GERTRUDE AND BERTHA, GREAT AUNTS, WHOSE UNIQUE LIVES WERE DISCOVERED THROUGH GENEALOGY!

Gertrude Winifred Tyler

2-4-1882 to 9-29=1980 –  age 98

When I was between 5 and 10 years old, in the late 1940’s, I used to visit my grandparents in Villisca, Iowa. I would spend time with my grandfather’s two sisters, who were in their 60’s, and who were unlike any other women (housewives) that I knew. My recent interest in genealogy has proven how unique they were.

Gertrude Winifred Tyler was born in 1882 in Villisca, Iowa. She graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in 1909 followed by a Master’s Degree in Education from Columbia University in New York.

 

In 1913 she opened Stevens Memorial Suining Girls Boarding School in Suining, Sichuan, China, for the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She ran the school for around 30 years.

During this time she made numerous trips back to the US and I found her name listed as one of 19 US Citizens on the passenger manifest of the Nippon Maru, which arrived in San Francisco from Yokohama, Japan on July 16, 1919.

Gertrude had a large collection of Chinese wall hangings and artifacts. I have some of the hangings, but most of her collection is now in the Villisca Public Library.

Bertha Marie Tyler

9-6-1879 to 12-7-1971 age 92

Aunt Bertha, taught school in Orient, Iowa, graduated from Simpson College in 1912 and received her Master’s in Education and Psychology from the State University of Iowa in Ames, Iowa. She was then a school principal in Orient, Iowa and the Superintendent of Schools in Orient, Iowa for 16 years.

From 1934-1938 Aunt Bertha lived in Little Rock, Arkansas where she was the Dean of Women and Professor of Education for Philander Smith College, a college established in 1877 for freed African-American Slaves and still in existence and thriving today. The school was supported by the Methodist Church.

I wrote to Philander Smith College and they sent me an electronic copy of the 1935-36 College Catalog, which lists Bertha as the Dean of Women and Professor of Education. It also shows that tuition was $27 per semester, room and board was $15 per month and laundry was $4 per year. Tuition is now $12,564 and board and room is $8,250.

In 1938, Frank P. Tyler, Gertrude and Bertha’s father was in ill health. Gertrude and Bertha, abandoned their fascinating careers and came back to Villisca to run The Tyler Ice And Coal Company and the family slaughter house, which fascinated a 9-year-old boy on summer vacation.

The ice plant consisted of a huge room with a saline solution where they froze water into 100 pound blocks of ice, which were then split into smaller blocks and delivered throughout Villisca, as everyone still had ice boxes after WW II. Another part of the ice plant consisted of lockers where people stored their frozen food until they were ready to use it. The predecessor to the ice plant was a pond where they cut ice in the winter, stored it in warehouses insulated with saw dust and sold the ice in the summer.

The slaughter-house was a few blocks a way and only a small building where a couple of cows and pigs were slaughtered each week. The animals were shot with a .22 rifle and hoisted up on a winch to bleed out before being cut up. Gertrude and Bertha made blood pudding out of the blood and used every part of the animals.

My genealogy research so far has been on the internet; but, the next step is to track Gertrude and Bertha on the ground; visiting actual sites in Villisca, Iowa, Indianola, Iowa, Orient, Iowa, Columbia University, Ames, Iowa and maybe even Sichuan, China. It will be my own Genealogy Road Show, but will be on-site.

Last summer, my wife and I tracked her paternal and maternal ancestors through upstate New York and had great luck with local libraries, historical societies and genealogical societies, not to mention court houses and cemeteries.

This was originally published in the Albuquerque Genealogical Society Quarterly (July 2018)

THINK OLD!


CHRISTIANIA – Is a 45 year old hippie community in Copenhagen on your bucket list?

In 1971 a bunch of homeless people (hippies) took possession of an abandoned military  base in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark and Freetown Christiania  was born.

A few years ago I visited Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark. It  has become one of the major tourist attractions in Copenhagen and home to about 600 people; and took me back to the 1960’s. Since 1971, Christiania has evolved and has become a co-op instead of a squatters’ habitat.

