Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day

Desktop Publishing Glitch Stops Publication !

with 2 comments

Desktop Publishing Glitch

Stops Publication !

“Truth, Justice, Newspaper Headlines, and Blog Deadline – “Great Caesar’s Ghost !” computers, Internet , electronic layouts, desktop publishing — it was all supposed to make putting out a newspaper easy. Now, there is a glitch in the system and the presses don’t roll. Kent ! Find my Underwood, some bond paper, a pica pole and a whiz wheel, we have a newspaper to get out !” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Watch any movie about newspapers and some white-haired, cigar chomping editor that looks like “Superman’s” legendary Editor-In-Chief Perry White is grumbling and barking orders.

While it seems that the Internet, computers, software, and the intricate nature of servers and cyberspace is about to put newspapers into the Smithsonian Institution somewhere between the dinosaurs and the original USS Enterprise starship model.

But, before that last press operator, turns off the light and walks out of the building – let us take note that the legions of aspiring bloggers have days when they have the grey hair, ulcers and swear words of the legendary stereotypical American editors-in-chief.

Some of the back issues of my U S Air Force newspapers — The first USAF paper that I was assigned to was the Barksdale Air Force Base “Observer.” I had been a volunteer “stringer”, essentially Jimmy Olsen in a blue suit, for the “Blythe Spirit” at Blytheville AFB, Arkansas,, but I didn’t get a paycheck for those articles – I did get a byline. In the Pacific, I beat feet on the street for the “Kadena Shogun” in Okinawa. But, the “Philippine Flyer” at Clark Air Base was the most action-packed, crucial, critical, “never a dull moment” newspaper or military assignment of my career. “Ah, The Glory Days Of Wings And Rapid Response.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

For three weeks, I have tried diligently to “go to press” with my Memorial Day article. My “Sam I Am Blog” is my main blog publication. I am a one man electronic newpaper. Thus, when the Word Press system refused the article and photos, I had no copy boy to swear at.

I checked my Firefox browser for my Windows 7 software and the Mozilla feedback stated I had the version 12, which is the latest for my machine. I suspected my Java, I went to the website and updated my Java.

Regardless what I did, the Word Press system would not accept the article and photos. I know Word Press.com runs the blog platform for bloggers. I know Word Press. Org has the plugins that you can use to update your system.

I originally set up my system in the United States before moving to the Philippines.

I suspected the connection speed might be the problem. In the1990s, I was not extremely fond of my modem and phone line connection to America On Line, yet, it was faster than back in the late 1980s, when I was stationed at Kadena Air Base Okinawa and the modem connection began at 300 baud and finally increased to 1200 baud.

The early days of computers and the Internet, really made you wonder if it wouldn’t be wiser to invest in legions of trained carrier pigeons.

Living in a rural area of the Philippines is a lot like living in rural southwest Missouri when it comes to Internet connection speeds and overall system stability. No matter what I tried the Word Press system did not allow me to publish my Memorial Day article.

Like any good publisher or editor, I went to Plan B. Of course, real publishers and newspaper editors would probably have only delayed “rolling the presses” by a few hours. However, a one man newspaper has to sleep sometime.

My Plan B meant I take the copy and photos and publish them in the sister publication, my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog. I did the copy and photo layout and pressed the “publish” button. The magickal electronic “presses rolled.”

I still have no idea what the glitch is on Word Press. I even tried to post the photos and copy by setting up a new page, but the system “locked up” on me each time.

I hope I can publish this article on Word Press to let my regular “Sam I Am Blog” readers know that my two Memorial Day articles are on my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog.

The first article discusses family Memorial Day traditions in the United States,

The second article outlines the Death Anniversary celebration in the Philippines.

While it is time for this grumpy blog editor to get some shut eye, I leave my readers with the links to the articles on the “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog.

Barangay Baras Sign in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines — Baras, a rest stop along the Internet’s Information Super Highway and the World Headquarters of the “Sam I Am Blog” and “The Samuel Warren The Writer” blog, where the presses roll at One Warren Way. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Article 1

M-Day !

American Family Tradition Stands The Test Of Time Across The Pacific Ocean

http://samuelwarrenthewriter.blogspot.com/2012/06/m-day-american-family-tradition-stands.html

Article 2

The merger of a Filipino family tradition and an American family tradition achieves immortality for the Saldana, DeLong and Warren ancestors

Death Anniversary Day

Saldana Family Death Anniversary Ritual June 4, 2012

http://samuelwarrenthewriter.blogspot.com/2012/06/death-anniversary-day.html

Roll the presses !”

Sam

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Samuel E. Warren Jr. Quote

Heaven

“When I die, I don’t need to go to Heaven.  I live on the

island of Leyte, in the Republic of the Philippines. 

What could Heaven possibly offer me

that I don’t already have  ? 

Just let me open up my eyes back in the P.I.”

—- Samuel E. Warren Jr.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________


The Importance of the Memorial Day Tradition

with 9 comments

The Importance of the Memorial Day Tradition

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Memorial Day signals the start of the summer season in the United States, which means vacation time for many families.  Naturally, there are the numerous “Memorial Day Sales.”  Sometimes it seems that people forget that it began as a solemn observance.

