31 December 2013


The stitches are out!  Now I'm ready for a new year.  May you all have a happy, healthy 2014!  May all your goals be reached.

30 December 2013

Today, 30 December 2013

I had my 4th shot of Hyalgan in my right knee this morning.  One more to go.  It's supposed to replace the natural lubricant in the knee joint that has disappeared over the years.  Then tomorrow the stitches come out from my back.  Nurse Shirley has been doing a wonderful job of cleaning and bandaging it for me.  I started our monthly job of printing the Villager magazine, then turned over the reins to Shirley while I went to the doctor's, then came back just in time for the last 30 (of 500 total) to be printed.  Lunch next.  And now to relax.

19 December 2013

After and Further After

Here are photos of the site of the melanoma on my back after the biopsy was taken and then after the excision and stitching of the wound.  The melanoma was about the size of a quarter; the redness above the site is an allergic reaction to the tape used on the bandage.

15 December 2013

To Card or Not to Card

The folks in the younger generation are arguing amongst each other whether or not to send Christmas cards to family and friends.  I think if you can’t spare a few minutes to sign a card and a few dollars to send one, then you need to reevaluate your priorities.  Phone calls fade from memory, but a card is a physical reminder that you are special to someone.  That's not to say that phone calls aren't important; they are.

19 October 2013

One is Not Enough

I've been reading a lot of P. G. Wodehouse's books lately.  I like his type of humor.  One thing I've noticed is that he seems to feel that three or four are better than one, whether it's adjectives, paragraphs or sub-plots.  Try one of his "Jeeves" books.  You might get hooked, too.

07 October 2013

Straining the Brain

I decided to write my memoirs.  Should be easy, right?  So far, I have 6 chapters started, including one titled "Afterthoughts."  The first chapter takes me through the first ten years when we lived in Batavia, NY.  The second deals with the early years in Rochester, NY; the third with more Rochester stuff.  The next two continue on into college.  What I find is that I'm continually going back to "finished" chapters to add a person or event that has just come to mind.  And I find myself jotting down notes as reminders of things while I'm watching TV or reading a book or out walking.  It's surprising to find that my brain is able to dredge up from the depths all those things that haven't been at the surface for decades.  I use photo albums as aids and sometime in the future I'll try to find journals I've kept sporatically.  I wonder if any of the people from my past have thought of writing their memoirs.  Try it, you'll re-learn things about yourself you've forgotten.  Happy memories!

04 October 2013


I just got back from getting a haircut.  While I was waiting, I counted 36 shelves loaded with products for the care and cleaning of ones hair.  Back in the olden days, I remember only Ivory shampoo.  In my high school days, some guys used some sort of goop to get their hair into a fancy wave.  I guess the industry took off from there.  But 36 shelves worth? 

06 September 2013

The Quest For Family

It was many years ago (about 1951) that I asked my parents for information about their families.  What they wrote down was very limited, not more than one or two generations past.  My mother had her parents’ Marriage certificate, her own Birth certificate and her mother’s Bible.  My father had his Birth certificate, his parents’ Marriage certificate, a Deed to the cemetery plot where his mother was buried and his grandfather’s Naturalization certificate.  Most of that information lay dormant while I was raising a family and establishing a career.  Occasionally, a new document or piece of information would float my way, including a letter confirming my maternal grandfather’s naturalization on Sept. 18, 1899. The death of my parents provided me with a few more items, including my mother’s photograph albums, neatly labeled with names and sometimes dates. 

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that my wife, Shirley, and I started a more rigorous quest.  We attended a lecture about genealogical research given by a Mormon couple at our local library in Ontario, New York.  We have since scoured the Local History section of the Rochester (NY) public library, viewed the local Historian’s files and original church records at Lyons, New York, traveled to Salt Lake City to the great archives of the Mormon Church, spent time researching at NEHGS in Boston, visited many historians’ offices in the northeast, and eventually spent time in England, Germany and France.

One of my early memories of school is hearing the story of the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving feast.  After the story, we were to draw and cut out images of Pilgrims, Indians, turkeys, whatever we thought was representative of that story.  I cut out a pair of Pilgrims, little knowing my future quest would bring me to Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims first settlement.  What I later found was a link through my paternal grandmother, Lennie Mann, to her paternal grandmother, Nancy Standish, which led directly to Myles Standish.  Taking this news to a family gathering, I made the announcement of this discovery, to hear my brother say: “I knew that.  Dad told me that years ago.”  Shirley and I have since visited the Plymouth Rock area including the Standish monument.  We have had the pleasure of holding the “Standish Quilt” housed in the DAR Museum at Albion, New York, which was used to make the genealogical connection from Myles to Asa Standish, who settled near Albion.  A distant cousin provided copies of family information from Nancy Standish’s Bible and two photographs of Nancy, which have been added to her Overview on Ancestry.com.  We also have visited the Standish Cemetery where Asa and other members of the family are buried.

