November 29, 2003

Big sigh of relief! 

My blogger template was playing up threatening links and more to be lost.

If you had a link here please, email me so that this can be restablished.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

The Red Thread - New Blog. 

FYI to all readers, I have created a new blog called The Red Thread that will be used to tell the story of our adoption from China.

A permanent link to this site will be this first of all links on this page from now onward.

Frequently items relating this incredible journey to parenthood will be posted on London Chimes, but The Red Thread is being written not just for us but as a record that our daughter can look back and read as her story.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

November 25, 2003

Thanksgiving 2003. 

I wish to share one of the reasons I am thankful this year and why more than any other, I am truly looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday.
Every weekday morning I open up my MSAA email in box to discover dozens of individuals with a desire to help those challenged with multiple sclerosis.

It truly never ceases to amaze me in times that what is bad and evil in this world is reported through the media while the quiet, charitable majority seek to do good through offering their time, resources and enthusiasm.

The feel-good feeling that I personally receive from this warmth of generosity I can only describe as being similar to the sensation of the spirit of giving at Christmas. It is truly better to give than receive, and to give something of oneself is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

To the thousands of citizens of America who have expressed interest in volunteering with MSAA, I am truly thankful and deeply honored to be the facilitator for their want of giving.

This Thanksgiving, I want to continue a thread of the subject matter from last years post that is added below. That of the armed forces.

I am delighted to hear from any individual serving with the armed forces who given their awesome responsibilities in the current climate, still have a compunction to wish to give their time to raise funds to help others. Representatives of those who fight on the ground, ride the waves and fly above the ground are all accounted for in the growing listing of valued volunteers.

This is my seventh Thanksgiving, and unlike other years where I felt like a visitor at someone else’s parade, I am truly looking forward to participating and celebrating this holiday with my family stateside on equal terms with those near and dear to me sitting at the Thanksgiving table.

Personally, for my family in the US, we have seen much change since this time last year, the good outweighs that not so good, especially the cementing of our family plan to adopt our daughter from China, something that Taney & I look forward to far more than any other single event or occasion that has meant in the last year.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

A personal view of an American Thanksgiving. (written November 26, 2002).

Today President George W. Bush issued the traditional pardon of a turkey in a Rose Garden annual tradition.

"And now as we look to our national day of Thanksgiving I have the honor to carry out an important presidential tradition. The bird's name is Katie ... It's a fine-looking turkey," Bush said of the all-white bird who hid behind the display table for most of the event.

Thanksgiving this Thursday for the Friend family living stateside will possibly be white with snow given the predicted weather forecasts. As is becoming a tradition, we will attend the Thanksgiving service in the field house in Bryn Athyn, as the Cathedral is not large enough to accommodate the local residents for whom this service is as traditional as the turkey.

My wife Taney asked me today about my thoughts on this most traditional of holidays in the States. This will be my sixth thanksgiving, having celebrated the holiday in Boston, England, the US Virgin Islands and Pennsylvania. I have given this much thought and researching the subject a little deeper have the following comments in reply.

Much is documented about the first Thanksgiving by the Pilgrims but as a national holiday it has evolved yet fundamentally remains in essence a celebration of thanks. The contemporary history is just as interesting as the celebrations of the Pilgrims thanksgivings.

Regardless of one individual religious belief this is one of two holidays, the other being July 4th where everyone living from “sea to shining sea” celebrates as one unified nation. For many, thanksgiving is an opportunity to gather with friends and family to dine with the culinary delights presented to the family thanksgiving table, and bow our heads to give thanks.

Leaving the well documented "First Thanksgiving" many years behind it is most interesting to see how this holiday has developed into that which is celebrated at the start of the twenty-first century.

The establishment of the day we now celebrate nationwide was largely the result of the diligent efforts of magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale. Mrs. Hale started her one-woman crusade for a Thanksgiving celebration in 1827, while she was editor of the extremely popular Boston Ladies’ Magazine. Her hortatory editorials argued for the observance of a national Thanksgiving holiday, and she encouraged the public to write to their local politicians to secure such a national holiday.