United States Army Major General John Alexander Logan is the founder of Memorial Day because of his efforts to promote the remembrance of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Civil War.

This headstone for Jesse C. McGuire, Company I, Osage County, Missouri Home Guard in Yocum Pond Cemetery, near Reeds Spring, Missouri, dates from the Civil War Era. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

United States’ Confederate States of America General Robert E. Lee’s made a major contribution to Memorial Day – his prewar family home, the Custis-Lee Mansion. The Union Army seized the real estate during the Civil War and turned it into Arlington National Cemetery. The family was compensated in 1883

The First Memorial Day Observance was May 30. 1868.

The date May 30 was chosen because it was not a date that was the anniversary of any battle of the American Revolutionary War, Mexican-American War or the Civil War.

Memorial Day each year is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. After World War I, the observance was extended to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Regardless of how a person or a family observes Memorial Day for the tradition to continue to mean something to future generations – Memorial Day should be a reminder that even in a Democracy – Freedom isn’t free.

The average age of the American soldier in World War II was 26 years old.  The average age of the American soldier in Vietnam was 18 years old.  The men and women of the United States Armed Forces stand a constant vigil on installations in the continental United States, on ships afloat, submarines at sea, aboard airborne aircraft, and serve at embassies, consulate and on foreign military installations around the world.

God Bless The United States Armed Forces

Memorial Day Sources

Memorial Day 2011

http://memorialday2011.org/

Memorial Day, Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

Memorial Day History

http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

US Memorial Day History and Information on US War Memorials

http://www.usmemorialday.org/

Memorial Day Infoplease.com

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/memorialday1.html

United States Armed Forces Birthdays

United States Air Force September 18, 1947

United States Air Force website http://www.af.mil/

United States Army June 14, 1775

United States Army website http://www.army.mil/

United States Navy Birthday October 13, 1775

United States Navy website http://www.navy.mil/

United States Marine Corps Birthday November 10, 1775

United States Marine Corps website http://www.marines.mil/

United States Coast Guard Birthday August 4, 1790

United States Coast Guard website http://www.navy.mil/

Department of Defense

Department of Defense website http://www.defense.gov/

Prisoner Of War and Missing In Action organizations

National League of POW MIA Families

website http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/League/Home.html

DPMO – Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office – United States Government office for POW and MIA issues

DPMO website http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/

Arlington National Cemetery website http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/index.htm

Written by samwarren55

May 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Uncle Richard’s Mission: Memorial Day

with 2 comments

Uncle Richard’s Mission :

Memorial Day

by Junior Warren

Richard Branford DeLong, a Stone County, Missouri farmer worked hard all his life trying to raise cattle, hogs, chickens, wool goats and hair goats on the rocky southwest Missouri soil.

Mother Nature never seemed to have any second thoughts about manipulation of weather to do “the exact opposite” of what local farmers needed to survive year after year.

Born January 10, at the beginning of the 20th Century, astrologers would be inclined to classify his life the embodiment of “The Stereotypical Capricorn,” because his struggle to survive on the land seems to have begun almost as soon as e left the womb.

Covered Wagon to Stone County

He entered this life in Versailles, Missouri. By the age of seven, his father Charles “Charley” Hermann DeLong, loaded his wife in a covered wagon and made the trip to southern Stone County. The first homestead was set up in the hills and hollers around Reeds Spring, Missouri.

The mythic Capricorn “curse” (or blessing) of “earth” would ensure that Richard would always be involved in “agriculture” and trying to work the “real estate” – to make a living. As a young man, he and his mother, Martha Lou DeLong would at times sit upon a buckboard and go into the woods. Grandma DeLong had told me as a child, at times, “Richard and I would spend two weeks in the woods cutting down trees for ties to sell to the Union Pacific railroad for a few dollars.”

Richard DeLong had one girlfriend in youth, and the “family story” always remarked, “she ran off and married another man.” He never had another girlfriend, but he worked the land. Somewhere in his youth, he accepted a unique responsibility.

Richard B. DeLong became a grave digger.

Grave Digger

In the days, before the invention and common use of the backhoe, local men and boys would from time to time find it necessary to help out neighbors by digging graves. Yocum Pond Cemetery, in pictures from the era, was simply farm pasture on a hill above Reeds Spring that families used to bury their loved ones. The responsibility for the care and maintenance of the graves of loved ones belonged to the individual families.

Around the 1930s, the DeLong family moved to northern Stone County and homesteaded a piece of land about three miles from Galena, the county seat. Richard farmed the 160 acres that his mother and father owned and he brought 80 acres that joined their land to farm.

Richard’s brother, Willie had a reputation as an outdoors man, who hunted, trapped and fished for a living. His brother, Hobert , also a farmer, had a reputation as a marksman and successful local hunter. And, Richard’s sister, Opal went from being a World War II shipyard welder to being a local farmer.

