"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

June Books

July is upon us! What a year so far!

Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris -- a decent story about several young people during World War II - it actually had about 4 main characters - Liz who was asked to write a letter for Betty who ended up joining the WAC; Morgan who went to war with his brother Charlie, and Julia who was torn between an internship and marriage.  Not my favorite story, but parts of it were interesting if not a bit predictable.

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline -- I think I've now read all of the fiction books that this author has written. My library had them all. In this one, Jill Farrow, a pediatrician, is involved with her former stepdaughter's father's death. The former stepdaughter thinks her dad was murdered, but Jill is skeptical. Abby asks Jill for help which causes Jill to delve into her ex's life, and it's pretty exciting. Good, fast-paced book.

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon -- an interesting story about Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, the New Zealand born, Australian woman who worked with the French Resistance during World War II.  Good book; fascinating leader!

The Split by Sharon Bolton -- I enjoyed learning a bit about ice (glaciers) as part of this story takes place on South Georgia, where Felicity Lloyd has taken a two year assignment with hopes that her ex-husband, Freddie, won't find her in that remote Antarctic island. The other part of the story takes place "nine months prior" to the earlier chapters when Felicity is attending therapy sessions with her therapist Joe, back home in Cambridge. Pretty good story; a bit different.

The Most Dangerous Things by Laura Lippman -- five neighborhood children in Baltimore had fun together for a short time in their youth, but then something happened that no one wants to talk about. This book is a mix of voices from the children (now adults), their parents, and flashbacks to what happened that summer when everything changed.

You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer -- Alexis and Tommy head to Destin, Florida, with their daughter CeCe soon after Tommy's cancer diagnosis. He wants to spend his last summer in the place where he grew up, and where he met Lexie all those years ago. I knew this would be a sad book from the get go as it addressed two of my biggest fears in life: letting go of a beloved parent and partner in life. Pretty good book.

(So, I recorded this book last night - June 14 - and woke up to shocking news that a high school acquaintance/Facebook friend died yesterday. He had had surgery recently due to his Crohn's disease, but he posted a few days ago that after 14.5 days, he was headed home. He was so excited to see his 8 year old daughter and wife again. He had mentioned his daughter really missing him. And now he's dead and Lacy is without her father in her life and Jennifer is widowed. I have cried off and on all morning. Tommy wasn't a close friend, but he was well-liked and caring and I enjoyed his Facebook posts. My sister and her family went to church with him all these years, and he was always cheering on the church kids. In recent years he'd even taken on the role of getting the Christmas program planned since the older lady who had done that for years wanted to step down. He was the librarian at a local public high school in the "bad" part of town, but you never heard those words from him. He loved his "kids" there and like most of the rest of us, hated that this school year ended without proper goodbyes and rites of passage. He will surely be missed in so many places: home, church, school, community.)

Unyielding Hope by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan -- Lillian Walsh is preparing to follow her father to Wales after the death of her mother, but she gets sidetracked when a solicitor tells her that her birth parents' estate needs to be settled - and that her sister whom Lilly thought dead for years is alive! After tracking down Grace, the sisters help children who had been taken from England to Canada, and had less-than-ideal experiences with those who were supposed to make these children, family.  A decent story.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate -- an ok book about a formerly enslaved woman Hannie who ends up following her former mistresses' daughter and their adventures. That part was OK. I liked the modern part with Benedetta's struggles to teach her students in a low-income area of Louisiana, and how the past and the present(ish) came together. Not my favorite of hers, but good enough to keep me reading to the end.

Being Known by Robin Jones Gunn -- book 2 in the Haven Makers Series; this one focused more on Jennalyn, mother of 2 young children, whose husband Joel is super-busy with his restaurant. An easy read; good reminder of the importance of friendships.

The Queen's Secret by Karen Harper -- "A Novel of England's World War II Queen" ; I enjoyed learning more about Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, later the Queen Mum, in this book.  I'm not so sure about the secret part, but learning more about the royals in this way was pretty good.

Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks -- I've read a couple others of her books about the elderly Jane Prescott, former ladies maid who saw things and solved mysteries in her younger years. This one took place when Rutherford's Department Store was getting ready for its yearly Miss Rutherford's pageant (thus the American beauty part of the title.) These are easy reads, and pretty cute books.

