Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Martha Stewart's got nothing on Nelle Davis

Nelle and Norman Davis, Grandma Mable's brother and his wife, lived in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho where they owned and operated a guest ranch.  In addition Nelle took orders for home crafted items that she made and shipped throughout the country.  This excerpt from a letter Nelle wrote to Grandma Mable, in mid 1950 details some of her work.

Nelle and son Norman, Jr. in front of their home at Bonner's Ferry, Idaho

"When I began to get ready for summer trade, I decided we would have to buy a new set of dishes, as I did not have enough matching pieces for serving guests.  Then I had the happy thought to make our own dishes, so am now turning out 12 ten-inch dinner plates, 12 saucers and 12 salad plates of hard maple.  Will buy tan pottery coffee cups to go with the saucers.  I think they are most attractive, and will have the added virtue of being entirely different than anyone else's, and will also advertise our craft goods.  I'll not get serving dishes made this year, because we have no heavy wood well cured.  But will add that next year.

"I made a set of plates and salad bowls like that for a New York couple, and they wanted them hand painted, but I prefer ours plain.  They use theirs for barbecue service.  A school teacher guest bought them for her twin brother and his wife for Christmas gifts - the plates for the first year and the salad bowls for the next year.  Now she has written and asked what I can furnish this year, to complement the set.  I suggested saucers with pottery cups."

Wouldn't you love to see those dishes?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Puzzling over Pieces

 Puzzle pieces waiting to be fit into place

As I've mentioned in recent posts, I'm back into discovery mode.  As Mom/Leona goes through file drawers and papers and passes things on to me, I'm gaining more treasures.  Then as I file and combine the new discoveries with the things I already have organized, I come across other bits and pieces that are fascinating to me and worthy of a blog post.

It's as if I'm working on a puzzle, but still looking for all the pieces.  Some pieces have been dropped on the floor, others may be lost between the couch cushions, and some have even been put away in the wrong box.  As I find new pieces and rediscover old ones, I will share those seemingly unrelated bits and pieces here in an effort to discover where they fit in the puzzle.

Several members of the Davis family were record keepers, and we have the histories that they recorded over the years.  I will be posting excerpts from those accounts in chronological order so we can get a sense of the family's story line.  Many of the people I write about we don't know, but their journals and written memories give us great insight into daily life in a different era and teach us more about our ancestral family.

I don't have nearly as much information on the Butler family, but I'm looking.  In August I am taking a trip to Michigan and will visit some of the little towns where some of the Butler ancestors  were born and buried and hopefully will find some more to share about them.

 So don't give up on me if these posts seem somewhat random and unrelated!  These are people and events that Dad knew and loved, and as a result have meaning to us as his posterity.  I have confidence that eventually we will have a complete puzzle that looks even better than the picture on the box!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can you believe this?

Grandpa and Grandma on the four-wheelers
July, 1984

Linda Musso - Leona - Carol
Blue Water Lake State Park in New Mexico

Leona - Lou
Gallup, New Mexico

You're only young once!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

" . . . that which I have seen my Father do"

 Lou - Leona Butler

As evidence that Dad's thoughts were never far from his family, I found this entry in his journal.  He wrote it on just an ordinary day, but the advice is very fitting for Father's Day.

Jesus said - someplace (John 5: 19?) “I only do that which I have seen my Father do.”

To my children and grandchildren:
  • You have within you the capability to become what you want to be, and what you become will be either by choice or by default.
  • I love you all very much and want you to become the very best. The Savior said “to become even as I am” – perfect.
  • Free agency isn’t just a freedom to do as you please – but a freedom to become what you want to become.
  • You – boys in particular – inherit from me a tendency to have clogging arteries, but you can choose not to have them by choosing proper diet and exercise.

  • You are a part of each of your grandparents and parents – but you can choose to accept or reject them by choosing to be like or not to be like them. 

John 5:19:  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I way unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do:  for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When Ma Wants Something New

While going through some more files I came across this poem written in Grandma Mable's handwriting.
I think these same conversations still can be heard in many homes!

When Ma Wants Something New
by Edgar A. Guest

Last night Ma said to Pa: "My dear,
The Williamsons are coming here
To visit for a week or two,
An' I must have a talk with you.
We need some things which we must get--
You promised me a dinner set,
An' I should like it while they're here."
An' Pa looked up an' said: "My dear,
A dinner set? Well, I guess not.
What's happened to the one we've got?"

