Tag Archives: mystery

Hyman Herron’s Spelling Book


On my desk sits a 1906 beat-up copy of Reed’s Word Lessons by Alonzo Reed, A.M. The front endpapers are covered in childish writing: numerals 1-9 and the initials H. H. in small and large writing. The end endpapers have more writing: the number 15 in three places, Hyman Hernw, the name Patty and, in much nicer handwriting the words confectionary, confederacy, corb, coterie, dau, and daguerriolyn (which doesn’t seem to be a word). On a page that may have been reserved for notes is the name, Hyman Herron. Hyman also wrote his name on the edge of the book, across the pages.

The book itself is a spelling book for “the higher primary, intermediate, and grammar grades”. It contains 289 lessons starting with the “long a as in hate” and ending with prefixes and suffixes.

I don’t know when Hyman used this book. Perhaps when he was 15? I don’t know how this book came to be sitting on my desk. But below are some clues as to who Hyman Herron was.

Hyman was born in New York City to German (Prussian) immigrants, Issac and Fannie Herron on either December 25th or 26th in either 1895, 1896 or 1897, depending on what source you believe. His sister, Esther, was born in New York when Hyman was 2. By 1900 the family had moved to Elgin, Illinois. They lived, along with an Irish family, at 58 State Street, Elgin, Illinois. In 1910 they lived at 115 West Chicago Street in Elgin, which seems to be the Beckwith Building, built in 1888, according to Google Maps. Hyman’s father’s occupation is listed as “Fruit store” in the 1900 Census and Confectionary in the 1910 Census. Issac died October 23, 1910.

In 1917, Hyman registered for the draft. He was 21 and lived at 411 Prospect Street in Elgin and worked as a chauffeur for W. A. Kerbru (?) in Elgin, Illinois.

Hyman lived as a roomer at 310 Spring St. in Elgin, Illinois in 1930. The homeowners were George H. and Addie E. Rutledge. Dr. George H. Howell, a dentist, was also a roomer at this residence. It is possible Hyman paid $18 for rent. The home was worth $10,000 according to this Census report. His listed occupation is “Shipping Clerk” at a thread factory, which later information suggests was Collingbourne Mills.

In 1940, Hyman was still a single at 43, living at the Kelly Hotel in Elgin, Illinois. and was still working for, probably, Collingbourne Mills.

In 1942, Hyman again registered for the draft.  He was 45, living at the Kelly Hotel and still working at Collingbourne Mills. Harold Rule, also of the Kelly Hotel, is listed as someone who would always know Hyman’s address. Hyman’s telephone number was 6086.

Hyman’s mother, Fannie, died March 23, 1962, and is buried in the Elgin State Hospital Cemetery. Her gravestone also contains the numbers 771.  Interestingly Fannie is listed as Lena in the 1900 census, but Fannie in 1910. It could be two different women, but the age seems the same.

Hyman’s grave marker indicates he died on June 22, 1975, was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, in Elgin, Illinois.

This leaves me with more questions — how did Issac die? Why was Fannie at the Elgin State Hospital? How long was she there? Was she also Lena or was that another wife? What happened to Esther? Did she marry? And how did this book end up on my desk?

The only connection, besides Elgin, is Collingbourne Mills. My grandfather worked there as a traveling salesman when he met my grandmother. Perhaps he knew Hyman Herron from work. Hyman was about 12 or 13 years older than my grandfather. My grandfather probably worked at Collingbourne Mills in the early 1930s. Did he give my grandfather the book? Or perhaps there was no connection and this book ended up at my mom’s house with a bunch of other stuff from an antique store.

At least I’ve given Hyman and his mother (and sister and father) some thought today.

 

 

Who is Gary Chardonnay?

So, if someone sounds like Dan Bern but looks like Vincent Price, who is he really? Could he be Gary Chardonnay perhaps?

“Lisa Go Stick It, I Got My Bonnaroo Ticket” by Gary Chardonnay from Bonnaroo on Vimeo.

Here’s Gary Chardonnay’s Twitter profile.

What do you think?

[Note: I don’t work for Bonnaroo and didn’t receive anything from them to post this. No free tickets or anything. Honest FCC]

Thanks to Matthew Orenstein from the Dan Bern email list for alerting me to this video.

A Christmastide Mystery

Once upon a time a family from a town not so far away left that town to celebrate Christmas with their far-away relatives. Just before they left, they threw a festive gala where lovely people brought many delicacies to the family. The family had no trouble eating the left-over delicacies, except for one bag of chocolate.

Upon their return to their cozy home, the family wondered what became of the bag of chocolate, for they had a taste for it’s rich, cocoa goodness. They searched high and low for the bag of chocolate the night they returned, but it was nowhere to be found.

The first clueThe next morning, when the mother was up bright and early, she noticed a golden bag on the back porch. What can that be? she wondered. On further investigation, she realized it was the bag that the chocolate had been stored in — and the bottom was chewed up.  But where were the chocolates?

p1020323Then the ever-vigilant mother noticed some clear plastic wrappers leading in a line away from the bag of chocolate towards the door. More of the wrappers littered the floor of the porch, near the door.

p1020324Now, how could that have happened? the mother asked herself as she looked more closely at the screened door.

A HA! She cried. The screen has been damaged!

No more chocolateA hungry woodland creature must have chewed through the screen, leaped up and stolen the bag off the table (where it had been left). Then this creature must have gnawed off the bottom of the bag, and tried to carry the chocolates out the hole in the screen door. Something must have gone wrong, and the poor creature ate the chocolates instead of taking them back to its nest as a Christmas treat for its family.

But what woodland creature could it have been? I suspect a squirrel. Once one gnawed through the screen door to get to our nephew’s pie. (Smart squirrel — that pie was really good.)

Finally! The mystery is solved

For the past several years I’ve been puzzled by a bird sound I hear in the spring. For a while I thought perhaps it was not a bird, but a delivery truck with squeaky wheels, but why was I only hearing it in the spring and early summer?

Yesterday I caught a glimpse of what I thought might be the bird, high in the tulip poplar that looms over my house. I knew it was a warbler, by its bill and the way it was moving. It was black and white with a bit of yellow.

I ran into the house and Googled warbler images and found the bird on a web site — Myrtle Warbler. Then I tried to locate a myrtle warbler on the Cornell Birding site, only to be redirected to yellow-rumped warbler. Hmm, seems like more names have been changed…

I checked out the sound of the yellow-rumped warbler and yes indeed, that was the sound I’d been hearing.

As much as I love my worn copy of Peterson’s, I have to love the internet for helping me quickly ID the bird.

What is this?

I just looked out my bedroom window and did a double take. Is our tulip poplar getting its wisdom teeth? It looks like a molar is growing out of this dead tree branch.

Mystery PictureMystery Picture 2Mystery Picture 3

What do you think it is?

It could be a bone taken into the tree by one of the local raccoons. It could be a bit of wood, but how did it get there? I thought it might be some sort of mushroom, but it doesn’t seem to be attached at the bottom.

It’s a mystery.

[Edited: May 15 — The next day the object had been moved closer to the trunk of the tree and by noon it was gone. Never figured out what it was. Maybe a muffin a squirrel was hording?]