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Oral Histories

Oral Histories

Oral histories can often be incorrect.  I recall my dad saying we were descendants from George Walton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Wrong.  Genealogy research has proven that one not only false, but impossible.

A cousin called last night, and during our conversation I asked if he knew how his grandparents met.  I was very curious because of the oral histories I’ve been told and I was trying to fit the pieces together.

It turns out some of the stuff I had been told was not true.

If you’re an empty nester, one of the best things you can do for your posterity is to write your history.  Oral histories will change over time and get distorted, so write it down.

My Blog

My blog is one of the ways I hope my posterity will learn about me.  I’m sure there will be things I miss along the way, but at least there will be no disputations about things I am clear about in my blog.

That Got Me Thinking

That got me thinking about what I want my posterity to know.  So, why procrastinate?

Early History

My earliest memories were of living near the university in Pocatello, Idaho.  Our neighbors were the Bowsers and they had a son named Ricky.  While I thought of Ricky as my best friend, he was pretty mean to me.  At least on two occasions, Ricky bloodied my nose.  He said it was part of being in Kinder Guarding (as he called it).

Ricky had a baby brother named Mark.  I wanted a baby brother named Mark.  Ricky was really good at throwing a ball.  I worked hard to learn how to throw a ball.  It seemed it was all about keeping up with Ricky.

During that time, it seemed I only saw my dad on occasions.  I knew he worked for Consolidated Freightways, he had been in the Air Force, and went to college.  Aside from that, it seems I’d see him infrequently.  My mom worked, and so I spent most of my days at my grandparents’ house on South Johnson.

At Grandma’s

At grandma’s I had a friend a few doors down.  I can’t remember his name, but I remember he looked like a child version of Oliver Hardy.  Across the street were the “twins”.  Grandma watched them too.  One of them played trumpet and that’s what got me interested in playing trumpet.

Grandma and Grandpa gave me lots of freedom.  I explored the hills near their home, visited the parks in the area, the river and the corner store we called “Del Monte’s”.  (We called it that because of a large Del Monte logo painted on the side of the building.)  I was free to roam wherever I wanted as long as I told Grandma where I was going.

My favorite thing was to go looking for loose changes on the sidewalks.  A penny would actually buy some candy at Del Monte’s.

Back Home

When we lived in town, I didn’t have much freedom back home.  It was the Bowser’s house our our house.  I wasn’t allowed to wonder any further.

A beatnik lived downstairs.  His name was something like Hodge Podge.  I would visit him when he was home and he’d let me pound on his bongo drums.

When dad was home, they’d have other grown-ups over to play board games.  I’d have to stay in my room.  I learned that ‘children were to be seen, and not heard.’  In the case of game night, it was ‘children were to be invisible.’

The Move

Mom got pregnant and we moved in to a new house around the same time.  There was a lot of change going on.  They sold the MG, bought a 1953 Chevy DeLux and an old station wagon, and mom was sick all of the time.

In the new house the two upstairs bedrooms were my parent’s and the baby’s.  My basement was in the basement under the baby’s nursery.  In some ways, I liked having a room in the basement.  It was an escape.  In other ways, I hated it.  It was lonely.

The Fall

It was just me and mom at home.  She was taking the laundry to the basement when she stumbled and fell the full flight of stairs.  She was about 7 or 8 months pregnant.  I was never so scared in my life.  Mom was crying because she was afraid she was going to lose the baby, and I was crying afraid I was going to lose my mom.

Home More

My brother was born, and in spite of my parent’s hopes for a girl, whom they planned to name Stephanie, it was a boy.  And, my lobbying paid off.  They named him Mark, just like Ricky’s little brother.

The new house kept dad home more.  When he was home, he was mostly working on the house.  Otherwise, he’d head off to the school where he taught.  (He was a teacher at Highlands High School when it first opened, and worked the year prior to its opening on helping get it ready.)

In the mornings, dad would be gone before I got up.  Mom would kiss me and Mark goodbye and leave us in the hands of Mrs. Hansen.  She was an old lady who smelled of coffee and cigarettes.  While she never did anything to me, she always scared me.  She wasn’t a pleasant lady.  She’d feed me breakfast, and send me out the door to school.

Because my mom taught at my school, I wouldn’t see her at school.  She got home before I did, and so I’d walk home from school where she was always there after school tending to Mark.


Summers would come, and dad would take off to Moscow, Idaho, where he was working on his PhD in entomology.   During the sumers Mark and I spent about 80% of our time at Grandma’s.  Actually, I probably spent more like 90-95% of the time there.  I recall many times when mom would take Mark and go home, and I’d stay with Grandma and Grandpa.

