Monday, February 29, 2016


Today is Leap Day -- February 29th -- which happens only once every four years. My Grandpa Charlie's half brother Uncle Joe (Gary) was born on Leap Day in 1912.  If he was still alive, he would have been 104 today but only would have celebrated 26 birthdays.

Four years ago, (wow, have I really been writing this blog that long?) when I wrote about Uncle Joe on this blog, I mentioned that I had very little information on his wife Jessica, who we actually knew as Aunt Jess. However, just recently I found more information on her.

First, I found her in the California Death Index.  She did outlive Uncle Joe and I do remember her living in Glendale, California so I was sure that this was her.  The death record gave her birth date as 18 Oct 1890 which meant she was 22 years older than Joe.  She did always seem a lot older than him. It said that she was born in Kansas (new information) and that her death date was 7 Sep 1979 (which seemed right).

I then found Joseph Gary (her husband) in the California, County Marriages records.  According to the record, Joseph Gary married Jessica G. Ray on 5 Oct 1941 at the Wedding Manor on Western Avenue in Los Angeles.  Joseph was listed as living with my Grandpa Charlie and his family in the US 1940 census.  So "Ray" was either Jessica's maiden name or married name from a previous marriage.  The marriage record did not include the marital status of Jessica.  Also listed on the record were the names of Jessica's parents -- Harry E. Williams and Minnie Denney.

I also found Jessica Gertrude Ray in the 1940 US census.  At that time she was 49 years old and her marital status was divorced.  Researching her mother (Minnie Denney), I found that Jessica had 5 siblings (which was big news to me because I had never heard of any relatives of hers).  She had an older brother Franklin, 2 younger brothers - Roger and Archie and 2 younger sisters -- Clara and Helen.  So, I found out a lot more that I had known previously.  Now I wonder how much of this information did my parents and grandparents know.

Well, back to Leap Day -- according to an Irish legend this is the day that allows women to propose to men.  I wonder if a lot of this is happening in Ireland today.  

Happy Leap Day!


Grandpa Charlie (Sherlock) acted in over 300 movies from 1932 to 1960.  Most of the time he wasn't listed in the credits, but typically only six to eight of the actors/actresses were listed.  Thank heavens for for their listings or otherwise I would never have the listing of all of his movies. Charlie's roles were usually small ones, anything from a character with a name and a small speaking part to on rarer occasions just part of the crowd.

My goal is to watch as many of Grandpa Charlie's movies as I can get access to.  So after ordering a few DVDs from, I have started my quest of watching his old movies.  I am not only enjoying seeing my Grandpa (who died in 1983) albeit onscreen, but also appreciating these old movies that I had never seen before. I never quite understood the fascination with old movies but now I have developed an appreciation for them.

Charlie's first movie was titled "The Dark Horse" and starred Bette Davis in 1932.  Charlie played the role of a man attending the Progressive Party's convention to elect the Governor. I wonder if back then they did have conventions to elect governors.  The premise was electing someone not because he was anywhere near the best person but to spite the other group and then to manipulate the person.  Wow, maybe times haven't changed that much!

The next movie I watched was "The Working Man" starring George Arliss and Bette Davis.  The story was about an aging shoe manufacturer and two spoiled rich young siblings from a rival shoe company.  Grandpa Charlie played the role of the waiter on a yacht in this 1933 film.  (The photo above of Grandpa Charlie acting as a waiter with Bette Davis (her back is to the camera is from another film -- Mr. Skeffington).  I am really enjoying watching Bette Davis as a young actress.

Back to the movies ---

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Theresa visited Amsterdam in 1961 and stayed at the Hotel Suisse.  They took a walk in Amsterdam with another couple.  Theresa doesn't say anything more about her visit to Amsterdam in her travel diary.

After we finished our Rhine River Cruise in August, we also visited Amsterdam.  Our first day in Amsterdam, we took a walk with another couple (my brother and his wife) and visited the flower market.  In the evening, we enjoyed a dinner canal cruise, touring the canals of Amsterdam.

When my grandparents visited Amsterdam in 1961, they bought a ceramic windmill that played music for each of their sons' family.  As a child, I remember ours sat on our TV in the living room.  So, one of my objectives when I visited Amsterdam was to find and purchase a ceramic windmill to display in our home.  I found the perfect one at Delft Blue.  Now, every time, I look at it in our entertainment center, I think about my Grandparents and about our recent trip to Amsterdam  Such great memories!

Friday, February 12, 2016


We arrived at the Cathedral in Cologne (High Cathedral of St. Peter & Mary) at 10am on a Sunday in August.  Since Mass was being celebrated in the Cathedral, we were only allowed to visit in the back of the cathedral.

Since we couldn't visit more of the Cathedral that morning, we took a walking tour of the city.  Cologne was once a Roman settlement called "Colonia Agrippina".  Old Roman ruins remain in this city and we saw some of them.

After lunch, we had the opportunity to explore more of the Cathedral in Cologne.  We saw the beautiful stained glass windows and ornate gold shrine on an elaborate altar.  I thought the Cathedral was very impressive.

Of course, we took some photos re-enacting some of the ones my Grandma was in 1961.  I always liked this photo of her (in the red coat) in front of the Cathedral.  The problem was there were way too many people walking back and forth to take a photo where you would actually see us.  So instead we stood closer to where the photographer took the original photo.

From the two photos you will notice that things have changed.  There is no longer that small patch of grass in front of the cathedral.  Also, there is no longer a street in front of the cathedral but rather a "plaza" where people walk through or gather.

I loved my short visit to Cologne and to its magnificent cathedral!  I already have two things to do on my next visit to Cologne:
1. Take a ride on the Rheinseilbahn (the bucket ride over the city and river) to get an aerial view of the city.
2. Drink a glass of Cologne famous Kolsch beer.