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby -- I wasn't sure I'd finish this book by the end of the month, but I did with a few hours to spare! This book focused on Jane Austen's sister, Cassandra, though Jane was featured as Cassandra reflected on their years together. Pretty good story. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

May Books

Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg -- I think Amazon recommended this book "how a Jewish perspective can transform your understanding" based on things I've looked up in the past, and I put it on my Wishlist and got this book for Christmas. I enjoyed some chapters very much; "Painting in Hebrew," and "Greek Brain, Hebrew Brain" and the two or three after that were my favorites.

Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France by Karen Wheeler -- I read book one from this lady and enjoyed it more than I thought I would so I put two more books by her on my Amazon Wishlist and got this for my birthday. It was interesting to read more about this Englishwoman's life in a small village in rural France, the friends she makes, the people she meets, the line dancing she ends up practicing with folks she meets there, and her life with Biff, the dog, and dealing with her super-loud Portuguese neighbors.

Smokescreen by Iris Johansen -- this is a book my mom checked out before the library closed for covid-19, and I don't think she ended up reading it, but I did. It was ok, nothing great. Eve agrees to go to Africa in a ruse to reconstruct skeletons of children who were murdered in a massacre near the Congo. Once she gets there, the real reason that Jill and Novak wanted her there is made known. Will she stick around to help despite the trickery? Not my favorite "thriller."   (And, yay, the library announced on Facebook today (May 6) that they will restart curbside pickup of books on Monday, May 11!)

The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman -- finally I read book 1 in this midwife series because I got this for my birthday; great story introducing us to Patience Murphy and her background. I enjoy these books!

Tout Soul by Karen Wheeler -- This book starts with Karen rushing back to her small village in France to meet up with her boyfriend (introduced in book 2) only to find things have changed. In this third book which is "the pursuit of happiness in rural France," we learn more about this Englishwoman's life as an expat. Fairly entertaining if you like reading this sort of thing...and since I read books 1 and 2, I'm glad I went ahead and got this one as well.

My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry -- I've read a couple books by this author that my library had, but they didn't have this one so I got it for my birthday. It was a pretty good story about Lily and Ed in England, and their neighbor Carla, the 9 year old who struggles in school since she's different (she's Italian and the kids bully her.)  Later in life Carla comes back into their lives and what a tale that turns out to be. When the book starts, Lily is headed to prison to represent a convict who is appealing his sentence (of murdering his girlfriend by pushing her into scalding bath water when she was drunk.)

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- the library is back open for curbside pick up and this was a book that was waiting for me from a few weeks ago when I put it on hold. I accidentally read book 3 before this one, and I didn't really enjoy book 3 very much because there was stuff that didn't make sense. I hesitated to read this one, but I actually enjoyed it and now wish I'd read the books in order. Anyway, this Amish community helps the local foster children by taking in some older children for a couple months. I know several foster families so this one was a good read.

Assad Or We Burn the Country by Sam Dagher -- "How one family's lust for power destroyed Syria." This book was recommended by Bridget and her mom, and I got it for my birthday, started it that day, and finished it today (May 14). Interesting tale of the Assads and the Syrian conflict in the last few years, and some of the history of the family as they rose to power.  I wish so much that this book ended with Bashar and Asma's demise. God willing, one day.

A Long Way From Home by Connie Briscoe -- A story about enslaved women (mostly) on the James Madison plantation and later as Susan is sold to another house in Richmond, Virginia. An interesting story through the eyes of enslaved women.

The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman -- Usually her books take place around the Great Depression era, and I thought this was part of that series. Instead it's a modern book about a nurse-midwife who leaves her practice and disappears onto a small Canadian island and takes on another identity. I didn't like this book as much as her others, but it was still good.

No Rest For the Dead by 26 authors -- I ordered this book from the library thinking it was one of the two Lisa Scottoline books I had left to read. Instead I found out it's a book by 26 authors each one writing a short chapter or two in this mystery concerning a lady who some say was wrongly executed 12 years prior. The lead detective is among those thinking an innocent lady was put to death. An OK story; pretty good, but not the best. 

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon -- Mariella travels to Crimea in search of her cousin Rosa, who left to nurse British soldiers wounded in the conflict. A pretty good story.