And, prior to my starting school, I spent about 90-95% of my time at my grandparents’ house.  To me, it was a safe place where I loved to be.

Once summer, before Mark was born, I was sneaking matches out of the house and trying to lite them.  My dad’s dad, my Grandpa Walton, came to Pocatello once.  My dad took me to meet him, and they got in an argument.  While they argued, my grandpa’s gambling buddy taught me how to lite a paper match.  This led to me “practicing” and catching a shed on fire.

I thought I was going to jail for sure.  The police gave me a good talking, but my biggest fear was when dad came home from Moscow, Idaho, that I was going to get beat to a bloody pulp.

Church in Pocatello

Weekends at Grandma’s house meant going to church with her in the Pocatello 1st Ward.  It was full of people with white (and blue) hair.  They all knew my grandparents.  There weren’t many children in their ward.

When we lived near the university, we attended church in the new Institute Building.  I only remember going to church a couple of times there.  It was always stake conference.  I don’t ever remember attending primary there, or at grandma’s.

Living on Teal Avenue, we attended church down the road on the corner of Hawthorne Road and Quinn Road.  I remember going to Primary there.  Mom was called as the Primary chorister.  The things I remember about that time were these three incidents…

  • Trying to figure out with the rest of the boys how to get up to the widows walk around the top of the steeple.   It was a place I wanted to go.  As a result, we would open doors and look for passageways that might lead us to the top.
  • Getting caught in the middle of a snowball fight and getting hit by a rock packed in a snowball.  I went running in to the primary room crying.  My mom about passed out when she saw me heading towards her with a bloody face.
  • Deciding to fake being sick and having one of the girls at church bring me homemade chocolate chip cookies because she heard I was sick.  Wow, did I feel guilty.  I never faked sick after that, and I have always cherished the thought of this girl’s act of kindness and concern.

Visits to Highlands

I think mom was overwhelmed working and taking care of two boys.  So, on weekends, she started to insist dad take me to school with him.  (While there wasn’t school on weekends, my dad spent most of his weekends at the school “prepping” for the upcoming week.)

While there I’d play with the big bull snake, the lab rats, look through microscopes, and books.  Dad was usually down the hall talking to a particular home ec teacher, or in the teacher’s lounge talking to a fellow teacher.

I recall one day wrapping the bull snake around my neck, and going off to search for my dad.  When I found him in the home ec room, the lady teacher about screamed when she saw the snake around my neck.

Learning to Ride

Dad bought me an oversized girl’s bike.  His thinking was it would be easier for me to learn and I could grow in to it because it didn’t have a top-tube.

I hated that bike.

I learned to ride it, but not after a serious accident where I seriously injured myself.

After that, I was very insistent I get a new BOYS bike.  I was told if I could buy it, I could have it.  I started saving my money.

The bike was $42.  I remember that.  About the time I had earned $21 my dad broke down and took me to get the bike.  I was in tears.  I cried that I didn’t have the money and I wasn’t in the mood to look at the bike of my dreams when I got there because I knew I didn’t have the full amount.  It was a Schwinn Typhoon in Flamboyant Red with 26″ wheels.

It wasn’t until after going through all that agony my dad told me he was going to pay half the amount.  I was so happy I told my parent I was going to ride my bike home.  My mom wasn’t having anything to do with my riding my bike home along US Highway 30.  Finally, they agreed but they were going to follow me in the car.

I made it home without any problems.  From then on, it was me and my bike.

Enough for Today

Well, that’s enough for today.

Dang Snow

Dang Snow

I often welcome snow, but this dang snow is very COLD.  It started off at 9″ and is now about 12″ (and has stopped for the day.)  It took a while to clear the driveway because the snow would fall to the side of the blower and I’d have to go back for a second pass.

Someone posted a picture on Facebook complaining about the 18″ snow.  They showed two things in the picture that were points of reference:  1) a small snow shovel with a blade about 8″ hight, and 2) the 4″ clapboard on their house.  It was 12″, not 18″.

Snowstorms, like fish, are always bigger than reality.

Blog Updates

I’m working on blog updates for days missed while I was traveling.  It is a lot of work, but the feedback has been positive.

It is so cold in the studio that I can’t get things warm enough for my fingers to move quickly.  Brrr… this cold snap is a strong one.  However, I keep plodding (blogging) along.

Winter Projects

I have not touched my winter projects yet.  Of course, the year started with a 10 day trip overseas, and now I’m playing catch up.

One of my winter projects is a posing corner for my Phicen figures.  Elizabethe gave me a hard time that I wasn’t this interested when she was doing Barbie stuff.  Hmmm… I think part of it is Barbie is not realistic, and Barbie doesn’t pose well.

