Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Darrell Stanley Wingard, 1929-1956

I was an only child. 

At least I thought I was. 

In 1967, when I was a senior in high school, I discovered letters to my Dad from Darrell Wingard who I'd been told was a cousin of Dad's.  Darrell addressed him as "Dear Dad," which was a shock and a puzzle.  I never approached my Dad directly about it, but I did ask my Mom.

She told me that Dad had been married once before and had a son.  So Darrell was my half brother, one I never had a chance to know.

He was many years older than I.  He'd been to visit us in our Daly City (California) home when I was very young.  My memory of him is fleeting, just that he had on a nice dark coat (which was what gentlemen wore then) and he had a jar of M&Ms ... for me!  My regret is that I cannot remember his face.0

In June of 1956, Darrell was killed in a spectacular automobile accident on the coast highway near Santa Cruz, California.  He and some of his buddies had been on the beach in the early morning hours.  They drove their two vehicles up onto the highway, and were struck by an oncoming vehicle traveling at high speed. 

The San Francisco newspaper ran a front-page article about the accident which included a black-and-white photo of Darrell.  It's not clear when the photo was taken, and its quality was poor.  But I could tell that he had very light-colored hair and a nice smile on his face.  I'd like to locate the actual photo some day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 8 -- Technology

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is an annual challenge for family historians to write about their own lives.  Amy Coffin is the author. 

Since I came to this idea well after the first of the year, I'll start with the current week.  Week 8 poses two questions to start the writing process:  What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood?  What types of technology do you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?


My love affair with technology began with an old party-line telephone.  A party line was made up of the telephones in many homes that were all served by that single line.  Everyone could connect to that line simply by picking up the telephone. 

Living in a rural area of Pennsylvania, my family stayed in touch with the world through that party line phone.  Privacy wasn't its strong suit because each time you picked up the phone you might find yourself

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Toso Family of Colma, San Mateo Co., California

Here's a photo of my mother and her family taken in 1942 outside their home on Hill Street.  Her father and mother -- Pietro and Giovanna [Nave] Toso -- are seated. 

Mom -- Norma Dolores Toso (b. 1913, d. 2002) -- is standing at the far right. 

There were seven daughters and three sons (sadly, none of whom survived early childhood) in the family.

An elderly cousin told me that all the Toso girls "had beautiful dark hair."  Mom passed that trait onto me.  Thanks, Mom!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wet Feet

Mom used to say "you have to get your feet wet" if you're going to really live life.  I liked that about her. 

So I'm going to remember and celebrate both my parents by exploring their families and sharing my discoveries and thoughts with you.  I want to write about the facts and the family stories (sometimes myth, sometimes truth). 

And along the way, maybe we'll discover something interesting about life.

Disclaimer:  Be it known that I have absolutely no intention of offending any living relative.  But it may happen nonetheless, and I apologize in advance.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments and polite objections.