Finding My Roots In the History of the Silver Valley

I moved back to the Silver Valley in 2000, after living in eastern Montana for a few years, and then Meridian, Idaho on the outskirts of Boise. During somewhere in my transition back to Kellogg, I had a revelation.
My dad was born in 1930. Noah Kellogg discovered the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mining Company in 1885.

The town my father was born in had existed for only 45 years when he was born. For some reason, I never realized what a "young frontier" the valley still was around the time Dad was born. This revelation prompted me to start reading and researching the history of this area.

And that is why I chose the following topic for this week's Sibling Assignment: Share about some information you learned about the history of the Silver Valley as an adult, that you had no clue about as a student growing up in Kellogg, and then how this information changed your thinking about the Silver Valley.

Raymond Pert's is here, and Inland Empire Girl's is here.

I think realizing that people didn't really start living in the valley until the late 1800's never caught my attention until the last 7 years. Maybe when you are young, 45 years seems like a lifetime. But as I get older, 45 years is not that long of time.

The Silver Valley is actually one of the last places in the United States to be occupied and "tamed". That was because of the rich minerals found in the depths of her hillsides. Andrew Prichard was the first to discover the riches of this area by discovering gold along the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River in 1883. When people started hearing about the gold in the rivers and streams, many flocked to the area that is now known as Prichard and Murray, Idaho.

While living in Murray in 1885, Noah Kellogg purchased a "grubstake" and took off to the south toward Evolution and started exploring along the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. He found Milo Creek and started walking up Milo Gulch and somehow his jackass discovered an outcropping of galena on the hillside.

Soon other mines were being discovered up and down the Silver Valley.

But growing up I never really new what being a miner really meant. Isn't that odd. Dad worked in the Zinc Plant. I think my picture of being a miner was someone who went in and dug rocks. While working on a publication about the Sunshine Mine Disaster in 2002, I realized some things.

Miners have a variety of jobs. Some do go in and drill the rock and blast the rock. Others are electricians. Others drive mine cars. Others muck out the rock. Again, to me that was a revelation. And I don't think I realized that it was hot and steamy down in a mine. And wet.

I remember learning about the Cataldo Mission as a student. I heard about Noah Kellogg and how he was helped by his jackass in finding the mine. But there are so many more fascinating stories about the development of this area.

And I loved learning about the presence of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe in this area before the Jesuit Missionaries or "Black Robes" arrived. I often close my eyes and try and think what is must have been like here along this soggy cedar bog as the tribe traveled back and forth each year for their buffalo hunt in Montana, and hunting and fishing in this area. And what it must have been like for them along Coeur d'Alene Lake when they were the only inhabitants.

I invite you to read about this area. I have a list of books written on the left side of my page. They are full of discovery, romance, murder, greed, hope, love...everything element needed for a good story.

But these stories aren't made up.

They are true. And they are all a part of my history, that helped shape me and my family and made us the people we are today.

It is Finished

I finished Harry Potter last night around midnight.

I really liked it.

I'll save my comments and discussion for private emails and the HBO bookclub so I don't ruin anything for anyone.


Hangin' Out With Harry

The Princess finished the book last night. It was torture for her to peform in the play last night because she only had a chapter left. Thank goodness for intermission, and breaks backstage, because she was able to finish it last night.

On the ride home from the theater, I began book seven. It is now Thursday morning, and I am on Chapter Seven. But, darn it all, I have to go to work!! But I'll read more this afternoon.

Look forward to discussing later.

We are heading into our last weekend of the play at the Sixth Street Melodrama in Wallace. So if you were planning on seeing it, only four more performances to go!!

I may not write much until I'm done with the book...I don't work tomorrow, so it may be a late night!!


Sultry Night in the Silver Valley...waiting for Harry Potter

I'm sitting out on my deck at about 10:40 tonight. Usually the deck is a cool retreat. Not so much tonight. The thermometer on the wall reads 80 degrees still!! This is what nights were like when we lived in Meridian. It is suppose to cool off in the mountains, but I guess not tonight.