Richard stayed the course and farmed the family farm. His idea of entertainment started with going to the Ozark Sale Barn on Mondays about once a month. He enjoyed watching wrestling on the small black and white television. And, on some Thursday evenings, he would go to Play Nights at the Coon Ridge Saddle Club Arena to watch local horsemen and horsewomen train for upcoming rodeos and horse shows. Uncle Richard always made time for the meticulous care of the family graves.

Yocum Pond Passion

If we all have a mission in life, then, Richard DeLong took up the banner to make Memorial Day his life’s mission. His campaign was to make sure the family graves were always immaculate and to teach nieces and nephews respect, and protocol to be observed in the cemetery and to pass on the Memorial Day tradition.

Earl DeLong's headstone - When he died in the 1930's, the story told in the family is, Springfield relatives claimed to be unable to pay for his burial in the city or Greene County. They asked relatives in Stone County to bury "Uncle Earl" in Yocum Pond. Photo by Junior Warren

Once or twice a year he would take the “pig trails” of country roads like Bass Hollow to drive the old black 1952 GMC along the back roads to Yocum Pond. At the pole and woven wire gate, he would stop and shovel “fresh dirt” into the pickup bed and then drive out to the family graves. Any grave that had “settled,” meant that it was “sunken in” and required fresh shovels full of topsoil to restore the peaceful appearance of an earthen blanket to the grave.

While he always made the periodic maintenance visits, his personal protocol meant a week before “Memorial Day,” Richard DeLong would be at the cemetery making sure the graves reflected the love and care of the family grave sites

In the years before the invention of weed eaters, Richard DeLong would get on his knees next to a headstone and use his pocket knife to remove weeds from around the stones. Then, whether it was the cylindrical S blade push mower or the gasoline powered push lawn mower, he would mow around each of the tombstones.

When he was done you would have to read the date on the tombstones to know how long the graves had been there. On one trip, with Uncle Richard to the cemetery, we even used dirt to “fill in” some nearby neighbor’s graves because “they have no living kin to look after their graves,” Uncle Richard explained to me.

Sister, Opal M. DeLong Warren had acquired the responsibility for providing “the flowers for the stones” for Memorial Day.

Memorial Day for Richard DeLong was never put flowers on the stones and leave. For Richard DeLong, it was the World Series, the Super Bowl and Christmas Day rolled into one major event.

Cemetery Command

After breakfast, the old GMC pickup, with the worn out shock absorbers, would bounce up and down the gravel county back roads to Yocum Pond. When Richard DeLong was “on scene” at the Yocum Pond Cemetery, he was in charge. All the nieces and nephews knew the rules of Uncle Richard’s Cemetery Command. He had drill the proper protocol into us from the earliest of ages.

Dressed in his new overalls, he would conduct his own final “white glove inspection” of the family graves to make sure they were all ship shape. Any of the nieces or nephews, who ever went with Uncle Richard to the cemetery knew that he didn’t want anyone to find fault or make any negative comments about the appearance of any of the DeLong graves. Like a “First Shirt,” he would make sure by Memorial Day the graves were immaculate in their appearance.

Pass In Review

The morning of Memorial Day, Richard DeLong would rush through his daily livestock chores to be “on scene” at the cemetery as the sun rose over the horizon.

Richard DeLong always loved to “visit” with his neighbors. In the 1960s, Yocum Pond Cemetery families did not “rush” through placing wreaths and flowers on the graves. People would place the flowers and step back and look at the stones. They would step back look at the dates and glance at the stones around the headstone they were looking at. People would converse about their buried family members, recall or ask about the “day of the funeral.” Visitors would try to remember or decide if nearby graves were those of distant relatives or friends.

Memorial Day festivities at Yocum Pond in the 1960s was more like those of air show attendees. People would comment on the colors and styles of the headstones. They would look at the headstones and make comments about any graphics on the stones like a Masonic emblem. People would read the inscriptions on the stones. Some headstones were literally stones with dates carved in them because the families simply could not afford more expensive headstones. Richard DeLong was aware how closely people looked at the individual graves because he did the same thing. Thus, for a visitor to do a “pass in review” of any of the DeLong graves; those graves were expected to show the care and concern of the living for the deceased.

The Library of Congress in overalls

Richard DeLong was “The Library of Congress in overalls,” because of the wealth of information that he had gained through the years of being one of the grave diggers. People who had questions about graves actively sought out Uncle Richard. Richard having been involved in so many of the burials is why family members would look for him at the cemetery

When it came to the details of a grave, the funeral and the burial, Richard DeLong was the “walking, talking graves registration office.” Like a mortician, he could recall details from the days of the funeral and sometimes even the weather of the day. Graves with missing markers, headstones or that had never had a headstone would be a complete mystery to family members who would arrive for Memorial Day from another state. Richard DeLong had an infallible memory on “who was buried in what grave.”

It had not been uncommon in childhood to witness “strangers” and “visitors” from other states who would drive up the gravel driveway to Grandma and Uncle Richard’s house a few days before Memorial Day. Whether the visitors sit out “on the porch” or “sat at the kitchen table,” Richard DeLong would answer their questions about the graves and recount what he had remembered about the burials. Few were the instances, when Uncle Richard didn’t have any information about a grave at Yocum Pond Cemetery

Usually a day or two, before Memorial Day, Uncle Richard would spend a few hours at the cemetery, in case, loved ones from another state showed up to inquire about “forgotten” or “lost graves.” To Richard DeLong there was no reason for an “unknown” grave in Yocum Pond.

