Friday, September 26, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 26

Hola! Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings from Barcelona, Spain where Cindy and I find ourselves on this first Friday of fall. And indeed it is fall. We have had rain all day today, even though it has not been cold nor has it kept us from seeing the sights of this city of 3 million people!

Happy Birthday this coming Monday to Cathrina Clark, wife of Jerry Clark, who lives in Lubbock, Texas. It would be terribly inappropriate for me to say how old Cathrina is, but I will say that I was but a boy, who had just turned 10, when she was born, in Germany of all places!

We just got a report today from Jerry that he was mugged in his own home last week. In the middle of the night he was surprised by some burglars who had broken in. This was the new home that they just built and have not been in but a few weeks! Jerry writes, "I am doing good and am on the mend."

Our best wishes are with Jerry and Cathrina as they recovery from this shock and Jerry's injuries. Thank God it was not worse. We hope they will be recovered enough to celebrate Cathrina's birthday joyfully!

The first picture I am sending shows Cindy and me with Jerry and Cathrina when we got together for a few days last month. Thanks to Jerry for the picture. Cathrina is the one with heavenly sunlight emanating from behind her.

Many of you got a chance to meet Cathrina at the family reunion in July, but for those who don't know her, she tells me this about herself: "I was born in Dusseldorf Germany. My father was born and raised in Lancaster, S.C. My maiden name is Helms. My mother's maiden name is Hartig. She was born in Chemnetz, Germany. Her family moved to Lichtenstein during the war due to all the bombing. My mother and her sister escaped East Germany when she was 16 and her mother moved to Dusseldorf. My mother and dad met in Pforzheim and my father had to go back to the states about 7 months after I was born. My mother and I moved to the states when I was a year old. "

There is obviously a lot more about Cathrina that can be said, but let that be enough for now. Happy Birthday, Cathrina!

The old family picture I am including is yet one more of the pictures I recently received from Dane. (Click on the picture for a larger view.) He reported that his dad Elmer says, "It was taken in July of 1920 and features a threshing rig hooked up to a steam tractor/engine owned by Grandad (William Shepard). He (Grandad) is standing above the rest. The two men to his right are Lawrence (left) and Jess (right) Davis. On the ground (right to left) is Mrs. Erickson (a Swede from Illinois), Gram (Bura) holding Elmer, Gayle Pruett (girls head), Pauline next to her, Elvira, an unknown woman, Tillie Erickson in back, and an unknown man."

This is quite a period piece and shows the respective place that men and women had at that time in that part of the country. The men, in the shadows, dressed in dark, standing above the others, are the hard workers. The women and children, dressed mainly in white, are in front, looking clean and innocent and hardly affected by the huge machines and the grease and grime. Today our machines are mini-computers that children use with ease; but then the machines were gigantic, dirty and powerful, dangerous things.

As a final note, Mary Shepard has been very ill in recent weeks with what looks to her doctor like Kidney cancer. Other than some pain and discomfort she seems to be doing pretty well, but more will be known after tests are done. Our prayers are with you, Mary and we wish you the very best.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 20

Hola! Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings from Madrid, Spain, where Cindy and I woke up this morning on this last Saturday of summer. Tomorrow begins the first official day of fall, but you would never know it from the warm Spanish weather we are having.

I am including a couple of family pictures. The first one is another of the pictures I recently received from Dane that was found in his father's photo archives. It shows a stern but well dressed Bura Davis Shepard with her youngest child Thelma Shepard (now Boyd). Dane tells me this picture was taken in 1941, behind Will and Bura's rented home on Granada Street in San Diego. That would put it within about a year of the time the family moved there in 1940 from Two Buttes, Colorado. That move began the presence of our family in San Diego, a presence that continues to this day.

Will and Bura's first three children, Pauline, Elmer and Eugene, were born in 1916, 1918, and 1921, but it was not until about 15 years later that Thelma was born. When the family moved to San Diego, Pauline was already married to Bill Russell and together they had two children, Rex and Beverly. At the time of the move, Elmer and Eugene were in the service in WWII, or would be shortly, but Thelma was just a child of 4. She had actually been born back in Two Buttes just 2 weeks before her nephew Rex Russell, an interesting phenomenon that often came up in family conversations when I was young.

The other picture I am including was taken earlier this summer and shows a proud Maida Shepard with three of her grandchildren, the children of Darrell and Mary Shepard -- Christopher, Rachel and Patrick. All three live with their folks in Bothell, Washington. Donations to the Patrick Shepard clothing fund will be gladly accepted! (Do I sound like old school, or what?)

I mailed to a couple of you a CD that had on it the presentation that was made at the family reunion back in July, plus many more other family pictures. Some others of you may have asked me to send you a copy, but I am sorry to say I do not remember who. So if you would like a copy of that CD and have not received one, please let me know. I will be glad to send you one. Be sure to send me your physical address as well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 12

Hello Shepard Family members and friends,

Greetings to all of you, wherever you may be. My summer job comes to a close on Monday, with mixed feelings. I have enjoyed it very much, but Cindy and I will be free again to travel and to visit family and friends, which seems to be our life's passion these days.

Happy Birthday this very day to Kelly Shepard Sauvage. Kelly lives in Weatherford, Texas with her husband James, and their two children, Nathaniel and Kyle. As Gary Shepard's youngest daughter, Kelly, along with her sister Kerri and brother Jason was born and raised in San Diego. They are yet one more part of our family who have migrated elsewhere in recent years. Within the last 10 years that part of the family has all moved to Weatherford, Texas and are now settled there, although the rumor is that they have remained San Diegans at heart. Kelly and James were married in San Diego in 2000 just before they joined the others in Texas.

The first picture I am including is a collection of Kelly pics (click on the pictures to see a larger view of them); the top picture is from the 70s with her mother Jackie, the next one from the 80s with her father Gary, the next one from the 90s with her brother Jason and niece Lyndsey, the next one from Y2K with her fiance James, taken just days before they were married, and the last one with her older son Nate, taken at the family reunion this past July. We hope your birthday is a great one, Kelly!

I received a couple of emails from Dane Shepard recently. He has been digging into his Dad's photo archives and found a few old family pictures that he scanned and sent to me. Thanks so much, Dane, for the great photos! I am including one of the best of the pictures he sent. It was taken in 1947 in front of Will and Bura's home on Wilson St in San Diego, and shows a handsomely dressed Elmer Shepard (Dane's father) with his niece, a Shirley Temple look-a-like, Beverly Russell who was a mature looking 8 years old at the time. Ours were pretty simply folks back in those days, so to see them dressed so stunningly like this is something of an anomaly. (Although truth be told, Elmer was regularly the sharpest dressed in many old family pictures.) Bev's smile, however, could not have been more characteristic of her, and reflected a heart of gold.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I will see if I can continue these weekly postings as Cindy and I make our way in the next few weeks to some far off places.

P.S. If you do not know who Shirley Temple was, ask your parents or grandparents. I am sure they can tell you!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Shepard Family Update, September 5

Hello Shepard Family members and friends,

It is a beautiful day here in the mountains of Northern California: the birds are whistling, the squirrels are chirping, and the angled morning sunshine brings with it a warmth that suggests that the harsh heat of summer is behind us. Fall is not here yet, but it is certainly not far off.

200 years ago TODAY (Sept 5, 1808) Caroline Willliams was born. Caroline in my generation's great great great great Aunt; the sister of John Pouty Williams (who I mentioned a few months ago because he is one of only two 19th century relatives who lived into his 90s). Caroline Williams was Gram's (Bura Shepard's) great great aunt on her mother's side. Confused, yet? Keep reading. It gets better.

I mention Caroline Williams, not just because today is her 200th birthday, but because she reminds us of the immigration pattern of that part of our family. Her parents were born in the late 1700s back east (father in Virginia; mother in Pennsylvania); Caroline herself was born near Louisville, Kentucky; but as a child her family moved 150 miles northwest into Indiana (southwest of Indianapolis) and lived in that area for most of the 1800s. Gram (Bura Shepard) was born there in Indiana in 1896, but as a child her family moved southwest, almost 1,000 miles, to Beaver County, Oklahoma, and continued the family's westward migration that eventually took them to California.

Back to Caroline Williams: As a 16 year old girl, in August, 1825, in Washington, Indiana, Caroline married a 20 year old young man with the colorful name of Stockton Lockhart. He must have been quite a charmer, for later in 1825 they had their first child, a baby boy (oops!). They went on to have eight other children, the last one born when Caroline was in her mid-40s. What was it like to have been 16, then pregnant, then married, then a mother, in a small Indiana town back in the early 19th century? Those were the days of "shot-gun" weddings. Clearly Caroline and Stockton made the most of what their life decisions brought them. We come from courageous, flawed folks (just like us!), whose genes swirl within us still. Their stories we'll never know completely, but they are nonetheless part of the story of our lives. Happy birthday, Caroline.

I wish I had a picture of Caroline and Stockton to send to you, but alas, I do not. Back on June 20, I did sent you a picture of Caroline's niece, Callie (Caroline) Spear (who was named after her aunt Caroline Willliams; interesting, huh?). You can also see that picture on the June 20 posting of the family blog. That picture is as close as I can get, and is a picture at least taken during Caroline's lifetime.

What I am sending you is two pictures -- the first of which shows Thelma Boyd, the great great great niece of Caroline Williams Lockhart. The picture also shows Cindy and Steve Shepard, Maida Shepard, Terry Boyd, and Barbara Shepard. It was taken earlier this summer in Grants, New Mexico, when this group met one day for lunch.

This coming coming Tuesday, September 9, is the 158th Birthday of the great state of California. It also happens to be my 60th Birthday. I don't feel quite so old when compared to the age of California. Actually I am blessed by God to be turning 60 and still to feel as healthy as I do. I am also blessed to be in the good company of those in our family who also have birthdays this year that end in 0 -- whether 60 (Cindy and me) or 90 (Elmer) or 40 (Kerri) or 50 (Jeff) or 140 (Grandad William Shepard) or 200 (Caroline), or whatever age.

The second picture I am sending was taken 55 years ago at a family gathering in San Diego. It shows Gram and Grandad (Will and Bura Shepard), me in front of Gram, then Gene, Maida and Gary Shepard (who was not a happy camper this day!).

May all your days be filled with smiles!
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