 1947

Eldon - 1947
He met Susan Campbell while in California and they were later married.

Susan Campbell - Eldon Butler

Susan - Eldon - Mable - Jess
the young couple with his parents

Susan Ione Campbell - Jesse Eldon Butler
August 27, 1947

Eldon's father, Jess Butler, gave the new couple some sound advice through the poem (above) and the note (below).

Although I can't be certain, it appears that Jess may have written the poem himself. I have done a search on the internet for poetry containing these words and found nothing. He doesn't credit another author, and the words read as though they were written specifically for Eldon and Susan.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eldon in World War II

Eldon's mother, Mable, recorded the following from Eldon in the last pages of his baby book:

"Extra! Extra! December 7, 1940 - Mother, do you know what this means. Louis and maybe Charles will have to go to war!"

Eldon - October 11, 1945
waiting to board the bus to the induction center

Eldon received his orders to report for the draft on 11 October 1945 by going to Denver on a bus to the Induction Center. We all knew that his heart condition would never permit him to be drafted, but he had to go and be examined by the doctors at the Induction Center. As we all knew, he was declared to be 4/F and was rejected as a candidate for the Army.

Selective Service - Certificate of Fitness

Charlotte - Charles ---------------------------- Eldon - Catherine Miller
This picture appears to have been taken when Chuck was home on leave.

Eldon and Charlotte were in the same grade in school. She later married Eldon's older brother, Charles. He was a good friend with Charlotte and Leona while his brothers, Louis and Charles - their fiances/husbands were away during World War II.

Does that make sense? Brothers - Louis and Charles Butler married sisters - Leona and Charlotte Carpenter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eldon's High School Years

Jesse Eldon Butler
circa 1946
In his own history, Lou made note of a few major events in Eldon's life, but we have very little written history. However in his collection of notebooks Lou left quite a few pictures of Eldon; from those we are able to get a glimpse into his life.

A few mementos left in Eldon's scrapbook indicate that he played tennis and participated in track during his high school years.

In addition he was very involved with the Centennial High School newspaper, Centennialight. He was the printer and also made up and printed many of the items used by the school in all areas. In April 1945, Eldon was named Lion of the Month by the Pueblo Lions Club. He received this honor for his work with the print shop.

Eldon with the school news press
One of several notes requesting Eldon to be excused from class to operate the press.

Aunt Edna (Mable's sister) - Eldon - unknown
mid 1940's

Obviously he wasn't as big as his older brother, Chuck!

Leona remembers Eldon as a good natured young man

Delbert - unknown - Eldon - Charlotte Carpenter
This appears to be some sort of school project. Note the box on the side is labeled "SOPHOMORES."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bridging Generations

Lou's grandson, Mark
Golden Gate Bridge

July 2008

This week as I've been processing pictures and mementos of Eldon (Lou's brother), I've wondered why I'm really doing this huge family history undertaking. By my rough estimation, there are only a few people still living who even knew Eldon during his short life. His wife, Susan; his sister in law, Leona; and perhaps a few of Aunt Florence's children are perhaps the only individuals who have personal memories of him. Eldon died before his only child, David was born, and David died almost 10 years ago. Likewise, many others in the family genealogy are completely unknown to current generations. So who am I preserving these memories for? Why am I taking the time to sort, organize, preserve and label pictures of this young man and many old people who are virtually unknown?

"Brethren and sisters, every family has keepsakes. Families collect furniture, books, porcelain, and other valuable things, then pass them on to their posterity. Such beautiful keepsakes remind us of loved ones now gone and turn our minds to loved ones unborn. They form a bridge between family past and family future.

"Every family has other, more valuable, keepsakes. These include genealogies, family stories, historical accounts, and traditions. These eternal keepsakes also form a bridge between past and future and bind generations together in ways that no other keepsake can. . .

"A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory. What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family." Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes,” Ensign, May 1999, 83

Bridge building!