In addition to her magazine outlet, over a period of almost four decades she wrote hundreds of letters to governors, ministers, newspaper editors, and each incumbent President. She always made the same request: that the last Thursday in November be set aside to "offer to God our tribute of joy and gratitude for the blessings of the year."

Finally, with the agreement of President Abraham Lincoln, national events converged to make Mrs. Hale’s request a reality.

By 1863, the Civil War had bitterly divided the nation into two armed camps. Mrs. Hale’s final editorial, highly emotional and unflinchingly patriotic, appeared in September of that year, just weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, in which hundreds of Union and Confederate soldiers lost their lives. In spite of the staggering toll of dead, Gettysburg was an important victory for the North, and a general feeling of elation, together with the clamor produced by Mrs. Hale’s widely circulated editorial, prompted President Lincoln to issue a proclamation on October 3, 1863, setting aside the last Thursday in November as a national Thanksgiving Day.

Since then, there has been one controversial tampering with that tradition. In 1939, before the American inclusion into World War Two, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shifted Thanksgiving back one week, to the third Thursday in November because store merchants requested an increase in the number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.This pleased the merchants but just about no one else. Vehement protests were staged throughout the country. Millions of Americans, in defiance of the presidential proclamation, continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November-and they took the day off from work. Protests grew even louder the following year. Not wanting to go down in history as the "Grinch" who stole Thanksgiving, in the spring of 1941 Roosevelt publicly admitted he had made an error in judgment and returned the holiday to the last Thursday in November.

There are reported stories of servicemen posted overseas sharing their thanksgiving meals with the children of the surrounding towns and villages they were posted near.
In many instances this was the first “real meal” of meat that the servicemen had been offered in months. Yet, remaining to the core meaning of thanksgiving the servicemen offered to share what they had with those less fortunate.

Thanksgiving remains an ideal, a day to offer a moment of though, of thanks, of charity, one not sullied by the trappings of commercialism. There are no trees, no gifts, no bows, lights or decorations. Simply food, although there is nothing simple about the food that is prepared or indeed the preparation of the food is not so simple a process.Thanksgiving remains one occasion where the cooks in the household would go above and beyond to produce the dishes that are forever linked to Thanksgiving, shared by family and friends.

Norman Rockwell the famous American artist depicted in his Freedom series, Freedom from Want. Portraying an American family thanksgiving. While some may argue at the time this was not an accurate image, many more would support this as a quitencential image of the festivities.

For many, Thanksgiving Day also means parades. Historically the first parade was documented in New York, where children would dress up and parade in the streets. Over the years the parades have developed and remain an integral part of the festivities. None more so than the traditional Macy’s Day parade from New York today. From an outsider’s viewpoint, this is a traditional way to open the doors to the run up to the Christmas holiday season.

In Regents Street, London the switching on of the Christmas lights may traditional mark the start of the never ceasing ringing of tills in Oxford Street and the West End, American readers may be interested to know that "seasons greetings" are suspended from store ceilings once the children return to school in September. Not even Halloween, not least Guy Fawkes, offers some respite.

The "Thanksgiving Day (American) Football Game" for many is just as important. Following the depression, with many working a six day week, and the concept of leisure time and a weekend, some years off, with a whole day to relax, and football being the national game, the visit to the pitch to root for the home team, listen to the commentary of the big game on the radio or the men of the family gathering around the television while the women prepared the thanksgiving meal, may today seem very unpolitically correct, is nevertheless part of the psyche of the celebration.
With the building blocks of the fundemental Thanksgiving celebrations established for over a century, returning to 2002, this year, I will gather around the family dinner table with my wife, in-laws and invited family friends, eating turkey, candied yams, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. We plan to video tape the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade this year, as I have always missed this most nostalgic of parades. One that has captured my imagination from the very first time I watched the Christmas film, Miracle on 34th Street, which incidentally was not released in the run up to Christmas.

Thanksgiving remains as much a time for giving to other less fortunate than us. America will open its hearts and homes more than ever. Through positive contribution by donating food and time, many people are also volunteering at homeless shelters and community centers. Such is the spirit of giving, that some shelters have created waiting lists for volunteers.

