Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yes, I Can Vote To Elect A Mormon As President!

At the top I profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior having a personal commitment to Him having received influence from Christian parents and Bible-believing churches. We were taught that the denominational label was not the issue but our relationship to God the Father. From there I would go on to say that I'm related to, a friend of, and/or acquainted with a number of Mormon people having grown up in Southern California which had a growing LDS and RLDS population going back to the 1800s. From history I understand that their founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., believed that all the Protestant churches in his New York region had become corrupted and that he was chosen as a prophet to restore the one true Church which would rightly honor Jesus Christ and conduct itself as He had intended. Now I mean to do no one any harm with that summary. I do not know the mind or the heart of Joseph Smith or his successor Brigham Young. If the LDS church today still maintains that it is the "one true Church" of Jesus Christ then it is one of the matters of their traditions, beliefs, and practices with which I disagree. But we Americans have points in common as well as our differences. As a teenager I became a very small-scale political activist helping to walk precincts and make telephone contacts on behalf of candidates and issues that I supported. A number of us who took an active part in "Conservative" and Republican political matters came from a number of religious traditions including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Mormon, "Mainline" Protestant, and Evangelical/Orthodox/Fundamental. We were taking part in the process most likely because we had guidance from our religious/spiritual upbringing that God is real and that He has determined right from wrong and that government should NOT violate the founding precepts of our Republic which came from Jewish and Christian belief and teaching. We Americans of a Traditionalist/"Conservative" bent still hold a variety of religious views which matter to us even if we don't all agree on every point and distinctive. How deeply Governor Mitt Romney and his family are involved with the LDS is for them to decide. Similarly, President Obama's spiritual beliefs are his own responsibility whether he honestly acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or he benefits from being prepared with acceptable Evangelical buzz-words and phrases which make him sound like a Bible-believer at a given moment. But when it comes to the governing of this Constitutionally-defined Republic I prefer someone with real-world business and governing experience and whose religious views follow Smith and Young and who will adhere to the Constitution rather than someone deeply influenced by Frank Marshall Davis and Saul Alinsky with their commitment to a remaking of the United States on a progressivist socialist fantasy model. In other words, yes I do support Governor Mitt Romney for President in 2012.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Little From The Barcus/Richards Family Story

My Grandparents, John Eli Barcus and Pearl Richards Barcus met and married in Burbank, California and raised three sons and a daughter there from the mid-1920s until they divorced during World War II.

Our "Gram" was born Pearl Richards, either in Kansas or in New Mexico as I try to remember the story, but her father, Charles Richards, took his family to California eventually and landed work in the Warner Brothers First National Studios in Burbank where he became Chief Timekeeper and his employment there was probably attributable to his being a Mason. So he and my Great-grandmother Richards, whose maiden name was Martin (I cannot recall her first name but I remember meeting two sisters of hers, Maude and Trixie), raised our grandmother Pearl and her two brothers Chuck and Frank as the Hollywood cinema industry and the town called Burbank were growing along with the rest of the nation.

Our Grandfather, John Eli Barcus, whom we nicknamed 'Pop' (although he would have preferred Grandpa) was born in St. Joseph, Illinois in 1901 the third child and first son of Charles Barcus and Elizabeth Fiock Barcus, on the farm that I believe they were taking over from her parents who were of German descent and apparently spoke German at home so that Elizabeth Fiock was unfamiliar with English until she began school (her mother's maiden name was Denhart and there were numerous Barcus-Fiock-Denhart Family Reunions over the years so we definitely have a German connection). I believe there were fourteen Barcus children total who lived beyond early childhood. They worked hard on the family farm and I think most of them went on to build their own farms. But our Grandfather John and his cousin Howard Denhart decided they would go to California (perhaps around 1919) and so they loaded up a Model 'T' Ford and drove West with the city of Long Beach their intended destination, and either their money ran out or the Ford needed repair and they found themselves in Burbank.

Howard Denhart eventually returned to the Midwest but John E. Barcus took a job with Standard Oil and married a smart strikingly-gorgeous blue-eyed brunette named Pearl Richards. Their first son, John Charles Barcus, was born November 30, 1926. There were ups and downs of course including John E. losing his job. But the Burbank City Manager at that time, Mr. McCambridge, was a friend of the Richards family and hired the young man who would remain a Burbank employee from before the onset of the Depression until his retirement at age 70. Their children were John Charles, Donald Earl, James, and Mary ("Mary Ann" until she was old enough to keep it to Mary). After they divorced both our grandparents remarried and Grandpa John "Pop" had a daughter, Linda Jean, with his second wife Marjorie.

