Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day 43

If I look concerned, that's because I AM!

Managed some exploring early this morning while the giants slept. I thought I should document some of the creatures of this strange land. I don't know what to make of them. I really don't.

It's on a stick! An animal's head on a stick! I don't care if it IS some sort of native custom, that's just sick.

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Why is its nose the same color as its hair? It's really well-dressed, I'll give it that.

The gray one moves occasionally and doesn't seem to like me. The green one? Scares the beegeebers out of me. Look at those eyes!

I kinda like this one. I have no idea why.

I don't know. I don't WANT to know. I just want someone to get it to leave!

These guys hang out with me in my sleeping quarters. I thought they were my fellow explorers at first. But they haven't moved in six weeks, so I'm afraid they are my ex-explorers. They sure are cuddly, however.

This one stands in the corner by himself. I think he did something really, really bad. That yellow ribbon probably means something.

That's it for now. I'll try to get some pictures of the giants one of these days.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day 42 (or is it 43?)

Like I said, I don't know how to count. I do know it's been six weeks since people started shining bright lights in my face.

They took me to ANOTHER one of those events with whistles last night, this one even longer than the first. I recognized some of the littler giants trying not to get hit by the ball. They were wearing the same clothes. But some of them were either wearing different clothes or were different littler giants. There was also some gawdawful horn that they didn't have last time. I had to have my diaper changed after it went off the first time.


I took a trip today and saw a whole bunch of new giants. I like these trips, generally. Unless I get hungry and they just leave me in the back of the ship to howl and howl and howl. Do they stop? Hell, no. I need to find a new way to communicate with these monsters. Wish I could get my hands on a pointy stick. That'd do the job.

I have decided to escape from my captors at my earliest opportunity. It hasn't been a totally unpleasant captivity -- there's that stuff the nice giant feeds me, for instance, and some pretty cute outfits, if I do say so myself -- but prison is prison. Am I a person or a pet? THAT is the question.

Anyhow, I've been squirreling away odds and ends that I can get my hands on, in case I can use them in my breakout. So far, I have two nooks, a clean diaper, a rattling thing, and a hammer. Let me tell you, finding that hammer was a stroke of good fortune.

Me. With three of the littler giants. The one in the middle is the one at the whistling event. It got hit several times. I almost felt sorry for it. Almost.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day 42

One of the giants told me a bizarre story today. I'm writing this from memory, so I may not have it exactly right. I'm guessing it's one of their myths, but what do I know? Could be true. You be the judge.

So there's these five creatures. I think it called them "pwiggies". It starts with one of these "pwiggies" going to a store. The giant didn't tell me what this "pwiggie" did at the store, or whether it bought anything neat. All I know is that it went. And that someone thought this fact was somehow significant.

The next "pwiggie" didn't get to go. I'm guessing there were hard feelings about this, but, again, the details are scarce. Don't know what it did instead. Don't know if it was being punished. Don't know ANYTHING!

You know, now that I'm retelling it, this is a really stupid story, isn't it?

Anyhow, there were five of these "pwiggies", so I'm not stopping with the second one. The third "pwiggie" had some sort of meat dish, I forget what. The giant -- of course -- didn't tell me if this one ate it at home or at the store. I'm guessing it was at the store, since there's no mention of meat for the second "pwiggie."

The fourth "pwiggie" was as unlucky as the second "pwiggie." There was no meat for it either. They clearly spell this out. It had NONE. We can only hope that it at least was able to go to the store with the others, even if it was forced to watch the third "pwiggie" eat something really good. It would totally suck if it had to stay home with the second "pwiggie" AND not get the snack. Besides, why have two characters in the same story doing THE EXACT SAME THING?!

OK. But here's the bizarre part. The fifth "pwiggie", who DID get to go to the store, where it may or may not have had some meat, went "Weeweeweeweeweewee" all the way back to their house. Why, you ask? Exactly! Is there an explanation for this behavior? Is it "pwiggie-speak" for something? Is it, in fact, the entire POINT OF THE STUPID STORY!?

