Paul Ray Winegar, the youngest child of Edwin and Myrtie Winegar, was born in 1926. He served in the Navy during World War II and was stationed in Guam. A poem written by one of his shipmates, Satan’s Dreamboat, was published in the September 4th post. Paul married Mary Margaret Bergens in 1948 and had three sons and several grandchildren. He had a career in real estate and paint sales. Mary Margaret died in 1996. Paul married Pat Quigley Moses in 2003. He has recently had to give up tennis but still enjoys playing golf two or three times per week.
William Edwin Ashbel Winegar was born in 1917 and died in 2001. He married Ruth Elaine Palmer March 13, 1942 and had two daughters and two sons. During World War II, Bill served as Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps and graduated from Advanced Flying School in 1943 and then served as a combat pilot. He made the Army his career.
Donald Stephenson Winegar, my father, was born in 1909 and died in 1987. He married Mary Deone Daniells. My July 24th post was his biography and was part of the Coming to Wacousta series. Additional photos are included in today’s post.
Today, I continue with photos of the children of Edwin Ashbel and Myrtie Winegar. The photos come from my father, Don Winegar’s collection. I don’t have a great deal of information about my aunts and uncles but I hope at a later date to have some of my cousins write a short biography of their parents.
Esther Alta Winegar was born in 1906 and died in 1993. She married Clarence Kirkpatrick in 1941.
Edwin Ashbel and Myrtie Stephenson Winegar were my grandparents. They had six children. One, Mary Louise, died in infancy. Over the next few posts I want to share some of the photos of these children from my father’s collection. My emphasis will be primarily on old photos that other descendants may not have access to.
The first born child of the couple was Nina Irene, born in 1903. Nina attended school in Wacousta through 10th grade and then attended Central High School in Lansing. She then attended Michigan State College. She would have been the first of her family to graduate from college, but she developed TB and died shortly before she was to graduate. Apparently she completed the course of study because she is in the graduating class picture and is listed in the graduation program. She died in May 1932 and is buried in Niles Cemetery in Clinton County, Michigan.
My Uncle Paul Winegar served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, stationed in Guam. One of his shipmates, H.R. Penrose M2/c, wrote the following poem, which Uncle Paul sent home to his family. Satan’s Dreamboat tells a story that only a seaman serving in wartime can truly understand. After reading the poem, the ship’s Chaplain had it published. Commented Uncle Paul, “It’s very true as far as it goes.”
I ask that the readers of this post be understanding of some of the language and characterizations. This was wartime, and men felt fear, bitterness, and unbelievable fatigue as they fought to keep us free. God bless the USA and those who defend her!
Come listen to the story that I’m about to tell.
It contains but little glory and an awful lot of hell.
It’s about a floating dry dock out on the western sea,
On which we worked around the clock to set the whole world free.
She was not a very pretty thing, her lines were square and true.
But, my friend, she was built that way for she had a job to do.
Now sit a little closer friend; clean out your ears and listen well,
For I’m about to take you through a little piece of hell.
This story I’m sorry, must exclude many things that even now
Are just a bitter memory, of that God-forsaken scow.
But, my friend, I’ll tell you, before I do forget
Of steaming, reeking mess halls and bed made soaking wet
By days and nights of driving rain, where there was no place to sleep as yet.
I could tell you of a lot of things that happened every day
But friend, I want to head for home when points enough I’ve made.
Of course, there was the “buggy” bread and wormy pancakes too
And mouldy beans and smelly meat, and apples rotted through,
And sweat dropping off the mess cook’s nose into our greasy stew.
There was cold iced tea and lemonade, made in most any blend,
Then poured in cups so piping hot they’d raise blisters on your hand.
Enough of that for now, my friend, there is more that I could tell,
But we want to travel a little more on this, our trip through hell.
Of course there is another side of this story to unfold
It’s about the smashed up ships we fixed while living in this hole.
We brought them in here in ones and twos; sometimes as many as seven,
And one day when the dock went down she came up with eleven.
They had gaping holes and torn sides caused by the ‘Kamikaze’
There were twisted shafts and missing screws that damn near drove us crazy.
