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Pendleton 16 July 2016 Falls Park Monarch Butterfly Garden flowers

Readers may notice that there has been a lull in recent blog posts. This is in part to several things but the most important was a road trip I took in the early part of July. The main purpose for my trip was to fulfill my dad’s wishes to have his ashes interred beside his second wife, Dottie, at Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio – just outside of Dayton.

Once my time in the Dayton area was complete, my 15 year old grandson and I traveled further northeast to my dad’s hometown. I hadn’t visited Coshocton, Ohio since I was a child so it was a joy to be able to see it as an adult especially after extensive genealogical research on the paternal side of my family. After spending a week in Coshocton, I headed west toward home with a three day stop in Anderson, Indiana – my mom’s hometown as well as her dad’s.

Following our twelve day vacation, we began our journey home – stopping in Springfield, Illinois to visit President Lincoln’s home and his tomb.

It was a welcome break for me and even though he wasn’t too thrilled with spending seven hours at the library on one day and two hours another, my grandson enjoyed some perks.

There will be more blog posts to come with details of the what, who, where, why, and how! It was a trip filled with many blessings!

(Digital Photo: Monarch Butterfly Garden at Falls Park, Pendleton, Indiana; 16 July 2016; photographer: Wendy Littrell; copyright 2016. No unauthorized use of photo. Original digital photo in possession of Wendy Littrell – Address for private use.)

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In celebration of my daughter’s and son-in-law’s third wedding anniversary, I’m posting a photo from the wedding.

(Digital image in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use.)

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In the mid to late 1960s, my parents and I traveled to Pennsylvania and then to New York. My dad’s sister, Marie (Amore) Werkley lived in Philadelphia so we visited her after we had toured the Hershey’s factory. That was before OSHA and health safety laws prohibited people from walking through the guts of the chocolaty preparation areas. We were thisclose to the huge vats of milk chocolate. For a very young girl who never could say no to chocolate, that was a huge thing!

Hershey, PA

Hershey, PA

Seeing the birthplace of our freedoms and walking through the streets once trod by the Founding Fathers was too complex for my young mind to comprehend. Luckily, I was able to do that again as a teen when it meant more to me.

Gene & Aunt Marie in Philadelphia

Gene Amore & Marie (Amore) Werkley

In New York, while my dad was at a work seminar, Mom and I shopped, went to Radio City Music Hall, shopped some more, walked in Times Square, and shopped some more! Mom’s favorite daytime drama was “As the World Turns” and it was filmed live in front of an audience. Oh, how she wanted to see that. I was one year too young to be allowed in as part of the audience – even though it was my fault that she watched soap operas. Back then, no one thought anything of sitting a child in front of the television in order to complete the daily chores – and in my mom’s case, doing some sewing. So while I watched the shows, she got caught up in them too!

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While in New York, we visited the sister of my uncle’s wife. She, her sister, my uncle and mom all grew up together in present day Fairborn, Ohio. Irene and her husband lived on Long Island.

We took a faerie boat ride out to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. We never landed but just saw the beautiful gift from France from the boat. I still get goosebumps whenever I see film of her – and in the case of the last scene from the original “Planet of the Apes” – it terrifies me. On the way back to Manhattan from Long Island, my dad took a wrong turn and ended up in Queens. I had fallen asleep in the car and when I woke up – some three hours later – we were pulling in to the parking garage of our hotel!

I loved that trip and remember so much about it – including being a little sea sick on that boat ride!

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Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve yet to discover any Irish ancestors, I thought I’d share a photo taken of Ellis Island. This photo was taken while on a boat ride when I was a young child. The first person through the gates of Ellis Island was Ireland’s own Annie Moore. (For more about Annie, please go to Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s Annie Moore’s Story resources.)

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Spring Flower CollageAs I walked from the shop garage this morning at 6:45 a.m. toward the house, I looked over at the daffodils and saw yellow buds. These were planted by my mother-in-law years ago and just some of her flowers that still bloom here at the farm.

