Monthly Archives: September 2018

More fires

Stone sculptures purchased on vacation in British Columbia were the only items in my father’s house to (mostly) survive the October 1991 Oakland Fire.

Just after 5:30 a.m., last October 9, I got a text from my half-sister letting me know that she and her children were safe at her mother’s house, but that her own home just outside Santa Rosa, California, had very likely burned. She’d awakened after midnight to the smell of smoke, and upon investigation discovered that wildfire was below her hill. Throwing on clothes, she and her kids evacuated down their winding, country road, as she blasted her car horn all the way down to alert neighbors of the danger. It appeared that Jennifer had become the one in our generation to be tapped by the finger of our family curse. Continue reading More fires

Volunteer appreciation

Volunteer Dianne Wesselhoeft uses a static dissipating brush to collect the pieces of paper and dust from the gutter of a Saint Patrick volume.

I started at NEHGS as a volunteer, coming in every Friday for about four hours. My first project involved checking the transcriptions of the names that other volunteers had made against other sources to help decipher some of the names. Often this involved me running up to the fifth floor, where the local histories are kept, or 7, where the genealogies are, to check spellings. After a few weeks I was familiar enough with the handwriting that I did not have to go use outside sources to verify the transcription. Not long afterwards, I began scanning a manuscript for Special Collections and then, as I was in library school at the time, working with actual collections and providing additional details for finding aids. Continue reading Volunteer appreciation