All posts by Dorothy

General Jack and Warrior

Warrior was called “the horse the Germans couldn’t kill.” He was a war horse. The 15.2 hand Thoroughbred gelding was General Jack Seely’s charger. Gen. Seely was a British career soldier and MP. He was also the first commanding officer of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

Warrior and Seely painting by Munnings Canadian War MuseumThe Brigade was comprised of three cavalry units and an artillery battery. They were:

• Royal Canadian Dragoons
• Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians)
• 2nd King Edward’s Horse (The King’s Overseas Dominions Regiment)
• The Fort Garry Horse (replaced the British 2KEH in1916)
• Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

Lucky man, lucky horse

Seely himself was called “the luckiest man in the Army.” He and Warrior narrowly missed death many times over four years of battle. They both returned to their home in England.

Seely and Warrior arrived in France in August 1914. Warrior first saw shell fire the next month at Mons in September 1914. In December, Seely was made commander of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. He and Warrior were at the 2nd Battle of Ypres in 1915, where the dismounted Brigade fought as infantry. They were at the Somme on July 1st 1916. In 1917 they were at Passchendaele and then Cambrai. In March 1918 Warrior and Seely led one of the last cavalry charges in modern warfare. It was the Battle of Moreuil Wood. The renowned horse artist Sir Alfred Munnings painted the scene.

Alfred_Munnings-Moreuil-Wood-wikicommons

War is over

In April 1918 General Seely inhaled poisonous gas. So his war was over. But Warrior’s was not. He stayed until the end. General R. W. Patterson took over command of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, with Warrior as his mount. Finally, in December of 1918, Warrior returned to Seely’s home on the Isle of Wight.

Jack Seely continued his political career after the war. He did not forget, though, that many hundreds of thousands of British horses remained in Europe. He spoke to his friend and colleague Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill, a soldier who knew the value of these horses’ service, successfully repatriated about 60,000 of them.

Queen-Mary-with-Warrior-1934-warriorwarhorse.comGeneral Seely was made Baron Mottistone in 1933. Warrior was a respected celebrity. He attended remembrance events and greeted visiting dignitaries to the island, like Queen Mary. He won the 1922 Isle of Wight point-to-point, a race his sire had won 15 years earlier. Jack Seely wrote several memoirs, including My Horse Warrior. It was illustrated by Sir Alfred Munnings.

Gen Seely and Warrior warriorwarhorse.comSeely and Warrior lived at Mottistone Manor for the rest of their lives. Warrior died in 1941, at nearly 33. Lord Mottistone died age 77 in 1947.

Warrior was sired by Straybit, bred by Mr. E. Hobson. Straybit was by Burnaby out of Myrthe. Warrior’s dam was called Cinderella. Her registered name is not known, and so neither is her ancestry. Seely bought her in 1902 after watching her in military manoeuvres.

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Warrior pedigree from Pedigree Query – tap to enlarge

Jack – or John Edward Bernard Seely – was the son of Sir Charles Seely, 1st Baronet, and Emily Evans. Sir Charles too was an MP and son of an MP. Jack had seven children with his first wife Emily Crichton, and a son and stepson with second wife Evelyn Murray Nicholson. Military and political service, the Isle of Wight and horses are found throughout the careers of his descendants.

Tap for Amazon

Brough Scott, son of Seely’s daughter Irene, is a horse racing journalist and former jockey. He wrote a biography of his grandfather entitled Galloper Jack and reissued My Horse Warrior. In honour of the centenary of World War I, Warrior was awarded the Dickin Medal for animal bravery in 2014. On his website Warrior, Scott writes:

“His greatness was also in the simple, uplifting, heroism of having faced danger without flinching and never having let fear take the reins. That same heroism was shown by the hundreds of thousands of horses and mules that were not blessed with Warrior’s outrageous slice of fortune for survival.”

Canadian Triple Crown

Mighty Heart has a chance today to be the 13th Canadian Triple Crown winner. The three-year-old colt won the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, returning to Woodbine for the Breeders’ Stakes. (TSN 5-6 pm ET)

Mighty-Heart-Queens-Plate-CBC.ca
Mighty Heart at Queen’s Plate, cbc.ca

The Canadian Triple Crown is a test of a horse’s ability at different lengths and on different surfaces. The Queen’s Plate is 1¼ miles on a synthetic track, the Prince of Wales 1 3/16 miles on dirt and the Breeders’ Stakes 1½ miles on turf. So a horse has to be equally adept with all three surfaces and lengths. A test for champions.

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Queensway, 1st winner 1929

The three races have been run since 1929. But they didn’t formally become known as the Triple Crown until 1959. The five winners in those first 30 years, however, are included in the list of 12 Triple Crown champions. Their names, with sire and dam, are below.

