Dear Family and Friends,
In 2000, this Venerable Grandmother began attending a weekly class in memoir writing. The focus was that we were writing these stories for our grandchildren.
You honored me when you came to my 80th birthday celebration, and some of you were also able to celebrate my 90th birthday in 2013. Now it’s time to express my appreciation by giving you this collection of stories from our family heritage and from my life.
The stories are somewhat chronological. They start with John Adair who was the husband of a lady-in-waiting for Mary, Queen of Scots. They continue through the decades, including the thirteen-year-old girl, my great-grandmother, who was kidnapped by Indians, escaped, and arrived home pregnant.
My grandfather, John Patrick Adair, ran for U.S. Senator from Ohio on the Prohibition ticket, and was told by the distillers they were out to murder him and his family. He lost the election and moved his family to homestead a ranch in Clovis, New Mexico.
My mother, Ruth Smilie Adair, was sent back to Ohio when she was sixteen to attend Normal School in the Presbyterian Seminary. After graduating and teaching first grade for a year, she was lonely for her family, who had moved to San Francisco. She decided to disguise herself as a boy and ride the rails to California. That was in 1914, and she was eighteen.
Leslie, Ruth’s third husband, was fourteen when he hit the school principal over the head with a chair. They took him to court and the judge ruled, “Join the Navy, or go to jail.” He joined the Navy and found himself up the Yangtze River in the midst of the Boxer Rebellion.
When I was twelve, he was transferred from San Diego, California, to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, so my mother and I moved to Waikiki Beach, where I spent my high school years and studied chemistry at the University of Hawaii.
When World War II started, Leslie was assigned to the Caribbean on a “Destroyer Tender.” My mother and I came back to California. I got a job as a chemists’ assistant and worked with E.O. Lawrence on the Manhattan Project, developing the atom bomb.
It was there I met and married a physicist, Lawrence Baldwin. Within five years we had four children: Larry, Lee, Carl and Holly. The stories keep growing from there.
This preamble is to give you a quick preview of what this collection of stories is all about.