The Moonshiner's Daughter by Donna Everhart -- Jessie Sasser's mom died in a moonshine accident when Jessie was 4. Jessie grows to resent the family business, but she's at odds with her dad, brother, aunt, uncle, and cousin who all get the good things "shine" money brings to the family. Pretty good story.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler -- this was an easy read which I read in a couple of hours; it's about the Tech Hermit, Micah Mortimer, who is visited by his college girlfriend's son and his woman friend faces eviction. Micah is used to routine and these things disturb his routine. Rather cute, simple story. Reminds me of similar stories written in recent years about people on the autism spectrum.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout -- at first I was confused about this book as it seemed disjoined, but when I finally read that it was a collection of short stories, it made a bit more sense. I do like how it portrays Olive as "ferocious and complicated and kindly and sometimes cruel. In essence, [she is] a little bit of each of us," according to the author in the last pages of this book (see author interview, pg. 276).

The Secret Orphan by Glynis Peters -- this book started out rather well, but fell apart for me in places. I struggled with Elenor being with her aunt, housekeeper Victoria and her odd husband "for years" in a couple places in the book, yet Elenor later was back on her farm fixing to turn 20 when she'd just turned 19 while living with her aunt. Also, I felt like the end was just the author couldn't figure out how to end things so it all wrapped up in a few pages. Which is OK, I guess as I was ready for the book to end. It wasn't a bad book; it just could have been better.

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones -- Emily is thrilled to meet Adam and within months they find a flat together. Unfortunately as Emily and Adam plan their wedding, Adam's mom, Pammie, makes things very difficult. Why does Pammie dislike Emily so badly? A pretty good thriller.

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout -- another Olive book, and I'm glad I read her earlier one to see who Olive was. This is like a sequel to her other book, but written over a decade later. I grew to really like (and somewhat understand) Olive in the first book, and this book was similar in style. I also noticed some characters from other books by this author (the Burgess siblings, Isabelle and Amy) which was kind of neat. One chapter of this book had me like "eh," and then other chapters had me crying as a lady struggles with cancer treatments and Olive deals with getting older and missing folks.

Have You Seen Me by Kate White - before the library shutdown, I had put a bunch of their new books on hold online, and this is one of the first from that batch that finally came through. Several others are still On Order. I picked up this suspenseful book the other day and decided to read it first since it's new and others might want to read it. It was a good, fast read, and I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of it. Ally is shocked to realize she walked into her old workplace thinking she was back from vacation or somewhere, but she'd not worked there in five years. Come to find out, she can't remember a couple days of the last week, and she wonders what caused her to disassociate with her life: did she have an argument with her husband? And was that bad enough to cause this? Did she witness something horrific? Even worse, did she do something terrible?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Book from Bill

My dad knew he had a book that his Air Force friend Bill gave him when the two were leaving the base where they had become friends. In this book is the most thoughtful inscription. I typed it up because it's hard to read these pictures, and I wanted to keep the words in memory of William H. Zahrndt, my dad's friend.

To David B. Fuqua, a unique and exemplary man in every way, as a token of my esteem, I give this book to you and the very act of giving it becomes a salutation for all that you are.

Never in the Air Force or in civilian life have I met one with such admirable qualities and traits which I, frail human that I am, have tried and failed to achieve. You are living proof that the goals I sought can be attained.

Thus, knowing you has served, in a rather unorthodox manner, as an inspiration to me.

(continued on back flyleaf)

While some may show scorn or derision for your dedicated and sometimes ascetic manner, I can only praise you for it.

All your admirable qualities, e.g., your incurable optimism, your patient and understanding manner,  your staunch resistance to worldly temptations and all the other outstanding traits with which your Creator has so richly endowed you, these I can only stand by and admire and, yes, perhaps even envy. But be that as it may, my only words of advice to you is to persevere and not be influenced by the ways of the crowd.

Knowing you has been a pleasure, an honor and yes, a privilege. May you continue to walk with God throughout your life; and most of all, as we have helped each other, may God help us both to attain the faith "to move mountains" and overcome the world as Christ did on the Cross.

Your war-ravaged
life-weary pal,

Friday, May 1, 2020

Selfies and USAF pics

Yesterday was my birthday, and I was a bit sad about not having Michael or Zach and Sophie around to take selfies with me as we've done occasionally in past years (not every year, but some.) I was walking around the property behind our house which belongs to Andrew's parents who live beside us, and enjoyed seeing these clouds from the west. They later gave us a half inch of rain, and we'd already had nearly 2 inches earlier in the day (thankfully, most of it in the wee morning hours so it didn't make the whole day rainy.)

