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Linda McKiernan

Fathers name: Maurice Sailors

Mothers name: Evelyn Sailors

Country of Birth:

United States

Year of birth: 1948

Places of Residence:

Altadena, Ca; Glendora, CA; Apple Valley, CA, Sparks, NV

Brothers/sisters: none

Studies: Human Resources, Non-Profit Organizations, Genealogy

Profession: Banker/Director of Human Resources

Think about your earliest memories

I remember going to Michigan when I was two-ish"¦.I was born Sunday, February 29, 1948, much to my mother's dismay"¦.she did not want her child to be born on Leap Year. "No Leap Year Baby! I just won't have my baby born on Leap Year Day," she told her doctor, Dr. Burns. Well, guess what? Yep, I'm a Leap Year Baby!'s all right. I have a "twin cousin!" She was born a few hours after me....on Leap Year Day! I never heard my aunt make a big deal about my cousin making a liar out of her. That's what my mother always told me, "You made a LIAR out of me from the very first day!" Geeze! I'm sorry!

Well, all right, I don't remember everything and maybe what I do remember is because Mom had pictures that Dad took. When I see them they help me recall certain details of the trip. I remember we stayed in Malvern, Iowa at Grandma Beatty's house. She was Uncle Neal's mother. Okay, Uncle Neal was Neal Otis Andrews, married to Mildred Bernice Sailors, Aunt Bernie, my father's sister. Their daughter was Carol Sue Andrews, AKA, Cousin Sue. I liked Grandma Beatty and Grandpa Paul, Neal's step-father.

My Dad, Maurice Adelbert Sailors, was born in Barada, Nebraska. He was the youngest of four children born to Otis Brian Sailors and Lottie May Dunn. Their first child was Edna Merle, a girl, born September 15, 1910; second was Mildred Bernice born February 14, 1912; and third was Norman, born June 9, 1915. Dad was fourth, born February 16, 1918. Lottie died in June 5,1919. Her obituary said she had uremic poisoning but if you study genealogy and history, read the symptoms they described in her obituary, it seems plausible that she died of the flu epidemic of 1918-1919. She was twenty-five years old. Dad's father was suddenly a widower with four young children, one in diapers! Well, Dad went to live with Lottie's parents as soon as she died. According to Aunt Bernie, they finally moved in with Grandma Sailors, on her farm, because they could not keep a nanny because their father was "always after the nannies." Otis came to some bad end in 1922. There was always speculation that he killed himself. His death certificate said he was killed accidentally while cleaning his gun"¦whispers said one of his nieces was pregnant"¦hmmmm. Anyway, the kids were split up and two went to live with Lottie's parents, Chloe Doughty and Rowley J. Dunn. Two lived with Lottie's sister, Hazel and her husband, Jess Buchholz, on the farm. Grandma and Grandpa Dunn moved to Iola, Kansas, and Dad spent his younger years there. Later they moved to Auburn, Nebraska, where Dad graduated high school in 1936. That was an amazing feat for that time in history. It seems Otis had life insurance and there was enough to see all four children had a high school education.

I remember when Dad took a week of vacation to go to Big Bear and build the forms and pour the foundation with my Uncle Henry and some other helpers. Henry and Maxine (one of Mother's older sisters) had a cabin that initially belonged to Bill Whitney, Henry's stepson and John (Buzz) Black, Aunt Maxine's son and Bill's cousin....and stepbrother...I it slow. It is confusing! well, OK, it goes like this: Buzz and Jeanne Black are Aunt Maxine and Fred Black's children. Fred's sister, Isabelle, had Bill and Janet but they had no real last names because she was never married and that's just how it was. So, Isabelle married Henry Whitney and Bill and Janet used his name. Then, Isabelle died....Maxine and Fred divorced and eventually, Henry and Maxine got married so Jeanne and Buzz's cousins were now there stepbrother and that? So Buzz and Bill bought this party cabin and when they moved on and got married Maxine and Henry moved in to the cabin...a structure built before codes, on pyramids, one big room including the kitchen and livingroom, a small bath and an upstairs consisting of really one big room. Eventually they added on and on and it became a kind of Winchester Mystery House! So, I digress....while Dad was gone my mother was so afraid to stay home alone. She made me sleep on the hide-a-bed in the livingroom with her. School had just started and she set the alarm but she didn't set it for the right time...we went to bed and seemed like we hadn't been asleep very long and the alarm went off...Mother said, "OK...time to get up!" Miss Chipper...HA! I protested loudly, "BUT MOM! It's still DARK!" She said, "Well, I don't care, the alarm went off so it's time to get up!" I still whined so she went to the kitchen to check the time on the clock on the stove..."OOPS! I guess I set the alarm wrong! It's only 3:00 AM!" Well, duh!