It occurred to me that the notebooks I have processed, the picture albums I am organizing, the blog posts I have published, and the memories I am preserving document our family story. These records, so carefully kept by Lou and other family members, are the bridges that connect those of us living today with those who have gone before and those who are yet to come. I am in awe when I consider the time periods these records span, and the lives they represent. I am excited to be a part of this process!

All are safely gathered in.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jesse Eldon Butler

Lou was the oldest of four sons of Jess and Mable Butler.
Eldon, the third son, was born September 7, 1927 in Pueblo, Colorado.

Jesse Eldon Butler
early 1928
These pictures give a good view of life in the 1920's. I think the swing is made of a bushel basket and a rope.

Louis - Eldon in the swing

1929 -- Louis, 6 1/2 (behind) - Eldon, 2 - Charles, 4

Lou records this about his younger brother:
During this year [1933 - 1st grade], Eldon got into trouble with Miss Gwinn. I remember that he laughed at her when she was lecturing him about whatever he had done. She grabbed him by one hand and swatted him with the other and sent his feet out over the stairs a couple of times. He sobered up pretty quick after that!

Rabbit Hutch - 1938
Rabbits were the main meal for the Butler family during the depression, but I guess the boys still considered them pets!

Eldon - Delbert

Sister Chabot's Sunday School Class
September 2, 1938
back row: Charles - far left, Eldon - far right

These undated entries were recorded by Eldon's mother, Mable in the last pages of his baby book:
  • "How can Grandma get streamlined?" - Dr. said Grandma should learn to get old gracefully.
  • "Charles why don't you learn to sew on your own buttons. Do you think Mother will live all of her life?"
In this first post about Eldon, we see him as a child. Future posts will detail his high school years, marriage, and death at the age of 21.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

PJC Indians – January 1947 & 1948

January 1947 - This season we really got serious about basketball. Some of the veterans were still smoking, and Coach Simmons said it was okay if they wanted to, but he really ran them a lot and most of them quit.

Champions! - on the way to California

We had a very successful season and won the conference championship. In March we were invited to the Western States College Basketball Tournament in Compton, California and really wanted to go since we hadn’t gone the previous season.

Tournament Schedule

We left for the tournament a week early to get to California in time to be rested up and get some practice at the lower altitude. We lost to Dixie first on Wednesday at 3:30, and then to McNeese on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. We had a great time, but were not too successful against the large schools that were competing at Compton Jr. College in Los Angeles. They were much bigger schools and just too much competition.

Leona and I had very little money, and I kept what I had for Leona. The coach would pay for my meals and rooms, so I needed very little. To get some money, I ate big when Coach paid for the meals, and I ate little when he gave me money to buy my own meals. So I came home with more money than I had when I left on the trip!

Final season for my college basketball career - 1948
We started basketball again in December of 1947 by playing two teams in one night! We won the first, but lost the second and Coach Simmons said that we should have won both games, but some of the team were still smoking and not able to keep going because we weren’t in shape. Needless to say, he really worked us hard getting ready for the next games. We never lost another game and we were invited to a National Tournament, this time in Scott City, Kansas. [Our local source reports that the team won 22 straight games!]
We left Pueblo in three cars in mid March 1948. As we got into Kansas it was snowing and there was a lot of snow already on the ground. We were following a snowplow as we finally got to a small hotel in Greensburg, Kansas and stayed there until the tournament was over, and then we headed back to Pueblo, very disappointed. My basketball career had ended; what a way to end!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sheep Shearing

Sheep Shearer in Colorado, circa 1920 - 1940
photo courtesy of:
Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library

One of the favorite times we had at the ranch in Haswell was in the summer when it was time to shear the sheep. For weeks the several herds had been working their way towards the ranch in preparation for the shearing. Everything had to work like clockwork when the shearing crew would arrive.

These crews were from Texas, and would consist of about 8 shearers with a trailer that had an engine to run the clippers and about 8 stations, four on each side. The trailer had doors so they could just lower the doors, lock them, and be on their way to the next ranch. With a schedule set up according to how many sheep the ranch had to be sheared, everything had to be ready or they could not arrive at the next ranch at the appointed time.

