Life is short. Time passes quickly. It seems only yesterday when it all started.
Communication, travel, knowledge, production, industrialization, and social organization are all developing at a fantastic rate. It is said that there are more engineers living today than in all prior history. In the scale of things, the earth is about 15 billion years old! Humanoid beings have only been around two or three million years. Yet civilization as we know it is young, only about 10,000 years. Most of it in the last 200 or 300 years.
When my Mother, Florence Nell Peppiatt, was born October 3, 1885, in Ellsworth, Kansas, there were no automobiles, no telephones, no radio, no movies, no airplanes, no TV, no computers, and no cell phones. I am sure she had no electric lights. There were guns, newspapers, books, oil lamps, horses and carriages, the US mail, cameras, musical instruments, even canned food, schools, colleges, the telegraph, and steam driven tractors, rail roads, ships and Factories. But we have really come a long ways since then in the last 120 years.
My Mother was one of nine children born on the farm in Ellsworth, in western Kansas. She had to do her share of farm work, like feeding and watering animals, collecting eggs, milking the cows, churning butter, cleaning house, and helping take care of brothers and sisters. They stored their milk in a stone enclosed milk house with a rain fed cistern which was kept wet so evaporation would keep the milk fresh. She also read books while riding on horse back herding cattle. She rode a horse drawn mower, rake, and wagon, cutting and bailing the hay to feed the farm animals. She helped smoke-cure meat and store dried food and roots in their storm cellar. There was always a need to keep an eye on the weather to take shelter in the storm cellar in case a tornado was threatened.
Mother attended a one room school house where grades one through eight were all taught in the same class room. When she completed the eighth grade she went to Fort Hays State Teachers College for one summer gaining her teachers certificate, where upon she returned home and began teaching grades one through eight in the neighboring county, riding horse back each way to the school house. Then she went back to Fort Hays to complete a three year college degree. After teaching a number of years, she attended Kansas State Agriculture College in Manhattan, Kansas gaining a four year BA degree in home economics. Although her father was a successful farmer, my Mother paid for her own education with money she earned from teaching.
My Father, Rees Conway Warren was born in June 4, 1891, in Cotton Wood Falls, Kansas. When he was 13 years old, his Father took most of the family by car to live near San Diego, California in Escondido. There he became a caretaker for the local cemetary. My Father wanted to stay behind and attend Kansas State College in Manhattan, Kansas, where he completed his high school education and started working on a Mechanical Engineering Degree. When he arrived in Manhattan, he found a minister who had a farm near town where he could live and work to earn his keep.
World War I interrupted my Father's education and he was sent to serve in the trenches in France. While travelling to his port of disembarkation, he did some research in New York and thought he had determined some of his ancestors: He said the Viking leader who besieged Paris in 911 had settled in Normandy, and had a heir named Duke DeVarna who participated in the conquest of England with William the Conqueror and who later changed his name to Warren. A subsequent heir was a British solder who deserted during the war of 1812 in Canada, coming to Kingston, New York. My Father's grandfather, John Warren lived in the town of Hurley where the Shokan Reservoir is now. He made his living cutting, shaping and selling axe handles. He also was a heavy drinker and his son went to live in Kingston and attended the Kingston Academy which was located on the park in front of the former Governor Clinton Hotel on Albany Avenue. The son, my grandfather, subsequently obtained a good education, married, and moved to Cotton Wood Falls, Kansas, where he taught school and worked in the county treasurer's office.
While working in the county treasurer's office, the Victor adding machine was developed and was being sold "office-to-office" by sales reps. There was a test where my grandfather added a 5 digit column of numbers in his head against the adding machine salesman. My grandfather complete first and had the correct answer - the adding machine salesman made an error keying in the data!
I was told that my grandfather used to go to the nearby Cottonwood Falls river to bathe, even in winter where he actually had to chop a whole in the ice to bathe!
During my Father's stay in the trenches in WW I, he survived mustard gas attacks and green moldy French baked bread! Returning home from the war he continued his education where he met my Mother and they were married in 1922. After my Father graduated, he elected to go to work for the Postal System sorting mail on trains travelling between cities because the pay was better than for Mechanical Engineers. With money my Mother had saved they bought four lots in Manhattan, Kansas and a building from Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas for lumber which my Father used to build a home. My Brother was born January 10, 1923.
My parents traded one lot in exchange for a used 1912 White Motor Car Company luxury touring car (i.e. - 9 passenger convertible), with an all-aluminum body and engine with leather seats and two pull down jump seats. They used this car with a large trailer to move their belongings to Denver where they both taught school. Later, going to Wyoming to teach. While in Wyoming, my Mother homesteaded some 360 acres of government land. She had to build a cabin, fence the land, and live on it for three years to own it. She bought another 360 acres. When times got hard in Wyoming, they returned to their home in Kansas where I was born April 29, 1931. During the depression they could not pay the taxes and had to sell the land in Wyoming for twenty five cents an acre! But they did keep oil rights, which paid off well in later years.
