Monday, January 26, 2015

Auschwitz Liberation day January 27, 1945 - 2015















Photo and article at the Washington Post

























Auschwitz

In Auschwitz the air hung still.
The dragons are imaginary.
Once they had their fill.
The only gold fell from the fingers of those now perished chosen ones.
The birds crying relinquished flowers.
Lilies all dressed for death.
The classless funeral attire of the blue stripey pyjama death.
Now the camps be emptied.
Those passed inside be free.
Camp be closed.
All souls released, but still the sky hangs heavily.
May God please bless the free.
(C) by Livvi  - Olivia Kent
 January 22 2015


Books to read about this subject:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas  by  John Boyne
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas  2008 Movie on DVD

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank


Sunday, January 25, 2015

This and that for January 25, 2015

One month after Christmas


We love Christmas so much we have not taken down our decorations.  I still use my small string of lights in my bedroom!

I have been adding stories of my Grandparents and my Dad this month.  I am working on my Mom's page this week.
My Mom has collected a lot of information on the families over the years. It started out as family history for Genealogy. It progressed over the years to include scrapbook items and photos that were sent to her or photos and movies she has taken of the family as well.  My Mom and brother took the movies and first transferred the Super 8 films to VHS format.  Later my brother took the VHS and the originals and transferred them to DVD.  I am so glad to have those DVD's. We are only missing one film which is the oldest starting from when they got their 8 MM camera back in the mid 1950's when I was about 5 years old.

When the Smith Grandparent's passed away we got a lot of photos and negatives. Mom got a scanner for the negatives and started to work on that.   There is so much to do but she was unable to finish this job.
Mom is doing very well in the Care Center. She wheels around in her wheel chair and visits all the people who are living there. She has her meals in the dining hall and goes to all the craft and movie and game times.  I am glad that she is so active there.

Here are some poems from my friends onlin. 


New Poems by my friends:


LOVE

Love is an egg.
It is blessed, within a jolly fine shell.
Inside lives life.
If the egg is an ova.
Fertilised by love itself .
Love grows rapidly inside.
The cracks appear, love's broken free.
(C) LIVVI

(C) Livvi



Solstice by (C) Livvi




AUSCHWITZ
In Auschwitz the air hung still.
The dragons are imaginary.

Once they had their fill.
The only gold fell from the fingers of those now perished chosen ones.
The birds crying relinquished flowers.
Lilies all dressed for death.
The classless funeral attire of the blue stripey pyjama death.
Now the camps be emptied.
Those passed inside be free.
Camp be closed.
All souls released, but still the sky hangs heavily.
May God please bless the free.
(C) Livvi

~^~^~^~^~^~


My kids hands 

I did not write this poem. I came in a kit where you had the kids dip their hands in some paint and put it on this special paper.  My youngest was born after this and so we traced her baby hand and added it inside the frame under glass.  We later took it to the copy machine. Mom has the original. Here is the copy.



                          ~^~^~^~^~^~

Extremes in weather for December 2014 and January 2015

In December we had several rounds of severe rain that caused flooding. Our drought was in the number four category all year.  Here is the December 9 map.



January 24, 2015
We did not get any snow this winter, so far anyway. January 23 and 24th we had extreme heat!  January 23 it was 82 and January 24 it was 91!!!!  I woke up from my nap and it said it was 77 in my bedroom, which later went to 79.

                
January 24, 2015 - AT 4:13 pm

Here is the photo from my smart phone from Weather Underground. This was taken at 4:13 pm. 

January 24, 2015 about  6 PM after they posted the high for the day.

It has the 91 high for the day and the day before as 82.8 on January 23, 2015.
Today it is expected to be back lower!
Full screen showing final of 91.4 yesterday!!!

That's good it will be cooler today back to our near normal of about mid 70's!   


Friday, January 23, 2015

My Grandfather Walter Adelbert Smith



                                           
Walter Adelbert Smith

Walter's Parents and siblings:

Walter Adelbert Smith was born April 11, 1889, in Red Lake Falls, Red Lake, Minnesota.
Walter's Father was Walter Ireta Smith who was born July 8, 1855 in Mackford, Green Lake, Wisconsin. He passed away March 24, 1925 in Plymouth, Hennepin, Minnesota.  Walter's Mother was Angeline Elizabeth Reigle who was born Aug 28, 1861 in Fort Snelling, Hennepin, Minnesota.  Angeline passed away May 10, 1946 in Saco, Phillips, Montana.   Walter Ireta Smith and Angeline married on October 17, 1875.

Wedding photo of Walter Ireta and 
Angeline Elizabeth Reigle
Close up same day
Walter Ireta seated and possibly his brother Ellsworth Smith


About 1890 Ireta Walter on the far right, left is Angeline; middle is Albert and the baby is Walter Adelbert Smith

He had 4 sisters:

  • Alta who was born April 4, 1877, and died May 30, 1888, age 11.
  • Merta who was born March 22, 1879, and died May 23, 1888, age 9.
  • Jenna who was born October 3/8 1883, and died June 2, 1888.
  • Elizabeth who was born October 23, 1887, and died June 20, 1888.

They all died of diphtheria before Walter was born.
Walter's older brother, named Albert E. Smith was born June 7, 1881.
Albert died January 18, 1947 in San Francisco, California. He was the only one to survive the illness that took his sisters.

Angeline was really unconsoled at losing her four daughters all within two months time between May and June of 1888.

Angeline and Walter Ireta broke up sometime between that photo in 1890 and 1893.  She married Albert Nathaniel Collins in September 1893 and they had two boys together. Freddie born in 1895 and Frankie 1897.  Albert Collins already had a daughter from his first marriage Addie Collins, born 1884. Sadness for Angeline again when Frankie died on Oct 22, 1900 of pneumonia.
It must be horrible to lose 5 children!

