My Scottish/Irish Roots

My dad’s side of my family came from Ireland and Scotland, so I have roots there!  This is a picture of my great-grandparents, William and Jane (Ramsey) Williamson, and their son, Andrew Stuart Williamson. William & Jennie Williamson (2) Actually, this picture was taken after they came to America. Andrew was born in Seaford, Delaware. He, eventually, became my grandfather! But going back further we can find out a little more about William and Jane in Ireland.

William’s family lived in Scotland where he was born in 1817. The family moved to Ireland while William was still a boy. They settled in or near Belfast. William became a baker.

Jane Ramsey was born in 1827 in or near Belfast. William and Jane met and were married in 1850. They had a baby girl, Mabel. I have no dates for Mabel, but she lived only a short time and was buried in a cemetery somewhere around Belfast.

The ‘great potato famine’ hit Ireland and hundreds of families left to make new lives in America. Heartbroken, William and Jane left Mabel in her grave and in 1864 boarded a ship for America. They lived first in Seaford, Delaware, where Jane gave birth to their second baby, Andrew Stewart, on September 22, 1865. When Andrew was a year old they made their way west to Iowa, where other family members had settled. William and Jane had two more children, William and Jenny.

William and Jane had moved from Iowa to Nebraska. Jane died and was buried in Bayard, Nebraska. Jane Ramsey Williamson (2)

William returned to Iowa and died in 1902. Grave of William Williamson (2)

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Andrew grew up and married Rose Williams. They had seven children. Six children are pictured here with Rose and Andrew. Bessie, Floyd, Eva, Claude, Rose, Roy, Andrew, and Louis.

Scan_Pic0032Scan_Pic0108                                                    One more son joined the family on December 22, 1909.                                                         The youngest, Glen Edgar, shown here, became my father! So there, you now have a short version of my Scottish/Irish roots!

 

Ring…Ring…Hello?

Telephone. A luxury I’ve had for most of my life. Telephones have come a long way! Let me begin by retelling my dad’s exciting telephone experience.

Dad was born in 1909. His family had their first telephone. They were on a party line, of course. The number of rings had to be counted to know when an incoming call was for them! I don’t know how many rings meant a call for them.

Eight long rings meant important news was being broadcast across the party line!               In 1918 good news came across the wires telling families World War I had ended!

July 5, 1919, there came eight lon-n-ng rings again! This time to tell everyone to look in the sky, south. There my dad and others in the family had their first sighting of an airplane, just a tiny speck, moving steadily along!

Dad’s sister, Bessie, was seventeen years older than Dad! She went to school through eighth grade, then she got a job as a telephone operator until her marriage to her young boyfriend, Earnie!  619px-texasrichardson_telephoneexchangeoperator-2 This isn’t a picture of Aunt Bessie but I imagine she looked something like this on the job!

An early telephone.antique-telephone-1-2

The first telephone below was in the farmhouse where my mother grew up in northern Iowa! It is now in my brother’s kitchen. The board on the box at the bottom has been replaced, as you can see. But my mother remembered the phone well from when she was just a girl. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   momonoldtelephone3-16-08   This is Mother, in her old age, pretending like she listening to someone on the phone of her youth!antique-telephone-in-georgia-2  This phone is in the history building in Winder, Georgia! I was given permission to post it here.

When I was a little girl, we had a phone most of the time. When Dad was a pastor, he needed a phone. Many emergency calls came to him. Black phone (2)  Some years he traveled and my parents couldn’t afford a telephone!

Jerry and I were married in 1959. We had a phone like the one in this latest picture. It started out being a party line with eight people on our line. It was very soon cut down to four people…then later, two people. We were very conservative. Long distance calls were made very seldom. Of course, when we had a new baby, calls were made to spread the news!  I’ll never forget the day Jerry told me, in the early 70’s, that I should start calling my parents once a month and have a nice visit with them! So I did! Black phone (2)  In the eighties, we finally got a private line! It was wonderful! Calling became normal and usual. With five children, how could it not!