With American servicemen fighting in foreign lands wing tip to wing tip with the pilots of the Royal Air Force, living in a nation during a period of uncertainty, traditions like Thanksgiving remains as solid as rock and act as a beacon of hope, reminding each and every one of us what truly is important to us.

The traditional image of Thanksgiving, is that of a table of food, yet let us not forget it that the food is about much more than nourishment. It is a kind of celebration of the fact that we live in America, a county of plenty, and we're with our families and can enjoy this plenty together.

I am certain that my family here in the US will get a "kick" out of a piece of copy from Fox News this week that the only place traditionally families are always together is around the table. It's a very communal act.

Being serious, this year, I will pray that I am thankful for a great many things in the last year. I will be thankful for being invited to a family thanksgiving meal, and thankful that I live in a country where freedom of self expression, allows me to write my thoughts and feelings like London Chimes with the hindrance of government, religion and military rule.

I will openly admit, as will many Brit's who have travelled to America of not understanding at first the concept of Thanksgiving. It seemed to be a dress-rehersal for Christmas Dinner one month early. It may have taken a little time, I think I have a measure of the holiday, its true meaning and what it mean to me. This all said and done, I will raise a glass to one and all on Thursday and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

November 19, 2003

"The British people are the sort of partners you want when serious work needs doing... 

... America is fortunate to call this country our closest friend in the world." – President George W. Bush, November 19, 2003

Dateline, November 18, was an interesting news day, at 6.30pm GMT, Air Force One was on a final approach into London Heathrow and ITN broadcast its local evening news bulletin, repeated on the International News Channel in the Philadelphia area at 6.30pm EST.

The coverage by ITN, with reporters waiting outside Buckingham Palace and, other teams at Heathrow some distance from the VIP suite where a formal but low key welcome to the President was headed by Prince Charles. With footage of the Mayor of London Ken Livingston actively encouraging a day of protest to add political fuel to the fire for demonstrations tomorrow, Thursday, the spin and bias on reporting this news story was unexpected for a Brit living in America.

It was almost watching the British media whipping up flash points and wanting to be on the spot when demonstrators are arrested, knowing full well that the security surrounding the first state visit by any President of the United States for over eighty years, would be tighter than London has seen for many years.

The argument by one young and disallusioned fellow countryman suggested that the five million pound budget paying for the security of the visit by President Bush could be better spent on the education system. Not so rather a dreadful waste of money, more like an overdue expense in offering the hand of Britains greatest ally for over eighty years. In particular, the costs for other state visits by other countries also come with large expense tags, except these are rarely reported.

The visit of the leader of the only superpower in the world, during a time of war that involves troops from both the US and the UK needs heighten security. The concept of the royal family, senior British politicians and the President of the United States in a widely promoted state visit schedlued over 18 months ago, must in the current situation appeal to any and all terror groups that have an axe to grind that would be rolled out through the international media. As such threats exist, the level of security is truly as much as one would expect in London for this visit.

In comparison the Fox News television service, a national satellite news service in America at 7pm EST, ran a brief piece on President Bush’s visit to the UK, including an interview with a Londoner who was representative of the silent majority according to a poll this week that supported Bush and his policies and actions in Iraq. His visit to the UK did not rank in the top five stories.

Sadly, the silent majority from this poll, are just that - silent. Once again, it will be the vocal minority, some estimating 100,000 that will demonstrate in central London tomorrow. Already there has been one report written on the BBC news pages of an effigy of Bush and an American flag being burnt. How heavy my heart sunk when reading this. Until I moved to the US I did not fully understand the symbolism of the flag to Americans, and the deep feelings that are felt when the flag is burned. To read that this occured in London, I am deeply saddned and offer the apology to my new American neighbours to forgive these misguided Brit's for in burning the flag they truly to do understand what they are doing.

As a Brit living in America, I am disgusted at the actions by the peaceful and not-so-peaceful protestors who I refer to as “rent-a-mob”. As previously reported on London Chimes when I was working with the British Government and President Clinton attended the G8 Summit in Birmingham in 1998, I saw first hand the measures put in place to protect him, and the rent-a-mob mentality that has led to subsequent bigger and more damaging protests around western europe during political summits.

