Taft: Memorabilia
As we were walking through the Taft Oil Museum, in a remarkable "finding by chance" Skip and I asked about the wedding dress that he and Rosalie donated to the museum.  I had thought that it was the dress that my mother had worn to her wedding, but no, Skip said, it was her mother (Grandma Dugas, the baby-pigeon eater--squabs they are called), the squab eater, whose dress it was that was donated.  And the lady, said, WE HAVE IT ON DISPLAY.  When I saw it I was stunned because it is so graceful and beautiful, and my Grandma Dugas, when I remember her was pretty stout...but such is youth. 

She had defied her parents, in choosing to marry  my grandfather, who had no money and no prospects, and it is my understanding that they never spoke to her again.  When Grandpa and Grandma Dugas came to California, it was "goodbye Louisiana"from which they both came.  I think that Grandpa Dugas did visit once or twice back home during his lifetime, but I do not think that Grandma Dugas ever did. 

Sylvia will know this for sure,  but my mother said, that her mother, Grandma
Dugas refused to go to her own mother when she was dying, unless asked, and
her mother, Great Grandma, refused to ask, expecting her daughter to come. 
They never spoke, as I understand it.

So, Joseph, when we comment about your "Dugas stubborness," you see what we
are talking about...:-)

Anyway, it is a beautiful gown, but the hat was not hers...the Curator of the
Museum said that the hat that went with the gown just fell apart when they
tried to handle it. (
I learned later after I wrote this, that the gown was actually that of Virginia Snyder, Mary Ann, Judy, Bob and Betty's mother.  That made good sense, because Virginia was slender, graceful and beautiful.)

Then, I happened across the book of St. Mary Grammar School which included
occasional photographs of students and nuns....boy those nuns look as fierce
now as I remember them being...anyway, I came across this one page, and POW,
there was Joseph standing next to Father, later Bishop, Harry Clinch, at 
8th grade graduation.  As I looked more, I saw that next to Joseph, I believe
is his cousin, Bob Snyder, and just below Bob is his twin sister,  Betty
Snyder.  So I enclose this photograph for the pleasure of the viewing
audience.

Then, on the way out, I photographed a picture of the last standing wood
derrick in this area, maybe the last one standing anywhere.  It is in very
poor condition, as you can see it buckling and tilting, and I did not get too
close.  They have plans to take it down and put up a replacement built
exactly as the original ones were.  They can do that because they have
"blueprints" and parts descriptions of the originals right down to the number
of bolts used.  Very impressive Museum, with a few great surprises.

I spent the last part of the day, taking a nap, which was badly needed...:-)
and then I drove up to 25 Hill above Taft to get a look at Taft from a higher
perspective.  This hiill was the favorite parking spot of youth in my day who
wanted to have privacy with their girl friends (guys still drove the car on
dates then), and a lot of young men and women lost their virginity right up
here looking down on the town before and after.  I know that I did, although
the precise location of the parking spot was a little more to the east and a
little higher in the hills.   :-)

I then went driving out toward McKittrick and the McKittrick Hills.  There I
found plenty of oil drilling activity, with the kind of wells that are
currently in use, "bobbing ducks" and they are plenty active today.  I send
you one photo of them, and then I conclude for today with pictures of
the McKittrick Hills.  Who said that there was nothing pretty about this part
of the world?  :-)

Tonight I go with Glen and Richard, Skip and Doug Hall to see the Bakersfield
Condors play hockey.  I have never seen a live hockey game before, and I am
pretty excited about this, and about eating in the secret restaurant where
only those who go to Hockey Games are privileged to know about....too bad
Rosalie....:-).

(
This was my last visit with Skip.  In mid-January, he was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer and died, February 26, 2002.  My mother died on February 27, 1999)

Tomorrow, I will travel to Fresno, where I will spend the night with Freddy
Snyder, my cousin, and then the next night with Tom Lutton, a high
school friend, who is both witty and a wonderful golfer.  Tom and I shared a class with Dr. A.M. Herron, Latin Teacher in the high school.  Tom remembers Dr. Harron saying to him, "Mr. Lutton, why are you here?"  Tom dropped the class. 

Tom and I also played together for Lackey Constructionon pee-wee softball team (exciting season that ended in winning the championship) and both of us have enjoyed nice professional lives in education.
 
Tom was principal of an elementary school in the Fresno area and won
national awards for his work, and he now enjoys looking through albums and
sending me pictures.....of old friends, girl friends and junior proms....:-) 
I will write to you all, after those visits and after seeing Sylvia on Monday.

Later,

Dick
VIRGINIA SNYDER'S
WEDDING DRESS
FAMOUS 25 HILL
OIL DUCKS
MCKITTRICK HILLS
MCKITTRICK HILLS
Leaving Wisconsin

Taft: The Best of Times

Taft: Out and About

Taft: Memorabilia

Fred, Tom and Sylvia

Joseph and the Dugas'

Crossing the Sierras

Joyce's Home

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WEALTH, BEAUTY, AND ADVENTURE
IN THE DESERTS OF THE
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
*TAFT*
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top:l-r; Father, later Bishop, Harry Clinch; my brotherJoseph, our couisin Bob Snyder;  bottom; l-r; 3rd over, cousin Betty Snyder.