I was hired by the school system to call the substitute teachers for the secondary schools in our city. A new private phone was installed in my kitchen! Blue telephone  It was very similar to this one! Yes, I picked out a blue one to go with my kitchen! The big difference of this picture is that my new school phone had push button numbers instead of a dial! I loved it. But, it was for school calls and paid for by the school system so our family still used the old black phone, most of the time. There were exceptions!

When we built our new log home twenty years ago in 1997 we bought a new phone with an answering machine! Oh yes! I wish I had a picture of it! We didn’t have to miss any messages! We also bought an old looking phone and hung on the wall in the kitchen. It worked but, of course, not anymore. new-old-phone-2  Now it just looks old-fashioned!

All this to bring us to today! Of course, businesses still have telephones and a few people still have a land line with a phone connected.

We don’t. We have our cell phones. But even so we’re not up-to-date! Jerry still has his flip-phone! jerry-on-phone-2 He says it works fine. I have my iphone. img_0052-4  What a difference in telephones today! I have instant access with anyone anywhere! I can text or message or talk at any hour of the day or night. My daughter, in Ireland, and I message or talk to each other whenever we want to! It sounds like she’s next door! I have friends all over the world and it’s wonderful to be in contact with them! My phone gives me the weather anywhere in the world, instantly! International and national news comes over my iphone! Pictures? My phone has a camera and I can even edit my pictures before I post them! I carry my phone with me all the time. I charge it at night while I’m sleeping.

This morning one of my sons called so we facetimed! That means we are both on a camera so we could see each other as we talked! Wonderful!

But back in about the seventies, a prediction was made that in the future we’d be able to talk on our phones–live! Oh, no, I thought! What if my house was messy! What if I looked bad, like I wasn’t dressed up! My hair might be a mess! I thought it was a bad idea! But the prediction came true and I love it! I love facetiming with my grandchildren and my children and even friends!

Yes, the telephone has come a long way from when it was first invented! But we still answer with “Hello?”

 

 

 

 

Jerry and His Toys

Jerry, like all men, has had his toys! I’ll start here in the very early 50’s! He was a teenager and didn’t like mowing the grass any better than the other boys. So he got to work and made himself a riding lawn mower! No one had riding mowers back then! jerry-mowing-lawn-rider-late-40s-2When we were young, if you wanted something, you either made it or you saved your money and bought it with cash!                                                                                                                  A few years later, at the lake, he saw folks waterskiing! He could do that…he knew he could, if he just had a boat! So…he worked and saved his money

jerry-boat-1955-2 Here is Jerry with his boat he saved for! He became a very good skier and had a great time with his friends! Years later, he taught all five of our children and even some of their friends to waterski!boat-jerry-1980-2 This is at Wixom Lake, north of Midland.  In about the middle 70’s he bought this nice boat so our children could learn to waterski. Jerry is standing in the boat, Tim is sitting, and Robby is in the water, wanting to climb into the boat! I can’t, for the life of me, think who the girl is! We spent many fun hours at Wixom Lake, Higgons Lake, Lake Margarite, and a few others! All five of our children became very good water skiers!    Just…not me!

One day, in the early 2000’s, our son, Ted, called Jerry on the phone. He had the chance to buy a ’69 MG B, but with his young family, he just couldn’t buy it! The price was right! Would Dad like to buy it? It’s the first and only time Jerry ever bought anything without looking it over and driving it, first! Yes, he bought the MG sight unseen! IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF

He loved his little MG! He still has it but he doesn’t drive it anymore.

Jerry bought this Wheel Horse tractor about 35 years ago! He still uses it today but only for plowing, mainly snow or sometimes dirt. He used to mow our grass with it but now it’s too much work to take the plow off and put the mower on, then later, take the mower off and put the plow back on. It’s a big job.  I bought a trailer for the Wheel Horse one year and gave it to Jerry for Christmas. I hid it in the neighbor’s garage and Jerry had to find it! He still has the trailer, too. This is what he plows the snow with in winter. Although now, our good neighbor plows our snow with his truck and all he wants for pay, is a pie from me!

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So he bought his new John Deere for mowing!

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Jerry on his new John Deere

Jerry loves his John Deere tractor!

