"When you go to the ride called Soaring at Disney's California Adventure, if you look, you will see the photo of James Herman Banning. He was the first black man to complete a coast to coast journey in the United States. Promise me that you will look for him."
A friend told me this as I packed to go on a trip to California. I had been to Disney before, both locations in the US, and many, many times. I had become a "collector" of "Hidden Mickeys", Mickey Mouse images not obvious at first glance. I wanted more secrets.
My friend obliged. "He died in a crash that could have been prevented. Where they were flying, the airport that they were leaving from, they would not let him have the control of the plane. So, he had to sit in the front seat, with no option except to sit there. There are no controls in that seat. The person who was flying the plane showboated, the engine stalled. They fell to their deaths. They were hauled to a hospital, but he died from his injuries. Really sad, completely avoidable."
I nodded, made a note into my notebook and went on the trip.
I made it to Disneyland, excited for the trip and to see Captain Banning's photo.
The line for the ride was so long on the pretty day that I went that I was unable to get a clean photo of Captain Banning. By the time I got to where the photo was, I was too close. So, I read the information, noted it in my notebook and there it sat, noted but not acknowledged for years.
James Banning was born during a time when racism was rampant and segregation was real. His passion was aviation, but no school would take him because of the color of his skin. His childhood dream was to be in the skies. He was unstoppable. He kept on and on, following his passion until finally, a school accepted him.
The trip cross country was financed one stop at a time, with the attempt being to always stop in cities and towns where either Banning or his mechanic knew someone. When they had problems, that did not always work out. Heavyweight boxer Joe Lewis even came to see the flying school that had educated Banning and donated money to the school.
Banning and his mechanic embraced their nickname, "The Flying Hoboes".
You can read of all of his wonderful accomplishments at Air Space Mag, Wikipedia and many other sources. The tragedy though, is that less than 6 months after he created the record for the first black man that flew coast to coast, a stunning accomplishment, especially with the airplane that they did it in, he would die because of prejudice and hate.
Today, on the anniversary of his death, I honor Captain Banning and his mechanic for their accomplishments and for pushing forward against the harsh odds of hatred and small mindedness. Thank you, for inspiring countless others to pursue their dreams, no matter what the odds seem to say.
Photo credit: Wikipedia, story credit: Wikipedia and online research
Summertime, and the traveling CAN be easy!
I work in the travel industry, and during the peak travel months, I see a lot of things that people do that make their travel either easier or more difficult.
I have prepared a list to help all of you who are interested.
Here we go!
1. Get everything you possibly CAN get done completed 24 hours ahead of time. What should you be doing?
3. If you are travelling with a group, such as a travel group, make sure that you have contact information for the travel agency if applicable, as well as the tour guide/group leader. If you are going to be travelling on a weekend, is there an alternate contact for the travel agency?
4. Forbidden items. There are various rules for what can and cannot be brought onto the airplane, both in the cargo hold and in the cabin. Read the restrictions and make sure that you are not going to unknowingly break a rule.
5. Don't tie stuff to the top of your luggage to make it easier to find. There are better methods. People tie all sorts of things to the handles of the bags. Stop doing this. If your bags get caught in the rollers, or the bag carousel, or in any of the thousands of square feet of machinery, the cute little thing that you tied onto the bag could either jam the machinery, tear the handle off, or a multitude of other things. If you want your bag to be personalized, use stickers and bumper stickers. Use those adorable luggage covers that are very popular. Another reason to not use all of those things on your handle is that the bag drop folks will be hanging your destination luggage tags from there. Don't crowd their real estate!
6. Place some contact information in every section of the bag. Name of traveler/s, phone number, email address.
7. Make sure that zippers, handles, wheels and luggage straps are all in working order.
8. If you use a lock, make sure that it is TSA approved. They WILL cut a lock off a bag if it is to be inspected.
9. If you are traveling with firearms to be checked or other special items, add enough time to make sure that you will make the flight.
10. Oversize items are allowed on some flights. There is an additional cost. There is a limit to how large something can be.
