At the end of my first blog I promised to supply you with insight into my life. With the advent of the internet, ancestry has become a fascination with many. People are curious about their roots. Ancestry has become a fascinating pastime. Most of us know our immediate past, such as grand folks, aunts and uncles and cousins. For many, even great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents are already in the family stories. But beyond this, few of us know our distant kin. One thing I am sure of, we are all descendants of Noah if you believe the Bible. And I do.
According to one of my sisters who has been delving into our ancestry, we are related to the Aldens who arrived here on the Mayflower. They are apparently distant grandparents. Even if that is true it doesn’t do much for us today. Lives are lived in the present not the past. Much closer than that, we know that my great-great-grandmother traveled the Santa Fe Trail by covered wagon (probably a Studebaker) back in 1855. She traveled the trail five time in younger adult years. She married an Army Lieutenant at Ft. Union New Mexico. Col. Kit Carson was post commander at that time and lived next door to the Russells. Later, after military service they settled on the Colorado/New Mexico border. (Land of Enchantment – Memoirs of Marion Russell along the Santa Fe Trail, University of New Mexico Press, 1981). We know this because Great-Great-Grandma Russell shared her experiences with us through publication. I value this because of my mother, Marion, who was her namesake. This history was very important to her and therefore also important to me. Hearing the stories of the old U.S. West, settling seems so real to me. We have family artifacts from that period of history that are highly valued. G.G.-Grandma was buried in a community and family cemetery that the family visits. My mother and other relatives are interred there as well.
So from this you see that my mother’s family were mid-1800’s settlers in Colorado. My father’s family came to central Colorado in the later 1800’s, following the metals mining industry (gold and silver). That part of the family lived in the Cripple Creek and Redcliff Colorado mining towns. Later, just before World War II began, parts of both sides of the family moved to California to work in the defense industry.
I was born in California in 1941, moving to Arizona with the family in 1948. Dad could not pass the physical with any service branch (broken and mended back). He went to work for Lockheed Aircraft. He was immediately put on the assembly line building P-38 Fighters. Sometime later he was hired by the government as a civil service A/P mechanic repairing war-damaged aircraft, refitting them for further service. Because of the war effort, goods for any domestic use were strictly limited. Dad and Mom had three sons as Christmas approached in 1944. Christmas toys in the stores were not available. Dad would come home from work and go to the garage every night, working on something. We were not allowed to go out and look. On Christmas morning 1944 my brothers and I found toy jeeps, war trucks and other war-related items that Dad had made from scraps of materials and wood that were not needed for the war effort. Yes, at three-plus years old, I still fondly carry that memory today.
I learned very early about framing squares and woodwork because of Dad’s skills. Tools and engineering equipment started being part of my life back then. Under Dad’s instruction my brothers and I learned about woodworking and the use of mechanic’s tools. Dad would always allow us to use his tools, as long as we left them clean and put them away in their proper place. It was early on that I developed a desire to learn engineering.
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