Chapter 1987, age 44-45, Part 3 of 3

Jane begins reading to herself
Once Jane began to read, her ability expanded rapidly. Between Donna and myself, reading to Jane at least fifteen minutes each daily, plus Jane having learned the alphabet months earlier, gave her the ability and confidence to become ‘reading ready.’ Combining Jane’s interest in books, vocabulary and desire to do things right, Jane discovered that she could read some of her books and enjoy the story alone, or as she would proudly and matter of factly state, ‘I can read all-by-myself.

In early October, of her own volition, Jane began spending about an hour a day, sitting on the couch and reading to herself. Occasionally, she would hop down and bring her book to me and ask for the pronunciation and meaning of certain words, when satisfied, she’d return to the couch and continue reading. For about the last year, at nap time, Jane took one to three books with her to bed, to look at and attempt to read, while falling asleep.

Books that Jane and I read together during the first two weeks of October:

Best Halloween Book The Foot Book The Bears Bicycle
Jane Addams Germs Make Me Sick Life Cycle of the Butterfly
Jim Bridger Henry and The Mudge
The Several Tricks of Edgar Dolphin This Is The House Where Jack Lives

As Fall progressed and Jane’s vocabulary expanded, she began reading more library books and relying less on her ‘beginner’s books’. Seeing a three year old read as well as she did, began to cause Donna and me concern for her future educational needs. I began to mull the question, ‘What will Jane do in another three years, when she’s in First Grade, and the other kids are just learning to read and write?’

A ‘Black Monday’ for world markets
Through out the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), an indicator of stock market performance, continued to rise, climbing from under 2000 to 2722 with only modest reversals. By Fall, trouble was brewing in the Persian Gulf between Western nations, particularly the United States, and Iran who was beginning to lay mines in the Gulf, attack Western naval vessels, and giant, international petroleum super tankers navigating that waterway.

14 October, Wednesday: The DJIA experienced a mild 3.8% decline, a few analysts said the drop was the beginning of a long expected market correction.

15 October, Thursday: Before America awoke, an oil tanker was attacked in the Persian Gulf., during US business hours the DJIA quietly, but steadily declined 2.3%.

16 October, Friday: Overnight, a second oil tanker, the Sea Isle City, was attacked  by an Iranian Silkworm missile and damaged as it sat  in a Kuwaiti port. Since the Sea Isle City was flying an American flag, the attack was considered an attack on the United States. The DJIA declined another 4.6% and  analysts began calling the recent drop, ‘the October Massacre.’ Stock shares in the other world market had been declining for the last few sessions, showing continued and escalating weakness and perhaps fear.

19 October, ‘Black Monday’: US Naval warships began firing on a pair of Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf. By noon the DJIA had declined 8.4% with heavy volume. Market activity grew so hectic on Wall Street that the ticker tape was running two hours behind. Later in the day, the San Francisco market closed several hours early, swamped by a backlog of paperwork.
By Monday’s market closing, the DJIA had craterd, losing a record 508 points in a horrendous 22.6% one day decline, and having a record 604 million shares traded. Stock shares lost about $500,000,000,000.00 ($500 billion) value in one day. News commentators and market analysts gasped at the unprecenteted decline pointing out that, ‘Black Tuesday’, which heralded ‘The Crash of ’29’ and preceded the Great Depression of the 1930s, had only been a 12% decline.

Overnight, the other major world stock markets followed the American stocks, losing between 9% and 25% of their share values. After cratering the day before, the DJIA skyrockets 107 points, the largest one day advance in history. President Ronald Reagan came on National TV this evening to calm the public saying that he’d been in touch with US economic consultants. The US and world economic leaders would be working together to stabilize markets and keep their economies in line. Meanwhile, the Congress would look at ways to reduce the US budget deficit and would reduce the interest rates to help stimulate the economy. Mr. Reagan ended his speech saying, ‘There’s no need for concern.’ Although our family was not threatened directly and we lost no money in the stock market, the realization that history was being made in the market and the uncertainty of the conflict in the Persian Gulf  kept our eyes open and ears tuned to the daily news media.

26 October, Monday: World markets continued a week of wild gyrations: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 5%, Hong Kong which had been closed for a week, cratered a whopping 33% overnight, Sidney was down 7%.

From the noon TV News, we learned that a disgruntled stock investor had walked into his Merrill Lynch broker’s office in Miami, Florida, pulled a gun from his briefcase, killed his broker, wounded the office manager then killed himself. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down another 8% that day.

Doomsday observations
As the years passed, I became rather cynical regarding the importance of the ‘daily news’. For all the interest politicians and Big Business gave the stock market, for all the periodic price instabilities, warnings of doom, saber rattling and threats of war, and the ever present promises of prosperity, Donna and I came to see much of the news as a string of bias half truths and sensationalism that continually grew worse as the years passed.

