Saturday, June 27, 2015

Surname Saturday: Shelton Family Reunion - MISSED! And a Blogging Hiatus

My Shelton heritage, left to right:  GGG-grandfather Jacob Shelton (1822-1874), GG-grandfather Levi Marion Shelton (1863-1941), and a four-generations photo of my mother Geraldine Guokas Pape, G-grandmother Addilee Tennessee Shelton Wolfe Odom Harris (1890-1977) holding me, and grandmother Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997).

Well, if things had gone as planned, right now I would have been sitting down to a meal with my Shelton kin at the family reunion at the Verda Baptist Church near Montgomery, Louisiana.

What I didn't plan on was an emergency room visit about an hour before I planned to leave this morning on the 5.5 drive to get to the reunion by now.

I've had some problems off and on for the past few months with peripheral neuropathy.  For a week or so, it's been concentrated in my left arm.  In the past few days I've developed pain just below the left ribcage, and in my left shoulder blade.  Last night I had some chest pain on the left and a few episodes of sweating.  I was unable to sleep last night and was (still am) more comfortable upright.

Despite doing a 6-mile bike ride yesterday morning and unpacking 25-30 boxes and loading up my husband's un-air-conditioned SUV with a bunch of K-12 textbooks the morning before that, I feared a possible heart attack, so we went to the hospital at 5 AM.

The good news is that my heart is fine and the chest x-ray and blood work did not show anything else that was obviously wrong.  I got to go home about two hours later, but by then it was too late to attempt to go to the reunion.

And unfortunately, I still feel lousy.  Still got the left arm pain/numbness/tingling, still got the pains under the ribcage, in the shoulder blade, and in the chest.  I have an appointment with my primary care doctor this coming Friday (I made that Thursday afternoon when some of these symptoms were manifesting themselves).  I suspect this is something stress-related - maybe an ulcer. [ETA:  The doctor diagnosed pulled muscles and recommended Aleve or Advil, which did help.]

Which brings me to the other part of this post.  I HAVE been under a lot of stress lately.  My husband underwent a carotid endarterectomy a month ago.  He's doing well, but it was the fourth surgery in a year for him - three glaucoma surgeries prior to that, two on the same eye.  My parents are both 86 now, and my mother in particular is facing some issues that might require some changes in her care.  They live three hours away, so dealing with that is somewhat stressful.  The offspring are job-hunting and recovering from surgeries of their own, further stress.  And at work, I'm dealing with a reorganization of my work areas and the need to move my office into a different room before summer's end.

Something's gotta give.  You may have noticed I haven't been writing in this blog very much lately.  And I'm afraid that's how it's going to have to be for a while.  I have enough stress in my life at the moment that I don't need the pressure of researching and writing for this blog (which no one reads anyway) to add to that.

I have a couple posts in draft form that I do hope to finish over the next few months.  I also have lots of photos already scanned that I hope to post, there just won't be a lot of meaty information to go with them (lots of "Wordless Wednesdays" to come).

Someday, when I feel a little better and my life is more in order, I'll be back to the same level I've been at the past year or so.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Father's Day! Dad, Mom, Karen, and Me, 1959

Karen, Gerrie, Fred, and Amanda Pape, 1959, at 7913 Cedel, Houston, Texas

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Military Monday: DR Ahead - "Get That Drift Down to a Gnat's ___ !!!!"

After my dad, Fred Pape, came back from Korea in March 1953, he was assigned back to Ellington Air Force Base in Houston to the 3605th Observer Training Wing, as an instructor in the navigator school there; the same one he graduated from in April 1952.  Dad was assigned to Ellington for the remainder of his time in the Air Force, through April 10, 1955.

Most of the pictures I have of Dad from this time period are of him with Mom, as he met her during this time and they married in Houston on September 11, 1954.  However, Dad does have a copy of a "yearbook" for Class 55-04 (the fourth class in 1955), which would have been near the end of Dad's time in the Air Force.  At left is his picture in the yearbook, and below is a photo of the front cover.

The yearbook was called "DR. AHEAD," which meant "dead reckon ahead."  Dead reckoning is a navigational process defined by Merriam-Webster as "the determination without the aid of celestial observations of the position of a ship or aircraft from the record of the courses sailed or flown, the distance made, and the known or estimated drift."

"Drift" is defined as "the deviation of a vessel, aircraft, or projectile from its intended or expected course as the result of currents or winds."

The cover was apparently used for a number of classes, differentiated only by the class designation embossed on the cover (just below the compass in the center).

