Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thomas B. Hillhouse - A Memorial Day Remembrance

I always admired and enjoyed the company of my cousin Bruce (Thomas B. Hillhouse, b. 4 January, 1957, d. 4 March 2007). He was a kind and gentle person, a bit shy but self-assured in his own way. He was fun to be around, and was more like the big brother I never had. I remember many wonderful fishing trips with him and my other cousins along the Beaver Creek Arm of Bull Shoals Lake near our grandfather’s “cabin” in Taney County, Missouri. I also recall many memorable visits to Webster Groves, Missouri where he grew up. When he enlisted in the Air Force out of Saint Louis in the mid-seventies, I was captivated by his every move. I would call him often and write on occasion, but was always eager to tell my friends of my cousin in the Air Force! When I think back, there were a few people who positively influenced my decision to join the military, and I am proud to say that my cousin Bruce was among them.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Albert H. Pounds - Searching for Al! (Part 4)

A review of Al's records show that he attended basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago in the summer of 1955, graduating on 16 September 1955 as a Seaman Recruit. He also completed the Fire Fighters' Training Course as well. From there, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Shields DD598 (destroyer shown above courtesy U.S.S. Shields website), San Diego, California in the fall of 1955 as a Fireman Apprentice. He served on the Shields from 4 October 1955 until the summer of 1957. On 7 June 1957, Al was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California pending a medical retirement. He was honorably discharged with a 40% disability, due to his diabetes, on 1 August 1957 with a pension of $50.70 per month. His home of record following discharge is listed as 2412 Lincoln Street, Springfield, Missouri. I suspect, but have not been able to confirm that he went to live with his sister Catherine in Springfield.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Albert H. Pounds - Searching for Al! (Part 3)

Finding Carol Loehr was a huge bonus in my search for Albert Pounds. The information she was able to provide put a lot of things into perspective and greatly expanded my thoughts and feelings about my father. I can't begin to thank Carol enough for helping fill in the gaps after all these years and for providing me with the personal information to understand the man that was Albert Pounds.

Carol told me much about the years she and her siblings had spent with Al. I learned about his struggle with diabetes, his transformative and fulfilling life with her mother Marie, as well as the different jobs he held in the building maintenance field. One of those job even included working for United Van Lines as a building maintenance manager. What really fascinated me was Carol and her siblings all knew about me, at least from the pictures and stories Al would tell. They wondered if I was real and would actually appear one day. I suppose my making contact was as much a surprise to them as it was me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Albert H. Pounds - Searching for Al! (Part 2)

I finally decided it was time to research and locate information on my long lost father. That was a good first step, but finding the resources to tackle the job was another matter. Had I started this search ten or more years ago, then this would have been a formidable task at best. To my good fortune, the Internet has revolutionized genealogical and family history research in the past decade and made a search like mine possible and affordable too.

It was clear that I needed a way to organize my research and to catalog the family members I was aware of, and for those I would undoubtedly discover along the way. I heard of Family Tree Maker by and decided to give it a try. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more time to consider other tools. FTM has worked very well, especially in conjunction with the subscription service that produces those little "shaking" leaves, but I did learn one valuable lesson.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Albert H. Pounds--Searching for Al!

I took a much needed vacation in April 2009 to visit the folks back in Springfield, Missouri where I was raised. While talking to my dad one night, he hauled out a large Rubbermaid container full of old photos. In the container was a crumpled black and white picture I hadn’t seen for many years—a family portrait taken in 1962 of myself, my mother, and my father, Al Pounds. Al was the father who had been out of my life since I was 4 years old.

My mother told me that Al was from Toledo, Ohio. Outside of that lone fact, she didn’t mention any other vital statistics. I found out over the years that Al was in the U.S. Navy for a short period until he was diagnosed with diabetes and discharged. Mom also said that Al was court-martialed for abandoning his ship, because he felt extremely sick and one day decided that he needed to see a doctor. Apparently, as the story goes, his commanding officer wouldn’t let him leave the vessel. As my mother loved to tell it, he managed to jump ship only to pass out on the steps of the hospital, near death.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Welcome to Memory Hook!

Thank you for stopping by. There’s a saying in family history circles that we all die twice— the first time physically and the second time when we’re forgotten. Surprisingly, it takes as little as two generations to be completely forgotten and lost to time. It’s really a shame when that happens, because I believe we all have a unique and interesting story to tell. No exceptions.

I hope this blog, in some small way, provides a useful means to connect with the past in order to explore the many branches of my family tree. I’m fascinated with genealogy and family history and am searching for anyone with information on my ancestors. I welcome anybody with an interest and desire to contribute. Who knows, we might even connect a cousin or two in the process. Wouldn’t that be cool!