Today, with spring in the air and Easter right around the corner, I thought I would post a collage of flowers that have been part of my life.

The large photo is a shot of an Easter Lily. My parents had these planted underneath the picture window of the home I grew up in. The orange flower in the middle along the right side is a shot of the canna lilies that grew alongside the driveway at the house in Texas. My sister had received the bulbs from our dad. She had thinned out her plants and given me many. The iris below that one came from a bulb I bought when my youngest daughter was a young child. Below that one are the zinnias I planted after we moved to Missouri last summer. The bottom corner is of the rose bush that always overflowed with blooms each spring. It was in the backyard of our Texas home when we purchased it in 1988 and is still being cared for today. Next to the roses is a photo of the Resurrection Lily that sprang up mid-summer here at the farm.

I hope you will enjoy this burst of color as much as I do!

(Photos taken by Gene Amore or Wendy Littrell – original / digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use)

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green park

My parents, brother and sister called Green Park apartments in Tokyo, Japan their home for a short time when they lived overseas in the 1950s. Built around 1953, the complex had everything families would need under one roof – a post exchange, a movie theater, club for teens, etc.

For more information about Green Park, please visit Green Park photo essay featured on the Japan Brats website (which is also a very cool site to peruse if you happened to spend a lot of growing up years in Japan as a military brat – I’m looking at my sister here!)

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gaffeygazette

In 1953, my dad had already been in Japan for several months. Now, it was time for my mom, brother and sister to make the journey. They boarded the USNS General Hugh Gaffey for the trip over the sea from Seattle to Japan. Following are bits of my mother’s letter diary she wrote.