12 in 91 years

  • 1932  Queensway (filly, Old Koenig / Chrysoberil
  • 1939  Archworth (Worthmore / Archipelago)
  • 1945  Uttermost (Soleil Du Midi / Uppermost)
  • 1955  Ace Marine (Ace Admiral / Mazarine)
  • 1956  Canadian Champ (Windfields / Bolesteo)
  • 1959  New Providence (Bull Page / Fair Colleen)
  • 1963  Canebora (Canadian Champ / Menebora)
  • 1989  With Approval (Caro / Passing Mood)
  • 1990  Izvestia (Icecapade / Shy Spirit)
  • 1991  Dance Smartly (filly, Danzig / Classy ‘N Smart)
  • 1993  Peteski (Affirmed / Vive)
  • 2003  Wando (Langfuhr / Kathie’s Colleen)

Northern Dancer’s great-greats

In 1964, Northern Dancer won the Queen’s Plate in July. That was a month after his run for the American Triple Crown. He won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but alas, not the Belmont. Due to lameness he developed later that month, that was his last race. And the start of his stud career.

His great-great-granddaughter Wonder Gadot won the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown in 2018. She did not run in the Breeders’ Stakes, instead competing in New York’s Travers Stakes a week later.

This year, it’s another Northern Dancer descendant with a Triple Crown chance. Mighty Heart is his great-great-great-grandson through both his dam, Emma’s Bullseye, and his sire, Dramedy.

Mighty Heart has a lot of heart. He’ll need it. He’s only one of two in the expected field of 12 to compete in all three races. And Mighty Heart has only one eye. He lost his left eye when he was just two weeks old. A blinker with a protective covering keeps debris from flying into his eye socket.

His main competition is expected to come from his stablemate Belichick. They’ll be side by side in the starting gate. Both are trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll. Good luck to all, and safe ride!

Later – Spoiler Alert:

Belichick ran the winning race. So Josie Carroll was the three race winning trainer, but she did so with her other horse. Congratulations to all, and thanks, Mighty Heart, for some exciting rides.

Twelve Canadian Triple Crown Heroes: True Test of a Champion

Glenwood Tannery

37 years ago this month, the Mi’kmaq band council in the central Newfoundland town of Glenwood began operating a smoke tannery. A Gander Beacon article about the official opening is transcribed below. It was published on Oct. 5, 1983 on pages 1 and 6. Neither the writer nor photographer are named. Tap images to enlarge.

Glenwood Tannery Gander Beacon 1983-pA1

Indian Band Council officially opens tannery

The Glenwood Indian Band Council held the official opening of their Traditional Smoke Tannery last week and is proud of the fact that it is the only one of its kind in the whole world.

cutting-rawhide-1983Among the special guests attending the ceremonies were Mrs. Hazel Newhook, MHA for Gander; Calvin White, president of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians; and Bob Stares, manager of Canadian Employment Immigration Commission (CEIC) at Gander.

Mrs. Newhook cut the rawhide strip which was used instead of the traditional ribbon to officially open the facilities. She was assisted by Larry Jeddore, chief of the Glenwood Indian Band Council, and Bob Stares, manager of CEIC. Despite the wet weather conditions at the time, everyone enjoyed the tour of the tannery, especially watching the employees dehair moose hide in preparation for tanning. The smoke house was in operation at the time and a display of handcrafted products were on display so the guests could see first-hand the type of items that will be possible from tanned moose and caribou hide.

smoke house 1983
“Smoke house in operation”

After a tour of the facilities guests were treated to a luncheon-style buffet, including cold roast moose meat, turkey, salads and desserts, which was prepared by the women of the Indian Band Council.

Hazel Newhook

Mrs. Newhook was the guest speaker at the luncheon and congratulated the Band Council on their success of such a unique venture also in securing government funding through CEIC for buildings, equipment and training purposes. She said the provincial government helped in a small way through the Department of Culture, Recreation and Youth by collecting moose and caribou hides from all across the province and making them available to the tannery free of cost. She also expressed a desire to obtain a couple of leather products that she is interested in, and says she looks forward to being able to purchase those in future from the tannery. In her closing remarks she explained that the key to the success of the industry would be in marketing the finished product and wished the Indian Band Council best wishes in their plans for expansion to include a craft shop.

moose-hides

Calvin White

calvin-white-1983Mr. Calvin White, president of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, added humor to the celebrations when his remarks included a joke which involved Chief Larry Jeddore. On a more sober note he congratulated the Band Council on their success thus far explaining this was a historic occasion but as such was not unique to the Micmac Indians of Newfoundland. He went on to explain that Buchans mines and the town itself was founded by a Micmac Indian, M. Mitchell. In elaborating on the contribution of the Micmac Indians to the province of Newfoundland, Mr. White said every able-bodied Micmac in the province offered themselves in service for their country during World War I, and those who were too old for service during the Second World War saw their sons follow suit. He also commented on the role the Micmacs played in the forest industry when conditions in the woods were so bad that the white men refused to work, he said, “burnt beans and sour bologna didn’t daunt the Micmac, because he loved the forest…, it was his home!”

dehairing-moose-hideMr. White also said that this new industry is crucial to the town of Glenwood right now, especially since Bowater has left the area in such a state. He said the Band Council will not leave the area to find work but will strive to promote this industry, and will make a contribution by staying here. However, says Mr. White, the viability of this operation is in jeopardy unless the provincial and federal governments support the Indian people as they do the Newfoundland fishermen. He says they need a chance to prove what they’ve undertaken here, and they need to be encouraged to strengthen their communications while playing a leading role in the economy of this province.inside-tannery