"We need a parlor rug," says Ma.
"We've got a parlor rug," says Pa.
"We ought to have another chair."
"You're sittin' in a good one there."
"The parlor curtains are a fright."
"When these are washed they look all right."
"The old stuff's pitiful to see."
"It still looks mighty good to me."
"The sofa's worn beyond repair."
"It doesn't look so bad, I swear."

"Gee Whiz, you make me tired," says Ma.
"Why, what's the matter now?" says Pa.
"You come an' go an' never see
How old our stuff has grown to be;
It still looks just the same to you
As what it did when it was new,
An' every time you think it strange
That I should like to have a change."
"I'm gettin' old," says Pa. "Maybe
You'd like a younger man than me."

"If this old rug was worn an' thin,
At night you'd still come walkin' in
An' throw your hat upon a chair
An' never see a single tear;
So long as any chair could stand
An' bear your weight you'd think it grand.
If home depended all on you,
It never would get something new."
"All right," says Pa, "go buy the stuff!
But, say, am I still good enough?"

Some things never change!

Friday, June 11, 2010

" . . . your attitude toward it"

  "The most important thing about your job is your attitude toward it."  
Louis Butler - early 1960's

A list of all the jobs Dad held during his life - dates are approximate:

1935-1937 - Arnold Harriman Ranch - $1.00/day
     I had great fun on these weekend trips to Fowler. Usually it was nothing real exciting, but just being with Clark and Alice Bell was a great pleasure for me. Many times it was just being with Clark doing one of the many chores around the ranch. One week it may have been fixing fence all day Saturday way out on the prairie many miles from the ranch house. That may not sound like fun to many people, but I always had a good time. Whatever we did, we made it fun and we enjoyed the fact that we were accomplishing something all of the time. This is where I really learned to work and to enjoy it. Uncle Frank made me feel like I was really something, and sometimes I would be paid for the work.

*   *   *   *   *

July 1938 -June 1940 and September 1940 -June 1941 - 11th Street Grocery and Market - $4.00/week
     During my sophomore year I started working at the 11th Street Grocery and Market, which was owned and operated by Bro. Irvin Jackson, who was the Sunday School Superintendent. I stocked shelves, swept floors, filled orders to be delivered, dumped trash, and boxed or sacked groceries. I was to work from about 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., then help clean up and get out about 6:30 usually. Then on Saturday, we worked from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. For this I received $4.00 per week! Earning all of this money I was now able to buy my school clothes.

*   *   *   *   *

image from flickr
June 1940, 1941 -September 1940, 1941 (and part time through the end of 1941) - Arapaho Creamery
     I was working at the Creamery selling ice cream, milk shakes, etc, on Sunday December 7, 1941 when we heard over the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and had sunk many ships and killed many Americans. We were at war.

*   *   *   *   *

September 1941  - Lock Joint Pipe Company
March 1942 - Pueblo Air Base
     I was attending a business school at the time and got a job with a pipe company keeping books, time, etc. Then in the spring when they started building the air base east of town, I got a job as a clerk in the receiving department with Broderick & Gordon Construction Company making a lot more money.
*   *   *   *   *

image from flickr
June 1942 - October 1942 - Rainbo Bakery
    When school was out I got a job with the Rainbo Bakery selling day old bread. All of the bread that was not sold was brought into the day-old store. Most of it was sold to farmers for their hogs, but most of it that I sold was not really stale, but the extra bread that was baked and then not needed for the route salesmen. I worked at Rainbo until I went into the Navy in October of 1942.

*   *   *   *   *
October 1942 - December 1945 - US Navy
 Enlisted in the Navy and served as a Radio technician in Adak
*   *   *   *   *

December 1945 - 1948 - Pueblo Junior College Custodian (part-time)
December 1945 - 1954 - R.B. Flemons Concesionaire (part-time)
     School started again in January and I was part-time at the college as a custodian.  I was also working for Flemons when I could get on his concession crew at different events such as football games, rodeos, basketball games, or special events of any kind.  While I was at a job at the horse races in Brush, Colorado our twin sons were born on July 3, 1949

*   *   *   *   *
June 1948 - August 1948 - City of Pueblo Recreation Department

*   *   *   *   *

 September 1948 - June 1949 - Pueblo School District 60 - Minnequa School
     When the school year began in September 1948, I taught physical education at Minnequa Elementary School in District #60 under Julia Braun, principal. My salary notice from the district dated 25 August 1948 reports that I would be paid $2,000 for the school year!

