Brantly Stafford


on the 10. of the 10. Mo.



71 Years

He is buried in Hubbel Hill Cemetery in Tonganoxie, Leavenworth County, Kansas.

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I grew up in a pretty big family.  I am the oldest of 4.  My mom is one of 10, including step- and half-siblings.  My dad is one of 6.

I have enough aunts and uncles and cousins to fill a small town.  At Christmastime, we all would have a series of parties for each set of family members.  It made for quite the month.:)

Christmas Eve was always celebrated at my mom’s cousin Marilyn’s house.  We would eat and exchange presents and visit with everyone.  This was definitely the most formal of our Christmas events.  We always wore something nice.

Wow, we’re having too much fun!  Not sure what year this is, but I’m guessing that I’m about nine or so – maybe 1985?  Judging by our clothes, that might fit, give our take a couple of years.

I’m on the right, sticking my tongue out and pointing at something.  My cousin is next to me.  What on earth did they dress us in?  The late 70’s style must have been super short dresses. Poor Steph appears to be wearing a furry bib which is attached to her dress.  Oh my!:)

One of the weekend’s before Christmas, we would get together with my dad’s side of the family- usually at our house or at one of my uncle’s.  Completely different kind of party.  Piles of food, including my Aunt Colleen’s fudge – yum!  Alcohol.  Rowdiness.  We would do a gift exchange (we drew names at Thanksgiving).  There were way too many people to buy for, so this made it easy.:)

Christmas morning was always just our immediate family.  We’d wake up bright and early and tear open our presents.

From about the time I was 13 and on, we would head to my maternal grandpa’s house in the afternoon.  My mom’s parents were divorced and I actually didn’t meet him until I was almost in high school.  He only lived an hour from us my entire childhood and I really barely knew of his existence.  It makes me sad to think of all the years I didn’t get a chance to know him.

Anyway, we would head to his house for yet another Christmas party with that side of the family.  I was so happy to have tons of added cousins around my age.

All of these parties were of course in addition to the school functions and sometimes a friend’s party also.  It made for a very festive month.  By the time Christmas season was over, we were exhausted!

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December 6 – Santa Claus
Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I don’t ever remember going to see the “Mall Santa”. Probably because that cost money. Our elementary school had a Christmas party, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I don’t know if they’re allowed to do that anymore, are they?

This is a picture of me (on the floor), my sister Andrea and brother David.   Love the shag carpet and just noticed that Santa is in black tennis shoes and plastic “boot” leggings.:)  This must have been taken in December of 1982, making me 6 years old.

Last Christmas, we took the kids to see the REAL Santa Claus at the Santa Claus house in North Pole, AK.  They unfortunately weren’t in the best of moods, but oh well.

I wish that I had some of the Christmas lists I sent to Santa.  I’m sure there was some really cool stuff on there!  I have made sure that I’ve saved the lists that my kids have made, because I’m sure that they will enjoying reading them 50 years from now.:)

  • Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski - December 6, 2010 - 7:11 am

    A wonderful post and I loved the photos. Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • Diana Ritchie - December 6, 2010 - 9:51 am

    I hadn’t thought about Santa at school for awhile, but now that you mention it I remember (when I was much older) that my Dad played Santa for the elementary school. I think I even have a picture of that!! (and I’m sure they can’t do THAT any more – oh well)ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Cayemberg - December 6, 2010 - 3:11 pm

    Great pictures, Jenn! I think most kids are like on “A Christmas Story” and they get shy or scream when confronted with Santa! I wish Ben and Danny would have let me get their pictures with Santa! :)ReplyCancel

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Last week, I posted some WWII-era Coast Guard pictures that looked very strange to me.  Thanks to my uncles for their insight on what was going on.  It all makes sense now.

I was in the Air Force (not that I know anything about planes) and my husband is in the Army.  If the picture had been of tanks, Andy could have given me a detailed 50-page report on it.  Anything boat or navy-related is not my thing.  I still find the pictures interesting, even if I’m clueless.

This week, I am sharing some more pictures of Coast Guard operations. I have posted one of these pictures earlier this year.

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that they are transporting a vehicle on two very small boats?  And the boats are facing opposite directions.  How would they move?  One would be going backwards.  Why would they need to move this vehicle?  Are they on an island somewhere? Am I just a complete ditz?  Anyone out there have any ideas?

  • Cherie Cayemberg - December 6, 2010 - 11:22 am

    Um..holy cow! I’m at a loss for words. If you figure it out please share!ReplyCancel

  • Trevor Sanchez - December 6, 2010 - 5:05 pm

    As you can see in the last pictures, the boats are not lashed opposite to each other but are lashed facing the same direction. Why they had to move the truck in that manner, I have to guess that they didn’t have a dock in which to load the larger ship from. The big ship would have had a deep hull which would keep it from getting close to the shore. So they lashed these two life boats together and used them as sort of a floating dock to get the job done.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny Lanctot - December 6, 2010 - 9:51 pm

    Agreed. They are both facing the same way, just different shaped boats. Both rudders are on the nearest end of both boats.

    These are amazing pictures. I’m amazed at how well they’ve held up.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 6, 2010 - 11:43 pm

    Thank you guys! The different shapes at the end of the boats threw me off. I see what you’re talking about with the rudders now and that makes sense. I was trying to figure out how they would move if they were opposite directions. I pictured them going in circles. :) I told you I know nothing about boats and I meant it! I appreciate the help!!ReplyCancel

  • Jo Graham - December 10, 2010 - 6:58 am

    A very inventive method! And it was a success :-) JoReplyCancel

  • Dick Levesque - December 28, 2010 - 3:28 pm

    These boats are NOT facing opposite directions. One is what is called a double-ender and the other just has a flat stern. You can see the rudders on both small boats. I have no idea why they would be moving the vehicle this way but it makes sense to me. Perhaps they are on an island and no larger boat was available. Great pictures.Would you consider sharing them on my Picture site?

    Dick Levesque USCG (ret)ReplyCancel

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December 5 – Outdoor Decorations
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

We didn’t do much outdoor decorating at Christmas when I was a kid. My guess is that it was because we lived up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.  No one was going to be passing by our house to enjoy the display.

I lived in North Pole, Alaska for three years before moving to Savannah this year. That’s a town where the Christmas lights stay up year round. Not necessarily because they’re being festive though. It’s just too darn cold to go outside and string them in the winter, so you might as well leave them up all year!

The streets of North Pole are always decorated.  At Christmas, they have a large ice art festival.  It’s a great place for Christmas decorations.  Since I don’t have any vintage pictures to share, I will leave you with some images of North Pole instead.

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