Based on my research, I found that members of my mother’s father, Henry Göbel, came from a small village in Germany, named Breitau, and that my mother’s mother, Clara Marie Steinmetz, was born in Kassel.  My father’s father, George Müller, came from Lembach, a small village in France near the German border; he was German, although the Naturalization Certificate reports him as a citizen of France.  Shirley and I visited these places in 2000,  and I left a copy of my family tree with the minister of the church in Breitau.  Subsequently, I received an e-mail from the son-in-law of my second cousin, Martin Heinrich Göbel, who still lives in the family homestead.  We made arrangements to visit and two years later we were sitting in the Göbel house, being treated like royalty.  We met other members of the family living in the area, and I had a telephone conversation with a cousin with whom I had corresponded in the late 1940’s.  I have since found on Google Earth that the Maginot Line ran quite close to Lembach and there are still remains of that fortification in the area

In 2004, we visited England to trace Shirley’s roots, taking us to Doncaster,  Farnham, Ewell, Hatfield, Fishlake, Bramouth, Snaith, Rawcliff, Whitgift, Whitby, Plymouth and Southampton.  Through Ancestry.com, Shirley has contacted a cousin in England and they have visited us to look at houses and gravestones in Rochester, New York.

Because most of our families lived in the northeast, we have used fultonhistory.com extensively to find newspaper articles about them.  Many official documents – birth, death and marriage certificates - were found on the microfilms available through the Mormon Church Library; these have provided information about other family members.  The church archives in Rothenburg, Germany sent records of the Göbel line from their microfilm files.  I was able to copy records from the original church books in Lyons, New York and Gerstungen, Germany.  The tree keeps growing.

Of course, we have hit brick walls.  For example, I have not been able to find the parents of my 3rd great grandmother, Martha Conklin, nor for her husband, Thomas J Patterson.  Likewise, the line through Jesse Mann, Jr. to his father, Jesse, Sr. to his father, Amos Mann, leads to some mystery; there are several possibilities for Amos, none of which I can conclusively claim.  So the search continues.  To date, there are over 3600 people in my Ancestry.com file – “Miller/Mann/Goebel/Steinmetz Family 2006.”  It’s a public file, so take a look to see if we have anyone in common.  We could be cousins.


21 August 2013

A-Rod and the New York Yankees

Even though nobody has asked me, I’ll tell you anyway what I think about A-Rod and the New York Yankees.  There seems to be a lack of ethical standards in that group.  A-Rod was found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs and was suspended by the baseball league, acting in the best interests of professional baseball.  A-Rod has appealed the suspension, ignoring his guilt on the charges.  The Yankees management has ignored his guilt and continues to play him, when he should not even be sitting on the bench.  What kind of message do those actions send to our youth? 

19 August 2013

The Education System

Think the educational system is in trouble?  We started out in Grammar School, where they taught us, among other things, grammar.  If we passed all the strict tests, we finally made it to High School.  After a while, the starting point was Elementary School, where they taught some things, mostly elementary stuff, Watson -  maybe even grammar.  High School was broken up into Middle School and High School.  Why it didn't become Low, Middle and High, I'll never know.  Finally, we have K-12, and it's anybodys guess what's taught there.  Somewhere in that progression of name changes, our federal government decided we needed a Department of Education.  What I'm trying to understand is - what did the millions of dollars we spent for that department do to improve our educational level?  Anybody?

03 August 2013

Our Postal Service

If you ran a business, would you like a group of hundreds setting the rules for you?  That’s exactly what the Postmaster General faces.  Every year, he oversees a business that loses money, with no hope of changing conditions within the Postal Service that would make it at least break even.  Take away the restrictions imposed by Congress and he would have a good shot at running in the black.  Would that ever happen?  Ho, ho, ho, naïve one!

27 July 2013

I Wonder

I wonder if the people living as the Ice Age was ending ever thought about global warming.