When I was there, there were signs warning about marijuana which was freely sold, although illegal; there were simple restaurants; there were all sorts of craft stands; and houses in various forms of construction. The organization was informal but in 2012 they voted on who could live there and had developed some form of ownership and property rights.

The hippies resisted all efforts by the government to remove them. They have entered into contracts for utilities and trash; and , have obtained not only the right to own the property, but have government  loans to finance the property.

The set-up is largely like a co-op with the existing residents voting on new residents and making the rules, such as they are.

It is located a 30 minute ride or a 45 minute walk from the Central Train Station. You might still get illegal marijuana with little apparent risk from the authorities, but there may now be internal restrictions. Times are changing and hippies are growing older. Maybe they should look to medical marijuana?

It is worth a visit; especially if you grew up in the 60’s and it is going strong today. I don’t know how many of the original squatters are still there, but they would probably be in their 60’s.

It may even give you a few ideas as you grow older; and, feel the need of a delayed alternative lifestyle.

For more pictures and reasons to visit Christiania, see : Buzzfeed

Google: Christiania for up-to-date information and “alternative tours.”

I can’t help but update this blog to show you the New York Times review of the restaurant NOMA  near Christiania.

A second update showing problems in Christiania is reported by The New York Times, even though it has become a major tourist attraction.

 

THINK OLD!

 


FERAL CAT OF ORANGE COUNTY! Finding a feral cat in your bathroom

 

Several weeks ago we went to visit a relative in Orange County, CA. We were supposed to go to Alpine, CA, but due to the fire situation, we ended up at their home in Orange.

A homeless family of feral cats had taken up residence outside their front gate;  a mother and two small kittens. By chance, they trapped the female  kitten in a fenced area next to the garage and adopted her. When we arrived, the kitten had disappeared. They had kept it in a closed second bathroom along with their washer and dryer. The cat was gone.

Using tuna as bait we hoped to entice the cat out of its hiding place. We thought she was behind the washer and dryer. The tuna was set out, and a string was tied to the washer/dryer closet door. The cat would come out, we would see the cat, jerk the string and prevent the cat from going back behind the washer/dryer. Nothing happened! For several hours we watched the door and held the string. Nothing.

We took a break, shut the bathroom door and a short time later, the tuna was gone.

Prior to our arrival, a four-foot cat cage had been delivered for the  cat. We took a break and put the cage together; not a simple task, but the feral kitten could not run free.

The cage being ready, we turned our attention back to the bathroom again. Nothing. No cat. No tuna.

We went to Best Buy and bought a wireless camera that could be hooked up to a cell phone. We placed the camera in the bathroom and aimed at the washer/dryer and another helping of tuna. After some time,  the cat appeared, ate the tuna and disappeared; but not in the direction of the washer/dryer.

We pointed the camera at the sink and toilet and set out another helping of tuna.

At 11:00 at night the cat came out, ate the tuna and disappeared behind the sink. We caught it on the cell phone. On checking the base of the sink, we discovered it was hollow and the kitten was hiding inside the base.

The kitten was moved to the cat cage and kept there except when it was being held. It is still feral – look at its eyes – even when it is being petted.

The mother and the brother are still waiting outside the house, but the sister is on the way  to domestication.

Since this was first written, the mother has given birth to 2 or 3 more kittens; more feral cats. The next step is to catch the mother and take her to the vet for a bit of surgery.

 

Makes one wonder about all the feral children that are being separated from their parents at the border. But maybe being kept in pens with dozens of other children is not the same thing….. Maybe I just imagine that I see the kitten we captured in those kids. It is amazing how much the cat cage looks like the cages for immigrant children being held near the border.

THINK OLD!

SOURCES:

Wireless Security Camera   https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lorex-indoor-4mp-wi-fi-security-camera-silver-black/5824309.p?skuId=5824309

Cat Playpen  https://www.chewy.com/midwest-collapsible-cat-playpen/dp/45740

Feral Cats https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_cat

Feral children https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_child


FISHERWOMEN IN ICELAND; THE SEA WOMEN EXHIBIT AT THE VIKIN MUSEUM!

