Post 274: a year ago today…

Mom as a teenager.

Mom as a teenager.

Sallows Military Museum

The Sallows Military Museum originally was the bathhouse to the swimming pool where Mom taught hundreds, maybe thousands, to swim.

mom at swimming pool

The bath house at the new swimming pool is named for Mom.



One year ago today, this time in fact (a little after 4 AM), I received the call from the hospital in Scottsbluff notifying me that Mom had died in the night. I had the sad duty of calling my brother and sisters with the news. She was just a few weeks short of 99 years old. Her 100th birthday would have been February 24th this year.

Jean R. A. McKenzie Thomas, 02-24-14 ~ 01-05-13.

21 thoughts on “Post 274: a year ago today…

  1. This statistic does not work…

    18th Great-Grandparents 1,048,576

    Some 18th Great-Grandparents are the same in a family tree as well as 17ths, 16ths,… etc.

    But that’s not the point.

    Great post about your mother. I wrote about our ancestors so they still live among us.

    • Thanks! I miss her quirky sense of humor, though all my siblings and I have something of the same outlook as Mom had! We are all old enough (by decades) to recognize our parents’ influence on us and how we sound like them when we express an opinion.

  2. Well there’s a lot more. I didn’t realise until I started doing my tree and began to get very confused. When I found a list of the numbers of grandparents that we have it explained a lot.

    You may well already know this, but we have 4 grandparents, 8 great-grrandparents, 16 great great grandparents (easier to say 2nd great grandparents!), I’ll cut and paste the rest!

    3rd Great-Grandparents 32
    4th Great-Grandparents 64
    5th Great-Grandparents 128
    6th Great-Grandparents 256
    7th Great-Grandparents 512
    8th Great-Grandparents 1,024
    9th Great-Grandparents 2,048
    10th Great-Grandparents 4,096
    11th Great-Grandparents 8,192
    12th Great-Grandparents 16,384
    13th Great-Grandparents 32,768
    14th Great-Grandparents 65,536
    15th Great-Grandparents 131,072
    16th Great-Grandparents 262,144
    17th Great-Grandparents 524,288
    18th Great-Grandparents 1,048,576

    There is at least a 99.6% chance that you will have DNA from all of your 16 2nd great-grandparents.

    1 parent = 50%
    1 grandparent = 25%
    1 great grandparent = 12.5%
    1 great great grandparent = 6.25%
    1 great great great grandparent = 3.125%

    Very interesting.

    I’m looking forward to finding out my DNA results later this year.

    • It is staggering, isn’t it? I’ve some of my family tree worked out, but keep running into the issue of detail. All of it is interesting, but all of it confuses the simple line one wants to make from oneself back to some desired level of relatedness.

  3. Another thing about the ancestry that has been really comforting is that I saw (pictures of) so many people who reminded me of my Mum and Dad, whereas usually I don’t. Somehow knowing about wider family makes you feel more part of a whole rather than a singleton in the middle of nowhere.

    • That is so true! I remember when I stumbled on a photo of my father’s grandmother, someone who’d been a name till then. It was a shock, an OMG moment to see this woman who looked like my own Gram, Dad’s Mom, and realize she was also part of me!

  4. It is not that difficult and it is very interesting, actually no wonder people get obsessed with it.

    You could probably quite easily find out who came from where, when as somewhere back, someone came most probably from Europe, somewhere! Wouldn’t you like to know where?

    It is absolutely fascinating when you start finding out about your mother’s grandmother and her grandmother and so on. I didn’t even know my great grandmother’s name until this year but I was fortunate enough to get a photo of her when she was 68 in 1927, shortly before she died. You won’t guess where, on an election flyer as she was standing for election as councillor in Southend! Apparently she did some work to help build or improve the hospital there which I hope to find out at some stage.

    I was so pleased as she looked rather jolly. Not so pleased though that she managed to get through three husbands and two sets of children! Oh well, there’s worse.

    Once of the things I love best about the ancestry thing is that you find out why you are like you are and understand and accept yourself better. It’s been a wonderful experience I could never imagined, considering the in some ways terrible life we had as we were completely cut off from everyone due to circumstances, and just about any form of communication was a lot more difficult in those days.

    I have found it very comforting. Living alone in these times can be challenging at times, although generally I love it, but apart from making me feel a lot better generally the ancestry work has even made me feel glad that I am alone and have the time to spend on it.

  5. My heart and my prayers are with you in this time of remembrance I am sorry for your loss but memories can be wonderful things. I often re-live some of my long-lost youth by remembering some of the wonderful things my own Mom did and said. Yes . . . God be with you in Peace, Health, Prosperity and Happiness forever and thank you for this opportunity to read these wonderful words about your Mom.

    • Thank you! We always found things to laugh about in my family, and that helps a lot. I’ve mentioned some of these moments above. I keep the little video of her singing on my desktop so I can watch it any time I need to remember what fun she could be!

    • Thank you! She was pretty much as you described her. She also was a substitute school teacher. She laughed about the kids (a known trouble maker) who made a fart sound with his hand and armpit. When Mom asked him if he had a problem, he told her “I just wanted to see if you knew what a fart sounded like.” Instead of sending him to the principal or making a seen about it, she just thanked him, and continued the lesson. He gave her no more problems after that or when she substituted his class again. She said the hardest part was not laughing! That was my Mom!

    • She was a sweet person, and you would be pleased to know she especially liked dogs and cats! Of course, raising four children was OK, too, and she enjoyed her grandkids and great grandkids!

  6. You mom was a beautiful woman…inside and out! 🙂 She left a wonderful legacy! I hope you will always remember the good times with her! The anniversary of her death will always be a sad day, but focus on the happy times. She would want that. Good moms want their kids to be happy. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing her with us!

    • See above. Mom didn’t want us to mope around when she died because she did, after all, have a good, long life. She did pretty much what she wanted to do, gave to her community, had a marriage that started with a five year courtship and 71 anniversaries.

    • Thank you! Mom didn’t want us to feel sad when she died, and the video I made for the service includes one of her singing the “Barney Google” song, I used it with her permission…! She thought it was a great idea, and, given the two other segments were a bit more somber, I’m glad she did.

  7. She was beautiful.

    I’d certainly be proud to have her on my tree!

    Now let me see… lol

    I always like to find syncronicities and coincidences and look for them. It’s one of the reasons I love working on my tree. I have found a few It’s not even that difficult now as there are almost 9,000 people on there.

    There is even a family with the name Thomas from Oxford, starting with William Thomas b.1822 m. Mary Ann Luke, his son Alfred m.Ellen Sutton, children: Harold A, Horace Randolph, Ethel Kate, Eva E, Julia F, Nina O, Clara and Ella. Alfred is father-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed.

    I love that I have a Spencer family (from the right place, Northampton in the 1700s married into the Utahn branch of the family, a Middleton family of Montrose (Agnes Coutts Middleton the aunt of a cousin), a Ferguson military family who are very distant and many Phillips – my great grandmother was a Phillips but it is a very common name although these Phillips were fairly well-to-do. No wonder I have dreamt of having tea with royalty, not because I would love it, I would probably hate it in reality, but the dream is quite pleasant.

    • I’ll have to spend a little time to see what my grandfather’s father’s name was. He was born in 1865, so his father could go back several decades before that, given the size of families then. I think he came from Ohio, however. It takes more time and knowledge to fill in those family trees than I have to devote to it right now, so it’s good some family members took the time to get a good start on the 19th Century-20th Century family!

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