Tag Archives: brigham city utah

Out & About—Historic trains in Ogden Utah

Out & About The World

Granddad, as well as my dad, worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad, granddad as a Road Foreman of Engines. Dad also was a Road Foreman of Engines but had just been promoted to Vice-President of Missouri Pacific Railroad when he killed himself. They found his body on January 18, 1961, in a railroad box car in a small, isolated railroad siding northeast of Palestine, Texas. They estimated that he had been dead for three days.

After dad’s death, mom moved us from Palestine to northern Utah, first Hyrum, then Wellsville, then Logan, and finally Brigham City. Brigham City is where I became a rail fan. Among other things, I used to skip school and hop the Union Pacific trains, riding in a box car down to Ogden and back. A cool 38-mile round trip. I’m the reason why you don’t see open doors on empty box cars anymore….

In May 1969, when I was 14 years old, I was living in Kingsville, Texas, with my paternal grandparents. They had adopted me 3½ years earlier. May 1969 was the 100th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. I wanted so badly to go back to Utah and help Union Pacific celebrate, but said grandparents would not take me. I was sad. Granted, it was 1,500 miles away, but nevertheless…. Still sad.

My stamp collecting helped me determine that historic events were celebrated every 50 years. I did the calculations and determined that I would be 64 in 2019 when the 150th anniversary rolled around. I had a chance to still be alive, so I put it on my calendar.

Fast forward to May 10, 2019. Guess where I was. Yep. Northern Utah participating in many celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Two historic steam locomotives were due to be in Ogden, Utah, to help with the celebrations My #1 goal was to get a video of the two locomotives leaving Ogden to go back to the steam shops in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Here’s the video I got:

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Halls of History—I guess I come from a dysfunctional family

Halls of History

When I went to Brigham City, Utah, in late July 2018, I wanted to find all the homes and stomping grounds from my youth, ages 6-10.

The last home I lived in before the State of Utah took me away from my mom and stepdad (I was one of the State’s greatest juvenile delinquents) was at 301 Englewood Drive. Across the street was a park that I often played in to get away from parental abuse at home. Hmmm. I wonder if the parental abuse was a cause of my juvenile delinquency…………

The park in the early 1960s was covered with poison ivy, which is where I learned that I wasn’t affected by poison ivy. In July 2018 it had grass, trees, playground, basketball courts, baseball fields, picnic areas, and no poison ivy.

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

Lindsay Park in Brigham City, Utah

I must admit that I was a little saddened and depressed while roaming around Brigham City finding things and reminiscing. I think most of it resulted from not knowing my birth dad (he committed suicide when I was 6) and having no relationship with my birth mother after my wise old (paternal) grandmother adopted me in December 1965. I guess I come from a dysfunctional family….

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Exploring the past with Google Earth & Google Street View

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I think it was the movie Logan’s Run where the camera pans the city and we see that McDonald’s has bought everything—McDonald’s Auto Dealership, McDonald’s Groceries, McDonald’s Drug Store, McDonald’s Gas Station, and, of course, a McDonald’s burger palace….

If I were to lay odds on something like that happening within the next fifty years, I would go 2 to 1 on Google, and 3 to 1 on Apple (Apple’s problems with the iPhone 6 might cause me to redo those odds….).

I didn’t jump on the Google bandwagon until 2008 when I started blogging. Previously, I was MapQuest instead of Google Maps, Yahoo! search instead of Google search….

Zoey the Cool CatTwo really cool Google programs that I discovered a couple of years ago when I started blogging at WordPress are Google Street View and Google Earth. Using both of those programs, from the comfort of my home with Zoey the Cool Cat resting comfortably on the printer, I was able to visit all the places I had ever lived. I didn’t remember all the addresses, but with Street View, I didn’t have to. I just had to remember what streets led where.

Here are the places where I lived for the first 18 years of life on Earth:

802 West Alice Avenue; Kingsville, Texas; 1955-1956
This was my maternal grandparents’ house and where we were living when I was born. Both of these grandparents were teachers, and I had my grandmother for English in ninth grade. One of the reasons I chose not to go to Texas A&I University in Kingsville was because, by that time, my grandmother was teaching required freshman English at A&I, and my granddad was teaching required physical education. After my experience in ninth grade, I was pretty determined never to have a relative as a teacher again….
802 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

728 Santa Barbara Drive; Kingsville, Texas; 1956-1959
This was the first home I remember, although all I remember is that the birds used to fly into the windows (barely visible) under the roof eaves at the front right. I felt so sorry every time I found a dead bird. They did get a proper funeral from this little boy.
728 Santa Barbara Drive, Kingsville Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

302 Inwood Drive; Palestine Texas; 1960-1961
My dad got a promotion with Missouri Pacific Railroad, but it required us to move from Kingsville to Palestine. I remember that I used to love running up and down the front steps to the street.
This was the house we were living in when my dad killed himself because of my mom’s indiscretions. I spent 43 years looking for this house and finally found the address in 2012 on my dad’s death certificate, available online at ancestry.com. No one could (would) tell me the address because I had been lied to all my life about my dad’s death. I suppose they thought that if I found the address, I would find out the truth about my dad’s death.
302 Inwood Drive Palestine Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

