car·riage re·turn

n. the lever or mechanism on a typewriter that would cause the cylinder on which the paper was held (the carriage) to return to the left margin of the page

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Pieces of the Past

I’m in the midst of packing for the trip back to the Midwest. My half of the room is in shambles,but I’m making very good progress. Unfortunately for me,the progress might not be fast enough –I need to have everything I plan on bringing with me out of the way for the movers by the time they show up tomorrow. What remains is to organize what is going with me and what is staying into piles the movers can easily identify. I’d also like to test-pack my car to see how much room I’m dealing with. Looks like I’ll be up early this morning.

I went down to Lakeside (northeast of San Diego) this afternoon to visit a relative from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family. Jean has lived in the San Diego area since 1954,including exactly 40 years in Lemon Grove.

When my grandpa was in the Navy my grandmother took some vacation time from her job and came out to visit him for two weeks. She had been working for the telephone company back in Wisconsin,and instead of returning to her job at the end of the two weeks,she quit and married my grandpa.

Jean and her husband Red helped them get settled,and Jean organized a parcel post wedding shower for my grandmother. They got along well,and when Jean would come back to the Midwest for family reunions they would often spend time together talking about those early days in San Diego. Needless to say,I’m quite thankful to Jean for everything she did fifty years ago,because without her help,I might not be here today.

Jean also organized and published a genealogy of that side of the family. Entitled simply Duellman (the name of the family),her book traces the family line from Heinrig Duellman,who naturalized here in 1856,and his wife,Wilhelmina.

At the time she published the book (1980) there were 1430 direct blood descendants of that couple. When I arrived at Jean’s the number stood at 1551,and by the time I left I’d upped it to 1552 with information about a cousin Jean was not aware of. I’m the only one of my grandmother’s grandchildren she has met,and after we did the math we realized it had been over twenty two years since we had last seen one another. Of course,I don’t remember meeting her (I must have been about two at the time),but the bonds of family are pretty strong on the Duellman side,and we fell into good conversation right away.

Jean told me that the Wisconsin Historical Society had requested a copy of Duellman when it was published,and I intend to see if it is still in the archives when I move up to Madison.

She also told me that she had originally wanted to include causes of death in the book,but many family members either did not send the information or (especially in cases of cancer) did not want to have it published. I found that to be an interesting piece of information –I think society has changed enough that such information would probably be readily given today,especially when one considers the value that would have in determining family susceptibility to illness and disease. It’s a shame people thought differently back then,but diseases like cancer carried an entirely different stigma at the time.

As I was leaving Jean gave me a standing invitation to stay with her should I ever return to San Diego. I don’t know that I’ll be back this way any time soon,but it is nice to know that I’ll have a place to stay should I ever need it.

And now,to sleep. I’m going to have to be up around six if I’m going to be ready when the movers show up.

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