I remember going to junior high...well that's what they called it back then...waaay back then. I was in the lunch room and the teacher on duty watching the kiddies was Mr. Sailors. I went up to him one day and said, "Hi! My name is Linda Sailors." He said, "Really? Where is your Daddy from?" I told him Barada, Nebraska and he said, "OOOH! we gotta be related!" So I went home and told my dad and when Meet-Your-Teacher-Night came he went to school to not meet my teacher but to meet his cousin, Victor Sailors! I kept in touch with Vic until his death in 2000. He gave me books and pictures of the Sailors family in Barada, Nebraska. I treasure them today.

Funny about Otis"¦.I went to a Sailors Family reunion in 1989 in Barada, Nebraska. I went after the reunion to Clark Percival's house in Falls City, Nebraska. Clark was the son of Otis' sister, Ida Sailors Percival. He and Norman were the same age. He told me the rumor was that Otis killed himself because a niece was pregnant. He said he and Norman were walking home from school and saw two of their uncles carrying something bloody from the barn. They assumed they had been butchering hogs. When they got closer they realized the "something bloody" was Otis! Norman was his dad's boy. He was called Buster. His father's death devastated him. Well, the next day I went to the Harris Cemetery in Barada, armed with my new found information. I sat on Otis' grave and gave him "˜what for' for taking his own life and leaving four children orphaned in that time period. I came home and within six months I received a letter from Suzanne Painovich telling me she had some information that indicated Otis was killed by"¦two of his brothers because each had a pregnant daughter and a neighbor woman was also pregnant, allegidly Otis' doings! Well, that just tied right in with the two-brothers-carrying-Otis-from-the barn story that Clark Percival told me! Was that a message from Otis that said, "Yes, I was a rascal but I certainly did not leave my children orphaned by my own hand!" That is exactly what I thought then and I still think it today. Suzanne Painovich has a relative who insisted another relative write down all the gossip he knew from his life time before he passed into the next. One brother was given the child of one pregnancy to raise in Omaha. Fred Sailors has a child in his household on the 1930 census that would fit the age of one of those illegitimate children born in 1922. According to Eugene Sailors, another cousin, the uncles were James Thomas (Jim Tom) Sailors and George Washington (Wash) Sailors. The second child was raised by his mother and was later adopted by his mother's husband when she eventually married.

Thoughts of Otis' death bring me other thoughts about Norman's life. Norman was an alcoholic all of his adult life. He was a great guy, when he was sober. I had the opportunity to attend a conference on alcohol and drug dependence and their causes and treatments. It was explained to us that quite often a person who suffers great trauma, or witnesses trauma to a loved one, will often become dependent on drugs or alcohol to try to alleviate the constant reliving of that trauma in their own mind's eye, post traumatic stress syndrome. This explains Norman's alcoholism to me. Imagine a nine-year-old child (especially in 1922 when children were much less street-wise and much more innocent than today)seeing his beloved father being carried by two uncles, bloodied and dying, from the barn"¦ traumatic that must have been.

I digress, again. I felt I had to talk about Dad's family because they are the reason we were on that trip to Michigan. We went to visit Norman and his wife, Betty (Elizabeth) Gallagher, their three kids, Denise, Brian and Dean...

Something I recall"¦probably from stories my folks told, was that I always had what we affectionately called a raggie. It was my security"¦thing. It was a diaper"¦.believe it or not"¦.they used to be cloth! My Mom always put one over her shoulder when she held me and it always smelled of her perfume, Bleu Carnation by Rog`er and Gallett. The story goes that I was having a hissy fit while we were driving in the middle of Nowhere. I wanted a raggie and it needed to smell like Bleu Carnation so Dad sprayed it with the perfume but I screamed because the perfume smell was too strong. Aunt Bernie and Uncle Neal howled with laughter at the sight of him standing by the side of the road flapping that diaper in the breeze to try and let some of the perfume evaporate just to make his baby girl happy!