11. Getting to the airport. Before you leave, in larger airports, you will want to note the terminal and the gate. Double check to make sure you know the time. (AM vs. PM)
12. If you are parking at the airport. take a photo of where you parked. Take a photo of the closest sign that says where you are parked. Seriously, I once called a boyfriend to come and get me because I was so very tired, I could not recall where I parked. We looked all over for the car. The following day, we found it in less than 5 minutes.
13. If your airline has an app, install it on your phone. You will be kept updated as to flight and luggage status, delays, gate changes, and you will earn on their loyalty program.
14. Arriving at the airport. If you do not need to check in at the counter, go through security to your gate. If you do need to check in, see if they have a computer to sign in at. If they do, use it. You will save a lot of time, and a lot of frustration. Some carriers will not even handle your luggage until you have completed computer check in.
15. After you have dropped your bags at the counter, make sure that you take all of your personal items with you such as cell phone, cup, small hand luggage, credit cards, passports, etc., Otherwise, you will have to come back through security to retrieve them!
Have a great summer!
My activity on a few websites has really amped up in the last few months, and I have been lucky enough to make some matches on my distant relatives generations back. I am still searching for my maternal grandfather.
The hardest part of all of the DNA information out there is when you are a half anything. (Half sister, half cousin, half aunt, etcetera.)
A half sibling is what we all know...where a sibling group of 2 or more only shares one parent. Half cousins, half aunts, half grandparents are the same, we are just not used to seeing those terms. I only have full aunts and uncles on my paternal side. That is so strange to me, I never even understood all of the half relations out there until I was involved in getting DNA testing done in order to find my biological father.
As I have written about before, I am a 3rd generation bastard. My great grandmother was not married to my great grandfather, nor did he stay around to raise my grandmother.
My grandmother had a fling (?) with someone that was not the man I was raised to know as my grandfather. I did not know this until nearly 3 years ago, when I got the results from the DNA lab. I am still sort of shocked about this, but not nearly as much as I used to be.
Finally, I sort of knew, but not in detail, that the man who raised me was not my biological father.
Through DNA, I found my full paternal aunt, which led me to my biological father. I won't go into details, but suffice to say I have aunties and cousins that I did not have before. I don't know my father, but I know who he is. That is sufficient for now. If we never meet, I still have to thank him for half of who I am through DNA.
Now, the search is on for my maternal grandfather. I have no hopes of him being alive at this point, but I would love to know who he is, and possibly see a photo.
I have tested with Ancestry, 23andMe, FTDNA and GenesForGood. I have uploaded to as many places as I can find that do genetic genealogy.
A tip that I would like to share is to write down everything. Yes, you can bookmark, but what happens if the site that you are using goes down? What if the record gets corrupted or pulled? What if any sort of inconvenience or disaster happens? By having it in writing in a dedicated place for your search, you will heighten the chances of not losing valuable research. I write down everything. The complete web address if it is an online search, the complete source if I am at a library or research center. A tip I found once was in a church recipe book. Had I not written it down, I never would have been able to trace back to it and found it to follow up. The drawing/sketch above was made by me to denote a landmark to get to the library I was going to in England. Anything that will help you get your research done is a tool, and I love to doodle. Those doodles have been valuable for me later on, when I was entering information into the computer.
I also make a photocopy or a print of obituary listings. Be aware, though. Obits are valuable, but they are not perfect. Don't treat them as such.
What are some search tips that you have used to help break through the brick walls in your search?
What a world we live in! With a simple saliva sample and some patience, secrets from the past come out and are there for us to examine.
In an article that I wrote in the past, I speak of being a 3rd Generation Bastard. That phrase is offensive to some, but that is not the intent.
I did not know who my biological father was until I had taken a DNA test. Even then, it was not the first or second test that I took, but the 3rd one that would put me on the correct path.
Those tests did illustrate a lot of facts for me and pushed my genealogical research years and decades ahead of where I had been to that point.
If I had to do it all again, I would do it the exact same way that I did it before, because having those time gaps between each test allowed me to process the information, gather more information and make informed decisions that were worthwhile.
One of the best decisions that I made was to get tested. I cannot emphasize that enough.
