From the emails and voice mails:
OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS – In my Jan. 19 column, I wrote about Modesto resident David Weaver’s quest to understand A) how he came to be in possession of an 1885 Bible from a New York family he’s never met and B) figure out what to do with it.
The Bible included the certificate heralding the 1881 marriage of Allen D. Sleezer and Jennie Bentley of Providence, N.Y. The genealogical trail ends there because they had no children. But according to other Sleezer family members, the entire family tree descends from Martin Sleezer, who fought for the colonists during the Revolutionary War. Martin Sleezer likely was Allen Sleezer’s grandfather.
Allen Sleezer ended up moving to California and became a postmaster in Siskiyou County. Weaver spoke with several Sleezer family descendents and has decided he’ll ship the family Bible back to the historical society in Providence, where the Sleezer family was prominent throughout the 1800s and where more people will be able to see the leather-bound Good Book.
He still doesn’t know how he got the Bible, though. He doesn’t recall buying it at a garage sale, but that doesn’t mean his mother didn’t. He originally thought it had been in his cabinet for two decades or so, but he also could have received it after she died in 2006. Whatever the reasons, it seems that part of the story will remain a mystery.
PRAYING FOR RAIN – If we get any significant amount of rain this week, who gets the credit? Recently, the congregation at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church prayed for the drought to end. No doubt other congregations and individuals also made their wishes known. Sunday in Sacramento, a group of Native Americans performed a prayer for rain that Fox40 included in Monday’s morning newscast. Granted, rain already was in the forecast, but there’s nothing like hedging the bet when we’ve been bone-dry for roughly 50 days. And a group of Muslims from Folsom prayed for rain on the ever-growing shore of Folsom Lake on Jan. 11 and got immediate results: It sprinkled briefly, according to the station’s Web page.
If the forecasters are accurate, come Thursday many people can believe they willed the rain to arrive. Finding someone to take the blame for dense fog is never as easy.
BEATLEMANIA – With Ringo and Paul reuniting during Sunday’s Grammy Awards show, and the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ historic appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” just 13 days off, Groveland resident Kay Crow remembers being among a group of teenage girls who went to great lengths to get the Fab Four’s collective attention in the mid-1960s. They “rented a helicopter (after being denied by GOODYEAR for the use of their blimp) and we hovered over their Benedict Canyon Estate the Edgewood, and talked to them with a rented bullhorn,” Crow wrote to me in an email.
Twice the Los Angeles Times immortalized them in stories and photos: in 1964 for getting a ticket after a hard day’s, uh, day of chasing The Beatles down L.A.’s 405 freeway, and again a year later for the helicopter jaunt.
“After the L.A. Times photo and article, the four of us were contacted by Beatles reps at Capitol Records, and invited as their guests to the HELP press conference held at Capitol Records,” Crow wrote.
OBAMASTARE – At least two local organizations will be hosting State of the Union “watch parties” in Modesto tonight.
Organizing for Action will organize beginning at 5 p.m. at the Brew House at Hero’s, 821 L St., downtown. And Mi Familia Vota will congregate at the Northern Valley Labor Federation, 5380 McHenry Ave., Modesto, beginning at 6 p.m.
DEAN’S LIST – Delhi resident Dean Herrin served in Vietnam with the Army 4/80th Artillery based in Fort Carson, Colo. His outfit will have its 47-year reunion Sept. 23 in San Diego, and he’s trying to track down five of his former Army mates who hailed from Northern California. If you have contact information for Bill Peters or Steven Nellie from Sacramento, Harold Clark from Stockton, Charles Wolf from Lodi or Ronald Foster from Lodi, give Herrin a call at (209) 613-7670.
DRY SPELL – This comes from Lee Delamare, who grew up in Yosemite National Park because her father worked there:
“During a bad drought when he was running the Yosemite (Fish) Hatchery, my dad said it was so bad that he thought he was gonna have to plant those fish with canteens around their necks!”