Friday, August 29, 2014

Great Expectations, August 29, 2014

Snips, snails and puppy dog tails...
that's what little boys are made of.

In Memoriam. Our sympathies and best wishes are extended to our daughter-in-law Chenda Sou Shepard of San Diego. Chenda's father, Sou Pehn, passed away recently in Cambodia after an extended illness.
He was the other grandfather of our grandchildren Preslea, Logan and William Shepard. He died after an extended battle with what appears to have been a serious stroke, suffered just a couple of years ago.

The first picture shows Sou Pehn, taken in 2009 in his Cambodian Village of Kampong Speu.

Best Wishes to Lyndsey. Happy Birthday today to Lyndsey Aquiningoc of Weatherford, Texas. Lyndsey was born in San Diego in 1990 as one of the four birthdays in our extended family that year. Since the turn of the century Lyndsey has lived in Weatherford, Texas along with several other members of her family.

Lyndsey's mother is Kerri Shepard Aquiningoc, and her grandparents are Jackie Perry and my brother Gary Shepard. She is one of the great grandchildren of Maida and Eugene Shepard. Late in September Lyndsey will give birth to her first child, and the second Great Great Grandchild of Maida Shepard.

Lyndsey: I am doing pretty good, getting more and more anxious as the time gets closer and closer. I am ready to have this baby boy! I can't even begin to explain how nervous I am but I know that when the time comes I will be ready! I have a great boyfriend named Colton who is going to be a great dad and a great partner. He's been my best friend since High School. I know God doesn't give us anything we can't handle! I can't wait to begin this journey with Colton and my baby Karver. Rachel and I are due the same day and we're both having boys. How crazy is that?! Can't wait to one day bring Colton and Karver to visit y'all!

The second picture shows Lyndsey earlier this month in Grandbury, Texas at her baby shower. Happy Birthday today to Lyndsey and best wishes to her and her boyfriend Colton.

Great Expectations. Lyndsey makes reference in her comments above to her cousin Rachel Shepard of Kirkland, Washington, who is also expecting a baby boy -- on the very same day! -- in late September. 

The third picture shows Rachel with her boyfriend Brian, in a picture taken earlier this summer. Rachel is holding her nephew Logan Joseph Shepard whose first birthday was being celebrated when this picture was taken in Bothell, Washington at the home of Logan's parents Patrick and Nicole Shepard. 

Did I mention that Rachel's brother Patrick and his wife Nicole are also expecting a baby boy? That little guy will not arrive until December this year.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, August 22, 2014

Memories Are Made of This, August 22, 2014

Somewhere in that pad of stuffing
is a toy who taught me that
life's only worth living
if you're being loved by a kid.
~Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story 2)

Happy Birthday, Amanda. This coming Monday, Aug 25, is the birthday of Amanda Ortiz Davis of Blue Springs, Missouri. Amanda is the daughter of Kim Boyd Clark and the granddaughter of Thelma Shepard Boyd, also of Blue Springs. Amanda was born in Gallup, New Mexico and lived much of her life in San Diego before moving to Missouri just a couple of years ago. The big news in Amanda's life this year is her marriage in Las Vegas to Justin Davis in February.

Amanda: "Life is good :)  Turning 30 was amazing! The greatest year ever. And I know that now I am turning 31 it will be even better :) Married life is great and I am loving every minute of it. Not only am I turning 31 on Monday but Justin and I are closing on our first house that day as well! Talk about a birthday present :) We will be celebrating my birthday this weekend with the family. The picture is one we took while on the plane to Florida for our honeymoon :) Thanks for the birthday wishes!" 

Another Car and the Stories It Tells. I have mentioned before in this blog that my Dad, Eugene Shepard, loved to buy used cars for our family and then tinker with them as he put them to good use. One such car was a 1962 Mercury Meteor, an important part of our family's life 50 years ago, in the mid 1960s when we lived on Armstrong Street in San Diego. 

Ford Motor Company's Mercury Meteor was only made from 1961 to 1963, with a name intended to appeal to the excitement of the "Space Race" which was in full swing in America at the time. The "Space Race" skyrocketed in the next few years (we walked on the moon in the summer of 1969). While the sales of the Meteor model fizzled out and it was discontinued at the end of 1963. That may have been why it made a pretty good deal for Dad when he bought a used one about 1964.

Dad's Mercury was used by the family in many ways, including getting us to church three times a week at the Linda Vista Church of Christ. The second picture shows my brother Darrell and sister Barbara in their Sunday best, curbside in front of our home on Armstrong Street. They are standing beside the car, holding the door invitingly open, on a "Lord's Day morning" in the fall of 1966.

This car was especially memorable for me for a couple of reasons. In March of 1964 I turned 15 1/2, the magical age when it a teen could obtain a driving permit in California. So it was possibly in Dad's '62 Merc that I learned how to drive. I am sure, however, that it was the car I used many times to take Cindy on dates in 1965 and 1966, to the beach or to a Drive-In theater, to church youth activities or to the "A and W" near our home in the new San Diego Community of Kearny Mesa.