I ordered an older version that is hard plastic so Elizabethe can use it as a dress form.  The silicone ones are too expensive and fragile.


Wegman’s Sushi

Wegman’s Sushi

If you love sushi, you normally would stay away from grocery store sushi. However, Wegman’s Sushi is good.  Wegman’s makes it fresh and you can’t go wrong.

Because I so my grocery shopping when I’m already out and about, by the time I do I’m ready for lunch.  This was the case today as I returned from a doctor’s appointment.  How convenient it is to get my groceries and then buy a small sushi tray.

They also have a large variety.  If you don’t like seaweed, they have sushi that isn’t wrapped in seaweed.  If you want cooked fish, they have that too.  Ahi tuna, raw, yup, raw and fresh.  They also include a packet of wasabi, soy sauce and shaved ginger.

U-Made Stuff

I spent a good portion of the day working on some u-made projects.  (I have a Facebook group dedicated to U-Made Photography Equipment.)

Here’s a link to my photography blog about today’s camera strap project.  Such projects are a result of a quote a friend gave me back in the 1970s.  He found a quote where Brigham Young said if you can’t find the clothes you want you should make them.  So, when I can’t find something I want or need, I attempt to make them.

This is the $10 camera strap I made today.  (Follow the link to my photography blog.)


I’m thinking of making a cut-proof strap next.  I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do this.  (This is so someone can’t come up behind you and cut your strap and grab your camera.

I also took a way around the yard for some pictures for tomorrow’s photography blog.

copyright 2015 db walton

Tulips at the Beckwith Mansion

I used a Canon EOS mount LensBaby on an adapter on my Fujifilm X-mount camera.  (You can read about it in Tuesday’s photography blog.)

Pig Wrestling

Pig Wrestling

Pig wrestling was part of a punch-line in an episode of Night Court.  There’s also a saying about it.  It goes like this, “Never wrestle with a pig.  The pig loves it, and you only get dirty.”

Never has a saying been more prevalent than on social media.  Cyber shaming, cyber bullying, and the uneducated using insults as a substitute for a well composed response are quite prevalent wherever you look on Facebook and other forums.

In a photography forum a man posted a comment that said, and I quote, “That twist is to alienate a group that is perceived to be exclusionists. In our country, at this time, that group are Christians.”

Of course, that had nothing to do with photography, and more to do with creating contention.  The moderators removed the entire thread and the man cried, “foul”.  When it was pointed out that he violated the terms of the web site he threatened to leave the organization.

Another man decided to take offence to my last blog about words and sent me a private e-mail saying, “No wonder you oppress people you are a Mormon!”

Neither got a response from me except for what I’m writing today.

I’ve noticed a trend among those who choose to follow contention.  If they disagree with what you say, and have no support for their disagreement, they resort to insults.  The more vile the insult, the more deep down inside the must realize they are fighting a losing battle.

Good people are under attack.  Morals are under attack.  There’s no question about it.

The best solution is the advice, “Never wrestle with a pig.”

One final note

Don’t mistake the quote as my attempt to call someone a “pig”.  If anyone takes offence at the saying they should do some self-examination.   Ask yourself, “Am I a pig?”  If the answer is, “No,” then you have nothing to be offended about.

And Now for Something Completely Different

The recovery continues.  I hate changing bandages.  Yuck.  The good news is when I change them they look good.  There’s no puss or disgusting stuff on the gauze.

Noon today marks the 48 hour point.  The “kick back” period is 72 hours, so another day to go.  I spent most of the day reading stuff and watching some TV.

After this winter and recovery I will be glad to get outside and do some hiking and take some photos.  I realize you can’t rush healing and things may never go back to the way they were.



My blog has 756 subscribers.  I didn’t realize it had grown so big.  I wonder how many actually read each post, but either way, 756 is impressive to me.

While we have a decent number of subscribers, it also attracts quite a few hackers and scammers.  I actually had to block these IP addresses and URLs containing these words (and if you run a blog or web site, you might add this list to your black list.)

It is beyond comprehension as to what is in it for people from other countries to post messages that are (a) difficult to understand because of poor grammar, and (b) have bad links to non-existent web sites.  But, that is what happens with a lot of these posts.  (By the way, in the list, if the last octet is missing it means the entire range from 0 to 255 is blocked.)  Most of these appear to be overseas.

But, to those in the 756 who read my blog, thank you.


It is a wet drizzly day today.  It is still cold, but not cold enough to snow.  This means this cold rain is slowly melting what snow is left.  Soon, we’ll be left without any snow so the grass and flowers can grow.