Life keeps moving on! The years have taken their toll! He can’t play or work like he used to! But mowing with his John Deere is something he can do and he does.

Life has been good! Jerry has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He loves God first, then me, and then our five children.

 

 

 

New, Old Flower Bed

I love flowers. But, living in the woods isn’t a good place for growing flowers. I’ve tried and tried and have had only a little success.

I also love antiques. We have lots. The ones that mean the most are ones that have been in my family from years and years ago.

One of our antiques is an old double bed frame. It’s been in the family for years and years! In fact, Jerry slept in it in his growing up years.Now, what does a person do with an old iron bed frame? It’s been hanging in our pole barn for years.

Somewhere, in our travels, we saw a ‘flower bed’ or ‘bed of flowers’ in a yard! It was an old iron bed frame with flowers blooming inside!

So that’s where the idea came to us. Last fall Jerry and I worked hard making a flower bed inside the frame of our old iron bed frame! IMG_1495  It used to be black, we painted it brown.

It’s still not what I want it to be yet, but we have had flowers blooming in it this summer! Flowerbed 2 (2)  Flowerbed 1 (3) In the right-hand corner, I have a lonely, little, red Petunia.  Actually, I planted Petunias all along there but most of them didn’t make it.  IMG_2208 (2)  This is a close-up of an Oriental Lily.

I’ll have Dahlia’s blooming early this fall. So there you have it!

 

A Drink of Water

 

I answered a knock on our door. A stranger stood there, a young woman, dressed as a person trying to find her way in life, looking tired, disheveled, and frustrated. “Hi,” I said with a question mark. She had dyed her hair a couple of different shades of red or pink or both. It was tied in  sort of a ponytail but it really wasn’t long enough! I don’t know how to describe her pants. They were black, tight, mainly with holes! Her black shirt was long and rather tight.

She began talking fast. “My phone is dead. I’m trying to find my boyfriend’s house. Can I charge my phone?”

Before I even answered I thought of the electrical outlet on our porch! “Sure you can, we have an outlet right over here.” I quickly moved the old antique buggy parked, covering the outlet. “Plug it in right here.”

She explained her boyfriend lived on this same road but she didn’t know where. She needed his house number. “What’s your house number?” She was very nervous. “Could I have a drink of water?” she blurted out.

“Sure,” I answered. “Do you want ice in it?” She nodded. I went in to get her a paper cup of ice water. But when I got to the kitchen I reached for a glass and filled it with ice cubes and water. A Drink of Water close up

She gladly accepted it. I suggested she sit on our swing. She seemed to relax a little bit. I didn’t see a car so I asked how she got here. “On my bike!” she replied.  Sure enough, there sat a bike in our driveway.

I asked if she’d like to call her boyfriend on my phone. She finally reached him and he gave her his house number. It was about a half mile east of our house. As she walked to her bike she thanked me for helping her out and then said, “My boyfriend is the father of the  unborn baby I’m carrying!”

I watched as she rode her bike down our long driveway to the road. I had so many questions. How far had she ridden her bike? How far along was her pregnancy? Did she ride out here from town, a distance of about five miles? Or did she also live in the country? How did she pick our house to ask for help? Did her boyfriend already know about the baby or was she meeting him to tell him?

Jerry and I had a lot to think about and talk about that evening. We had so many unanswered questions. We were so glad I was able to help her out in even just a small way.

Then we began to get some negative thoughts. What if we were being staked out for them to return during the night? No. This couldn’t be. She was too sweet! She just needed help. I don’t even know her name! I don’t know her boy friend’s name, even though he’s a neighbor of ours!

She is a person created by God. She was mysteriously brought to our door. She and her boyfriend and the tiny baby are being added to my prayer list. God knows their names! God loves them!

 

 

What Can We Do?

When grandchildren come to visit. What shall we do? We went to the Hall of Ideas at the Center for the Arts. It was closed! So we went to the Tridge and hiked along the river.  On the way home we stopped for ice cream.

 

But what to do today?

Our neighbor kids are still in school, so the days are long. Today I remembered my nephew, Ruhl, has an archery center. So we went there and will go back on Friday! They loved it!

