Thursday, August 20, 2015

We Are Giants ~ August 11, 2015

Our neighbors Mike and Carol gave us two tickets for the Giant's game. This is the first time in over two years we've gone to SF for something other than medical appointments. What a treat. We left Sonoma County around 2pm to miss traffic. Weatherman once again missed it completely having predicted wind and drizzle. It was clear and about 66 at game time and clear and 64 at 11:30 pm when we hiked back to where we left the car. 

Parking was an adventure in itself. The last time we went to a game was August 2013. The tickets were a gift from our friends Jeff and Kathy and they told us about a nearby parking structure that would simplify the experience. Try as we may we couldn't find it. After a number of laps around the vicinity we spotted a public parking lot near 2nd and Townsend, only $20 and about a mile walk to the stadium (perfect for our exercise regimen). One spot left and it's lucky #7. There was a space in front of us, they always stack em down there, but attendant assured us no one would block us in (they close long before the game is over). 

The park is not open until 5 so the first stop was the Fan Store next to the Willie Mays Gate. I really wanted a Giant's Gamer Babe T-Shirt. To my disbelief they didn't carry them, what's up with that? Oh Well! Back across the street to MoMo's for a bite to eat on the veranda. Table 49 (49/7=7). Prices a little steep, but it is San Francisco and we'd go back again for sure.  

Seats fabulous, Section 125, Row 30, Seats 5 and 6, just past 3rd base looking over the Giant's dugout. We remembered pillows for our bony butts and jackets just in case. Sampled desert fare, took a walk along the promenade to check out the view and crowd and talked with seat mates until game time. Rod brought Mike's glove just in case a foul ball came our way. The closest one was about 20 feet in front of us and next section over, but we were ready.

My protector

Getting to see Madison Bumgarner pitch an entire game and watching the Giants create magic live is awesome. We heard this in an interview on the way home.

Madison Bumgarner headed up the dugout steps for the ninth inning when manager Bruce Bochy asked how he was feeling. ''Why are you even asking?'' San Francisco's ace cracked. Minutes later, he completed a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts, backed by Brandon Belt's two solo home runs that broke up a pitcher's duel as the San Francisco Giants beat the Houston Astros 3-1. 

The game was sold out as usual. When we watch out of town games it always seems like there are more Giants fans in opposing stands than locals. You gotta love it. 

Hiked back up to the parking lot after the game. Three cars in the lot and one is parked directly in front of us. Fortunately we'd left some wiggle room behind the Honda and were able to pull out of lucky #7 with ease. Got home about midnight (we're not usually up that late) and jumped in the hot tub to check out the Milky Way and shooting stars from the meteor showers.

A grand day for the home team and us. Thank you Mike and Carol. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tombstone Series ~Those Big Business Sons of Bitches ~ Letter to John L. Lewis ~ January 21, 1949

As a miner and mining engineer, my Grandfather had a unique perspective and intimate knowledge the conditions miners were forced to work under. During his time in Washington, DC he also took on Standard Oil, Land Grant Railroads, Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Land Management and the Interior Department to expose the "thefting and framing" of the American public out of billions of dollars of mineral rights. He felt it was his mission to bring the heat to the feet of those "Big Business Sons of Bitches". 

This letter is to John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers of America.  I believe the letter they both refer to was the one grandfather wrote to Donovan Richardson, who was the publisher of the Christian Science Monitor at the time. It was published on May 22, 2015, under the title "Tombstone Series ~ Those Big Business Sons of Bitches ~ Letter to Donovan Richardson ~ November 10, 1949"

Looking at previous correspondence I believe the date on this letter, in relation to the others, should have been dated January 21, 1950 and not 1949, though we'll never know for sure.

History is a tapestry woven of threads and memories and times long forgotten. The beauty of these old letters is that a new light is shed on first hand accounts of important moments in history. Stay curious and as Grandpa used to say "Good Hunting".

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tombstone Series ~ Dr. Robert Fulton Winchester 1845-1932

Robert Fulton Winchester was my Great Grand Uncle, brother to Charlotte Maria Winchester Bagg wife of my Great Grandfather Stanley Chipman Bagg. 

He was born April 27, 1845 in Brewer, Maine. As a young man interested in medicine, he became an apprentice to a doctor, and then volunteered as a surgeon for the Union army during the Civil War. After the war ended he attended Bowdoin College in Maine and graduated in 1867. Drawn by the lure of the west, he moved to San Francisco in 1868 to set up his practice. 

When the smallpox epidemic broke out in San Juan Bautista, he volunteered to leave his practice to come to the aid of the stricken community where he met Colonel William Wells Hollister. Impressed with his dedication Colonel Hollister asked him to move to Santa Barbara and become the family doctor and run a clinic. 

According to Walker A. Tomkins:

"As an enticement to get Dr. Winchester to come south, in 1870 Colonel Hollister purchased 1,000 acres of prime land in the doctor’s name in the lush arroyo west of Ellwood Canyon. Winchester agreed to the move. After a few years, he grew tired of rural life and moved into Jose Lobero’s adobe at 110 West Carrillo Street, which the Hollisters had used as temporary living quarters while the Glen Annie ranch house was being built.

In 1872, Dr. Winchester started his practice in competition with the town’s well-established Dr. Brinkerhoff. When the Fithian Building opened at State and Ortega in 1896, Dr. Winchester leased a suite of offices. By this time, Winchester had served as Santa Barbara County coroner, county doctor and city health officer. He retired from practice in 1925, although he continued to see patients for the rest of his life. He died at age 87 at his home at 412 West Montecito Street, Santa Barbara, now a historic landmark".

The Trussell Winchester Adobe circa 1903 at 412 West Montecito Street
from the family photo collection

Charlotte Winchester Bagg

Once Dr. Winchester was settled in, the Winchester tribe headed west from Maine. From a letter written by my Grandfather to Mrs. George H. Finley, who was doing a story for the dedication of the Adobe in 1957. 

"Charlotte (my mother) was a passenger on the first Pullman sleeping car to cross the continent to San Francisco. From this I assume the Tribe was along: Sara Blake Kidder Hayes Winchester (Aunt Sadie), Uriah Winchester, Sarah Augusta, and Charlotte Maria to settle in Santa Barbara with Robert. The above advertisement is dated 1937 which means Charlotte and family came west in 1877." 

Sarah, a Santa Barbara school teacher, purchased the home at 412 W. Montecito in 1882. In 1884 the ownership passed to Robert and then to niece Katherine Bagg Hastings in 1929. It remained in the Winchester family until 1955 when Katherine bequeathed it to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. 

Tell me my Great Grand Uncle, Dr. Robert Fulton Winchester, doesn't bear a resemblance to Tom Skerritt

Dr. Robert Fulton Winchester

Actor Tom Skerritt