I remember Norman and Betty showed up at our door with their three kids when we lived in Altadena, California. I was about 3 or so. My Mother was very particular about my diet. My Mom rarely worked but this was one of those times she was working. I was home with Aunt Betty and her kids. She gave us peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. I remember thinking, "What a delicacy!" But, Mom had a fit! "You gave her PEANUT BUTTER??" Had I been wiser I would have told her to lighten up, I liked it! Besides, peanuts are an excellent source of protein, MOM!

We lived at 2993 Bargen Way, Altadena, California. I was happy there. My folks built the house when Dad came back from the War. My Mom's brother, Cleo Hollenbeck and his wife, Leota Fry, built the house right across the street. They had three sons, Erwin, Robert C. (Bob) and Jack. They were teen-agers in my memories. Cleo was an alcoholic who was having an affair with Kate Launders, Leota's younger sister. I remember my Mom and Aunt Leota taking me along while they spied on Cleo. Yes, he was at Kate's place. Kate was married to Bud Launders and they had a son named Larry Launders. Bud was a boozer, too, from what I recall. No one in Mom's family liked Kate. Cleo and Leota divorced and Cleo married Kate. They moved to Lake Isabella and ran a bar"¦hmmmm. Uncle Cleo passed away a week or so before my son, Jeffrey Birchfield, was born in 1972.

I remember Mom's sister, Bonita Hollenbeck and her husband, George Melohn, lived about 3 or 4 blocks away on Calaveras. We lived near the Jet Propulsion Lab, JPL. Bonnie and George had a son, Charles (Chuckie) and a daughter, Janet. Chuckie was the favorite. The rest of us liked Janet the best. Janet is too funny. Chuck is"¦a yuck.

Mom was Evelyn Florence Hollenbeck born to Nora Lydia Conner and Orel Charles Hollenbeck on December 9, 1921, in Barton Township, Worth County, Iowa. Mom was the eighth child of the family. Reba Florence was first born. She died soon after birth.
We cannot find her grave or any mention of her birth. Lowell William was second, third was Velma Irene, fourth, Maxine Idella, fifth Cleo Orel, sixth, Bonita Loretta, seventh, Maurine Maybelle, eighth, Evelyn Florence and ninth was Roger Lugene.

Mother moved to California in 1936 with her sisters and refused to go back to Iowa. She was a head-strong, willful child but she did not get into trouble"¦.didn't date, drink or hitch hike like her sisters, Maxine and Maurine. Mother's family had things rougher than Dad's family during the Depression years. Mom's family knew what it was like to be hungry. Aunt Irene and her husband, Everett Frost, worked for a poultry company dressing chickens. Arroyo Poultry was the name of the place in Glendale, California. Mom baby sat their kids, Ivan, Juneadelle and Shirley Mae. Dad found himself in California. I think he came by driving a moving van for Red Ball Van and Storage Company. He found a job at Arroyo Poultry. He, Ivan and Uncle Everett used to drive a truck to Victorville, wait under a cottonwood tree where the new transportation center is, across from the sign that said, "Ice House," for the man from the poultry ranch to bring the chickens, make the purchase, then drive them down to Glendale/Eagle Rock to the poultry plant.
Everett introduced Dad to Mom. It was a match made in Heaven. Then along came Hitler and Pearl Harbor happened and Dad got the Draft Notice from his Uncle Sam. The Army took him. Those were very uncertain times. Dad got orders to go to Muscogee, Oklahoma. He and Mom volunteered to take Neal and Bernie's car across the state line before the end of the year so they could avoid registering the car in California. My how things have changed! Well, on December 27, 1941, Mom and Dad drove the Andrews' car to Yuma, Arizona. Yuma was the Las Vegas of the 40's. While they were there they found a wedding chapel and were married. They came back. He took her back home to Grandma's house and said, "Good Night!" Kissed her and left. No one knew they were married. Then he was about to leave and somehow the marriage leaked out. Grandma insisted Dad move in and they could share Mom's room"¦..she had twin beds. Well, it's a wonder I was ever born. I mean, she undressed in the closet and put on a high-necked, flannel night gown and jumped in her bed and pulled the covers up around her neck"¦she said, "Good night." He said, "Good night." A few minutes passed and he asked, "Are you asleep?" To which she answered, "YES!" He said, "I'm coming over there." She cried, "MOTHER!" Well, it eventually worked out. Dad went to Europe. He landed at Normandy on D Day + 6 or some such. They went through Europe to the Battle of the Bulge. He was a surveyor, ahead of the troops. He came back with a Bronze Star. He never talked about the War, not that I heard. I think he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to some extent because of the War. Mother recalled a night when he insisted the windows be left open because it was summer and hot. No air conditioning in those days. Mom had a phobia about leaving window and curtains open at night. She just began to doze off, finally, when he jumped up on his hands and knees, across her legs and yelled out the window, "HEY!" It was a bad dream or a flash back, more likely. Dad always drank beer. A quart, maybe more each evening. I never thought he was drunk. He smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes. He worked as a surveyor, Chief of Survey for the City of Pasadena, California. He and Mom were devoted to each other. I never heard a cross word. They did not argue or fight. I guess I always wanted what they had. Dad passed away, November 13, 1965, at a hospital in San Gabriel, California. He was forty-seven years old, much too young. I was seventeen when Dad died. I don't think I ever really got over his death. I still cry and I am sixty-two years old!