Whenever I or Cousin Donna went with Uncle Richard to Yocum Pond, you could seldom walk past a grave that he did not have a story to share about the person or their grave.

The Charles Herman and Martha Lou DeLong family in Stone County had always observed “Decoration Day.” When Earl DeLong died in Springfield, Missouri, the story was that relatives could not afford to bury him, so he was buried in Yocum Pond to be looked after by the DeLongs in Stone County. “Uncle Earl” still sleeps among his Stone County relatives.

May 30 Is Memorial Day – Always

The DeLong family held to the passionate belief of the “Traditional Memorial Day of May 30.”

Memorial Day at Yocum Pond Cemetery always arrived like a ticker tape parade through the streets of New York City. Once family members arrived, Uncle Richard would pass among the stones like a general on a formal inspection tour.

Operational Readiness Inspection

Strategic Air Command’s Operational Readiness Inspection meant the base and personnel had to be ready to support the B-52 Stratofortresses and the KC-135 Stratotankers to ensure the aircraft could carry out the mission. Of course, SAC Intercontinental Ballistic Missle bases had to be sure their ICBMs would reach their targets to pass a SAC ORI. Richard DeLong would have been an excellent inspector.

At the cemetery, on Memorial Day, he would look carefully at the headstones and the graves. No detail went unnoticed. His smile or a nod of his head meant that Uncle Richard was pleased with the floral arrangements.

Once Uncle Richard was pleased with the DeLong graves, he would move on to look at the graves and flowers placed on the headstones of friends. He would spend the entire day walking around the graves on both sides and in the back of the cemetery No detail ever seemed to go unnoticed.

The Traditional Memorial Day Debrief

Upon leaving Yocum Pond, momma and I would always stop at Pop’s Dari Dell in Reeds Spring, Missouri. I’d get a thick, juicy hamburger and momma loved their foot long hot dogs and their thick vanilla malts. Before going home, we would stop at Grandma and Uncle Richard’s. Uncle Richard would of spent the whole day at the cemetery He would have comments about various headstones, graves and the flowers. His observations always made for a detailed situation report of the day’s activities.

The Richard DeLong Cemetery Code Of Conduct

Going to the cemetery with Uncle Richard before Memorial Day was like being the executive officer on the staff of a four star general – everything had to be meticulous and correct. If you weren’t a nervous wreck before going to the cemetery you would be a babbling bundle of nerves afterward.

A lifetime of care and respect for family graves had given Uncle Richard a Code Of Conduct and a sense of protocol that would make a Department of State foreign service career diplomat nervous and a United States Ambassador anxious in Uncle Richard’s company.

  1. Children never ever ran in the cemetery – especially if their last name was DeLong or Warren.
  2. Always watch were you step. Uncle Richard repeated this rule to Cousin Donna and I, so many times through the years, that in 2011 – as a senior citizen myself – I still look down at my feet to watch where I step. To say I am careful, where I step is an understatement. I walk around graves like a nervous private in a minefield.
  3. Proper, respectful conduct in the cemetery was never demanded – it was simply expected Nieces and nephews had been drilled in Uncle Richard’s version of boot camp from an early age, so by our teenage years, we had earned our “stripes” and knew what was expected..

Richard DeLong never served in the military. His draft card showed that he did not pass the physical requirements. But, he had a sense of order, discipline and devotion worthy of a military commander. And, his ability to instill the Memorial Day tradition in his nieces and nephews were equal to those of any professional military historian.

Uncle Richard, the farmer, passed on a legacy of respect, protocol, and admiration for those who have lived before. His passionate devotion to the maintenance of the graves were a testament of respect to the sacrifices of civilians and veterans, who are remembered in the sheen of the flowers on the monuments and the subtle movements of the small American flags waving upon the graves.

Like General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, when the career of earthly campaigns ended – Richard DeLong faded away.

Richard B. DeLong's monument in Yocum Pond

“Farewell”

Salute To The Ancestors

with 4 comments

SALUTE TO THE ANCESTORS

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Memorial Day, without a doubt, proved to be Uncle Richard’s favorite holiday. He had been a gravedigger at Yocum Pond Cemetery, in Stone County, Missouri, in the days before backhoes were used.

The approach of Memorial Day always brings Uncle Richard to mind. He taught me the protocol of how to act in a cemetery.

Like one of the 12 Disciples, he always stressed the importance of remembering the family members, who had lived before you. The bottomline is – without them – you wouldn’t be here.

Like a U.S. Marine Corps drill sergeant, Uncle Richard reminded me time and again about having “Respect For The Dead.”

Memorial Day evolved from Decoration Day. The original celebration honored the Union War Dead of the Civil War.

Memorial Day Wreath made by Christy Warren

The approach of each Memorial Day brings to life Uncle Richard’s memory and teachings. I find myself trying to remember family stories and get them into some form of print that will last after I am dust.