In the photos below, I have lightened the background so the embossed "55-04" stands out a little more.  Dad's yearbook also had his name and position embossed on it as well:

Senior Instructor, 04C

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Shelton Family Reunion on June 27!

Mom's first cousin Edith Carole just e-mailed me to tell me the Shelton Family Reunion is going to be on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the Baptist Church in Verda, Louisiana.  This is about a 5.5 hour one-way drive for me, but I can't tell you how excited I am about this!  I just designed and ordered the t-shirt pictured above (same design on the back of the shirt) to wear at the reunion, so everyone knows how I'm related.  Hoping to meet some family and find some info that will help me trace back further in this line, and to share some of my research, especially on Jacob.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Fred Pape, Jim Bayes, and Forrest Hicks, April 1952

Cropped from the Ellington Air Force Base Class 52-05 Navigator graduation photo, April 1952, from left:  my dad, Fred Pape; Jim Bayes; and Forrest L. Hicks.

On February 7, 2015,Dad told me a little more about Forrest Hicks.  They called him "Hicks," and he (along with Dad and Jim) washed out of pilot school (at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi).  While waiting to get into a navigator class at Ellington, Dad roomed with Hicks in the top floor of the barracks.  It was very hot up there, but they had a window, and air from the Gulf of Mexico blew through - except for about an hour or so at night.  Dad said Forrest had a 45-rpm turntable and liked to listen to classical music, such as Scheherazade and the 1812 Overture.

After they graduated, Hicks was stationed at a base on the other side of Korea from Dad.  One day, the pilot of his plane was badly wounded by ack-ack (anti-aircraft guns), and Hicks was responsible for bringing the plane home safely.  He received the Distinguished Service Cross for doing so, an award second only to the Medal of Honor.  Here is what he did to earn it, from the citation:

...while serving Navigator of an unarmed, unescorted B-26 aircraft, 6167th Operations Squadron, FIFTH Air Force, deployed over Ullyul, North Korea on 8 December 1952. During a pass on an enemy convoy near Ullyul, the pilot* on his crew was severely wounded in the hip. After the engineer* brought the ship under control, he called upon Lieutenant Hicks to come to the aid of the semi-conscious pilot, whose senses and strength were failing. The pilot could not be treated in his position, and his chances of survival after a bail-out were negligible. Realizing this, he entreated the crew to bail out and save themselves; but Lieutenant Hicks and the engineer elected to remain with him at great risk to their lives, to give aid and to help get the aircraft back to the base. Facing the rear of the aircraft, Lieutenant Hicks pointed directions and shouted instructions to the pilot, encouraging him to follow his instructions until the field could be reached. Lieutenant Hicks' calmness during this emergency, his decision to remain in the aircraft, and his aid in monitoring the controls were largely responsible for saving the pilot and the aircraft.

Hole made by the anti-aircraft shell. (U.S. Air Force photo), credit National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Pilot's seat immediately after the successful landing. (U.S. Air Force photo), credit National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Forrest Llewelan Hicks was born May 17, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, the oldest of two sons of Robert Stanley Hicks and Laura Drusilla Frick.  He joined the Navy in December 1943 and served as a Seaman 2/C (second class) until 1946.  One of the last ships he served on (as of June 14 of that year) was the USS Yosemite.

Hicks then attended the University of New Mexico, and later the University of Southern California, where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.  He earned a degree from the latter in August 1948, and also did some graduate work there.  He later went to work for the State of California as an engineering geologist.

On December 27, 1950, exactly seven years after he enlisted in the Navy, Hicks joined the Air Force.  At the time, he was single and his parents were living in Stillwater, Oklahoma, so that was listed as his home of record.

Hicks met Sarah "Sally" Elinor Lynch of Glendale, California, in 1955, and they married at Christmas of that year.  They had one son, and divorced in March 1961.  Sometime during the marriage, Hicks had reached the rank of captain with the Air Force and was stationed at Itazuke Air Base in Japan.  By this point, he had also earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three clusters, the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, and other decorations.  He flew combat missions in T-33, C-46, and C-47 aircraft as well as the B-26.  He retired at the rank of major.

Hicks remarried in 1965 and had three more children, two boys and a girl.  By 1986 he was living in Florida.  He died March 2, 2004, and is buried at Saint Lukes Parish Episcopal Church Cemetery in
Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida.

* The pilot was Major Lawrence E. Freligh (1918-1968).  The flight engineer was Tech. Sgt. James H. Ledford.  They also received the Distinguished Service Cross.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: Happy Birthday to My Son Eric!

Eric and me in the summer of 1986.  I think he is yawning, not crying.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.