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Stinson Book at Amazon


A Picture from Edna

I was very pleased today, 25 November 2009, to see that my book “So Obscure a Person” in paperback was ranked #50 amongst Virginia genealogy books at Amazon.com.

The image, Stinson Book at Amazon, was originally uploaded by Edna Barney. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

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Evelyn Nesbit on a Bear Rug

I have been listening to an audio book of “Ragtime,” which I purchased because I have tickets to the play “Ragtime” that is scheduled for the Kennedy Center in May. Halfway through the book, I have decided that Evelyn Nesbit and Harry Thaw are featured characters that I should know more about. To learn more about them is quite easy, as, before reading “Ragtime” I had never heard anything of either of them; for all I knew, they were figments of the author’s imagination.

After the author’s coverage of Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt, Admiral Byrd, the famous psychiatrists Freud and Jung, I decided that murderer Harry Thaw, Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit and Evelyn’s lover Stanford White must have been historical characters. In 1906, Harry Thaw’s trial for the murder of White was labelled the “Trial of the Century.” Of course, OJ Simpson had not yet been born, and his trial for murder was fated for the end of the same century.

I find “Ragtime” interesting reading as it covers the historical events of my father’s boyhood. He was born 1901, and came to the U.S. as a teen. Also, my grandmother and my mother had grown up on a Virginia plantation of the family of another Gibson Girl, Irene Langhorne Gibson. I remember my grandmother recounting how she and her siblings played with the discarded drawings of Irene’s artist husband, Charles Dana Gibson. This is all doubly intriguing, as E.L. Doctorow links all of his historical characters with one another, and with his created characters, and I have found that my own family is linked to the very same people of his novel.

Well, back to “Ragtime” and Evelyn Nesbit, I finally Googled her this morning. (I’m not sure if “Google” the verb should be in caps or not.) She and her star-crossed lovers are in Wikipedia as real American characters and she even has her own web page: “The Story of Evelyn Nesbit.”

UPDATE WARNING: I downloaded this audio book from the Apple Store through iTunes. Halfway through the book I discovered that four or five chapters in the middle are missing. This is a defect in the actual audio book that Apple sold me, not a download problem. This is the very first book I have downloaded from Apple, so needless to say, I am NOT impressed.

The image, Evelyn Nesbit, was originally uploaded by westiemom. It is posted here from Barneykin’s Flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives for more of Edna’s writings.

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A Snag from Edna

My father and grandfather patented this masonry hammer in 1935, while they were living in Baltimore, Maryland. I just came upon Google’s Patent Search and looked up their names, Arthur J. Richardson and Edward J. Richardson. Voila – their patent popped up immediately: HAMMER – Richardson et al.

An interesting bit of trivia is that I see my father was using only the initial “J” for his middle names. His full name on his birth record was “Edward Arthur James Richardson.” I am posting it under “technology,” although that does seem a bit odd for a hammer in today’s computer world. But … it was something new, wasn’t it? A new technology for masonry?

Those ever-inventive Richardsons! What will they think up next? See A Richardson Grandson.

The image, Richardson Hammer, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Barneykin’s FLICKR account.

Visit Neddy’s Vanishing Memories for more of Edna’s writings.

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A Picture from Edna

My Christmas Gifts For You

I made this Christmas card using Picnik. My 2008 Christmas Card, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Barneykin’s FLICKR account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives for more of Edna’s writings.

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Why not take an interest in your children, when they are yet children? Why not, indeed? Even a Communist can be right at least sometimes.

In the life of children there are two very clear-cut phases, before and after puberty. Before puberty the child’s personality has not yet formed and it is easier to guide its life and make it acquire specific habits of order, discipline, and work: after puberty the personality develops impetuously and all extraneous intervention becomes odious, tyrannical, insufferable. Now it so happens that parents feel the responsibility towards their children precisely during this second period, when it is too late: then of course the stick and violence enter the scene and yield very few results indeed. Why not instead take an interest in the child during the first period?” ~~Italian Communist leader Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)

I am trying to learn more about other political systems, now that the old ones that I have been used to are being plowed asunder. With the banks recently nationalized in America, and the automobile industry soon to be, I am trying to understand the coming political movements and the ramifications. That is why I have been reading socialist and communist writings to see what is in store for us. Then I happened upon this little gem from an Italian communist, which was much more interesting than anything I had read about communism before.

This may no longer be our fathers’ America, but, even if we go communist, we will probably still have “parents” in America.

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The poem “Ingratitude,” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), is a lesson from the ages. It should be a part of the education of every child to learn to be grateful. Unfortunately, in America, few parents read Shakespeare and it seems that few parents understand the importance of teaching graciousness to their children. In fact, it is obvious that many American parents actually teach their children “ingratitude” as a “refined” vice. Perhaps for this reason Shakespeare’s poem “Ingratitude” was included in Mary E. Burt’s 1904 anthology entitled “Poems Every Child Should Know,” (#16). Does your child know any of the included poems, such as this one from Shakespeare?

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou are not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen

Because thou are not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot;

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.

~~William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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Veterans Day 2008 – In Flanders Fields 

Flanders Fields Cross

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, Row on Row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician, also died in France, the same year as my great aunt’s husband, Frank Heming, a casualty of World War I. In 1916 McCrae was Chief of Medical Services at a Canadian Hospital in France, where wounded soldiers from Arras were received. His poem remains one of the most memorable war poems. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres Salient in the spring of 1915. Poppies sprout best in newly cultivated soil and, when this was written, the entire Western Front was covered with poppies blooming as never before seen on the freshly dug graves.

Thank You Veterans of 2008

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