Our family did have a lovely evening with some wonderful friends tonight. Our friend Cinderella, who lives in Mullan, invited us and another family up for dinner. I can't remember the last time I was in Mullan. I was glad to return. It is a beautiful little town, and she has taken this small house in Mullan and turned it into a storybook cottage. She calls in "Cinderella's Cottage" and she has painted murals inside on the walls and outside on the garage using a style like Mary Englebreit. It is darling.

Most of the time she lives in Oregon, and was considering selling this precious little cottage. We suggested she turn it into a vacation rental. It is in a perfect location, close to Lookout Ski Resort, the Hiawatha Bike Trail, the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, and not far from Silver Mountain. It is a peaceful little cottage in a peaceful little community, great for a family getaway or a romantic retreat. I hope she decides to keep it and use it as a vacation rental. If she does, I'll post some information about it in case anyone would ever be interested in renting the cottage.

She also invited another family up for the evening, and this couple came with their son. What a special kid. KN is autistic, and is very functional. It has been amazing watching him grow up these past few years, and see him learn and socialize better, and I love to see how his mind works. He is a real blessing.

Z2 stayed up until 5 a.m. last night reading the final Harry Potter book. The Princess is about on Chapter 12 or 13 at the moment. She reads pretty fast, so I'm hoping I get to begin the book by Wednesday. I look forward to discussing it as part of the HBO book club selection next month.

Raymond Pert and Snug moved over to Mom's house while my brother in law and neice were here for a few days. They have moved back in on this sultry Silver Valley night.

Time to go in the house and face the heat...UGH!!


Silver Valley Girl's Top 13 Silver Valley Books

Our current sibling assignment by Raymond Pert at Kellogg Bloggin' is to ponder on the number 13, since my daughter Z2 just turned 13. One way of looking at this number was talking about 13 of something. I am going to share a bit of information about 13 of my favorite books I have read about the Silver Valley. Here is Raymond Pert's post here, and Inland Empire Girl's post here.

1. "Beneath These Mountains" by Russell A. Bankson and Lester S. Harrison

This is a collecton of stories from the early days of the development of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District. There are stories about some of the developers in the first part, then the second part is full of "Vignettes", or short stories that may be true or not about this area. This is the book I got the story about Floyd "Dream" Davis who named Dream Gulch by Murray that I based my play on at the Sixth Street Melodrama.

2. "Coeur d' Alene Diary: The First Ten Years of Hardrock Mining in North Idaho" by Richard G. Magnuson

This is about the first 10 years of mining in the Coeur d'Alene Distirct. Magnuson researched old newspapers to come up with an historical account of the first 10 years of Hardrock Mining. It is very intersting and full of great information.

3. "Fire in the Hole" by Mary Cronk Farrell

This book was published about two years ago, and deals with the families whose men were put in the "bull pens" following the mining war of 1899 when a group of miners traveled to Kellogg and blew up the Bunker Hill Mining Mill. The author lives in Spokane, and I was able to meet her at a conference two years ago. It makes you think about how the families survived during this time without someone making the money. But it did bug me that she had a few inconsistencies in the book. It makes me realize how important those little details are when I am writing my book.

4. "From Hell to Heaven, Death-Related Mining Accidents in North Idaho" by Gene Hyde

Hyde, a former resident of Wallace, researched and wrote an account of men who died in the mines in the Silver Valley. It gives the reader a good picture of the horrible way men died, especially in the early days of the development of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District.

5. "Liberated Woman" by James Montgomery

This is a book about Mae Awkwright Hutton, and it also includes her "fictional" account of what happened regarding the Mining War of 1899. I confess, I haven't read this book yet, but have heard it is a wonderful book.

6. "Mining Town: The Photographic Record of T.N. Barnard and Nellie Stockbridge from the Coeur d'Alenes" by Patricia Hart and Ivar Nelson

When I was a student at the University of Idaho, Hart and Nelson were some instructors I had, and they were talking about publishing this book. It is a wonderful pictorial peak into the early days of the Silver Valley, and has some wonderful narratives explaining the pictures.

