Sunday, December 30, 2012
Friday we all went to the Art Museum since it had been pointed out that Megan had never been there. We were hoping to see the current exhibit of Barocci paintings, but it was sold out until late in the afternoon. Megan and Andy needed to drive back to Indiana and as more snow was predicted they wanted to get on the road before it got too late. So we walked through the museum instead, and hit Ted Drew's on our way back to the house.
Katie is still with us until Wednesday, so it is nice to have a little time to catch up with her. She is busy trying to see all of her friends before she takes off as well. After she leaves, it will be time for me to take down all the decorations. Then Christmas 2012 will be a wrap.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
|Jim & Kirby|
In addition to our kids being missing from the activities in Iowa this year, Jim's younger sister was unable to drive up from Kansas City due to work commitments, and his older sister (who lives in the same town as his folks) was so sick that she ended up going to the hospital to get some antibiotics. We did not get to see her and her family until dinner time on Christmas Eve. Though there were several inches of snow on the ground, all of those things added up to it not feeling too much like Christmas. We even went to Christmas Eve Mass at 4:00 in the afternoon, and that was different as well.
Despite all that we had a wonderful visit and of course ate way too much. Jim's mom is such a great cook, and I have little will power when her wonderful cinnamon buns and brownies are placed in front of me. We were able to begin videotaping Jim's mom as she reminisced about her early life, and that was something we all had been wanting to do. We have much more to cover, and we would like to get my father-in-law recorded as well. All in all, a great start to the holiday season and we are eager to see the kids tonight to continue the celebration.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
|Front of the St. Louis Public Library|
I had been in the library a couple of times in the past to do some house history and land research, and had admired the beauty of the architecture. But this renovation has really transformed the place, opening up some original detailing that had long ago been covered up. An additional 50,000 square feet has been made available as public space, including a large auditorium. With all of the people at the event, it was hard to take everything in. I only had my point and shoot camera with me as I anticipated that they would not allow cameras. I definitely will go back with my DSLR camera and get some more photos. And I am eager to explore the history and genealogy section of the library as well.
|one of the ceilings|
|a third ceiling|
|original file cabinets|
|in the teen area|
|outside the children's area|
|one of the stained glass windows|
|lamp base outside|
How blessed I am to live in an area that treasures not only public libraries but also the historic buildings that contain their holdings.
Monday, December 10, 2012
|Webster Groves Library front|
|Webster Groves Library rear|
|children's seating area|
Sunday, December 2, 2012
The weather, of course, was perfect today. I was expecting it to be way more crowded than it actually ended up to be. We were able to walk to a number of the houses, and it was great to be in a short sleeved shirt. Two of the houses even had their air conditioners on! Who could have imagined 70+ degree weather in December! We toured four houses before heading to Eden Seminary for some cookies and punch. Our timing was great and we got to hear the male and female a capella groups from the high school perform. That is always entertaining. Then we hit the last two houses and headed home.
Seeing all the pretty decorations made me feel like I am way behind schedule. I need to start dragging my Christmas stuff out of the basement and get cracking. Ho, ho, ho...
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
|Roy & Catherine Kubler|
As the service wrapped up, the pastor presented a basket of dried or nearly dried flowers and leaves (Linda's mom often collected these when she was younger and pressed them into books, magazines and even her bible). He asked that we look in the basket on our way out and select an item which spoke to us. As I exited the chapel there in the basket I saw a small red rosebud. Red roses were my mom's favorite flower, so this one definitely spoke to me. It was like a sign from my mother, letting me know that she is okay. Perhaps she is even now collecting flowers with Yaeko. You just never know...
