Schools I’ve Attended – Metropolitan State University

St. Paul, Minnesota – 1984-1986

My Life
Those Places Thursday
By Don Taylor

Working full time to support a family necessitated my finding a college that supported working adults. Metropolitan State University (Metro State) did that and more. Besides offering courses in the evenings and Saturdays, it allowed students to design their degree plan. I had the desire to become an attorney. As such, I thought I should follow a pre-law type of curriculum, so I designed a degree plan heavy in political science, speaking, and writing.

Particularly Interesting Classes

Chaminade University in Hawaii had proven to be a fantastic place to take Marine Biology and Oceanography. I needed another science course for my degree plan so took meteorology at Metro State. Few places have more diverse weather than Minnesota, so it was great learning about the weather there. Another enjoyable class was “Acting for Non-actors.” I learned how hard it is for me to memorize lines, but I had lots of energy.

Sometimes there is a class that will completely change your life and that class was “Non-fiction Writing.” I’ll never forget that class nor its instructor, Dana Noonan.

The premise of the class was simple enough; students needed to write several magazine quality articles during the class. The difficulty with that was that Ms. Noonan required her students to write then rewrite, and rewrite again, and again until the quality was magazine quality. My papers came back with red “Awk” (awkward) and circles of problems, which require a rewrite.  It was a grueling task in the days of typewriters and I couldn’t keep up with the work. It was one of the most challenging classes I ever had. To keep up with the rewrites, I purchased my first computer, a Commodore 64, word processing software and a printer. With it, instead of retyping the entire article and introducing new typos, I was able just to update the work I did previously and resubmit my significantly improved article. The computer revolutionized my work processes.  I found I could use it to do a host of things. Soon, I upgraded to an IBM computer before long and used the computer for everything I could.

Commodore 64 – Photo by the NerdPatrol via Flickr. (CC 2.0)

When my work office decided to purchase personal computers for office automation, I became a computer “helper.” At that time, I worked as a Quality Assurance Engineering Technician. My job required reviewing change requests then approving or disproving those waivers and deviations as appropriate for the Navy at the Navy Plant Representative Office (NAVPRO) in Fridley, MN. In the back room, we had a Wang 2200 minicomputer. In my work, I needed a program which would track those changes. The existing staff didn’t have time to program the computer for me, so I asked for access to the computer to develop a program that would track those changes.  Because I was already a computer helper person, they gave me the appropriate access. I developed a simple program that worked for me. Then was asked by some other folks if I could put something together for them, which I did. My programs, although simple, always worked. I also took a couple of computer science classes at Metro State to help me understand more about computers. A few months later I was asked if I would be interested in moving over to the Computer Team full time. Being a “can do” kind of person, I said, “Same pay? Sure, why not.” I was happy to work wherever they could use me the best.

I never returned to Quality Assurance, but rather continued as a Computer Specialist then on to Information Technology Specialist.

I received my bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University in December 1986. My personally designed degree was in “Governmental Policy and Decision-Making Processes” as a subset of Political Science.

I doubt I ever would have made the shift from Quality Assurance to Computer Support and Information Technology if it weren’t for Metropolitan State University, “Non-fiction Writing,” Dana Noonan, and that first computer I owned, a Commodore 64.

 

Halloween 2018

Caith “My Halloween Kitty”

Halloween or Samhain is said to be the day where the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. As such, it is an important time to remember those who have passed. Although I try to remember all my ancestors who have passed, this Samhain I want to remember three people who were not ancestors but had a profound effect on my life. Their passing touched me deeply.

First, is my first close friend to die. Steve Plowman was a close friend while I lived in North Minneapolis. He lived about a block away – down the hill to the corner then left a half a block to his house on 24th that adjoined the alleyway between Aldrich and Bryant avenues. On Tuesday, November 24th, 1964, Steve and a mutual friend, Gary Dorf, were crossing Lyndale Avenue in North Minneapolis while a bus was stopped. Gary stopped walking while in front of the bus,  but Steve ran out trying to beat a car that was coming. Steve was hit by the car and died before getting to the hospital. He was the first close friend I had to die, and one of only a few I’ve known that have died due to a car accident. Steve was only 15 when he died. To this day, I am ultra-careful when walking past a bus into traffic and cringe when I see someone step past a bus without using super-great caution.

