Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Guest Post: by Signa Mascot

For school work, Signa (my 11-year-old daughter) did a report on the history of Tracy, California.  She decided to focus on the schools in Tracy, but also decided to use census records to learn about the founder of the Tracy schools.   Then we took a trip to the cemetery to photograph Rufus' grave. I think she did a great job!!!


The History of Tracy Schools
By Signa Mascot

The first school of Tracy was decided when a farmer named Rufus Saddlemire made a petition to make a school.

Rufus Saddlemire was born in 1832 in New York and then moved to Tracy. In that time he was a farmer and lived with his wife Helen Beverly who was born in 1838 and his son Jesse Saddlemire who was born in 1880.

Rufus knew that he wanted his children to have a good education, but there were no schools in Tracy.  In that time Tracy was still a coal mining city with not many children living there. Rufus made a school petition, and then in 1866, the Willow School District was made. 

Years went by, and Willow Schoolhouse wasn’t big enough to hold so many children and classes, so one class was held in an unused part of the Methodist church. Eventually, more schools were made, such as Tracy Grammar School built in 1912, West Park  and Southside Schools in 1920, West Side built in 1928, Central Grammar School built in 1938, and  Banta in 1950.  After 1938 Tracy Grammar School served different purposes like the Service Men’s Club and Town Hall, but in 1961, the building was torn down. There is another school, Early Day, which I cannot find the year it was built.  New Jerusalem School was built in Tracy in 1874, but it was outside of this school district.

In conclusion, one man who wanted his child to have a good education started a whole school district in Tracy and helped make Tracy a city.


Tracy Historical Society. Images of America Tracy.  Great Britain, Arcadia Publishing, 2004. 1900 United States Census for Rufus Saddlemire, 1900. New Jerusalem School’s History, 2013-2014. Tracy Public Cemetery, 2014
Tracy Public Cemetery Visit. March 19, 2014.  Tracy, California.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I Am No Longer Going to Be A Writer

I've been really wanting to be a writer lately. I've been listening to writing podcasts, reading books about writing, studying the process of writing, setting up my home office with writing in mind. Doing everything I can to be a writer except... writing.

Why? Why does my passion not have me passionate about it? Why can I think of nothing I want to write about except my ancestors' stories? I want to write fiction. I want to have a great idea for a great story and write it. Greatly. But instead, I'm stuck with writing the truth. Not even my own truth, but the truth of the lives of people no one except me really cares about. They are fascinating to me and I'm passionate for their stories, but I really want to have passion for a fake story in a fake world where I can have fake things happen. But the fake never comes to me. I've got nothing.

Just now, sitting at the kitchen table with my iPad (not in my writing home office using the writing applications on my writing computer), I realized that I don't get to choose what I write. This isn't my job, where I would have to find a way to write what they told me to, whether it called to me or not. These people are calling to me-- the Mariani's, my Civil War grandfather, Grampa's ghost town, my dad-- and they are what I should listen to. I hear them; I just haven't been listening, as I've been too busy whining about not hearing the fake.

So I sit at my iPad typing this out and promising myself that I am no longer going to be a writer. I'm just going to write.

And I feel so much better.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy birthday, Grampa!

Ninety five years ago today, on February 6,1919, my hero was born. Of course, he wasn't yet my hero; he was a new baby for a new family. He was THEIR hero, I'm sure. As he grew up, he became a big brother to his beautiful sisters. He was a boy who liked his mischief, but also his studies. He was proud and determined and wonderful.

He grew to be a husband and a father. The times were hard, but he always found a way to take care of his family. When he became a grandfather, he took me on as another to care for. I always felt special with my Grampa-- I still do. There is just something about my hero that makes me know that, at least to him, I'm special.

He went on to do amazing things, things that continue to this day. He takes care of everyone and has been an enormous contributer to most of my memories. Our walks across the freeway pedestrian walkways, our visits every summer, the Harlem Globetrotters games, seeing Finian's Rainbow, his storytelling and photos that he shared, and, most recently, his being there for me at the loss of my other hero, his son, my dad.

I'm beyond proud of my Grampa for all he's done for all of us. Especially because he doesn't do any of it with any though of thanks. He does it because that's just what Grampa does.

I'm so thankful that I still have my Grampa in my life and only wish I could be with him to celebrate his 95th birthday.

Happy birthday, Grampa. I love you!


Monday, January 20, 2014

They Have A Dream

To be magnetic and to be President. Enjoy the quest, children. Enjoy the quest.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Mormon Island: Revisited. Twice.

William and Signa at the edge of Folsom Lake, August 2013

In August, I wrote about my grandparents summering at MormonIsland (now Folsom, California). In September, the kids and I visited my cousin and we all walked down to the receding lake and tromped around. Now, due to the current lack of water situation in California (clearly avoiding the "d" word...), apparently the old foundations are now showing through from before the dam.  The below links came from my homeschool group, as one family visited to learn about Gold Country History.

The Folsom Dam was built in 1955 covering the town of Mormon Island with water.  Here is a YouTube video showing some of the foundations and items popping through as the water gets more and more shallow.

Here are some more photos and some history.

And here is some information about visiting the area.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Hard Times

Confession: The past year has been an extremely difficult one for me on many different levels. I've had family issues, health issues, financial issues, house issues and general loss of happiness issues. Today I'm taking a moment to be thankful to my ancestors for helping me keep these issues in perspective.

If you are one person with no knowledge of your ancestors, your "big picture" perspective is relatively small. You could get stuck in your problems without a way to see outside of them. But MY big picture includes generations of ancestors. I can see their big issues from the beginning, middle, and, most importantly, end. I can see the other side of my problems, because I can see the other side of theirs.

This isn't why I started doing genealogy, but it has been a very pleasant byproduct for which I am very thankful!