I was in a bit of a silly mood and decided if the kids weren't around for pictures, I'd take some with the horse. Only I'm not really brave around animals so I wouldn't get super-close to Skip in case he decided to bite me. I did manage a couple, and was so amused by this one that I doctored it up with text and graphics, and shared it on my Facebook story.

When you hit the fire on your phone, it kind of sparked like you were getting burned which I thought was cute.

Thankfully, Sophie and Zach did call later, and Sophie stuck around for about 40 minutes of Messenger games and these: 

It was a joy to hang out with her! I miss taking her places and watching her interact with all the "best friends" she makes at parks and museums. 

I was visiting my parents today, and my dad showed me this picture of his Air Force friend from when Bill was back home in South Dakota after their military days. He's the one I mentioned a few posts ago. I took a close-up of the small picture in order to focus on Bill.

I also saw this newspaper clipping of my dad which I wanted to save and compare to the yearbook picture I found at Ancestry earlier this week.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sorting Finds and Gadets

Earlier this year I went to my parents' house several times, and we enjoyed sorting through old pictures they had collected over the years. Included were several files that my grandmother had kept, and I found letters my mom had written her parents and siblings while she attended boarding school 600 miles from them.

This Valentine included a tiny picture of her, and she sent it home to her parents and little brother. (The two boys born after her were at boarding school with her at this point. She's the oldest of 4.) The picture is about the size of a fat thumb, and the valentine says something about "be my Valentine." I thought it was a cute especially seeing my mom's photo on it.

I sorted many things at my parents' house into piles for each of my siblings, but I took a lot home with me to sort as well.

Something for Daniel's pile. He was a huge Hulk fan back in the day. This looks to be Hulk and David Banner. See how, ahem, muscular the Hulk is? 

For awhile my upstairs had little piles like this where I sorted things into Pictures of Mema, Pictures of Mama, Pictures of Me, on and on.  I had Papers about Mema and Pop, Papers about Pop's Parents, Letters from Momzi, and so forth. I even had smaller piles of pictures to send my uncles or cousins. Even some extended family got fun mail because Momzi (my great-grandmother) often mentioned her children and grandchildren so my mom's cousins greatly enjoyed letters from loved ones gone way too soon.

Among all this stuff, I found this cute letter from my mom's youngest brother:

Here is her brother playing with some cousins in South Carolina. The family liked this when I posted it on Facebook a couple months ago.

And, of course, the Mystery Lady who was among my grandmother's pictures. I wonder if she is an aunt. My sister pointed out how much like HER this aunt looks...different hair, but I can totally see that! Even Will and Michael said, "is that you?" when shown this picture!

I found this cute picture of me and Pop.

And here is a picture of my dad's family with my dad looking disgruntled for sure!

My brother started going through old video tapes, and recorded parts of them on his phone, and then shared snippets with our immediate family on Messenger. We had some good laughs at those. His doing that prompted me to find a cassette tape Daniel and I made over two decades ago on a stereo-system my dad had at the time. I remember it had a way to record our voices and then we'd play the tape and record our voices again, and again, and again. Each time we did a different part...and we're not all that great, but it was fun playing this final recording and hearing something that sounded like at least 6 people were singing, but NO, it was just us!   I'm not sure this will upload and play correctly, but here is a bit of that.

I took the video on my phone, and I videoed the stereo that was playing this cassette so ... 

By contrast, my mom and her dad used to sing together in church, and while I'm not in love with how super-high this song (chorus part) is for my mom, I love hearing her and Pop singing here!  He was such a joyful person; the world definitely needs more folks like him in this oft-gloomy world!

My mom was 20, and her dad was 45. She actually was not married at this time so the Fuqua is not correct for the time of the recording, but is for when it was labeled and emailed to her (which was sometime in the last couple of years).  And she used to sing at this church for years after she was married, and, thus, a Fuqua so, there's that.

Speaking of gadgets - 'cause I kind of was with talk of stereos, right? -, I downloaded Zoom for Andrew the other night because the church youth leaders were wanting to hang out since they'd not seen each other in a few weeks. Andrew normally loves being with these people, but quite honestly, Zoom was a bit overwhelming for him.