Roger John

Roger John, representing the Atlantic Regional Indian Arts and Crafts Association, spoke briefly at the luncheon wishing the Indian Band Council good luck for their future success. He says, “It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here!” He explained that the next step would revolve around the retail end of the industry. He said this needs a serious look because “we’re taking the leading role by the fact that this has never been done before and we have no data base to draw information from. It will take six months to one year to work out a production system and already there are buyer offers from outside the province.” Saskatchewan has approached the council with an offer to buy 200,000 square feet of tanned leather, but, he says, revenue is necessary to make the whole thing a success and he hopes that funding agencies will recognize the potential of this project. He suggested that governments stand by the program for at least another year and help it develop the way it could.

guests-at-opening 1983

Bob Stares

Mr. Bob Stares, manager of CEIC in Gander, was the last speaker at the luncheon and he congratulated the Band Council on their efforts thus far and wished them every success in the future. He says he was glad to have shared in the venture and looks forward to watching them grow into a viable industry.Larry-Jeddore
Glenwood Tannery-Gander Beacon 1983-pA6

After the farm

Final part of Marji Smock Stewart’s Finding the Rivers.

The years on the farm (1960-1969), the academic years (1968-1982), seven years in Henderson (1985-1992, then ten years moving from place to place. They meld together before me today, in 2002. These were forty-two years of good times, hard work, heartbreak and joys.

Elizabeth and Monroe Smock 1971In 1971 when my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary, they lived in Florida. Their sixteen years there were really the second golden years for them. But my sister Betty was terminally ill with cancer. I had a few days leave from the University of Kentucky. Throughout Betty’s illness, my chairman had been generous with short leave breaks for me.

Loss

So, in Florida for the 50th anniversary dinner at home, Betty directed me to buy a prime rib roast and all the proper trimmings betty-smock-ca-1940and told me exactly how to cook it to perfection. This I did with the help of her young children. We had a lovely meal and toasted Monroe and Elizabeth Smock on December 1, 1971. It was sad for all of us but we tried to make it a happy occasion. I flew back to Lexington the next day. Two weeks later, I received the call that Betty was gone. That was a traumatic time for my parents, for all of us.

Nearly nine years later, my Daddy died suddenly May 18, 1980 leaving Mother feeling lost after 59 years of marriage. Mother chose “Precious Memories” to be played at his service. I chose “Jesus, Savior, pilot me.” There were a few old river pilots at the funeral, and many teary eyes.

Daddy wasn’t an outwardly religious man but, as my daddy, he taught me more about the love of a heavenly father than I could ever have learned in church. Mother adjusted but never ceased missing him. I too was devastated but thought I had to keep a stuff upper lip to help her and to continue to function myself. I regret now that I didn’t just spent time holding her hand and reminiscing instead of constantly trying to take care of business. I realize now that what she really needed was just me and her link with Monroe, not so much my projects and caregiving efforts!

Leaving Kentucky

Bill and Marji Stewart Henderson KY 1988 photo R AngerI took early retirement at the end of 1982 as Dean of the College of Home Economics at the University of Kentucky. Bill and I drove out West searching for an ideal place to relocate.

But we couldn’t leave my mother alone in Kentucky and we couldn’t ask her to go with us, away from her memories. So we stayed in Kentucky. In 1985 we built a duplex in Henderson to take her close to her roots, the rivers and those remaining family members she loved.

Mother died in 1991. Bill and I then spent ten years moving here and yon. Fun times such as rafting down the Colorado River, exploring archeological sites in Utah, Israel and Jordan, rock hounding and trout fishing in Utah, feasting our eyes on natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon. Visits from nephews, nieces, and our son and grandsons.

bill-marji-river-1992-photo-j-stewartWe kept looking for our Shangri-La to settle in. Finally, in the spring of 2002, we realized there is no perfect place. Bill wrote his thoughts out late one night the previous December:

Midnight Meditations

When shadows fall and trees whisper “day is ending,”
My thought are ever wending – home.
When crickets call and birds hurry to their bowers,
Dew slips in, and kisses all the flowers.

When the hills conceal the setting sun,
Stars begin their peeping, one by one.
Night covers all; and though fortune may forsake me,
Sweet dreams will ever take me – home.

Back to Kentucky

I knew then he was longing to be home. In Kentucky. June 17, 1992 we had left Henderson KY for Utah. June 17, 2002 we arrived back from Texas to make our home in Kentucky again. Ten years to the day and almost to the hour. In between, all over the west and even in Ontario for a few wonderful years.

Now we’ve come full circle. We’ve grown old and somehow the spark is missing that ignited our early adventures and restlessness. But we have peace.

Bill Stewart with pup 1988 photo M StewartLastly, I wish to make a tribute to Bill. I am grateful to God for that first meeting in July 1944 when I looked out the second story window of the business college on Frederica Street in Owensboro KY. Bill stood there, in khaki uniform with silver wings pinned over his heart, and looked up and smiled.

