It Was Ugly!

Week 20: #52 Ancestors – Textile By Eilene Lyon I did a bad thing. I’m still ashamed. My grandmother, Clare (Davis) Smith, said she had an heirloom to pass on to me, if I would promise to keep and preserve it. I broke that promise. Partly because of a misunderstanding about the nature of this... Continue Reading →

1-2-3 Recipe

Week 17: #52 Ancestors – Document By Eilene Lyon My mother handed down some written recipes, but they originated from her mother or mother-in-law. Though Mom had a home ec degree, she learned to cook in the era of convenience foods—very little made from scratch. The easier the better, as far as she was concerned.... Continue Reading →

Contours of a Life

Week 16: #52 Ancestors – Negatives By Eilene Lyon Negative space is an art term referring to the space around an object, or “air space.” Especially when working in watercolor, the artist focuses on filling in the darker places between lighter-colored features. It is a different way of seeing the world. Sometimes we have to... Continue Reading →

From German to Italian

Week 15: #52 Ancestors – How Do You Spell That? By Eilene Lyon “How do you spell that?” “E-I-L-E-N-E” “That’s I-L-uh…?” Names can be such a pain! It’s no wonder that many immigrants choose to “Americanize” theirs. I doubt that my grandma, Reatha Gusso Halse, realized that her Grandpa Charlie Gusso and his siblings changed... Continue Reading →

Beakers, Burets, and Bunsen Burners—Oh My!

Week 14: #52 Ancestors – Check It Out By Eilene Lyon My grandmother, Reatha (Gusso) Halse, never finished high school, but she spent two decades working in the Chemistry department at Oregon State University. As the supply room clerk, she spent her days checking out laboratory equipment to undergrads. Reatha became a widow at age... Continue Reading →

In the Name of …

Week 10: #52 Ancestors – Worship By Eilene Lyon There’s no question that my ancestry is steeped in Christian culture. Though there is some hint of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA from the wayback, my heritage is very much white Protestant European. For myself, I choose “none of the above” with regard to deities. I confess that... Continue Reading →

Mabel and Her Mom

Week 9: #52 Ancestors – Females By Eilene Lyon I’ve written briefly about my great-grandmother, Mabel Pearl (Cutting) Halse, in relation to her husband and children. It’s a case of having a lot of photographs, but not really knowing her. Unlike her mother-in-law, Lucy Halse, Mabel didn’t get her name in the papers or history... Continue Reading →

South Dakota Scenes

Week 6: #52 Ancestors – Maps By Eilene Lyon Back in the late 1870s and early 1880s, promoters encouraged people to move to Dakota Territory. Naturally, land speculators played up the rich farmland and other selling points, not necessarily squaring with reality. My father was born in South Dakota, though he grew up in Oregon.... Continue Reading →

Parentless

Week 5: #52 Ancestors – Branching Out By Eilene Lyon The genealogical aspect of family history involves sprouting branches on the family tree by adding another generation of ancestors. My tree has robust limbs, at least back to 4th great-grandparents on nearly every line, and much further than that on most. The Putterer’s tree appears... Continue Reading →

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