Muncie Arial Maps

With the new technology that exists, it’s amazing the things you can find and see.  While researching Muncie Illinois I had located an old map from the early 1900s. I’ve been trying to match up the streets and find where the original train station was.   To match up the map, I was able to pull up the aerial maps from Google Maps. The map not only includes the streets, but you can see an aerial picture of the locations.   I can zoom in and out and move around.  I also was able to follow the path of the google car and look around as if I was driving down the street in Muncie.  The car took the route down Main street and turned onto 150.

Following the Google car route, you can have a 360 degree view around the car!

From the areal, I’ve been able to make out the ball field – which I assume must still be in use.  The school which is now being used by the church, and the church with their parking lot.  I have pictures of all my favorite spots from the roadside, but the maps are great for comparing with the historic maps.

Family Pics

Our current house has a landing part way up the stairs. I decided to decorate the stairs with current pictures of my immediate family.  Finding pictures was a matter of searching my hard drive for the digital photos that would match what I wanted and then printing them in the size I wanted.  Using printed pictures I’m sure the quality isn’t as high resolution as previous pictures, but guilt when we want ot swap out of a set of pictures is non-existent.  Currently I have a couple pictures of the boys at their current ages and some of them as preschoolers.

I included pictures of ourselves also, and some information about our family tree!  Below the family tree of photo frames I have an antique drop leaf gate leg table that includes a chess set on a runner.  On the table top is also a lamp from my childhood.  The lamp was one found in the Illk house when we moved in after Ralph Goodrich moved on.  It is designed to look like a dancer with a lace skirt and huge lace ‘hat’ for a lap shade.
   The bottom of the lamp is a nightlight with the top being a standard lamp.  I’ve been a little nervous to use the nightlight portion of the lamp for more than a few minutes due to the fragile feel of the skirt.  I think it would be likely to be a fire risk if it is lit and heats up.

I claimed this lamp when we moved into the Illk house when I was in second grade and still have it as well as the toddler sized doll.  I’d love to know more about the type of lamp and history of the lamp!

Deer – Venison – Hunting?

Deer – Venison – Hunting?

Visiting home it’s not unusual to see deer. – Growing up we actually had deer as pets!  The deer I see on visits now are wdeer by Oakwood Illinoishite tail deer, indigenous to the state of Illinois.  (Growing up our deer were Fallow Deer) They are kind of like large rodents as far as farmers are concerned, but are also great for a beef replacement and a lot cheaper.  Deer come into fields and eat the corn when they have a chance.  Farmers can get nuisance permits to hunt in the off season on their own property to deal with deer coming to literally eat their livelihood.  That being said, deer are cute!  Speaking as someone that has several as pets, they are a little like cute farm animals that will eat from your hand when they are comfortable with you.

From past experience though deer can also be dangerous…. I’ve seen deer throw a tire in the air with their antlers and also hit the sides of their cage and knock the person standing next to it down on the ground. Deer can jump high into the air, so we kept ours with a cage made of old corn cob sides that were raised in the air enough to keep them in. The buck was dangerous with antlers, but I was always convinced he was trying to play with us like he would with other bucks in the herd.   Now though, our deer watching amounts to watching White Tail Deer from a distance.  They come into the fields todeer by Oakwood Illinois snack on corn and bean plants at the early hours of the day and just as the sun starts to set.


I like to take pictures of the deer – I actually caught a video of a deer the other day that walked beside our car, turned to look at me as if staring me down and then just started peeing. So far the only shooting I’ve done of deer are pictures……

The deer are everywhere.  We see them crossing roads, in the fields, and even every night at the Oakwood rest stop on our last visit. Some of my pictures are quick pull out the camera there they are again, and others are thought out, they aren’t moving pictures.  When we are home for good, it will be fun to try to catch deer in all their different stages.  I’d love to catch some fawns with their spots!