I find myself trying to see how far back I can go to find my ancestors. I can go back to my Great Grandmother C.J. Bellamy on my mother’s DeLong side. I can go back to my paternal Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother Joseph S Warren and Georgia Warren on my father’s side. I can also go back to my maternal Great Grandfather John H Warren and Great Grandmother Mollie Warren on my father’s side.

My branch of Warren’s are big on J and S names like John and Joseph. There also seems to be a passion for the S as in Samuel that keep rockin’ and rollin’ through the ages.

While I should probably be able to sit down and trace my heritage back to the first man and woman, alas, on the DeLong side, I can go back to Grandma Bellamy, December 17, 1853 and on the Warren side to both Grandpa Warrens with birthdays of March 14, 1851 and October 17, 1859. Basically, I can trace my DeLong and Warren ancestors to lives within the era of the American Civil War.

The challenge of tracing my wife’s ancestors is a work in progress. Saldana is the family name in the Republic of the Philippines. The devastation of World War II in the Pacific had an impact on trying to keep family histories in one piece.

How far should you be able to trace your ancestors ?

I believe the correct answer is how far back do you want to trace your ancestors.

We all have interesting lives. Not all of us wind up being the President of the United States or a four-star general, but our presence on the world stage, allows the human race to survive.

There are things in our life that we may not be proud of, but, it makes us who we are. No doubt, the same can be said for our ancestors.

Not everyone is going to be related to George Washington, the King of England or a Chinese emperor. Probably, many of our ancestors were just normal people doing the best they could to live their lives.

Along the way, some of those ancestors might be Texas Rangers and U.S. Marshalls or they might be horse theives and cattle rustlers. Regardless of their successes or failures, they contributed to the groundwork that would one day be you.

Without them, you would not be.

Memorial Day is the day that should remind us whether we know the names, birthdays, death dates, or stories, about these ancestors; the important thing is to be grateful that they faced the challenges of their day to give us the opportunity to face the challenges of our lives.

Granted, Americans will fire up the barbeque or hit the road to being summer vacations this weekend. We are Americans, this is what we do with time off from the gerbil wheel insanity of earning a living.

In the hulabalu that is the activities associated with Memorial Day Weekend; will time be found to visit the family cemetery and place flowers on the headstones?

Is it too much to ask that we take a moment to honor and remember our ancestors ?


Sam

Ancestor links


United States US GEN WEB http://www.usgenweb.org/

Texas TX GEN WEB http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txgenweb/

Warren

Upshur County, Texas http://www.txgenes.com/txupshur/

Wood County, Texas http://www.txgenweb2.org/txwood/index.htm

Missouri MO GEN WEB http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mogenweb/mo.htm

DeLong

Stone County, Missouri http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mostone/stone.htm

Written by samwarren55

May 30, 2010 at 2:06 PM

The Real Memorial Day – May 30

with 8 comments

Stone County Custom & Tradition

The Real Memorial Day


May 30

by Junior Warren

In the Good Old USA, the Memorial Day Weekend signals the Official Start of Summer. From the Memorial Day Weekend to the Labor Day Weekend, Americans grab their calendars and start trying to pencil in the dates for their long awaited summer vacations.

Meanwhile, in the hills of Stone County, Missouri, the Memorial Day Weekend for the Opal M. DeLong-Warren Family is about a family custom and tradition.

A Memorial Day 2010 arrangement made by Christy Warren

Charles H. and Martha L. Delong Family loaded their earthly belongings into a Conestoga wagon at the beginning of the 1900s and made the trek from northern Missouri to Stone County, Missouri, in southwestern Missouri.

At the time, “Charley” and Martha had their eldest son, Richard, a small boy about two years old, who would grow to be a farmer in Stone County.

Richard B. DeLong

Yocum Pond Grave Digger

In his youth, Richard became one of the grave diggers at the Yocum Pond Cemetery, near Reeds Spring. In the days before backhoes, graves were dug by local men in the community. Richard B. DeLong dug many of the graves before backhoes began to be used.

As late as the late 1960s, I remember being at the cemetery on Memorial Day and strangers would come up to Uncle Richard and they would ask if he knew where a family member had been buried. Uncle Richard would usually nod, point and start walking in the direction of the grave. Along the way, he would tell them information about the person and the circumstances surrounding the funeral.

During the Great Depression, Uncle Richard explained that some of the local families didn’t have the money for headstones. Usually, they would try to write the information on a large rock or wooden board or cross. Over time some of the markers would rot away or be removed, then, the only way a descendant could find an unmarked grave would be to try and find one of the original gravediggers.

Even in the 1960s, there were people who decided not to spend money on tombstones, which meant the graves went unmarked. Uncle Richard made less than favorable comments about some of the family members who seemed to cheap or greedy to spend a few dollars for a headstone.

In his lifetime, Richard B. DeLong cared for the family graves at Yocum Pond. Throughout the years, he would make occasional trips to the cemetery to make sure the grass was mowed and weeds had been pulled from around the headstones. Even the rock hard soil of Stone County tends to settle over a grave after a few months and the result is a sunken appearance in the earth. The solution is to apply fresh soil to the grave.

