Great Grandpa Amnesia Travels part 12 Final episode

In September a workman who had been at Pillings & Sons,  when my father had worked there saw him at a local baseball game and got in touch with us. Uncle Ben went out to make sure it was our father as we had followed many false clues. He was my father, but didn’t recognize Uncle Ben or anything that he told him nor return to Philadelphia with him. Ella, his daughter went out to Cleveland that night by train to see what she could do. Sometime after John had arrived in Cleveland he had gotten work doing something with electrical light bulbs and insisted on Uncle Ben going to his employer to get a good reference for him. When father arrived home from work I went out to meet him on the porch steps and leaned over and kissed him, no response, no idea who I was.  That afternoon, I talked a great deal to him about his past life beyond May 8, 1923 and he would not go home to a wife he didn’t know but agreed to go to Uncle Ben’s house.

During our conversation he became stiff and lapsed into an odd spell did this twice and said he could see a woman and was sure he would recognize her again. We took the sleeper to Philadelphia and after waking in the morning he told us of a dream where some women were in the ocean laughing and lauhging. Four maiden English women lived next door to us in Philadelphia. They were very close friends and enjoyed laughing. Once when they were in the ocean swimming one of them lost their false teeth and we could imagine how the rest must of just laughed!

Frank, my fiance picked us up at the station and drove- as we passed where my mother had lived before being married, my father said that the house is very familiar to me and he thought that the Main Line was familiar. When my Aunt Ada met us at the door he again had no recognition of her. There was an unusual big mirror covering half the side wall he looked at that and said, “I’ve seen that mirror before.” We had breakfast while Frank went to get my mother. We were standing in the living room when my mother came in calling “Jack”, “Jack” he turned and recognized her then asked where is Ella?, where is Lilly, the little black dog? The broke down and cried and things came back to him.

He and my mother went to the shore for two weeks which the doctor suggested. After that he was perfectly normal and before long went back to work at Pillings in a less important position with less responsibility as he formerly was a shipping manager. He worked until about week before he died. He died of pneumonia on 20 April 1934 at the age of 77. He had been gone from the age of 64 till age 67. The only change that there seemed to be was how he watched his money as this was natural because on May 5th he didn’t have any. It is also suppose that he took on the name of John Farnham as his sister lived on Farnham Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. John took notes every place he stayed on grocery bags. He kept a log so he could pay back the money that was loaned to him as he went along. This is something similar he would have done in ordinary life and through out his life he has kept notes much like a journal.

This journal doesn’t tell you every place he stayed as I came across a letter giving an account of places he stayed and with whom.

Memory was gone on May 8th – first day I can remember awoke in C&C shed at Gray’s Shed with nothing but wearing apparel I wore. Walked along the railroad and caught in sudden storm soaking wet from knees down. Then came to mountain cabin after dark and they kept me over night and dried out my clothes at fireplace.

May 9th – Gate City, Virginia – Spent the night in empty railroad car                                     May 10th – Speer Ferry – Night in empty house                                                                       May 11- Near Duffield – House on Route 2 George Miller                                                 May 12th – Big Stone Gap – rain & wet from knees down                                                     May 13th – Norton and back to Appalachia – Virginia Night in empty car                          May 14th –  Duffield – night empty cabin                                                                           May 15th – 2 miles from Gate City- night in construction car (rain)                                   May 16th – Mendota – night in old mill                                                                                 May 18th – Atkins, Virginia – Mrs. S. A. McIntyre House long ride in auto                        May 19th – Roanoke Virginia – night in railroad round house                                            May 20th -night abandon church                                                                                      May 21st – country or barn                                                                                                May 22nd – Near Verona – night in barn                                                                                 May 23rd – near Winchester – night in school house awfully cold                                           May 24th – near Green castle – night in barn near Hagertown,Pennsylvania                         May 25th – near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania – night in barn                                               May 26th – Shippenburg, Pennsylvania – night in barn                                                         May 27th – Carlisle, Pennsylvania –                                                                                         May 28th – Midway between Carlisle & Harrisburg – barn                                                       May 29th – 3 miles north of Harrisburg                                                                                     May 30th – 20 miles North of Harrisburg                                                                                 May 31st – 35 miles from North of Harrisburg – night in a barn                                        June 1st – Susquehanna University – Selins Grove Sleepy Hollow Mr Forest                   June 3rd – 5 miles North of Northumberland – Mr. Forrest                                                       June 4th – 16 miles south of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, night in barn                                   June 5th – 3 miles North of Elmira, New York – approached wet under barn                           June 6th – 6 miles North of Addison – night in barn                                                                   June 7th – 1 mile North of Jasper – Andrew Murphy family, (boy Neal) supper & lodging     June 8th – 5 miles North Dansville – barn cold rain                                                                 June 9th – 50 miles East of Buffalo – night in barn                                                                 June 10th – 1/2 mile east of E. Pembroke – night in barn                                                         June 11th – June 16th – Murray Cranndall – worked $1:00 per day and board                         June 17th – 3 miles West of Penbroke – night in barn                                                               June 18th – Buffalo – car at night licked in L V Railroad – night in barn                                   June 19th – N. Evan (12 miles south of Buffalo)  night barn                                                 June 20th – Portland New York – 52 miles of Buffalo – open shed night                                   June 21st – 20 miles north of Erie, Pennsylvania – night shed                                               June 22nd – 12 miles north of Erie, Pennsylvania – night barn                                                 June 23rd – 8 miles south of Erie , Pennsylvania – night barn                                                  June 24th – 19 miles south of Erie, Pennsylvania – night barn                                                June 25th – 45 miles East of Cleveland – night – slept out on ground at camp                         June 26th – Ohio – engaged to work, farm                                                                               Nov 1-11th – at John Hall – farmer                                                                                             Nov. 12th – Cleveland