Every year there were several particularly large, gut wrenching stories reported with grave solemness and nervous earnsty by the media; some stories continued over a several year period becoming irritating, oppressive or boring, ie.:
•  The stock market suffered a major decline in 1974. We had ‘The Arab Oil Embargo’. President Richard Nixon resigned his office.
•  In 1979-80 we had high inflation, commodity prices skyrocketed. Iran was roiled by revolution and took our Embassy personnel hostage, the situation bordered on war. It seemed that unions everywhere were striking for higher wages.
•  By 1983 or so, the Social Security fund was going broke and needed more funds. We’d just had a 22.6%, one day stock market decline.

The cries of doom came from a different direction each time, each having a  theorized disastrous endpoint, if the given scenario actually played out to its ‘logical’, extrapolated conclusion. However, in the end, each scenario along with the cries of doom just faded away. No great leaders emerged, we voters didn’t make a difference at the polls, no brilliant and-or decisive plans were executed to bring about a wonderous ‘fix’, the final solution to all our problems seemed couched in money. Every horrific national problem the news media reported was always solved in one or more of the following manners:
•  We workers lost about $10 a week in wages, through wage freezes, wage reductions or reduced benefits.
•  Some combination of Federal, Social Security, State and Local taxes, medical insurance, medical co-pay were increased.
•  Commodity prices became outrageous, i.e. groceries, gasoline, anti freeze, retail product price increases, auto insurance, movie tickets with popcorn & soda pop…

The cries of doom were all alarmist and sensationalism.
The important point to remember is that, ‘A successful parasite never kills its host’.
What this means is, that generally, you have little to fear from reports of impending doom unless;
1) we actually have an international war with missiles in the air, (nuclear or solar EMP or a nuclear tipped MIRV attack)
2) there is deadly pandemic with millions dying, schools closed nationally…,
3) major volcanic eruption(s) accompanied by obviously dimmed sunlight and cold summer temperatures,
4) or a for real oil embargo-energy flow stoppage, or
5) hyperinflation (under a P.C. name, but won’t be called ‘hyperinflation’),
All the political and business elite want is a little more money, which you’ll gladly part with if the news media have scared you enough.

As Halloween approached, Donna bought several yards of black material and sewed a very nice witches costume for Jane. She also made a tall, pointy black hat with a wide flat brim. Donna did an exceptional job, she was quite skilled with her sewing machine. When the project was finished, Jane had a Halloween costume that lasted until she outgrew it, eight years later.

On Halloween eve, we ate an early supper, then Jane hurriedly put on her Halloween clown costume. Using actors cosmetics, Donna made up Jane’s face with a big red nose and a huge, ear to ear smile. We left home at 6:00PM, just after it became dark, and drove to a subdivision in Foley to Trick or Treat. We were glad for Jane’s sake, as well as our own, that the outdoor temperature was quite mild and that several inches of snow we received a week earlier had melted.

As we worked, our way through the subdivision, Donna and I took turns walking with Jane while she made her way from house to house. After awhile Jane wanted to Trick or Treat by herself so we simply followed along in the car.

We had a great time.
Imagine if you will, a (almost) four year old pint sized, little witch. She’d run up to a door, ring the door bell and look up, waiting. When someone answered the door, Jane would step back and exclaim, ‘Trick or Treat!’. After being given a small candy treat, Jane would look up and say, ‘Thank you! Happy Halloween!’  Often these words of appreciation and the unexpected salutation caught the adult off guard. When this occurred, they always turned back to look at the diminutive witch and warmly replied words to the effect, ‘You’re quite welcomed.’

A lot of children were roaming the streets: There were ghosts and goblins, baseball players, hobo’s, various monsters, children dressed like adults, children with no costume, various monsters, etc. all streamed  up and down through the neighborhoods, running between homes, walking, scurrying diagonally across the road. That year, more so than in an year in the past, I saw a lot of children carrying flashlights or other battery operated glowing objects for safety from auto traffic.

The older kids seemed to run in packs of about four to six. The smaller children darted between houses either by themselves, with another small child,  or more likely with a parent lagging a little behind. Here and there, groups were seen stopping briefly to chat, then they were off, going in their different directions. It made me feel good and warm to see all the little and not so little folk hurrying about busy, all under the exciting spell of Halloween.

We drove quietly down the street following Jane, with only our car’s parking lights on, all the while alert not to hit any of the other children who were racing about hither, thither and yon.

At several houses there were adult costume parties in progress. Some homes had as many as a half dozen pumpkins on their front porch, all had hideous, carved faces. One home owner had placed a loudspeaker in a screened living room window and was playing eerie sounds that could be heard down the block. At about a quarter of the homes, either no one was home or the front porch light was left off, indicating the family didn’t want to be disturbed.