And bolts that stuck. While in the muck of some ship’s filthy bilges,
We worked and slaved, and cussed and swore; heaved up our chow,
Then worked some more — for the job had to be finished.
Some ships came in with missing bows, there were sleek new ships and dirty scows;
There were battleships and LSTs; Liberty ships, carriers and APCs.
Cruisers, destroyers, and mine-sweepers too: each one meant a job to do.
Our deck was slimy, it always stank, as we put the ships in rank on rank.
And we worked in filth up to our necks, scraped from their bottoms to our decks.
And always and ever beneath our feet, was dirty water shoe-sole deep,
And welding lines, hydraulic jacks, come alongs – to take up slack
Air hose, water lines, and electric too; twisted, coiled, bent in two
That wrapped around unwary feet and added their misery to the heat.
Overhead, in the self-same vane swung the long-neck booms of heavy cranes,
Carrying on their thread like cables, a-frames, steel plate, welder’s tables;
Chain hoists, planks, and ammunition: spot lights, strong backs stern tube bearings:
All parts of ships we were repairing.
And then the noise of crane bells ringing;
The irritating chatter of air guns singing,
The P.A. system on all ships blaring,
The throaty roar of “Hog-burners” swearing.
And steady thump of hand swung hammers; and then, above the noisy clamor,
The boatswain’s whistle’s shrill demand for “Attention” from some ship’s “All hands.”
And, if by chance you should look up and do it not with care,
A leaking scupper on a “head” will nail you fair and square.
And then at night, when we could rest from the labor of it all,
The slant-eyed nestlings of the devil’s brood would drop in to pay a call
And shocked from dreams by the siren’s scream and the whitle’s throaty bellow,
We’d put out lights, dog hatches down, and pray that we weren’t yellow.
The hungry guns would sniff the air, waiting to bark and bite.
And while smoke pots burned, and the air they churned into a choking, gasping hell
We would wait, my friend, and waiting is one thing we do quite well.
But Tojo’s sons never reached our deck, we gratefully thank our God for that:
And while “all clear” sounded around the bay,
We’d head for our racks and hope to stay.
But we must stop often on the way to choke and cough and spit
For “blackout” smoke was in our lungs, and it damn well makes you sick.
Finally our narrow bunks we’d reach, there to roll and toss
Trying to sleep some “double time” to make up for what we lost.
No, we’re not complaining, friend; not for just one minute,
For we knew we had a job to do, and by the grace of God we did it.
Now all we ask of “Uncle Sam,” now that our job is done
Is to find a ship that’s homeward bound, for each and every one.
To take each one back to his old home town,
Where for the next ten years or more
He can forget this “Satan’s Dreamboat”
And what they built it for.
The following un-titled poem was written by Sarah Elizabeth “Sate” Plowman Hodges about an event that transpired between 1885 and 1890. This is a wonderful example of the Plowman family – their humor, their poetry, their love for one another. It is written in the literary style of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Song of Hiawatha, written 1855. I remember memorizing parts of Song of Hiawatha,and when Sandra read me Sate’s poem, I immediately recognized the cadence.
For those readers who have not followed the saga of the Plowman family, here is a brief synopsis of family members. The author is “Sate,” one of the eleven Plowman brothers and sisters. The brother from the far away mountains is probably George Fawcett Plowman who moved to Iron
Mountain, Michigan, and ran a florist business. Dora is Dora Plowman, wife of Herman Sidney Bliss. The little daughter she kisses is Iva Bliss. Luther is another brother of the Plowman clan. Following the picnic, brother and sister Dora and Luther conspire to play a joke on the rest of the family the following Christmas.
I am sorry I never had the opportunity to attend a Plowman Christmas Tree because reading this poem, I am sure I would have loved this family and their wit.
In a very pleasant country,
Where the ground was white in winter,
Where the flowers were bright in summer,
Where the sun at night did linger,
Where the robins loved to gather.
In that mild and pleasant country
Lived a kind and loving family,
Many brothers, many sisters,
Dwelt in unison together.
In a city of the mountains,
Far away in that lone country,
Lived a brother of the family,
Of this kind and loving family.
