Archive for October 2011


October 12, 2011

Virginia Yvonne?  Who’s that?  Oh, you mean Ginnie!  My sister, Ginnie.  Some of you may prefer the spelling, Ginny.  A rose, by any other name…

Anyway, Ginnie is the only sibling that I haven’t posted on in Chronospots.  Not for any reason other than I felt I should
give her kids a chance to write something but I’ve asked and the impression I’ve gotten is that they’d rather I do it and maybe they’ll add to it later.  So, with that in mind, it relieves some of the pressure to provide a comprehensive coverage and frees me up to provide a sketch that highlights what I remember best.

Of all my brothers and sisters, Ginnie was the closest to Mom and Dad and therefore, in my early life, to me.  She stayed close to home and raised her family in a home built on the NE corner of the property we owned on Mill Street in Springfield.  We had a house, built when I was an infant, at 1007 Mill Street and it was on a lot about a half-block large.  Theresa built on the NW corner and there was room for more homes but apparently no one else wanted to live that close to home.  Ginnie’s home was a very simple bungalow with rudimentary wiring and plumbing because her first husband, Harold Sederlin, was not that concerned about it. 

Ginnie met Harold when they both worked at the railroad yards in Eugene.  Harold was a very fit man with bulging biceps
and Ginnie called him ‘Big Lug’.  Mom was not that fond of Harold, probably because he wasn’t a very good provider and
was sometimes violent toward Ginnie and her kids.  Harold had an accident in the railyards, something to do with a roundtable if I remember right, which is used to reverse a unit of the train on a track, and had a very distinctive limp.  I suppose that hindered employment opportunities for him and I don’t know if he got any kind of compensation for that but if he did, it wasn’t much. 

Anyway, we pretty much shared whatever we had with Ginnie’s family and Ginnie and Mom worked together canning food and growing some vegetables and fruit on the property.  We weren’t in very good shape either since Dad had been disabled on the extension to the Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene and was on disability compensation.  In the mornings, my sisters (Dolly and Omie)  would get up and go to school and I would be left by the kitchen woodstove so I would be warm and Ginnie would bring Gary, Bebe  and Mike down to join me.  Then Ginnie would make the coffee and then Mom would get up.  They would plan their day together which started with getting the kids (me and my niece and nephews) out from under foot.  I don’t remember playing with them much, I’m three years older than Gary, but I do remember involving him in some of my nefarious schemes.  Setting the field on fire across Mill Street and breaking into the city equipment yard
to drive the road grader comes to mind.   Gary jumped off the barbed wire above the cyclone fence when the police came and landed on his head but bounced up and we hid out beneath the dock of the abandoned lumber mill adjoining the equipment yard.  I wasn’t a very good influence on my nephews. 

Ginnie was the one who ran the errands which included anything to do with driving since neither Mom nor Dad drove at that time.   She taught me to drive and I had an accident in her ’49 Ford to thank her when I had my learner’s permit.  When I was a Junior in High School, Ginnie and Harold ran a service station on Mohawk Road (14th Street) in Springfield and I worked there part time.  About this time Ginnie and Harold were having problems that I was blissfully unaware of but they resulted in a separation and Harold moved out.  That, I guess, was why they gave up the service station business although I continued to work there for the new lessee. 

Ginnie then met and married Junior Thompson, with whom she started a whole new family.  It was both Ginnie and Junior’s second marriage and Junior had children too. Their second marriage was a charm though and they seemed happy together.  They moved to Eugene where they had a modest home with a large lot and it must have seemed like a palace to Ginnie (indoor plumbing and all that).  Junior’s children stayed with his first wife.

Along came Cassandra, Tony, and Cyn Mae (Lucinda Mae).  It was about this time that I left for the Navy and Mom sold the house and moved to the coast.  Consequently, this part of Ginnie’s life I’m a little hazy about.  I know that Junior worked as a floor installer and worked for a contractor that put in several of the gym floors for schools in the area.  The nature of this work meant that there were lean times in between jobs and Ginnie worked at some part-time jobs to supplement the household income.  Ginnie and Mom remained close even though Mom now lived on the coast. 

I got out of the Navy in June of ’62 and went to work for Bob Moody in his house-moving business.  I lived with Bob and Millie on Riverview Street and Mom and Dad stayed with them when they were in town.  Dad had suffered a stroke in June which prompted me to get out of the Navy and him and Mom were staying with Millie and Bob too.  Dad died on August 4th1962 and I had my first date with Patty shortly after that.  We had a prior date that was cancelled due to Dad’s death and I’ve always regretted that he never met Patty. 

