Odds and Ends

By Eilene Lyon

Article Published

In July 2020, I posted a blog called “Justice for Mrs. Loftus.” In March 2021, someone shared it on North Idaho History, a Facebook Group with 14,000 members, and it quickly became my number one post — ever.

Given the interest, I decided to expand it into a full-blown article for this year’s Latah Legacy magazine, which was published this month. (Scroll down at the link to find the current issue.)


When I put together a family history blog, I sometimes still have pending inquiries at the time I publish the story. This was the case for my recent post about Aubrey R. Lyon. After it went online, I received some photos and documents from The Putterer’s cousin, including an obituary and a letter Aubrey wrote just three days before his death in 1985 at age 92.

Arlon Lyon (5th from left) with his children and their spouses. Aubrey and Babe are at the far left. (Courtesy of B. Dremann)

Then this week, I received a reply from an Inyo County librarian who located a couple documents, and even better, two interviews with Aubrey from the 1970s, when he was in his 80s. The first is raw footage from a documentary or news piece found on the Internet Archive. Who knew you could find such things there?

Because it is raw, a few parts don’t have sound and there are some bloopers. The interview is entirely about the Owens Valley water issue. It was so cool to watch Aubrey “live”!

The second interview is also about the water issue, but the interviewer started by asking about Aubrey’s personal history, and it is absolutely priceless. The entire interview was transcribed into a book with a number of other interviews about Owens Valley.

I learned new things about Aubrey, including aspects of his career and WWI military service. He said he married in 1916 in Chicago (I’ve not found a record) and that his wife was a model. He also talked about what it was like living in Pasadena in the 1920s.

Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count takes place here on Saturday, so I will be walking downtown Durango to observe as many feathered friends as possible. Hopefully the weather will be mild. It doesn’t look like more snow in the forecast until next Wednesday.

To get a break from the cold, since skiing isn’t yet an option, we took an eight-day trip to southern Arizona where I had my first sighting of a vermilion flycatcher!

Vermilion flycatcher at a community water treatment facility in Benson, Arizona. (Pardon my blurry image.)

28 thoughts on “Odds and Ends

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  1. Congratulations Eilene on the publishing of the full article – how exciting and a reward for all your research you do for each ancestral relation. I did hear about the Christmas Bird Count tomorrow – we have a sleety day with possible snow tomorrow which may keep the resident birds tucked in their nests (and me as well). That’s a pretty bird – I think the vermilion flycatcher may give the male northern cardinal a run for its money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We don’t get either of those red birds (or summer tanagers, either), except as a real rarity. I did get to see a cardinal while we were in Arizona, too. Thanks for the congratulations. And today I received a publishing offer for my book; I am ever so excited!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There is a legend that when a cardinal comes to see you, it is a family member from above looking down at you. Cardinals are beautiful, especially the males with their vibrant plumage. That is fantastic news about the publishing offer on your book Eilene – congratulations a second time!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Brandi! I decided not to subject everyone to all ten on the blog. I may put them on my FB page instead as one post. It’s 9 degrees out right now. It will be surprising if the birds are super active.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your article Eilene…..it was an interesting read! I imagine there was very little understanding or knowledge of mental illness back then, and yet it existed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Joni. I appreciate you taking the time to read it. The mentally ill have never really received much sympathetic outreach in this country. I can’t say I’ve been part of the solution, either. It’s a tough call.

      Liked by 2 people

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