7. "North Idaho Then and Now" published by Nostalgia Magazine

This book takes old pictures from around North Idaho, including towns in the Silver Valley, and then taking the same shot during contemporary times, and comparing the two shots. It is very interesting to see how some things change, and how some things stay the same.

8. "Red Thunder" by David Matheson

Matheson is a former leader of the Coeur d'Alene Indians, and wrote this fictional account of how the Coeur d'Alene Tribe lived in the late 1700's, based on stories passed down to him through the tribe. Not the best written book, but the stories are a wonderful way to learn more about the Coeur d'Alene Indian culture.

9. "Saga of the Coeur d'Alene Indians" by Joseph Seltice

I found this book in the gift shop at the Coeur d'Alene Casino. It is a published journal Joseph Seltice kept, including his view of the things that happened during the Indian Wars around Spokane. His view of the events is much different than what children typically learned in their history books. I think it good to get the Native American perspective this books gives me.

10. "Silver Strike: The True Story of Silver Mining in the Coeur d'Alenes" by William T. Stoll

Stole was one of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District lawyers who came to town. He was involved in the Noah Kellogg case. His account of events seem a little slanted, but it is entertaining and informative reading.

11. "Big Trouble" by J. Anthony Lukas

I have tried to read this book a couple of different times, but have never succeeded in finishing it. Lukas likes to thoroughly explain each aspect of the events surrounding the Mining Wars of 1899, and how that event directly contributed to the assisination of Idaho Govennor Stunenberg.

12. "The Deep Dark" by Gregg Olson

Olson spent two or three years interviewing survivors, widows and other players who lived through the Sunshine Mine Disaster in 1972. He did a wonderful job of telling this tragic story whose effects still resonate through the Silver Valley. I met Olson when he came to interview my mom, who was a school teacher at the time of the fire in the mine. He has encouraged me in my own writing, and I also have enjoyed some of his true crime novels he has written as well. He was gracious enough to come and do a book signing at the Shoshone Mining and Smelting Museum here in Kellogg when "The Deep Dark" was released when I was the museum's president. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him for a few hours and it was fascinating listening to the people who he had interviewed come up and share more stories of how this book helped them heal and how it changed their life. It is a very powerful book.

13. "The Year of Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910" by Stephen Pyne

Pyne writes about the events leading of to the Great Fires of 1910, and how the policies of the newly formed Forest Service contributed to the fire. He came to Wallace one summer and did a talk on this topic. This is a very scholarly book, and not an easy read, but, as my brother can attest, a very informative account of this event in Silver Valley history.

So, here are some of the books I have read or hope to read about his area, all 13 of them. I encourage you to try one or two of them out if you want to learn more fascinating stories about the Silver Valley.


Happy 21st Anniversary, PKR!!!

Today PKR and I celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. We were married in Kellogg at the United Church of Kellogg on a beautiful summer day in the Silver Valley.

As I think back on this day it takes me back to the day PKR proposed to me. It is such a great story that I'd like to share it with you.
In December 1984, PKR and I were both students at the University of Idaho. I was in my senior year, and PKR was in one of his "super senior" years. We had been dating for about two years at this point.
I lived in the Tridelt sorority, and PKR lived in Upham Hall. He was a "hasher" at the Tridelt house, which means he helped serve the meals and worked in the kitchen at meal times. So he was a familiar face at the sorority.
A tradition at sororities when girls get "pinned" by a guy from a fraternity, or get engaged, there is a ritual called a fireside. This is when all the girls in the sorority gather in the living room in a circle and pass a candle around and their close friends read special poems and then it is revealed who is pinned or engaged.
So, on the evening of December 10, 1984 it was announced there would be a fireside. I had some ideas who it might be, and planned on going. PKR and I went over to his dorm room to do some studying, and when it came time to go, I was a little tired and wasn't sure I wanted to go back to the house. PKR convinced me to go.
As we all gathered in the living room, and passied around the candle, different girls started reading poems that sounded familiar, but it didn't really hit me what was going on.
All of a sudden, Paul comes around the big grand piano and comes and kneels down in front of me, and quotes me Shakepeare's 29th Sonnet:
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Then he asked me to marry him.
My response was, "Of Course."
As you looked around at the 40 or so girls sitting in the Tridelt living room, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.
It was a beautiful start to a wonderful, exciting life of committed love we have shared for 21 years.
Thank you for the last 21 years, PKR. I look forward to the next 21 or more years!!!
I Love You!!!!