Giving Thanks

I’d like to thank the person who introduced Frank Arthur Miller to Wilhelmina Henrietta Goebel.  Thank you, whoever you are.  I’d like to thank  Frank for proposing marriage to Wilhelmina.  Thank you, Dad.  I’d like to thank Wilhelmina for accepting Frank’s marriage proposal.  Thank you, Mom.  Without those three actions, neither my brother, Fred, nor I (and our families) would exist, so next time you think of us, say a word of thanks to “whoever”, to Frank and to Wilhelmina.  Thank you.

20 July 2013


When the children were young, we recited this verse:

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.

Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.

Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy,

Was he.

My grandfather, William Francis Miller, Sr., was called Fuzzy because he always had his hair trimmed close to the skin. (In his older years, his youngest son, Uncle Bill, would trim it for him.) He was born in Lyons, New York, the seventh of eight children, but spent most of his life in Batavia, where he raised his family. There were 10 children, 7 of whom grew to adulthood. His wife, Lennie, died from complications during childbirth of the 10th child, Thomas, who was stillborn; daughter Rachel died at 4 months from cholera; their first daughter, Violet, died in her first year, also. He was a lather, said to be the fastest in that area. Before plaster board, lath strips (about 1 inch by ¼ inch) were attached to the studs of a building to hold the plaster. The laths were spaced about 1/4 inch apart so the mason could force the plaster through the spaces, which allowed the plaster to stick to the wall. I can imagine it was difficult to keep the family together in those days while working throughout the county. His sister-in-law wanted to take some of the children but he refused. The family grew up relying on one another for support. In 1893, he was kicked in the leg by a horse; the break was not set properly and caused him to limp and use a cane. In 1905, he made the newspaper by defending his 16-year old daughter from the unwanted attentions of a stonemason; he was fined and his revolver confiscated. In his elder years, Fuzzy lived with his oldest daughter in Rochester, where he passed away at age 93.

11 July 2013

Rochester After Dark

Joe Squeezer owned a bar on Lake Avenue, near where State Street ended and Lake Avenue began.  He featured live music; the stand was in the middle of the bar, up so everyone could see.  We were just old enough to be legal, drank 7 & 7 and smoked Raleigh cigarettes – you know, where there was a coupon in every pack you could save up to send for merchandise, but we never seemed to save up enough for the good stuff.  When we walked in and saw the organ on the stand, we knew it was Doug Duke and it was gonna be a great set, with those sounds only Doug could coax out of the organ.  Some jazz, some danceable stuff.  Our dates didn’t like that we only wanted to watch and listen, so we tried to keep them occupied with stuff like who was that in the back room who didn’t want anyone to see who they were with, or who was the doll in the fur that just walked in and who was she with and all kinds of things like that.  We were busy with the music.  And sometimes it was a piano and Joe Mooney up from Florida for the summer.  Joe was to the piano as Duke was to the organ.  Pure rapture.  Smokes and 7 & 7 and live music.  Life couldn’t be any better than this!  Afterwards, we’d head to Cutali’s, before he moved south, for spaghetti and meatballs and a glass of beer, just around the corner from Sibley’s.  Rochester after dark, in the 50’s, was a great place to be and we made what of it we could.

05 March 2013

Technology and I Have Parted Company

Technology and I have recently parted company. It was beginning to tire me watching as things kept going by faster and faster. We signed on together when a crystal, cat’s whisker and head phones were required to listen to a radio station; when airplanes were guided from one beacon light to the next; when phonograph players needed to be wound by hand and the Bakelite records were one-sided. Placing a telephone call required interfacing with an operator; when pen and ink wells were on our school desks; letters (remember those?) were either hand-written or typed on a manual typewriter. You begin to get the picture?

As we proceeded, vacuum tubes then transistors and integrated circuits enabled radios to grow smaller, televisions to grow bigger and thousands of songs to be carried around in the palm of my hand. Telephones moved from the wall to everyone’s pocket or purse and even took photographs. Then came fountain pens, ball point pens and even pens that could write under water; I never felt the need for one of those as every millisecond of being under water caused too much panic for me to want to capture my thoughts for posterity.

Airplanes are now flown by computer (I always say a prayer for the programmers that they’ve got the correct code in the proper order) based on information from space satellites. Computers grew from using our fingers to abaci to adding machines and now the hand-held devices that do everything but drive the car. And whatever happened to slide-rules?

So I got off the train with my HDTV, DVR, HP computer with Windows 7, cell phone that doesn’t do text messaging or e-mail but can take photos if I could ever remember which buttons to push and, oh yeah, a DVD player and VCR player that aren’t plugged in because the instructions are written in some sort of code. But I do know how to use the word processing capability of my computer which is how I’m able to let you know that technology and I have recently parted company.