In normal life mode you do your thing: go to work, do your hobbies, maybe hang out with a friend your two, rinse and repeat. But sometimes you get to experience a truly epic weekend that defies all the logic of regular living.
I found myself reading some old blog posts and remembered May 2003. It was one of those epic weekends. Two pretty major events happened that weekend. I graduated with my MLIS, and my mom and stepdad drove down to Santa Cruz, CA to attend the ceremony. They stayed I think one night? We somehow managed to pack a million things into the visit (including a tour of Pebble Beach). The morning they left we boarded a plane to Las Vegas to attend my Brother In Law’s Wedding. I am not normally an on-the-go kind of person. I kind of need a lot of time to process stuff. I can’t believe I did all of this in a mere few hours!
Anyway, in the process of all of this reminiscing I spend some time looking at the photos from my graduation. And then yesterday my Mother in Law sent me a photo from my graduation from UCSC . And BOOM. A blog post was born.
The left is my graduation at UCSC (BA), the right is my graduation four years later from SJSU (MLIS). Should I tell you how old I was in these photos? Hmm. I think I’ll leave that a secret.
I have this deep need to figure out, and tell, my Great-Grandfather’s story. I would like to be more organized about this and, currently, I am not at all. I only have little bits and pieces that have been collected here and there.
Here is a newspaper clipping my sister found a few months ago, in a Vancouver B.C. paper from when he died.
“VANCOUVER B.C. SEPT 8th – C. G. Shawcross arrived here last night with the body of his friend, Wilfrid Butcher (Wilfred Boucher), aged 30, who he killed last Monday on Nelson Island, 100 miles up the coast from Vancouver.
The man went looking for deer. Shawcross saw the bushes move and pumped three shots so rapidly in one spot that all three passed through Butcher’s hear.
Shawcross was held to await the coroner’s inquest.”
I have always had an uneasy feeling about his death, even before anyone started doing research on him. I knew that he was killed by his friend in a hunting accident, and somewhere along the line I found out that his death was due to a gunshot to the heart (I think that info was on his death certificate).
It has always made me wonder. Was it really an accident? This is what I want to find out. This is the mystery.
For today’s Throwback Thursday I wanted to revisit my Great Grandfather, Wilfred Boucher. This has become such an incredible story, with a happy ending.
To recap from an earlier post:
He died in 1915 in a “hunting accident” when he was in his early thirties. According to his death certificate he was shot in the heart.
The family story goes that he moved to Hardy Island, British Columbia from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I believe he moved because of a business opportunity. He moved there first to scope out the area and then his wife and children made their way there. At the time of his death he and my great-grandmother were far away from extended family. Shortly after his death my great-grandmother moved back home to Coeur d’Alene. She never remarried and she lived well into her nineties. She died when I was a teenager and I have very fond memories of her.
I visited Vancouver, B.C. a couple of years ago. My sister, being interested in genealogy, asked me to visit Will Boucher’s grave and take a picture. I was more than happy to oblige. I learned that every single person that ever died in Vancouver B.C. is buried in the same cemetery, the Mountain View Cemetery. When asked at the office they were able to print me a map to his burial site, which was very helpful because the place is huge. However, when I found the site there was no grave marker. I was shocked! And then I felt this deep sadness. My great grandfather, whom I spent my entire life imagining in my mind (I mean, I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for him), has had nobody come to pay their respects in the 100 years since his death. It brought tears to my eyes as I stood in that empty spot.
I told my mom the story and she quickly went to work getting him a marker for his grave. She convinced all of her cousins to chip in. Last summer it was made and placed in his spot. Someday soon I will go back to Vancouver and put flowers on his grave.
Something from the archives: This was found when I was cleaning out my desk over the weekend. it was taken in California by Rafael at Pigeon Point Lighthouse in the early 90’s. I must have been 25 in this photo? Somewhere around there.
As I mentioned, I am taking a Photoshop class and this week we learned about restoring old photos. It just so happened that my mom brought me a photo album that belonged to my grandmother that I, for some reason, had stored in my things at her house in Spokane. Many of the photos neither of us had seen before and this is one of them! And it’s such a great photo! Here we have me at around 7 years old, with my mom, great-grandmother in the middle, and grandmother on the right.
The original photo has a red cast to it and now I wonder why. Is it due to the fading of color in the print? It seems like a lot of old snapshots have a red cast to them. In the original photo below you will see that I have a gnarly gash on my chin. I was trying to remember how I hurt myself and then it hit me, this is when I took a serious spill on my bike. I wrote about it here.
Here is my “new and improved” Photoshopped version. I corrected the color, removed a ton of dust, and removed the scab on my chin.
I am kind of proud of the finished version, but in some way it makes me a little bit sad too. Like I’m rewriting history or something.
It’s interesting because I posted both of these on Flickr and I got more response on the original version. One person even said that the original’s red cast appealed to them. I kind of feel like the original, red cast, scabbed chin, and all, tells more of a story. What are your thoughts?