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
|Civil War reenactment|
Armed with this new information, I am confident that my John Murdock did not serve in the Civil War. At this point I can cross military research off my list and focus on other resources to learn about the man and the land that formed Shrewsbury, Missouri.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
|SWT Design, Shrewsbury, MO|
I shared what I have found about John Murdock - including the fact that I believe he was NOT a general in the Civil War - as well as the various maps I have been collecting of the area. I guess I am on somewhat of a Myth Busters mission at this point. The City of Shrewsbury website states that Murdock was a general in the Civil War, as do all the other resources I have come across including Wikipedia (though I realize Wiki is not a reliable source). A book that was written about the town also states that he was a general. If so, where is the proof? A neighbor lady down the street is a subscriber to Fold 3, an online database consisting mostly of military records. She is going to look Murdock up for me, as that website is working in conjunction with the National Archives. She says that if the record is not in Fold 3, then he wasn't in the Civil War. I don't think she will find any surprises.
I may not win any friends in going forward with this. After all, it sounds pretty cool to say that your city was established on land once owned by a Civil War general. But John J. Murdock was a very interesting man in his own right, and he has quite a story to tell. I may just become the vehicle to make that happen. He certainly has me hooked!
With the centennial celebration, I mentioned that I would be happy to give a presentation on researching house history if that fits into what they are doing. Since we own a business in the area that was once a home, it would be a fun talk for me to give. In the meantime, I'll continue to dig into the Murdock Mystery.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
|Fall colors at Calvary Cemetery|
When Dickson died there apparently were more liabilities than assets in Murdock & Dickson, and as the sole remaining partner all the debt fell to Murdock. He began to sell off the property in the city to pay down the debt. Then Dickson's family filed lawsuits against him, and I can see that at least until 1903 the suits were still active. One document indicated that Murdock was insolvent when he died, having assigned all of his individual estate for the benefit of his creditors. That may mean that Murdock Farm fell victim to the liquidation.
But back to why I made the trip to Calvary. Articles and books about Shrewsbury state that the city was formed on land that was once Murdock Farm, owned by John Murdock who was a general in the civil war. I have been trying to figure out where they came up with him being a general. He was not even in the Civil War as far as I have been able to find out. First of all, he was born in 1814 so that would have made him 47 when the war began. Second, generals in the Civil War were pretty well documented and I find no record of him at all. Third, I can place him in St. Louis through census records and city directories during the time period of the war. Heck, he got married here in 1855. Fourth, his obituary makes no mention of him being a general.
So I thought perhaps his tombstone might have a marker indicating his service. He and 7 of his family members are buried on the same plot as 9 members of the Charles K. Dickson family, which I think is interesting in light of the lawsuit. Imagine my surprise when I got to the plot and found this tombstone.
|Dickson-Murdock family plot|
So I will not have a tombstone to help me answer the veteran question. At any rate the man in the office at Calvary said it was up to the family whether the stone stated anything about military service. It is possible it would not have been listed anyway. I will continue to look for clues, but unless I have the wrong John J. Murdock I think someone made up a good story for how Shrewsbury got its start.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I arrived at my polling place a little after 10:00, parking on the side street behind the school and entering through the playground. It was brilliant because all the paper pushers were on the street in front of the school, so I didn't have to lip off that I had certainly made up my mind by now and their papers weren't going to sway me. I didn't see a line coming out of the building, which I took as a good sign. Upon entering the gym, I found about 40 or so people waiting in front of me. Not too bad... A quick glance told me that this was not a well organized polling center. The way the line was positioned, you not only could read each vote of the person using the end electronic booth, the line blocked the box where those who used the paper ballot had to come to drop off their completed ballots. Shaking my head, I booted up my iPad and settled in to read a bit while I waited. Finally a Little Man volunteer started pushing those behind me in line out the gym door away from those trying to vote, and then he reorganized those of us closer to the beginning of the line to suit his fancy. It was then that he told me I was not allowed to use my iPad. He said there were signs posted outside that you are not allowed to use cell phones in the voting area. I told him that I did not have a phone on me. He said well there are no rules for these kind of devices, but I don't want you to use it in here. "Even to read a book?", I inquired. "I want you to turn if off." After he left, the men around me shook their heads. "Give a person a little power..", one said. (Or give a little person power, I thought to myself.) What is ironic is that Little Man later pulled out his cell phone and was using it in the gym. Really?