It hasn’t always been a smooth life and we have disagreed about many things. But we always agreed on the important things and we worked through our problems. We had good role models and trust that we too will pass that 59 year mark together enjoyed by both our Stewart and Smock parents.

Strength

Proverbs 31:10 always intimidated me because it was translated as “Who can find a virtuous woman…?” I knew I could never be virtuous or worthy. But in learning Hebrew I realized that the word is not virtuous or worthy, but strong. Strong as in army. In fact, it is the same Hebrew word as “army”.

This thrills me because I can be strong. Strength isn’t simply a physical trait; it is elusive, a choice one makes. Strength is in my marjorie-smock-stewartgenes. My Daddy was very strong. Betty was strong and Mother too was strong. Bill and my son both are strong. I bless God for all of them.

Marji Stewart was probably the strongest woman I’ve ever met. Virtuous and elegant too. Bill died in 2005 in Owensboro KY. They had celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary the previous November. Marji returned to Ontario to live near us. She died there in 2009.

Lady Ashburnham Pickle

A mustard relish, Lady Ashburnham pickle originated in New Brunswick. It is also called Lady Ashburn or Lady A relish. Whatever you call it, it’s the best mustard pickle that I have ever eaten.

lady ashburnham pickle photo d-stewartI have, however, never made it. Fortunately, I know people who do and they keep me supplied. I’m especially proud of the relish pictured here because those are our cucumbers in it.

You want large cucumbers, I was told, preferably when they’ve gone yellow. So the good news is that you can leave this until you’ve finished your other pickles. The bad news is that you can leave this until you’ve finished your other pickles. By the time I’ve done bread and butters, dills and relish, I don’t want to see another cucumber! Thankfully, others have more stamina.

I fell in love with Lady Ashburnham relish when I bought a jar from the lady who ran the Cowtown Market on Main Street in Sussex. She had made it, and was surprised that I had never heard of it or of Lady Ashburnham. So she told me about her, then I googled for more.

yellow-cucumber-photo-d-stewartFrom My New Brunswick, here is how to make the relish. Equally delicious is the story of the Ashburnhams of Fredericton, which follows here.

Lady Ashburnham Pickle: Ingredients

6 large cucumbers (peeled with seeds removed and chopped into a ¼ to ½ inch dice)
¼ cup [pickling] salt
4 cups onions, chopped fine
2½ cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsps. flour
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed

Instructions

Cut your cucumbers and onions into small pieces and mix together in a large pot; I use a food processor for the onions but cut the cucumber by hand. (I find the cucumbers are much too delicate to chop in a processor and they may very quickly turn to mush).

Add salt to cucumbers and onions, and let sit overnight.

Next day, drain and rinse salt. Add the remaining ingredients.

Cook over low heat for 45 mins, making sure to stir the pickles often.

Carefully pack into hot sterilized jars. Wait for the “pop”, store and enjoy!

Lady Ashburnham of Fredericton

lady ashburnham fredericton-region-museum-fbLady Ashburnham was born Maria Elizabeth Anderson in 1858 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Her parents were William Henry Anderson and Lucy Ann Stephenson.

Rye, as she was called, worked as a night telephone operator in Fredericton. Thomas Ashburnham was one of her frequent callers. She’d put him through to the livery stable so he could get a ride home. They began talking more during his calls, eventually met, fell in love and married in June 1903.

Capt. Ashburnham was the 5th son of the Earl of Ashburnham in Sussex, England. Retired from the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars, he emigrated to New Brunswick in 1901.

lady ashburnham chart d stewart
Earls of Ashburnham and Anderson Family Tree (tap to enlarge)

But in 1913, his eldest brother Bertram died. The 5h Earl had a daughter but his only son died soon after birth. And of his six brothers, only Thomas was still alive. So Thomas found himself the 6th Earl of Ashburnham and Viscount St Asaph.

Finding Freedom, 1914 style

The new earl and countess moved to the family estate in Sussex. It didn’t work out so well. Rye did not feel comfortable with his family. So they did a Harry and Meghan. They soon returned to Fredericton, but they kept the titles. Over the next few years he sold his properties in England and Wales except for Ashburnham Place.

Ashburnham Place Sussex UK
Ashburnham Place in the late 1800s (tap to enlarge) from Landed Families of Britain.

In Fredericton they moved back into their Ashburnham House on Brunswick Ave. It was two houses they had knocked together into one quite grand house. There they entertained. Rye’s younger sister Lucy was their housekeeper. One of her specialties was a mustard pickle. It proved very popular at dinner parties. “I hope Lady A has some of her lovely pickle with dinner tonight,” I imagine was said by more than one guest.

In 1924 Lord and Lady Ashburnham sailed to England for a visit. He caught pneumonia on the way and died soon after their arrival. He is buried at Ashburnham Place. Lady Ashburnham returned to Fredericton.

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Brunswick Street houses from Google street view (tap to enlarge)

The Ashburnhams had no children. With no male heirs in the family, the peerages became extinct. The family estate went to his niece Catherine, Bertram’s daughter. She died in 1953, leaving no children, so it passed to her cousin’s son, Rev. John David Bickerstheth. He donated most of it to the Ashburnham Christian Trust.