I can’t bring myself to actually hunt deer.  The last hunting I did was raccoons I think with my father.  We also hunted frogs for the legs and deer by Oakwood Illinoiscaught fish.  I’ll remember the traipsing across the field, shotgun, dogs included, and off to look for raccoons.  I also remember the sound of the raccoons squealing after they fell from the tree. The frogs I could take or leave and they went with the turtles that for us kids really just meant we got to play with heads…  Fish were something my father kept stocked in the pond.  I was horned by a catfish at a pond at the farm we called the Ranch and refused to fish anything but Sunfish and Bass after that.  Totally another story….

Now even with spiders I have a hard time killing them off myself.  I once put a spider in a container and told it, if it could get out it was free to go….  I couldn’t bring myself to kill it, but I also couldn’t LIVE with it in my house…. Don’t get me wrong! I don’t have any problem with others hunting as long as they use what they kill and don’t just shoot it and leave it.  Shooting for sport is wrong.

I remember as friends of my parents coming over to hunt over the years.  Sometimes the hunt was bow, and sometimes there was drinking.  I don’t remember seeing my dad drink much, so for me it was always a little funny to see the drunks come over and stumble around with plans to go out and hunt with fatal weapons.  I’ve seen them make plans to walk down each side of the field pointed at each other with shotguns, looking for deer to hunt.  Heading out with coolers of beer….  The time I remember most though was the friend of a my parent’s friend that came over drunk with a bow and needed string it.  He tried with an arrow in the bow!  I don’t think my parents let me see the gash, but someone had to rush him to the emergency room after that.

My dad would go out each year though and get how ever many deer he had permits for and hang them up, then my parents would spend the next few days packaging all the meat.  The kitchen table would be covered with a meat grinder, freezer paper, and parts of meat. My dad would run out to the barn and cut chunks off as they were ready for more and he would cut them up inside with big knives.  The deer were always hung up out in the machine shed.

A couple times my mother decided she wanted to cure the hides and dad took the hides off also. My brother and I had some play space set up in the basement…. Basement for us meant old concrete floor unfinished over 100 year old house where the coal furnace had been that was open to the dirt in some spots.  My mother took one room of the basement, read some books on tanning hides (the internet didn’t exist yet), and gave it a try!  I think the first step was to dry the hide out with salt, so the hides were in the basement covered in salt for months.   I don’t remember them passing that stage, or even what happened to them, but I’m sure they aren’t still in the basement of the old house with my brother living there now!


I do like venison, though the thing I like most about it is that it’s free.  To me it seems I’d be hypocritical to not be a vegetarian and say I won’t eat venison.  I’ve never really been able to tell the difference in taste.  If someone showed me two cuts of meat, I am fairly certain I could tell you which is which – deer is a lot leaner meat….  But my taste buds just aren’t that refined.   There is a difference in where the deer came from.  I know some deer come from areas that make them taste gamey.  Our area makes the deer taste the same as cows in my view. When I see deer running around in the field, my first thought isn’t that they are dinner – though I do have to admit it is in the top 10.  I’d say though I have the same thoughts about a cow.

Growing up dinner almost always amounted to my mother sending us to the freezer to pull out a type of meat.  We had huge deep freezes in the garage to store all the venison and by type of meat I don’t mean cow or venison.  Type of meat was written on each white wrapped package in black permanent marker!  There were tenderloin, beef chunks, hamburger, little steaks, deer roast, and more.  All labeled in my mother’s writing and all packed into the freezer in the white paper.  – Now my mother goes to a processing plant and gets the meat in a professional looking package.  She takes in any deer they have gotten and the butcher lets her know when it has been turned into what she has listed.  We just tried some new types of deer sticks this last visit!


I have no idea what will happen when we retire and move home.  Will my husband decide to give hunting a try?  I can’t see my children deciding to shoot deer with anything but a camera…

deer by Oakwood Illinois
deer by Oakwood Illinois

1/2 an Inch?

The house I grew up in (we moved in while I was in 2nd grade) was a house that had been built in the early 1800s and was known as the Illk house.  It was the neighborhood that my family had always been in and had I’m sure been built by a person (Abraham Illk) that in some convoluted way related to us.  The bricks for the house were made in the wood near the house and my father would say this house has stood for 100 years and will stand for 100 more!  When the wind would blow for a huge storm, we couldn’t hear anything from inside the house.

