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Posts Tagged ‘Stories’


20200306_112700The full title reads: ” “Chippewa Indians of Minnesota, Incorporated” — BallClub, July 13-15, 1920. Benjamin Caswell, of Cass Lake, President” “and in another place “Rich” Photo –Bemidji–

I found this photo in my Grandmother’s shed. Having cleaned it out a few months after she died in 1985. “Lizzy” Elizabeth Joyce Mason is the girl with the bow in her hair on the far left. She was 14 then.

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To the left of her is my Great -Grandfather, “Neogeshig”, or Thomas Jefferson Jerome Mason. You can tell from his visage that Littlecreek men received many facial characteristics from him. 🙂

He’s holding Helen C. Mason, age 2, and I believe that little boy half hiding behind his pant leg to the left of him is either his son Vilas, age 6, or son Thomas Jr., age 7.

I figured I’d better put this photograph online somewhere so others could benefit from it–since it’s been sitting on top of my dresser all these years.

I am amazed at the amount of personal family history contained in this photograph. Who are all these people???

The expression of their genes is so strong, I think I would recognize their descendants from this picture! Let me know if you know any of them.

After uploading the whole photo,  I noticed that it was compressed so much that I couldn’t really identify anyone, so I’m adding enlarged sections of it above and below.

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I’m guessing that the man sitting apart from the others in the front bottom row, as a place of prominence, is Benjamin Caswell. Can anyone confirm this?20200306_125403

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Aren’t phone cameras great?

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The following is a non-fictional writing exercise on perception:

I ask my wife what she sees when she closes her eyes in a totally lightless room. “Black.” She says.
“Anything else?” I ask.
A boring “No.” is her response.

What I see when I close my eyes is… complicated. It’s different depending on the situation.

Color-wise the elements are muted flourescent greens, the kind you see on a glow-in-the dark watch face after a few hours into the night,

and muted flourescent purples; the color of dust on velvet under a black light.

Speaking of black, I see that too. Rarely is it ever the rich perfect vibrant black seen on an OLED color TV screen but is almostly totally muddied, washed out by the overlay of the previous two colors.

The picture is complex.  As I describe this I have to alternate between turning the light on in my room to write, and turning the light off and placing the palms of my hands over my eye sockets to return to my interior vision. When I do, what I see has no boundaries save it be how far I can turn my eyes left and right, up and down. If I had 360 degree vision, I suspect  the picture would be spherical. In fact that is it. It’s just that my viewing arc is more restricted. And “I” am in its’ center.

When I say picture, I mean both senses of the word. The “picture” is what I see, but it also has movement. There are elements which are static for an instant when I focus on them, but change, either when I move my eyes to another part of my visual field, or shift into something else when I concentrate on them.

There is no horizon. There is two and three dimensionality. It is sometimes like looking into a microscope and seeing what you have focused on a two dimensional plane and then turning the dial and seeing the focus of a nearer or farther plane.

The elements are multitudinous, minute.
They comprise my whole visual field. I suspect it is part after-images, but I know upon experimentation that they also are physiological manifestations. For instance, if I roll my eyes as low as I can, I see two arcs/ circles flashes of light which I suspect might be photons silhouetting my retinal disks.

And the elements sometimes strobe. I wonder if this is due to microsaccades generated by my superior colliculus. You know, those little jerky eye movements that keep things from disappearing  if you stare at them too long.

I’m getting sleepy but there are three other things I mention off of the top of my head. Sometimes the picture is cross-hatched. I don’t know where that comes from. Sometimes I see typeface. That comes from reading too long before bedtime. And sometimes it’s like looking through a sponge of neurons, which makes me wonder, since eyes, optic nerves, optic chiasm, right and left lateral geniculate nucleai, and right and left striate cortices are all connected; whether the visual seat of my consciousness is looking from the outside in, or inside out. Perhaps it’s one of those things that’s dependent upon your choice of view.

Am “I” actually able to peer through the cells in my visual cortex? I kid you not. It’s food for thought.

So, what do YOU see when you close your eyes? I’d like to know!

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Every once in a while an Indian (read American Indian) will give a friend or family member a nickname. Sometimes these names are given just for fun, other times they are given to help that person be humble. “Dances With Wolves” comes to mind.

I actually know some of my aunts and uncles by their nicknames: Ishky, Bunny, and Boogens are three.

I told my wife that I finally figured out what her Indian nickname was.

“Well, what is it?”, she asked.

“Too Many Pillows”, I said.

She laughed… because she knew it was true.

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I found this picture while searching for family photos at the Minnesota Historical Society way back in ’77. (1977, not 1877)

I managed to find out where I could write to Bob Hope at the time and sent him a copy, hoping that he might have some information about it. I received this letter from him along with my returned photo.
Bob Hope Letter
Mr. Hope couldn’t provide me with any new information except to suggest it may have been taken in a studio. (I was thinking Cali-for-nii-aa) but I was pleased nonetheless to have received a personal letter back along with his autograph!

I recently signed up for a five day free trial of Newspapers.com (I needed a credit card but was told how I could easily cancel my trial before the five days were up.)
During that period, I pretty much dedicated myself to looking up as many possible Ancestor references for myself and friends who were interested. I probably looked at a thousand possible articles and was rewarded with a score or more, which I “Clipped” and then downloaded. This was one of them.
Bob Hope and Ben Littlecreek at the Nicollet Hotel
Yep, same top hat, same sport coat, same two people. BINGO!!! Mystery solved.

Part of the article reads:

“Forever a gagster, Bob Hope invaded Minneapolis Monday. He put on a two-hour stage show in Minneapolis Auditorium. Sang a duet with Mayor Eric G. Hoyer, said nasty things about Bing Crosby, and was made an honorary Indian. Most of the shenanigans took place in Nicollet Hotel, where, among other things, the ski-nosed comedian attended a dinner put on by the Theadore Peterson American Legion Post.

*   *   *

In Picture below, Hope meets Chief Ben Littlecreek of the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Tribe. Hope made the Chief an honorary “Paleface”, from the movie by the same name.”

As a side note, I like Hope’s irony here. That’s the first time I’ve heard of an Indian being made an honorary Paleface!

All kidding aside, for you genealogy buffs out there, Try the Newspaper.com free Trial. It was worth it! (And, they actually made cancelling the trial easy!) All irony aside, I will pay for a subscription–which I can get for just one month if I want–should I need to research other ancestors in the future.

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After a journey of but an hour,
through heat and behind slow caravans,
we arrive.

Festive pilgrims at this hallow place,
beset by hawkers of food, drink, clothes and relics.

Vendors sell celestial filters of mortality to the unwary,
lest the latter looking through mortal orbs,
are blinded by his glory.

All this to glimpse the wink of the eye of God.

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Midnight in Red Lake.

The air is cool through the open bedroom window.

Dogs are barking.

Somewhere in the distance,

to the Northwest,

someone singin’ Indian.

Their song fades in and out.

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Mister Cardinal,

I distinctly saw and heard you warble in dulcet tones,

chocolate…

chocolate!

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