Lady Ashburnham kept Ashburnham House in Fredericton where she remained until her death in 1938. Her sister Lucy died in 1943 at the age of 79. Titles and houses may be gone, but the pickle remains. A treasured legacy from the Anderson sisters.

There is a lovely painting of the house in Fredericton in its heyday in a book by Fernando Poyatos (Amazon link below).

Ohio County Farm

By Marji Smock Stewart, from Climbing the Hills and Finding the Rivers. This continues her story on from Just the Three of Us.

The weather New Year’s day in 1960 was mild and balmy. Almost weirdly warm. It was a good day for moving into our Ohio County bill-with-cattle-sep-1966 photo M Stewartfarmhouse. I had rounded up furniture from both our folks’ attics and bought new appliances to be delivered after the move. My parents helped us move.

Bill’s dad was opposed to the farm purchase. He almost cried. Robert thought farm work was physically too hard for a guy starting out at age 45. He also thought Bill was mentally capable of much more challenging work.

As it turned out, Robert and Mabel both loved the farm and enjoyed many a pleasant day there in the years to come. Robert especially loved the cattle. Nine and one half years later when we sold it, smocks-stewarts-mothers-day-1968Robert was unhappy again. He wanted us to keep it. It was all he had dreamed of having when he was young. They and Bill’s sister Lillian were jewels, the best grandparents and in-laws a person could have.

With the help of Duke’s store in Dundee, we began remodeling. We had a bathroom installed on the main floor and, in the basement for the guys, a shower. Storage areas and desks were built in upstairs in our son’s room and the guest bedroom which doubled as my sewing area. Hardwood floors were refinished. A deep water well was drilled.

My California city kid and I refinished furniture, partly to keep us warm! We braided wool rugs for the floors and learned the fine points of country living. These and our camping experiences provided better learning than any Boy Scout troop could muster. We cleaned and burnished a heavy antique brass bed until it shone like gold. Mother later made a “wedding ring” quilt for that beautiful bed. He now has the quilt but, sadly, the bed was auctioned when we sold the farm in 1969.

elizabeth-smock-wedding-ring-quilt photo d stewartInstallation of a coal furnace was completed in mid-March. Immediately. the balmy weather changed radically. About March 16th we had a record snowfall. Bill couldn’t even get down our lane in a tractor for three weeks. Schools were closed at least that long. The snow was pristine and beautiful. But, better yet, our farm home now had furnace heat and indoor plumbing.

What more could we want?

Jack-Feb-1966 Stewart photosSometime that spring, Daddy told us about a place in Indiana that raised English sheep dogs. So we drove over there and chose two pups. We gave them the oh so original names of Jack and Jill. Outdoor dogs, but part of the family.

Melody-on-Farm-photo-M-StewartA horse rounded out our boy’s wish list. Melody was a Tennessee Walker. We didn’t know that, or what it meant. We just wanted a nice quiet horse who would teach him to ride. She did that and they became inseparable. Then one day our neighbor, a knowledgeable horseman, came for a visit. He saddled Melody up and together they showed us her full range of gaits.

In early May, the Ohio County Extension Agent made a visit to help Bill evaluate and plan for future farming needs. Naturally I invited him for lunch – a simple meal of beans, cornbread and the usual. Mr. Ridley was very friendly and asked a lot of questions of me. He seemed quite interested to learn I had a degree in Home Economics.

Farm and school

Out of the blue the following day, I received a call from the County Superintendent of Schools asking about my credentials and background. He asked if I would meet with some of the local board members regarding a teaching position in Fordsville High School.

I was enjoying my role as country homemaker but, by now, Bill and I were aware that farming required much more money than we could ever have to spend. The main drawback was that I did not have a teaching certificate. This meant that, if I accepted, I would have to spend eight weeks doing student teaching under Agnes Foster in Hartford. I also would have to pay for my substitute in Fordsville and do double bus duty and lesson plans for both schools. Bill and I discussed the situation and decided to accept the offer.

Thus the real merry-go-round began in July 1960. My first monthly paycheck was net $215.27. I still have the yellowed stub. I probably spent nearly 12 hours a day either in class or preparation for, or duties connected with, teaching. Mathematically, this averaged less than one dollar per hour! But this was not uncommon; teachers were quite dedicated.

The ten month teaching schedule was followed by three summers at Dr Marjorie Stewart OSU 1968 Stewart Photosuniversity in Lexington, earning my MS in 1963. I taught in the secondary schools and supervised student teachers for Western Kentucky State University until the summer of 1966. It was then I left my family on the farm and drove over six hours to Columbus OH for nine quarters of full-time study at the Ohio State University for a PhD in Aug 1968.

What if…?

What began in the spring of 1960 with the casual visit of the County Agent never stopped until I left the University of Kentucky over 22 years later [as Dean of the College of Home Economics]. I do regret that I was gone so much. I was so mentally or physically involved with work, or distracted by it, most of the time that I didn’t take time to be more involved with my son, Bill and our other family.

I often wondered what if…? What if I hadn’t invited Mr. Ridley to share lunch? If I hadn’t accepted that offer and instead remained on the farm, churning butter, planting gardens and joining the local Homemakers Club as my mother did in Daviess County? What if I had never gone on to earn further degrees? What if we were still on the Ohio County farm?