Left back Walter Adelbert, Center back Step sister Addie Collins, right back Freddie Collins,  front is baby Frankie Collins who died after this photo was taken. Albert was age 19 in 1900 and was not in this photo but was living with the family in 1900.
I will do a more in depth story on Angeline Reigle Smith Collins soon!


Walter A Smith


Walter Adelbert Smith was about 6'2" tall and was 190 lbs.   He had dark brown hair, hazel eyes and a ruddy complexion.
He worked in Minnesota as a lumberjack and worked on the railroad "road gang" in Montana.  He had a very dark tan because of working outside all the time.
Later he became a farmer and had hundreds of acres of land in Saco, Montana.
                                   
Nellie Emeline Boone Smith in the 1940's

He married Nellie Emeline Boone on the 17 of March 1908, in Stockton, San Joaquin, California.
Nellie was born in Rockton, Illinois, April 28, 1891.
When she was about 16, her parents sent her to Montana on the train to visit a relative and to get her away from a young man who wanted to marry her.
She was dressed in white and when she tried to get off the train the ground was all muddy.

Nellie as a young girl

Walter was working on the railroad and he saw her and went over and picked her up and carried her to the wooden sidewalk. He told his friend that when she spied her that she was going to be the one he married.
They fell in love and were married in Stockton on March 17, 1908. He was 18 and she was 16.
They lived in Stockton and in Saco, Montana.
All their daughters were born in Montana and all their sons were born in Stockton, California, except the youngest girl who was born in San Francisco.
       

1936 photo Back row Walter, Margaret, John, Velma, Earl.
Left Grandpa Walter seated next to him is Martha, kids in front are Carolyn, Billie, Shirley and Warren, seated behind is Laura and then Grandma Nellie


Nellie didn't want to live in Montana and wanted to live in Stockton, California so they moved back and forth between the two places.

Years later Walter sold the land in Montana to his half brother Freddie Collins. Freddie became very wealthy and rode around the land in a helicopter herding his cattle.

John said his father was a farmer, a railroad worker, and took care of animals on the farm.
He worked as a lumberjack in Montana, and North Dakota and worked in a logging camp there.
He had to learn Swedish because the table waiter was Swedish.
The tables were 50 ft. long, and the long house dining hall held 300 men. Bread was called "brod and smear".

In Stockton, Walter learned how to do cementing and plastering from a friend, Knute Haggert of "Haggert & Jack Fonz", and later Smith was added.
Walter continued his plastering contractor business. He did beautiful work on walls and ceilings. He loved his work and took great pride in what he did.
Walter could build homes from the ground up.  John learned this from Walter.

John said: "In my Dads younger days he was an acrobat and he was an expert at juggling and balancing."
He was active into his older years.
Dad continues: "I remember him balancing the children in his hod carrier. (A hod carrier is a "V" shape box with a back and no front on it. It is on a long pole which is carried on your shoulder, you put plaster mud in it).  I saw him balance it on his chin with the children in it."
"He could run up and down ladders with it balance on his shoulder without holding on to it".

                             Hod carriers

Virginia says: "John did balancing, too and balanced the children in his hand and on his chin. He loved to balance things and I have a photo of him balancing a park bench on his chin."
[Sherry says: As soon as I find that photo,  I will add it.  My Dad would have me step on his hand barefoot and then he would lift me up high as his arm would be at his shoulder height.  He had me put my arms straight at my sides and told me to stay straight.  It was fun I remember this. He could do that until I got too big to fit my feet on his hand. Later he taught us Yoga positions and we practiced yoga on the weekends with him.]
John continues: "Dad was a kind loving man who would do anything for you. He was happy all the time."
During World War I, he stayed on the farm to work raising sheep, cows, barley, corn and wheat.
From the time he could remember John said his parents were very religious.
They went to revival tent meetings.
John says:  "Dad had smoked a pipe and drank alcohol until he got Tuberculosis. He had to have half of his stomach removed. He was told he was dying and was healed in a tent meeting with a healing blessing. Walter dedicated his life to Christ, using his time and talents in helping others. Dad became very active in the Pentecostal Church.
"He was very strict at the dinner table. We had prayer before every meal. At one meal when the prayer was over, everyone said Amen, I had to act smart and said "A-women."   I was sitting four or five people away from my Dad but he was able to reach me and knocked me out of my seat. I found myself across the room on the floor. That was the last time I acted 'smart' at the table."
"Dad did a lot of whittling, (carving objects from wood by shaving the wood down with a knife). He made a lot of beautiful objects. I remember seeing him whittle on a long piece of wood and it ended up like a cane with small balls free within the wood. Dad carved balls inside of balls and those inside other balls. I also saw animals he had carved. He was very good. We had one of the canes but someone stole it.
[Sherry says: I looked up about this type of carving and it is called " Hobo Carving" The next two photos from this page.

Progression of the carving of the chains and ends with the ball inside 
                           Close up of the ball inside

                           Ball in ball in a 'cage'
These websites have a great deal of information on this art form.  Also Hobo art is carving out parts of coins so only the relief area is left. They also carve figurines and other objects.

Virginia says: "John and all the boys and his Father would wrestle. They really enjoyed it. They were very loving and everyone kissed and hugged each other every time they met."
John said this Dad talked real nice to the children when they did something bad and the kids wished he would have hit them instead, because he made you feel so bad for doing what you did. But he would also praise you for doing good.
Later on John's Dad worked for the Work Projects Administration  [W.P.A. 1935 - 1943 Federal program]
during the depression and then after that he worked at United Grocers. He put up orders for the stores at the warehouse. John's Dad was order clerk and his brother Earl was foreman.
When times were tough his Dad would bring home the dented can goods at a reduced price.
John's Dad was in the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War lodge. He was the Commander of the California Pacific Region in 1947.  He made many beautiful speeches. More on this in John's Biography.
"I love my Dad and all of his achievements."