Filling Up The Graves”

A couple of weeks, before Memorial Day, Uncle Richard would always put soil in the back of his 1952 GMC pickup and drive out to the graves to put the soil on the graves. For a time in the 1970s there was a large pile of soil, near the entrance to Yocum Pond that family members could use to “fill in the graves. This “filling up the graves” procedure was the way to maintain the grave to present the traditional appearance. To my knowledge, there has always been a cemetery caretaker for Yocum Pond, still throughout his life, Richard B. DeLong took care of all the landscaping requirements of the DeLong family graves. The caretakers would mow around the headstones before Memorial Day but two or three days before May 30, Uncle Richard would load his lawnmower into his pickup and make sure the graves were ready for memorial day.

Holiday Shuffle

During the 1970s, the U.S. Government began playing with the calendar and moving around holidays. In elementary school it had been a tradition to observe Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, and Washington’s Birthday, February 22. As a grade school student – there was “no school” on those days. We even got to celebrate Columbus Day, October 12. By the 1970s Uncle Sam began to shuffle holidays like cards in a deck. Washington and Lincoln’s birthday got merged into the newly created “President’s Day.” Uncle Richard didn’t pay any attention to Uncle Sam shuffling holidays until the U.S. Government took it upon themselves to start hopscotching Memorial Day around the calendar.

In the Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong Family, it was Richard B. DeLong, who proclaimed Memorial Day to be May 30.

“It doesn’t matter what day the government picks for Memorial Day. I’m going to keep celebrating ‘The Real Memorial Day – May 30″  Richard B. DeLong

Richard B. Delong’s dedication to keeping May 30th as the real Memorial Day meant that family would go to visit and decorate the graves on May 30. True, the upkeep of the graves were a family tradition of the DeLong family, but, for Richard DeLong, the upkeep of the graves was a labor of love for him. Uncle Richard is the only person I ever knew who truly looked forward to Memorial Day. He truly lived for May 30.

Perhaps, God does have a sense of irony. Richard DeLong left the Land Of The Living on one of his Memorial Days – May 30.

Opal M. DeLong – Warren

Matriarch

Charley and Martha DeLong, originally settled ,near Reeds Spring , in Stone County, Missouri. Before The Great Depression in the 1930s, they would move to a homestead, known as “The Old Sheriff Oliver Place,” between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.

Charley and Martha’s only daughter, Opal, would go to school in Peach Tree Holler, near Reeds Spring. The old one room schoolhouse that she attended would eventually be moved to Silver Dollar City and be used as a church. When Opal attended the school, it was called “Wilson’s Creek” and she graduated from the eighth grade in that building.

By the time, Opal’s mom and dad had moved “out on the highway,” she was a young woman, who had set out to find her place in the world. World War II would find Opal working as a welder in the Todd Houston Shipyard in Houston, Texas.

By 1960, she had returned to Stone County to “take care of her mother and bachelor brother” – Uncle Richard. From the 1960s until her death, Opal M. DeLong Warren handled the funeral arrangements for the DeLong family and the floral arrangements for Memorial Day.

All families have their disagreements through the years. Sometimes a family is blessed to have a diplomat in their ranks. Opal M. DeLong-Warren, my mother, proved to be the diplomat. Uncle Willie had been killed at a chivarie, near Reeds Spring, in the 1930s. In my lifetime, momma, always did her best to look out for and protect her mother and brothers: Richard, Joe and Hobert to the best of her abilities. Uncle Hobert and Uncle Joe had their own families.

In my lifetime, Uncle Richard always made sure the graves looked immaculate. Opal M. DeLong Warren always made sure all the “DeLong graves” had flowers. Momma always shopped for the flowers and eventually came to rely on a local woman to make the wreaths for the family headstones. Now, my wife, Christy, shops for the flowers, foam and artistic accessories to make the wreathes for the headstones.

The DeLong Graves

Life and Death being the human condition, the DeLong Graves change through the years. Upon my mother’s death, my wife and I accepted the tradition of decorating the graves that my mother had always made sure got decorated. There are other DeLong graves in Yocum Pond, but, those DeLongs have their own family members who should be able to decorate their graves.

C.J. Bellamy, “Grandma Bellamy,” I never met her. She was my mother’s grandmother. She died about a quarter of a century before I was born. The stories that my mother told me of Grandma Bellamy is that she was a strong willed woman – stubborn. I have never found any documentation to prove that she was a suffragette and she lived long before the 1970’s definition of feminist. Yet, she was a woman, who apparently was stubborn.

She outlived one husband. When her second husband decided he didn’t want to leave northern Missouri for Stone County, Missouri; she left him. Grandma Bellamy decided she wanted to live with one of her daughters and her new husband, so C.J. Bellamy left her second husband.

Grandma Bellamy is legendary for her strong-willed nature. She is also remembered to be a practical business woman.

Daniel Salsbery, “Uncle Dan,” is a son of Grandma Bellamy. He was a farmer in Stone County, Missouri.

"Uncle Daniel" Salsbery's headstone before the flowers were added for Memorial Day 2009.

