Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Fires of Nantyglo - "Rape of the Fair Country" by Alexander Cordell

Above is a memorial to men killed in the Chartist Uprising of 1839. Many Survivors were convicted of crimes and sent to Van Diemen's Land - Tasmania, Australia.

The historical novel by Alexander Cordell hits close to the home of my ancestors at the forges on the other side of the Blorenge from Llanfoist where they lived. The forges are where they worked as puddlers. 

It's still not known how they became puddlers in the midst of industrial turmoil and desperate poverty. It may have been that they were hired to replace striking workers like those demanding voting rights and parliamentary reform in the tragic assault on Newport - the characters in Cordell's historical novel. No sign yet that the Vaughans were involved in Chartism as they remained, alive, and not shipped to Australia - (except we're trying to track down one son-in-law, William Delahay, who disappears from the records in Wales and may have ended up there or in New South (very south) Wales. His wife, Catherine Vaughan, may have been baptized a Mormon. Elder Needham's journal is not clear on this point.) 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Family Tetons, er, Totems

I visited my Aunt today up on the hill and noticed another piece of my Dad's artwork I needed to photograph. They deserve more professionalism than I can give, but hey, I've got to get what I can. And they're pretty great paintings!

The Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA
(c) 1975, Larry K. Vaughn
There is nothing to say on the beauty of the rendering of the subject but to thank my Dad. l also thank Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act, and the secret negotiations with the Rockefellers that resulted in a National Park. (Look it up.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Scouting and Bullying - the Gay Policy

As a Scout, I was bullied as a Gay. There were some bullies who called me "fag," "faggot," "little faggot," and "queer." These words out of the mouths of bullies are becoming as socially unacceptable as the "N___" word. And, thank Heavens!

Scouting isn't about bullying. It should be the exact opposite as a place for team-building and citizenship skills in a diverse society which is the ideal of melting-pot USA. And there still is a lot of bullying.

It probably is a natural inclination for groups of boys to ostracize the outcast. I still hear modern Scouts "jokingly" (actually, bullyingly) call each other "Gay" --the targets no more Gay then I was as a teen even if a bit of an outcast or loner. My role as leader has been to nip that in its bud, stop it in its tracks, whatever it takes to kindly yet forcefully teach that such talk and bullying behavior is unacceptable.

And Scouting isn't about sex. Well, at least it's not supposed to be. But I've heard the crudest language and sexual jokes among Scouts and sometimes leaders. On an excursion to Philmont Scout Ranch years ago, there was a Playboy passed around. Sure, I looked. And I played with the cards bought in San Francisco Chinatown with bare-breasted women on them. We kept making jokes about the "stacked deck." OK, not by best moments, but far from the worst as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Rush of Historical Preservation

Jane Vaughan Lewis Johns - early 1860s
Aunt Jane is smiling.

No, she really is! She may not be the most beautiful person in the world what with the Vaughan nose and all. It's the same nose that's on her brother's face, the only two siblings we have in photos from that generation (well, so far).

John Vaughan, to the right, is my paternal, 3rd-Great-Grandfather. That's the best copy we have of the picture. It's from an old-style, wide-typewritten, pedigree chart. My Collaborator-Cousin has already put out a notice to search for the original.

That's why I donated the miraculous picture of my 4th-Great-Aunt Jane to the LDS Church History Library today. [oops, I miscounted generations on the form].

It's pretty easy to donate. I've done it before with cousins on my Mom's side with our Great-Grandmother's journal.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Standing for Something (You Don't Agree With)

We have some really good friends who are dedicated home-schoolers. I don't agree with home-schooling. I think that in spite of the best intentions, no parent is able to provide the wide diversity of specialized knowledge that a variety of teachers can in the public schools. It also tends to undermine the purpose of public schools which is to give every child an opportunity for a basic education to be a functioning member of a self-governing democratic republic. The socialization skills with children of different backgrounds also help in the melting-pot ideal of America.

Still, we love our friends dearly. We never debated our differing views on home-schooling. I'm not even sure of their actual reasons for doing it.

At their request, I once participated in a conference where home-schooling families got together to hear presentations on a variety of subjects. I was asked to do a session on the Founding Mothers concentrating on Abigail Adams and her influence on husband John through their rich trove of correspondence. It was fun!