Walter and Nellie in the 1940's

Walter and Nellie in the back and in front is sons Walter in the Navy, John in the Air Force and Earl in the Army. 


 Walter Adelbert Smith as Commander of the California Pacific in 1947
Salute in February for Lincoln's Birthday by the SUVCW - L to R
 George A Ruple - Commander, George Boone [My Grandma Nellie's brother; Sidney Bachtel and my Grandpa Walter Adelbert Smith - all in full Civil War Uniforms.


Several years before his death about 1954, Walter was in a bad accident.  While driving his car to work a train hit the car. Walter was injured badly and had brain damage. The railroad insisted on Walter being examined over and over again. This was a way of putting off paying the damages.  The Drs. would pump air into his head between his brain and skull. This was so painful for him that he would beg them to stop.  I remember going with him and a member of the family when had one of these tests. I think these tests caused a lot of brain damage. I think this affected his mind until he hardly knew anyone. This went of for several years before he died.
Walter died July 15, 1956 in San Francisco, California of a heart attack.
At the time of his death there was a strike at the cemeteries and no one was buried. The funeral directors told us they would inform us when he could be buried so we could have a graveside service. By the time the strike was over they hurried and buried everyone and told us later.
Walter was buried at Cypress Lawn, Colma, California.
       
                       
Walter Adelbert Smith Grave - Grandma was there with him when she passed in 1967 and John and Virginia ordered the gravestone

Walter's brother Albert:
Albert Smith, Walter's brother told Virginia that there was Blackfoot Indian in Walter's family. [Sherry: I am still looking proof of this information.]

Albert said that he had lost track of his father Walter Ireta Smith and had visited him and his second wife in Faribault, Minnesota in 1896.  We found the records that Walter Ireta Smith passed away the 24th of March 1925 in Plymouth Hennepin Minnesota.  His sister Emma Emily Smith Crandall signed the the death certificate. Emma was born April 28, 1853 in Watertown, Jefferson, Wisconsin. Emma Crandall passed away February 16, 1932 in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota.
 

left is Albert Smith 1881 - 1947 
Comparison to My Dad John on the right 



Virginia says: "I met Walter's brother Albert (Bert as he was called) in 1946 when he came to live with Walter and Nellie in San Francisco.
He was a very tall good looking man.
He was very nice. He had lived in Minnesota where he was a lumberjack.
The day he died he was helping Walter and John outside the house and had come in and ask me for a bowl of milk and cherries. I brought them to him at the table and he was just sitting there like he was asleep but he was not moving. I got John and he discovered Bert had passed away quietly.
I had learned to love him like an Uncle in that short time. He died of a heart attack.
Albert married May Wood Waller and had two daughters and later she divorced him. I met one of his daughters who lived on Castro St.  May also had five children [three daughters and two sons] from her first marriage to Thomas William Waller.




Data and photos from my parents John Everett Smith and Virginia Mae Mifflin Smith notes July 1994
Excerpts from writings of Nellie Boone Smith


                   Nellie Emeline Boone Smith in 1936
Sons of the Union Veterans 
of the Civil War or GAR Logo

Walter's half brother Frederick Augusta Collins

Fred Collins and Nance marriage photo 1924

Fred and Nance Ada Willmore married in 1924. They had two daughters and a son. 

As I find more photos I will add them. Later I will do a profile on each of the children and their families. 




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Dad's Autobiography

Virginia, their granddaughter JES, their dog Tressa and Dad 1979

My Dad's autobiography


Edits by Sherry, corrections and additions. I left out the names of the living and those who I could not get permission to add their names.

Dad wrote his autobiography in 1979. It ended there and I added on the years between 1979 and 2001 when he passed away.  I will add more when I find it. I am going through all the files that my Mom wrote about herself and the family. I will be adding the stories as I edit them. Mostly spelling corrections and clarifications. I will add more photos as well. Later I will do a page on Mom,Virginia as well as Dad's parents.

Here is Dad's story in his own words:

JOHN EVERETT SMITH - 1979

My Father is Walter Adelbert Smith.  He was born in Minnesota 1889 and passed away in 1956.
My Mother is Nellie Emeline Boone.  She was born in Illinois in 1891 and passed away in 1967.
They married and had a farm in Saco, Montana.
They moved to Stockton, California and back to Montana then back to Stockton, California.
The girls were born in Montana and the boys were born in California except the last in San Francisco in 1934.
I have 11 brothers and sisters.  
I was the seventh child.
They are:
1. Margaret Smith 1909 - 1989
2. Earl H Smith  1911 - 1986
3. Velma Smith 1913 - 1969
4. Laura Smith  1916 - 2002
5. Martha Smith  1918 - 1965
6. Walter A Smith  1921 - 1988
7. John Everett Smith [me] 1924 - 2001
8. Warren E Smith  1926 - 1979
9. William H Smith  1930 - 2008
     William had a twin who died after he was born the       same day as William. 
10. Shirley Smith  1934 - 1982 
11. Carolyn Smith [daughter of Velma raised by the Smith's as their adopted daughter]  1939 - 1983

I was born in Stockton, San Joaquin, California on May 5th 1924.
Before I was born, a next door neighbor friend of Mothers, a very religious lady said she had a vision and was told that Mother would have a boy and his name should be John.
Thus my name.
As far as I can remember I have always been very quiet and shy.
I have a good knowledge of what is going on, but I don't think things are important enough to make a great deal about them.
I have always been concerned about my family for their health and want the best for them, but I don't think that should be a priority of life. 
I remember going to church with my parents and remember a few times, I sat singing and crying. That is I felt spiritual. 
At the earliest I remember I can remember I played at the brickyard, and by the railroad that went by our home. 
I remember little things I did, like selling melons & fruit door to door.
                     John E Smith age 12 in 1936