The herders would have the sheep on the hills where they could get water from the two lakes and still not get mixed up with the other herds. But that was not all that had to be done. Grandma Davis had to have sufficient supplies of food to feed the shearing crew plus the extra hands needed to work the ranch during this time, ad well as the family. It seems there were always visitors to watch the shearing also.

Shearing time was always a good time to cull out sheep that were getting too old to be profitable any more and to locate sickly or others for making up a new herd to be prepared for immediate sale or treatment of some kind.

Sheep chute
photo courtesy of: flickr

The men would run a herd through a long chute coming out of the large barn. Usually it was Grandpa who was telling the man at the gate which way to send the sheep, and he would switch the movable panel to send the sheep to the pen on the right or on the left. When finished sending a herd through the chute, men would put the different groups into smaller corrals according to their condition.

After this was done, the different groups would go to the shearers to give up their wool and then they would be herded off to special pastures by their herders. Those needing additional treatment would be kept back to have more added to their groups as the next herd would be sorted out in like manner.

Sheep shearing - circa 1900
photo courtesy of flickr

Next came the actual shearing. They grab the sheep by the front leg and set him up on his hind quarters and start shearing the belly first. A good shearer will end up with the wool all together as though they had skinned it! When they finish with one sheep, the man who picks up the wools give the shearer a token (like a coin) and he is paid by the number of tokens he turns into the boss when the day is over. So the faster they shear, the more money they make.

When the shearers break for dinner at noon, they consume a great quantity of food, for they work very hard, very fast, and it is very hot down on the plains of eastern Colorado. As kids, we helped some with the meals, but mainly we shared in the eating because we used up a lot of energy playing and working around the shearing pens and helping to get herds into the barn for separating and many odd jobs that had to be done.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First New Home

We know from a previous post, that Mom and Dad lived in a couple of homes owned by his parents, Jesse and Mable. Living there allowed Dad to complete his education without the expense of a big mortgage. I can only imagine the excitement the whole family must have felt as they anticipated the move into their first new home!

1626 Horseshoe Drive
Pueblo, Colorado

In January of 1955, after watching the house go up from the foundation to completion, we moved into our first new home at 1626 Horseshoe Drive. It had three bedrooms and a full basement which could be finished by putting wall board on the already installed partitions. We were very excited and anxious for the day to move in.

The loan was for $13,000 for 360 months at 4½ % interest with another $30.96 per month for taxes and insurance. It was a very nice home and we enjoyed it very much for several years.

-And I think that Grandpa Jess was afraid they wouldn't be able to make the payments!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year - New Technology

25 years ago, Dad jumped into the world of technology when he bought his first computer. That interest in technology continued the rest of his life and contributed to his prolific record keeping.

January 1, 1984 – As you can see, I’m not writing this letter on my old typewriter. We bought an Atari 1200 XL computer, an Atari 810 disc drive, an Atari 1027 printer and some software, PacMan, Galaxian, and AtariWriter, which I am using now. I’m breaking in this new AtariWriter word processing program, composing and editing on my TV screen. When I’ve finished writing, I can print a copy – or dozens of copies – just by pressing a few keys on my computer console. So far I’m not having any trouble with the letter writing, but I don’t know for sure about the rest of it.

I really should take the time to read and work out the practice learning lessons given in the workbook that came with the computer, but I will get around to that later.

January 21, 1984 [to cousin Delvin Callaway]
- When we were at your house you sold me on the idea that I probably should get to know a little more about computers if I am going to know what is going on in this world, or at least what is making it tick, so I bought myself an Atari 1200XL with a disk drive and a letter quality printer and I'm having a ball with it. Not getting much sleep these nights, but I am having a good time trying to learn how to use it.

January 28, 1984
- Mother just walked into the bedroom where I now have my TV hooked up with the computer and her TV on time of mine with the Notre Dame vs Maryland basketball game going, and she said that I really had this retirement figured out!