To make a long story short,  Patty and I decided to marry and so I quit the house-moving business which was not a dependable income and went to work for Georgia Pacific stacking lumber and loading boxcars (just like Patty’s Dad did for Weyerhauser).  As usual the union went on strike and so Theresa’s husband, Don, got me on with the plywood mill (Don was  the Superintendent of Ponds for GP and had some pull).  I was pulling chain and grading plywood for $2.13/hr and I hated it.  I dreaded coming to work the next day when I was still pulling the swing shift the night before.  I went to the Navy recruiter and asked what kind of deal I could get if I re-enlisted but,  although they would let me come back as a PO2, the same rank I left at, they wouldn’t let me cross train into a field where I wasn’t at sea for seven years at a clip.  So I talked to Jim Peach, the Air Force recruiter, and enlisted with a reduction of two pay levels but a guaranteed electronics school.  That was in April of ’63 and it must have been about a year after Gary enlisted in the Air Force.  He may have had the same recruiter. 

When I came home on leave a year later, Mike was living with Mom at the Coast and I believe Ginnie was living on River Road in Eugene.  Mom spent a lot of time in Eugene staying with Ginnie and sometimes with Millie.  Then, when Mom was on a trip to Eugene, a logging truck ran over her house in Waldport.  Thankfully, she wasn’t there or she would have been killed.  Well, Mom moved in with Ginnie on River Road and she stayed with Ginnie until she died.  It must have been an ordeal having Mom living there as she was just as willful as ever and liked to have control.  I remember a story about Ginnie and Junior having a night out at the Moose Lodge where they had a very active membership and when they got home, Mom in a fit of pique, had locked them out of their own home!  Junior, gentle soul that he was, put up with it and not many men would.  Mom was in poor health and her emphysema and arthritis made her increasingly sedentary.

Whenever we would come home, we would generally stay with Theresa and Don but we would all gather at Ginnie’s for family get-togethers.  In the mid-‘60’s all my siblings were living in the Eugene area and Bob used to joke that someday all the sisters would be living with Mom and Junior would be mowing the lawn.  Mom died shortly after Susan was born in September of ’77.

At some point in the next few years Ginnie and Junior moved to East Springfield although Junior was still doing the same job.  Now they had to move all of their stuff and all of Mom’s stuff.  I found my old rocking horse in their garage several years later.  I don’t know what happened to my sea bag that I had in the Navy.  It probably molded away.  During this time I was stationed in California with the Air Force and I retired there in ’79 and started college and owned a couple of vineyards.

Junior became sick and was diagnosed with cancer which, I suppose was caused by his years of breathing the fumes of the stuff he was putting on the floors he was installing.   Junior was self-medicating on some very powerful drugs because of the intense pain he was in , at any rate, when he died, I like to think he went comfortably 

After Junior died, Ginnie went to live with Cassandra and Dennis who was in the Navy.  They got her classified as a dependent and, I believe for the first time in her life, Ginnie finally had healthcare.  She remained active in the Moose Lodge and enjoyed the social life that gave her.  After Dennis retired, they moved to Marysville where I believe they had been stationed before and Ginnie seemed very happy.  She was very proud of all of her children and especially proud of how many children and grandchildren she had. 

In her later years she became afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease just as Theresa has now.  It is a terrible disease and seems especially cruel in that it gives glimpses of lucidity and of the person that used to be.  She passed in November 2004 at the age of 78.  Both she and Junior have had their ashes scattered at the new Moose Lodge in Springfield where they enjoyed some of their happiest moments. 

Her children remain very close to each other and every year have a family reunion which includes Junior’s children as well as Ginnie’s extended family.  I hope to attend one of these someday.  Gary and Mike are especially close and live in the same neighborhood in Oregon City.  I’m in contact with Cassandra,  Lucinda and Tony through Facebook and I’ve recently re-established contact with Gary and Mike as we work together on our family history. 

I hope that some of you will send me any additional stories, pictures or information that you want included as pertains to Ginnie’s life.  I will be glad to supplement this posting with it.   


Thank you, Gary.  I’m sorry if my post caused anyone any problems, I didn’t mean to and anything I said that was incorrect was from my own ignorance because I wasn’t there.  I am gladly including your correction as you wrote it since I don’t think it can be improved upon:


 My wife and I arrived home from our very long…walk about…We travelled 13,998 miles. We have over 600 pictures
and many fond memories of people and places. We never had a flat tire or ticket and did everything that was on our agenda. We were on the road from August 9th to October 24th. That comes out to 76 days. We are now attempting to put our home and lives back into some normal balance.