The following is some background history of John Aikin Falck. He was born in Williamstown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on 23 Feb 1857. Williamstown was later changed to Vintage.  His mother died in child birth. He had a brother Edward Falck who married Mary Kneipp and sister Mary Elizabeth who married Eldwin Johnson. His father remarried and his step mother was Mary Salone Schmucker whom raised him. He had a step sister: Laura Falck and two step brothers namely Charles and Milton Falck.

His mother’s family was from Wales and his father’s family was from Germany. He grew up near Lancaster and were Lutherans.

He attended Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster later changed to Philadelphia School of Pharmacy and became a druggist. After graduation he decided to travel. He went West working as a druggist. As he traveled he wrote to the Lancaster newspaper: “The New Era”  (there is a book that someone has kept up on all the articles he wrote in to the paper about his traveling experiences.)

He went to Los Angeles, California  then onto Australia living in Sidney for about three years then on to India, which is now Pakistan where he lived there for seven years. Before returning to the states he traveled in Europe and then came back to Philadelphia where he met his wife and married Esther Hunt Hansell on 17 October 1899. they lived on Wynnewood Ave. in Pennsylvania until his death.

John was very fond of children and they liked him too. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When John was in Jasper, New York he came to the home of Andrew Murray and he went to the door and asked if he could sleep in the barn, Neal answered and went and got his father, said he could sleep in their home. Ella went to see them after her father had died. They had felt later that he wasn’t an ordinary tramp, they had tired to go after him, but he must have gotten a lift. He made a BIG impression on them and especially on Neal. After Father got to Cleveland he wrote a thank you note and gave his address in Cleveland. From then on they were his adopted family and they sent him presents and especially at Christmas. They really adopted each other.

After he came home, two daughters visited us in Philadelphia and later Mother (John’s wife) Jack ( my son) and I (Jack’s mother) stopped to see them in Jasper, New York. That’s when they told us they tried to catch up with him.      

Thank you for taking interest in this family story and for your likes, Mary

 

 

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Great Grandpa Amnesia Travels part 7