So, what do I remember? I remember going to the beach and Mom and I sat in the sand under a big yellow and brown beach umbrella while Dad swam way out in the ocean and back all by himself. I remember the ride home on the Pasadena Freeway, sitting on Mom's lap, Dad hit the break and I bonked my forehead on the dashboard made of steel"¦OUCH! No seat belts, no kiddie car seats back then, and certainly no padded, vinyl dashboards! How ever did we survive?

I remember lots of get-togethers at Grandma's or picnics at various parks with Mom's brothers and sisters, tons of cousins, lots of fun.

I remember waking up one morning and my bed was moving. I saw my Dad sitting on the bed and my Mom standing in the door way. I was crabby because my Dad was wiggling my bed. He said, no, it was an earthquake. My first one! That was the 1952 Kern County, Tehachapi Quake. Mom said the hardwood floor boards were pinching the bottom of her feet as she stood in the doorway. No one had carpet, then.

We rode the bus. Mom didn't drive until I was about five years old. I remember having a green smock-type apron with white piping trim and my name embroidered on it, just like Mom's. We rode the bus to Grandma's house, down Lincoln Avenue, a couple streets off Lincoln, Cypress was the street. I left my apron on the bus and it had all my Easter candy in the big pocket! I was devastated! Dad called the bus company and they had it in their Lost and Found. What a miracle! Do you think that would happen today?

I remember going to a store, probably F W Woolworth or W T Grant's in downtown Pasadena. They were selling parakeets. We bought one! It was so neat! Aunt Irene and Uncle Everett had one that swore like a sailor! He would push a pencil on the floor and when you put it back he would push it off again. After several times of pushing it off the table he would say, "You Son-of-a-bitch!" He would drink Uncle Everett's beer. He would sit on the edge of the glass and drink. One time he got drunk and fell in the glass. Uncle Everett fished him out and of course, he said, "You Son-of-a-bitch!"

I remember bed time was really early compared to bed time for my grand children. On certain nights of the week Dad would go up to the liquor store and get some beer. He would bring me a crème soda in a big bottle (I was really little) and a Mountain Bar, candy bar. They would turn on the TV (it was black and white and all of about 7 inches in diameter but it seemed huge to me) and we watched Amos and Andy or Phil Silvers and I got to stay up late! Late was probably 8:30 PM.

I remember being at Grandma's with Norene and Ronnie Richardson, Aunt Maurine's kids. Norene and I were born the same day, same hospital, same doctor delivered us. She and I have always been close. Aunt Maurine was at the hospital having Delia Sue. We were four years old, Ronnie was three. Grandma had a 2 or 3 foot piece of heavy duty rubber hose hanging on the wall by the front door. I asked what it was for and she said it was in case Charlotte Oyler came to the door! I just said, "Oh." Charlotte's daughter married Uncle Roger. The Oylers were considered riff-raff from the same town Mom's family came from in Iowa. The Oylers are still riff-raff. One of Charlotte's grandson's has set several fires. The last one caused the death of five fire fighters from Riverside County for which he is spending life as a guest of the great State of California.