Around 7:30PM, activity along the streets began to wane. When Jane returned to the warmth of the car, we started for home hoping to hear all of her Trick or Treat stories. Alas, Jane had a busy day and a thorough work out  from running house to house, while the cold evening temperatures made her tired. No sooner was she comfortable in the car when she promptly fell asleep.

Our meals, November 1987





Nov 1 Sun. 2-1/2 biscuits, Spam, eggs,   TJ, coffee 1 biscuit with peanut   butter, Canned vegetable-beef soup, water, fudge cycle bar steak, lettuce wedge salad, baked squash, mixed vegetables, bread, red wine.
Nov. 2 Mon. Wheat Chex cereal, milk, TJ 2 biscuits, Navy bean soup,   water meat loaf, carrots,   potatoes, dinner rolls, white wine
Nov. 3 Tue. Cornflakes cereal, 1/2  banana, milk, TJ, coffee Canned Tomato soup, crackers with PB, water. Pizza, beer.
Nov. 4 Wed. Cheerios, milk, OJ, coffee Canned Chicken noodle soup,   1 slice WW bread with PB, Vanilla pudding, popsicle. Submarine sandwich, beer.
Nov. 5 Thu. Wheat Chex cereal, milk,   coffee. Hamburger, French fried potatoes, Diet Pepsi Meatballs and spaghetti, bread, red wine.
Nov. 6 Fri. Apple Raisin Crisp cereal, milk, OJ, coffee. Canned Chicken noodle soup,  soda crackers with sliced cheddar cheese, water. ‘Mom’s’ enchiladas, 1 taco, beer.
Nov. 7 Sat. Cheerios, milk, 1 donut, OJ, coffee Vegetable soup, 1 slice WW bread with PB, water. Steak, tossed salad,   artichoke with melted margarine, bread, red wine.
Nov. 8 Sun. Just Right cereal, milk, OJ, coffee Canned Chicken noodle soup, soda crackers with PB, water, ice cream bar. Shish-ka-bob (onion,   sausage, beef, lemon, orange, bell pepper, tomato, pineapple)
Nov. 9 Mon. 1 egg, Spam, 1 English muffin, with PB, OJ, coffee Canned Chicken noodle soup,   soda crackers with PB, water, ice cream bar. Lasagna, bread, red wine.
Nov. 10 Tue. Just Right cereal, milk, OJ, coffee. Vegetable soup, WW bread, water. At MexicanVillage  restaurant for supper.
Nov. 11 Wed. Corn flakes cereal, milk, 1/2 banana, TJ, coffee. Lima bean soup, WW bread, water Pork chop, mashed potatoes  & gravy, roll, spinach, white wine.
Nov. 12 Thu. Just Right cereal, milk, TJ, coffee. Canned Chicken noodle soup, WW bread. chopped steak, peas, mixed   vegetables, tossed salad, bread, white wine.
Nov. 13 Fri. Corn Chex cereal, milk, TJ,   coffee Hamburger, French fried   potatoes, Diet Pepsi Ham slice, butter beans,   corn bread, peas, white wine.
Nov. 14 Sat. 2 soft boiled eggs, ham slice, toast with jam, TJ, coffee Canned Tomato soup, saltine   crackers with PB, water. Chicken, baked squash,   rice, dinner roll, white wine.
Nov. 15 Sun. Corn Chex cereal, milk. Canned Chicken noodle soup,   soda crackers with PB, water, ice cream bar. 2 tostadas, 1- 12oz bottle   beer.
Nov.  16 Mon. Just Right cereal, milk, grapefruit juice, coffee, 2 donuts. Canned Vegetable beef soup,   soda crackers with PB, water, fudgesicle. Chicken pot pie, white   wine.
Nov. 17 Tue. Egg omelet with ham, English muffin, grapefruit juice, coffee. Vegetable soup, WW bread with PB, water, ice-cream bar. Pizza, beer.
Nov. 18 Wed. Corn Chex cereal, milk, grapefruit juice, coffee. Lima bean soup, 1 slice WW bread with PB, water. Chopped steak, mashed   potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables, dinner rolls, white wine.
Nov. 19 Thu. 1 fried egg, hash, English muffin, grapefruit juice, coffee. Vegetable soup, 1 slice WW   bread with PB, vanilla pudding popsicle. Lasagna, French bread, red wine.
Nov. 20 Fri. Cheerios cereal, milk, grapefruit juice, coffee. Canned Chicken noodle soup,   1 slice WW bread with PB, water, vanilla popsicle. 1/3 pork chop, spinach,   mixed vegetables, dinner rolls, white wine, ice cream cone.
Nov. 21 Sat. 1 egg, sausage, biscuits with honey, V-8 juice, coffee. Canned Minestrone soup, biscuits with PB, water, chocolate bar. Hamburger patties, potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables, rolls, white wine.
Nov. 22 Sun. At restaurant for   breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 slices toast with jelly, ham slice, coffee. 1 apple. Meat balls and spaghetti,   French bread, red wine.
Nov. 23 Mon. Cheerios cereal, milk, V-8   juice. Canned chicken noodle soup,   crackers with PB, water. Hamburger patties, spinach, corn rolls, white wine.
Nov. 24 Tue. 2 soft boiled eggs, ham slice, 2 slices toast with honey, V-8 juice, coffee. Vegetable soup, 1 slice WW   bread with PB, water, fruit ice-cream bar. Tuna fish casserole, stewed tomatoes, rolls, white wine.
Nov. 25 Wed. Mueslix cereal, milk, V-8  juice, coffee Split pea soup, 1 slice WW   bread with PB, water. Sherry, cube steak, fried  rice, dinner rolls, green beans, white wine.
Nov. 26 Thu. Mueslix cereal, milk, OJ, coffee. Split pea soup, 1 slice WW  bread with PB, water. Hamburger, potato chips with French Onion dip, beer.
Nov. 27 Fri. Mueslix cereal, milk, OJ,   coffee. Canned Chicken noodle soup,   1 slice bread with PB, water, ice-cream bar. Meat balls & spaghetti,   French bread, red wine, bowl vanilla ice-cream.
Nov. 28 Sat. Soft boiled eggs, sausage, toast, OJ, coffee.(Thanksgiving Day) Canned tomato soup, Ritz crackers with PB, water, ice-cream bar. Turkey, dressing & gravy, rolls, fruit salad, yams, cranberry sauce, white wine
Nov. 29 Sun. Egg omelet, 2 donuts, OJ, coffee. 1 hot dog & bun,   birthday cake. Large tossed salad, ice   tea.
Nov. 30 Mon. 1 scrambled egg, Spam, 3 donuts, OJ, coffee. Split pea soup, 1 slice bread with PB, water. Turkeyleftovers, yams, rolls, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce, white wine.