While we were traveling our house in Canby sold. We had it on the market for two years and so naturally after we left on our long journey…we had a buyer. We found ourselves in Kansas completing the paperwork for the sale. Our oldest son (Tom) was renting the house from us and he had to move into our home in Oregon City. There was still some stuff in the old house and it all got dumped into our garage and some inside the house. We have a lot of work to do to get rid of too much stuff.

I am cleaning the RV. It is 28 foot with a super slide. It is covered in bugs and grime from the long road trip. I spent half of yesterday and will spend today finishing the cleanup of the inside and outside. It is a big job. I have tons of yard work to do. We hired a grandson to mow the lawn while we were out of town…but, that did nothing for the trees and shrubs.

I appreciated your posting the profile of my mother. I think you did a very good job. You brought back memories.  I also worked in the station…and I definitely remember the other things you mentioned….and many others that were not always wholesome. On the balance you were a good example and I have very fond memories of you taking me pollywog hunting and fishing with Bobbie your dog….and to the movies, most of which you were forced to do to keep me out of mom and Nana’s hair. You grumbled…but did it. You also protected me from Omie. She could be real mean. And I remember the years of paper route work.  I remember helping and even sleeping out under the stars so we could leave at 4:00am without bothering anyone in the house. You put up with a lot. Thanks…

However….I would like to ask you to modify the profile.  I was with Jr. and Mom a lot during the last few weeks of his death.   I happened to be at the house the morning he died and so was Theresa. I talked with Jr a few days before his death and he was lying in a hospital bed in the living room. I don’t remember how it came up…but he said,  while smoking a cigarette…”If only I had of known what these damn things would lead too…I never would have started.” I asked ..”When did you start and why?” He said: “I was 18 on a flat-top in the South Pacific during WWII and they were practically giving the damn things away. I thought it would make me more of a man.”

I worked for Herb Woods for six years and on hundreds of jobs with Jr. sanding and finishing hard wood floors. The company was called Woods Hardwood Floors. I know how toxic the finishes were and have personally been high on more than one occasion from the fumes. I remember having to help Jr out of a room when we was so disoriented that he didn’t know where he was. He was always a happy drunk and would giggle. We both had headaches afterwards. I’m sure the fumes did neither of us any good and I know Jr was around the stuff a lot longer than I was. In those days…nobody cared about respirators and safety standards are not the same as they are today. However, Jr was convinced his cancer was from tobacco use. He smoked both cigarettes and a pipe.  The problem with cigarette smokers is they can’t learn to not inhale when smoking a pipe or cigar because the smoking of a cigarette is only achieved by inhaling.  I think he inhaled both for a long time. 

I was aware of the drugs he was using.   Sandy, Lucinda and I  are all very strongly convinced he may have abused them…but, there was no overdosing intentionally.  Even his daughter Penney,  from his first marriage, visited that last
week and none of us have any reason to believe there was any intentional missuse that contributed to his passing.  I remember an incident shortly after his body was removed from the house with Theresa and mom;  Theresa and I were sitting at the kitchen table.  She was drinking coffee and I was drinking postum (awful stuff) that my mother kept in the house for when I visited.  Mom had laid down to take a nap because she had been up most of the night with Jr.  When mom awoke, she came into the kitchen and went straight for the refrigerator where she took out her pack of cigarettes.  She lit one up and then poured a cup of coffee.  Theresa lit into her, she said: “God Dammit Ginnie, how can you stand there and smoke those damn things
; they just took your husband’s body out here from smoking those things and it isn’t even cold yet!”  Mom responded…”Get off my back; I’ll smoke if I want to!”

If you would modify your profile it would remove a lot of hurt that it has caused for Sandy and Cyn Mae. They are very upset and don’t believe there was any intentional overdosing.  I know that was not your intent….but, it is the result. I am convinced from what I saw and heard that it did not happen and that tobacco use was the prime cause of the cancer. The cancer was so bad it was growing out of his back. He was in a lot of pain. It was a bad way to die.

I have many pictures and stories to share with you. I need a few weeks to organize everything and then I will make them available so you can have copies.




And thank you Gary for alerting me to the problem and correcting it.  I really appreciate it and that is what I asked for when I posted the article.      Uncle Jack

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