The first test that I took was with Family Tree DNA. They had a sale going and I got the test. It was a great deal. In recognition of today being DNA Day, they have a sale going again! Click this link to go to their sale price. I don't get a commission, but it IS a great deal. For $49.00, you get the Family Finder test, which will knock down brick walls and get a great start on your DNA genealogy!
There is no monthly, annual or semi-annual subscription, either. A great deal!
The next test that I took was Ancestry. They are the biggest consumer DNA test provider.
Through today, they are offering $69.00 testing. Their service requires a subscription, which is billed at different intervals. If you are interested in getting a test from them while their sale is going on, this is an excellent time to do it. Click here to get to their page.
My third test was through 23 and Me. Now this one, I DO get a commission if you order AND you get a discount. There is no subscription involved, either. Once you click here to get the test, you can always access your information.
I have not yet tested with My Heritage, but they have affordable testing at only $59.00 for the DNA Day celebrations, they are a test I will be taking in the very near future. Click here to order your test kit, too. (No commission, I think that you should test in as many places as you can!)
Subscribe to my newsletter, I won't spam you or sell you out!
Share below in the comments if you have taken a DNA test or if you are planning to! I want to hear what you have to say! Happy DNA day!
Even if you want to be famous, no one really wants to be infamous. Especially for nonsense that we laugh about and create memes about today.
I now present the case of Phyllis Joyce Stalnaker.
13 October, 1925
Phyllis was born to Archie and Mildred Stalnaker.
May 1930 Census
The Stalnaker's were a young married couple from Nebraska. They were the parents to two small children in the 1930 census. They lived in Fullerton, Nance County, Nebraska. One thing that I can tell you about Nebraska from the time I have been in and out of the state: They slaughter a lot of beef and pork. Probably chickens as well, but I don't know about that one, personally.
The Stalnaker's were married a little over a year before Phyllis arrived. Phyllis' father, Archie or possibly Archibald LaVern Stalnaker set his family up in a rental home that was valued at $1500.00. He worked somewhere nearby as a butcher in a meat market. I am sure that with the Great Depression going on, they were all grateful for Mr. Stalnaker having a job that literally put food on the table.
Mrs. Mildred Clara Crawford Stalnaker was not working during the 1930 census. She had 2 small children underfoot. Phyllis was 4 and 1/2, her brother, Gordon Rex was about 3 1/2, born 16 February, 1927. There would eventually be 2 more brothers.
Both Phyllis' parents were born in Nebraska. However, both grandmothers were born out of state. The paternal was from Wisconsin and the maternal was from Illinois.
1934 Moved to California
According to the information in Archie's obituary, the family moved to California in 1934.
The first appearance we have of the family in the city directory is here. A different address, but here is Archie, working as a meat cutter in the city directory.
1938 California New Address
Family is still here, nothing has changed-except they have moved to a different house.
1939 California New Address
A New year, a new you! New address. Nothing else has changed.
1940 Voter Registration of Archie Stalnaker
In 1932, the family pulls up their stakes and moves to San Diego, California. They resided at 4505 Contour Dr., San Diego. Mr. Stalnaker was a registered voter in the San Diego county rolls as a Democrat. His occupation? Meat cutter. The house is absolutely tiny, less than 700 feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Built that year, it must have been very exciting to move into a new and modern home, albeit small by today's standards.
1940 No Census Found
I have not been able to locate the 1940 census for this family.
Thrown from a horse October 10, 1940
A mention appears in the San Diego Union on October 10, 1940 that Phyllis Stalnaker was thrown from a horse on Euclid Ave. near Auburn St. on October 3rd. In the article, she was improved, but still in serious condition at the county hospital a week later. Could this injury have impacted her for the rest of her life?
1942 Voter Registration Archie Stalnaker
Again, Democrat, same address. Same profession.
This is when Phyllis would later gain internet fame. She would be arrested in San Diego, California under the charges of Weedhead, tramp. Her booking number was #20389. Oh, San Diego. I am sure that it was very serious at the time for you and for her. A 19 year old with serious charges surely would have incurred some "drama" at home, if she was still living with her parents. Wearing a darling herringbone jacket with tailoring, a striped shirt and a bow in her hair, Phyllis sure does not look trampy.