TJ- tomato juice. OJ- orange juice. PB- peanut butter. WW bread- whole wheat bread, no butter or margarine.
Coffee- instant, decaffeinated taken without sugar. Milk- skimmed. Canned soups are Campbell’s variety. Donna previously homemade the other soups, ie., split pea, vegetable, lima bean & navy bean which were frozen and later defrosted for lunch.

Jane’s social and cognitive skills develop
Watching Jane grow and develop has been a real treat. She was a fast learner and always eager to move to the next step in our studies. From the earliest times, just after she learned to walk, she explored and experimented using everything. She first learned to socialize with adults, then how to interact with other children in Campfire Sparks and at Dance School. At three and a half years of age, she followed directions and played her English Recorder with a proficiency comparable to a five or six year old. She was also beginning to learn to ‘read’ and understand our mannerisms, attitudes, voice inflections, and decipher those secret words and phrases (double meanings) which didn’t necessarily match the words we were saying.

One day in early November, just before lunch, Jane and I had just returned from the mailbox, when, out of the clear blue sky,  I asked her, ‘What do you think we should do about lunch?’ Jane replied, ‘I want hamburgers, French fries, soda pop and ketchup.’ I already had a pan of soup warming on the stove, but after a dismal morning, I was caught up by Jane’s enthusiasm.
Carrying the conversation further, I asked, ‘How do we do that?’  Jane quickly answered, ‘Get your keys an put them in the car (she pretended to put them in the ignition) and go to town.’
Playing dumb and evasive, I asked, ‘How would we get ready to do something like that?’  Jane, apparently sensing my vacillation, ran to me, reached up and unbuttoned the bottom button on my work shirt while exclaiming, ‘Like this! You just change your shirt and clothes and go!’
Then, pretending to have turned sour on the idea, I asked in a deep, negative voice, ‘Do you really think we should?’ Jane apparently understanding my trickiness, began to happily chant, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ Still feigning sourness, I replied, ‘Wellll…..OK!’ Upon hearing this, Jane began hopping around the front room like a two legged rabbit, while shouting, ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’
Before long, we were on our way to a fast food restaurant in St. Cloud.  :-)

Music [album: Battlestar Galactica, Season 3: A Distant Sadness]

Victorian Stereograph, from dream to reality
Sunday, November 9, I had a dream and in the dream I looked across time. By some unfathomable process of transport, I was in the past as an observer, but not as a ‘time traveler’. I was not an external observer viewing scenes from the outside, instead I was an external observer viewing scenes from within the past environment. I wondered at the paradox. Immediately the deep time environment dissolved into a blur, then images reformed and I understood that a different reality now existed. As I looked, I saw an old stereo picture viewer being lifted away from my face. I was at first surprised, then comfortable with the thought that I’d just been viewing ‘turn of the century’ stereopictures. The thought remained with me and I was quite amazed at the reality of the experience gained from looking at those old cards.