Sadly, I was in Minnesota a few weeks ago and at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, where Steve is buried, and didn’t realize he was there. So, visiting his grave will be on my list of things to do during my next visit to Minnesota.

Marker – Alvina B Kirks – photo by Don Taylor

Next, is my best friend’s mother, Alvina Kirks. She was a really nice woman. Hers was the first, and only, funeral where I was a pallbearer. It was difficult for me to say anything that would help my friend or the rest of his family. I recall making a conscious decision to do my absolute best to fulfill the honor my friend and his father bestowed upon me asking that I be a pallbearer, at only 16-years of age. Alvina was only 47 when she passed. From her, I learned that even when cancer is taking your life, you can be strong and dignified during the process. She was. I was able to visit her burial site at Fort Snelling National Cemetery when I was last in Minnesota. She is buried next to her husband, Charles N. Kirks.

Gravesite: Mary E. (Raidt) Taylor – Photo by Don Taylor

Finally, is my first wife, Mary. She was an exceptionally good woman and mother to my first child. She was very tolerant and in so many ways amazing. I was married to her for over ten years and don’t rue a day of it. We were so young when we were married and tried very hard to make it work. But the separations of Navy life took their toll on our relationship. She passed away last spring (June). I was able to visit where her cremains are buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Minneapolis. I was saddened that there wasn’t a stone monument there. Cemetery records indicated where she was buried. She is resting with her grandparents, John & Marie (Hawley) Langford. Although she doesn’t have a stone marker at the cemetery, I did create a virtual monument for her on Find-a-Grave. May her life in heaven be more joyous than she ever imagined.

Schools I’ve Attended – Anoka-Ramsey Community College

1981-1982

My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

I applied to and was accepted at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC). ARCC was close to home, only 3 miles away so it was easy to work days, come home and eat, then go off to school for evening classes and the occasional Saturday class. I also received a nice stipend from the government based upon my ½ time class load. All my classwork with Chapman College and Chaminade College transferred, so I was nearly a year ahead of the game.

I was able to take some fun classes at Anoka-Ramsey.  I needed another science course for my degree requirements and was able to take Meteorology at Anoka-Ramsey.  What could be better than taking Marine Biology and Oceanography in Hawaii, and Meteorology in Minnesota? It was cool. Freshman English Comp was a drain on my time and resources, but I got through it. I understand it was much more personalized at a Community College than it might be at many larger universities, something I am grateful for or I may never have gotten through.

Apple II – Photo by Rama & Musée Bolo [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr ], via Wikimedia Commons

Computers were relatively new in 1981-2; I had a Psychology professor that utilized the new technology to its greatest.  He gave his students all the questions and all the answers for his mid-term and the final. When we took the actual tests, the questions were a subset of what he gave us and the answers were jumbled up. The professor thought Psych 101 was all about learning and knowing the terms and his method helped assure that students knew them. It seemed strange at the time but makes a lot of sense now.

I wasn’t involved in any sports or extra-curricular activities at ARCC; I was too busy working and providing for my wife and my step-daughter. I was also involved with my community and a commissioner on the city’s Economic Development Commission. I had aspirations to run for City Council and took three courses in real estate at ARCC so I’d know more about the processes of Zoning, Planning, and Real Estate transactions.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College - 2017 Aspen Prize Top 10 Finalist
2017 Aspen Prize Top 10 Finalist

Since I attended, Anoka Ramsey has added another campus in Cambridge, Minnesota. It is a well-known and well-respected community college in the area. It was a top 10 finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges.