It was very long ago,
Many months and years ago,
That he came to visit kindred,
Left his home and left his fireside,
Came to visit brothers, sisters,
Home of childhood came to visit.
Then the brothers and the sisters
Of this kind and loving family
Planned to take a pleasant journey
With the brother from the mountains,
Planned to visit farm and country,
Visit haunts of early childhood.
In a near and prosperous city,
With her family, lived a sister.
She too planned to take this journey,
Take this very pleasant journey.
Now the son, so young and nimble,
With his eyes so keen and steady,
He had clipped and groomed the pony,
Clipped the strong and faithful pony.
And the goodman of the household,
In the moon had early risen,
Fed the pony very early,
Fed her grain and well he fed her,
Gave her hay, much hay he gave her.
From the barn he took the buggy,
Greased the wheels,
And made things ready,
Then he called her for the journey.
Long had she been ready, waiting,
Carefully had planned the luncheon
And within the well filled basket
Placed the onions sweet and fragrant.
Very pleasant was the journey
To the farm and to the country,
To the orchard and the meadow,
To the flats they well remembered
Where in childhood they had rambled,
Where they found the pussy willow,
Where they swung upon the grapevine,
Where they hunted for the goose egg,
Where they skated in the winter,
Where they gathered flowers in summer,
Chased the squirrel
And picked the cowslip.
When at noon they had grown weary
They were glad of well filled baskets.
By the green tree they had gathered,
On the green grass spread their luncheon,
Of the meat there was aplenty,
Cakes and pies were quite delicious
Sweetest honey and the melon.
Then the sister, she the generous,
From basket took the onions,
Passed them round,
Again she passed them
To the brothers and the sisters,
To the sisters too she passed them.
They were fresh and sweet and spicy
And they ate and still they ate them.
It did make their tongues run glibly
Made them eat and talk and chatter,
Made the children blithe and happy,
In the trees the children scampered
After squirrel and after chipmunk.
Sister Dora, she so pleasant,
Gathering up the many fragments,
Placed an onion, sweet and tender,
With the fragments in her basket.
Pleasant was the journey homeward
In the cool shade of the evening.
When near another festive season
Sister Dora, she so pleasant,
Always so serene and happy
Seemed at times to grow more thoughtful.
On her brow there was a shadow,
She seemed planning, thinking, planning,
Ever thinking, ever planning.
All at once she seemed more hopeful,
Then consulted her kind husband,
Kissed again the little daughter,
Told them she would be back early,
Told them she would not long tarry.
Quickly on her way she started,
Gladly then she hurried forward.
Went she, till the hills and sand were plenty,
Till the sand was very plenty.
There she found her brother Luther,
Luther poet of the family.
Then she told him of the onion
She had found within her basket.
Long they talked in secret planning
Till she saw the sun descending,
Then she quickly hastened homeward.
Now the brother’s mind seemed busy
In the past he now was wandering.
Sat he quiet, still and quiet,
Very silent, sat he thinking.
The good wife by the fire still lingering,
From her eyes askance was looking,
Knew she well the muses lingered,
Knew she well why he was thinking,
Liked she not then to disturb him,
But she gently did remind him
Of the chores he had forgotten.
Went he slowly to the cupboard,
For the lantern reached and halted,
Still his mind was very busy
With the muses still he lingered.
To the barn he slowly wandered,
Fed the sheep and fed the cattle,
Fed the horses grain and watered.
Looking at the faithful horses
Made him think of many journeys,
Many long and faithful journeys
In the past that he had taken.
Then his eyes began to brighten
And his steps begin to quicken,
To the house he then did hasten,
Quickly called the dark eyed maiden
To bring ink and pen and tablet
Then he wrote some pretty verses,
Pretty verses wrote the poet.
Now the brother and the sister
Took the verses and the onion,
Took them to the Christmas gathering
To remind them of the journey,
Of that very pleasant journey.
That was very long ago,
Many months and years ago.
Now again, we bring the onion
To another Christmas gathering.
It is no more sweet and fragrant,
It is no more fresh and spicy,
But we bring it as a sweet reminder
Of that journey to the country
When they passed and ate the onions
With the brother from the mountains.