At the earliest, watching the fruit trains going by.
Remembering my brother-in-law Herb Falk who was a Western Union delivery boy.  He came over on his bicycle to visit my sister, Laura.
I remember playing in my Father's old car parked in back of the bungalow Mom and Dad rented out.  
My brothers, Warren and Billie and I played in it, until I checked to see if there was gas in the tank "with a match".  The car blew up, blacked my face, blew Billie and Warren thru the canvas roof.  Everyone came running to see what happened.  We got all shook up,  but no one hurt, but I did get a talking to.
I remember going barefoot and my feet were tough with thick calluses, and we walked on the asphalt which melted as we walked on it in Stockton.
------------------
There is another story Dad told me about that same car. They crashed it somehow as Dad was sitting on the edge half in and half out of the car. They had taken a torch and cut off the roof and sides to make it a "convertible." It still had raw edges. 
Dad said that in the crash his groin/bag was cut. He never told his Mom or Dad and never had stitches or help.  Decades later the Dr asked Dad if he had an operation in the bag area and Dad told him what happened. The Dr shook his head in amazement. It was a wonder that Dad and Mom had the two of us kids!
------------------------
Dad continues:
I remember moving to San Francisco and I missed walking thru the brickyard.  We walked barefoot on the piles of glass that were used in making bricks. 

We had moved to San Francisco in the summer, all our belongings piled in, on and around the car.  It was after 1930 and before 1934 when the last daughter was born.]
About half way to San Francisco we had a flat tire, and at that time tires and wheels were much different.  They had a wheel, tire, tube, and a rim that held the tire on the wheel.  Anyhow the tire, wheel, tube and rim all went in different directions, I helped Dad go down the road to find the parts.


The Crystal Plunge in San Francisco opened in 1924 - Photo in 1954

I loved swimming at Crystal Plunge in San Francisco. I swam as long as I could, all day, until I got so hungry I had to go home and eat.  But I think I would rather swim that eat.  
We had a neighbor in San Francisco that made wine, and always had grapes delivered to the garage.  We ate as much as we wanted.  The man was Italian and used to tell Billie -- "Willie go home and feed the cat." We, all of the Brothers used to tell Bill that.  
We played on the grounds that they had Sham Battles on at Hunters Point.  That was before the 2nd World War.  
We would always go up on the hill and look down on the bay to see the Navy fleet in the bay.  
I went to school at Hillcrest, on Silver Ave.  We always had classes out in the sun or under the trees.  I remember the good times I had there.  
Mom and Dad moved a lot.  I went to many different schools.  
I remember we moved to Rondell Place in S. F. where I went to Marshall school most of my school years. [As soon as the landlords found out how many kids there were 6 -11, they could not abide that, so they were asked to move. The same happened to my Mom's parents with 8 daughters.]
  
It was there, in San Francisco, I worked selling papers then ride the back of the Street Cars called the "cow catcher" home.  


                   Street-Car in San Francisco 
           with the "Cow Catcher attachment"
I would stop for a soda, or a banana split or some kind of a treat for me.  Then take the rest of my money home and give it to Mother.  
Sometimes I would go to the bakery and buy a sack of bread for 50 cents.
Bread and sugar with water dripped on it was a treat. That was depression times in the 1930's. 
Things were not good in the city.  But I never had it so good.  I always had a good time.  So I never knew how bad things were.
I graduated from Marshall and went to Everett Jr. High.


                                   Everett Junior High School 

When I was at Everett Jr. High School, I was "an all around athlete", baseball, and track.  I was the only high jumper on the team, and I could jump 5'11".  
In 1937, at the all city track meet I came in second place.  I was beaten by a short negro guy, he jumped 6'1".  A record for Jr High School at that time.  
I used to go swimming every day after school with my friends, Johnny & Frank Garcia.  Frank had a super build, everyone called him Tarzan.  
            Dad and Frank friends for many years

At the Mariposa Boat Club, we went just about every day after school. We went swimming at the foot of 16th St. in San Francisco.  
We loved to swim and many times swam to the middle of the bay, then back.  The crew feed us beans on french bread.  
We would dive off of the ships and piers. One day I dove off the mast of the oil tanker ship, "Oil Linda" was her name, into the water, where I just missed a piling jetting up in the water.  


               Mariposa Boat Club Hunters Point San Francisco
That scared me enough not to want to dive into the bay anymore.
On weekends we started going to Flyshackers Pool at the beach.  [There was also a diving pool measuring 50 ft (15 meters) square and 14 ft (4.3 meters) deep and a two tiered diving tower.]
We drove there, it was safe, we swam from one end to the other all day.


                            Flyshackers Pool Two Tiered Diving tower

We would swim and dive for money. One time when we were there I met Johnny Weissmuller.  He was there for a swim meet. I swam along side of him from one end to the other, many times. Johnny Weissmuller was famous for portraying Tarzan in a dozen movies. 
Dr. Sammy Lee(1) once asked me if I would like to join his diving club and be in the Olympics.  
The war* started and they canceled the Olympics where I would have swam and did high diving.
I graduated from Everett Jr. high. 
[(1) Two time Olympic Diver Gold Medalist Dr. Sammy Lee]
[*The 1940 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad and originally scheduled to be held from 21 September to 6 October 1940, in Tokyo, Japan, were canceled due to the outbreak of World War II [September 1, 1939]


                  


I went to Mission high, where I was in R.O.T.C.  and dropped out of sports.  