Dates to Drive-In theaters in that car stand out in my memory. The best value was a double feature, or if we were really lucky, a triple feature (yes they had such things), which would occupy us until the wee hours of the morning. But I had to be careful to get Cindy back to the Harris home and then the car back to our Shepard home by 5:00 a.m. That's when Dad got up to go to work. There would be hell to pay if the car was not safely in the garage and available to him when he was ready to leave. My objective on such occasions was to get home and crawl into bed just before Dad's alarm sounded. More than once I heard his alarm before I drifted off.

This Mercury was also the car I used in the spring of 1966 when I took my girlfriend Cindy to the annual Junior-Senior Banquet, a formal city-wide church youth event. More than just a banquet, it included other chaperoned activities that took us through the entire night. The third picture, taken by Cindy's Dad Joe Harris, shows Cindy and me at the end of that annual event with my Dad's '62 Merc behind us. Note the yellow bumper tag on the car, Dad's work sticker giving him access to the Naval Supply Depot in Point Loma where he worked. It was my constant reminder whose car this really was. This is the oldest picture we have of Cindy and me together, taken just weeks before we graduated High School and a couple of years before we married.

We went though a number of cars while growing up in Kearny Mesa, almost always having two at a time. But this 1962 Mercury Meteor, as dependable as it was memorable, is the one I remember better than any of the others.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Power and Pathos of Names, Aug 15, 2014

What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
by any other name
would smell as sweet.
~William Shakespeare

Congratulations to my niece Linda Shepard whose 21st birthday is tomorrow, August 16. Linda lives in Anacortes, Washington with her boyfriend Jamie, near her parents Russ and Pam Shepard, and not far from her grandmother Maida Gower Shepard. She is one of the Great Grandchildren of both William and Bura Davis Shepard, and Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower.

Linda: This year has been quite eventful. I moved out from my parents and got my own place in February. I am now purchasing a new car, a 2011 Toyota Camry. Since last year I have been promoted from a caregiver at the nursing home I work for, to a ward clerk. I am registered to finish my last prerequisite for the LPN program, which I will hopefully enter in fall of 2016. The waitlist is quite long so I will be completing my RN and bachelor's in the science of nurse prerequisites. For my birthday I plan to go out with friends and family for a night on the town.

Linda/Linda. Linda Mae Dawn Shepard's aunt and namesake was my sister Linda Rae Shepard Clark (1950-1971). Our 21st century Linda Shepard never knew the 20th century Linda, who died 43 years ago this month in Lubbock, Texas. Her accidental death occurred just weeks before her 21st birthday and just days before her and Jerry Clark's first wedding anniversary. Their intentional name similarities make it certain they will always be inextricably bound in some bitter-sweet way by those familiar with our family's history.

The first picture shows Linda Shepard of Anacortes, at home with her little dog Milo. The second image (right) is one I received recently from Jerry Clark. Earlier this year he discovered this sketch of Linda done in April, 1969 by his father Terrence Clark (1914-1973).

This was not the first instance in our family of using the power of naming to hold on to something lost in the past.

William/William. My GG grandmother Mary Sprague Shepard gave her husband's name (William Shepard) to their new born son in the Northern Indiana town of Wabash in February, 1862. Interestingly she also chose to make his name slightly different, adding the middle name Elmer. Mary named William Elmer Shepard following her husband's departure to fight in the Civil War, and just months before his death in July, 1862 at age 26. Select this link to read more about this story.

William/William Redux. Fast forward 26 years. The aforementioned William Elmer Shepard had run away from home as a young man, never to see his mother again. He then married a woman named Elvira Owens in Madison County, Illinois, and when their first son was born in 1888 they named him William Shepard, after William Elmer's father, the Civil War soldier, whose death had been such a devastating loss. Select this link and this link to read more about this story.

Caroline Matilda/Caroline Matilda. In a completely different part of our family, my GG grandfather William Spear married Caroline Matilda Williams, in Southern Indiana in April, 1861. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in April of the following year, but the young mother Caroline died shortly thereafter at age 24. In January of the following year GG grandpa Spear then married his dead wife's sister Maggie Williams (on the left in the third picture). William and Maggie's first child was given the name Caroline Matilda (on the right in the picture) after William's first wife and Maggie's late sister. Select this link to read more about this story.

This particular phenomenon of naming a child for a beloved family member who died young, is a tradition with a long history in our family. Those mentioned above are just a few examples. There will surely be others in coming years. It is perfectly understandable and even admirable, and speaks volumes about the incredible strength of familial love, and the powerful need to remember and honor the past.

This weekend of Linda's 21st birthday is a time to celebrate this milestone for a wonderful and bright young woman, someone with a promising future. For those of us who knew the first Linda, it is also a time to remember with love, to ponder with tears, and to wonder what might have been. We cherish deep in our hearts a life well lived, even though it was cut short. It helps to know we are part of a great tradition of folks who did the same.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, August 08, 2014

"Curiosity Never Killed This Cat", August 8, 2014

Curiosity never killed this cat.
~Studs Terkel

Hello family and friends and greetings to all of you from San Diego. A spirit of curiosity is essential in the effort to research family, hence the witty quote at the top of this page by the late Studs Terkel. At his request these words are found on his headstone. 