Shortly thereafter, I became conscious of being awake, of being in a drowsy state and of being warm, comfortable and cozily snuggled in my bed. It was a pleasure to lie there and recall my dream. Then I remembered an event from my youth, when I’d discovered an odd looking contraption made of wire and wood, in a glass enclosed bookcase at my grandparent’s Coloma farm. Grandma Elsie (Grubb) Pierce showed me how to work the device, where after, I sat in wonder looking at pictures of 19th century vanished scenes.

Later, on the same morning as my dream, I was just about to walk out the door of an antique shop where I’d purchased a tarnished, ca. 1898, silver plated butter dish, when I recalled my dream. The memory made me stop in my tracks; releasing the door handle, I turned and walked back to the sales counter and asked the owner, ‘Do you have any of those old stereo viewers or the pictures that go with them?’ The old woman took me across her shop to a roll up desk which she opened. Inside, the desk was a hand held stereoscope made of Birdseye maple. I examined the viewer and found it in excellent condition. The old woman also pulled out about a hundred stereoviews from pigeon holes in the desk. I was like a child in a toy store; I wanted that neat old stereoscope and some of her better quality stereoviews.

That night on her way home from work, Donna stopped at the St. Cloud Public Library and brought home several books about antiques which had at least one article about Nineteenth Century stereoscopy. Later, at home, we looked through the books and talked about buying the stereoscope that I’d seen.

The next afternoon, Jane and I met Donna in town to look at the instrument together. We bought the stereoviewer and so began my hobby of collecting stereographs.

During the next eight years, I bought second stereoscope, an aluminum one as seen below, and one thousand fifty stereoviews. I probably built up one of the largest, if not the largest stereoview collection in central Minnesota. Many of the images from the Nineteenth Century are amazing and far from the social mores of our time.

I have pictures of ‘Blacks’ picking cotton and hunting for lice on each other’s head; images of American Indians with weapons and dressed in the costume of their time; of western cowboys, of large game hunting in Africa, practically naked, black African natives carrying elephant tusk ivory, village huts and natives in the jungles of Africa; of cannibals with human prey in New Guinea; US Presidents; Yellowstone and Yosemite National Park’s when they really were wild; scenes from the construction of the Panama Canal; of the Rough Riders in Cuba; very early urban electrification; volcanic eruptions and earthquake fissures; peasant women grinding wheat and corn in stone mortars; Bedouin tent interiors; tours of the Holy Land; Australian aborigines; wood mast sailing ships and vanished scenes from all around the world, ‘1st generation’ airplanes.

Stereoviews are truly amazing, showing realistic, depth of field views, of many traditional cultures, whom only a decade or two later were becoming extinct. And now, only one hundred years after the photographs were taken, the world has evolved a ‘look’ that is very, very different. In this short period of one century, Mankind, our machines, and a machine made affluent culture have become virtually omnipresent across the face of the Earth.

Preschool testing begins the Dial R test
On Tuesday, November 10, we took Jane to Jefferson Grade School in St. Cloud, where she had an appointment to have her mental abilities evaluated. She was given a Dial R test which covered such topics as identifying body parts, naming letters, naming verbs and nouns, articulating, counting, sentence length, building figures with blocks, skipping, etc. The nurse whom administered the test told us that with her forty seven months of chronological age, Jane tested equivalent to a person with a mental age sixty four months, so she had an IQ of about 136. She continued, saying that with her mental age, Jane would be in the top five percent of her class.

 Jane and I have a car-deer collision
During late morning on Friday, November 13, Jane and I again visited the antique shop where I bought several of my first stereographs. We met Donna in St. Cloudfor lunch. After our meal, Donna returned to work while Jane and I left town for the trip home.

As we drove out County Road #3 into the countryside, Jane began climbing around in the car and becoming a pre-nap time pest. When we stopped at the Popple Creek crossroads ‘Stop sign’, I told her to put on her safety belt- in hopes of restraining and quieting her down.  A couple minutes later, we were about one and a half miles north of Popple Creek, when suddenly I saw large buck ahead, an instant estimation of our trajectories spelled danger. Suddenly, I began to see events pass in slow motion. The deer was running up the ditch on the right side of the road, coming in our direction. The distance between us was melting away fast. As a reflex action, I began to swerve the car to the left in order to allow a larger corridor for us to pass, just in case he bolted onto the road. In those two or three seconds, as I watched, the deer bounded up the roadside, out of the ditch, then onto the road. My right foot went down on the brake pedal. Although I’d been only driving about forty five mph, the car tires began to loudly screech on the blacktop. The car seemed to hop and grind, while slowly drifting sideways in its deceleration.

