From Ranier to Right Next Door

Great Grandma Gert (4th in line) on her way up a steep pitch.

Since I was young, I’ve always had a love for the outdoors. Most of my childhood was spent running around in the woods and finding new places to explore. As I got older, my focus has gone to long distance hiking and mountain climbing. And I’ve always attributed that interest to the family stories I heard about how my great grandmother climbed Mt. Ranier in 1923. It seems crazy to think that she summited a mountain that high without all the fancy, ultra-light, high performance gear I use today. And it always made me wonder what her life was like that allowed her, at 26 years old, to travel to Washington state from her hometown of St. Paul Minnesota to undertake a serious mountain climb (even by today’s standards). I’ve summited a handful of mountains in Oregon and Washington, even a couple almost a tall as Ranier, but Ranier is still on my bucket list. Maybe I’ll attempt it on the 100th anniversary of Great Grandma Gert’s climb.

After just over 12 hours of climbing, she stood at the summit 97 and a half years ago.

I wish I knew more about her life in the next 17 years but I do know that by 1940 she had, settled back in St. Paul, married my Great Grandfather and had a three year old daughter, my grandmother. What I didn’t know was that the house that they lived in was only six blocks away from the house that my Grandpa grew up in. Through the 1940 census maps I was able to locate both addresses that are no longer valid and found that the my grandparents lived in the same neighborhood when they were 4 and 3 years old.

The star on the left is where my Grandfather grew up and on the right is where my Grandmother grew up.

Both families lived in the lower westside of St. Paul which was inhabited primarily by laborers, salaried employees, and merchants. It was classified as “Definitely Declining” as property values had depreciated in the years between 1929 and 1933 and had not recovered. However, it was a favorable area for laborers as it was immediately adjacent to the industrial district and the downtown.

My Grandmother and Grandfather’s families district of St. Paul labeled C8.

My Great Grandfather (on my grandmother’s side) would most likely have been one of those workers who enjoyed the proximity to the industrial and downtown areas as he was an accountant for the railroad company. He made $1920 that year which is equivalent to $35,688 today and was more than about 75% of households in this area. In addition to his wife and daughter, his in-laws lived in the house in their later years after emigrating from Germany many years earlier.

My Great Grandmother (Gertrude) and my Grandmother (Virginia) on lines 1 and 2.

The census description of this district is pretty accurate since my other Great Grandpa (on my grandfather’s side) was a lineman for the telephone company and would most likely have enjoyed the proximity to the industrial and Downton areas that this neighborhood provided. He made $2400 that year which is equivalent to $44,610 today and near the top earnings in the area. I would assume that my grandfather’s family lived slightly better than my grandmother’s at this time because of this and considering there was one less person in their household. But overall, both families were in very similar situations and areas and I suppose that’s why they met and why I’m here today.

My Grandfather (Richard) and his parents and sister on lines 28-31.

So the census data can tell me how my grandparents families lived in 1940 and the mountain climbing photos can give me a glimpse into my great grandmother’s younger years but I think I’ll need to spend some more time talking to my grandmother to Geta picture of what Gertrude Broder’ life was like that led her to Mt. Ranier and maybe other adventures in the years that followed. What I can take away from this is that both of my grandparents were born into middle class families and one of their mother’s even had the means to travel across the country for adventure. And that the families they were born into gave them the foundation to be able to move across the country almost 30 years later to the Pacific Northwest where their grandson would be a lot closer to the mountain he hopes to climb someday.

We Hold These (other) Truths to be Self-Evident

Target audience: 8th grade US History in a remote learning environment.

Content: Taught during a unit on the pre-Civil War reform movements. Specifically in a lesson on the Women’s Movement. This lesson will cover the Seneca Falls Convention and look in depth at the Declaration of Sentiments. It would be a relevant event to cover as it was the official beginning of the Women’s movement on a national scale. This could also be taught alongside a lesson on the abolition movement to highlight how these two movements overlapped and differed in the sam era.

Process: This lesson will begin with students being given the link to a Pear Deck lesson and signing in. On the first slide of the presentation, the teacher will briefly introduce the day’s topic before moving on to slide 2 where the students will be asked to draw or write two things that they already know about the topic. The teacher will ask for 2-3 volunteers (or call on them) to share what they know. Next, students will watch an introductory video about the Seneca Falls Convention and its place within the women’s movement. The following slide will ask the students to briefly explain why the Seneca Falls Convention was in important event in the Women’s Movement. The teacher will ask for 1-2 volunteers (or call on them) to share their answer and discuss the answers as a group. The next slide will move the lesson into covering The Declaration of Sentiments (DOS) specifically. Here, the teacher will explain the DOS generally and then introduce the comparison between the DOS and the Declaration of Independence. Explain the similarities in the sections of both documents (Preamble, Declaration of Natural Rights, Sentiments/Grievances, Resolution). Explain the significance of the DOS clearly copying the DOI and what that strategy was meant to accomplish. For each of the ext 3 slides, read aloud (or have a student read aloud) the passages from the DOS and DOI and highlight the significance of the differences. On the final slide, the teacher will explain the group activity. For this activity, students will be put into breakout groups of 3-4 and asked to match individual sentiments from the DOS with historical photos. To do this, students will be given two sets of google slides. One set of slides will have a template for each group to complete as their assignment. Each slide will have one of the sentiments listed in the DOS along with an open space to copy and paste a photo and a text box to write a short explanation of why that photo represents that sentiment. The other set of slides will have the historical photos that students will copy and paste into the other set of slides. The students will have at least 10 minutes to work on this before coming back to the main group where each group will be asked to share one slide.

Resources: Pear Deck/Google Slides Presentation, Google Slides template, Google slides with photos.

Delivery considerations: This lesson will be delivered using Pear Deck. Students will access Pear Deck to view an introductory YouTube video, answer two questions, and view slides during the lecture portion of the lesson. For the group activity, students will create a Google slides presentation using a template given to them.

Featured image source

What the FOG?

In another life, I made how-to videos professionally so I thought I would give you all a glimpse into the glamorous world of fat, oil, and grease (FOG) management. Did you know that cities all around the country spend millions every year on sewer maintenance due to clogs caused by hardened fats, oils, and grease dumped down drains by restaurants? Google “fatberg” if you’re brave enough. Also, the title of the post was the title of a webinar series I hosted. Please don’t google that one.

Here’s a video from my time with a startup company called SwiftComply that specializes in online compliance systems for water utilities around the US and Europe. The program I’m explaining allows restaurants to upload required disposal documentation to their city’s database from an online profile.

Audience: This video is intended for restaurants and other food service establishments whose city regulator has required them to participate in the SwiftComply program.

Purpose: Once a restaurant has opted in to the program, this video shows them how to manage their online profile by reporting required services directly to their city’s database and view their company’s compliance information.