Dad Received West Point Assignment as Flight Instructor. 1942.

Memorial Day 2019. Thank you Dad, and all Veterans, for your service!

Voices of Ancestors

He sent a telegram to my mother, Louise Johnson, announcing his new assignment. They would soon marry and reside at West Point. Dad had undergone basic flight training at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas, at Parks Air College and was preparing to take his place in the newly expanded US Army Air Corp as a flying second lieutenant.

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West Point, Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY. Tent city. Planes, planes, planes. Power glides  for instrument landing and legal hedge hopping. A Beechcraft factory churns out planes for World War II.

By June of 1944, West Point had trained hundred of pilots, including the son of Dwight D Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied Forces in Europe and the sons of other Army Generals.

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Happy Easter To You and Yours!

Today is Easter 2019. Time to reblog this post from last year!

Voices of Ancestors

Me and Peter Rabbit many moons ago. I loved the way he liked to lay in my arms on his back. Peter loved to cuddle and he was so soft!

Of course, Easter is not about bunnies. It is a day to renew our hearts and minds and send up prayers into the universe for peace and love in this world.

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Me and my brothers. L to R. Jimmy, David and me (Sherry). I have that (red) blanket on my couch! Somehow I look less serious than Jimmy and David…

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Me and Muriel Watts

A great lady passed this week. I shall miss her so, but know she is at peace at last. I am grateful to have a lifetime of sweet, happy memories of Muriel and our families having fun together.

Voices of Ancestors

my second mother. I’ve known Muriel all my life. She and her husband Phil and their son, David, were always in my life. Phil is gone now, my Mom and Dad gone too, but my memories of our two families together are vivid.

Every summer, our families lived at Indian Lake in Whiting, Maine. We swam, we sailed, we fished, we spent hours/days boating. We started water sports on a surfboard behind the family boat. The first time Dad took me out on the surfboard, I was four or five. Soon after take off, Dad lost his grip on me and I slid between and under his legs into the water.  I remember my surprise to see Dad’s legs fly by. When David and I were eight years old, we learned to water ski. We had to keep up with my older brothers. Soon we were slalom skiing.

David and…

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A Book Recommendation about Vietnam and PTSD.

Honoring all Vietnam Veterans on this National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Thank you for your service!

Voices of Ancestors

Fifty Years in A Foxhole by Charles Kniffen.

I belong to a writing group in Trescott, Maine, headed by Dr. Michael Brown. We meet at Cobscook Community Learning Center every two weeks. I first met Chuck Kniffen there, a few years back. Soon after he joined the group, Chuck and his wife made a trip to Florida and tented out in driving rain. Chuck had flashbacks on his “vacation.” After returning home, he began to write about his experiences in Vietnam and living with undiagnosed PTSD for most of his life.

His book has just been published. It is riveting. You will cry, you will laugh at Chuck’s unique humor, but most of all you will see with glaring intensity the true cost of war. The story is so relevant to the times we live in.

I have been involved with this writing group for more than three years and…

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Happy 76th Anniversary Mom and Dad

Love and miss you Mom and Dad!

Voices of Ancestors

My mother and father, Louise Adele Johnson and James “Gene” Rier, married on February 15th, 1943 at the Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Portland, Maine. Their special day was chosen because it was the day that my grandmother Harriet wed Ezekiel Johnson (and eloped) in 1908, and it was birthday of my great grandmother, Nellie Getchell Means, born February 15th, 1857.

Mom lived and worked in Portland at the time. Dad, now Lieutenant Rier, traveled there from Newburgh, NY where he was an engineer and pilot instructor at West Point, Stewart Field Air Force Base. There was a snow storm. Their families from Downeast Maine, Lubec and Machias, had a time making it to the wedding although Dad’s brother, Babe, and Mom’s mother Harriet, did. It was a long rough drive. Dad’s brother Paul, also stationed at West Point as PFC, was his best man. Mom’s maid of…

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Mom Keeps Men at Stewart Field Air Force Base on High Alert. 1944.

My mother was born 99 years ago today. She was an adventurer!

Voices of Ancestors

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The newspaper did not report that Dad took Mom up in the plane that day. But I know he did at least once. Dad said he knew she was a keeper when he turned the plane upside down and she laughed. Mom was always cool as a cucumber in the face of unexpected events.

Interestingly, Dad planned to take Mom up in the plane for a rollover for some time. I present the evidence. He wrote on the back of his picture.

“A snap of me. Do you think I’m getting fat? 177 lbs. I did go 152 lbs. I guess the instrument formation day and night and cross country do me good. The planes will do over 200 and sometime if I ever get the chance I’ll really show you how a stomach can roll.”

Mom never lost the trait of staying calm during an adventure. One day in the…

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My Updated Ancestry DNA Results Arrived!

According to the Ancestry DNA website, my ethnicity estimate is based on the data that Ancestry collects and the methods used to compare my results to that data. Because Ancestry DNA is always collecting more data and their methods are constantly improving, my estimate may change over time. Read more here.

My ethnicity profile changed. The one surprise in the original results, received just eight months ago, was 6% Iberian Peninsula. That disappeared in the updated version. I can genuinely say that nothing is a surprise in my new results and reflects what I know from my genealogy research. My maternal ancestors (Means, Getchell, Berry, and Johnson families) descended from the Scots-Irish and the English. My Scottish ancestors, the Clan Menzies, were originally from Mesnieres in Normandy. My mother’s blond hair and blue eyes (and two of my sons) hinted at Swedish descent, although the percentage dropped from 35% Scandinavian to 10% Swedish. Vikings raided and settled in Scotland and Ireland in the 9th century so that makes sense. My paternal ancestors, the Rier and Keegan families, originated in Germany and Ireland, respectively.

I knew ancestors from both sides of my family immigrated to America in the early 1700s to late 1800s and settled in Downeast Maine (Machias, Machiasport, Trescott and Lubec).

It’s nice to see that my DNA results match the family tree I have been researching!

This is my original DNA results for comparison.

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