1970 on kawasaki 350 Stewart photosOur son grew up and went to the University of Kentucky. For two summers, he worked as a deckhand on riverboats. Secretly I hoped he might follow the family river tradition. But it was the time of the Vietnam War. He followed his conscience and went to Canada. Looking back, I would not change this but I wish things had been different for him – for all of us.

It still amazes me all the talents my son has, and that so many of the things he learned on the farm he still practices. I’m sure he has a different take on the farm years and those that followed. That’s ok, this narrative is through our eyes.

Next time, the conclusion of Marji and Bill’s story, the years after the farm.

Covid Corrie

Overnight, Covid-19 will hit Weatherfield. People who had been freely walking around Coronation Street without a corona care in the world will be masked and distancing themselves. Tonight in Britain, and soon in Canada, the residents of Coronation Street will be living like we have been.

Covid Corrie taping photo ITV standard.co.ukExecutive producer Iain MacLeod was on CBC Radio’s q this morning to talk about how the show is dealing with a pandemic that has outlasted their stock of episodes in the can. The virus, and all the precautions, will hit immediately. There’s nothing else they can do, he said. To have a build up to it would require extensive reshooting. So they are asking for a suspension of disbelief from viewers. As he said, the viewers know the reality, so should recognize that the show has little choice.

Taping in a pandemic

Corrie and all the soaps began making changes months ago as the pandemic became increasingly serious. Coronation Street cut back from six episodes to three a week. That bought time with already taped episodes spread over twice as long.

Older and at-risk actors were furloughed. Writers scrambled to explain their disappearance. Social distancing was instituted for actors. Camera people and editors scrambled to make it look as if people weren’t staying clear of others while they actually were.

Steamy romantic scenes stopped. Large crowd scenes stopped. But the show has to look like the show, and street life had to look normal. The constraints imposed by health precautions called for inventive production techniques. Camera angles, for example, could give an illusion of closeness between actors when they were actually far apart.

Production ceased for a couple of months. I think that is probably a first ever in its 60 year history. When work resumed, they decided to bring the pandemic into the life of the street. The distancing they had already been practicing would become part of the story.

Covid-19 production problems remain, however. Within the bubble of our family, we don’t need to stay distant and wear masks. But the actors playing members of a family don’t live together in real life. So camera and editing tricks still are needed to get around that. Stand-ins were used if possible. The real life mother of a child stood in for the screen mother in one scene, Cole said. A mannequin stood in for an actor in another.

The show will go on. But bringing reality in is a good thing, I think. Watching television, I find myself distracted when people are too close together. Get back, I think, don’t you know better! A soap is part of our daily lives, so it’s especially jarring to see its world so obviously at odds with our own. And maybe we’ll make a new game for watching: spot the Covid camera trick.

Just The Three Of Us

By Marji Smock Stewart, from Climbing the Hills and Finding the Rivers. This continues her story on from 35 Cent Grilled Cheese.

Marji and Bill Stewart in CaliforniaI kept working well into my pregnancy. At a juice stand where I got off the bus, I drank almost a quart of freshly squeezed orange juice each morning, either the 10 or 15 cent size. I craved tacos, so I learned to make them.

Bill and I had a ball buying baby things. We bought a used crib. It fit in the hallway, just like having a nursery. I got a Pfaff sewing machine and managed to make a couple of maternity dresses. Mostly I just let out the waistlines of current clothing. My sister Betty made me a couple of pretty smocks. I felt rich.

I bought yards of white “birdseye” fabric and sewed diapers, shaped like an hourglass with more fabric in the middle. It seemed logical to me. This was many years before the industry got wise and manufactured disposable ones shaped the same way.

Bill got the ingenious idea of painting the clothespins a bright orange. The clothesline at our apartment in Avalon Village was a community one and we kept losing clothespins. Now one couldn’t miss our orange pins anywhere in the big project, or later my odd shaped diapers.orange-clothespins-photo-d-stewart

A new Chevy for a new baby

Then a baby boy. Bill cried with joy.  A few days later when he picked us up from the hospital, did he have a surprise for us! He had bought a brand new maroon colored Chevrolet. Didn’t want to take his new baby home in an old car, he said. The little prince rode home in his new carriage but, for all he cared, it could have been an old pumpkin with wheels. He slept the whole way home.

Bill and Marji Stewart with babyAt home, I felt more helpless than the new baby. I fully expected him to disintegrate with the first bath. The only baby care advice Dr. Barksdale gave me was, “One of you is going to be boss; you decide now which one it will be.” It is fortunate that babies don’t come in boxes with S.A.R. – some assembly required. But they don’t come with instruction manuals either. Both of us had so much to learn. We did – and still are all these years later.

Bill Stewart and babyWith three in our family, we now were eligible for a larger apartment in Avalon Village. So we had a real bedroom, plus living room and kitchen. A bed still pulled down from the wall in the living room, so we even had a guest room.