Fisherwoman of Iceland!

Iceland has had some basic equal rights for women, by law, since June 13, 1720. The Sea Women’s exhibit at the Maritime Museum in Reykjavik celebrates the role of fisherwomen, who received equal pay as fisherwomen from 1720 to today.

The exhibit at the Vikin Maritime Museum located on the waterfront in Reykjavik, a short walk from the center of town.

The Vikin Maritime Museum has permanent and changing exhibits dealing with Iceland’s fishing history. The For Cod’s Sake exhibit traces Iceland’s fight with Great Britain over territorial waters; resulting in a win for Iceland and the extension of the territorial limit to 200 miles. The net result was that numerous British and Scottish long distance fishing companies went out of business.

This exhibit will lead you to other sites reflecting women’s rights in Iceland, a pioneer in the recognition of women’s equality.

The museum is open daily from 10 to 5 and is free if you are over 67; like many museums in Iceland.

Sources;

Iceland’s Forgotten Fisherwomen –  SAPIENS

Women at Sea

 

THINK OLD!


ELDER HINT # 1 – LIVE WELL AND HAVE SOMETHING TO HANG ON TO – Grab Bars

Old people are stupid! Including me. I think I am the same person I was 20 years ago, even though my daily visit to the  mirror tells me different. I think I can do the same things that I did 20 years ago, and that there will be no consequences. The worst thing is I think I am as competent and as smart as I was 20 years ago. WRONG!

Old people need hints to make life easier and more convenient, not to mention safer. The idea is not to live long, but to live well for as long as you can. Living in rehab is NOT living well. There are a few steps you can take. I will post them as I think of them and you can do with them as you please.

REMEMBER: Don’t focus on longevity, focus on living the best life that you can, while you can.

# 1 Grab Bar as Towel Rack

Why are grab bars important to old people?

Falls are one of the greatest causes of  a miserable life. Think about it:

  1. You are prone to falling after a certain age.
  2. Grab bars are usually only in the tub or shower. Towel racks are not changed out. Yet, if you get out of a tub, the first thing you will grab for is a towel rack. So, why not replace the towel rack with a grab bar. One time grabbing hold of your old towel rack will convince you. Look at your towel rack. It sort of hangs on to a couple of screws. How many times has it come apart when you tried to hang a towel on it?
  3. You usually don’t wear your alert button in the shower.
  4. You usually shower alone; unlike years ago, a dim memory, if you even remember. Consider showering with a friend – for your own well-being, but two old people trying not to fall gives rise to a whole new blog idea.
  5. The bottom of the tub or shower tends to be slippery, thanks to soap.
  6. If you fall:
    1. It may take hours, or days, to find you if you live alone; or if your spouse is of questionable competency.
    2. If you break something, it is a trip to the hospital; then to rehab; then to assisted living: then ……….
  7. Breaks are painful.
  8. You may have locked the bathroom door.
  9. You don’t have your cell phone handy; and, it is usually not charged. And, you may not be any good at using it.
  10. You will feel like a fool lying naked on the bathroom floor when the para-medics break down the door to get you; or, when a friend who hasn’t heard from you for a few days comes to check on you.

THINK OLD!

 

 

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TRAINS – RESTORING 2926 in ALBUQUERQUE – a geezerTrip

 

 

IMG_1935

IMG_1959

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Albuquerque, NM I visited the 2926 Restoration Project. The New Mexico Steam locomotive and Railroad Historical Society is restoring a steam engine that hit the tracks on May 17, 1944. It travelled 1,090,539 miles. It is being completely restored by volunteers and will be put back into service for excursions soon, we hope.

You can visit the restoration project on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1833 8th NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico. One of the members will give you a  tour and explain what the restoration.

It is close to Old Town and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

Try Cafe Azul for the best huevos rancheros with Hatch green chile – get the papitas, not the hash browns. BUT: the hot Hatch green chile may take you way out of your comfort zone. Remember you can always have it on the side.