There was a time when the family lived on Dolores street.
Mom and Dad belonged to the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War [AKA Grand Army of the Republic]
My brothers Earl, Warren & Billie and I belonged too to make Mom and Dad happy.
I was Color Guard and held to office of Charity. 



The Grand Army of the Republic, often referred to as the G.A.R., was founded at Decatur, Illinois on April 6, 1866. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson founded the organization on the three cardinal principles of Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty and these principles guided the G.A.R. throughout its existence.

I had to learn a speech for that office. Which I remembered for a while but forgot it now.  
When I went into the Service they made me Commander in The Sons of The Union Veterans of the Civil War [GAR.]
When I returned home I was set apart then released. Then they awarded me the Past Commanders Medal.
John's Mother, Nellie on the right she was President of the The Ladies of the G.A.R. of the Local Pacific GAR 
Nellie Emeline (Boone) Smith
(1891-1967)Residence: San Francisco, California
Relative(s):
  • Cyrenus E. Boone — 13th New York Heavy Artillery
     
  • Wife of Bro. Walter A. Smith, PDC



                                  Ladies GAR

Earl remained active while Warren and Bill dropped out.  After a while Earl and I dropped out.  
Then my Dad was made Commander in Chief of all over the World.  A great honor for him and I am very proud of that fact.  
He was a very great man.  
------------------------------------
Commander of the Department of California and Pacific GAR

President for the year 1947
SMITHWalterA1
Walter Adelbert Smith
(1889-1956)
Residence: San Francisco, California
Ancestor(s):
Daniel Reigle — 10th Minnesota Infantry in the Civil War
We had about fifty long barrels rifles, also known as muskets, with bayonets on them, swords and uniforms of all the Civil War times.  They all disappeared, I wonder if Earl has them.


Dad in the center with the office of Charity at one of the GAR meetings 

I went to school on and off because I wanted to work.  After school I worked as a sheet metal worker, carpenter, in the shipyards, bakery, grocery store.  Almost everyone was working making big money, I wanted some of that. 
I dropped out of school and went to work in the shipyards.  
I worked in Oakland, I passed the carpenters test and started with full shipwright pay.  
Made very good money, gave it to Mother.  I had just enough to buy clothes and a few shows. 
I worked there until I was drafted.  
I was put in the Army Air Corps.  It was changed to the U.S. Air Force when I was in. Service Start Date: 30 Jan 1943 age 18 1/2. 
I was given an aptitude test and they found I was fit to be a radio operator. 
Where they sent me to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training,  ugh!
I did my basic training at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi. then to Scott Field Air Force Base, Illinois, where I went to radio school.

Learned morse code and how to take a radio apart, repair it and put it back together.   
Then from radio school to gunnery school where I learned to shoot 50 caliber machine guns. 
I never got anymore training in war games. 
The Missouri river flooded the land and the service men were ask to help by sandbagging the river. 
I helped in the floods on the Missouri river and  worked in water up to my armpits.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I wonder where this was as he was further away from the Missouri river whereas he was very close to the Mississippi river in St Louis... I had heard it was the Mississippi river as a child and on up. So perhaps when Mom transcribed her notes she wrote Missouri rather than Mississippi...???
-------------------------------------------------
It was there I got pneumonia and went to the hospital.                        
In the hospital I got Rheumatic fever.  
I helped there when I was well enough.  
I helped the nurses make cakes and cookies.  I cooked the eggs for breakfast and helped the nurses with temperatures and took pulses.  
I also thought that was good duty.  
I was examined to see if I was fit enough to go back to school. 
The Doctors found I had heart trouble [damage] and an enlarged heart.  I was told I was to be discharged.              
1944 Back row Margaret, Earl, Carolyn, Martha, and Grandpa Walter
Front row Grandma Nellie, Shirley, Billy and the Dog Smokie   -  on 22nd Street GrandPa and Grandma's house


I got a medical discharge with a disability pension and a "ruptured duck" pin. [I will find the discharge date but I think it was in 1944.]
I was glad. Then I was sad.  I would miss all of my buddies and I would not get to fly or fight in the war.  
I went home.  My family was glad to see me home.  
I just hung around the house, then after a while I became upset with them, they were not the same, doing things that I know they were trained not to do. But Mom let them do whatever they wanted to do. 
I guess I should not talk or complain because I did the same.  I drank a lot, spent too much time in the clubs and bars.  Saw too many women.
I went to see my sister Martha, where I met a neighbor girl.
I went out with her, and I was engaged to her but I believe that it was just expected of me, I thought I loved her.  On New Years eve, she said she met someone else.  She gave me back my ring.  I threw it away. 
I worked in a gas station as a manager.
I was very sad for about month. When my life changed.
I met a beautiful girl.  She lived right under my nose. Around the corner.  Loved her right away.
I remember thinking when I seen her with her little sisters, she would be a great mother. Virginia was her name.
                                  Virginia 1945


                           John and Virginia 1946
I was at home one day she came over to see my adopted sister, Carolyn [his niece.]  I saw her, fell in love with her, felt like I couldn't keep my hands off of her.
She asked me, to take her on a date.  Well she can fill in the rest. [Sherry: Mom said she wanted to go to her sisters party. They said she had to have a date. So the only one she could think of was John. He said yes, they showed up to the party where the sisters jaws dropped. She laughed at them and Mom and Dad had their first date that evening.]
We were just meant for each other.
Virginia and I picked a date for marriage - May 12, 1946.  

                                             

We were married at my parents home.  Invited all of our friends, had a reception at a hall on 24th St.  We left early, did nothing, too many people listening at the door.            
                             Dad and Virginia 1947 
                         Mom was pregnant with Mike                            
We lived in a room on Dolores Street, Mrs Clancys.   
Virginia worked at The Pacific Bell Telephone Company. 