They both learned quickly and did well! Ruhl had a pink bow for Maddie! Then after practicing with those, Ruhl brought out the compound bows! They did well! Mason has a good eye and hit the bull’s eye almost every time! They both have sore arms now!!! So they can heal tomorrow and Friday we’ll go back. Thanks, Ruhl, for a great afternoon!

So, now I have another option of what to do with grandchildren when they come to visit!!!

Living in the Big Woods, Part 1

During all of my growing up years, I lived in both small towns and large cities. We moved a lot. I lived in Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana and South Dakota. I’ve lived in Michigan now for 58 years.

For all but the first five years of my married life, I’ve lived in the woods! For 19 years I’ve lived in the woods where my husband and I live now. Ah, living in the county and in a woods can be and is so exciting!

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Our log home

We have all kinds of wild life, which we love, so I’ll try to write about them here. We have deer, raccoon’s,  opossum’s,  turkeys, coyote’s, foxes, lynx, rabbit’s, owl’s, eagles, hawks, all kinds of birds, squirrels, snakes, bears (?) and more!

I’ll start with the bear! I was sitting upstairs in our loft, in my lazy-boy recliner, with the window wide open. It was late, I was getting very sleepy and was about to go to bed. But suddenly I heard loud growling, groaning and moaning, mumbling and plundering through the woods! The motion light turned on but I couldn’t see what the animal was. The next night, the same sounding animal went through, but the motion light didn’t turn on. Whatever it was it was good-sized, not like a raccoon or other small animal! Then Jerry noticed a tree near the pole barn that had some branches broken and hanging. It looked like an animal had climbed the tree and was too heavy for the light branches. A bear could have caused that! A couple of days later we saw a picture, in the newspaper, of a bear lying in a ditch… dead, only about two miles from where we live! Could that have been our bear? Another consideration was a wild boar. They’ve been known to be around our area.

I’ll write about our turkeys next. My parents came to visit us from Washington state in September of 1998. They wanted to see our new log home. They would be here for a full week and I was a little concerned with how to entertain them! No worry! Every day, between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, 14 wild turkeys came marching through the woods, up our long driveway! There were three hens and 11 young ones. I called the young ones teenagers because they were big enough to fly into the trees at night. They would wander around our yard, especially under the bird feeders, eating whatever they found, that they liked. Then between seven and seven-thirty PM they flew up into some trees, right beside our house, to roost for the night! My parents were entertained every day!

Sometimes they flew onto the roof of our house. One evening I was upstairs and could hear the turkeys on the roof. I looked up through the sky light. Oh my goodness, a turkey was staring down at me!

Early in the mornings we could hear the gobble, gobble, gobble as they woke up, flew down and went on their way!

The next year a few turkeys came to roost in our trees but not as many. Now days we have a few who come to find food but they don’t stay long and they don’t roost in our trees!

I think my favorite wild animals to visit us are the deer. We’ve had many, many deer come wandering into our yard. They are so quiet I often just happened to see them when I glanced out the window and there they’d be! I would stop whatever I was doing just to watch them. Such beautiful creatures standing quietly, eating leaves off the trees. Sometimes just one, or sometimes several deer would be here. What I loved the most was springtime when a doe would come into the yard with a fawn, or two! It was a thrill to watch them nursing from their mother.

One day our grandson, Armon, came running, “Gramdma, Grandma, you’ve got to come quickly! A baby deer is by the pond! It was just born!” We went running to the pond and sure enough, except there were two fawns!

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Twin Fawns

Twin fawns born beside our pond! It’s kind of hard to make out the second one. We were all so excited! A little while later I went back out by myself to take a better picture…they were gone! The mother must have been watching us and when we left, decided to move them to a safer place, one that we didn’t know about! Several times, as they were growing, they came into our yard by our house. It was so fun to watch them running and skipping about! Sometimes we got to watch them stop for a little nourishment from their momma!

I’ve seen several deer sleep in our woods by our house! It’s very exciting to me to see them before they get up for the day!

Well, more stories another day! Good night!