Something beside me in the car slumped and flew forward hitting the dashboard. I hoped Jane was going to be all right, but there was no time to look or think, all I could do was maintain control of the car. The approximately one hundred feet separating the deer from the car was vanishing. In the blink of an eye we collided, his brown body rose slightly in the air and came down with a ‘WHUMP!’ on the car hood about five feet in front of my face. I wondered if he’d come through the windshield. He slid up the hood toward me, then only eighteen inches in front of my face, began to defy gravity by sliding up the windshield toward the roof. Meanwhile, the car continued to shudder and the brakes scream. I held myself upright and away from the steering wheel, unable to see out the window. In another moment the car came screeching to a halt, and sat cantilevered at an angle in the center of the road. The deer slid back down the windshield and off the front of the car, all the while twisting and kicking. He landed on his feet and without a moment’s hesitation, bounded off, looking none the worse for the accident!

With teeth clenched, I looked to my right at Jane. She was scrunched down in her seat looking at me in wide eyed surprise, her books were scattered on the floor under the dashboard. I asked if she was hurt and was glad to hear that she was not. I realized immediately how fortunate it was that she’d just fastened her safety belt. Quickly looking back to the west (left), it was good to see the deer running and bounding away, along a weedy fence line, apparently unhurt.

I drove the car out of the center of the road and parked along the shoulder to assess damages. I told Jane what had happened and how lucky she was to have been in the safety belt. She was sitting up now, looking out the window, trying to catch a glimpse of the deer. She said, ‘I saw some brown on the window.’ We talked for a couple of minutes, while I regained my senses and made sure Jane was both physically and emotionally all right.

The car had taken a little damage. There was a one inch deep by eight inch in diameter dent in the front right fender panel; a couple smaller dents in the hood; a hook shaped scratch  where the deer stomped his foot trying to gain his footing while he slid up on the hood; also a star shaped crack in the windshield from his antler.

When we arrived home, I telephoned Donna to tell her of our accident, then phoned our insurance company. The claims officer informed me that they receive an average of one car-deer damage report per day in Minnesota–and our insurance company is one of many operating in the state!

Tragedy at Fort Seybert, initial research
About three months earlier, in August, I initially stumbled onto the tragic story of an immigrant ancestor family that gripped my imagination.

The odyssey of discovery began when we requested some genealogical records from the Xenia, Ohio, Historical Society. Our contact, Mrs. Kathleen Taylor, dutifully searched her records for the information we requested and went a step beyond by photocopying and send eighteen pages of information from the family genealogical book, Betebenner-Horney and Related Families by Mrs. Evelyn H. Vohland.

Mrs. Taylor’s package arrived on Wednesday, August 6. I began to read over the information as soon as I returned from the mail box. I was particularly interested in developing a better understanding of the Jeffery Horney and wife Catherine Janes-Horney genealogy as these were shadowy names at the periphery of my research. This new material from Xenia, Ohio brought some vital dates and extended the Jane’s and Seybert family pedigrees back a couple more generations.

What particularly caught my attention was the mention of,
“William Janes(IV)…..m. Margaret Seybert, dau. of Jacob and Mrs. Seybert b. ca. 1745. The story of the massacre of the Seyberts by Indians is written on pages 43 through 51 of the History of Pendleton Co.W. Vaby Morton…”

I asked Donna stop at the St. Cloud Public Library the next day, and pick up several books on the history of West   Virginia and on the French and Indian Wars.
That evening, I scoured through the library books that Donna brought home, and learned that during the French and Indian Wars, several small forts were built on the South Branch of the Potomac River, in a region that is now Pendleton County, West Virginia. In the mid 1700s that area was known as Highland County, Virginia.

What I found was, ‘In the Spring of 1758 a large Indian war party took Fort Upper Tract and killed all its inhabitants and defenders, they next attacked Fort Seybert and either killed or captured its inhabitants.’

Friday, Donna telephoned the Pendleton County Public Library in West Virginia, and spoke to the librarian, Mr. Richard Harding, whom it turned out was also Vice President of the Pendleton County Historical Society. Mr. Harding shared some information about the old Fort, but recommended we read History of Pendleton County and History of Highland County. That afternoon Donna telephoned the St. Cloud Public Library and ordered these books from West Virginia, through the interstate library book loan system.