She looks a little pretty with the dark hair, eyebrows and lipstick on. But, to be honest, she looks tired more than anything else. No tiny smile at the corners of her mouth. No twinkle in her eyes. This is the look of "let's just get this over with." Was she waitressing already? Was she in school? No way of knowing. The fact that she was written up as a weedhead, I can deal with that. Ok, she smoked some pot. Whatever. But tramp? Proof that she was not fitting into a mold that someone else tried to push her into. I wish that there was some way that we could know her fate in the courthouse, but the records do not go back that far.
May 15th, 1946
Phyllis J. Stalnaker married a John J. Gordon. This is listed in the California County Birth, Death and Marriage records. Phyllis lists an address in Los Angeles and her occupation as waitress on the marriage license application. Her groom is a couple of years older than her, and he is from New York City. He also resides in Los Angeles.
October 28th, 1946
Archie dies in San Diego and is buried at Mount Hope cemetery. He was only 45 years old.
October 30, 1946
Archie's obituary comes out. Listed are his wife, Mildred, the 3 boys, and then a Mrs. J. J. Gordon, of Hollywood. That would be Phyllis! How she is listed as J.J. is because of her husband's initials being that.
Phyllis is divorced and remarried. This time to her USN husband, James R. Harris. They live on 3601 Crowell in San Diego. They are listed in the 1950 San Diego city directory. I can find no record of the marriage in California.
January 2, 1961
Phyllis dies in the hospital in San Diego at the age of 35. Married and living on Pacific Hwy, her mother lists the same address.
1963-1969 San Diego
Archie is now gone, as is Phyllis and Mrs. Stalnaker is working as a seamstress at Ratners Mfg. and living on Pacific Hwy.
January 18, 2001
Mildred dies at 94. Not listed in her obituary are Phyllis and Archie, her daughter and husband.
Curiously, the burial plots in the cemetery include one of Phyllis' brothers, Phyllis and her mother and father. Neither of the children are buried with their spouses. Mildred's marker is larger than the rest as well. It is strange.
After the arrest, marriage, divorce and second marriage, nothing that Phyllis did ever stands out again. She never had children that I could find, she never registered in the city directories, and she never even registered to vote. It is like the entire episode of being arrested as well as being thrown from a horse really pushed her into not getting into any trouble.
With a wonderful new job, my responsibilities here have gone woefully neglected as I have been learning as much as I could about my job.
Ancestry and 23AndMe have been updating their information on the regular, changing constantly the mix of heritage/ancestry that people have stored within their DNA.
For myself, I have learned of my Paternal heritage and have now turned my face towards that of finding out for certain who my maternal grandfather is. It has turned out to be a very daunting task.
Today, through research of narrowing the field of surnames in my long list, I was able to help a distant cousin (9th cousin to be exact) confirm who his biological father was. It feels great, I am not even going to lie.
However, I am now very determined to learn who the person was that fathered my mother. At this point, I do not expect him or any siblings to be alive, but I am hoping for some distant cousins at least.
I will never forget the day that I stared at the computer screen, looking for there to be a match in Spain, because that would mean that I was my grandfather's child. Alas, that was not the case.
I am so frustrated and wishing that there was a way I could turn the hands of time back and get a DNA test done on a couple of deceased relatives!
Tonight, I spent several hours going through the stacks, making notes as I went. That is when I noticed that one of my aunts and I share a relative that the other maternal aunt and I do not share. I pulled up a comparison and I discovered that we have 70 relatives that are not shared by my other aunt! The relation between me and these relatives is significantly closer than to her. I cross checked myself several times. There is a connection on my maternal side only to this one aunt. (We will call her La). My sister has not tested on this particular site, so I will wait for the Easter sales to pop up and get a test in the mail to her so that I can see if we triangulate at all. If all 3 of us match, and these 70 people still do not match my one aunt, I don't know what this will mean, except that it is a tiny flicker of light to keep me going.
