Monday, September 29, 2008

Newly Found Photos of the Armstrong Siblings

These photos came to my mother Susan Zahner from Lenore Frimoth (Beck) in 1996. Some of them were in rough shape; I put Photoshop through its paces to get as much contrast as possible out of the originals, and used my new tablet to do a lot of touch-up to fix dirt, stains, scratches, and even tears. Time-consuming, but I'm very pleased with the results!

Dora Armstrong (Bagley), around 1915.

Ruth Armstrong, Richard Armstrong, and Ella Grace Armstrong (Ruth and Ella Grace later married and took the names Beck and Findley).

Richard and Ruth, exact date unknown. My grandfather looks like he was probably under two years old.

This one indicates 1906 or 1907 on the back of the photo.

Richard, age 12, and age unknown (perhaps around 18).

The Cherry Pudding

Dick Zahner recently found a few more photos and documents that had been my mother's and grandmother's. To introduce these, here is a short story written by Ruth Beck (Armstrong), my paternal grandfather's sister. The Cherry Pudding (PDF file of page images, 513K) The story describes an idyllic day in Iowa nearly 100 years ago, in 1912.

My great-aunt Ruth dedicated this story to the memory of my grandfather, Richard Armstrong. The characters she mentions include Uncle Harvey (I'm not sure who that is), Aunt Harriet (Hattie), "the baby" Ella Grace Findley (Armstrong), Dora Armstrong (Bagley), and "Grandmother" (Ruth's grandmother, who I'll have to find out more about). I know very little about my grandfather Richard's family and childhood, but this story has just helped remedy that. There's even enough detail given that an enterprising cook could probably make the cherry pudding described, or at least a close approximation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Summer's Over

This is not really on topic, but... we're back from a week's vacation in Grand Marais with my father and stepmother, visiting from California.

I made a video -- my first -- using Apple iMove, and uploaded it to a brand-spanking-new YouTube account. The video is our family vacation, in the form of a music video for Jonathan Coulton's song "Summer's Over" (Thing a Week #51).

Here is the video link:

I find Mr. Coulton's lyrics to be simple but beautiful; the song has been stuck in my head for the last few weeks.

Summer’s over
You’re going back to school
I’m staying here
Where else would I go?

Watch the leaves turn
Close up the swimming pool
Winter comes in
Sooner than you know

Nights get cold
And the flowers let go
Bide their time
Under the snow
As they go down they say

Summer’s over
Because it has to be
Just like before
Around and around

It’s a circle
Bringing you back to me
Stay where I am
I’m lost and found

When you go
You come back again
Close the door
The cold’s getting in
As I go down I say