*   *   *   *   * 
 August 1950 - February 1951 - US Navy
called back to active duty

*   *   *   *   *

 March 1951 - June 1953 - Pueblo School District 60 - Minnequa School
     [After my discharge from the Navy]I went to the school district, as they had told me I had a job when I got back. I was supposed to have started teaching 3rd grade in September, 1951, so, I was put on as a permanent substitute until there was a job available. I substituted mainly in the old building east of Pueblo on Highway 96 at the Belle Plain School, which the district had taken over from a small school district. That assignment lasted for a few weeks until a 6th grade assignment opened up when Glen Filer, 6th grade teacher at Minnequa School, was drafted into the Army and I was given his position. I taught this class to finish up the school year. 

*   *   *   *   *

 Colorado was celebrating "The Rush to the Rockies" in all schools.  The Bessemer staff dressed up for the celebration.
July 1953 - July 1960 - Pueblo School District 60 - Bessemer School
. . . one day in early August I opened the Pueblo Chieftain Newspaper and read that I had been appointed as a principal at the board meeting the night before. I had received Bessemer and Hinsdale schools as my assignment. Later the assignment was changed to Bessemer and Strack schools.  Strack was a very small school and was closed in June of 1956.

*   *   *   *   *

Summer 1957 - YMCA swimming instructor
[While Leona was attending summer school in Greeley] I was to work at the YMCA teaching swimming and supervising the pool during the week.  I was able to take the boys with me to the “Y” each day. They could swim or play in the gym if it was not in use, workout in the workout room, or read and play checkers, chess, etc. in the lobby of the YMCA. This “Y” had 3 or 4 stories of rental rooms above the lobby, and physical education facilities. It was interesting to watch these little guys, 8-10 years old, play chess, etc. with the older men who lived at the “Y”.

 *   *   *   *   *

August 1960 - July 1980 - Pueblo School District 60 - Park View School 
   I continued at Bessemer until June of 1960 when I was transferred to Park View School. Bessemer enrollment had dropped to about 350 students, and Mr. Dunlap, who was now superintendent said that I needed more of a challenge; so I went to Park View which had an enrollment of about 700. It was more of a challenge in many ways. 

*   *   *   *   *

 August 1980 - March 1983 - Pueblo School District 60 - Bessemer School 
     I received a call from Jack Isenhour, who was now Director of Elementary Education. Jack asked me if I would consider a transfer back to Bessemer School, because the principal there was in the process of being taken to court because he allegedly had thrown a 5th grade boy against a locker. Jack said that since I had been there before and had a good relationship with the community that they had decided to ask me to take it over again.

 *   *   *   *   *

Introducing new principal, Rose Prewett
March 1983 - Retirement!
     In 1981 the CF&I closed down and the school population dropped from 27,000 students to about 19,000 students and the school district had too many teachers and too many schools. Their solution was to offer personnel nearing retirement age a good deal to retire early. This allowed the district to reduce staff, or retire more personnel making top salaries and replace them with new teachers at the bottom of the pay scale. So, according to their plan, they offered me the opportunity to retire. For four years they would pay me the difference between my retirement pay and my salary I would have earned if I had worked for 4 more years. Before then I would have to retire anyway, so I took early retirement on March 3, 1983.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"My Blessing - Not my Doom"

"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;"

This little purple booklet was stashed away in a file folder in a desk drawer in Lou's study.  What a classic!  Copyrighted in 1954, it is John Luther's philosophy on the value of work - a philosophy that Dad shared and modeled throughout his life.

 Representative illustrations reinforced the principles taught in the booklet:

Stuck inside the booklet were some notes Dad had made in the early 1960's for a presentation (maybe to a youth group or Boy Scout troop) about choosing a career.
 Included in his notes were these points that seem to be a summary of how he felt about his career in elementary education.
  1. Provide the satisfaction needed
  2. Allow for church participation
  3. Opportunity for advancement
  4. Allow for recreation
  5. Allow for family life
  6. Allow for community participation
  7. Can you find joy in this work?
These note cards completed his preparation:

"Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. " - Mark Twain

The next post will summarize Dad's work history - it's extensive and varied!

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Nancy Patterson update

    While sorting through some of Lou's files, Leona found these newspaper clippings that I just can't ignore!  You can read about Nancy Patterson's train trip here, and these short articles are from that same time. I will add these to the original post in the future, but I think they deserve the spotlight for a short time.

    These clippings are 80 years old and still readable - amazing!  
    And just as amazing is the fact that Dad and others had saved them and passed them on throughout those 80 years.