She had prepared the supper and with the table at one side and the cook stove on the other with her wheelchair between she passed the dishes of food and made hot biscuits during the meal, always cheerful and joining in the conversation. There was another man who was a helper the man being engaged at this season in barking trees for tar. I had a good nights rest and breakfast and was charged but a small amount for my indebtedness. Was given instructions as to the road to Clinchport but it seemed as if I had little sense of direction for after traveling several miles and asking a man I met the distance to Clinchport was informed I was miles of of my way.  Again my nearest way was over the mountain and after being directed started for the top where he informed me I would find a house my knee felt very much better and the climb was not so laborious as I expected; reaching the house far from spent by the climb. There were a couple of women in the house and asking for a drink was given a cup of coffee after some breakfast which this offered me letting them of my having had it at Duffield. By this time it was quite warm and after resting about an hour and receiving directions as to the trail to the road leading to Clinchport started down mountain. My sense of direction must have been very poor for again I lost my way and after a long time moving through shrub and open places emerged on a road which I followed until noon when I came by a cottage on the mountain side was given a meal by a young women. On leaving followed the road until I came to a cross road where a man in a field directed me to the left but traveling this for about a half mile met a man who on my inquiry, stated I was on a road which would take me along way round it was nearer to turn back and follow his directions and eventually arrived at Clinchport. At this time the sky was clouding and I pushed on through Speers Ferry not stopping at the house where I was befriended as there seemed to be no one about and it was noticed to get to Gate City, by night. When about 2 miles from Gate City it began to rain and reaching a small village took refuge on a covered porch over a general store which was closed. It was dark by this time and very uncomfortable on the porch as there was no place to sit and getting very cold. Later on a working train pulled onto the aiding of the railroad which ran by the village and the workman rushed to the dining car, so called. It has ceased raining and I went over to scout for a place to sleep. In each car there were bunks at each end with a square place in the middle where the doors open, a stove in the center, but without a fire. Seeing a workman near by I asked him if I could stayer there for the night but as he replied that I would need to see the boss who was at supper but he was hardboiled and more than likely to give me a swift kick as he had no lover for tramps. Without resenting the reputation and disinterest to meet this “hardboiled” foreman who might interfere with my sleep which were my main dependence I went back to this porch, about an hour later feeling the need of a better position and relief from the cold wind I again went over and finding a car with a empty box car inside probably used for coal after stome strenuous work pulled myself in and moving the box into a corner was ready for anything to happen. The new man having a lot of homeplay with probably  a new hand as I could hear him calling “Hey – stop that ” and out a squeal time after time. About what seemed 10 o’clock they ceased their fun and went to their bunks those passing me paying no attention except one who said, “Sorry we can’t give you a bunk Dad but they are all filled.” “That’s all right Bo I’m in out of the wet and wind will do fine here.” Worse nights had been my fan but sitting on that box all night with the sides of the car for a pillow all but fine and my naps came few and far between. Strange, I had no thought of its being anything but my usual cause in life except that not feeling that I was a tramp, but something different and yet accepting things as they were. Not once did I incline to reasoning these things out and nor an inclination to look for work – Just an impulse to keep moving on, by day light it had cleared and I was and up with the sun and away. Instead of taking the road from Gate City by which I came my course was one toward Bristol, Tennessee. After walking a couple of hours and feeling the need of food the road being hilly and  few habit at oners my wants were supplied by a woman living along the roadside who fed me liberally, asked me to rest awhile and entered into a conversation which lasted for an hour, a welcome interlude having so little of anyone’s society and gave her to understand my gratitude for her consideration of our asking her for “a bite”. The day was cloudy for the most part finding relief from the sun and my knee giving me slight trouble by evening I reached Mendota having had some dinner at a house a few miles back.

The few people I saw in the village rather ask adn at me and seeing an old grist mill near by entered its portal and finding a couple of bags made a pillow of one and threw the other over me but it gave scant warmth as the night was very cold but had a fairly good nights rest. Somehow in the morning those I will seemed devoid of hostility and one man stopped and asked me where I was bound for, directioning me to a house some distance beyond when his wife would give me a meal “for the asking” as he had just finished his breakfast and was on his way to work. I had only to ask and she gave a me a good meal with 2 or 3 cups of coffee saying “that’s just like him – he likes his meals himself he’d would be late at work.” I said, “that’s a man for you, they don’t grow’em in any bush.” and her smile showed her admiration of her consent. On my way, a clear sunny morning, a full stomach and a feeling that the world is alright despite thee passionate kept mine good spirits and with some rolls, butter, and coffee from another good samaritan along the way I reached Bristol about 6 o’clock in the evening. Just outside the tow, noticing a base ball grounds with grandstand it came to me that it would afford a place to sleep without further hunting and possible cleaner than any I might find. There was no trouble getting into the park and finding a place where I could look about without being seen sat there until dark finally retiring on bench.. to be continued