When I was young, we were still playing with crystal, cat-whisker and ear phone radios. But vacuum tube radios were becoming available, the telegraph had been replaced by teletype, telephones had progressed from wooden boxes with a hand crank to the Bakelite enclosed desk-top variety with a dial. Automatic telephone switching equipment had replaced the manually switched network. And we had typewriters, automobiles, income taxes, the dust bowl, a depression, labor unions, the CCC and WPA, and social security. In 1939 my Dad's youngest brother Walter brought his wife East to the New York Worlds' Fair. On the trip he bought a new car which they drove back home to San Francisco, California, stopping to visit us and take us to see their old home place in Cotton Woods Falls. Most of the roads in Kansas were still dirt roads and we really got stuck in a heavy rain storm. Uncle Walter was a financial reporter for the Associated Press. At some point he suggested that the AP needed a financial editor for the West Cost. They took the suggestion and gave him the job! When he retired he sold his investments in IBM at an all time high and bought a retirement home on the edge of Pebble Beach Golf Course 20 miles east of Oakland. My Dad had several Aunts named Wright living in San Francisco at the time of the 1906 earthquake - they survived!
We also had World War II - the second one to end all wars! My brother was drafted and spent the war in the South Pacific in military intelligence, coding and decoding messages. Once he just missed going on a mission - luckily because the plane was never heard from again! His father had taught him photography, so he spent his spare time taking pictures for the troops. He spent the money he made on beer (there were stacks of beer cans in the pictures of his tent). And he bought a motor boat which he managed to wreck twice on the coral reefs and had to swim back a mile through shark and coral snake infested waters.
With WWII came women in the work place, victory gardens, rationing of food, gasolene and tires. We also got refrigerators, air conditioning, the Atomic Bomb, and Civil Rights. I played the clarinet. There was MacDonalds, soft ice cream, frozen foods and 3.2% beer!. And three radio networks: NBC, ABC and CBS. Lots of cars and motorcycles! Dirt track car racing hit the back country. I did well in art, science, history and taught myself to type. I spent my free time cleaning airplanes at the local airport in exchange for flight lessons. My Mother helped too. I got my private pilots license and went flying at where ever I went till after coming to Kingston. Unlike Kansas, there were no open fields around the airport here. One end of the airport was over the end of a bridge on the hudson river, and the other was over hills and houses! We got into the cold war; Followed with more war - in Korea. I skipped my senior year in high school and went on to college: Electrical engineering, ROTC, and contract bridge. I joined the Air Force but failed to become a navigator because of bad eye-sight. "Join the Air Force and see the world!" I spent a few weeks in basic training in the desert about 100 miles south of San Francisco, and then a couple of years at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver, then to Smoky Hill Air Force Base at Salina, Kansas (60 miles from home). My specialization was teaching maintenance on Bomb Navigation Rader Systems. And then President Eisenhower ended the war in Korea and initiated building of the interstate highway system; we started using jet airplanes and TV.
On April 15, 1956, I took the train from Manhattan, Kansas, to Kingston, New York for a job interview. From Albany to Kingston I road in a train car with green fringe hanging from the baggage racks, like an old time western! The next year when I came back I had to take a bus from Albany because passenger service on the West Shore line had been discontinued! When I got to Kingston there was 15 inches of fresh snow on the ground! I stayed at the Stivescent Hotel. A week later it was gutted by fire! On the return trip I stopped in Buffalo to see Niagara Falls and go through the Niagara Mohawk power plant. The next day I read about half of that power plant falling into the Niagara River killing seven workers! In the fall I took my Mother and Father by car to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego to visit all of my Fathers brothers and sisters and his Mother (she died a few years later at the age of 93).
Afterwards, I finished my education and went to work for IBM on SAGE digital computers writing diagnostic hardware testing programs. About this time the transistor came of age and replaced vacuum tubes. Marginal checking of vacuum tube circuits in computers became a dead technology! But self-checking computer circuits and self-repair of on-line computer data lives on. And computer controlled data networks began to handle airline reservations, stock market transactions, and communication systems. Customer organizations began to tell manufacturers how to build better products. And then the personal computer came of age! A program letting mathematical problems be expressed directly with math symbols was developed, but IBM failed to make it available at a price so every school child could afford to buy it. Shame on IBM! And then there was another war - in Vietnam. I married Ruthe L. Sherman on October 8, 1972 and Lily was born September 26, 1973.
With an American President who hates science, its no wonder there is so little interest in math or science. And now we face generations of protecting ourselves from terrorists who want to kill us and turn history back 1,500 years and convert us to their system of religion! No doubt we will still be fighting them for the next 50 or 100 years! This is a battle to the death. And the stupid left wing Democrats don't understand this! But then, If the earth continues to burn up its internal atomic material and cool off, it should become a dead planet in perhaps another two billion years. Of course, many things could happen before that, like global warming, or a not so distant star dying and sending us a deadly radiation beam, or a large asteroid or meteorite hitting the earth, or volcanic action causing another ice age, any of which could kill us or our ozone layer, food supply or oxygen. Eventually, even the sun will die and destroy anything including the planets. Before that happens, maybe we will find a way to escape the solar system and move on to another star and planet! We, human kind, have great challenges ahead. And I doubt if there is a GOD around to help us! Who created HIM anyway!
There is a little more data on the history of my Mother's ancestors - the Peppiatt family,
Also, look at What's Wrong With American Politics
If you would like to send a message to Donald Warren (Lily's Father) Click here.