While the majority of my countrymen understand that Bush and Blair with the allied forces of other countries have made possible the voices of the citizens of Iraq to be heard through protest - not so many months before the regime headed by Saddam Hussein would have squashed any similar outburst with a deadly force, emphisis on deadly.

I feel honored to have grown up in London and to now live in America where demonstrations are allowed, and in America the freedom of free speech is practiced daily.

The relationship between American and Britain at every level is of the utmost importance.

I am keeping a close watching brief on the news from both sides of the Atlantic. It is my wish that nothing untoward happens in the next few days in London or the North of England where the President is to visit. This week marks the 40th anniversary of the assination of President Kennedy. With urban terrorists at work, I can only shudder at the remote possibility that something could happen to the royals, the cabinet or the President during this vist.

Returning to the comment of my outright disgust of Ken Livingstone effectively promoting public affray that may lead to major public disorder, damage of private propety and rioting, must have Tony Blair and the other Ministers and those at the Palace seething.

I have seen first hand what rent-a-mob have done during the Mayday events in London bannered under peaceful protest. Certainly there are many that truly are there to protest peacefully, I have seen the news reports, yet, these quiet country demonstators are not those that will be wired and beamed around the world should as I expect events take a turn less peaceful.

Taking the words of another Brit posted on the ITV News web site, from comments from Joe Public (UK):

The huge majority of people in this country support the action taken in Iraq. They don't take to the streets to show their support though.

Why are the news media giving such a disproportionate amount of coverage to the few nutcases that infest our country?

What sort of message does this send to the people of America when the majority of what they see is the protesting groups shouting down our Government and our allies.

Steve Chatfield

A good question Steve and one I truly echo. Steve is but one of the millions in the silent majority who found a niche to post his unspoken thought.

A watching brief, will continue with daily updates this week.- To be continued.


The Michael Jackson breaking story.

I heard excerpts from the court papers relating to the last allegations against Michael Jackson that resulted in settlement through the media this morning. The presented warned that adults listening in the company of young children should switch off, it was evident why.

It was truly enough to make me feel physically sick. As an expectant Dad I steamed when I truly understood for the first time the complete charges laid before Michael Jackson. Far, far worse than the jokes that followed, far more serious, involving acts of gross indecency that anyone who is protective of a child from the dangers and horrors of those that pray on children would truly like me be appauled at.

There are public records that set out the allegations against him - I do not have a link, but am certain that these may be found by searching the web. The strenght of these I have never previously heard reported directly, word-for-word before that would truly suggest preferential treatment to Jackson by some quarters of the media who would not go head to head with him as he is considered a "celeb" or feared law suits.

The early charges, are neither proven nor disproved in a court of law, as a settlement of between $14-$22 Million was agreed out of court. Nevertheless, remembering the wise words of Ester Rantzen BBC Watchdog guru, on launching the ChildLine charity many years ago, children do not make up stories as serious as the one laid out this morning, these are not stories this is truth.

On returning home tonight, I checked to see if I had any Jackson CD’s that may be in my music collection to throw them in the rubbish bin. Knowing this evening what I had heard, I truly do not want anything to do with Jackson in my home.

It would seem that the police have an arrest warrant for Jackson. Since I first drafted this posting, (this is an update), I understand that Jackson will hand himself over to the authorities Thursday morning. Further that the boy concerned this time met Jackson through the Make-a-wish foundation. He is challenged by cancer and his wish was to go to Neverland and meet Jackson.

Many questions arise from these current charges, the role of the charity, the responsibility of the parents who have their own story to tell of how Jackson attempted to silence them, lavished them with gifts and tried to get them out of the country.

Sadly, the health of the little boy at the center of these charges is not in the best of health, after this alleged ordeal, one can only question physically and mentally?

Tonight this story dominates the headlines in both the US & UK.

Comments are always welcomed. Email MalcolmFriend1@aol.com
Feedback always invited, please email me.

November 14, 2003


In the years when wearing flared trousers and long hair was vogue, the BBC produced a program titled Connections hosted by TV science analyst James Burke who was an informed authority on the later Apollo missions to one of the co-hosts on the BBC flagship science program Tomorrows World. But then I have wound the clock back near some thirty years.