We used that Murphy bed plus cots when both sets of parents drove from Kentucky to visit us. We did a lot of sightseeing, including a boat trip to Catalina Island. They had never been out west before. They stopped in Oklahoma briefly. Mabel and Robert visited her Brown relatives in Norman OK. My parents drove on up to El Reno and Calumet and visited with Aunt Matt and other family.

Soon after their visit we had an offer to house-sit for a year in Wilmington while the owners were in Guam. Rent was $25 a month. We cared for their dog, Sally, a big old Collie. We had a yard which was great for a small kid. There was an old front-loading washer on the front porch and clothes line in the back yard.

Two things stand out in my mind about that year. The time I locked myself out of the house while my toddler was inside. And the time that toddler put half a can of dog food, can and all, in the washer. What a mess!

Home and School

By the time our year was up we had bought our first house. It was on Linda Drive in Torrance, California, not far from 101 highway. Bill financed it via the GI bill. Very low interest rates like 4%; with a monthly payment of $89; total cost being in the range of $5,000. The house had two bedrooms and one bath, and we thought it was a mansion.

Soon enough our “baby” was starting kindergarten. A big moment for him, and for me. I started college. I remember being mesmerized that first day on campus. I couldn’t get enough, but I always rushed home to be there when school got out. Bill bought me a little used car. Between church and social life, Bill’s work, my classes and all our homework, the treadmill started and it never stopped.

home in Torrance CaliforniaThe next year I transferred to UCLA, over an hour’s drive away. I would leave at 6 a.m. to get to Westwood and find a parking place. I have often thought the most difficult thing about getting a college education is finding a place to park! Bill didn’t need to be in the office until 10, so he looked after morning duties.

Bill did well selling real estate in Rolling Hills and was known to be an honest realtor. But the work demanded showing houses on weekends until dark or later. It seemed there was very little family time. I never knew when he could get home for dinner. He insisted that I stay at UCLA until I finished and then we might consider something else. I combined classroom courses with correspondence courses in summer so that I had more time at home – and less driving.

About that time, it was obvious that Southern California was no longer the quiet, serene orange grove location it had been for years. Gangs began popping up, kids got involved in drugs and alcohol even in junior high. Crime was increasing. This was heavy on our minds.

When I finished my BS in Home Economics at UCLA in August 1958, we began to think of returning to Kentucky to be near grandparents. Bill was wanting to do something that would not take him away from home so much. I enrolled in graduate school until the time came when we could make a move.

Selling up

We sold our home to a couple who had been living in a trailer. So they bought all our furniture, appliances, everything. Of course we each kept a few treasures. Mine were the big Kitchen Aid mixer Bill had bought me, my typewriter and sewing machine.

In 1957 Bill had bought a new Ford station wagon and built a plywood rack on top to hold our luggage. So off the imaginary treadmill by the summer of 1959. We headed straight to Kentucky to unload all our stuff. We wanted to then make one last big trip across the western US that we’d all remember forever. But how? School would begin in August.

In Owensboro we went to one of the schools and got all the grade four textbooks. I would be the teacher. The personnel there weren’t too happy. This was “home schooling” before home schooling was popular.

The_Mount_Rushmore-2015-Aafaque-wikicommonsThen we loaded camping gear and drove through the Dakotas, Colorado, Wyoming and other areas that we dearly loved. I’m not sure we got much schooling in. It was awfully hard to get serious about working math problems when looking up at the presidents carved in the stone in South Dakota at Mount Rushmore or gazing at the geysers in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Bears

We had a special memento from Yellowstone: the bears. We had placed our food in coolers on the wooden rack on top of the station wagon. Stuff like bacon, dried apricots, sugar and fruit. While we were sleeping inside the wagon, a commotion awakened us from above. Our stuff was being tossed in the air from the top of the car to the ground.

The-Meating-of_the_Bear_Yellowstone_Park_NYPL_wikicommonsLeaning on the horn didn’t bother the bear but probably irritated nearby campers. Bill got out and threw a brick at the bear but it missed her and dented the car. That really angered Bill. But in a fight against nature, nature usually wins.

Afterwards I picked up the box of dried apricots the bear had flung into the woods. It was still warm and wet with her saliva and had a hole the size of my little finger through it. That could have been my son’s arm instead of dried fruit. We gave up and left the area. Complaining to the park authorities yielded no sympathy. The bears were there first! We honestly hadn’t realized that bears could demolish a vehicle – even destroy the humans inside it if they wished.

This trip was a glorious time of fishing and sightseeing. But in the Colorado mountains, it was getting cold. I had to break the ice to melt stream water for a pot of coffee for breakfast. I was getting cranky. Real cranky. I was hankering for a real bed and no ice to break for water.

A Farm in Kentucky

So we headed back to Kentucky. We stayed with my parents who were living on Highway 60 east of Owensboro. Bill took off by himself and drove throughout Kentucky and Missouri searching for a farm. It seemed to us a farm would be a good place to raise a kid and have a good home life. The kid in question didn’t care as long as he could have a dog and, he hoped, a horse.

Stewart farm Ohio Co KYIn early December, Bill drove up in Ohio County, Kentucky and found the farm he wanted. It was near Fordsville, backing up to Rough Creek, approximately 200 acres. Bill finalized the deal and we could move in January 1, 1960.