On the brink of being a Harry Potter Geek

**WARNING: Don't read if you don't want to know anything about the new Harry Potter movie or upcoming book***

I just changed the title of my post since I all of a sudden have become a little obsessed with Harry Potter tonight. So you can read my ramblings on my thoughts and predictions about the current Harry Potter mania sweeping the country.
Last night for Z2's birthday we traveled over to Spokane and shopped a little, at at The Old Spaghetti Factory then went to the IMAX theater to see "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix".
Our family gave it a Thumbs Up!!

And it was really great watching it on the IMAX screen.

Yes, there were parts that were missing. But at least the parts they did show stayed pretty true to the story. I didn't like the last movie where there were parts that were just different. Not a little variation, but different.

And it wasn't as frightening as some of the past ones. This seemed to focus more on the struggle Harry had with his "inner demons" and his struggle to keep Voldemort from taking him over. But then realizing that he couldn't do it on his own, and that he did have the love and support of his friends to keep him strong in the fight.
I look forward to reading the final book next week. Well, hopefully I will get it next week. I am third in line to read it at our house. Z2 is getting it delivered here for her birthday, so she gets to read it first, then The Princess, then me. I don't want to read anything or hear anything about it until I have a chance to read it on my own. The girls have strict instructions not to discuss it until we've all had a chance to read the book.
After finishing the last book, here are my predictions. We'll know soon if they are true or not.

1. I believe Harry Potter will defeat Voldemort and live, but it won't be an easy task. Rowling is an English writer, and good usually triumphs in the end. We like the happy ever after ending.

2. I don't think Dumbledore is really dead. I think some deep magic is at work and he will return...such as Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings.

3. I don't think Snape is evil. I think he is still true to Dumbledore, and this is all part of the plan to defeat Voldemort. I think there would have been more foreshadowing if Snape was truly evil, such as the part in "The Order of the Phoenix" when Harry read his thoughts. I think Harry would have sensed the evil at that point if he truly was a Death Eater.

But we will see. That is the fun of being a part of Harry's life for so long. And seeing how J.K. Rowling brings it all to a conclusion.

After I read it, I'll post again, and see how many of my predictions came true.


Happy Birthday Beautiful Z2....Are You Really 13???

Thirteen years ago today I gave birth to our second daughter. It was at Mercy Medical Center in Nampa, Idaho. It was really hot that day, as I recall. I think there was some record breaking hot streak that summer in the Treasure Valley, where we had at least 45 days in a row over 90 degrees.
PKR was a very proud daddy. My how things have changed, though. Check out the mustache, slicked back hair, and those shorts. We no longer have any of those around here.
Baby Z2 makes four in our family. Proud big sister "The Princess" thinks it is pretty cool.
Inland Empire Girl admires her brand new neice Z2.
She was a very happy baby, and smiled the earliest of all three of our children.
Here is Z2 sticking her tongue out at Uncle Raymond Pert while visiting him at his house in Eugene, Oregon.

Here she is on her big day today. Isn't she a beautiful 13 year old?

It is pretty hard to blow out 13 candles all at once.

Here is Z2 thanking Grandma Mary for the wonderful birthday dinner, the homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and the new Harry Potter book that is being delivered to our home soon.
Happy Birthday Z2. I am so proud of you and you are beautiful, both inside and out. The Lord has richly blessed me with such a daughter as you.


Silver Valley Summer Garden

I tried to get out in the yard today before it got over 100 degrees, and check out some things in my yard. One thing I did this morning before it got too hot was make cookies. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. Luckily my ovens don't heat up the kitchen too bad.
One of my FAVORITE perennials is the Moombeam Coreopsis. It started blooming about a week ago, and will bloom all summer long. The blooms are so cheerful.
I love impatients. Here are a few small pots on the front porch steps.