In my last post I shared some pictures of important family gatherings in diverse places, celebrating family events. This post will reflect that same thing with another picture of people gathered for an important family celebration, as well as some other celebrations, along with an historic 6 generation picture spread.

First of all though, I want to offer congratulations to two couples whose anniversaries were in the last few days.  Chris and Amanda Clark Farrell (Amanda is the daughter of Jerry Clark and Jane Clark Brock) were married August 6, 2006 and celebrated 8 years of marriage on Wednesday.
My niece Kelly Shepard Sauvage and her husband James were married August 5, 2000 and celebrated 14 years of marriage on Tuesday. Congratulations and best wishes to both couples!

Happy Birthday Heather. This Sunday, August 10, is the birthday of Heather Robson Cotten, daughter of Paula Tuzzolino and granddaughter of Vicki Gower Johnston. Heather, one of the 14 great grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower, lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Sean and daughters Victoria and Alexandria. This weekend, however, Heather is in Oak Harbor, Washington where she was raised and where she graduated from High School. She is visiting her mom Paula and her grandmother Vicki. 

The picture above, taken earlier this summer, shows Heather with her daughters Lexi and Tori. The image below is a 6 generation family picture. Not often in my family records can I find pictures like this which span six consecutive generations and over 150 years.  

The following is a list of the names and dates of those pictured:
  • Victoria Cotten (b. 2007)
  • Heather Robson Cotten (b. 1976)
  • Paula Harrell Tuzzolino (b. 1951)
  • Vicki Gower Johnston (b. 1933)
  • Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004)
  • Finetta Dearien Shannon (1861-1960)
The genealogical note for this particular post concerns Finetta Dearien, the oldest person in the picture spread above. Her mother was Roena Norton, a young woman, possibly a teen, who became pregnant with Finetta by her step father Augustus Dearien. Finetta's embarassing birth lead to the disappearance of her young mother Roena sometime after 1861 when Finetta was born. What happened to Finetta's mother Roena is a mystery that may never be solved. But the search continues. Especially for those of us with the curious spirit of Studs Terkel. 

Happy Birthday Jeremy. This coming Tuesday, August 12, is the birthday of Jeremy Ortiz, one of the 21 great grandchildren of William and Bura Davis Shepard. Originally from Gallup, New Mexico, Jeremy spent many years in San Diego, but lives today in Blue Springs, Missouri where he is a manager of Pizza Hut. 

The picture above shows Jeremy (on the left in the blue cap) with his family. Far left is his grandmother Thelma Shepard Boyd; far right is his mother Kim Boyd Clark in front of her husband Jeff Clark. To the right of Jeremy is his wife Desiree, his San Diego cousin Kori Boyd, his brother-in-law Justin Davis, and his sister Amanda. Also in this picture are Jeremy and Desiree's 5 children: twins Dominic and Isaac, Ciara, Damian and Ashlyn. This family picture was taken last weekend at a restaurant in North Kansas City, Missouri.
- - -
Steve Shepard

Friday, August 01, 2014

"Never Alone or Weary of Life", August 1, 2014

Those who dwell
among the beauties
and mysteries of the earth 
are never alone or weary of life.
~Rachel Carson

Greetings to all of you from San Diego where Cindy and I have returned after being away for most of the last few weeks. Among the family highlights of recent days were birthday gatherings to celebrate two of the youngest ones among us: Logan Joseph Shepard and William Q. Shepard. It is younger ones like these that make this family genealogical blog worthwhile. They will benefit most from telling the stories of our family and doing the research on our ancestors.

Logan Joseph Shepard's Birthday Party. Last Saturday was the birthday celebration in Bothell, Washington of Logan Joseph Shepard. His parents Patrick and Nicole Shepard did a wonderful job of putting together a great party to celebrate Logan's first birthday. The picture above was taken at the party and shows members of Nicole's Haw family on the left and members of Patrick's Shepard family on the right. In the middle is Pat and Nicole with little Logan. (Click on the picture to see a larger view.)

Select this link to view more pictures of Logan's party.

William Shepard's Birthday. This past Monday there was a birthday bash here in San Diego for William Shepard, youngest child of Nathan and Chenda Shepard. A large number of family, friends and neighbors gathered to celebrate William's second birthday. The image above includes a couple of pictures from that happy occasion. The left half of this image is a picture of daddy Nathan holding William (reaching for his birthday cupcake). Next to William is sister Preslea and brother Logan Alexander. The right half of this image is birthday boy William holding one of his gifts, being held by the givers of the gift, cousin Sean Gower and girlfriend Tracy.

Select this link to view more pictures of William's party.

Happy Birthday Lloyd.
Speaking of birthdays, today happens to be the birthday of Sean's brother Lloyd Gower, one of the great grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Gower. Lloyd is the younger son of Hershell and the late Janet Gower. Lloyd and his wife Tammy Turman Gower live in San Marcos, California. The third picture shows Tammy and Lloyd who were married in May of last year.

- - - 
Steve Shepard