Marines.Together We Served

Sunday, November 19, 2017

An Acid Test

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
20 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

An Acid Test

A few months ago, my wife Isaura and I decided to go through with having our DNA tested. It’s not like we didn’t have a pretty good idea what the results would be. After all, she was born on the island of San Miguel in the Azores, Portugal. As for me, the names in my background were all very British sounding.

Several years ago, our oldest daughter, Laura, signed up with Ancestry.com to begin researching our family’s heritage. We knew very little about the Roots family, primarily because we couldn’t get past my Grandfather. Little was known of him since he had left my dad and grandmother when my dad was only five. He was never heard from again within our family. Back in the ‘90’s I eventually traced several documents to him through the Internet. I found a copy of his draft card dated 1917, stating he was married and living in Houston, Texas. Since he was born in 1883, he would have been 34 years old, therefore, too old for military service. Another document was when he signed up for Social Security in 1935. And the final document I discovered was his death certificate dated 1964. Other than that, we knew nothing about the Roots family.

My mother did not have any family information, nor had she ever heard anything from my Grandmother Roots about the Roots family line.

My wife was born Isaura Maria Rodrigues Matos Cabral. Since her family was from an island in the Atlantic nine hundred miles from the Iberian Peninsula, we assumed her DNA test would have her at 80% or higher full-blown Portuguese (The Iberian Peninsula consists of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra).

So, just what is DNA? I wasn’t real sure, so I began to check into it. First off, DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. “It is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms.” In a word, it is the hereditary material found in all humans.

There are quite a few organizations that are doing DNA testing for a nominal fee these days. We decided to go with Ancestry.com. I ordered the packets for my wife and me over the Internet. In about ten days they arrived. The instructions were simple enough. Spit into a special tube until it reached a certain level (maybe a half ounce), then screw a specially provided top onto the tube. In this top was a chemical solution which would, under the pressure of closing the tube, break open and mix with the spittle. This would preserve the spit for a specified time. A number was assigned to each tube. Other than that, our names were not included. The numbers would be married up again after the testing was completed and mailed back to us.

About four weeks later the results came in. We went to the Ancestry web site and had a full display of our test results.

Like I said earlier, I was pretty sure the Roots clan was English with a bit of Scottish mixed in. Beyond that, it was anyone’s guess.

I must tell you that the results were spot on! From my DNA they pegged me as 49% Great Britain, 24% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 13% Scandinavian, 5% Europe West, 5% Iberian Peninsula, and 4% Europe South.

The part that intrigued me the most in all of this was how they tracked the migration of others who shared my DNA across the USA. They have my family arriving from Europe landing in Virginia and eventually moving across Tennessee and further south, finally settling in Texas. And sure enough! My father was born in Marshall, Texas in 1909. My mother (née Lake) was born in Lone Oak, Texas in 1915. From separate research, we discovered one of the Roots clan had a farm in central Virginia back in the late 1600s up through the early 1800s.

This has fit in with all the research Laura and I have done on the Roots family going back to 1693 in America. Prior to that it was England. There’s still much to learn.

As for Isaura, that’s another story! As it turns out, she is 42% Iberian Peninsula, 26% Greek/Italian, 13% Europe West, 9% Great Britain, 5% North African (Egypt), 1% Europe East, 1% Scandinavian, 1% Ireland, 1% Jewish/European, 1% West African/Benin/Togo.
In all, it was a fascinating discovery and will be something our grandchildren and their offspring can enjoy for years to come.

The kicker in all of this came from my granddaughter, Alyssa, who turns ten this week. When she heard us talking about the DNA results some weeks ago, she said, “But Granddaddy, it doesn’t say anything about you being born in Milford, Connecticut! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What a Week!

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
13 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

What a Week!

The past week and a half have been quite hectic, to say the least. It seems to always work out this way every year in early November.

First on the docket was the Inaugural Patriot’s Ball, which was hosted by the Disabled American Veterans Charities of San Joaquin County. For the past number of years, I have been a board member for this organization that exists to help veterans who find themselves in need. Ours is a local organization established in 1972.

