Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Monroe Bean's Newsletter

The Monroe Bean's newsletter was mailed this morning. If you would like to receive a copy of our newsletter, simply click here to send an email to request a copy.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thriller Thursday

I was raised by a mother who did not believe in ghosts. Her father, my grandfather, however did. He often told my Mom that unless you believe in them, or open yourself to see them, then you never would.

Mom never saw a ghost her entire life.

My grandfather did. Perhaps the last ghost he saw was when he actually came to visit us when I was 15. He and my grandmother arrived one evening, and were expecting to stay for a couple of weeks at least. But my grandfather got up sometime during the night, and was awake when my Mom got up (which was always before the chickens). He told her he had to go home that very day. She tried to convince him to stay longer, but he refused. He wouldn't tell her why he had to go home at first. But after (much) persuasion, Mom finally got the story out of him.

Grandpa and Grandma were given the best bedroom during their visits, which was of course, Mom and Dad's room. Grandpa said he had gone to bed, and was lying on the bed nearly asleep, with the blanket and sheet down around his feet, as the room was warm. He was brought wide awake by the touch of a hand in the dark. He looked and an elderly woman was standing beside the bed. She touched his arm, and then she reached down, took hold of the blanket and sheet, and covered him up.

That wasn't Grandpa's first experience. But it was the most profound for me.

We had only lived in the house about 22 months at that time. We had moved from a large city, to a community of about 1000 people. The nearest grocery store, was not only 10 miles away, but was the size of very small convenience stores. To do any real shopping you had to travel 30 miles. So, the move was life changing by itself.

We had gone from a tri-level modern 1960-built home, to an old farm house on about an acre of land. My first view of the country house, and I screamed and begged my parents to let me go to boarding school. It was in terrible disrepair! Wall paper was peeling and hanging. there wasn't a proper bathroom. No laundry hookups. What was to be my bedroom was really an upstairs sitting room back in its day. The paint was peeling on the exterior. And the place was overgrown with weeds. The house itself reminded you of a neighborhood haunted house. At that time I didn't know if I believed in ghosts or not. I did have nightmares if I watched too much scary television shows!

Mom and Dad's bedroom was on the first floor of this house. Across the hall from the living room. The room was always ice cold. I could never go into it without freezing! And once we got hookups for a washer and dryer, I would beg out of taking Mom and Dad's clothes to place in their closet. It simply scared me so badly. I didn't know why at the time.

Once, during our first winter there, we didn't have any heat. So Mom had me put a cot in her room for myself, and my sister slept in the bed with Mom. She ran an electric heater that night to keep us all warm. (Dad was still in the Navy and was on ship near Israel.) That night I felt very uneasy lying on the short camp cot in Mom's room. I brought my little dog, Sandy, and put him in bed with me. I fell asleep finally, after much tossing and turning, to Sandy's dismay I'm sure. But Sandy woke me. He was a small Chihuahua, and he got up on the pillow beside my face and stood up growling. I raised up to see what he was growling at, and an elderly woman was standing beside of the bed staring down at my Mom. I made a gasp, and she turned and looked at me. I threw myself down on the cot, and pulling Sandy with me, laid trembling with my head covered by the blankets. I must have fallen asleep that way, as it was how I awoke the next morning.

I tried to tell my Mom about it (I was about 14 at the time). She told me it had all been a silly dream and to forget it. But when less than a year later my Grandpa saw the same woman, I felt like had validation in what I saw.

But it has been only the beginning.

Since that time, I have seen many apparitions. I have felt others. One common apparition I have seen more than others has been that of my mother-in-law. She passed in 2003 in Texas. I live in West Virginia. So, why would she be seen here, especially since she had never even visited us here?

Well, I believe it's because I took care of her as she was dying. And I was by her side when she did pass. And, frankly, as far as I know, a ghost can appear anywhere it wants to! But I have seen her twice in the nine years I have lived in this house. Both times, she was standing on the far side of the breakfast bar, which divides the kitchen from the living space. Each time, I was in the kitchen. And she was in a space behind the bar where it would be nearly impossible for someone to stand, due to the arrangement of furniture. However, she was there. She was not completely transparent, but about like the photo above. She never spoke. Nor gesture in any way. She simply was standing there looking at me.