Apparently, I'll never know. The giant just laughs and tickles me when it gets to this point. And the big galoot seems to be expecting some response from me. What am I supposed to say? "Oh, wow! Tell me that one again! I just can't get enough of pointless anecdotes!"? No. I won't give it the satisfaction.

These clowns are wasting my time, I tell you.

Explain this to me, by the way. I'm telling you, they're messing with me. And I'm tired of it. I'm supposed to be on an Arctic Adventure, dammit! (Pardon the French.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day howthehelldoIknow?

It's like Day 39 or so. I've lost track and I can't count anyhow.

The big news here is that I've had three bottles in the past couple of weeks. I don't know what was in them, but it seemed like the same stuff I get from one of the giants. The nice one. The one that gives me that stuff.

I'm also told that I am now wearing a Size 1 diaper. Apparently the ones I was wearing previously had no size. I find that demeaning. The giants are always telling me how small I am. Well, guess what? THEY ARE HIDEOUSLY LARGE!!

What else? I went to some sort of event tonight with whistles. It was annoying. A bunch of the littler giants were trying not to keep a ball in the air. At least, I think that's what they were doing. It went on forever! I think I had my diaper changed twice and the nice giant let me have some of that stuff. Not in a bottle stuff.

Blasted hot again today. And breezy. The two giants that are around the most put me in that wheeled contraption and rolled me around. It was OK except when that bright light was in my eyes. That was just the pits. Thing's hot too.

That's about it. The Pole is a distant memory now. An illusion. A stupid joke, I think. I will have my revenge!

But first I need to sleep. Maybe after a snack.

Oh, there was this, too. They dipped me into some ice cold liquid! The bastards!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day 28

Yesterday, the giants put me in that rolling contraption and took me to some odd place. I was sleeping at the time, so I don't know far it was or how long it took, but when I woke up I was in the middle of scores of giants. It was noisy and smelly and hot -- and the giants were pretty hideous, let me tell you. I went back to sleep. After a quick snack.

Not much else to report. To tell you the truth, I'm still not sure what's going on. Some nights, I just lie awake and howl. The giants come running and I usually get something to eat and a new diaper. So that's nice. But it doesn't explain diddly-squat.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day 17

I have to admit I haven't much felt like writing. This weekend, my worst suspicions were confirmed. I am not an Arctic explorer. I am not even an explorer. I'm a baby.

What sort of creatures would perpetrate such a diabolical deception on an infant? The same sort of creatures who would dangle these above my head and expect me to believe they were actually polar bears.

I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am in this turn of events. In just three short days, I went from a Life of Adventure to lying around in something they call a sleeper bag, basically a sack with a zipper. It's cozy. I'll give you that. But it's humiliating.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Today's mail and a trip to Target

Today's mail brought both an invoice from my plumber and my property tax bill. For some reason -- perhaps a substitute carrier? -- the mail arrived four hours early. I could have waited. Really.

A couple of weeks ago there was a funny whistling noise coming from one of the pipes leading to an upstairs radiator. Then there was some leaking. Maybe there was leaking first. The radiator had always been pretty feeble, more of a sculpture than anything functional. So we called the plumber who worked for a good 6 or 7 hours on this and that.

16 Aug 2012

Here is another gem of an unpublished blog entry. How could I have not published this?

I don't remember when this was started, but plumbing remains an on-going issue here. I think, but don't quote me on this, that shortly after this entry was begun we had a leak in the master bedroom radiator which dripped through the dining room ceiling. I got the plumber on the line and he told me to tighten a giant nut. "Everyone tells me that," I joked. In my head. Because I don't joke around with my plumber much. I did as he said and there's been no leak since. But we do have some flaky ceiling paper in the corner where the leak was.

Property tax bill! That's a clue. When do the property tax bills arrive? March or February, I bet. I'm guessing this was from late winter 2011.

OK. That's enough.

Dear Futureguy

Hey! How you doing? I was just sitting here, wasting time, waiting for spring or good fortune, whichever wants to come first, and I thought about you, Futureguy, and decided to write. I know it's been a while, but not for you. seeing as how you're not even born yet and all. It's all water headed toward the bridge, no matter when I post, right?

