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This is the third installment on my “Travel Thursday” series of “Over the Rainbow” and our journey from Ohio to California and back in 1966. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

It was mid-September, and Mom, Dad, and I had just finished visiting their friends, the Manning family, and my great-aunt, Nellie Lilly, in Washington state. We were on our way south toward California. Next stop was Crater Lake National Park in Klamath County, Oregon.  The lake was formed from a massive volcanic eruption about 5700 B.C. (according to Wikipedia). We arrived just before the snow covered everything, and the view was breathtaking . . . 

. . . even to a four year old child.

       

We checked out the view, took lots of photos, and encountered local wildlife. It seemed the chipmunks had no fear – especially if they were fed – and the deer was injured, but didn’t get too close to us.

As we drove through Oregon toward California, we encountered logging operations.

On toward Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. According to the newspaper article, trees at Sequoia were over 3500 years old with the General Sherman being the tallest at a little over 270 feet high with a circumference of a little over 100 feet.

     

   

We were in awe at the size of those trees!  One hollowed out tree was on its side, and I thought it was really neat how people walked into the tree without having to duck! It was that big around!

And as we traveled on toward southern California, we saw these sights:

Olive trees and citrus trees – along with trucks taking fruit to wherever they needed to go in order to be processed and shipped.  We saw grapes going to wineries.  Some of this I remember and some I don’t.  Mainly we saw long stretches of highway!

But the journey is only beginning for me – soon we will be “Over the Rainbow”! Stay tuned for the next installment!

Sources: personal knowledge and written description published in the Beavercreek News (Beavercreek, Ohio), Oct. 19, 1966.

Photos: Photographer on all photos – Gene Amore; all photos – print, slide, digital in the possession of Wendy Littrell to be used as needed.  No reprints without permission.

Copyright for this blog post 2011 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog.

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This is a continuation of Part 1, posted on January 12, 2012.  Please read the beginning of this journey before continuing.

As we stood in southern Idaho gazing at the Craters of the Moon, I remember thinking that this was what the moon’s surface was like (well, not in those exact words – remember I wasn’t even five yet!).  Man had not set foot on the moon yet – it would be another few years – but in my young mind, I figured someone knew what it looked like and had made this place to resemble it. Little did I realize that the Craters of the Moon was formed from lava flow.

We left Idaho and began our trek northwest toward Ellensburg, Washington.  We were going to the Gingko Petrified Forest before visiting friends and family.

And we have arrived!  Mom and I in front of the tourist center.  Notice how I’m always squinting or trying to cock my head at just the right angle to get the sun out of my eyes? I don’t know why Mom wasn’t looking at the camera – she was probably people watching (a favorite past time of her’s!). 

      

And a look at the information inside the tourist center. I thought it was really neat because the “petrified” trees looked like pretty rocks (which I collected and loved!).  I do seem to remember something about my parents telling me that I couldn’t pick up and keep anything on the ground because it was part of the “forest.”

The Washington State Park website explains that the unusual “forest” was discovered in the 1930s when highway construction unearthed the petrified trees.

And a last look at the waters off of the Wanapum Recreational Area.

On September 10th our family arrived in Seattle.  Mom and Dad knew a family who resided there from their time in Japan when they were all stationed there with the Army Air Corps (and then Air Force).

Darreld and Marilyn Manning and son with Mom, Dad and I. Check out the head scarf I am wearing – apparently it was rather windy at the top of the Space Needle.  Their daughter (also a red head as is their son) isn’t in this picture. I don’t remember why – maybe she was afraid to go outside for pictures. While we were at their house, we enjoyed a home cooked (or grilled) meal and a fairy boat ride to Victoria, British Columbia complete with a sightseeing tour of the area (pictures below).

       

All too soon it was time to leave the Manning family and head to our next stop – my grandmother’s sister’s home in Puget Sound.  John and Nellie Lilly had been living in the area for many years.  Nellie was almost four years younger than my grandmother and had been living “out west” since she was a teen due to her asthma.  Nellie and John had raised a son and a daughter and were enjoying their “golden” years and grandchildren.  My Aunt Nellie was especially proud of her flowers!  They had a beautiful home with a spectacular view. I remember my parents telling me not to get too close to the edge because it was a long drop to the water.

       

It was time to head south into Oregon.  What would we see there? And how much longer until we get to Disneyland?

Stay tuned for the next installment of our journey “Over the Rainbow”.

Sources: personal knowledge and written description published in the Beavercreek News (Beavercreek, Ohio), Oct. 19, 1966.

Photos: Photographer on all photos – Gene Amore**; all photos – print, slide, digital in the possession of Wendy Littrell to be used as needed.  No reprints without permission. (**Photograph of family at Space Needle taken by Unknown with camera owned by Gene Amore to be used by him.)

Copyright for this blog post 2011 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog.

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Earlier this week, Dick Eastman announced on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter that the Washington State Digital Archives contain 74 million records that can be accessed online. You can read about the announcement here.