The Patriot’s Ball was held on Friday evening of November 3, at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, and was a delightful evening. I wore my Navy “mess dress” accompanied by my wife in an evening gown who always looks stunning. I was asked to offer the Invocation for our Ball, and also a special prayer for a Gold Star family.

Next up was the Annual Show of the Golden Valley Chorus, Saturday evening, November 4, at the Turlock Community Theater. This is a chorus I joined at its inception in 1997. The theme of our show this year was “A Tribute to the USO.” We had a great audience and the guest quartet we had was fantastic! “Newfangled Four” formed just a few years ago, and were soon crowned the Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS) “International Collegiate Quartet Champions in 2013”. These four young barbershop singers are sensational! They brought the house down. Our hobby is in good hands with these young guys! Check them out on You Tube.

Then on Tuesday, November 7 I was asked by Supervisor Chuck Winn to attend the meeting of the San Joaquin County Supervisors in Stockton where they annually honor veterans. The chambers were filled with veterans from throughout the county. This time I was asked to offer the Benediction for this special tribute to veterans.

Last year my granddaughter Alyssa was in third grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Thomason, asked me then if I would come and speak to the class about the meaning and purpose of Veterans Day. This year, she invited me back to speak to her third-grade class. Since she is friends with Alyssa’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Stevens, I was asked to speak to this class as well. Another teacher, Miss Rigg, heard of this, and also asked me to speak about Veterans Day to her third graders. That was on successive days, November 8 & 9.

On Friday, November 10, I spent the day celebrating the 242nd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps (November 10, 1775, Tun Tavern, Philadelphia). I was decked out in my mess dress uniform again for this next occasion, which was the annual Marine Corps Birthday Luncheon at the Sutter Club in Sacramento, located a couple of blocks from the state capitol. I ran into a good friend, Dave Fisher, at the luncheon. We served together after I returned from Vietnam.

Once back in Ripon that afternoon, I met up with my friend, Rick Van Unen, a former Marine (Recon, Vietnam), and a friend of his who was a retired Marine colonel. We sat and visited for about an hour, sharing Marine stories, most of which were true. Rick always hosts a Marine Corps Birthday gathering at his home on November 10th. However, I was committed to attending the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, hosted by the Stockton Marine Corps Club at the Hilton in Stockton.

Isaura and I once again, put on our evening formal wear, joined by our friends, Elwood & Patricia Cooper, and it was off to the Ball. Elwood served in the Army’s 101st Airborne in the late 1950s. I have told Elwood in the past that every person who has served in another military outfit other than the Marine Corps, needs to attend a Marine Corps Birthday Ball. The pomp and ceremony is like nothing else. It is an evening not to be forgotten. And again, I was privileged to be asked to offer the Invocation. And the ladies love to dress up!

On Saturday, November 11, the Ripon American Legion Post 190, in conjunction with the Ripon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1051, hosted a Veterans Day event at the Ripon Veterans Wall. They asked me to speak about the POW/MIA issue that still haunts us to this day. Did you know that from World War Two to today there are more than 83,000 men and women still listed as POW/MIA (Prisoner of War, Missing in Action) unaccounted for? Even with the advances in detection through DNA only about seventy of our missing are identified each year.

At this event, a small table and an empty chair was set up with a number of articles on display. This has become a sacred event in many military social events, reminding all present that our POW/MIAs are not with us. I asked if this was going to be explained to the crowd that attends this annual event in Ripon. They asked me if I would be willing to do it. So, I worked with my nine-year-old granddaughter Alyssa, and had her ask me questions about this empty chair and all the articles associated with it: white table cloth, lighted candle, Bible, inverted wine glass, red ribbon, red rose in a vase, American flag, salt sprinkled on the plate, and a slice of lemon. My daughter, Laura, recorded it on her phone. You can see it on my FaceBook page, .

Finally, that evening, the Golden Valley Chorus (GVC) sang at the “Better Together” annual event at the Mormon Church in Modesto. Musical groups from churches and schools each perform a couple of numbers. People “pay” for the performance by bringing non-perishable food which will be distributed to those organizations in our area who feed the hungry. The GVC finished by singing the Armed Forces Medley. Since this was Veterans Day, we asked anyone who had ever served in the military to stand when they heard their service song. We do this every year, and it’s always a crowd favorite.