Some of my so-called friends think I'm crazy to be writing to you. "We aren't even interested in what you have to say," they say. "Why would some unborn Futureguy want to hear from you?"

I tell them that's the point.

16 Aug 2012

Apparently this was a draft that I just inadvertently labelled and published. It seems, I don't know, unpolished?

It's not even 70 today, here in Minnesota, after the hottest summer in decades, if not ever. You may be wondering why I'm wasting your time to weather trivia and I guess I can't blame you. Would you prefer some baseball trivia?

What was Joe Mauer's mother's maiden name?

We watched Jean de Florette last night. It was not nearly as good as I thought it was. I wonder if Gerard is still married to Elizabeth.

This was a bad idea, I think. Hope you are well, or will be well.

So ...

Where was I going with this?

It had something to do with the Family Tree and the new baby.

I was even going to work up a map that showed the progression of The Leaches (and the families they married into) from Massachusetts to New York to Wisconsin to Kansas to Illinois (and then to Iowa, Ohio and Minnesota), but that seemed like a lot of work and something does much better.

So, as I said, so ...

The Progression of the Leaches. Yikes!

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Day 14

I am beginning to suspect that this whole expedition is a cruel hoax, hatched by these giants who come and go as they please.

Let's consider the facts:

1) My "gear", as far as I can tell, consists of this knit cap. Where are my skis? My snowsuit? My mittens? My boots, fercryinoutloud?!
2) It's really not very cold. I mean, there's a nice breeze and sometimes I do need an extra blankie, but it's not exactly Arctic.
3) Where are my compatriots? I vaguely recall a few from the first few days -- and what a racket they'd make! -- but there's been no one but me for the last week or so. Except for those giants.
4) Shouldn't I have a map?

Anyhow. The Pole, needless to say, remains elusive -- or, as I now suspect, totally fictional. Snacks, at least, appear to be served when I want them. So I have that going for me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Journals of Sven Skarsnook: Arctic Explorer

Day 12. The third day of this blasted storm has set us seriously behind schedule and cut heavily into our supplies. Already, we have had to cut back on diapers. Lord knows what we will do should this blizzard continue.

Nevertheless, our spirits remain high. Is there any nobler purpose than exploring, testing the limits of one's endurance, wearing the Fatherland's onesie in that pursuit? No, there isn't.

I do have one complaint. We expressly ordered Bouncy Seats for this trek and some clown sent us these "Aquarium Take-Along-Swings" instead, complete with flashing lights and lullabies. I ask you, could we have been given anything more impractical?

That's about it for today. I'm going to nap a bit, then have myself a snack, probably nap some more, have another snack, nap after that.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chapter zero - continued

My mother's parents were John Louis Frye and Frances Christine Milliken. This side of the family was also considerably harder to track down and the potential for errors in the research somewhat higher.

John Louis Frye (1905-1949), son of Charles Fletcher Frye and Anna Claudia Harwood.

Frances Christine Milliken (1905-1992), daughter of William Edward Milliken and Daisy Ola Thompson.

Charles Fletcher Frye (1858-1951), son of Christopher Columbus Frye and Almira Harwood.
Anna Claudia Harwood (1864-1937), daughter of Charles Burt Harwood and Martha Jane Griggs.

William Edward Milliken (1878-1913), son of David Taylor Milliken and Sarah Minerva Corley.
Daisy Ola Thompson (1884-1934), daughter of Robert Asbury Thompson and Frances Christiana Stanford.

Christopher Columbus Frye (1839-1918), son of Henry Frye and Dorcas Darcy Huffman.
Almira Underwood (1840-1905), daughter of Henry Underwood and Eliza A Hufford.
Charles Burt Harwood (1837-1911), son of Nathan Harwood and Abigail Munn Burt.
Martha Jane Griggs (1840-1915), daughter of Benjamin S Griggs and Jane Struble.

David Taylor Milliken (1846-1890), son of Samuel Milliken and Nancy Jane Corley.
Sarah Minerva Corley (1847-1920), daughter of Henry William Corley and Martha Ann Hall.
Robert Asbury Thompson (1862-1934), son of Edward F Thompson and Martha Caroline Cubley.
Frances Christiana Stanford (1866-1886), daughter of Alpheus E Stanford and Mary E Trotman.