This planter between our two garage doors is perfect for growing petunias.
Here is the Fourth of July climbing rose I received from Mom for my birthday. I need to get up early tomorrow in the cool of the day and get it planted in the front of the house.
The raspberries are starting to ripen and ready to pick. Yum! Yum!
My one attempt at vegetables this year are four tomato plants in buckets on the deck. Here are a few Early Girls that are doing quite nicely.
I also have a Roma Tomato plant, and two Beefsteak Tomato plants. This has been an experiment this year. Here are some Sweet Peas that come up every year. My friend Chris, who used to live here, said they are from Ireland.
I love my yard. I think if I move from this house, I will miss the yard much more than the house. It is just a really great yard.

#88--My Tree--Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

Nat King Cole

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies

Then lock the house up, now you're set

And on the beach you'll see the girls in their bikinis

As cute as ever but they never get 'em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

You'll wish that summer could always be here

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Don't hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in

Or some romantic moon it seems

Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin'

You'll see more kissin' in the cars than on the screen

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

You'll wish that summer could always be here

You'll wish that summer could always be here

You'll wish that summer could always be here


#87--My Tree--Under the Tree on a Summer's Day

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
under trees on a summer's day,
listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time.
Sir John Lubbock


The Family That Blogs Together.....

I want you to know that this picture was not staged. When my brother Raymond Pert and my sister Inland Empire Girl came over the my house tonight, this is what happened. IEG was the first to plug in her laptop, then RP got his going. My very thoughtful daughter Kiki Aru brought mine in from my bedroom, and off we went.

Amazingly enough, RP got up at 3:30 a.m. and left Eugene at 4 a.m., but was still able to sit with us at the table for a while and do some blogging. We are kind of a computer family here tonight. The Princess is IMing her friends and playing some Monster Truck computer game. Kiki Aru is playing "The Sims" on the other computer, and PKR is in the living room, getting updates on the All Star Baseball game from tonight on his laptop.

It is fun having us all three together. RP and his dog Snug are here for the summer as our house guests, and IEG will be coming off and on throughout the summer to visit. IEG has been digging out old family photos that have given us many laughs, and I'm sure you'll see them popping up on her blog, like here.

Some people would shake their heads and wonder why in the world we would spend our time with such recreation.

But you would be amazed at how blogging has drawn us closer, helped us learn more about each other, more than we have ever known, and got us sharing family stories and getting them written down, so we have a written memory of our past. Even if we all don't remember it all the same.

We have learned each others strengths. We have learned each others weaknessess. We have discovered talents we didn't know each other had. We have read about struggles that we were unaware of in our sibling's lives.

And we communicate and have made contact with people we probably never would have know otherwise.

All because of this unique blogging community.

It's not wierd at all.

It is a fascinating and special connection to others in the world. Huckleberries Online has connected us to many wonderful bloggers. Sunday Scribblings as well. And each of us have found out own unique connections as well.

I am enjoying this blogging journey, and hope it continues for RP, IEG and myself for many years to come.


"Up The River" Beauty

This week's sibling assignment given by Inland Empire Girl has to do with going "Up the River". RP's post is here, and Inland Empire Girl's post is here.

For those of us who grew up in the Silver Valley, going "up the river" means traveling to the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. This isn't to be confused with the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River that runs through the towns of Mullan, Wallace, Osburn, Kellogg, Smelterville and Pinehurst.

At Kingston, the two forks merge into the main fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, and travels west through the Chain Lakes to the town of Harrison, where it flows in Lake Coeur d'Alene.

For my assignment, I would like to share with you some pictures showing the beauty up the river, and the areas surrounding it.

I love this river.

If you know where to go, other treasures await you off the beaten path, like Fern Falls...
and Shadow Falls.

Right before you arrive in Murray, Idaho, there is a road that takes you to the Settler's Grove of Ancient Cedars.
Ancient Cedars tower above you providing a cool retreat on a hot summer's day.