The books we requested arrived on August 27.
Several books that I  referenced in researching the massacre at Fort Seybert:
•  Betebenner — Horney And Allied Families © 1981  by Evelyn Halkyard Vohland publ. by Clipper Publishers, Shelton, NE. – A family genealogy with photographs and occasional stories. 297 pages.
•  A   History of Pendleton County, West Virginia  © 1910 by   Oren F. Morton, republished  in 1980 by   Regional Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD.
•  Pennsylvania  German Immigrants 1709 — 1786 © 1980, edited by Don Yoder, publ. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore   MD, 394 pages.
•  The Seiberts of Saarland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, 1982 ed. by Raymond Martin Ball, WA – A family   genealogy

Over the next few days, I spent approximately twenty one hours, extracting information from A History of Pendleton County, West Virginia.  My interest was two-fold, to learn about the massacre at Fort Seybert and get a understanding of how it was to live on the west Virginia frontier during the mid 1700s.

As the research progressed the story became chillingly: On 28 April 1758, my 6G- grandfather Jacob, his wife and others were tomahawked and scalped after surrendering the ill defended Fort to a large Shawnee war party.

We then telephoned the University of West Virginia and requested a photocopy of the Fort Seybert Geological Survey Map #77-1. The topographical map, which included the site of old Fort Seybert, would show us the spatial relationship between the nearby mountains, river, present roads and houses across that area. We also telephoned Evelyn Vohland[1] in Nebraska and ordered her last copy of the family genealogy, Betebenner — Horney And Allied Families for $26.00.

On December 4, I began entering my research of the massacre into my Journal #14, starting on page 2699  titled, Emigrating To The English — American Colonies and Making A Home In The New World: The Jacob Seybert Family Story. It took in excess of thirty two hours to write up the twenty six page story, including maps and drawings.

When the journal entry was finished, I sat back and looked through the pages.

These ancestors, who’d once been an obscure branch of the family tree, came alive in my mind. From descriptions of the environment and living conditions, the  danger of Indian attack, the hardship of life on the frontier, I could imagine their lifestyle. The dates and spacing of births in the family, the children’s names, knowing that the grandparents and extended family lived nearby; knowing the events that occurred at Fort Seybert on that fateful morning, all gave me an unparalleled insight into not only my own ancestors, but into life in Colonial America during the time of the french and Indian Wars. I was amply rewarded with a growth in empathy, for the several dozen hours spent unraveling the mystery.

The results of my research were written up and copies were sent to my genealogical research associates: my father, Uncle Bill, and cousin Doris Grubb-Hughes. The story is also found as a two-part post in the 4dtraveler WordPress bog:
•  My family in history/_2. Settlers & Migrants/The Jacob Seybert family: Coming to America
•  My family in history/_2. Settlers & Migrants/The Jacob Seybert family: Fort Seybert

Christmas Day 1987, Friday: The family gift exchange list

Gift giver   Recipient Gift
Donna & Larry to Jane Three shirts, two pair pants, sweater
Donna to Larry Fleece lined slippers, 5 pair under wear, 1 pair work gloves, tri-fold wallet.
Larry to Donna Cold weather boots, 4 pair socks
Jane to Donna 1 pair socks (Proudly bought with her own allowance.)
to Larry An 8 inch clear plastic ruler. (Bought with her own allowance.)
Uncle Bill &   Aunt Elizabeth to Jane A Pajama puppet, small set of Lego building blocks, Bedtime Story Book.
to Donna/ Larry Four cans of honey roasted peanuts.
Don to Jane $20 cash
to Donna/ Larry $20 each, also a large  box containing oranges, grapefruit, fruit cake and chocolate kisses.
Robert & Hazel   Pierce to Jane doll
to Donna/ Larry Heritage book
Donna’s Aunt Doris to Jane Play tray
Glen & ( my sister)   Linda to Donna/ Larry/ Jane National Geographic subscription.
Kedina (Donna’s 1/2   sister) x=discarded to Jane Sweatshirt, several books, bear doll on roller skates(x), slippers made in the image of a Negro baby (x)
x=discarded. to Donna Sweatshirt(x), used  sweater jacket(x), beauty pack of cosmetics(x), 3 cans of candy(x), 2 cans of butter cookies(x) past expiration date.
x =  discarded to Larry Traveling bag (x), designer telephone free from Time-Life books (x).

Dog troubles in paradise
When Pepin was a gangly puppy, Griz occasionally would occasionally beat him up, repeatedly knocked him down and always put the youngster in his place– as  ‘#2 male dog. Griz always insisted on being first to choose  which of our three dog dishes he wanted to eat from. He also pushed his way past the others to be the first to greet and be greeted when we his human family members came outside.
Every year, when Jessie dog went into heat, I dutifully chained her, Griz and eventually Pepin, to their respective houses to kept them apart for about three weeks.
By early December, Pepin had grown and matured to a point where he was in competition with his aging father, Griz, for both Jessie’s attention and particularly, to become ‘yard boss’.