Henry Frye (1800-1880), son of John Fry and Charity.
Dorcas Darcy Huffman (1811-1865), daughter of Jacob Huffman and Margaret Sayre.
Henry Underwood (1810-1896), son of Jesse Underwood and Julia Ann Meyers.
Eliza A Hufford (1814-1890), daughter of Peter D Hufford and Catherine Meyers.
Nathan Harwood (1795-1847), son of Amherst Harwood and Betsy James.
Abigail Munn Burt (1798-1865), daughter of Charles Burt and Anna Chapin.
Benjamin S Griggs (1802- ?), son of Samuel Griggs and Sarah Ann Griggs.
Jane Struble (1812- ?), daughter of Daniel Struble and Margaret Wyker.

Samuel Milliken (1817- ?), son of James Milliken and Mary (Polly) Hastings.
Nancy Jane Corley (1823-1866), daughter of Jonathan C Corley and Delilah Basham.
Henry William Corley (1820-1890), son of Jonathan C Corley and Delilah Basham.*
Martha Ann Hall (1825-1848), parents unknown although I have my leads.
Edward F Thompson (1835-1862), parents unknown.
Martha Caroline Cubley (1840- ?), daughter of Robert M Cubley and Rebecca Beavers.
Alpheus E Stanford (1846- ?), son of Oliver Hazard Perry Stanford and Frances Amanda Porter Willis.
Mary E Trotman (abt 1839- ?), daughter of Thomas Trotman II and Christiana Elizabeth Hobbs.

These families all converged in Shelby County, Illinois, but here's the paths:

Frye/Huffman - Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois.
Underwood/Hufford - Pennsylvania to Ohio.
Harwood/Burt - Massachusetts to New York to Illinois.
Griggs/Struble - New Jersey to Ohio.
Milliken/Corley/Hall - North Carolina/Tennessee to Tennessee to Illinois.
Thompson/Cubley - Georgia/Alabama to Texas.
Stanford/Trotman - Georgia to Texas.

*Family secret, ignore.

Chapter zero

A (brief) summary of the Family Tree, starting with my father's side. The question is How do I go about presenting this information? The answer is probably Sloppily, very sloppily.

I'm not going all the way back to Lawrence Leach (1580-1662), so it stands to reason I'm also not going back to his ancestors. Not yet, anyhow.

Let's try this:

Frederick Darwin Leach, son of Frederick George Leach and Edwina Gist.

Frederick George Leach (1898-1973) was the son of Everett Isaac Leach and Mary Emma Banks.

Everett Isaac Leach (1867-1934) was the son of Eli Edward Leach and Juliette Saunders.
Mary Emma Banks (1870-1945) was the daughter of Samuel Banks and Mary B Rader.

Eli Edward Leach (1825-1894) was the son of Isaac Hayes (I kid you not) Leach and Chloe Rideout.
Juliette Saunders (1826-1904) was the daugher of William Saunders and Parmelia Marsh.
Samuel Banks (1845-1912) was the son of Henry Banks and Lydia Dewald.
Mary B Rader (1846-1933) was the daughter of Benjamin Rader and Catherine Brown.

Isaac Hayes Leach (1788-1876) was the son of Isaac Leach and Jerusha Leach.
Chloe Rideout (1796- ?) was the daughter of Benjamin Rideout and Sarah.
William Saunders (1799-1882) was the son of George Saunders and Nancy Ann Clark.
Parmelia Marsh (1804-1888) was the daughter of Samuel Marsh and Keziah Gorton.
Henry Banks (1814- ?) was the son of a man named Bankes. Still looking for more info.
Lydia Dewald (1820- ?) was the daughter of Abraham Dewald and Elizabeth Reihm.
Benjamin Rader (1823-1890) was the son of Conrad Roeder, Jr. and Maria Magdalena Ulrich.
Catherine Brown (1827-1903) was the daughter of Daniel Brown and Elizabeth Martin.