 In September there is always the model railroad exhibit at the state Fair. If you like New Mexico trains,  ride the Amtrak, the Railrunner, and the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gage. At Christmas, take the Cumbres and Toltec through the snow.

Ride the RailRunner to Belen, NM  and visit the rail museum and Harvey House with The University of New Mexico Division of Continuing Education.

You can see a video showing the history and restoration of 2926 on You Tube.

THINK OLD!!

 


BIKE/WALKING PATHS IN ALBUQUERQUE!

Bike/walking path along Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, NM

Bike/walking path along Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, NM

100 yards from my home there is a walking/bike path, the Paseo del Bosque Trail, which runs for 18 miles without crossing a street. The asphalt part  has two lanes for bikes, runners and walkers. The gravel path next to it is ideal for walking. It is about 100 yards from the Rio Grande River and is the home of coyotes, owl, ducks, geese, beavers, and numerous birds.

It attracts balloons, bikers, walkers, runners, baby carriages and dogs on leashes. (A dog off the leash is a free lunch for a coyote, as are neighborhood chickens.)

A few miles down the path, you come to Tingley Beach where you can boat and fish. You also have the Albuquerque Zoo,  the Albuquerque Aquarium, and the Albuquerque Bio-park. Going in the other direction for a half a mile you come to the Nature Center and a small pond. There are walking paths leading to the Rio Grande River. There is limited access and no motor vehicles.

The Path joins other paths. There is now a  50 mile activity path circling the city. I have heard that there are also people starting to walk the entire 50 miles over a several day period; sort of civic pilgrimage route.

The Paseo del Bosque Trail is ideal for older people. You can walk, ride bikes or  push grandchildren. You can always meet a few people who you know if you are a regular. The open-space officers will point out nesting birds each spring; especially owls and hawks which are regulars. There are birders with their GPS devices locating various species of birds.

The balloons follow the path and the river; and sometimes land on  our street. They are a daily occurrence.

It is a valuable city asset.

THINK OLD!


ELDER TIP # 2 – AGING WELL REDUCED TO ITS ESSENCE!

The goal is to live well, not long. You want to feel good and be able to move. There are millions of things for sale and on the internet that claim to be able to help you live longer. Most of it is BS! This is what I think. It is not medical advice; however,  it is the basis for living well:

  1. EXERCISE: Walk, weights, yoga  or physical therapy. Anyone can do these things and all of them are cheap or free. Join Silver Sneakers.
  2. NON-PROCESSED FOOD: Michael Pollen has put it best: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
  3. SOCIAL LIFE: Get together with friends and family – at restaurants, at the senior center, at the library, or while exercising.. This will give you stimulus and more importantly will provide a safety net in the form of people who are aware of your existence and problems and  stimulus in the form of new ideas. Remember how the rocking chair on the front porch used to attract people walking by?
  4. FINANCIAL: The keys are to live within your means; have payments set up automatically; and, have a mentor who can advise about choices and scams.
  5. DANGER LISTS: Recognize your dangers: falls, hearing, eyesight, memory, household defects, driving, medical care, etc, and deal with them. We need a senior algorithm.
  6. PROJECTS: Have something to do; a hobby, volunteer, part-time job, etc. Most old people miss their job. Have something to take its place. Like a blog – geezer2go.com – even if it is silly.
  7. MEDICINES AND HEALTH PROBLEMS: Check your meds. Your pharmacist will give you a list of what you take. Do you really need all these medicine and how do they react with each other.

SIMPLIFY – live for wellness today; not for a long life in an institution.

THINK OLD!


EATING WELL, WHILE OLD, IN INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, FLORIDA

I am addicted to restaurants while travelling and since we spend a lot of time in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, I have three favorite restaurants, and a grocery store.

Crabby Bills: Every morning I walk a mile and a half down the beach to Crabby Bill’s, which has been family owned since its founding in 1983. The morning crowd consists of older patrons who are vacationing. or living, near the beach. It is a sports bar, restaurant and hang-out for the under 30 crowd the rest of the day and until 2:00 AM.