Why? I don't know. I don't have a gift of interpreting what a spirit or ghost wants to say. However, I like to think she is simply checking in on my husband and I.

Then there is "the lady in white", whom I have seen dozens of times. But that was always in a nursing facility, and we'll save that story for another time.

Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever encountered one? Were you afraid? Do you know what to say to get a ghost to communicate with you?

We'll revisit this topic again at a later date. But let me know of your experiences!

Wordless Wednesday

Do you know who this Vietnam War hero is?
He's my 8th cousin once removed.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sentimental Sunday

Way back when I was a child, it was customary to have the minister and his family over to your home every so often, for Sunday dinner. It gave the pastor's wife the chance to rest without cooking, and helped you to really get to know your minister as well.

My family was no different. I often remember Mom having the pastor to Sunday dinner.

When I was younger, Mom would fry up two chickens ahead of time and then warm them in the oven before serving them. (We didn't have a microwave until after I got married!) She'd often serve baked beans, or pinto beans as a side dish. Cornbread of course, Maybe potato salad, or macaroni salad. Some greens. Sweet tea. And a cake for dessert.

Back then, unless you went to the butcher and had it cut up, your chicken came whole. The neck and giblets (liver, heart, and gizzards) came stuffed into the cavity of the bird.

It would start out looking like this:

And it ended up looking like this:

Today, it's almost a lost art to find someone who can actually cut up a chicken correctly. The above is done correctly. When cut correctly, a single chicken can feed a family of four to six without anyone leaving the table hungry.

It was my Daddy who taught me how to cut up chicken. He said he used to cut it up for my Grandma when he was growing up. So whenever he was away at sea, it became my official/unofficial job to cut up the chicken for Mama to cook.

And my Mama, who had little talent in the cooking department, could do this superbly! I loved her fried chicken!

Mama used her electric skillet. She said it was because she could set the exact temperature on it, and get the chicken to come out cooked crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside. And she certainly knew her strengths in that department, because this is about the only thing Mama made repeatedly for the Pastor, until I got older.

As a teen we moved to the country. And Mama's Sunday dinner for the pastor changed. She cooked pinto beans in the pressure cooker with some ham, or ham pieces. And my skills were still needed. It was my job to always make the cornbread.

To suit Mama, the cornbread had to be the only recipe she knew. I wasn't supposed to try anything different. Her recipe worked, and wasn't no sense trying to fix something that wasn't broke!
It had to be baked in a well seasoned skillet. (I still use Mama's skillet to this day!)
After it was baked, it was allowed to cool for a few minutes, then inverted on plate and sliced for serving before placing it on the table.

Everyone loved that cornbread. Even the pastor. (One Sunday he preached about a woman's virtue's, and used my cornbread as an example. I was 15, and tried not to get a big head over it, but at 15 I couldn't help but be proud of it!)

The recipe? I'll never forget it. It's about as simple as it comes. And no, it's not the healthiest version, but it is the tastiest!

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

Mix together:
1 cup stone ground cornmeal (the really gritty stuff)
1 cup self-rising flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
In a separate bowl mix 1 -1/2 cup of sweet milk or buttermilk and 2 eggs. Then mix with dry ingredients.
Place the skillet on the stove burner and melt 1/2 cup lard in the skillet (yes, I said lard). Once melted, swirl the liquid lard all around the interior of the skillet, and poor off the liquid into cornbread mixture and stir well.
Pour the batter into the skillet.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Thank you Mama. It's still the best cornbread I've ever eaten!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Shopping Saturday

I know I am not alone in saying that my mother was a "shop-a-holic"! Growing up, she often took us along as she went shopping. Sometimes for hours, and hours, and hours on end. If it was on sale, Mom considered it a bargain, whether she wanted or needed it, or not! If it wasn't something she liked, she'd give to someone for a birthday or Christmas gift!

My sister got that gene from Mom.

Me, on the other hand, hate to shop! If I can con (er uh-hmmm), rather I should say, if I can get someone else to volunteer to go to the store when something is needed, I'd much rather let them go.