I was still at secondary school and thanks to James Burke he had sparked some personal interest of mine in science and how through what on face-value appeared to be specific scientific discoveries were in fact linked together, hence “connections”.

This week by some chance I happened to watch Connections2, on the Discovery Science channel, still hosted by James Burke significantly older – and grayer than I had last seen him on TV. This program linked the connection between the Cornish tin mines, the need to pump water to prevent flooding, James Watts invention of the steam engine, how this had contributed to two industrial revolutions, travel, carbon paper, to early DNA research. All covered in thirty minutes.

Watching the credits of this obviously made for the US market series the program was produced back in 1994. The tell-tale was the final piece on the DNA genetic revolution and unlike the first industrial revolution where mankind had little idea of the direction that would lead, mankind may have a clearer understanding of how the genetic revolution may unfold. A great deal has happened in genetic engineering since 1994, but that is not the reason for writing this post.

Doug Franklin, the President and CEO of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, recently brought to my attention a connection of sorts between ancient Rome and the NASA Space Shuttle. The context of the conversation was to do with evolution and paradigms within a business environment.

Here is the Connection:

The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.
That is an exceptionally odd number.

Now, why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the U.S. Railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them that way? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

So why did the wagons have that particular odd spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So, who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? The ruts in the roads, which everyone had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The U.S. standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back end of two war horses. Thus we have the answer to the original question.

Now the twist to the story... When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on it's launch pad, there are two booster rockets attached to the side of the main fuel tank. These are Solid Rocket Boosters or SRB's. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's behind!

Makes you think does it not?

Somehow the subject of science has been on my mind in the last week. A question posed on morning radio asked, where in 2003 do you go to get your news, and where did you look ten years ago. The observation here biased towards the American model but equally is understood in the UK is that 10 years ago we looked to the network television news, ABC, CBS, NBC or BBC and ITN in the UK. Through the limitations of these news portals including the printed newspapers, talk-radio has developed as has the CNN and Sky News and Fox News of today.

Today, personally, I “surf” news sites from around the world, to read my news. Catching FOX News briefly, ITV Early Evening News on the International News Channel and a number of blog sites. The recent allegations of Prince Charles, regardless the gag order placed on the story could be read with a connection to the internet and a couple of well chosen words on Google. News today is more immediate, more accessible and breaches international borders as if they were truly transparent.

The question is not so much how we collectively seek out news today, but how will be plugged in by 2013? An interesting topic of discussion.

In conclusion, the last one hundred years or so has seen remarkable leaps in achievement on all frontiers, science, education, human rights, to name but three.
We all have the power to implement and embrace change, whether it be moving home, voting at an election, starting a family a change I am personally looking forward to through adoption from China.

My personal decision to effect change is based on how this will best serve my family and those I care for in its widest possible definition.

The journey of our daughters adoption from China, that Taney & I have recently started has focused us to look at things that are of importance to us for not just the next ten years but for far longer. Planning ahead, making choices today that will positively affect our future.

Yet without making leaps of faith, choosing course of action not because they are easy but hard, has collectively made mankind what it is today. Without change the science of living, heck, we could all still be living in caves.

Through understanding the lunar eclipse winessed many millions over America last Saturday evening with my brother in laws, Chris, Pearse and Scott, thanks to science I understand what I was watching, rather than looking from a cave.

Collectively, change has brought mankind here today, we have all played a part in the evolution of mankind, given the rate of achievement in the last hundred years and before, and looking toward the century of science that the generations to follow lay ahead. It is not inconceivable, indeed it is proven that any one of us has the power to implement the degree of change like James Watts with amazing consequences.

Now that is a connection.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

November 07, 2003

Sam Katz, Prince Charles and a road trip to Wheeling WV and a promotion at MSAA 

All together make up this weekends offering on London Chimes.

Let me start with the last item first, a peice of personal news that I am truly proud and delighted was made offical on November 3. I am now the Director of National Volunteer Services for the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, my former position of Manager of Special Events will be advertized shortly and this position will report to me. Personally, I am thrilled at taking the challange of volunteer services to the next level for MSAA, as I will seek to recruit volunteers to assist with not only fundraising but assist with our clients, those challenged with multiple sclerosis.