Virginia 1946 
in front of the Smith's 22nd street house
first color photo

I worked at Bekins Van & Storage Company.  
We would have to meet coming and going. 
We had different working hours, but our sleeping hours were nearly the same.  Those were good years.  
We moved from place to place until Virginia had the brains to want to buy an old house and fix it up.  We bought my sister Margaret's place after her husband Jack died.  She could not pay for it, would lose it, so we got it, cheap, well cheap enough.  [1951]
We had to have a home. We had a baby, Mike and Sherry coming on.  


      Late 1940's John Working Out Virginia in the back
                       
We lived there under some pretty hard times.  Mostly I was not a good husband and father. I wanted to drink too much.  I don't even want to think of those times. 


John and Mike 1949

1950 John and Sherry


22nd Street house in December 1951
Dad with Mike and Sherry in Mom's Homemade Halloween Costumes - 1953 at 22nd Street
[Ha! I get the black hat!]

I have always been true to Virginia but I did give her a lot to doubt me. She stuck with it.  And I have to give her all the credit for making our marriage last. My drinking nearly ruined my life and hers and the kids too.  Well, we sold the home on 22nd St. and bought Hill St 1959. 
                             Hill Street House

I still had a problem with drinking, smoking.  I always thought I was justified with drinking & smoking.  
I was the foreman at Bekins, had to buy materials from salesmen and most of the dealings were at the bar.  
Things were still bad, but getting better.  
I know the change was when I just happened to be home when the full time missionaries came over.  
Brother Leon & Sister Mabel Liddell.  

                 
                           Leon and Mabel Liddell They ask me if they could give me the lessons. [Missionary lessons prerequisite to join the LDS 'Mormon" Church.]   I guess Virginia sat down hard when I said yes.  
I did take the lessons.  Virginia said I already knew the answers, that going there the lessons was just a formality.   
I consented to be baptized,  They asked me when, I said next Saturday.  They didn't think I meant it, because I had to quit smoking, drinking alcohol and drinking coffee. 
Well I did it and I never ever had a smoke or a drink again or drink  coffee.   [There is a story about this he wrote and I will add it in here when I find it.]
I was baptized July 5, 1961.
I was reborn.  I know it and I am glad.
Life was great for me in the LDS Church.


     Program from Mission Ward in San Francisco

I was baptized into a working Ward, Mission Ward in San Francisco. 
Even the Bishopric had workers names, Bishop Barber, 1st Counselor Bro. Painter, 2nd Counselor, Bro. Carpenter!  
I was very shy, but not in the way most people are. 
I was, most of my life a truck driver and I had used truck driver language. Being in the church and just thinking of speaking to anyone, made me keep on guard not to use the language that I used for 30 years.  

I have always sat in the last row and most people knew me as the man that sits in the last row or Mike and Sherry's father.  
It was didn't go on like I wanted it too.  Bishop Barber kept asking me to give the benediction or the invocation and I kept saying no.  I was not ready yet.  
That keep me happy, until one Sunday evening I was sitting in my usual back seat, in the corner in a most inspiring Sacrament Meeting when Bishop Barber just said "...and Bro. John Smith will give the benediction."  
I felt like running away but I just sat there in a cold sweat and when it was time I was numb.  My mind was blank and I felt that I was walking up to the podium a foot above the floor.  When I got to the podium I just stood there looking at the congregation about 1 minute.  
I supposed that was the longest minute Mission Ward ever had.  I gave the prayer, somehow, and I have no idea what I said.  
But after the meeting just about every member of the ward came to me and said that was the most moving prayer they have heard in years.  I still don't know what I said.  
But I think if Bishop Barber hadn't called me I may not have been here today.  After that I accepted many different positions in the church.  
Upper Briar house in 2008

Close up of the house on Upper Briar

We moved to Marin in 1963:
We moved to marvelous Marin to a nice home in Kentfield. 
I was in Greenbrae Ward,  Secretary of the Elders Quorum, San Rafael Ward, Secretary of Elders Quorum. 


          Greenbrae Ward, Marin County, California

I remember when in the Quorum I found people that were going to buy or lease cars.  I sent them to Alex Logan, a car dealer, he was in the Elders Quorum Presidency He gave $100.00 to the Quorum for every car they sold and $50.00 for every leased car and I sent many and sold many. 
It was not long before the Bishop Stevenson (now President) put me to work as Ward Clerk.   
And after Bishop Leininger ( President) kept me busy in Quorum work I feel good doing this work in the church.  
Bishop Stevenson, nor Bishop Leininger couldn't ever get me to give the benediction or invocation.  
I kept telling them I'm not ready but Bishop Leininger called me one evening to bring Virginia and come over to  his home.  


Dr C Ray Leininger in 1960
 [Bishop and Stake President]

I thought, "Oh, Oh, now what did I do?"
I got Virginia and went to the Bishops home.  He brought us in to his little office, sat us down, was working on some papers, left us sitting there for a moment, I was about to die.  
Then he turned to us and said, John - Virginia, I would like to see you married in the Temple.  Again I was frightened, after all, we were already married why the Temple?  
Then he commenced to tell us of all that we would gain by going to the Temple.  
To be married for time and eternity, well my fears left me and I saw the smile on Virginia's face, and I knew that it must be.  

We were sealed in 1965, Virginia, Mike & Sherry the most wonderful day of my life.  
Dr. Ray Leininger and his wife LoDonna went thru with us as our official escorts. 