When I was five Grandma died. I remember my Mom crying and I didn't know what was going on. I remember her walking from the bathroom down the short hall on the bare wooden floors in her underslip. I remember asking her why Grandma had to die and she told me, "Everyone has to die." It was like someone slapped me across the face! It suddenly was very clear. I was going to die, too. I thought, "Wait a minute"¦everyone but me, right? There must be some way out of this!" It was the first time I understood and felt my own mortality. We went to the Lamb's Funeral Home in Pasadena to see Grandma in her casket. They put some pale flesh colored net across the casket and to me it looked like she was going to open her eyes. Mom and Dad and a bunch of brothers and sisters drove to Marshalltown, Iowa, straight through, to meet Grandma's body at the train station and arrange burial at Riverside Cemetery there.

Mom really fell apart after Grandma died. I remember she had what I think, now, was a nervous breakdown. She made herself crazy. She couldn't breathe, she had a rash everywhere. She bought Loto Cream and smeared it on her body constantly. Her stomach always hurt. It was a bad time. Dad sold the house and we moved to Glendora, Pride of the Foothills, in 1955. I started second grade in October at Lafetra School. Mrs. Smythe was my teacher. We didn't have a phone at home when we first moved to Glendora. It was, as Mom said, "half way to Iowa." I remember Mom and I going around the corner down Colorado Street past the street behind our house to a phone booth so she could call Aunt Maurine who lived in El Monte"¦about 15 miles away but it seemed like a day's journey to me! Mom could never make the phone work"¦the pay phones were different in Glendora than in Pasadena"¦different phone company, I imagine. She finally read the directions on the phone and discovered the problem. In Pasadena, and most other places, you picked up the receiver, deposited your nickel (can you believe that"¦a nickel?), listened for the dial tone and dialed. When the party answered you said, "Hello." Well, not in Glendora. That's when I first began to hear about how General Telephone was one of the most evil companies in the modern world! General Telephone pay phones were different! You picked up the receiver, listened for the dial tone, dialed the number, when the party answered THEN you deposited the nickel and said, "Hello." Mother spent countless nickels doing it the wrong way before she read the directions"¦she would scream, "HELLO! HELLO! Damn you, Maurine! DON'T YOU HANG UP ON ME!" Poor Mom!

I remember being about 4 years old and asking my father, "Daddy, what am I?" I had that genealogy bug way back then! Dad would reply, "You're English, Irish Dutch and you don't amount to much!" I'm sure that last bit was because I was small and only 4 years old and not refering to my self worth! Well, as I researched our families I find that Sailors is NOT English as my mother always said but German! I'm sure Dad would roll over in his grave if he knew that, especially after seeing first hand what Hitler's Germany did. The name Sailors is said to have been Von Hippenheim until the Crusades when the armies returned victorious the Von Hippenheim family was given a castle on a hill and their name became Von Sahler. When my fourth great grandfather came here in 1736 he gave his name as Abram Sahler. His son, a Revolutionary soldier gave his name as John Sailor. His son gave his name as Thomas Sailors and Sailors it has been since that time. Dad's grandmother Chloe Doughty Dunn's father traces his family back to Major Brian Pendleton who was a Loyalist who came here in the mid 1600's but moved to Deer Isle New Brunswick, Canada. Chloe's father, Arthur Doughty, Majorr Brian Pendleton's descendant, came back to the United States through Ohio. There he enlisted in the Infamtry during the Civil War. He was hit by a mini ball and mustered out. After he recuperated he again enlisted. This time in the Ohio Cavalry. He was assigned to Fort Laramie in the Dakota Territory where they were experiencing Indian "problems."