Last Tuesday was election day in Philadelphia, for a number of official posts, not least that of Mayor.

The run-up to this election day and the race between John Street and Sam Katz has made national headlines and as a resident of the 'burbs of Philly, I have had a close to grandstand seat watching the whole thing play out in my metaphoric back yard.

The results of the election, which went in favor of John Street, winning three votes for every two for Sam Katz, proved this was not an election on policies, or personalities. Well over 90% of the African-American electorate turned out to vote for John Street. That is to say 90% of 45% of the total voting population in Philadelphia.

I am not a racist. Having seen many things in elections over the years on both sides of the Atlantic, this particular election, bothers me deeply. In both the US and UK candidates seeking election are placed under the closet scrutiny to ensure their good standing for office, skeletons are unearthed and dirty linen of past deeds over their lifetime are aired against them. Yet inspite of a federal investigation that includes Mayor John Street and those closest to him he was re-elected.

This week in the UK, Prince Charles has come under fire from allegations that the British press without the right to freedom of speech are not allowed to report fully or the names of those involved. Link here for further details.

It is possible that the core of these allegations will be made public in the UK over the next few days. A storm in a china tea-cup at Buckingham Palace, with whispers in the court of the house of Windsor have blown up into international news that could if proven, rock the monachy to its very center.

London Chimes, is holding back comment on this until the facts are truly known.

Last weekend was my wedding anniversary. Around this time each year, my wife and I embark on a roadtrip to leaf-peep at the colors of Pennsylvanian woodland in peak color. We have been to Lancaster County (2001), Mount Pocono (2002), this year wew embarked on a cross state road trip to Wheeling West Virginia, taking my dear mom-in-law too, who is a great travelling companion.

Wheeling WV, was home to previous generations of family members on my mom-in-laws family, and had been home to the great aunt and uncle that my wife was named after. E Taney and her husband JB Taney the city collector in the mid 1860's.

The roadtrip to Wheeling, some 360 miles each way, across the Pennsylvania Turnpike took us over mountains and through farmland that had just passed peak fall colors. The trip west included a detour to Gettysburg and a trip literally over the mountain passes on route 30. A real gotta-do for any driving enthusiast.

Wheeling, is an unusual city, nestled on the banks of the Ohio River, old impressive stone buildings are placed between newer empty buildings that echo a city of some prosperity in the past when Wheeling in part to the river traffic and the main routes to the east and west made this a natural cross-roads for commerce and industry, from cigars to mills and furniture makers, including a company called Friend & Son's. No relation.

In a day and a half, the three of us conducted a bizzare and fun treasure hunt, armed with names and dates, the Custom House, Library and local information center helped add some missing pieces to the family jig-saw.

A trip north to Wellsburg, previously known to be called Wells, and a known location for Johnny Appleseed a famed person we were trying to establish a link to the family in Wheeling, proved on site, fruitless. Not an apple tree in sight, heck, even the annual Johnnie Appleseed pagent in Wellsburg each year imported its apples from Pennsylvania! The museum was closed, although it would seem from the displays in the immediate area to be more interest in the towns links to Lewis and Clarke. Wellsburg can be described as a mining town that had gone out of business. Despite its settlement on the banks of the Ohio River, it truly looked as if it's heart had been removed and it was a tired place indeed.

A quick escape back down Route 2 along the wide Ohio River, past the power stations we headed further south to Paden City, a place my mom-in-laws mother remembers visiting when she lived in WV many years ago. The scenery to the south was stunning compared with the north of Wheeling. A short stop at a marker for the Mason Dixon line, just proved how confusing boundries where in this part of America following the battles between the north and south.

This roadtrip was great fun. The treasure hunt style magic where facts where enthusistically being worked on rather than uncovered was a hoot and a holler. My mom-in-law at the very least has a visual connection to these places that are part of her families heritage and while some facts were uncovered, many more questions have been raised. Geneology can drive you nuts!

Thanks Mom for a great weekend.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

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