I went Anoka-Ramsey (half-time) for nearly two years and received an Associate of Arts from them in December 1982.

Schools I’ve Attended – Jordan Jr. High

My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.We rented the house on Fremont Avenue for only a few months in 1962. During the summer of 1962, Budgar[i] bought a duplex at 2419 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN and we moved there. We lived downstairs and had renters living upstairs. Grandma Kees lived with us for a short time. Budgar and her argued all the time. He called her a liar and she knew he was an abuser. In any event, Budgar threw Grandma Kees out before Christmas, 1962.  It is interesting that I have no photos whatsoever of anyone at that house. Not me, not my mother, not Budgar, not even my sister Sharon, who was born in the fall of 1962.

Budgar wouldn’t give me an allowance. He said I needed to earn my way. So, while living on Bryant, I had a paper route most of the time. I always delivered the morning paper. I’d get up about 3:30, get my papers about 4 am, and have my route delivered by 5:30. I’d be home by 6 for breakfast and to get ready for school.

Photo of 2419 Bryant Ave N, Minneapolis, MN in May, 2013.
2419 Bryant Avenue – Today (May 2013)

Across the street from where we lived on Bryant was the Franklin Junior High attendance area. Likewise, two blocks south was also Franklin Junior High attendance area, so we lived just about as far away from Jordan Junior High as was possible and still be in the Jordan attendance area. During the winter, some of my friends and I would hop on the back bumper of the city bus. It was really dangerous because the bumpers on the bus only stuck out about a half an inch and the sign on the back of the bus wasn’t sturdy enough to rely upon.  Better than the city bus, we learned the route a postman took and could hop the back of his mail truck for several blocks. We’d also just hop the back fenders of moving cars occasionally.  I think all of us could hop off the back of a car moving at 30 miles per hour without falling. On really snowy days we would just grab a passing vehicle and slide on our shoes for blocks on the snow-packed streets. Budgar hollered at me a couple of times about my needing to walk and not shuffle my feet as I was going through shoes way to fast. Little did he know…. I remember putting linoleum inside my shoes to make it through the summer and not need new shoes until winter.

I attended all three years of Junior High at Jordan starting with 7th grade in 1962 and completing 9th grade in 1965. It was the longest I ever attended a school. There were a couple of excursions during that time, but more about them later. I remember school lunches at Jordan (after my grandmother moved out) or any other school I ever attended.

Photo of Mr. Goodrich in 1963
Mr. Goodrich in 1963 Source: Jordanian 1963

By the time I got to the 9th grade, I was pretty much incorrigible and continually battled with Budgar and with my teachers. I had a Home Room teacher named Mr. Goodrich. He and I didn’t get along at all. I think I received the paddle from him every day for two weeks straight. I am sure I was the bane of his existence in 1965. Within the 20-minute homeroom period, I pretty much always smarted off. Sometimes, I’d be sent down to the Vice-principal’s (Mr. Carlson’s) office, but mostly, Mr. Goodrich and I would step out into the hallway, and he’d give me from one to three good swats with a paddle, depending upon what I had done. For me, it was something of a game and a mark of status in the school.

Music Room, Jordan Jr. High (c. 1937)

During junior high, I learned that I was good at almost everything scholastic and I didn’t need to study. I did great in science and math, very good in history, civics, and social studies, and about average in English. I was a klutz in sports. Even though I once did 1000 sit-ups without stopping, I couldn’t climb a rope up 20 feet in gym class. (I had core strength but no upper body strength). I did well in the shop classes they had, particularly well in print shop but I still did okay in woodworking and metal shop as well. I got a few stitches in my head because in woodshop someone came around the corner with the base for a soapbox derby car and smacked me in the head by accident. I was also in the school orchestra and learned how to play the cello using a school-owned instrument. I had enough skill that my orchestra teacher suggested I try out for the Minneapolis Junior Symphony Orchestra. I asked Budgar to buy a cello for me. Of course, he wouldn’t. I had to have my own instrument to be considered for the Junior Symphony and couldn’t afford one on my newspaper delivery income, so I never had a chance to try out. I wonder how different my life would have been had he purchased that cello… I still love the sound of the cello; it is my favorite instrument.