I'll stop here. The migration was from New York to Wisconsin to Kansas for the Leach/Rideout/Saunders/Marsh branch, and from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois to Kansas for the Banks/Dewald/Rader/Brown contingent.

Edwina Gist (1896-1983) was the daughter of Almon Arthur Gist and May Etta Hallowell.

Almon Arthur Gist (1870-1955) was the son of Thomas Gist and Rebecca Jackson Thompson.
May Etta Hallowell (1870-1920) was the daughter of William Alfred Hallowell and Sylvia Henrietta Mead.

Thomas Gist (1829-1898) was the son of Hiram Gist and Sarah (Sally) Martin.
Rebecca Jackson Thompson (1829-1920) was the daughter of John Thompson and Elizabeth Delong.
William Alfred Hallowell (1828-1915) was the son of John Hallowell and Sarah Reynolds.
Sylvia Henrietta Mead (abt 1830-1876) was the daughter of Ezra Mead and Sylvia A Packard.

Hiram Gist (1796-1875) was the son of John Gist and Hannah Geron.
Sarah (Sally) Martin (1807- ?) was the daughter of William P Martin and Martha Stephens.
John Thompson (1788-1856) was the son of James Thompson and Mary Ann Jackson.
Elizabeth Delong (1800-1832) was the daughter of James Delong and Nancy Agnes Simpson.
John Hallowell (1787-1851) was the son of John Hallowell and Lydia Trump.
Sarah Reynolds (1790-1846) was the daughter of Jesse Reynolds and Sarah Haines.
Ezra Mead (1794-1846) was the son of Ezra Mead and Hannah Sampson.
Sylvia A Packard (1798-1845) was the daughter of George Packard III and Margaret Prouty.

The Gists went from Virginia to Tennessee to Missouri to Kansas. The Martins from North Carolina to Kentucky to Missouri. The others generally from Pennsylvania and Ohio, although the Packards and Meads were originally from Vermont and/or Massachusetts.

So that's my father's side.

Chapter one

OK. This isn't really Chapter one, but you have to start somewhere and I choose to start with the births of my parents.

My father, Frederick Darwin Leach, was born September 19, 1924 in Arkansas City, Kansas. I have been told that Arkansas City is pronounced Ar-kansas and not like the state of Arkansas. It's entirely possible that the residents of Arkansas City pronounce Arkansas the same way. I don't know. Have I been there? This is just one more thing I do not recall.

He was the first born son of Frederick George Leach and Edwina Gist.

An undated postcard of the metropolis. The streetcar speaks well for the city.

My mother, Elizabeth Patricia Frye (called Betty Pat because no one on her side of the family goes by their given name), was born September 13, 1925 in Cowden, Illinois. I have been to Cowden, a very small town in southern Illinois, near Effingham (one of the better names for a city I've come across).

She was the first born daughter of John Louis Frye and Frances Christine Milliken.

This is Grand Avenue in Cowden, with no date unfortunately. It has improved somewhat since then, although I'm not sure its population has gone up.

Additional photos can be found here:

But now I'm thinking I've started my story later than I should have. Maybe it should have started with my grandparents or their parents or grandparents. I never met any of these people, but I have been researching the genealogy for several years now.

Never mind. I'm going further back in time.

But first, my parents as children. First, my father:

a little older:

and my mother:

and a little older:

My Life

Yes, it's been a while. But you can't say you weren't alerted to my tendencies.

This post, and probably several more, are going to be about me. I'd rather write about someone a little more interesting, but that would require way too much work. Instead, all I have to do is rack my defective brain for what memories I have left. "You will talk!" I tell it.

I am told I was born in Athens, Ohio on April 20, 1957 - and I have the birth certificate to prove it. The hospital was called Sheltering Arms, although the pictures I've seen of it looks more like an apartment building than a hospital.
Looks a little suspicious, doesn't it? I was the fourth of four children in my family, so I entered the Leach novel somewhere around Chapter 32, which, naturally, led to lots of confusion in my childhood. Heck, it still haunts my life story.

Anyhow, that's enough for now. This is exhausting.