Friday, November 25, 2011

Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney was a well-known singer and actress in the 1950’s.  Her most famous role is White Christmas with Bing Crosby.  She is also the aunt of the well-known actor George Clooney.

Our connection to Rosemary begins with the fact that she was born in Maysville, Kentucky, the same town as my Great-grandmother (we called her Grandma Stubbs, her maiden name was Anna Duncan).  The connection runs a little deeper than that though.  Rosemary’s parents bought the house Grandma Stubbs was born in from the Duncans (her parents).  Sometime after this purchase, Rosemary and her brother Nick were born in the same house.

Now I’m not exactly sure what house the three of them (Rosemary, Nick & Grandma Stubbs) were actually born in.  Where the actual house was seems to be lost in the mists of time, although if someone spent a few hours poking about in the Mason County archives, they might be able to solve the mystery.
NOT this house!

NOT this one either!

I do know several places that are not the right house.  It is not the Rosemary Clooney House.  That is actually in Augusta, Kentucky, several miles downstream from Maysville.   Rosemary bought that as an adult in 1980, well after her successful career.  None of the houses that Rosemary lived in with her Grandmother Guilfoyle, at least one of which is listed in the National Historic Register, are the correct house either.


To read about some notable people I actually have met, click this link.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two Prayers

Shortly after James was born, a friend sent this to me (it was sent by USPS mail and I just stumbled across it again recently).  He thought that since I was now the father of a son, I might find this worthwhile and I have said it for both of you more than once.

A Father's Prayer (Build me a son)
by General Douglas MacArthur
May 1952
"Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and know that to know You is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, I have not lived in vain."

Recently I was reading Micah Clark, by Arthur Conan Doyle and the protagonist prayed this prayer, which I find worthwhile.

"Lord, I pray that I might be of some use to you during my time on Earth, that you will help me to rise above my own wants and interests and that I will help move forward all that is holy, good and noble."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Matt Williams

Boys, neither of you are old enough to remember Matt Williams, slugging third baseman who played for the SF Giants from ’87 to '96 and stayed in the Majors with other teams until ’03.

Williams didn’t quite have a Hall of Fame career, but he was one to the best third basemen in baseball for many years.  A good enough hitter to bat cleanup for about any team and a good enough fielder to have played shortstop quite a bit, he was always a force to be reckoned with.

Your connection to Williams is arcane, but still kind of interesting.  Williams was raised in Carson City, Nevada, but he was born in Bishop, just like you.

Bishop is a very small town (it was even smaller back in '65 when Matt was born).  So small that of the three nurses who attended you, two were, and still are, friends of ours. Bishop is so small that it only has one hospital, Northern Inyo Hospital, and there is only one primary "birthing room." So both of you were born in the same room as Williams was.

So, like I said, not much of connection, but still (at least to me), an interesting bit of trivia.


To read about some notable people I actually have met, click this link.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

London 1994 - Incident on the "Tube"

In 1994 I visited London. I spent a lot of my time there with Mark Dalton, a native of London, who I had met in Truckee a few years earlier when he briefly lived there.

Two young cousins of mine, brothers Conor & Cormac Cahalane, from Downpatrick, Ireland, were living in London at the time I visited. I had never met them, but I called them and made arrangements to meet one evening.

A day or two before I was to meet my cousins, Mark and I were riding on the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground (which they call the “Tube” and we would call a subway). As we rode along I asked Mark if he knew why two of the Underground Stations had a peculiarity in their spellings. I had noticed that Earl’s Court Station used an apostrophe but the neighboring Barons Court did not.

Mark was mildly surprised by my observation, stating that he had never even noticed it before and that he had absolutely no idea why the difference.

Over the next while, whenever Mark would see someone he knew, he would ask them about this, and every time their response was the same as Mark’s; surprise by it, statement that they had never noticed it and lack of knowledge as to the reason.

Later, Mark and I went to the restaurant where we were to meet my cousins. I had seen pictures of the two, but wasn’t sure that I would immediately recognize them. As far as I knew, they had no idea what I looked like, and, of course, they didn’t know Mark at all. However, as soon as we walked in, two young men approached us. One (later identified as Cormac) turned to the other and said, “See, I told you it was him! And see, there’s the belt I told you about!”

Cormac and Conor explained. Cormac had been sitting next to Mark and me on the Underground when we had had our discussion about the apostrophe. He had talked to me briefly on the phone and upon hearing my voice in the Underground he thought it was me, but thought the chances of actually sitting next to his unmet American cousin on the London subway was too difficult to believe and thought it would be silly to ask. He looked at me very carefully so that he would remember me later.

When he got back to the apartment he and Conor shared, he told him about the event and Conor said, “Cormac, you’re daft [crazy]! It’s not possible.” Cormac then told Conor about the unusual belt the man on the Underground was wearing.

The belt I was wearing (and I’m wearing it as I type this) is unusual. It is made of woven leather. It has no holes as the buckle prong can slip though the weave at any point.

In closing, Conor & Cormac had been talking about the apostrophe difference since Cormac heard me mention it. Neither of them had ever even noticed it before and had absolutely no idea why the difference. There is a reason though, and you can find it if you look up either Earl’s Court or Barons Court on Wikipedia.