Jordan Junior High School, Minneapolis, MN (1924 photo)

I remember gaining some “cred” when a school bully was picking on skinny little me. (I was probably over 6 foot and under 135 pounds in 9th grade.) We were to meet in the alley behind Frank’s Grocery store, a half a block from the school.  He and I fought; there were probably 50 kids there to see the fight. My first punch was a lucky punch that broke his nose; after that, I kept hitting on it whenever I could. Blood everywhere. Don hit me a few times but nothing damaging. After a few minutes of fighting, the police showed up, and everybody ran. Neither Don nor any of the other school kids messed with me after that. I didn’t look for fights, and they didn’t look for me either.

Jordan Junior High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Photo of Jordan Jr. High during demolition, 1985
Jordan Jr. High during demolition, 1985.

Jordan Junior High was at 29th and Irving Avenues in North Minneapolis. It was named after Charles Morison Jordan, a Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools. The school opened in 1922. It was razed in 1985. Today the school location is Jordan Park. Next to it is the Hmong International Academy.


Endnotes

[i] Budgar is a combination of “Bud” my step-father’s nickname and “Edgar” his actual first name. In the 1960s, I always called him “Bud,” and I learned to call him “Budgar” later in life.

Sometimes the Census Taker is Wrong & Andrew Martin Darling

Sometimes the Census Taker is Wrong

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I’ve been having many roadblocks in my Abner Darling (1780-1839) research. Enough so that I decided to take a step back and look at Abner Darling’s descendants much more closely. The first of these that I am examining is Andrew M Darling, the oldest brother of Rufus Holton Darling (1816-1857). Rufus left New York for Kalamazoo, Michigan about 1844. Andrew left New York in the 1840s also and settled in Utica, Wisconsin. Then about 1859 Andrew moved west again, this time to Alexandria, Minnesota. Andrew died in 1864. I looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find Andrew in the 1860 census.  Finally, I searched for everyone named Andrew in Douglas County, Minnesota. There I found an Andrew Martin, whose apparent wife was Antoinette, and three children, Sarah, Olive, and Abram who matched the ages of Andrew Darling’s Wife Antoinette, and three children, Sarah, Olive, and Abner. I have little doubt that I found the family. Now my suspicion is that Martin was Andrew’s middle name, the “M.” I’ve known about for quite some time. The census taker just got the name wrong, a simple mistake. The Darlings were new in the area and the census taker probably didn’t know them yet.

Howell-Darling 2017 Research

List of Grandparents

Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1907-1969)
1st Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
2nd Great-grandfather: Rufus Holton Darling (1816-1857)
2nd Great-grand Uncle: Andrew M. [Martin?] Darling (1805-1864)

 

Andrew Martin Darling (1805-1864)

Andrew M. Darling was born in 1805 or 1806 in New York, probably on the Beekman Patent in Dutchess County to Abner and Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling.

SOS Online BackupAndrew grew up with 7 siblings. They were

  • Diadema Darling
  • Sally Ann Darling
  • Abner Darling
  • Rufus Holton Darling(1816-1857)
  • Henry W Darling
  • Hannah Darling
  • Franklin C Darling

Abner moved his family west, first to Paris, Oneida County, New York (before 1820) and again to Clarkson, Monroe County, New York.

Sometime before 1835 Andrew moved west, apparently by himself, to Medina, Ohio. There he married Esther Antoinette Doolittle on October 8th, 1835 in a ceremony performed by Joel Goodell, a Minister of the Gospel. Andrew and Antoinette appear to have had four children.