Earl DeLong, “Uncle Earl,” is a Springfield, Missouri relative resting in Yocum Pond. In the 1930s, during The Great Depression, Grandma DeLong and my mother told me how hard it was “to make ends meet” and earn a living day to day.

"Uncle Earl" DeLong's headstone displays the Memorial Day 2009 flowers.

When “Uncle Earl” died apparently some of the relatives believed the DeLongs of Stone County were better able to afford funeral expenses. The story that I always heard is that is why his body was brought to Yocum Pond for burial.

Willie DeLong, “Uncle Willie,” is one of my mother’s brothers. He had the reputation of being “The Outdoors man” He loved to fish and hunt. Grandma said he would spend weeks camped out on the banks of the James River. Uncle Willie was murdered at a local “chivarie,” which was basically an Ozarks wedding reception in the 1930s.

Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong, “Grandma and Grandpa DeLong,” I never met grandpa, but the numerous stories that I’ve heard about him; he was an interesting man. Grandma is the type of woman, who should have here own biography of wit and wisdom on the shelf of the local library.

Richard B. DeLong, “Uncle Richard,” was a Stone County, Missouri farmer. Paint a portrait of the American farmer behind a team of horses and don’t be surprised if the man looks like Richard DeLong. For years, he plowed the fields with two Clydesdale named “Bob and Fred.” He chewed “Day’s Work” and “Good Money” chewing tobacco. Even though he bought a narrow front end John Deere tractor, he sometimes found it faster and more efficient to hook up “Old Kate,” his white mule, and “Hazel,” his young brown mule to the plow.

Grandma said Uncle Richard had a girlfriend when he was a teenager. Everyone in the family always said, “the girl ran off and married someone else.” He never had another girlfriend.

Uncle Richard was hard of hearing, which meant that he spoke in a loud voice. An unusual brain condition in his middle age years gave him a speech impediment, which meant that sometimes I got to act as a translator for him because strangers didn’t always understand what he was trying to say. He had a great sense of humor and his ideas of entertainment meant watching “wrestling” on the small rabbit-eared black and white TV.

Taking a “day off” from farming meant it was Monday and Uncle Richard was going to Noel Cox’s Sale Barn in Ozark. Sometimes, he would go to buy cattle, but usually, he just like to watch the cattle, goats, and horses sell. It also gave him a chance to see and visit with old friends and other farmers. Every time I smell cow manure and hamburgers, I remember going with Uncle Richard to the sale barn. We always made a day of it. Lunch meant that we would be eating in the sale barn cafe. In those days, the aroma of the sale barn barnyards found their way into the cafe every time the door opened or closed.

Evening entertainment for Uncle Richard meant that it was Thursday night and time to go to “Play Night” at the Coon Ridge Saddle Club. We would sit on the benches and watch kids and some grown ups riding horses and practicing for upcoming horse shows and rodeos by honing their barrel racing skills. One of Uncle Richard’s closest friends was Fred Atchison. We’d take our seat on the bleachers to watch the riders.

Some Thursday evenings, the black stake bed Ford truck would arrive. Fred’s kids or grandkids would unload their horses and lead them in the ring to perform. Fred would sit up by Uncle Richard and I on the bleachers. The two men would talk about days gone by and farming. I’d usually ease down off the bleachers and try to convince one of the young riders to let me ride their horse. Sometimes I got to ride and sometimes I didn’t, but, it was always fun going anywhere with Uncle Richard.

Samuel E. Warren and Opal M. DeLong Warren, “Dad and Mom” Daddy was a short haul East Texas trucker that got drafted by Uncle Sam to serve in World War II in the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. He grew up on a farm in Simpsonville, Texas, near Winnsboro and Gilmer. After the war, he worked at Cameron Iron Works in Houston, Texas. He didn’t invent the word, “workaholic,” but he embodied every letter. In addition to working full time at Cameron’s, he worked part time as a bartender at Cooks Hoedown and later a bartender and bouncer at the Dome Shadow in Houston, Texas. He was always passionate about a job getting done right.

Opal M. Warren, my mother, is one of those people, who always seemed to be more myth than human. She represented the embodiment of the word, “Family.” She always went “above and beyond” to help grandma and Uncle Richard. When ever one of her brothers called her, then, momma would be there to help out. She may not of been one of Missouri’s first women hog farmers, but she managed 25 head of hogs from Hampshire to Duroc. Like her grandmother, C.J. Bellamy, Opal M. Warren was a practical business woman, who was strong-willed and downright stubborn.

Willie’s Children

Opal M DeLong Warren always tried to keep in touch with family members throughout the United States. It was understood if you were trying to reach the Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong Family that your point of contact would be Opal Warren, in the days before computers. She always responded to the phone calls and letters.

Opal Warren served not only as the Guardian of the DeLong Family, she also became the Protector of the Family History with the passion expected of a historian working for the United Kingdom’s College of Arms in London.

Momma’s brother Willie had been murdered in the 1930s, so she always tried to stay in touch with his children. Harold DeLong, the son of Willie DeLong, served in the U.S. Army. His whereabouts are unknown.

