Sunday, August 29, 2010

The First of the Great Greats, Aug 29

Happiness is having
a large, loving, caring,
close-knit family.
In another city.
~George Burns

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

5 Generations: Lyndsey, Kerri, Gary, Maida, Nola
Greetings to all of you from Toronto, Canada where Cindy and I find ourselves on this last weekend of August. Actually we are in the Toronto suburb Whitby. Not to be confused with the Washington Island of Whidbey, where my brother Gary and his wife Cindy live.

O Canada. We are here in Canada visiting friends, including a couple of newlyweds, and enjoying the sites of this beautiful metropolitan city, the largest in all of Canada.

I have no indication that any of our ancestors were Canadians. I do know that some of our Davis kinfolk, in particular Bernard and Francis Kilpatrick, migrated to western Canada in the mid 20th century. Bernard, who passed away earlier this summer at the age of 88, was one of the grandchildren of James and Callie Davis. But as far as our family having roots in Canadian soil before them, I have heard of none. If any of you have more information about that, please let me know.

Mandi, Kerri and Lyndsey
The First of the GGs (and the GGGs?) Twenty years ago today, the first of the Great Great Grand children of Will and Bura Shepard, was born, Lyndsey Aquiningoc. She is probably also the first of the generation comprising the GGG Grandchildren of James Brooks and Callie Davis. Lyndsey is the first born of a first born of a first born of a 3rd born of the first born of James and Callie Davis (who were both first born themselves). Call me obtuse, but what I am saying is true!

Lyndsey's mom Kerri emailed me recently to say: "Where did the years go? Lyndsey is my first born child, so bless her heart, she had to put up with me being a first time mother and not knowing what I was doing! (She didn't come with a owner's manual.) But she has managed to survive 20 years. Lyndsey has been pretty busy lately, going to Kaplan College in Fort Worth for the last 9 months to be a Dental Assistant. She just completed her Externship (no pay check) doing hands on Dental assisting 4 days a week. She really enjoyed it and said there's a few things that will take getting use to. So her hard work of Dental Assisting full time and then her waitress job at Mesquite Pit in Weatherford may pay off. I am so proud of her. She will graduate Kaplan College in September. Her goal is to Dental assist for a few years and then go back to school to be a Dental Hygienist. In her free time she loves hanging out with her friends and boyfriend and going to her Grandma's so she can wake board out on the lake."
Mandi and Lyndsey

The first picture (at the top of this post) shows a young Lyndsey on the left with her mother Kerri Aquiningoc, her grandfather Gary Shepard, her Great Grandmother Maida Shepard, and her GGgrandmother Nola Gower. This five generation picture was taken in 1994 in front of the Gower family home in San Diego. The second picture was taken in Weatherford, Texas and shows Lyndsey on the right next to her mom and her sister. The third picture shows Lyndsey on the right with her sister Mandi, mugging it up for the camera.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A 24th And A 27th; Aug 23

Everybody needs their memories. 
They keep the wolf of insignificance 
from the door.
~Saul Bellow

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Russ and Pam
Greetings to all of you from sunny San Diego where warm summer weather finally arrived this past week. This has been one of the mildest summers this city has seen in many years.

Happy Anniversary today to Russ and Pam Shepard who are celebrating 24 years of marriage. Russ is Eugene and Maida Shepard's youngest son. Russ and Pam (Engan) were married back in the summer of 1986 in a garden wedding at the Shepard home in Anacortes, Washington. They now have 2 children, Steven and Linda.

Russ, Linda, Steve, and Pam Shepard
The first picture (above) was taken of this young couple in 1987 when they were visiting the Puyallup Fair near Tacoma, still a major event in Western Washington.

Fast forward 22 years to the second picture which shows Russ and Pam with their kids Linda and Steven, in a more recent picture, taken just last fall in front of that same Shepard home in Anacortes. Also in this same picture is Russ' brother Darrell Shepard, aka Shepdawg (partially hidden), on the right. 

Jeremy, Scott and Amanda Ortiz, 1992, San Diego
Happy Birthday Amanda! Happy 27th Birthday this coming Wednes- day, Aug 25, to Amanda Ortiz, who lives in Gallup, New Mexico. Amanda is yet another of the Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard, and is the daughter of Kim Clark, who, with her husband Jeff, lives in Blue Springs, Missouri.

The third picture is an old one and shows Amanda with her brothers Jeremy and Scott. This was taken at the Shepard Family Reunion in San Diego back in 1992. On the right is their father Gabe Ortiz.

A Grave Concern in Oklahoma. I received word just a few days ago from cousin Dane Shepard that his wife Cindy's father, Ross Saunders, was injured in a fall this past week and is not expected to live. Some of us met him last summer when we attended the Family Reunion in Oklahoma. Our prayers and best wishes are with Cindy and her entire family in this very difficult time.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From "the Land of Red Earth", Aug 18

I started at 5 years old
at the kitchen table
with my family supporting me.
I know where I'm from
and I know exactly where I'm going.
~Celine Dion

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

I received word this week from my cousin Dane Shepard of Oklahoma, regarding happenings among our kin in his part of the world.

Dane: Here's a brief update from the land of red earth. We've been having hot and dry weather for about a month reaching into triple digit temps for a few weeks. By contrast, Thelma says they have had more rain than ever and would like a break. She also mentioned that Jeff and Kim are suffering as we are.

Mildred Beck Davis, Kaylan and Dane Shepard
We have moved Dad to a better assisted living facility. His new address is: Elmer Shepard, Arbor House, 850 Clear Springs Road, Room 105, Mustang OK 73064. This is just about 2 miles from where he lived before. He is not as strong as before and has become quite forgetful in short term memory. He is still able to get out for church services and to go out to eat.

Kaylan and I had a short but enjoyable visit in Bartlesville this July. We were treated to a wonderful dinner (that's lunch back here, although it was indeed a big meal), featuring items fresh from their garden. Anytime you go there you can expect a warm welcome.

As for Mildred, she has gone down in her health and ability to carry on a conversation but she remains sweet and still has a sense of humor about her. Bud was there and gave me a CD of pictures they had scanned. I will be sending some of the pictures your way in time.

Siblings: Charlotte Davis Taylor, Bud and Becky Davis
Becky is able to get around fairly well after her hip surgery. She recounted the night that Mildred fell a few months ago. It was late and they had gone to bed and didn't hear her calling after she fell. Finally Jessie and Becky found her but were unable to lift her so they called 911 and had some big firemen assist them. They laugh about it now. Mildred is unable to get out much.

At this time, Cindy's father is in the hospital. He's not doing well. We stay busy keeping tabs on our parents. Hopefully, the hot weather will soon pass and that will help. It's time to start school here so we're getting into the swing of home schooling again. Thanks again for the emails and family updates. Take care.

How Our World Has Changed. Every once in while I hear or read something that helps put the history of our family in perspective. 90 years ago today the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution was ratified and women received the right to vote in our country. It is hard to believe that before that time, women in the U.S. were denied that most basic privilege.

The oldest living person in our Shepard clan, Elmer Shepard (mentioned above) of Mustang, Texas, was born two years previous to that time. Mildred Beck Davis, pictured above, was 9 years old in 1920. Their lives have witnessed a tremendous amount of cultural change, more than most of us can imagine. 
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vive Le Difference, Aug 12

The thing about family problems
is that you never have to wait long
before the next one
puts the previous one 
into perspective. 
~Robert Brault

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings from San Diego to all of you wherever you may be, as we journey through these dog days of summer.

Happy 30th Birthday! Today is the birthday of Jeremy Ortiz of Spring Valley, California. Jeremy is one of the Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard, and Terry and Thelma Boyd's oldest grandchild.

The picture above shows Jeremy with his Ggrandmother Bura Davis Shepard back in 1982. The picture below shows Jeremy with his mother Kim Clark earlier this year. Congratulations to Jeremy on turning 30!

Happy 17th! Happy Birthday this coming Monday, August 16, to Russ and Pam's daughter Linda Shepard of Anacortes, Washington. Linda is another one of the Ggrandchildren of Will and Bura, and is Maida Shepard's youngest grandchild. 

Linda has a job this summer as a housekeeper at the Marina Inn in Anacortes and is pretty excited about her upcoming senior year at Anacortes High School. In particular she is looking forward to English and Photography. Unfortunately she'll have to work on her birthday but then she plans to party with her friends. The third picture shows Linda, surrounded by school mates who were all celebrating "Purple Days" at their school.

On the Subject of Birthdays. Two weeks ago I made reference to the birthday of "our esteemed president Barrack Obama." It seemed like an innocent reference at the time. But I should have known better.

One of you responded and said, "Don't esteem the pres for me." Plus a few other choice words. Another reader forwarded me an email with one of those urban legends intended to belittle the man in the White House (which, alas, has always been a favorite American pastime).

These responses got my attention, of course, and were worth a few laughs. But they also illustrate how diverse our family really is. It always has been and it always will be. Not just politically, but in many other ways as well. But that is what makes family life exciting, and keeps us on our toes. As they say, "Vive le difference."