I decided to go with the paper ballot as they had 4 stations for doing that versus 3 for electronic voting, and the electronic line was twice as long. Once I got over to the paper ballot area, they offered the option of sitting at the table to fill the ballot out, and there were four seats at the table. I took a seat there because one opened up before a traditional stand did. I will say that there was little privacy to be had. I held my ballot up at an angle to protect my vote. I still want to know why we have regressed to filling in ovals with a pen as opposed to punching the cards. Did the hanging chad fiasco in Florida ruin that for everyone? Some people completed theirs so quickly that I was wondering how they filled their ovals in so rapidly. And what is the margin for error there?
At any rate, when I was done as luck would have it Little Man was collecting the paper ballots. He placed mine in the box, made sure the number counter recorded it, and told me I was done. He did not, however, give me a sticker. IPad bad, I guess. By the time I left, the line was out the door so I was grateful I came when I did. But I still want my sticker!
Friday, November 2, 2012
Andy woke us up at 4:00 in the morning (3:00 St. Louis time) and drove us to Baltimore. At that time of day it only took 45 minutes. We arrived with plenty of time to check our bags and grab some oatmeal for breakfast. Keeping a close eye on where the families and all their children sat on the plane, we settled in seats located in the middle of the plane. Apparently many others ended up taking the storm seriously, as it was 100% full. We left Baltimore a little late because the plane had too much fuel on it (and how does that happen?) and they had to unload some. But we arrived in St. Louis just a bit behind schedule, and at any rate that was no big deal for us.
Andy and Megan ended up losing power in their apartment on Monday, and the airports did indeed close that day. I doubt that we would have gotten out of the DC area until late in the week. So while I am sad that we did not get to spend the last full day with Megan and Andy, I am vastly relieved that we heeded the suggestions and got out on Sunday. I am pretty sure that the kids are glad as well. There is a reason for the adage that fish and guests smell after three days.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
We decided to go and visit Andy and Megan for a long weekend, and tie in a night at the inn for my birthday. When I called for the reservation I requested the Eve and Roarke room. Each of the eight rooms are named after fictional literary couples, but the one I chose is the only one representing a couple from Nora's books. Actually Eve and Roarke are the main characters in the J.D. Robb books. Plus that room is on the back side of the inn, which is always a consideration for a light sleeper like me. The inn sits right on Main Street, so there is a lot of traffic passing by.
We flew into Washington Reagan on Thursday afternoon, and the kids picked us up. From the airport we went out for dinner before heading to their apartment. The next morning they left for work and we took off in Andy's car. We stopped at Harpers Ferry on our way to BoonsBoro. What a wonderful place! It is a national park, and great pains have been taken to preserve the town's predominantly early 19th century buildings. We spent several hours here and easily could have stayed longer.
|St. Peter's Catholic Church|
|Dan's Restaurant & Tap House|
The next morning breakfast included cereal, fresh fruit, French toast, bacon and sausages, homemade rolls and a made-to-order omelet if you desired. Everything was quite tasty! Then we packed up the car and headed off to Antietam National Battlefield, location of the bloodiest day in Civil War history where over 23,000 lost their lives.
|Soldiers at Antietam|
|Cannons at Antietam|
We spent several hours driving through the national park and stopping to hike to the various points of interest. It is amazing to see all the history on the East coast since we do not have this type of history that is preserved in the Midwest.
We got back to Andy and Megan's around 5:00, which left us with enough light to drive around and see the bridge project that Andy is working on in DC. I took some photos as I know his Grandpa will be very interested to see the new construction. Then we went out to celebrate my birthday at a restaurant before heading back to their apartment to enjoy the chocolate birthday cake Megan had made for me.