One of the stories I remember from my childhood was our washer and dryer needing replaced….. my father had let my brother and I take apart the old ones and play with all the parts, including using the casing to store some animal we had found in the woods.  My father was in the field when the new washer and dryer were delivered…..  Of course the new washer and dryer were a littler larger than the opening to turn the corner and go down the stairs.  The delivery man, not having a clue what my family is like, said the famous words – If we only had another 1/2 an inch!  So my mother after saying are you sure?  Grabbed a hammer and knocked the plaster off the wall.

The delivery quickly put the washer and dryer into the basement and ran as fast as they could out of the house – probably expecting my dad to show up and hurt them in some way.  My brother currently living in the house still hasn’t fixed the plaster, 40 years later!  The lathe on the stairs is still visible, and it’s just the spot directly inside the door.  The basement is unfinished with parts being dirt basically open to the outside, and in one spot there is an opening that has stairs that lead up under the kitchen going directly to the floor and into the dirt.  I remember cats having kittens under the kitchen and having to crawl under the kitchen to see them.

Illlk houseThe picture from the Oakwood Centennial book shows the Illk house before we moved in.  Now the porch doesn’t have the roof and a kitchen and garage have been added on the other side of the living room windows.  We actually got the house from Ralph Goodrich when as I entered second grade.


Racism didn’t exist?

I originally wasn’t going to write anything about this, only because to me it seemed like a part of our family history that maybe should just be forgotten.  I just recently read the article about the Ohio campaign person saying that racism didn’t exist in America until Obama was president.  To me that was a lot like rewriting textbooks the way you want them, and also blaming the victims.

Much as I try very hard myself to not be racist – and raise my children that way…  and yes I do find myself profiling people, but not on the things you would think…. Personally I have to mentally tell myself to ignore it when someone smells like smoke (I have a really hard time breathing around heavy smells – same thing with heavy perfume too), really obese (no clue, probably projection and the fact that I’m scared to death that I’ll become more heavy), and of all the weird things – people that have really bad grammar and spelling)…  I try really hard to not let any of those factors make any difference on how I see someone and have had some great friends in all those categories!

What I’m really getting at though is that I had found out a few months ago that my grandmother, one of the grandmother’s that was gone before I was even alive.  Gone before my parent’s were even adults….  was what I would consider very racist.  The story I’ve heard is that she would walk into a restaurant and is she saw someone that was black, she would walk right back out refusing to eat there.  (Especially if they worked there)….  To me that’s crazy!  What difference does it make…. of course this was in the 1920s to 1940s, so before segregation really occurred.  The story left me embarrassed and floored to think that a family member of mine would do this.

I did know growing up that we were in a town that was very homogeneous.  The demographics of the town would pretty much make a solid pie chart on every descriptor, and anyone trying to change that would be run out on a rail.  I was a very oblivious kid and had no clue (other than the 5 Catholics and I caught that because my mother was one).  Leaving for college was really my first experience with anyone different in any way.  My first road trip with a friend we dropped by my parents – 4 whites, 1 black in the car and my dad explained to me that I was not to bring them home again.  He used a lot of not so nice words.  I am amazed I wasn’t disowned after the major fight we had at the time.  That was the only discussion I had ever had with my father about race…. and I think I never had another again after that.

I took a job with the university and never lived at home again, so the topic never came up, though I did bring a friend from the Philippines home a couple years later.  My friend stayed at my grandmother Wakeland and the topic never came up….

The thought though that racism didn’t exist before Obama just has me amazed.  I consider myself fairly young – just under 50, and also grew up very sheltered… and I remember hearing about the KKK burning crosses in yards nearby as I grew up. Stories about people trying to move to near by towns and things horrible things with derogatory words and XXXX ‘go home’ painted on big buildings in town.  These were towns with less than 2000 people and this was the 70s (long before Obama was president)!

I’m sure I’m rambling, and I’m sure that there were more relatives in my family that were openly racist.  There were probably even ancestors that interacted with slaves in one way or another, though I know there was one ancestor that came to the US as an Irish slave also.  He was kidnapped from the docks in Ireland and put on a ship, forced to work way to the US on the ship and then work to pay off his transport when he reached the New World.  The thing is, he was able to work off the passage and get freedom. He did fear for his life on the ship, but he wasn’t shackled under the decks.  He was grabbed on the docks and not able to let his family know what happened, but then he had the rights to send a message back to Ireland later on a returning ship.  That ancestor went on to own a plantation and in 1776 was a respected member of the Virginia community.

Notice in the above I have a hard time even saying that an ancestor may have owned slaves, yet we all know any ancestor in the south before slavery was abolished that was a landowner had the possibility.  I also can’t bring myself to type the derogatory words that were written on buildings during my childhood.  I recently saw someone post calling Obama HNIC and had no clue what that was.  When replying that I didn’t know why they were saying it was my HNIC someone else finally filled me in to the acronym.  I hated that I had used the acronym even!   President Obama is just that, the President.  Freedom of Speech in the US does give you the right to say free speech, but that free speech should not include bullying and insulting other people!

I would like to ignore the parts of my history that include racism, bigotry, and even slave ownership while I’m researching my family history…. but it is a part of my history. I have to take the good with the bad and I can’t just decide that it didn’t exist.  What I can do personally is try to make sure that I never let race, sexual orientation, religion, or even appearance affect how I treat anyone.  AND that I try to speak up for people when I have a chance to help right an injustice.

It’s the little things too, like Pay it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness that make a difference.


Fireplace Fire and Hide and Seek…..

A fire is pretty scary.  I remember from childhood the one time my mother caught our house on fire….. for some reason it isn’t such a scary memory for me as just a thing that happened.  From my memory, our house was super old even before we moved in.  It came preloaded with antiques…. including a duncan phyfe coffee table that I proceeded to break the glass top on when my mother tried to get me to put Vicks on my nose during allergy season. The house included furniture that we called the Monstrosity, trunks, and things everywhere. My parents proceeded to work on redoing the whole house – everything from adding a regular furnace to dropping the ceiling in every room and putting in paneling to add closets.

My brother and I used the drop ceilings as a great place to hide during games of hide and seek. Up until recently there were still places bearing the marks where one of us had accidentally missed a step and let a leg fall through the ceiling tiles.  We would scale the closet shelves in each room and then hide on the ceilings, making sure to stay on the 2 by 4 planks that the ceiling tiles were nailed to.  I think we even had set up pillows, sleeping bags and more in the section at the top of my brother’s closet, because he had the big closet that took up the whole end of his room.  The house wasn’t built with closets to start with, so the only closets were what was added with paneling.  My parents had replaced the floor to ceiling windows with shorter windows, and added heat.  Because of my allergies they even added central air. Later on they added a whole house wood burning furnace. It was a never ending project…..

At one point though my mother had started to use the fireplace in the living room.  We were far enough out in the country that power outages in the winter could and would happen for lengths of time – I remember one lasting a week and starting the night of the premiere of the headless horsemen on Disney …. I wanted to see that show so bad!  Later in the week my dad had rigged a tractor to use as generator to run a small record player and tv.  (Little things)  Did you realize you can flush a toilet with melted snow?  In the country no power, no water, no heat….

We actually had a tractor/log splitter that we would use with logs from trees my dad had cut down.  After splitting wood, we would make stacks of wood between posts.  Wood actually burns different depending on how green and  how dry it is.  Dry wood will burn very hot!  Our fireplace was set up with a bunch of bricks in front – past that was the wool carpet, but any sparks would land on the brick right outside the fireplace.  The time I remember was my mother swapping to dry birch wood and getting a roaring fire going.  The wood was burning so hot that the bricks got hot enough to start the wood supports in the basement that were holding them up.  My dad was pouring water down on them, tearing everything out – but the fire department still came.

Of course the fire department all had to traipse through the house to look, and they had parked in areas with snow.  Now that we are looking at moving home, we are discussing where to build.  Turns out that fire district still handles that side of the road, but just the other side of the road is a whole different district.  My brother is now living in that house, and the fireplace has now been replaced with an insert – but it’s still there.  The drop ceilings are mostly gone too.