By the way, I should have been more "on my toes" when I referred to our (somewhat) esteemed President's birthday. I got the date wrong. He was actually born August 4, 1961, just a few months before our esteemed Kim Clark (see picture above).
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Sunday, August 08, 2010

Family Vacations

 Without a family,
man, alone in the world,
trembles with the cold.
~Andre Maurois

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Greetings from San Diego on this fine day in August. A while back I invited any of you to send me a picture of your family vacation. I received two pictures recently in response.

The Rockin' Shepards of Skagit County
Family Vacation Pictures. In my blog two weeks ago I referred to Barbara Shepard's birthday. The family picture on the right was taken during Barbara's subsequent birthday trip, which included a stop in Seattle at the Experience Music Project. In the picture is Barbara, having some fun with her brother Russ (in the blue jeans) and her nephew Steven (on the drums). They are recording some music, in the style of a 70s Rock Band. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is no sound track with this image.

The Clark Family at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Jerry Clark sent me a picture of his family's summer vacation last month. It was a trip to celebrate a 60th and two 30th birthdays. In this second picture, from left to right, is Jerry and Cathrina Clark, Andrew and Susan (Clark) Cox, and Chris and Amanda (Clark) Farrell. (click on the picture for a larger view) Two of the beauties in this picture turned 30 this year and were celebrating that milestone in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. No, the beauty on the far left was not one of them. Amanda, on the far right, and her twin Susan, third from the left, are the new 30 year olds. Jerry was celebrating a somewhat older milestone.

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing. My brother Darrell Shepard, a talented guitar player, has a brand new blog that you may be interested in viewing. It's called "Shepdawg's Guitar Corner." One of the ways it can be accessed is from right here, On the right side of this page, there is a list of "Blogs and sites of Family and Friends." Darrell's link in at the top of that list. Check it out.

Speaking of the real thing, today is a day of remembering the father of my wife Cindy, Joe Harris, who died in 1999. When it came to being a husband, father, grandfather and father-in-law, he was the real thing. Today would have been his 88th birthday. He was a wonderful man who is fondly remembered.
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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My Two Grandfathers, Aug 4

One of the most powerful handclasps
is that of a new grandbaby
around the finger of a grandfather.
~Joy Hargrove

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

A few weeks ago I wrote about "My Two Grandmothers." In this post I will share something about the lives of "My Two Grandfathers", William Shepard and Leroy Gower.

They were born many miles apart in very different communities. William (see his picture on the right in 1951) was born in 1888 into a small family in Alton, Illinois near the metropolis of St Louis. Leroy (see his picture in 1972 with wife Nola below) was born in 1899 into a large family in Mountain View, Arkansas, in the remote hills of the Ozarks.

Leroy came from a long line of Gowers who can be traced back 9 generations before him to Abel and Jane (Hatcher) Gower, both born in the 1600s in Virginia.

In contrast, there are but 3 known Shepards in the ancestry of William - his sister Sadie Shepard Pruett, his father William Elmer Shepard, and his grandfather, Civil War casualty William Shepard (1835-1862). He never met his Shepard grandmother, whose name we do not know.

William and Leroy each moved, as young men, with their families to Oklahoma in the early 20th century. William settled in Beaver County in the panhandle about 1905, and Leroy in 1925 in Okemah, south of Tulsa, in the eastern part of the state.

Following familiar migration patterns for the 20th century, they both moved westward in the early 1940s to California, searching for greater opportunities. They both landed in San Diego with wives and children during the second World War. Shortly thereafter their lives became forever intertwined when their children Eugene Shepard and Maida Gower married and began their own family, giving both men 6 common grandchildren between 1946 and 1962.

Both men influenced my life in a big way. Granddad Shepard told stories of his life in the Midwest, about the St Louis World's Fair in 1904, the bitterly cold winters he endured, but the even colder relations between blacks and whites in the St Louis area that lead to funny personal stories on the one hand, but violent race riots on the other.

Grandpa Gower shared with his Grandkids the value he placed on family, his great affection for the San Diego Padres, his devotion to his church, and his love of deep sea fishing, trains and unfortunately, cigarettes.

We grandkids were always welcome in the homes of both men, as much because of them as our grand mothers, and we were glad to have them travel with us on family vacations, which happened on several occasions.

They were each the respected head of a close knit family clan in San Diego in the mid 20th century. Since that time their common descendants have grown into families who are spread out from Texas to California to Washington State. Today there are 20 people who claim both men as ancestors. (Their youngest descendant, Preslea Shepard, is pictured above, with parents Chenda and Nathan in a picture taken last month.)

William and Leroy died two years apart in the mid 1970s and are buried with their wives in San Diego. But their legacy remains, and their influence continues to be felt in many ways by those of us who loved and respected them.
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