Dr. Ray Leininger and wife LoDonna 

We have been back to the Temple many times, and everytime I feel better.  We have gone there with our dear friends in this Ward and have  had many wonderful experiences there.
 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints                                Oakland California Temple


The last time we went I was a witness at baptisms for about 500.  Another wonderful blessing.  
It has been just about a year ago now that the big change in me took place.  
I went to Teacher Training & Development class, and I admit I thought I was just going to sit thru it with my wife, no way.  
We had a teacher, no one was overlooked as much as I wanted too just be there with Virginia and listen, Bro Stan Clawson, brought things out of me that I didn't know I knew.  
Also, let me know that I could do just as much as anyone.  He gave me confidence in myself.  When I was to teach a class I thought for sure I was going to be sick and stay home that day.  But remembering what he said, I can do it.  I did!   I am still glad and in my heart I am crying.  
I taught the Deacons that day and with the help of Father in heaven I did it.  The boys that were Deacons then may remember that day.  
Everyone in that class stood up and bore their testimonies , even me, and their regular teacher.  
After that day I grew with myself, grateful to the class and to Bro. Stan Clawson for giving me the confidence I needed.  

I have read two talks and bore my testimonies twice since then.  Again, I am grateful to Stan Clawson, I gave him such a bad time.  

Soon the Bishop asked me to be Home Teaching Superintendent. Which  I did and did it well.  
I held many different callings in the Church and mostly as Secretary of the Elders Quorum.  

[The Quorum gives this to the Bishop who in turn gives it to the Stake and the Stake has authorization to distribute monies as the Corporation of the President of the LDS Church instructs.]
It was a great day when I ordained my son, Mike a Priest. 

Then through the Genealogy program that showed me that I was not the only one in my family that was and is a member of the LDS church. My son Mike graduated from College of Marin in 1968.  
He got married at our house on Upper Briar in Kentfield in 1968. 
They lived down stairs at our house then moved to an apartment in San Rafael.
Sherry graduated from high school and went to Idaho to College. 
Life was feeling pretty bad.   
Somehow things were turning sour.  
The house was too big. 
Commuting to San Francisco for work was becoming a drag.  
Maybe we had too much and did not appreciate it.  
I don't remember much about that time, it was hell.
Things did not get better.
We sold the house at Upper Briar Road in Kentfield.
We rented a house on California Avenue in San Rafael in 1968.
Mike and Sherry were falling away from Church. 
Then we bought a duplex on Ridgeway in Fairfax in 1969.
We rented out Ridgeway to Mike and his wife and their baby girl. We then moved to a nice house on Acacia Avenue in Larkspur in 1969, where Sherry married.  She had a baby girl in October 1970 and her and her husband went to San Diego in 1971.  They lived in Alameda first as he was in the US Coast Guard.

Mike's baby girl's story:
The baby girl was born at French Hospital in San Francisco.  She was a breech birth, feet first.  She was having convulsions and the Doctor said they should take her to University of California Hospital where they have experts.
We got her into an ambulance.  They had to put her in an incubator to transport her.  She was in very bad condition. The Doctors said that she probably would not make it.
Virginia had me call Dr Ray Leininger.  At that time he was our Bishop. [Dr Leininger was a Pediatrician and specialized in pediatric heart surgery.] He told me to get over to his home right now.  Which I did.  
We went over to the hospital and walked right in, changed to Doctors clothes, walked right in to intensive care, where they kept the babies that were not going to live.                                                                 
Everyone there thought I was a doctor.  Dr Leininger was on the staff and no one questioned him.  We saw the baby, held her hand and forhead and talked about the baby. 
I felt good like a Dr. and I knew the baby was going to be OK.  
We went home talking about the Church.
We prayed and I felt like I was just coming alive again.
                 
The next morning when everyone was expecting bad news we found that after examining the baby and they could find nothing wrong with her.  I know the Lord works miracles and in strange ways.  
                                      
Mike's girl age 3
 She got married in 1999 and had a set of twin girls in 2011 - sadly her husband passed away 2 weeks before the twins were born. 

We had moved to a rental in the upper hills of Millbrae, Santa Clara county, overlooking the San Francisco airport. 
This rented house was on Spring Valley Lane in 1970.
We stayed away from Church for over a year. Talking and studying about the church.  
Virginia and I talked about our troubles.
I didn't care if I lived or died and Virginia was ill. 
But with all of this I still stayed true to the Church and Virginia.  
We sold a lot of junk that we had collected for years.  
Then moved back to Marin in 1971 to another rented house on Golden Hind Passage in Corte Madera area.  
Things did start to get better. 
We had decided the Church is right, some of the people are wrong. 
I believe that is when Virginia and I started back to Church.
So we went back to Church and got very active again.  
I started to live again, in love with Virginia and I forgave my children for what they had done.
It was not long before I was Secretary of the Elders Quorum again, and kept every busy.  
We moved to a house we bought on Hacienda Way in Santa Venetia, Marin County.
We started a new life here. 


The actual house somewhat hidden
a few doors down but the exact duplicate



After a while I was 2nd Counselor in the Elders Quorum as Presidency. 
"John G, John W, John Smith"  -- "The three Johns."  
We did a lot of good things, Firesides, Temple excursions, Temple marriages, many things to help the advancement of the Brethren in the LDS Church. 
I always felt good to think that I was a part of the fact that five couples were sealed in the Temple through our work "Temple Marriage Program".
I blessed Sherry's oldest daughter Suzanne in 1971 and baptized her as well in 1978.
                               

                 Dad with Sherry's Daughter JES in 1977
Dad Blessed her in 1979 and Baptized her in 1985

I see many of my friends from Church at the Temple and remember how they all used to tell me how happy I would be when I have had my endowments. They are right.
We are happy.
In 1978 I was assigned to the Sunday School Presidency and I conducted many prayer meetings and conducted Sunday School. 