What a run of events! I think I’ll sleep for a week!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Aspirations of Progeny

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
6 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com

Aspirations of Progeny

In the 1950s, the beloved Arthur Gordon “Art” Linkletter had a TV show that was always entertaining. Perhaps the best-known segment of this weekly show was, Kids Say the Darndest Things! Well, I’ve got a couple of my own!

A couple of years ago I bought a new cell phone. It was the iPhone 6Plus. On my previous phone I had two or three different apps I had downloaded that acted as flashlights. With my new phone I went looking for my flashlight apps to no avail. So, I was standing in the kitchen fumbling with the phone, wondering where these apps were when then seven-year-old granddaughter Alyssa says, “I’ll show you, Granddaddy.” I sheepishly handed over my phone while having this sinking feeling that I was about to be shown up by a second grader. My premonitions were correct! With one deft swipe of her little finger she made another screen appear on my phone. She quickly tapped the glass surface and Voila! A very bright light came on. She handed the phone back and resumed working on her homework.

At this point I should have left well enough alone. But, Nooooo, I had to step right in it. I said, “You were moving too fast for me. Show me what you did.” She gave me a patient, parental look, reached for my phone and said, “Granddaddy, the new iPhone 6 comes with a flashlight app built in.” “Oh,” I said. “I didn’t know that.” It didn’t even occur to me that a flashlight device was built in. I just stood there with what I can only assume was a foolish look on my face. Alyssa simply returned to her homework.

Just a few weeks ago friends from Texas came to visit. Of course we got around to talking about our grandkids and showing our latest pictures of this newly emerging generation. The way Frank explained this story about one of his grandkids, the college being attended by this grandkid was very expensive. On a recent visit with this progeny they asked what they were planning to do once they graduated from college. Without a moment’s hesitation, the child said, “I want to be a professional dog walker.” Our friends were stunned, to say the least. Several hundred thousand dollars for the best education money can buy to become . . . a professional dog walker! I looked it up – “An average dog walker salary in New York City is $45,000.” I may come out of retirement.

Brooklyne is our other granddaughter, nine-years-old, who lives about a half-hour from us, so Isaura and I are fairly active in her life and grandson Colson’s on a weekly basis. Isaura was down taking care of Brook and Colson a few Fridays ago when Brook announced to Meema (Isaura) that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. My wife, of course, encouraged her to share this revelation. The conversation had been about Brook’s natural artistic abilities which prompted my wife to suggest she might pursue that as a career path. Brooklyne quickly nixed that idea. “No, I don’t want to do that. I want to be a lawyer!” Somewhat surprised at this pronouncement, Isaura then asked, “Why do you want to be a lawyer, Brook?” Brooklyne smiled and said, “Because lawyers get to argue. And I’m really good at arguing!” We all had a good laugh at that! I believe Brook could convince me the moon is made of cheese!

My last foray into children and their career choices brings us back to Alyssa, now nine-years-old, but turns ten later this month. A couple of weeks ago, our daughter Laura, asked her daughter Alyssa, what she wanted to be when she grows up. Well, we all know how much she loves animals, having expressed interest in becoming a veterinarian before. So, she pops off with this comment, “I want to be a vet, or a professional horseback rider . . . NO!” Leaving her parents in suspense, she then says, “I want to be a professional bed tester!” Our son-in-law Ken, says, “A what?” Alyssa responds, “You know, Daddy! A professional bed tester where you take naps on beds and get paid for it to see how comfy they are.”

Okay, so I checked on how much a professional bed tester makes. The motel chain, Travelodge, has a professional bed tester who makes $53,000 a year! I’m seriously thinking about coming out of retirement now!

I can’t wait to hear what Colson wants to be. Right now, he’s only five and isn’t thinking about careers just yet. At least I don’t think he is.

When I was their age I wanted to be a fireman riding a big red fire truck with a Dalmatian riding in the seat. Or a professional baseball player (Yea for the Houston Astros – 2017 World Series Champs!). That was about the extent of it for me.

But I do think I might be cut out for this bed tester job. I’m sure there’s a phone number I can call. Where is that number? It’s right here somewhere . . .

Psalm for the Day