Next time: The Stewarts learn farming.

Egg Foo Young

egg foo young photo-d-stewart.Not much in the fridge but eggs and bok choy. Egg foo young, maybe? No, you need bean sprouts, the Joy of Cooking and online recipes told me.

Can I adapt it? More creative googling and voilà. Here’s the Joy recipe with my changes in italics, as well as an egg foo young gravy recipe I found on mommymusings.

Egg Foo Young

Clean or drain 2 cups bean sprouts
(I julienned bok choy stems into narrow strips about 2 inches long. Added green parts too, but in larger pieces)

Heat a little vegetable oil in wok or skillet and stirfry until translucent and crisp:

  • 1 minced slice gingerroot,
  • 6 chopped green onions,
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced

egg-foo-young-makings-photo-d-stewart(I used chopped bok choy, red and green peppers, leeks, sliced water chestnuts.)

  • 1 cup chopped cooked fish, shrimp or finely diced cooked meat
    (I used whole shrimp, stirfried them lightly, then peeled them.)

egg-mixture-photo-d-stewartHave ready and combine the above ingredients and sprouts with:

  • 6 well-beaten eggs,
  • 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

Heat an additional 1 tbsp vegetable oil in another small skillet or wok.

Drop the above mixture into it to form small omelettes, golden brown on both sides. Serve with soy sauce.

Joy of Cooking, Plume 1997 ed.

I did the omelettes one by one, flipping them as best I could. Then, after putting them on the plates, I spooned gravy over them.

Egg Foo Young Gravy

1 cup beef or chicken stock
1 tbsp cornstarch (I mixed it with a bit of cold water first)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

Mix all together. Cook for a couple minutes until it thickens. Spoon on top of your omelettes.

John C Mabee Stakes

Del Mar Track DMTC-panorama-Andrew-Chen-2008-wikicommonsThe John C. Mabee Stakes is a 9 furlong Grade II turf race for fillies and mares at the Del Mar track in San Diego County, California. John C. Mabee is my eighth cousin.

I found that out while looking for another John Mabee. The search results were filled with John C. Mabee Stakes and “California racing icon”. Well, I had to find out if we were related. We are.

John C. Mabee and me

john c mabee chart
Tap to see full-sized chart

You have to go back eight generations to Pieter Casper van Naerden Mabee, born in 1626. His parents had come to New Amsterdam, now New York City, from the Netherlands in the 1620s. Pieter Casper Mabee married Aechtje Jans van Norden about 1650. They had six children.

Their son Jan Pieterse is the ancestor of John C. Mabee. A younger son Casparus Pieterszen is the ancestor of my grandmother.

American and Canadian Mabees

The family stayed in the New York and New Jersey areas for more than a hundred years, until the American Revolution. John’s branch stayed in the new USA. My grandmother’s line remained United Empire Loyalists and left for Canada.

Simon Casperson Mabee moved his family to New Brunswick in 1783. His son Silas, my grandmother’s great-great-grandfather, moved between New Brunswick, the US and Ontario, dying likely in Ohio. His children, for the most part, settled in Norfolk and Elgin counties in southwestern Ontario.

John C. Mabee’s great-great-grandfather Bartholomew moved from New York to southern Ohio around 1800 and died in Greenup County in northeastern Kentucky. Bartholomew’s son William Thomas Mabee moved from Ohio to Iowa.

From Bird to Golden Eagle Farm

John C Mabee findagrave.comJohn Couchman Mabee was born August 21, 1921 in Seymour, Iowa. He was the youngest of John Lynford Mabee and Dora Beatrice Couchman’s four children. They owned a farm and John grew up with a mare named Bird. He suffered from pneumonia and bronchitis. So, from childhood, he wanted to live in a climate better suited to his needs.

In 1941 he married Betty Lee Murphy from nearby Putman County in Missouri. Soon after, they moved to Nevada and then to California. In San Diego, John and Betty started a small grocery store called Johnny’s Market. That one store grew into a chain called Big Bear Supermarkets.

They bought three yearlings in 1957 and began racing. In 1972 they bought a property in San Diego County and built a breeding and racing stable they named Golden Eagle Farm.

Best Pal 1988-1998

Best-Pal-with-Gary-Stevens-Del-Mar-findagrave.com-pic-donald-greyfieldBest Pal was maybe their best known horse, a crowd favourite who came in second in the 1991 Kentucky Derby. There’s a race at Del Mar named after him too. The Best Pal Stakes is for 2 year olds at a distance of 6½ furlongs on dirt.

After John died, Betty and son Larry continued operating Golden Eagle Farm. Betty died in 2010 and Larry died two years later. Larry’s son John R. Mabee continued in the racing business. According to posts on Facebook, the Mesa Grande Band of Diegueño Mission Indians bought Golden Eagle Farm in 2019.

For more on the Mabees and their farm, see California Thoroughbred, November 2004 (also Legacies of the Turf and Del Mar below). Also see my Mabee Family Tree.

Today is normally  Belmont Stakes day in New York. But it’s been postponed to June 20th. No fans will be in the stands for what is this year’s first leg of the Triple Crown.