                     
I believe I did more than my share, because we were to conduct every third week. Bro. J and Bro. M seemed to be out of town an awful lot. I learned quite a lot from that experience.  
I was called to the Office of Seventy late in 1978 and I went out with the full time Missionaries about once a week.  Where I learned a lot more.
I have had the blessings of giving tours of the Stake Center and explain our beliefs of the Gospel, and what the functions of the Building are.  
I was released from the Sunday School Presidency, all of us "J, M and Smith." 
I am still working as a Seventy.

   San Pedro Road San Rafael LDS Stake Center

JOBS
The jobs I have had in my life were: selling newspapers in my young days, delivering newspapers by car in 1980's: early morning route, Sunday paper, very heavy.
As a young man I worked at a bakery, "bumping and dumping" the baked good as they came out of the oven.  They were like twinkies.
I worked as a sheet metal worker, making bread pans for the government.  
I worked in the shipyards as a shipwright, thats a ships carpenter, you work with steel instead of wood.  
I worked in a boat yard where I was a runner were as I took the right piece of lumber out of the steam tank, it had a number and letter on each piece. Had to run across the boat yard before the part got cold. They had to bend parts into place if the part got cold, it could break or be too hard to bend.  
We tested these boats in the San Francisco bay for the US Navy.  
They were life boats that had a push/pull driven motor.  The only ones built in the world. 
I worked at Lyons Van & Storage rolling and moth prof rugs. Wrapped, tied, put a number on it, then put it in the rug rack.  Sometimes I had to put them over my head, all alone, they get heavy.
I worked at ABC Van & Storage crating, became forman, worked at Wells Van & Storage, crating. I was forman.
Worked at Wells Van & Storage in Alameda after that.
Then I went to work for Bekins Van & Storage as a crater and packer. 
I became Foreman there after a while.  
Then all of the work was assigned under the dispatchers.   I couldn't stand making commitments to the customers then the dispatcher would send all my helpers out.  
                                                                                        Then I couldn't get the work done when I promised it. I wanted to transfer out. 
So I asked to go driving. I got my way, I drove for a while when I was asked to be driver trainer and packer trainer. I did that for many years.
Then they asked me to do the hookups in the mornings and during the day.  I would do moving jobs, packing crating, pickup and deliver freight, shuttle vans from S.F. to Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Monterey, Walnut Creek. 
I guess I go tired of that and took the job of record storage P/O and delivery. In the evenings I was foreman of office jobs. Retired from Bekins after 20 years. 
Dad working at Bekins


After that I was custodian at the LDS Church building in San Rafael, California.
I worked for a year moving pianos with Earl Farnsworth and company.
Now I am back at the Church as custodian in 1972.
Its O.K.

by John Everett Smith -  1979
Editing by Sherry 2015

Sherry's additions:
In 1979 Mom and Dad bought a house in Petaluma, Sonoma county. They lived there until they moved back to San Rafael in 1981.  They moved back to Petaluma when Dad retired from the custodian job. They rented several apartments while Dad was recovering from his heart attack.
In 1989 they bought the mobile home in Petaluma where they remained. 

Dad and Mom went with me and Larry as escorts while Larry and I were sealed in the same Temple that Mom and Dad were sealed in - The Oakland Temple in 1982.


                            Sherry and Larry 1982 After 

Dad retired from the custodian job he delivered the newspapers as I added in above. Dad became ill in 1980 and had a heart attack. We took him to the Dr and he was unstable. Then they took him by ambulance to the ER. While they were examining him he died. They resuscitated him. They said he needed to quit that job and retire, follow the new health guide and go to rehab for exercise. New medications and Nitroglycerin for heart pains. He had blockages in his heart.  
A year later he was helping odd jobs such as collecting the money from the news stands for the local newspaper. He helped my [Sherry's] husband Larry in the mid 1980's as supervisor for the house and swimming pools they built. 
He was ready for a quadruple heart bypass in 1988. After the operation he recovered well and was again custodian of the local ward. He also had assisted with Missionaries and as a stake Missionary with the Census Extraction program with my Mom.

In 1989 they bought a mobile home in Leisure Lake Mobile Home Park, where Dad and Mom were the managers.  Dad did a lot of the work outside and also subcontracted on some of the jobs. Dad did that until 2001 when he had slowed down with congestive heart failure for 6 months. Dad had a big heart attack and passed away while dozing on the couch listening to the ball game on October 28 2001.  

There is more that I will add after I go through my Mom's notes.  

My daughter took the two photos of when they were dating and made a merge for Virginia's computer
John, Virginia, Mike and Sherry 1961
John holding Sherry 1950
Virginia holding Sherry February 1950

John's Mom and Dad in the back
 front left is Walter, John and  Earl all in WWII at the same time early 1940's
John on the old swing that Grandpa Ben installed for us about 1953
John and Virginia with their 2nd Granddaughter Suzanne, Sherry's first Girl
John with granddaughters in 1971 Mike's daughter right and Sherry's oldest daughter Suzanne - left
John with his third Granddaughter, Sherry's 2nd daughter JES in 1979
John with his only grandson, Sherry's son MBW 1984
John and Virginia with two granddaughters - The oldest of Sherry's three girls Suzanne and the youngest of Sherry's girls MEMW in 1987. Dad and Sherry's husband Larry installed the new swing set that Christmas morning
Back row left Virginia, Sherry and Sherry's husband Larry 
Front row John holding Sherry's youngest daughter MEMW, and Mike
Back row John, Mike's wife, Mike and Sherry's husband Larry
Front Virginia and Sherry  1989
John,  Suzanne's husband, Sherry's daughter Suzanne and Virginia - Wedding 1995
The last photo of John and Virginia together at their 55th Wedding Anniversary 2001