185 S 100 W; Brigham City, Utah; 1961-1963
This was where we moved after my dad’s death. (This is the current address; I don’t know if it was the address when we lived there.) Mom’s family were Mormons living in northern Utah and southern Idaho.
This house was directly behind Food Town grocery store, which became Food King and is now named Smith’s Food King. Food Town/Food King is where my juvenile crime career started.
Mom turned to alcohol to deal with my dad’s death, which meant that we three children got neither love nor discipline, much less food. I stole lots of food from Food Town/Food King. Back in 1979, when I went to a family reunion in Utah, I went by and made restitution to the best of my recollection.
185 S 100 W Brigham City Utah

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

626 S 600 W; Brigham City, Utah; 1963
After mom remarried, we moved into the house where my stepdad and his family had lived for several years. We stayed only a few months before moving to a new home that was big enough for two adults and seven children.
I don’t remember much about this home other than it used to have a big, beautiful tree out front where I used to sit and read—Charlotte’s Web, The Boxcar Children, The Secret Garden.
626 S 600 W, Brigham City Utah

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

301 Englewood Drive; Brigham City, Utah; 1963-1965
This is where we moved after mom remarried. My stepdad also was an alcoholic, so life wasn’t any better as far as love, discipline, and food went. My oldest stepsister and I were physically and verbally abused—endlessly—and I can’t say that I was unhappy to leave the family when my wise old grandmother adopted me in December 1965.
301 Englewood Drive, Brigham City Utah

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

420 West Alice Avenue; Kingsville, Texas; 1965-1973
Back to Kingsville, and just four blocks from where my family was living when I was born.
My wise old grandmotherThis was my wise old grandmother’s house. Granddad worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad several hundred miles away in Taylor, Texas. He came home every other weekend, so it was up to my wise old grandmother to give me love, discipline, and food, and turn me from my juvenile ways. I think she succeeded.
The house still has the storm shutters (hurricane country) which my granddad and I installed in 1968 after Hurricane Beulah blew Kingsville apart in September 1967.
I also planted the two oak trees in the front yard at the same time because Beulah destroyed our mesquite, ash, and hackberry trees. I chose oak because oak and palm trees were the only trees to survive Beulah, and I disliked palm trees (still do).
420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All of the pictures are from Google Street View. You have to admit that they are decent pictures for historical purposes!

Google Earth is a free program and a lot of fun.

Google Street View is simply part of Google Maps, so when you go to Google Maps, after entering an address, simply click on the picture that shows up under the address; the picture has “Street View” in the lower left corner to help.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (9-12-14)—Bearded and wild

Friday Flower Fiesta

Part of my youth was spent living in northern Utah, places like Hyrum, Wellsville, Logan, and Brigham City. There is a significant difference between the climate of northern Utah and that of San Diego.

One of my favorite flowers that grew very well in Utah was the iris. We have a wild iris that grows here in San Diego, and while it is pretty, it’s just not as awesome as the irises from Utah. About the only time I see something like a bearded iris is near the coast where it’s cooler all the time, and on the campus of San Diego State University which has become a pretty good arboretum over the last four or five years.

Here are some of my favorite iris pictures in my collection:

#1 Wild Iris stamp

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#2Wild Iris

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#3
Purple iris

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#4
Purple iris

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#5
Iris at the San Diego Zoo

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#6Iris from Weidner's Gardens

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#7

Peach Iris

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#8

Regal Iris

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#9Bearded iris

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#10Wild Iris stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays — Memories of my 16th birthday on my mom’s 84th birthday

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thomas D . Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, UtahToday would have been my mother’s 84th birthday. She died in February 2012. She put me in a troubled youth/adoption home (Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah; picture at right) in 1965, which is how my wise old grandmother (my dad’s mom) came to adopt me. I was one of Utah’s greatest juvenile delinquents, and without my mother’s action, I’m pretty sure I would be dead at the hands of a Utah police officer or spending life in prison. I was that bad. So I thank my mother for that. I also had only seen my mother twice since 1965, once in 1968 and once in 1998, but in her elderly years she did start sending me birthday and Christmas cards.

The only other thing I thank my mother for is my interest in music. At one time she was a piano and organ accompanist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She taught me piano beginning at age two, and when I enrolled in first grade, she required me to take up another instrument; I chose violin.

Piano and violinAfter my wise old grandmother adopted me and moved me from Brigham City, Utah, to Kingsville, Texas (where I had been born), I continued playing the violin but had to give up the piano. We were too poor to afford a piano; violins were much less expensive.

For Christmas in 1970, my wise old grandmother gave me a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Actually, I think Santa Claus left it for me, but Santa Claus is a fairy tale just like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God…. all fairy tales. The tape recorder sparked my interest in collecting music. By March 1971, I had recorded from radio all the Top 40 hits. My collecting was in full swing.

