What the Splatters Tell

I’ve decided to do a few summer reruns. This anecdote was posted to my original blog back in March of 2013.

One day a young mother I’ll call Betty got sick and had to spend over a week in the hospital. Since her husband had a job away from home, the couple decided it would be best to hire a housekeeper who could look after the house and the children during the day.

As Betty was recovering from her illness she often questioned how things were going at home, how her husband and young family were getting along with someone new in the house. She asked how the housekeeper was managing in her kitchen. Her husband assured her that things were going just fine; the housekeeper was an older woman and quite capable.

Betty was so thankful when discharge day came; gladly she packed up her few things. Her husband and children all came to bring her home. On the way, she asked the children if they were having a good time with the housekeeper and they told her that she was neat. To top it off, she’d been cooking all the meals they liked.

Betty was surprised, then suspicious. “I suppose you told her what she should cook for you?”

“Oh, no. She just knows.”

After she got home and settled in, she visited with the housekeeper and asked how she’d guessed all their favorite foods. “Oh, that was easy,” the housekeeper replied. “I just went through your cookbooks and made the recipes on the pages that were smudged and splattered up.”

Intriguing Data

I’ve been digging into the family tree roots again, and discovered some interesting facts and figures for my forebear’s family. My husband also got his DNA results back today and is tripping through all the family info — and mis-info — on his side. Names garbled on old records, etc. Dad was Walter Frank and wouldn’t appreciate being listed as Wally T!

Facts and dates, spellings and census records all make for interesting reading and quite a few chuckles as you try to sort out how great-great grandmother had her first child at age seven, or another had her last baby at age 56.

There were some interesting age spreads back then, as there are today. My gr-gr-grandma Ruth’s sister, Rebecca, was 24 when she married John Pepper, a widower aged 44. It really interested me to learn that the couple lived in Fullarton, Ontario, the small town we lived in for some years, thirty-odd years ago.

One of their brothers was Jonathan Burnham Dobson. Confusingly, I’ve discovered two men by that name, one lived mostly in New Brunswick and one in Ontario. That may take some sorting out, if I really want to go there.

I’ve been following the life story and descendants of the Ontario fellow. I’ve learned that his wife was Ann Blatchford (Ontario marriage record — can’t argue with that.) Ann was — if you believe half a dozen Family Tree records the daughter of Thomas Tapson and Jane Blatchford. Or did someone cross a wire there?

Depending on whose record you believe, Ann was born in Lydford, Lifton, or Bridestowe, all in Devon. According to all accounts she was married in 1842 to William Blatchford.

One record says they had 7 children, born from 1845 to 1857. And William died in 1852.
One record says they had five children from 1845-1853, and William died in 1854.
One record shows they had three children widely spaced and William died in 1858.

Her children were for sure William, Elizabeth Ann, George, and Mary Jane, give or take a Richard, Louisa, Joanna, or Thomas Charles.

All agree that Ann (Tapson) Blatchford married Jonathan Dobson in 1859. (Thank you DVS!) Born in 1831, he would have been 27 and she 38. Except that the Ontario Marriage registration gives her age as 28. I’d like to know how lost those ten years. 🙂

I’ve found record of their one daughter, Margaret. Some family trees list her as Margaret Marguerite. I’ve spent this afternoon discovering her spouse, their children and spouses. Don’t ask me why? 😉

One researcher covered all the bases in the info they posted:
Ann was born at Lydford, Devon, England, married William Blatchford in 1842. The couple had six children before William died in 1852. At some point they immigrated to Ontario.
Children’s names and birth years:
William (44), Elizabeth (47), George (49), Thomas C (51), Mary Jane (53) and Richard (63)
Oh, wait — don’t forget Joanna, supposedly born in 57.

Then Ann married Jonathan Dobson and their children were:
Louisa (33), Henry (54), Sara (56), Margaret Marguerite (59) Ann (59) and Emma (63), when Ann would have been 43. Possible — but talk about prolific! It will take some serious DNA research to sort out all those offspring.

While I’m speaking of things being rather a mess, have you all come to terms with the newest update in Word Press, where we have to go through the Stats to get to the WordPress Administration instead of having the left-hand drop-down menu like we used to? I find it a pain.

A Week in Review

Good morning Everyone,

All my life I’ve thought of Sunday as the last day of the week but the calendar persistently corrects me. How about you? Are you mentally beginning the new week this morning or will you start it tomorrow?

Here where I live, this week is starting out with some of rain and frost. Yesterday we had enough rain to settle the dust and water the lawn; by afternoon the scenery looked a lot greener. A bit more rain fell in the evening — only a shower, we might say, but after a couple of weeks of nothing, we’re glad for whatever comes.

I was up at 5 am this morning and the garage roof was white. I checked the dish of water I’d set outside on the deck for our cats and there was a thin layer of ice on top, so I’m very glad I took in the one bedding plant my daughter gave me a few days ago. It’s a gerbera, rather tender, and would have been limp today if it had stayed out.