Further notes on our Richards family connections:
Our Gram Pearl told me she remembered her Great-grandmother Fulton using the expression, "I hate that worse than the Devil hates holy water," which seems like it would be a traditional saying among Irish Catholics, and either the Richardses or the Martins were relatives of the same Mr. Fulton who invented the steamboat Clermont in the 1800s; Bob Richards, the Olympic athlete whose picture was on Wheaties boxes during the 1950s was a cousin or a nephew to our great-grandfather Charles Richards. A minister, Bob Richards wrote The Heart of A Champion and spoke at least once to the Father/Son Banquet at John Muir Junior High in Burbank (before any of us attended).
We Barcus/Richards grandchildren started showing up in 1949 after our grandparents divorced but it's good to see that they have been succeeded by great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren so far.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Washington School Days, 1954--1961 Burbank

With fifteen or sixteen elementary schools covering the sixteen square miles of Burbank it might seem as if half were named "Joaquin Miller" yet there were Henry Mingay, Emerson, Roosevelt, Edison, Franklin, Jefferson, Stevenson, Lincoln,.. And among the oldest still in use or recently still open you have George Washington sitting on the north side of the Golden State Freeway at Lincoln Street east of Buena Vista along Winona Avenue. The freeway and storm system took out the old location of the child daycare facility close to San Fernando Road but the old two-story building remained as in the days when our dad and his brothers and sister attended from about 1931 onward when at least six of us from the following generation began school. Mrs. (or was it Miss?) Jeanne Atkinson splitting sessions in the kindergarten classroom with Mrs. Weber(?); Miss Mildred Boyd's retirement began in June 1956 after teaching at least a second generation how to read (First Grade for me); Ophelia ("Bunny") Seapy working on our Second Grade reading and arithmetic skills plus meteorology and the fine art of making sugar cookies; Miss Nongard (later Mrs. Landrum) introducing Burbank history as well as having us learn some elements of journalism as we published The Room 8 Review in Third Grade; Mrs. Crawford in Fourth Grade carrying us along with California history and industries and sharing her experience teaching double-sessions in Burbank's suddenly-overcrowded schools during The War; Mrs. McElduff serving an excellent extended tour as substitute teacher with us in Fifth Grade until Mrs. Young could return in the second quarter after her initial battle with cancer to give her high levels of energy, intelligence, and professionalism as she would for just a few years more; and Mr. Louis Cramer staying on year after year to help Sixth Graders transition towards junior high school and bringing his perspective from growing up in Southern California, attending UCLA and USC, and serving out WWII as a US Navy officer.. Others will have to give you their recollections of Mrs. Montgomery, Mrs. Openshaw, Mrs. White, Mrs. Overton, Mrs. Roth, Miss Gilberg, and others who were part of the Washington faculty (some names and spellings may be incorrect).

Physical underdevelopment was no advantage to boys in those days especially when the competition included Darryl Smestad, Robert Grossman (an extreme sports player before the term was developed as demonstrated in at least two broken arms), Robert Saia and others who would be picked for teams well ahead of your own lack of speed, strength, and coordination. There were a few friends and acquaintances whose names I should recall better than has been the case lately: Dick Reed whose grandfather--as City Manager--hired my grandfather before the Depression reached into many towns and families; Dean Ortiz and I were in the same Indian Guides tribe with our fathers and we were similar in heritage having moms from Oklahoma and family names originating in the Basque Country. And both Reed and Ortiz were better friends to me than I was in return. From Fourth Grade through Sixth Mark Pollock was a Washington classmate also and even though I gave him a hard time later if you got to know Mark back then and his concern that no harm be done to people it would not surprise you to learn about his pursuit of consumer advocacy. Charlene Gualtney, Donna Campbell, Sharon Harris, Lynda Carlin, John Whitt, Mark Campbell, Richard Pearson, Mike Hickman, Steve Newgard, Phil Anderegg, Ron Smedley, and many more names and faces come to mind however incompletely; my apologies for leaving a great many out of this short narrative.