My sister and I had a conversation the other day and she told me that she wished that this were all cut and dried so that we did not have to go through all of this! I could not agree more.
For all of you who are out there, still searching for your lost people, know that you are not alone.
Today is St. Joseph's day if you are Catholic, the patron saint of Family, among other things and I sent a small request to him and St. Anthony to help me find my lost people.
Have a wonderful day and DON'T GIVE UP!
When I was a young adult, one of the jobs that I held was working in a small commercial laundry in New England that did the overflow laundry from a couple of hotels and a few other commercial places. I loved doing laundry, aside from the extremely dry hands that I suffered from the first few weeks.
Many of the laundry tricks that I learned along the way are ones that I still use in my personal laundry to this very day.
Here are my tips and tricks for getting the nicest laundry results.
Recently, I decided to challenge myself this year before Halloween. I kept my challenge private, not wanting to share what I thought was going to happen until my challenge was over.
In the middle of October, there was a lot going on at my work. I was really tired, really stressed and ready to do more that work, come home, go over emails and go to bed.
I challenged myself to not touch the computer again until after Thanksgiving. For work emails, I would use my phone for email access or a work computer. For personal emails, I set up a system where I would get a notification if I got an email from family members.
I will admit that the first few days were weird. I was used to getting up, booting up the laptop and eating breakfast over the desk while I tried to "catch up" with the world before I went to work.
Now, I had a little bit of free time. I was able to sleep in if I wanted, or style my hair differently or do any of a number of small tasks before I went to work.
I still set out my clothes and work items before I went to bed each night. I still did all of my morning things such as take vitamins and an allergy tablet. Now, that I had this extra time, I was not running around our small apartment, making sure that I had everything in order. I knew that I had time.
The next thing I noticed is that I was leaving earlier every morning and not rushing in traffic. Two times, I got into work early enough to get a very nice parking space.
Coming home in the afternoon was strange for the first week. No longer did I turn the computer on and simply sit there, scrolling through Facebook. Now, I was able to use the Amazon Prime feature and read some books that I have been meaning to read. I was able to have long conversations with friends because I was not tired and exhausted. I was able to catch up with friends by talking to them, not reading about them. It was refreshing and I enjoyed it.
After the second week of my laptop not even being turned on, I did not even look at the laptop with interest. I was no longer interested in social media as I had been. I was informed about friends and family. I was caught up on the news. I was happy and more relaxed.
A trip to New York City in the past would have necessitated my laptop coming along. I did not even think about packing it or a small tablet when I was making plans for the day trip. It did not even occur to me until I got home that I could have taken it with me. My son asked the hotel for the wifi password so that he could play a video game on his phone. We used apps to navigate our way around the city, but other than that and a few photos, we did not do any extreme use of technology.
It was interesting to see people with their heads down in their phones, so to speak when we were very in tune with the world around us and our surroundings. Although we had an app to let us know when the next stop was coming up, it was far more interesting to look out the window at the different neighborhoods and pay attention to the names of the stops. It made me think back to my childhood with my sister, when we were responsible for our commute, including getting off at the correct stop.
When my son and I saw the city, we had so much fun. We spoke to my husband that night, telling him of all of the things that we were seeing, and of all of the fun that we were having. When we got off the phone, we went to bed and slept so well, it was awesome how all of the walking we did made us sleep so well! The next morning was very leisurely for both of us. I was able to sleep until after 6 am, and we were able to have a great breakfast at a donut place because we waited until after the rush. The best part, though, was the time that we spent together, talking and interacting because we were not "in our phones", but connected with one another.
Week 3 of the challenge was a little strange. I had to send a personal email to someone that would normally have been a long email. Instead, I sent a brief email, answering all of their questions and signed off. I did not look at any of the emails that were waiting for me. It was not even anything that occurred to me. A phone call from a different friend noted that they had not seen me online in a long while. I explained that I had been really busy with work, but that all was fine. We caught up and I got to hear about their newest grandchild.