He said he much prefers in-person visits with these dear folks!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April Books

I don't think I'll finish another book before the end of the month so here are the books I finished in April. Kind of hard to believe we are finishing another month of 2020. What a year!

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones -- I enjoyed this fast-pace, easy-to-read book about best friends Alice and Beth with their questionable relationships. It was a nice read while I'm also plodding through a thick non-fiction book.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson -- When Ted and Lily happen to meet in an airport bar, Ted reveals that his wife has been cheating on him, and he'd really like to kill her. Surprisingly, Lily offers to help him do that. What?! An exciting - if not, different - tale of a sordid cast of characters. What a world!

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg -- I saw this book last October when we were at a Barnes & Noble in Myrtle Beach. I often jot down interesting-looking books to see if my library system has them. This one was rather large, so when the library was getting ready to close for the coronavirus, I decided to tackle it during this time. Class has been with us from the beginning with England sending over its undesirables and often those who were forced to work off debts. It's only continued over the years. This book acknowledges this fact, and, well, it was a pretty interesting read (especially if you break it up with some fast-paced fiction.)

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson -- This book was OK, I didn't really love the main character's back and forth with her almost-ex husband, but I appreciate the "between"-ness of her life (the Deaf world and the hearing world; her bio family and her adoptive family; her living between two bigger Georgia cities.) I'm not a huge fan of this author though I think many do like her. Still, I grabbed this book in my Get All the Books sessions before the library closed for COVID-19 so I read it.

An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood -- "One man's quest through the heart of the Middle East." I didn't enjoy this as much as Tony Horwitz's book from years ago when he traveled through this region, but I enjoyed this tale and reading about places in the news, and even a place I went to back before Syria was changed so much by their civil war. I finished reading it last night (4/8) in the near-dark because straight-line winds knocked out power on my street. This morning I thought about that and how many people in these regions have intermittent power. Even during the visit we took to Damascus years ago, in peaceful times, we had power outages that were unrelated to trees knocking out power. 

Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline -- Cate Fante is appointed a federal judge, but after she rules from the bench two people end up dead. Also, her secret nightly activities come to light and the chief judge wants to remove her from the bench. The nerve!  Cate vows to fight for her job!

The Road from Chapel Hill by Joanna Catherine Scott -- this book follows the lives of three young people in the South at the outbreak of the Civil War. Eugenia's family is of recently-reduced circumstances and she travels with her father where he works in a mine. Tom, is an enslaved man, who is given to Eugenia by her father. They become friends. Clyde is connected to Tom in that Tom's mother, Old Mary, works for Clyde's family. A decent book; nothing special, but not bad.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman -- a new author for me, and a mystery of sorts. Maddie Schwartz decides to leave her marriage at the ripe old age of almost 37. After living the good life, Maddie is in need of a job and wants a newspaper columnist to put in a good word for her so she can become a reporter. Maddie becomes the assistant (letter opener) to the guy who does the "help me" advice column, and answers a query that leads to a dead Negro body in a fountain.  Pretty good story

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty -- I had this book on a list of books to read, but never got around to it until I saw that curbside pick up was closing at my library last month. I hurriedly put a few books on hold that I saw online were not checked out. This was a fun read. I like the author's sense of humor which came out in several of her characters. These folks - Frances (romance novelist), Ben and Jessica (married couple), Tony (former sports player), Napoleon (teacher) and Heather (midwife) with their daughter Zoe; Carmel (single mother of four daughters); Lars (extremely handsome divorce lawyer) all meet at a health retreat center run by a Russian immigrant to Australia named Masha. Along with Yao, a former paramedic, and Delilah, she runs Tranquillium House. What an experience for these guests!

The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman -- this is the second I've read in this Hope River series, and it was out of order, and still not the first in the series, but I liked it very much! The characters are adorable, it's fast-paced and interesting, and I just really like her books. This one focused on Becky Myers as she returns to West Virginia with the doctor she worked for for the last seven years, Isaac Blum. After Dr. Blum's wife dies in an accident and is rendered mute or catatonic (they aren't quite sure what is going on), Becky believes they can go back to his hometown where she plans to take care of him in his family home. Only...it's been auctioned off for back taxes or some such thing, and Becky is trying to figure out how to survive during those difficult days. I love the addition of the CCC in this book. Andrew and I love hiking in the mountains and so often the CCC is referenced; my hat is off to you fine folks who worked hard to make things wonderful for us to enjoy today. And my thanks to the American taxpayers who funded this project when so many of you were in dire straits!

