Monthly Archives: June 2007

My Great-Uncle Mandell

I never knew Mandell, my great-uncle, the youngest son of Barney. He fought in WWII, just like his older two brothers. However, he didn’t return home. I’ve known for awhile that my uncle had Mandell’s war journal. And I’ve mentioned to him I’d like to read it. Last time I said this was a couple years ago when he wrote a poem based on his own reading of the journal, and showed the poem to me. He said sure. My uncle and I have a similar personality in that we are both forgetful, and if you want something from us, you sometimes need to be persistent. And I haven’t been. It was always something I could ask for again later.

In a conversation with my mother Sunday night, I discovered she had a photocopy of the journal. So I went home from Father’s Day dinner with it. Mandell’s handwriting was better than my own. But a chimpanzee’s handwriting is better than my own. Luckily, his was better than a chimpanzee’s too, but it’s still not the most legible at points. Of course, he wasn’t writing under the best of circumstances.

It looks like a journal that was ‘standard issue’ because there were predefined spots to write down names/addresses of ‘buddies’ and dates to remember (birthdays/anniversaries) of family back home. Every page has a quote from someone famous on courage or heroism or such. There was a spot in the front that said “The following pages contain the diary of my life in the service. This simple record of my daily experiences and thoughts has given me pleasure in the writing of it. If for any reason it leaves my possession, I would like to have it forwarded to: “. The addressee was “B. Newmark” – which could be either his father Barney, or mother Bertha.

Note: Obviously in the 40s there was no gender-connotation to the word ‘diary’

So far I’ve made two other linguistic notations. The slang term PO’d was already in use in the 1940s (And Mandell thought it was an appropriate term to associate with ‘APO’) and he refers to a beer as “Green Death”. Apparently this term has long been associated with Rainier beer, and one of his buddies was from Seattle Washington, so even if it wasn’t referring to Rainier in particular, its possible the Seattlian introduced him to the term.

I may include some excerpts here I don’t know how many people care about what life was like in the army in the 1940s for a relative of mine, but then again, perhaps more than those who care about my views on George W.


I was told last night by someone who’s arm I twisted somehow, forcing her to try ScriptFrenzy, with my assurances that I was going to try it too, that my current word count of 550 words is unacceptable for 20 days into the month. That’s an average of 27.5 words a day, what’s wrong with that? (Perhaps that, at this pace, it will take me two years to finish the 20,000 words I’m supposed to be trying to get done in a month.)

I’m just not good at multi-tasking my extra-officular activities. (In my editor, there’s a red line underneath that word, indicating it may not be spelled correctly. I’m pretty sure it is, since I made up the word.)

How Catherine the Great is the great(19) grandmother of Henry David Thoreau

Here is the direct lineage of Catherine the Great to Henry David Thoreau — according to OneWorldTree

I don’t see any issues with it – do you?

Sure … 19 generations is a lot to go through between 1729 and 1817, but here is how it works:

Catherine the Great

Paul I Romanov

Marie Pavlovna Romanov

Marie Von Saxe Weimar Eisenach


Friedrich Karl Hohenzollern

Louise Margaret

Patricia Helen Windsor

Alexander Arthur Ramsey

Agnes Ramsay

William Urquhart

Alexander Urquhart

Agnes Urquhart

Hugh Rose

Janet Rose

Mark Dunbar

Ninian Dunbar

Robert Dunbar

Peter Dunbar

Samuel Dunbar

Asa Dunbar

Cynthia Dunbar

Henry David Thoreau

Of course, as I’ve said before, when discussing the case of Lucy and Desi, this doesn’t mean I’m not descended from Chaucer. Some of the linkages they come up with are bound to be correct — so mine could be one of those.