These few year were a sad time for me, because I hated to see the dogs fight with increasing frequency, when I came outside and called them together, for either a walk or to do some chore.

Griz was already about 10 years old and weighed 1/2 as much as his pup-son Pepin, who was just reaching  young adulthood. However, not one to give up, Griz would keep pushing Pepin; Pepin would turn on Griz and a ferocious dog fight would ensue.

One evening, I let Griz in the house for a few minutes and noticed some blood on his neck. When I raised his head to look I found a two inch long by one inch wide rip in the loose skin at the back of his lower jaw. I called the veterinarian, who said if he wasn’t bleeding to treat him with disinfectant and bring him to the office in the morning.

I chained Pepin to a dog house to keep the dogs apart. Griz went about his business stopping ever once in a while just out of Pepin’s reach to give him a spiteful stare. About a week and a half after chaining Pepin, Griz tried to dominate his son. A fight resulted and Griz’s neck wound was reopened. Griz continued to pester Pepin who remained chained. The state of affairs was ridiculous, the two male dogs would fight one another at the slightest provocation. In a fit of desperation, I decided to unchain Pepin and let them fight until a new, pecking order, was established.

The two dogs had a ‘knock down drag out fight’ at 11:30AM and another at 2:30PM.
During the second fight, Pepin immediately knocked Griz down and jumped on him. Griz laid curled up on his back yelping and whining while Pepin held him down, and chewed on him. After the fight, Griz spent much of the afternoon limping around the yard, his fur looked dirty, unkempt and matted.

Despite losing both fights, Griz wouldn’t give up, he kept picking at Pepin.

At 5:05 PM that same afternoon there was a third fight. Pepin knocked Griz down and while growling and snarling in a terrifying manner, bit into his fur and shook him silly. Griz wiggled, kicked and cried piteously as he was bitten, stepped on and beaten. When the fight was over, my heart sank at seeing my old buddy Griz so defeated. He looked so forlorn. His beautiful fur coat was disheveled and covered with wet and frozen saliva, there was dried blood smeared all around his neck, he was wide eyed, nervous and visibly shaken. I wished he would surrender and allow peace to return to the yard.

During the night, Pepin drove Griz out of the yard, causing him to miss his breakfast. When I walked down to the mailbox at just before noon the next day, I found Griz had made a nest in the snow amongst some saplings, down a slope, just inside our font gate, next to the County Road.
Griz walked back up the driveway with me, but as soon as we entered the yard, Pepin jumped on him. I grabbed a stick and beat Pepin good while he in turn beat up on Griz. When the fight broke up, I chained Pepin up for a couple days to let tempers cool.

We began giving Griz antibiotics as his neck injury had become infected. Griz stayed in his dog house all the next day. He was terrified of any injury, even yelping and running from his mate, Jessie, whom he previously had never given a second thought to.

That was the turning point in Griz and Pepin’s relationship, Pepin had established himself as ‘yard boss’. From that point on, we simply had two boss dogs in the yard. The smaller brown, gentlemanly one, Griz, remained my favorite. He learned to stay away from or at least not pick at Pepin. They still had an occasional fight, but as time passed and Griz grew older, he simply offered less resistance, thus avoiding serious damage.

Griz learned to spend a more time by himself, as he went about his customary daily errands in the yard and woods. Although he was defeated by Pepin, who was physically a much larger and younger dog, Griz was a cleaver and ferocious hunter, who frequently brought home small game (rabbits, woodchucks, muskrat, rats) and the neighbors pets, to eat or give to Jessie. Although Pepin was a big, powerful and fearless, he was neither fast, stealthy or smart enough to catch small game.

What’s on TV tonight?
My favorite programs in 1987
•  Local Evening   News
•  National   Evening News
•  Occasional ABC, CBS or NBC evening movies
•  Star Trek: The Next Generation

Movies that Donna, Jane and I attended during the year:
Batteries Not Included with Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy
Beverly Hills Cop II  with Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Ronny Cox
Dragnet  with Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer, Harry Morgan
Harry and the Hendersons with John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Margaret Langrick
Ishtar with Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Charles Grodin
Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey
Predator withArnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo
Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise with Robert Carradine, Curtis Armstrong
The Running Man withArnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Dawson, Yaphet Kotto
The Witches of Eastwick with Jack Nicholson,Cher, Susan Saradon, Michael Pfeiffer
Wall Street with Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Chuck Pfeiffer


[1] Evelyn Vohland and I are related on two lines, having common ancestors through our 3G- grandparents James Anderson and  Jeffrey Horney.

End of Chapter 1987, age 44-45.

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Filed under Autobiography, __4. Little House in the Woods- Beginnings: 1980-1987

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