Reva DeLong, Willie’s daughter was born after her father died. Grandma DeLong and Momma made it a point to tell Reva all the stories that they could remember about Willie, her father. As a young girl, Reva spent some time living with her Aunt Opal in Houston, Texas. Opal Warren loved to tell the story of how everyone though Reva was her little sister. Reva’s funeral was held in Minnesota.

Other DeLong Graves

There are other DeLong Graves in Yocum Pond, but these graves are probably related to Hobert or Joe DeLong. Uncle Hobert and Uncle Joe had their own families, so I will leave the documentation and listing of those graves to those family members who are responsible for the care and maintenance of those graves.

Respect For The Dead

The Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong family’s commitment to “The Real Memorial Day of May 30” is a tradition that is part of the overall Big Picture of the DeLong family’s attention to the graves at Yocum Pond.

America is a hodge podge of cultural ideas and identities. Likewise customs and traditions evolve and change over time. Ozarks customs are slow to change. While “Cremation” may be a cheaper alternative that the traditional expense of a funeral; it was never an acceptable alternative for the Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong Family, nor, was it ever considered when Opal M. DeLong-Warren made the funeral arrangements. In the 1960s and 1970s, some local farmers would burn their trash. The thinking of the day was simple: “You burn trash; not people.”

The Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong Family of Stone County always taught the belief of “Respect For The Dead.”

As a child, I realized on Memorial Day, when you went to the cemetery, you stayed glued to Uncle Richard. I was taught to always have a respectful attitude in the cemetery. When I was a child, Uncle Richard remind me time and again about “watch were you step.” Like a drill sergeant, he always reminded me never to walk on or step on a grave.

DeLong Family Memorial Day

Photography Tradition

My mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren as a young girl saved money for film. She had a changing arsenal of cameras through the years. Her main specification in cameras was “the simpler the better.” Throughout her life, Opal M Warren documented birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings and special events in pictures. For a “shutterbug” like my Pisces mother, Memorial Day meant taking the camera to the cemetery. Once a headstone was decorated, she took a picture of each and every headstone. She did it to remember what the flower arrangements look like. I continue the tradition.

Ancestor Worship

The Charles H. and Martha L. DeLong Family always honored and respected the memories of family members who had passed from this life. The DeLong Family observances were not what would be considered ancestor worship.

My childhood memories of Memorial Day meant that Uncle Richard would spend the day walking between the graves and looking at the appearance and the floral decorations. He would tell you stories about the family member, whose name appeared on the headstone. If someone asked where someone was buried he would walk the person to the grave and tell them stories about the person and the funeral.

In a poetic sense, on Memorial Day, I see the man with the long face, the work shirt and the overalls walking among the graves. Regardless, who the man may actually be; I see Richard B. DeLong, “Uncle Richard” walking among the headstones, reading the names and the dates and commenting on the flowers.

My Mentors

Richard B. DeLong, “Uncle Richard” taught me respect for tradition reminds you that you are connected to the ancestors that went before you.

Martha L. Marcum – DeLong, “Grandma DeLong,” had an Irish, Cherokee background and lived in a community that had an intense belief in Christianity. Other grandchildren, might have had different experiences, but, grandma never talked or preached religion at me. I did learn from grandma that by remembering the history and stories of your ancestors you remain connected through the ages.

Opal M. DeLong Warren, “Momma,” got exposed to the Pentecostal religion as a young girl. At an early age, my mother told me she would never tell me what religion I had to believe in. She kept her promise. I could never get momma to discuss religion or politics; and I tried several times through the years. I learned from my mother to be flexible with religious ideas, but to observe family customs because the customs remind you that family struggles on from generation to generation.

Junior Warren, thanks to my grandmother and mother, I have always been interested in history. Born a Scorpio, I love mystery. There is no bigger mystery than the After Life. The DeLong Family Commandment of Respect for the Dead has driven me on to examine customs and traditions relating to death. The experience of being able to travel to other countries, exposed me to other cultures that have their own customs and traditions of relating to ancestors.

Catholicism proved to be an important religion in the Republic of the Philippines in the 1980s.

I’ve been exposed to the Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Methodist religions. I’ve been exposed to Catholicism and Buddhism.  I chose a spiritual path that would allow me to accept and reject dogmas and beliefs that feel comfortable to me, rather than signing on to any one religion. If there are any DeLongs or Warrens that can be pointed to for “ancestor worship”; it is me. In the 21st Century, I do magick and blend ancestral customs and traditions into the customs and traditions that I was taught.

Uncle Richard, Grandma DeLong and Momma’s lessons last throughout the years. Each May, I know it is time to begin the preparations for Memorial Day. Memories of childhood and adulthood arise and I can’t help to smile as various memories from the years come to mind. My only major concern is come May 30, will Uncle Richard be looking over my shoulder, pleased with my arrangement of the decorations on The Real Memorial Day- May 30.

Junior Warren

For more information on the history and ancestors of Stone County, Missouri visit the US Gen Web site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mostone/stone.htm

Image unavailable

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

WARREN LAND_VIRGIN MARY STATUE 0001

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

%d bloggers like this: