Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Here's a post I wrote a couple of years ago in honor of my own wonderful mom, Becky. I'm so happy I get to celebrate with her this year, and I look forward to seeing her and giving her a big hug a little later today!

Little Becky Bartram
What a cutie!

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! Today, I dedicate my blog post to my Mom: Rebecca Elizabeth Bartram (Brittain Santos). Mom was born in 1946, in Livermore, California, to John Bartram and Donna Madsen Bartram. She's the third of four children, including her older brother and sister, Jimmy and Brenda, and her younger brother, Clay.

Mom grew up around the Livermore valley, where my Grandpa John worked as a cowboy (for the Harry Rowell Ranch as well as riding rodeo). She met my dad, William Lee Brittain, when she was a teenager, and they married on September 12, 1964. They soon started their family with my younger sister, Cindy, and me. We moved around the Livermore area (with short stints in San Luis Obispo and the Reno, Nevada, area) until we settled outside of Tracy, California, in 1974.

Mom, Dad and me
Mom was always very involved in Cindy's and my activities. She worked at our elementary school and was an active leader of our 4-H group. In fact, Mom and Dad took it upon themselves to learn all they could about raising sheep so they could lead our 4-H sheep group. She schlepped us to our other various activities: Cindy's gymnastics practice and my marching band competitions, for example. She also fostered our love of crafts and Halloween: to this day, I refuse to purchase a Halloween costume when my Mom instilled in me the creativity and ingenuity to conjure up my own! I appreciated Dad and Mom helping me through college -- I was the first one in my family to get a university degree, and I can't tell you how much their support meant to me. Whatever we were into, Mom was a staunch supporter and we could always count on her encouragement.
Cindy, Mom and me at Mom and Rodney's wedding
I have to say, Cindy and I are very lucky daughters. My mom has always been a great parent, and she has a real knack for knowing when it's appropriate to be the "mom" and when it's ok to be our friend. As we've both grown, our relationship as women has truly blossomed. I've had fun going on vacations with Mom (alone and with Dad) and just hanging out with her. We still reminisce about our mother/daughter trip to New Orleans and pilgrimage to Graceland.
Grandma I-U and her boys, Liam and Evan
Mom has also developed a special relationship with Cindy: they are both mothers now and share that wonderful bond. She's the best grandma (or I-U, as they call her) to her boys, Liam and Evan. When Dad passed away in 2003, we all went through a rough patch together (and still do sometimes), but we knew we could count on each other to be strong for each other, or just to cry on each others' shoulders. I honestly don't know what I would have done without Mom and Cindy during that time.
Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Santos
Mom has now embarked on a new adventure in her life. She met a wonderful man, Rodney, and they got married last year. Cindy and I are so happy that she found love and companionship again, and that we're able to share in their new life together. I'm not able to spend today with Mom (we're celebrating our birthdays together in a couple of weeks, though), but I look forward to calling her first thing to thank her for everything she's done for me, and to tell her I love her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Isn't she beautiful??

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday's Child: Edith Vivian Hunt

Some people may think it's a chore to organize files and photos, but I'm having a lot of fun whipping my documents into shape on Google Drive. Part of the joy is getting a fresh look at a bunch of old photos of my family members and ancestors.

Here are a few photos I have of my Grandma, Edith Vivian Hunt (Brittain), from when she was a child. I'm so happy that my great grandparents, Jim and Ethel Hunt, had a camera and loved to take pictures of their family!

Edith Vivian Hunt,  born April 1, 1920, in Slick, Creek County, Oklahoma
Baby Edith, with her parents, James William (Earl) Hunt and Ethel Modina Martindale  
That's Edith on the left
Edith at 14 years old

I love her curls!

Wasn't my Grandma a pretty young lady!?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Dad and Grandma Edith's Southwest Vacation

When my Dad, William Lee Brittain, was about 13 or so, he and my Grandma, Edith Vivian Hunt Brittain, took a trip to Oklahoma to visit relatives. On their way, they did a little sightseeing through the beautiful Southwest. I don't know who the people are who are with them. The older lady looks like she might be related to my paternal great grandmother, Jessie Louetta Halstead Brittain, so it may a relative of hers. As is often the case, there are no markings on the backs of any of the photos.

Grandma Edith and Grandpa Woodie Brittain both grew up in Oklahoma, and were married there before moving to California in 1940. Grandma Edith traveled via Greyhound Bus back home to Oklahoma often to visit her family and work on the family history with her cousin, Fritz.

Here are some fun photos of Dad and Grandma's road trip through the Southwest!

Grandma Edith on the left, and Dad on the right

Anyone up for a carriage ride?

Looks like Dad was getting ready to do some work!

Dad in the middle, and Grandma Edith on the right.
I think the gentleman on the left may have been a cousin.

Fortunately, Dad never tired of the Southwest region, and I was lucky enough to go on a couple wonderful vacations with him and Mom before he passed away. Here's a photo from one of those trips that I'll never forget!

Bill Brittain, Wendy Brittain, and Becky Bartram Brittain
I believe we were on our way to Chaco Canyon that day. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Workday Wednesday: Great Grandpa James Hunt Working on Oil Rig

A couple of years ago, my mom gave me some boxes of photos that had belonged to my dad and my Grandma Edith. Many are of my Hunt family in Oklahoma, and there are quite a few that are a mystery to me. I sure do wish that my ancestors were better at labeling their family photos!

I did find some really neat photos that were tagged, including this one of my Great Grandfather, James William (Earl) Hunt at work on an oil rig in Oklahoma!

I think he's the one on the right, facing the camera. I don't know when this picture was taken, but I think it was in the early to mid 1920s. I know that they lived in the towns of Slick and Drumright in Creek County, Oklahoma, which both began as oil boom towns in the 1910s and 1920s.  I understand that working on oil rigs today is hard work, and I can't imagine what a job that must have been nearly 100 years ago!