Great Grandpa Amnesia Travels part 6

I had no trouble in finding a lumber shed partly filled and made my bed than for the night, sleeping fairly well but pretty cold through the night. On reaching Cleveland, started out to look for work but found was my case and clerical work out of the question as my work I could do seemingly could be done by girls and old men were not wanted in offices. Around several ados for attendant on an invalid but in each case they were big or stout men with weak limbs, unable to walk with out assistance and as I weighed less than 130 pounds was unable to raise them from a chair without their assistance. One particular appeared to me. A kindly old gentlemen, tall and heavy and willing to lend what power he had but a walk in the hall made in dubious as the whether I could handle him in crisis. When his bath was mentioned there was no doubt in my mind that if I succeeded in getting him I could never get him out without help. So a good paying job in a good home failed me and as the winter drifted on, age and inexperience being the principal obstacle in securing work and general business was none to good many men being off work and weary adn every day having numbers of applications. On one occasion in February I was offered a position as janitor of a small apartment houser. Board and room and $5.00 a week. The regular janitar had a steady job trucking and his wife looked after the apartment during the day but had been asked to return to a job she had previously held in a factory which paid her so well they could afford to hire someone too look after the apartment. Could not decide at once what to do and said I would let her know the next day, Sunday. Later in the evening I decided to take the job until Spring at least and in the morning went to the place only to be informed that I was taken by a man living in the neighborhood which suited them better especially as they could not be certain I would accept the job. The money I had laid back during the summer was dwindling fast and close economy was necessary and outside of room, meals, laundry, daily paper, tobacco for my was and the Saturday Evening Post with an occasional visit to the movies I spent but little. By the end of March I had only a few dollars left as it had been necessary in the early winter to buy a supply of clothing, new suit, hat, underwear, stockings, and it made a big drain on my small capital. As to my laundry I washed my underwear, socks and shirts but although all men in the house wore work shirts with attached collars I could not get away from white collars and having no way of ironing soft ones constantly wore the stiff variety with madras shirts and one broadcloth white shirt for Sundays. I finally at last it would come to going to “The Road” again and as the nights would be cold for another two months and the spring rains would make to until to travel on many days. However, i made ready to start Westward while I had a few dollars left, about ten and would leave my belongings in care of the landlady until able to send for them,. Towards morning I fell into a profound slumber and was awakened by someone growling at me and telling me to “Get out of here if you don’t want the boss to come along and kick you out” and it struck me that if he was any tougher looking than his watchman the kicking would be good and hard and I better not meet him so I left my night quarters almost at a speed. By this time it was quite warm and the chill in my bones soon thawed out and I made tracks for Big Stone Gap. After walking perhaps half a mile a man and wife came along and offered me a lift and were very companionable asking me about my wanderings and saying, you are quite to the good by not trying to over the mountains.” They stopped on the outskirts of the town and when I was on my feet the woman handed me 50 cents and they were off before I could do more than thank her and too surprised to ask their address for it would please me more than a little to get into contact with them again and although it was but a short time we were together they so impressed me with their friendliness, to this day. I can picture them as we rode together that bright morning,

On my way again stopped in a store and bought soda crackers for breakfast, munching them as I walked along. The road was now quite familiar to me having gone over it so recently and the sun having become very hot and my knee paining occasionally I rested at house along the road I asked for some food and was given a bowl of milk with crackers and some cold meat and the wife told me to sit on the porch and rest as long as I pleased while she went about her work. Long in that road the road i had passed the house where they had been so kind to me on my way up and saw the older woman working in the garden but was not seen by her.  A couple miles from Duffield rested at the house of a  young couples for an hour or more who said they would put me up for the night but everything was upside down on account of work being done in and out of the house, the man working on the porch while I was there. By the time I reached Duffield my knee was so painful and as the night would be cold, went to a house where I was informed I could get lodging and as before had to wait for the man of the house to come home from work. On his returns I was accepted and had supper with them and had sights of one of the victims of the flu which came to death so many during the Epidemic of 1917 or 1918 and left others who survived maim for life. The man’s wife had a serious attack and it left her cripple in her legs so she was unable to walk there after.  However, she did not give way to despair or morbidness but with returning strength and willpower  and a wheelchair returned to active duties on the lower floor. Her husband said, “she is a wonder and ____ going from floor to floor attends to everything as before.”

to be continued

Great Grandpa Amnesia Travels part 5

Borrow if you will not accept it but do not look at it as a loan.” He insisted, on my taking it and I did take his name and address adn telling him when I was able to do so would pay it back. Later with the first money I could spare after succeeding in securing work I returned it with some added and used the wrong surname. my letter was received and open by a Sergeant – whose address has been lost – who returned my letter and money.

It was about three months before I located him in North Carolina. The family with whom he was living had been broken up by the death of the elder man and the young man had finally found a place on a farm in that state and it was here my letter reach him. We had several letters between us afterwards,but my last one was returned and I have not heard from him since although he might have written but I might have changed address in the mean time. After leaving him at Jasper the tears came to my eyes and I did not try to restrain them… they were not tears to reject, it was with a rather light heart I resumed my way although the grade was up did not tire but was obligated to stop occasionally to rub my knee well to remove the soreness. Late in the afternoon a man in a car offered me a ride which I gladly accepted as my knee was giving me a lot of trouble and with only an occasional house insight, the sky darkening and foretelling rain itb behoved me to get to Big Stone Gap soon as possible. Fortunately my friend carried me to this place by which time it was quite dark and beginning to rain and knowing it would almost impossible to find a place to sleep was obliged to look up a place to lodge. A man directed me to a measly small hotel so called and the landlady said she could give me a room for the 75 cents, I was tempted to look further but it was raining hard and after quite a lot of dickering in which she made very derogatory remarks about my breed of men, living on others and too lazy to work and finally saying I can let you have a place to sleep for 50 cents. I can’t go out in this storm. She took the money saying sit down and when my son comes in he’ll take you to your room. Son must have been having a good time alright where as he did not turn  up until 10:30 and it was nigh eleven when he came in the room and said, “Come on I shoul you to your room and  out in the storm we went, he in a raincoat and as for myself exposed to the rain. After half a square away he led me upstairs to a room with four beds, two of them occupied by two men a piece. He motioned to an empty bed and left. The room was large enough but bare of furniture rather a poverty stricken place., but having little to lose and pretty wet was glad to get under any roof, retiring at once before falling asleep i heard another lodger come in and as he turned off the light before getting into bed, concluded all the quest were in for the night and soon fell asleep. Awoke about six in the morning and found the others had already departed.