I've been wondering about the sky rocketing cost of groceries, and just how much inflation there has been since I was a child way back in the (mumble-mumble-mumble), well way back then.

So let's take a look at some common grocery items and see what the difference is:

When I was a child, the cost of:
bread cost 22 cents a loaf

a half gallon of milk was 49 cents

sugar was 38 cents for a 5 pound bag

coffee was 39 cents a pound

butter was a whopping 67 cents a pound, which meant most households went to using margarine which never went rancid if not used up

a chocolate bar was 15 cents

and a bottle of my favorite beverage was 35 cents, but you got 2 cents back on every bottle you returned! Or you could get 2 cans for 27 cents.

That was back before missing children were placed on milk cartons. And you could still get your milk delivered to the house if you wanted, or buy it in the super market.

Specialty shops were common place:
bakery for bread
dairy for milk or ice cream
butcher for meats

We had convenience stores, but there weren't many. As I became a teen we began to see more and more of these.

And now for the 'coup de grace'. When I was married to my first  husband, on the back of our wedding photo and announcement in the paper, is the brand new Volkswagon for that year. The cost?
A whopping $1,800!

Oh, if we only knew how high inflation would take us, we could have bought stock in common grocery items, and have retired long ago wealthy!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday's Faces From the Past

I decided to add our most recent lost loved one today.

Lois Velleda Beane (nee: Dreher)

Mildred Frances Beane (nee: Tolliver)

Anna Margaret Loper (nee: Beane)

William McHarvey Beane

James R. Young
(son-in-law of Jack Bean-Ashley)

Gone But Never Forgotten

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thrifty Thursday

Okay, so I have been thinking about ways to save money while doing research. I suppose by now you have come to realize, it ain't cheap! Which is why, I always advise to hire someone to help you get started and teach you a few tricks so you can continue on your own.

I do advise a membership in a good genealogy research site. I personally have been a full member since 2001, when I went professional. It's expensive, and you may not want to spend that much money right away. There are less expensive memberships, but you may end up paying more in gas and copies than what the pricier membership can find for you.

Don't overlook free sites, either! Like, FindAGrave,and even Wikipedia, and Google. You'd be surprised how much information you can glean from non-traditional research sites!

Join local historical society's. You can learn a lot from their monthly meetings! Especially local research.  Join genealogical societies for the area where you will do your most research. I live in West Virginia, but I belong to two  societies in Indiana because that's where my Mom's family was from. These can be fairly inexpensive from $20 a year, all the way up to over $100 a year. Don't mortgage the farm to become a member in the things you are searching for! Remember, foot work can be very cheap!

When going to the court house, go prepared with a list of the documents you'd like to find. You will be shown where to search for them, and where to make copies. Where allowed, I simply use my iPhone to take clear digital photographs which I then upload to my genealogy program.

And which genealogy program do you use?

I personally have stuck with FTM (Family Tree Maker) since about 2003 or 2004. Updates are free. Every so often I purchase the latest version, and upload my files into that. My files have grown exponentially over the years. But I have digitized EVERYTHING! From photographs to census forms, and vital records.

There are free genealogy programs out there, but I haven't seen one yet that would keep up with the ever changing world of technology like the FTM does. You can find it on, or on You can either purchase the disc to download it to your PC, or you can download the program directly. In this matter, you really get what you pay for, and I would plan on spending about $40-$90 on this depending upon your budget.

Of course, you can always do everything by hand if you want. There are blank genealogy forms to assist with this.

I may be a bit anal, but I have hard copies, and my digital copies. I also backup my digital files twice monthly. Why twice a month and not just once? Because I once lost my entire file due to a laptop melt down. (The fan died, and I didn't know it. My files were literally in a melted mangle of goo. It literally took some stealth software, and an ex-government agent to retrieve it! Costing me nearly a thousand dollars. But worth every penny to me!) My back up files are in 3 locations. One in the cloud. One on a thumb drive. And one in a separate external hard drive. Please don't ever skip making at least one backup!

I hope this may have helped in some small way.

Now, get out there and grow that family tree!