Doing a quick recap of LAST week, starting with Monday’s trip to Moose Jaw:

We first dropped in on my husband’s cousin and his wife and had a nice visit with them. They’re into bird-watching as well and have feeders up, so we had that in common to visit about. Also the Family tree info, since they’ve done the DNA test, too. No surprises, as they already have the Goodnough history back to England circa 1620 and records on the Letkeman side go back many generations as well. Bob and his Goodnough cousins share the same genetics, as their fathers were brothers and their mothers sisters.

Seeing my sisters was the main reason for this trip. We took my sister Donna out for dinner and caught up with each other’s lives. It’s been a year since I’ve last talked with her — shame on me!

Two weeks ago I called my sister Rose, who also lives in Moose Jaw, and she told me about her bout with lung cancer last winter. She had chemo and radiation in January; also, her husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and has started chemotherapy. Rose’s husband wasn’t feeling well enough to come, but we met her for afternoon coffee at a Tim Horton’s and did some catching up.

We’d left early in the morning, done our visiting by 5pm, and managed to get home again before dark. I’m so thankful for these long prairie evenings!

Tuesday I made both meals at the Villa, which took up most of my day. Wednesday we went into the city. Among other things I bought a couple of bird houses and hung one up for the tree swallows when we got home. Didn’t take them long to find it and by the next day one pair had claimed it for their own.

We had a pair of barn swallows return to our garage and start to set up house, but something happened to the one. Now I see the other sitting forlornly on the yard light post during the day. He has come to the aid of the tree swallows when they’re being menaced by English sparrows.

Thursday morning found me digging my flowerbed in the front, trying to reclaim it from the ever-encroaching quack grass. The dirt was like powder, a bit of moisture about 6″/15 cm down. I managed to “discover” two of the three peonies, dig out the quackgrass and water them, so they will get the full benefit of yesterday’s rain. In the afternoon I painted a wren house and hung it in the Russian olive out back; the next morning a pair of wrens were busy furnishing it.

Apart from that I’ve done a bit of general housework, some blogging, reread a book, The Face of the Earth, by Deborah Raney. I found it just as great the second time around, well written and the tension maintained throughout. I’ll do a book review in my next post.

Friday evening I was helping a friend to get her life story down on paper for posterity. Yesterday afternoon I wrote and polished the story I posted yesterday, The Abduction. In the evening I had a long visit over the phone with a cousin in Saskatoon, someone I also haven’t connected with for awhile. How does the time slip away?

And now it’s 7:30am and I must get ready for church and whatever else this new day holds. I hope you’re all having an enjoyable day of refreshment and will be ready to face the first day of a new work-week tomorrow. 🙂

The Abduction

This is my contribution to this week’s Creative Challenge, a weekly feature on crimsonprose’s blog. Initially 100 words too long, it took some whittling to get it down to 150 words. I’ll call my story…

Outbuildings at Hethel

The Abduction

Reice approached the building cautiously. Was she too late? Collin had sounded so broken…coming here to think, he’d said…maybe end it all. What tragedy had brought her usually upbeat friend so low?

She had to find him. Hearing sounds, she started toward the door. Now he was calling her, but something stopped her. Reice despised this paralyzing fear!

Suddenly several guys rushed from the building. Before she could react they’d grabbed her and tied her hands and feet. “Collin,” she screamed.

He stepped forward. “I knew you’d come,” he sneered. “Sucker for a sob story. Now you’re going with these chaps and…”

“No, she’s not.” They all turned toward the voice and several policemen emerged from the woods. “Anyone who moves will be shot.”

“Grandpa!” Reice gasped.

“Your Mom overheard the conversation, Reice. She didn’t trust this guy.”

Collin’s pals scowled at him. “A copper’s granddaughter. Great move!”

Taking A Trip

It’s Monday morning and the Victoria Day holiday here in Canada.

Officially the celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday, over the years it’s morphed into the celebration of another long weekend. And here on the prairies, the Victoria Day weekend is considered the unofficial date for planting gardens. There are a few “cool-weather” veggies like peas and radishes that can be seeded at the the end of April, but most seeds won’t do well in the cold ground, so it’s best to wait until after Victoria Day when the ground has warmed up enough to encourage sprouting of “warm weather” seeds like carrots, corn and beans.

We retired folks don’t need a holiday weekend to take a trip, but hubby and I are planning to leave early this morning and go visit family in Moose Jaw. Last week my sister told me of some serious health issues they’ve been facing this year and we decided it’s about time to take that two-and-a-half hour trip down to visit our kin.

Do you feel like taking a trip this morning? A little bird-spotting trip to Michigan? I happened upon a blog post with the inspiring title, Housework Can Wait, so I checked out this blog and am happy to report the sighting of some beautiful birds. If you have a moment, you might enjoy one of this blogger’s Picture Walks.

The Reading Mother

Strickland Gillilan, 1869-1954, was an American poet and humorist, and this is the verse he’s most famous for:

The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read to me
sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
of ancient and gallant and golden days;
stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
which every boy has a eight to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
of Gêlert the hound of the hills of Wales,
true to his trust till his tragic death,
faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
that wholesome life to the boy heart brings —
stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

My contribution today to National Poetry Month is taken from The Best Loved Poems of the American People. © 1936 by Doubleday & Company, New York.

I found this book at a second-hand book sale this afternoon. Almost 650 pages for $1 — quite a bargain!