Children of Andrew M. Darling and Esther Antoinette Doolittle

Child Name Born Married Death
Sarah Antoinette Darling c. 1844 1863 – James Dicken 1901
Alice Darling c. 1846 Before 1860
Abner M Darling 1851 Ella [LNU]* Unknown
Olive Blanche Darling 1854 c. 1869 – George McQuillen 1902

I have not found Andrew in the 1840 Census. All four of the children above were born in Wisconsin, so it is clear that Andrew and Antoinette located to Utica, Winnebago County, Wisconsin before 1844.

The 1850 Census shows a three generation household. With Andrew is his wife, Antonette and their daughters, Sarah and Alice.  This census record provides the only mention of Alice that I have found. Also living with Andrew is his mother, Sally A [Munsell] Darling, and his two youngest siblings, 25-year-old Hannah and 22-year-old Franklin.

The 1855 Wisconsin Census shows the family still in Utica, WI with a household consisting of 3 males. (Most likely Andrew, his son Abner, and his brother Franklin.) The household also has four females. (Most likely Esther Antoinette, Sarah, and Olive. Additionally, either Alice was still alive in 1855 and Hannah moved on, or Alice had died by 1855 and Hannah was still there. Further research is needed to discern what occurred.

Map showing Darling Homestead
Part of Douglan County, MN – Click map to see larger image

The family moved west again, this time, in 1859, to Douglas County, Minnesota. The 1860 Census shows the family with the surname “Martin.” Clearly a mistake.  Living with Andrew is his wife, 44-year-old Antoinette; his 16-year-old daughter, Sarah; his twelve-year-old daughter, Olive; and his eight-year-old son, Abner (listed as Abram).

It appears that Andrew died in September 1864 in Phelps County, Missouri. However, his family continued to prosper in Douglas County. He was said to have been an “exceptionally successful farmer.[i]” His wife Antoinette received a patent in 1873 for 149.1 acres of land they settled on the south shore of Lake Darling (near Alexandria, Minnesota)[ii]. Lake Darling was named for Andrew Darling[iii].

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Determine if the three males in the 1855 Wisconsin Census includes Andrew’s brother Franklin or if there is an unknown child of Andrew.
  • Determine if the four females in the 1855 Wisconsin Census includes Alice or if the 4th female is Hannah. Was Alice was still alive in 1855 and Hannah moved on, or Alice had died by 1855 and Hannah was still there.

Sources

  • 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – A M Darling – Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, Family Search – 12 April 2016), Am Darling, Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States; citing family 1092, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4DT-3L6.
  • 1855 WI Census, Family Search, 1855 – A. M. Darling – Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin. “Wisconsin State Census, 1855,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMM5-5DV 14 November 2014), A. M. Darling, Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin; citing line 12, State Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,032,689.
  • 1860 Census, Family Search, 1860 – Andrew M Martin [Darling] – Alexandria, Douglas, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4LG-PBH – 26 July 2017), Andrew M Martin, 1860.
  • Martin, William Albert, and Lou Ella Johnson Martin, Dennis Darling: of Braintree and Mendon and some of his descendants 1662-1800 – Page 461.
  • Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 , Family Search, Andrews Darling & Antoinett Doolittle – Marriage. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch  27 September 2017, Andrews M. Darling and Antoineth Doolittle, 08 Oct 1835; citing Medina, Ohio, United States, reference 132; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 423,817. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ5X-M24.
  • Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 , Family Search, Andrews Darling & Antoinette Doolittle – Intended Marriage. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 27 September 2017), Andrews W. Darling and Antoinett Doolittle, 25 Sep 1835; citing Medina, Ohio, United States, reference 83; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 423,817. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ5X-GTR.
  • Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890, Ancestry, WI 1855 State Census Index – A. M. Darling – No Image Winnebago County, Utica Township, 1855

 Endnotes & Additional Sources

[i] Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 180.

[ii] Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, Accession MN0950.303 – Darling, Antoinette 11/15/1873. https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=MN0950__.303&docClass=STA&sid=swuujfdu.p5v.

[iii] Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 180.