I mention March 1971 because that was my sixteenth birthday. While most of my friends were getting cars or driver’s licenses for their sixteenth birthdays, I got a stereo record player and three records: “Ram” by Paul & Linda McCartney, “Black Sabbath Vol. IV” by Black Sabbath, and “The Best of The Beach Boys, Vol. I” by The Beach Boys.

Since I listen to my music collection in chronological order, I listened to those three albums (and several dozen others!) this past weekend. Here is a song from each album:

“Dear Boy” by Paul & Linda McCartney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Changes” by Black Sabbath
(not a typical heavy metal song!)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Young flamingos for Obama

Thank you to my Family!

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seahorse at Birch AquariumPlease, sit down. Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about discrimination, hatred, and prejudice. It’s a story about me.

I grew up as the product of a large Mormon family (mom) and a large Catholic family (dad). Both religions taught me about discrimination, hatred, and prejudice at a very early age. They are the main reason why I am not affiliated with any religion 57 years later.

I was born in Kingsville, Texas, in 1955, and lived there until 1960, best I can tell. We lived in Palestine, Texas, from 1960 to 1961. After my dad killed himself with a handgun, my mom moved us to northern Utah (Logan, Brigham City, Wellsville, Hyrum) to be closer to her Mormon side of the family.

Union Pacific 844 steam engine in Southern California, November 2011I was a juvenile delinquent, and eventually either my mom and stepdad decided to get rid of me, or the State of Utah took me away from them. Either way, in September 1965 I wound up as a ward of the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah.

At “The Dee,” I met Barbara Hunt, an 18-year-old woman from Bakersfield, California. She also was a ward of the hospital. Barbara befriended me and helped me write a letter to my wise old grandmother (MWOG), my dad’s mom. We couldn’t send it because I had no idea where MWOG lived. However, that night an address came to me in a dream: “Mary Agnes Kirk, Kingsville, Texas.” That was it. We sent the letter. It arrived. By Christmas 1965 I was living in Kingsville, Texas, having been adopted by MWOG.

Barn owlWithout that adoption, I’m convinced that this juvenile delinquent would either be dead at the hands of a Utah law enforcement officer or spending life in prison. MWOG gave me what all children need, regardless of who they get it from (mom & dad, mom & mom, dad & dad, mom & friends, dad & friends): love AND discipline.

MWOG laid down the rules, and she told me what the punishment was if I broke the rules. After I broke a rule and was punished, MWOG would let me cry for five or ten minutes, then take me to the bathroom where she washed the tears from my face with a warm wash cloth, dried my face, gave me a kiss, and then told me that the same thing would happen if I broke the rules again. It only took twice to understand that she meant what she said — I wasn’t exactly stupid.

Women and dogs at the beachDuring my formative years in Utah I was exposed to the N word; blacks were not welcome in our
all-white Mormon neighborhood and school. When I got back to Texas in 1965, the Catholic side of the family continued with the N word but also introduced me to other disparaging words for Mexicans, Spanish descendents, Chinese, women who worked (i.e., were more than just a person to cook meals and provide sex to the man of the house), etc.

When I went off to college at Texas A&M University, one of my ramp mates in Puryear Hall was a black guy from Nigeria (I’m pretty sure he has nothing to do with all the email scams coming out of Nigeria). I acquired a newfound respect for people of different colors, nationalities, and ethnicities.

Blacks Beach in San Diego, CaliforniaI arrived in San Diego in April 1993 and camped out on the beaches for eleven months studying the world’s great and not-so-great religions to see if there was a place for a coming-out-of-the-closet gay person. I determined that there wasn’t. At best, there were a few tolerant religions, such as Church of Christ and, to a much lesser extent, Episcopalians and Presbyterians. The latter two have taken a few steps backward since 1993. I remain unreligioned.

In March 1994, I put myself back into the work force. Eleven months doing nothing but laying out on the beach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I hired on with a temp agency, and the first job they sent me to was a
foul-mouthed old man. I stayed for the morning but did not go back after lunch. For my next job I was supposed to report to a person named Alana Infantino. Being a naive country boy, I had no idea what kind of a name Alana Infantino was, but since the job paid exceedingly well, I went.

Unknown flowerAlana was a woman. Ack! A working woman! Ack!

Alana and I hit it off, and eventually I took a full-time permanent position with her company. I was to be the legal word processor/project database manager/network engineer in Detroit, Michigan (Farmington Hills, actually). Alana took me out to eat and gave me a verbal introduction to the Detroit office. I found out that in the Detroit office there were working women, working blacks, and even working black women! Ack!

I made friends with everyone. Learned a lot about the world, too.

That was 1994. Here in 2012 I have a new family. None of them are related to me by blood. That family has been summarily dismissed. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. My new family comprises Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Turks, Poles…..well, take a look at my WordPress flags from yesterday:

Flags

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My new family also comprises women, men, gays, lesbians, straightees, married, divorced, single, old, young…. It’s a wonderful family and to my current way of thinking, much better than my old family. So here’s a “Thank you!” to my new family for keeping me involved in the world, and learning.

Young flamingos for Obama

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos