Missing Dino

Do you remember?


Dean Martin is a name that most Americans know. Whether you’re 18 or 98, you probably have some recollection of the man. He was one of the original spaghetti crooners and  he also filled the silver screen during the 1950’s and 1960’s. He and Jerry Lewis were partners in the immensely popular comedy team Martin and Lewis. He was a member of the “Rat Pack” and is also remembered for his celebrity roasts of the 1970’s. He was an entertainer for all seasons and even had his own TV show from 1965 to 1974.

Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio. Many people, including me, mistakenly concluded that he simply shortened his name from Martini to Martin. Martin’s first language was an Abruzzese dialect of Italian and he did not speak English until he started school at the age of five. He…

View original post 612 more words

In Search Of Ancestors I Never Knew

One of my “desks” or “work stations”

My father came from a large family. He had 4 siblings and they lived in New York or Indiana or North Carolina or Florida. And we lived in Boston. A long way from this branch of the family, particularly during the 2nd World War.

My father’s father (my grandfather Charles Dana Mille) had 2 children from his first marriage in 1865. These children were grown up by the time my father was born and by the time I was born they were really a forgotten part of my family’s history. I have become curious about them and have spent some time recently trying to track them down.

My father’s half brother, Charles Dion Miller, lived a long life – born in 1867, his mother died shortly afterward and Charles Dion was brought up by my grandfather Charles Dana with the help of Charles Dana’s parents and one of Charles Dana’s aunts. The family members lived close by and they rallied round to help in the event of the early death of their mother.

Similarly, my father’s half sister also lived a long life. I will go into detail in my next blog.

“Static Line” 11th Airborne newspaper

Pacific Paratrooper

“Static Line”
Static Line staff

On 7 January 2021, I ran a post about the L-4 Grasshopper, the plane that most think of as a Piper Cub.  This note was included…

“While some of the men were confined to fighting up in the mountains, the division’s newspaper called the Static Line, used a piper cub plane to drop bundles of the publication down to the men.  This was the only news of the outside world that the troopers could receive.  One day, a roll of the papers was dropped with a note attached addressing it: “To the girls, with the compliments of Art Mosley and Jack Keil, Phone Glider 3.”  It was discovered later that the WAC camp received the roll meant for the 11th airborne.”

I located an issue of “Static Line” on the internet and wanted to share it.  News included kept the men up to date on…

View original post 236 more words

My Paternal Grandfather’s Children

My paternal grandfather Charles Dana Miller, 1836-1898, had 7 children. He was 1st married in 1865 to Lucy Gilman Jewett. They had 2 children – a daughter Lucy born 1866 and a son Charles Dion born 1867. Sadly their mother Lucy Gilman Jewett died in 1868.

In 1883 my grandfather married again. He married Mary Elizabeth Murdock in Crown Point New York. Mary was much younger than her husband. She was born in 1863. There was a 27 year age difference.

The family story that I grew up with was that she had somehow traveled to Ohio to look after my grandfather’s young motherless children – i.e. to be a nanny and housekeeper for Charles and then ended up marrying him. Was she a sort of mail-order nanny and then bride? The date and place of their marriage indicates a different story. The question still remains though – how did they meet? The distance between Newark and Crown Point is many miles – a 10 1/2 to 11 1/2 hour drive in today’s measurements. But in the 1870’s the distance between the 2 points required a different form of transport which would have taken considerably longer. Remember – they didn’t even have the telephone.

And he was so much older – 27 years older! She was only 17. The 2 children from his first marriage were in their teens.

Mary Elizabeth and Charles had 5 children – Myrtle born 1884 in Newark Ohio, Dana born 1887 in Newark, Ruth born 1888 in Peoria Florida, Joseph born in 1891 in Peoria, and Roy born in 1893 in Peoria.

Did the children born in the 1880’s and 1890’s ever meet their step-siblings? The daughter lived in Newark so they could well have met her in later years. But the son, Charles Dion had married and moved to Iowa to homestead. His branch of the family eventually moved to Colorado.

Myrtle grew up in Newark and eventually settled in Raleigh North Carolina. Her husband William Upshaw had been previously married and his son by his first marriage died in England in the Second World War. Myrtle and William had 1 son and 2 daughters – William Warner 1922-1996, Mary Bryant 1923-1999, and Nancy Miller Upshaw Egerton 1925-2015.

Dana grew up in Newark, was very cheerful, out-going, and popular. He moved to Chicago and tragically burned to death in a fire in 1913. He was only 27 years old. He is buried in the family plot in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Newark.

Ruth spent most of her adult years in Indiana. She married twice and had 2 stepchildren from her 2nd marriage. She lived a long life – 97 years.

Joseph spent his young years in Florida and Newark. He married young. His first marriage to Lucy Gilman Jewett ended in tragedy when she died in 1920, leaving 2 very young children. (my sister Nan lived in Newark for a year in 1960 – she told me that she met a woman who had known the young couple and had a memory of my father sobbing at the funeral)

Joseph married again in 1923 Mildred Vivian Prescott. They had 3 children – Robert (Bob), 1924-1992, Ruth 1926-1917, and Nancy (Nan) 1927-2020. Mildred died in 1934. Cause of death – appendicitis. She was still in her early 40’s.

Joseph married for the third time in 1935. My mother Dorothy Friend. They had 1 daughter in 1936 – me, Janet.

Joseph died in 1949. Cause of death – coronary thrombosis. He was only 57. He is buried in Winchester Cemetery Massachusetts

Roy spent his younger years in Florida and Newark. He married and had 3 daughters. Muriel Elizabeth 1919-1985, Roy Gilman 1921-2017, and Jeanne Bryant 1924-2010. He spent most of his working life in New York State and New York City. He lived to age 93. He did a lot of work on the Civil War Letters written by his father Charles Dana Miller.

My Reading Journey, January 2020-2021

The Body in the Library, Agatha Christie

The Bat, Jo Nesbro

Cockroaches, Jo Nesbro

Redbreast, Jo Nesbro

Nemesis, Jo Nsbro

Excellent Women, Barbara Pym

Elegy for Iris, John Bayley

Iris and Her Friends, John Bayley

Widower’s House, John Bayley

Angel, Elizabeth Taylor

The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen

Compton Hodnet, Elizabeth Bowen

Finding Family, My Search For Roots and the Secrets in My DNA, Richard Hill

As We Are Now, May Sarton

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, Elizabeth Taylor

The Overstory, Richard Powers

Legacy, Sybille Bedford

Love In A Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

Wildflower, An Extra-ordinary Life and Death in Africa, Mark Seal

Pioneer on a Mountain Bike, Eight Days Through American History, Dianne Fallon

Heartland, Sarah Smarsh

American Jezebel, Eve LaPlante

The Towers of Trebizond, Rose Macauley

All For Nothing, Walter Kempowski

Jean in the Morning, Janet Sandison

The Driver’s Seat, Muriel Spark

Suspect of Suspects, George Bellairs

Giving Up The Ghost, A Memoir, Hilary Mantel

Don’t Tell Alfred, Nancy Mitford

On Cats, Doris Lessing

The Body in the Dumb River, George Bellairs

In Farleigh Field, Rhys Bowen

Clara and Mr Tiffany, Susan Vreeland

A Visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican Journey, Sybille Bedford

Inspector French’s Greatest Case, Freeman Wills Crofts

The Flame Trees of Thika, Elspeth Huxley

Scrabbling The Cat, Travels With An African Soldier, Alexandra Fuller

A Grim Discovery

I made a grim discovery today in my genealogy. Another ancestor was burned at the stake. his horrible death occurred on July 15th, 1627 in Smithfield, London. I don’t jnowwhat her crime was – witchcraft? religious beliefs?

Who is the Patron Saint of Knitters?

Dances with Wools

Someone on one of the forums I haunt asked this question. Being extremely interested both in knitting and in religious history, it was necessary to immediately start a search. Some say that the patron saint is Fiacre. It seems he was the patron of cap makers, and when knitted caps were “invented”, Fiacre got the nod by default. An early guild for knitters was organized in Paris in 1527 was named The Guild of St. Fiacre. So who was this person with the strange name?

It is said that Fiachra, or Fiacre, traveled to France from Ireland, in search of a quiet place in which to withdraw from society and devote his life to God. The bishop of Meaux granted him a plot of land on which he built a hermitage with a garden and a hospice for travellers, which over time grew into the village of Saint-Fiacre in Seine-et-Marne…

View original post 209 more words

Life In Alaska – Rusty’s Harrowing Adventure (2) – August 14, 1944


"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the second half of a letter written by Rusty Huerlin, a family friend, to Ced. Both Rusty and Ced are living in Alaska and they have become good friends.

As most of our freight was for Wainwright, we were able to take on passengers there – storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and had 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came up. We had then run into ice – icebergs 20 feet high, and got forced outside of them and land. Most of this was fields of bergs and we wound around it for a day in getting in close to land. This ice ran nearly down to Wainwright but once getting inside of it the water was smooth. 60…

View original post 812 more words

US Marine in Iraq Book Review

Learning about the war I Iraq.

Inch High Guy


US Marine in Iraq: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003

By Richard S. Lowry, Illustrated by Howard Gerrard

Osprey Warrior Series Book 106

Paperback, 64 pages, heavily illustrated

Published by Osprey Publishing July 2006

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1841769827

ISBN-13: 978-1841769820

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.7 inches

U.S. Marine in Iraq details the experiences of two Marine enlistees from recruitment through Boot Camp, Infantry School, mechanized combined arms training at Twentynine Palms, deployment aboard ship and eventual combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the invasion of Iraq.  The story follows the Marines’ actions as part of the Second Marine Regiment through the battle of the bridge at An Nasiriya and the fight to capture Baghdad.

One section which will be of interest to wargamers is the integration of a Marine infantry battalion with Amphibious Armored Vehicles (AAV) and M1 Abrams tanks to basically transform them into mechanized infantry.  There are various ways a…

View original post 110 more words