June 10, 1953
Well, will start our daily diary on board ship.
June 9 – We were up at 5:00 A.M. at the Hostess House. Had our bed check at 6:00. Bags were picked up at 6:30. Then we went to breakfast at 7:00 A.M. Had 2 hrs to wait. At 9:10 we boarded buses to take us to the pier. Everything went according to schedule. At 10:15 we unloaded, rec’d our passports and went aboard.
Mom Ann Mike on ship
After looking over our cabin & stowing away some of our packages we carried aboard, we went up on deck. Our cabin is on B deck which is 2 decks below. Have nice quarters. It was very interesting to watch people coming aboard as we were among the first to board. The band was playing. We took several pictures of the dock and band & people coming aboard.
We pulled away from the pier promptly at 11:00. Stayed on deck for awhile, then went below. We are on 2nd call for mess so our hrs are 8:00 A.M., 11:45 and 5:15.
In the afternoon we had to go to a meeting and also had a fire & boat drill. We don’t stay below too long at a time as I guess the depth and rocking of the ship makes you squeamish.
We went up on the sun deck and watched the sights. We are traveling the great circle route which is by way of Alaska. Our ship travels 29 knots & goes faster than you realize. At 7 o’clock I asked one of the Lt’s if we were out of the sound yet as we still saw land. He laughed & said what you see now is the Aleutian chain, stretching out from Alaska. The sun never set till 10 P.M. last nite & was beautiful. Also at 10 P.M. we saw the last touch of land. The children have curfew at 8:00 P.M. They have to be in bed by that hr.  We will only be on the water 9 sailing days but due to the time change will actually be 10 according to the calendar. I heard someone talking & they said we would skip Sat, but will wait & see, you hear so many rumors you’d be dizzy if you believe them all.
June 10 – It is now 11:15 and will soon go to lunch.  We were up at 6:30 and made ourselves presentable, at our breakfast or rather I did. Was raining this A.M. & real rough.  Was like riding the elevator.  The ship just pitches about.  The Captain announced some of the decks closed due to rough weather.  He expects to be out of this roughness in the next day or two. In the evening played canasta.  We have coffee hr at 9:00 so drank coffee & ate angel food cake & then retired.  The ships paper said we traveled 471 miles in the last 25 hrs.
June 11th – We sat our watches back one hr in the nite, and made it difficult to try to sleep. The sea is really rough today the ship just rocks from side to side & back & forth. We have run into considerable fog. Was talking to the Capt of the ship & he said this fog has put us back a day & they have changed course. He’s a very nice person & comes around & talks with everyone. We have slowed down to 15 knots & traveled 560 miles in the last 25 hrs. We have 2400 troops aboard too & I feel for those boys. They don’t have any privileges & have to stay either on the forward deck or aft. and have no protection. They are quartered on the same deck as we are but are in the center of the ship & very poor ventilation.
June 12th – We sat our watches back another hr in the nite, and are to set our watches back again tonite. We rec’d our declarations forms for customs at 8:30 this morning. It is quite a job to fill it out. Had another boat & fire drill this morning at 10:30. Tomorrow we pay our subsistence. It is much cheaper than we all thot. Is only 16.43 per person so will only come to little over $49.00. Here I was planning on $90.00. The trip across is cheaper than the trip from Ohio to Seattle.
June 13th – We ran into a storm in the late afternoon & tossed the ship.  Our port holes were latched down & our room was like a dungeon.  It is the Aleutian squall we are in.
June 14th – It’s Sunday & sure is rough.  The bow of the ship comes up out of the water & slaps down.  Still have our port holes latched down.  It is stifling in the cabin.  All decks are out of bounds as the waves are quite high & we toss about.
June 16th – It is Tuesday.  We cross the international date line yesterday afternoon.  So we missed Monday entirely.  The sea has calmed so our port hole is open.  Has warmed up & by grapevine we are 2½ days out of Yokohoma.  Boy this is a long boat ride, even tho I haven’t got sick I’ve seen all the water I want to for awhile.  It’s the monotony that gets me.
June 17 – Wed & just a few more days to go.  The day passed very fast for me.
Debarkation title
June 18 – Thurs & today & tomorrow before we get off this ship.  We will drop anchor late tomorrow afternoon about 20 miles off shore & then Sat morning will dock. It is getting very hot. We ran into a squall last nite & they latched down the port holes & brother we roasted. I’m sitting here in my slip trying to cool off. Will write more tomorrow.
Fri June 19th.  This is our final day sailing.  Will drop anchor sometime this evening.  Also we are to see land about eight tonite, sure will be good to see the good solid land (even tho its Japan it’s better than all this water).  The steward was telling me it’s a sight to watch the husbands come storming up the gang plank.  They are to come on by alphabetical order there’s no stopping them.  I’m going on deck to watch them & take some pictures then will rush down to the cabin.
Sat – June 20.  This is the great day.  It seems nobody slept much in the nite.  Saw land for the first in 9 days.  We had stopped around midnight & was sitting outside the harbor.

Yokohama harbor
At 8:30 had our money changed.  Then back on deck.  We couldn’t take pictures till we were 300 yds from the pier.  We had a good spot along the rail.  Finally we could see the sponsors & band in the distance.  Seemed the ship would never get to the pier.  I started taking pictures of the band just as we nosed into the pier.  I spotted Gene right away.  They were all standing on a high balcony.  I started waving & finally he spotted us.  He used the binoculars so he could see us close.  He also was taking pictures as the ship was pulled alongside.  Gene was smart & started downstairs.  He got up to the gate so he could be one of the first on board.  All the passengers on board had to go to their cabins so the sponsors could find you.  He had a staff car & driver to take us to where we were going.  Went thru customs.  I’ll bring this diary to a close for this time.

(Photos: Mom, her roommate Ann and my sister on the deck of the USNS General Hugh Gaffey. Photographer: Jim Amore. Digital image scanned from original slide by Wendy Littrell; Scans of ship’s newspaper, originals in possession of Wendy Littrell; photo of Yokohama Harbor. Photographer: Jim Amore. Digital image scanned from original photo in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use.)

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