On Thursday, I received an email from a gal that I’ve corresponded with (as we both share ancestors in our Maple/Fuller line) from Coshocton, Ohio. She forwarded information from the Ohio Civil War list on Rootsweb that Evendon.com now has several records and books that can be searched.

Yesterday, Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County reminded me that Google Books is a very valuable resource. I’ve used it for awhile now and concur with Terry! If you haven’t searched this site for any resources related to your ancestry, I urge you to give it a try! Thanks, Terry, for the reminder about this site!

And if you who use Family Search Labs, you’ll notice that many more records have been added. Earlier this week, the site was updated and two databases – Ohio Death Records and Freedman’s Bank Records – weren’t there! They were back online Friday. Apparently, according to a response I received from my feedback email, there had been some problems with the records that needed to be fixed.

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The theme for the 4th Edition of Smile For the Camera hosted by footnotemaven is “My Favorite Photograph”. “Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that is your favorite family photo or that photograph you’ve collected and wouldn’t give up for a King’s ransom.  Is it the only photograph of an ancestor, is it funny, poignant, or very rare? My favorite photograph is the first one I ever collected. What’s yours? Share it with us! Then get back out in the summer sun.  Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!”

Jasia, at Creative Gene, had the same reaction I did – “you’ve got to be kidding!”

I can’t even begin to pick out just one!  With four children and three grandchildren, I have tons of pictures of each of them or a combination that I really love.  I also have several photos of my parents taken early in their marriage that I really like.  However, they divorced over 30 years ago, so it probably isn’t prudent for me to post those.

This photo shows my maternal grandmother, Vesta Wilt, about age 7 and her only sister, Nellie (about age 4).  It’s one of the few photos I have of my grandmother as a child.  As a child, I always wanted my hair to grow really long but having baby fine hair, it never got that long.  I tended to have pretty short hair as a young girl until I got old enough to decide I wanted to let it grow.  My mother always said that I had the same type of hair as my grandmother’s - curly and unmanageable.

The first time I saw this photo, I believe I was a very young teenager.  Many of my grandmother’s friends always told me I looked like her (I still don’t notice that much of a resemblance other than the fly-away hair and blue eyes).  Yet it brought home to me the fact that at one time, my grandmother and great-aunt had been children! 

I often wonder if this studio photograph had been an expense that their parents could hardly afford since they had four other sons to feed as well.  Was this the only photograph taken of my grandmother has a girl?  Had there been others – possibly a family photograph?  Was this taken for a special ocassion?  How long had my great-grandmother spent brushing my grandmother’s hair and getting it fixed just right?

When I look at this photo, I wonder what that young girl was thinking.  Her parents were just a few years away from divorcing; her youngest brother was just a baby; and her mother was pretty religious.  What events were shaping her character and thoughts at that time?  Did she enjoy a carefree childhood or one spent worrying about what the next day would bring?  Was she tasked for “taking care” of her little sister?

One similarity between my grandmother and I, is that I only have one sister too.  However, I’m the younger one and by many more years than these sisters. 

I am also fortunate to have a comparison picture (my grandmother, Vesta, on left).  This pictures shows the two sisters taken over 65 years later.  Even though Nellie spent the latter part of her childhood and teen age years in the West and later went on to marry and raise a family in Washington State and my grandmother (in between traveling with her husband to military posts) resided in the Dayton area, they remained very close all of their lives.  I feel so blessed to have known both of these women pretty well as I grew up and even spent some time with my great-aunt in Washington as a young child.  And I’ve been able to steal glimpses into their relationship through the many letters they wrote to one another. 

So I can’t say that this is my favorite picture out of all the ones I’ve taken, inherited or collected, but it is a photo that I return to time and again in order to see the younger version of my grandmother.  Before life got too difficult.  Before her family split up.  Before she met my grandfather.  Before she became known as a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She was just . . . Vesta.

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I’ve been very lucky to be the recipient of old photos – a few prior to the 1900s, many from the early 1900s – 1950s and later.  My family has an affinity for snapping photos of graves and headstones – which is like a windfall for me – especially when all the pertinent information is recorded as well.  I have pictures of graves from Ohio and Indiana to Oregon and Washington State.

Here are just a few of the photos I’ve been lucky to receive.

Graves of my grandmother’s grandparents – Emmanuel Stern and Nancy Caylor Stern.

 

 

 

 

 

Graves of Joseph Napolean Wilt’s (my great-grandfather) brother, Charles Wilt and Charles’ wife – Margaret.

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson Ancestors’ graves:

     

Grave of William and Vilena Johnson (my g-g-grandfather’s brother and sister-in-law); Graves of Mary and Letis Johnson – my grandfather’s siblings; then the picture of the graves of my great-great-grandparents (James Wilson and Amanda Evaline Johnson’s) babies who died in infancy.

    My brother, Jim’s grave, in Welcome Cemetery close to Culman, Alabama.

 

 

 

 

 

There are many more in my files and quite a few that I haven’t scanned yet.  I’ve also had other distant cousins and relatives email me or actually send me pictures of ancestors’ graves. 

Do you go “grave hunting”?

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