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout -- I really wanted to read another book of hers, but it's been checked out for awhile so I got this one to read during the library shutdown, and it was decent. Nothing special, but not terrible. It had a rather good message, I think, about families sticking together. Twins Bob and Susan, and their idolized big brother, hot-shot lawyer Jim. Jim's wife Helen features heavily in this book as does Susan's son, Zach. An OK read.

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline -- Eric Parrish is the Chief doctor of psychiatry at his hospital, and he is introduced to a teenage boy taking care of his dying grandmother. A few things about Max's story ring alarm bells, but not enough for Dr. Parrish to break patient confidentiality. Later, however, he second guesses this as Max disappears and a teenager is killed. An interesting, fast-paced book.

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith -- ever since I read his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, I wondered what his other books were like. I'd noticed another series or two in the library as well as this book about Emma which is "a modern retelling." I didn't like it as much as I enjoyed the tales about Mma Ramotswe and her sidekicks in the detective agency and attached garage, but it was a decent story. To be fair, I'm not a great fan of modern retellings, but this one was OK!

Gone Too Long by Lori Roy -- this book deals with Imogene soon after her dad dies and she's exploring an abandoned house on the property. She is amazed to discover a young boy living in the basement, and later finds out how the boy came to live there. This book deals with the KKK in more recent times. A decent story. 

The Watchmaker's Daughter by Sonia Taitz -- as the author puts it "this book is a love letter and a tribute" to her parents, both concentration camp survivors. I enjoyed the author's tale of her life in New York City with her parents and grandmother and brother. My mom checked this book out from the library before it closed so I'm now reading some of her books!

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon -- another book that my mom had checked out before the library closed down; a good story about Evelyn, trained as a lawyer, but mostly not taken seriously in this role in England a few years after the Great War. She works on a couple of cases - one involving the murder of newly-married Stella and another in the case of Leah Marchant who sent her children to live in a home, but cannot get them back. I enjoyed this book pretty well!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Recent Ancestry Finds

The other day I logged onto my library account to check on something, and noticed that during this Covid-19 shutdown, we have access to things from home that ordinarily we wouldn't (I guess.)  For instance on the page that shows the books I have on hold, I noticed links to about 6 different things including Ancestry! Granted it's the library version which means my tree and hints don't show up, but it's great in that I can search for a few things that I've wanted to look for in recent weeks, but cannot because I don't want to purchase a subscription to Ancestry in order to do so.

Last August when Ancestry offered free looks at their Yearbook collection, I had fun finding pictures of some family members including my mom, dad, and Andrew's mom, dad, himself and his brother.

This time I looked up my parents' names again, and found this of my mom that either wasn't there last time or I failed to notice.  It's from her days in college when she was in the traveling choir.

I did some screen shots so you can see her better:

Second from left: 

Front row, long dark hair: 

She said she cannot remember why she was posing this way...dramatic! 😎😎

Also I looked up my dad's good friend from his US Air Force days. He and Bill kept in touch for many years afterward, but we never heard from him after 1998 when his hometown of Spencer, South Dakota, had killer tornadoes. We often wondered if Bill died in them. And, he apparently did not, however, his death was just two days prior to their arrival. My dad has looked online for him some over the years, but we never were able to find much. 

For some reason in early March and again a couple days ago, I searched some more. In March, I did regular Google searches, and the other day, I checked Ancestry.  I couldn't open this newspaper because I don't want to give them my credit card information for my free trial, but I was able to see enough plus I found an official record that listed his name, and identifier (namely US Air Force Vietnam) which made us conclude that Bill died in 1998 at age 52. 

Bill used to send us bizarre, but fun packages. I still remember arriving home from school or church or visiting a grandparent and finding a package on our front stoop. Once my mom recalls he sent pheasants on ice! And I wore a Miami Dolphins t-shirt that he sent in one "care package."

I hate that he died so young, but have enjoyed hearing stories about him from my dad. Bill was sent to Vietnam, and my dad was sent to Canada, but they met at an Air Force base in Alabama, I believe.

I also found this death notice about my great-grandmother who died in China when my grandpa was about 4. Report of the Death of an American Citizen.

I found some other stuff about the Kiriazis family which I may post another day.