My clothes had dried and the storm was over but the sky still overcast and making my way to the street was soon on the way to Appalachia on a good paved road. Coming by a roadside store I entered to see a man dressed his “Sunday Best” as if in readiness for church.  I judged as he was  reading his bible. Asking him the price of a carton of biscuits he replied, seven cents for biscuits, could you let me have a package for six cents?, it’s all I can pay”, said I referring to the money I found in my  pocket at Gray’s – “No” he said, “You’ll pay 7 cents or nothing” and he placed the package back on the shelf. As I walked out the door saying “A good samaritan mix”, and he gave me an awful stare but said nothing.

Sometime later I came across what appeared to me might have been a rain of toads. They were all over the paved road, dead, as if drowned many mashed by automobiles but thousands of others and they extended for two or three miles. I had not idea where they came from and inquiring of a man by the roadside he replied, “Don’t know there’s more than could have come from anywhere round here – they’ll make good fertilizer at not cost”. It cleared about 10 o’clock became very warm and tiresome on the up grade as I was ascending the range on my way to north to come over into Kentucky and into Ohio.

Managed to get a bite on the way and along about noon a man on his way to Norton stopped and took me in. On his inquiring as to my destination and learning of my crossing the mountain into Kentucky, said ” My good man, don’t think for such a trip, the mountains are infested with moonshiners to whom a deputy sheriff is comparable to a rattlesnake and if one thought you were such in disguise he would not hesitate to “pot” you. And if you escaped they you would get little to eat as the cabins are mostly off the road. Don’t do it. You could not stand the rough road and might get caught in a bad storm and no shelter.” Well “said I , it is my plan to get into Ohio but being bombed over by a moonshiner or kidnapped half starved or sleeping out in the rain without shelter didn’t appeal to me, so I’ll take your advise but Ohio is my objective and I ‘ll get there someway. If you let me out I’ll start back and try some other route, “thanking you for your advice.” I’ll not stop here as further ahead I will put you on a road to Appalachia which is much shorter than the one you are now on” at a “Hot Dog” stand he stopped and treated me to a “Dog” and cup of coffee joining me in the same and shortly after put me on my road back as it was down grade walking was easier and by seven o’clock was again in Appalachia.

to be continued…

Gift Idea

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I have friend who is moving away in few weeks. She is someone that comes to the library where I work. There have been many that have come and gone. Some have gone further to Heaven above.

I had this thought that I would write a little something in the beginning of her journal some personal effect of things we might have shared from time to time.  But instead of using up her space, I  decided to insert it in the front of the book. But then I received an inspiration, this idea popped into my head – I am going to  place some of my favorite quotes amongst her pages so that when she reaches that page she will have a neat little quote to give her inspiration or or help her along her journey..

I hope this prompts someone to do the same thing. It could be a college student, or dear friend. either way I think it was neat idea. to send someone along their way….

Snowy Day

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colorado-2016

When I was growing up, my birthday wish was  to have snow on my birthday. This year it came six days later. I thought since we were visiting family on the foothills that we would miss the snow. I guess I was wrong. We received a foot of snow. The eerie thing was the day before it was 60 degrees with the sun on your back. This picture was taken with my cell phone.

co-2016

 

Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes Courter

Three Little WordsThree Little Words was left at a recent Rest Area on I-80 in Illinois. I decided to read this book. I could not put it down. Read it in to the wee hours of the night.

I was astonished at the foster care homes, the court systems. How many children have suffered from  false pretenses. Not believing in children reports. But this story has a good ending and this young girl rose above her situations as she had adoptive parents that  loved her and had faith in her. She developed a talent to help others with their hardships and change foster care laws in Florida. A Must Read…

Other reviews for this book can be seen at Barnes and Noble website:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/three-little-words-ashley-rhodes-courter/1100209962?ean=9781416948070