My final 2 weeks were really a blur as it was very hectic at work for Thanksgiving. All I could think about was work and sleep, even with no computer in place. My car died and I had to focus on replacing it. The internet was not even a thought as I navigated getting down to see family and driving back up.
I knew yesterday that it was my last day away from the computer. I did not feel sad or happy, I just knew that I needed to do some training at home and that I needed to have a look at the emails still waiting for me.
I turned the computer on this morning and it took longer than usual to boot up. There were several updates and a scan that needed to happen. It took about 10 minutes. I loaded my email and I saw that I had nearly 5,000 emails waiting for me. It was mind boggling to see so many emails.
Looking at all of those untouched emails helped me to make some decisions. When you see emails every day that you are not interested in, it is very easy to simply delete them one at a time, never realizing how long it takes to delete them every single day. I subscribe to a lot of like minded lists, and I was able to create folders to filter those into as well as unsubscribe from a bunch of emails that are no longer relevant to me. Additionally, I was able to update a lot of email contacts with the best email for them to reach me at, making my valuable time used much wiser.
The final thing that being unplugged for so long did is give me a distaste for spending a lot of time on social media. Before, I was content to sit there and scroll through the endless streams of posts and ads and news. Now, I find myself itching to be back in the real world and not in the virtual one.
As Christmas and other winter holidays draw closer, I find myself becoming better at things I always wanted to do. Better at sales and couponing, better at creating budget plans and following them and better at being an active member of my family. I will be posting reviews, genealogy information and DNA information here, and I will be updating much more regularly as I have come up with many more ways to better manage my time. I look forward to all of your input and comments!
I love reviewing new products when they come out. When I fist saw the Secret Freshies, which are the small sphere deodorants sold right now, I was intrigued. The packaging is adorable. Small spheres of product that will fit in the palm of your hand. What is not to love? The fragrances were delightful sounding as well. I chose the Cool Waterlily, in a cute mint ball to bring home with me. It was $4.99 for 0.5 oz.
As soon as I got home, I had to get scissors to free the Secret from the packaging. It is in there really good! It was more expensive than other products, but I was buying into the cuteness factor.
I set it on the counter for the following morning as a part of my get ready for work routine.
The next morning, instead of reaching for my normal product, I reached for the Secret Freshie. I unscrewed the lid and went to apply it, Freshie went flying across the room! The sphere does not have anything to create a grip. Retrieving it from the floor, I looked at it. The amount of product was pretty small. I looked at the bottom and side, there was no place to disperse more product. Literally, what you see is what you get. In the next 2 weeks, I used the Freshie every day. At the end of the 2 weeks, I felt a scratch one morning as I applied the product. I looked down and I had already gotten to the end of the product. The scratch was from the side of the Freshie scraping my underarm. I threw it away and will not be buying another. Not impressed for the price.
I have been making efforts here on the homefront to control spending, save money, and get money back when I can. Between couponing, hitting up sales and doing everything that I can, even though I am working less hours outside of the home, we are still making all of our bills on time.
That is a big change from last year, when we were barely scraping by!
I will be posting some home crafts in the next few weeks about Christmas projects that we will be doing for gifts for family and friends. My total expenditure for the people outside of our direct household is going to be less than 100.00 for more than 20 people. Can we do it? Watch and see!
Back to TopCashback. This is not a sponsored post from them. I was watching YouTube videos on how to save money, and one of the places that everyone talks about is the Dollar Tree. I love the Dollar Tree. It is quick, convenient and easy to get in and out of. For everyday staples. this one is a no brainer.
As I was watching one of the videos, a YouTuber mentioned TopCashback. Then another. Then another. It seemed like a good deal, but then several of these people mentioned that TopCashBack gives a 4 percent rebate at Dollar Tree! Did you just tell me that my savings got even bigger?
Of course, I had to sign up! That is money in the bank. literally. They will literally deposit money into my PayPal account after I do online shopping with over FOUR THOUSAND online retail sites.
I signed up.
I hope that you will use my link and sign up, too!
I write a lot about genetic genealogy, family trees, DNA, and home life as well as the occasional product review. Comments? Email me at CocktailsAndSwagger@Hotmail.com