I took a drive down to Wegman’s to get some produce.  The place was packed.

Note to self – don’t go shopping on Saturdays.



Homemade Head

Homemade Head

I got to try my homemade head today.  Oh, that’s a tripod head.  It’s a head for doing panoramic shots.  The issue is, when you rotate a camera, if the lens and focal plane are not in alignment, the individual pictures will not line up very well.

I searched around and the prices on these things ranged from around $100 up to $1000.  Basically, you have to be able to shift the camera on all three axis and have the ability to rotate on one axis.

How did I make it?

I used a macro focusing rail and an l-bracket.  I will go in to more details on my photography blog (http://blog.dbwalton.com) once I’ve photographed it and written it up.  But, here’s the result from it…


copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center Panoramic

The image may not appear to be that  impressive, but this is a 330MP image.  That’s right three-hundred-thirty mega-pixels.  I could have this printed at the size of a football field.

That is what I use this homemade head for.  Watch my photo blog (blog.dbwalton.com) for how I built it.


My bishop called me and asked me to be the organist at a funeral.  Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day:  Haircut at 9am, funeral at 10am, networking meeting at 11:30am and photography guild at 6pm with grocery shopping and the bank run somewhere in between.

Full Swing

I’m back to full swing today.  My day started with an 8am meeting followed by an 8:45am meeting and so on until 9:30pm today.  Yeah… I miss Israel.  But, work has to get done.

I will tell you when I run in to a good product, and when I run in to a bad product, and I’m about to tell you about one I would not recommend.

A couple of years ago we purchased a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim® Split Air-conditioner and Heat-pump Systems.  We purchased it from a reputable dealer and they’ve been great.  However, a part failed and the result was no heat.  Well, as you know, we re in the middle of a cold snap, and we sit here waiting on Mitsubishi to ship the part.  In the mean time, they have told the dealer that they will not cover the labor on the unit.  The repair is costing about 1/3 the price of the unit.

So… I don’t think I can recommend their product.

Speaking of great products, I just love the camera I took to Israel.  It was the right purchase.  I own a $4000 camera body and this $1000 camera performs just as well, and in some cases, better.  And, to top it off, while I was in Israel, Fujifilm introduced a new one – the X-T1.  (Cool!)  The X-T1 has the same sensor as my X-E1, but has some nice ergonomic features.

Oh, and if you decide to get the new X-T1, please use the link above to make your purchase.

This morning it was a -13F when I went to my 8am meeting.  I thought my car’s thermometer was on the blink, but I pulled it up on the internet, and it agreed – my car was reporting the correct temperature.  The weather service said with wind-chill it was a -20F.  Yewozers!

We had a presentation at GRPP tonight about social media.  It was a bit on the basic side, but I still learned a few things.  I learned a little more about those annoying hash tags.  #palmyranewyork is a good example of a hash tag.  I guess I should use more of them… even if I do find them annoying.

I think I have my Israel blogging all up to date now.  I still have a lot of photos to process and look at, but for the mean time, my overview of the trip is on-line.  (Look at my entries fro 1/24 to 2/6.)

copyright 2014 db walton

I Love Israel Cups

Got Cold Again

It got cold again.  We had snow this morning, and I had to shovel the sidewalk and driveway.  We only got about 1.5 inches, but the temperatures have really dropped again.

copyright 2014 db walton

My Man Plow

The new blog host seems to be working, and if you are reading this, you’re reading it on the new blog host.

They were saying we are supposed to get 3 inches today, but I really doubt it since it has stopped snowing and starting to melt.


This is my new blog.

If you subscribe to my blog, please book mark this URL. http://beckwithmansion.com/blog/

If your book mark, or subscription has the word “wordpress” in it, it will become my OLD blog effective 1/17/2014!!!

That’s right. I’m moving off the WordPress host and on to my own host. My blog will still be a WordPress blog, just not posted there. No more forced WordPress ads. (Someone sent me a message about a booze ad on my page. Nope. Can’t have that.)

So, go to the new blog today, subscribe, and delete any bookmarks that reference WordPress in relationship to my blog.

4th Anniversary

Four years ago on June 22nd, I left California and moved to Palmyra, New York. It has been a good decision. Shortly after moving here, I started this blog – http://blog.beckwithmansion.com

Today mark’s the 4th Anniversary of my blog. Well over 1400 posts means I’ve been consistent about blogging for 4 years.

I’ve also gained a good following of readers, and I am very grateful to you for reading and keeping up on my writings.

Today I took a walk down to the village and took a couple of pictures to submit to the church. Here’s one…



The type says, “Palmyra”, only it’s mirror image because that’s how it would be set for printing.