If you head past Murray, you go east over Thompson Pass toward Montana. Here is a view at the top, looking back over the Silver Valley.
So, do you wonder why I love living here?


Special Birthday Memories---Thank You Everyone!!!

Today I am enjoying some time on my deck, reflecting on my wonderful birthday yesterday. What a special day.

Last year, I realized that I like to CELEBRATE my birthday each year, surrounded by family and friends. Receiving the cards and gifts are not as important as just being with the people I love.

This year, I had a unique opportunity present itself, and I went for it.

As I have posted before, our whole family is involved in the Sixth Street Melodrama this July. Our official opening night is Thursday, July 5th. We normally would open on Wednesday, but with today being the Fourth of July, the board opted to open on Thursday. Since we would have a dress rehearsal on Tuesday anyway, I asked the theater board if I could have a special "birthday premier" and invite some friends and family and have reduced tickets for the event. I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate the opening of the first play I have written.
They said yes, so about 80 people attended the invitation only birthday premier of "Nightmare at Dream Gulch, or...Wake Me When It's Over", written by me and directed by husband PKR.
What a perfect way to celebrate. The greatest part of the day was having our family give the gift of laughter to a room full of people, letting them forget life for a couple of hours and just have a great time. What a special blessing!!
The picture above is PKR and myself doing a "Farmer and Cow" routine as part of Kelly's Alley Revue. This particular segment received a lot of laughs.
Toward the end, before I do my serious solo of the evening, PKR did a very special birthday surprise, and presented me with some flowers and sang an excerpt from "How To Handle A Woman" from the musical "Camelot". It was so beautiful, and a very special surprise.
So, again, if any of you are in the Silver Valley this July on a Wednesday through Sunday, please come and see the show...but only if you want to have some fun!!


#86--My Tree--My Morning View

Sweet Hour of Prayer
William W. Walford, 1845
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!


My Birth--Separating Fact from Myth

This Tuesday I celebrate my 44th birthday. As I reflect upon these 44 years, I have asked by siblings to write about events surrounding when I was born. Inland Empire Girl's post is here, and Raymond Pert's post is here.

My assignment is to write down stories I remember from when I was born, and see if what I remember is fact or myth.

Whenever my brother and sister talk about my birth, it is always very positive. They were very excited to have a new baby in the family. They were 8 and 9 years old when I was born, so this was a big change in my family's life.

(I remember asking Mom one time if I was an accident. She very diplomatically replied, "You weren't an accident, but you weren't planned either." I always loved that answer.)

I was born on July 3, 1963. I can't remember what time I was born. Mom had finished up a year of teaching school, and was probably still taking classes to get her teaching degree.

From what I have been told my birth was pretty normal. I was born in West Shoshone General Hospital in Kellogg.

My brother and sister got to name me. I was named after Caroline Kennedy. But I guess they got a little mixed up, because my name is Carol Lynn.

When I was born I had convulsions. This is a hereditary disorder on my dad's side of the family called Benign Familial Neonatal Convulsions. I was put on phenobarbitol for the first year of my life. (I learned more about this disorder after my first daughter The Princess was born, and she started having seizures. She, too, was on phenobarbitol the first year of her life.)

I'm not sure how old I was when I developed pneumonia. But this was a very scary time for my family. I almost didn't make it. I was in the hospital and our next door neighbor Lois was a nurse at the hospital. If I remember the story correctly, one night Lois was the nurse on duty and she turned me a certain way, and the congestion started breaking up, and I started getting better. When I would hear the story, it always sounded as if Lois saved my life.

The first picture of me taken as a baby was when I was five months old. It is a black and white photo of Mom holding me.

I asked Mom once why they waited to take my picture until I was five months old.

"Because we weren't sure if you were going to live or die," was her reply.

I had various nicknames when I was a baby. One was "Pooh". There is a picture of me around my first birthday wearing a red dress and the called me "Firecracker". Maybe because I was born the day before Independance Day.

I may have been an accident, but I was never treated like one. I was always loved, and picked on and tolerated by my older siblings.

And I still am today.