The All-American Breakfast is my choice, with 2 eggs, potatoes, crisp bacon and toast for $6.  Then it is a mile and a half walk back to the rented condo. In the evening, you can get the menu to go.

Guppy’s: A short walk and excellent food with daily specials; indoors or out. Great fish. The Grouper is expensive as it is over-fished. Small plates  and you can share. I get three sides; grilled octopus, spinach and Caesar Salad. Octopus is available thanks to the large Greek community. New Mexico restaurants tend not to serve octopus, so it is always a treat.

 

Chez Collette’s French Bistro:

A small French restaurant in the edge of Belair and next to Largo and Indian Rocks Beach. Run by a French couple, it is always good and one of our favorite stopping places each time we come.

 

The desert is great, especially if you can try three at once. Eat desert first, life is short.

 

The lamb shanks can’t be beat. Not always available but when they are, well worth ordering.

 

 

 

If you want to do your own thing with food prepared for you, take a look at Publix Grocery Stores which now have prepared meals that you cook. There is salmon, meatballs, etc. We tried chicken breasts with feta cheese and spinach and it was great. Cheaper than a restaurant meal and it can be eaten with a glass of wine on your rented condo balcony. The sunset over the Gulf of Mexico is better than any restaurant; and quieter.

THINK OLD!

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FINE ARTS MUSEUM OF ST. PETERSBURG FLORIDA – a creative source, especially if you are old!

I like museums, but not for the reasons you might think. I have spent 60 years going to museums and have been overwhelmed by the shear volume of items and my lack of ability to be selective in my  viewing. I have been to art museums, archeology museums,  and science museums. I have been to big museums and tiny museums.

Museums have become a blur; they are useful, however; especially if you are studying something –  you can see how in idea or a concept developed over time. You can get new ideas and make new connections to old idea; which is especially rewarding to an old person.

These days, I go to museums with altered goals. I am interested in the creative side of museums and the ways in which they present new ideas and spark creativity and imagination. I am interested in new connections to my distant past. I  like large international museums because they have great cafes and almost always serve local wine. In fact, I usually start with the cafe.

Our recent trip to Indian Rocks Beach led us to the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida. It has all the art basics; a chronology from various schools with representative samples; including two Georgia O’Keeffe’s, which I appreciated, coming from New Mexico.

First, the Cafe . It is simple,  pleasant, and worthy of the museum. It is located in the entrance hall and the food is great. With our menus, we received a plate of scones. They were so good, we asked if we could order some to take with us. We received an additional free plate of 5 scones, three of which we took with us.

Scones at the museum.

The menu gave us a variety of choices and allowed us to share a plate; a requirement for couples of our age.

Since I had a Bank of America credit card, my entry into the museum was free; next time, I will have my wife bring her card, so we can both get in free. Old people are cheap, even when they don’t have to be. Bank of America Credit Cards give free access to about 150 museums the first week of the month  through its Museums on Us program.

Once inside, I did a quick run through, checked out the Georgia O’Keeffes and then went looking for the special exhibits, which I found more interesting and which touched some dormant part of my imagination.

The first was Selfies which was a collection of self photographs that preceded cell phones. Interesting.

The exhibit that got my attention was outside the museum, where Haider Ali, an artist from Pakistan, was painting a Prius. The exhibit,   Live car painting by Haider Ali, reminded me of Espanola, NM where the City Council recently declared Espanola as  the “Lowrider Capitol of the World.”

Prius by Haider Ali

Having gone through Espanola many times, and having been amazed at how stock cars could be modified and painted, I was surprised to find an artist from Pakistan painting a Prius in St. Petersburg, Florida. My first thought was that he should go to Espanola, some Sunday.

Finally, there were signs on lawn. An interesting idea that could be copied anywhere. Intriguing, because the only part that required skill, was coming up with the idea; everything else was done by volunteers.

Lawn signs.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, for all the wrong reasons, but which gave me something to take away.

THINK OLD!