It was our plan to fly home on Monday so that could spend all of Sunday with the kids, but we were all keeping a cautious eye on the weather. Frankenstorm and an alert from Southwest Airlines caused us to change our plans. More on that in the next post.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
|The Missouri Botanical Garden fountain|
I love that the garden has their main fountain dyed red in support of the St. Louis Cardinals. The fountain definitely rivaled the trees in terms of bright red! We were entertained by a bird having a quick bath in one of the fountains. I imagined him laughing at the other birds as they took a drink from the same place he had been bathing!
|Splish splash I was takin' a bath|
Saturday, October 13, 2012
- Don't judge a winner from the score
- You may be down but you are not out
- It takes a team
and the number one takeaway...
- The Cardinals never give up, and neither do their fans!
- You may be down but you are not out
- It takes a team
and the number one takeaway...
- The Cardinals never give up, and neither do their fans!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I didn't notice it was missing until he told me about it today. So I went out to investigate and found the pieces to the house all busted up in the shrubs below. It is really disappointing as it was expensive, and yet as I picked up the pieces I could tell they were made from thin wood. It seems even bird house builders use cheaper materials to save costs.
|Bird house blown to smithereens|
I can just hear the little birds saying, "Really? This had to happen just as it is getting cold here?" Looks like Jim and I will be out shopping for a new home. One that will be going to the birds.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
|Hunter, Ted, Jim, Bonnie and Jay|
But let me backtrack a bit. In July I asked our children if they would like to attend the ceremony as a surprise to their dad. They were excited to be included, and so began three months of scheming behind Jim's back. I made their room reservations and then coordinated with Jim's partner Ted to make sure that we had room at our table for Andy, Megan and Katie. Jim was told that the three Principals in the firm were each bringing their spouses to fill the table of ten. Then their spouses had to be let in on the secret in case Jim said something to them about the trip at one of the company gatherings this fall. Conversations with the kids had to take place when Jim was not around or through text messages. Since so many people knew about the surprise, I could not believe that we were able to keep it a secret from him but somehow we pulled it off. Almost. More on that in a bit. Because the dinner was not until Sunday, we decided to all meet in the lobby bar at 7:00 Friday night after checking in. The kids would then come in a few minutes after us so that the other employees could enjoy the surprise.
When Jim and I went to check in, I told the woman behind the counter that we had a reservation under Jim Wolterman. She said, "Jim and Kim?" I replied yes, with the American Society of Landscape Architects. I bet you can see this coming...She then says, "Do you know you have another room reserved with Kathryn Wolterman?" Jim said, "What?!?" Since I had made the reservations and used my AAA card, the rooms had to be in the kids' names as well as mine. So, after 3 months of everyone keeping their mouths shut, the deal was blown by the desk clerk. Ugh!!! So I sent Jim away from the counter and proceeded to express my dismay that she had just ruined the big surprise. It was not her fault, I know, but REALLY? All I needed was another hour and a half to be in the clear.
Then Jim wanted to go down to the bar early and I tried to talk him out of it to no avail. So I finally sent Andy a text message and told them to come on down. They were able to sneak up behind him, so at least something was a surprise. Jim later said that even though he suspected Katie might be coming due to the desk clerk, he had no thought that Andy and Megan would be able to make the trip. So that is gratifying I guess.
|Katie, Megan, Andy and me|
|Roosevelt Lake in Tonto National Forest|
Jim had to go down at 6:00 with his escort, who was Ted, so that they could do their rehearsal. They had to wear tuxes, so the rest of us were dressed in formal wear as well. At 7:00 the reception began, followed by the dinner at 8:00. The ceremony started shortly after dessert. In alphabetical order (yay for the Ws) they had a short slide presentation of the work of the recipient along with some verbiage telling about that person's history in the profession of landscape architecture. The whole event was really well done, and I am so glad that we could all be there for him. I am so proud of Jim and all that he has accomplished so far.
|Wolterman table at the ASLA Fellows Ceremony|