I have a great pride in my father's family. They were part and parcle of what made this country great. They fought for and defended our hard won liberties from John Sailor in the Rveolutionary War battles of Ramsour's Mill and King's Mountain, Arthur Doughty's service defending the Union and the preservation of this country to my dad who landed in Normandy and walked through France and Belgium to the Battle of the Bulge, ahead of the troops surveying the route they took. He was awarded the Bronze Star for jumping on one of his fellow service men to keep him in a fox hole during an attack by the German Army.

I remember being five years old and going to the dairy on a field trip at school and learning how to make butter....WOW! My mom bought some whipping cream for me and poured it in her Tupperware canister so I could shake it until it was butter...problem was, I kept taking the lid off to see if it was butter, yet. My dad said, "Look, if you don't quit taking the lid off of that it is going to spill all over the floor AND...if it spills you will get a spanking." Of course, being such a wise five year old, I assured my father that he was worrying and warning me for no good reason and then...SPLAT! Whipping cream all over me and the floor! Well, when I got into trouble and deserved a spanking, Dad had a survey lath that he kept on top of the water heater in the service porch (that's what they called the area by the back door where the wringer washer sat and the water heater was and my play kitchen and the cat's dish.). I had to go get the stick and let him whip me with it then, through blinding tears, find my way back to the water heater to place the stick in its resting place until the next time I misbehaved. My mother always loved to say, as I was a teenager, "The problem with you is that you didn't get enough spankings!"

I remember My dad always telling my mom she should go to J C Penneys and buy some new underwear, night gowns and some new clothes. She didn't believe in charge accounts. She lived through the Depression and she knew how hard it was so she had to pay for everything now. In later years when she did get a credit card she would be sure she could pay the balance each month. Dad had a different philosophy...revolving credit was A OK with him!

I remember whenever I asked for something the answer I would get was, "Well, you're just robbin g your belly to get that!" She meant that she had only a set amount of money to buy groceries and any extras came out of that food money. I think it was probably $20.00 a week in the early 1960's.

I remember when we moved to Glendora it was halfway to Iowa and there were reports of Rat Packs, or hoodlums who would stop you and rob you way out there in the country all of 17 miles from civilization in Pasadena!

I remember my dad always had an old clunker car to drive to work and back. One old car he bought from a guy in Azusa and the car would break down every day as soon qs he got to Azusa. He called my mother to come get him and the "good" car, a 5 to 7 year old Buick...his dream car. Well, it has a flat tire so she put the jack in the middle of the back end of the car and jacked the whole back of the car up. She changed the tire but then she couldn't get the jack down so.....she put the car in reverse and drove off the jack!

I remember my Aunt Irene and Uncle Everett bought a small cabin in Big Bear City for Shirley and her husband, Bud. It was a two-bedroom, one tiny bath, had a small livingroom and kitchen. It did have a natural rock fire place and a wood burning cook stove, circa 1899. The cook stove made the place smoking hot...oh, speaking of did that every time you lit it! There was a huge black bear rug...real bear...head weighed a ton. There was an L shaped closet that went from the livingroom through to the back bedroom. Well, it wasn't long before Bud and Shirley decided to move back to the San Gabriel Valley area leaving the cabin empty so we used it on weekends. My folks decided to buy property and build their own cabin. Weekends we stayed in Aunt Irene's cabin and one weekend the closet door kept coming open and we always kept the bedcrooms closed off because it was cold in the winter with outside temps about 20 degrees. The bear rug was heaped against the closet door to keep the draft out. Well, Mother was always so afraid of prowlers and peeping Toms and we found out later that a guy who was awol from the service was hiding in that closet all weekend while we were there sleeping on the sofa beds in the livingroom and he kept opening the closet door because he was freezing in there!

I remember weekends and vacations at Big Bear all the time from the time I was twelve years old until my dad died in 1965. Those weekends and vacations were spent finishing the cabin my dad had framed and sided by a contractor. I remember freezing my fanny off while my dad put in the rough plumbing. I sat upstairs in what would be the bedroom while they worked in the dirt heating and pouring lead into the joints of all the plumbing for the kitchen and bathroom. Dad then built a framed in structure and put the kitchen sink in it. We thought we were right up town with that sink in working order! When he got the bathroom fixtures in and the wall up around it and the heater in we began staying there. We said everything Dad built was in the style called Early Bench! Poor Dad! Such ridicule!
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