About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The update of the incredible truck saga

Well, the trip continues. Blessings have been liberally sprinkled over the stressful events of the past few days.

As is told in my blog of yesterday, the memorial celebration of my g-g-grandfather was a ray of sunshine in a very gloomy trip (see earlier blog on the adventure on I-40 out of Nashville). But we set up something of a schedule for ourselves and now have plan B well in operation.

First blessing: our daughter Sandi and sons who helped make the memorial a successful event and one we will always cherish. It was she who secured a shade for us (105 degree temps and blistering sun were unrelenting . . . I still think it was preferable to rain), chairs for those in attendance, and water on ice for everyone! Afterwards, she helped us get all the food out of the RV and into an ice chest or in her car to take back to Atlanta where she would keep the frozen items for us to pick up next week (the cemetery was 2 miles from where the RV was awaiting service). Then she made sure her father and I had food (both of us were suffering from heat exhaustion) - having her sons (what troopers) take turns babysitting the dogs while we ate(what we could) in an air conditioned restaurant. What an amazing woman she is! Then we headed off to a friend's home.

Second blessing: my dear, dear friend from so many years ago I dare not say - Betty Joe (we were introduced by Pernell Roberts and his wife back in 1973). A woman who loves animals, and particularly our dog Buddy. She not only put us up, but our 2 pups as well, and then went beyond the call of duty by providing us with tons of food and then volunteering to dogsit while we ran errands over the next 2 days. She's in Cookeville, midway between where the truck sits in Nashville and where I am attending a genealogy conference in Knoxville.

Third blessing: a new friend, a Pernell Roberts/Trapper John fan (thank you Facebook) who invited us to come visit them when we finished up necessary business in Nashville on Monday, then took us out to a wonderful dinner and uplifting conversation. Nothing like food & friends to get one's mind off troubles.

Fourth blessing: my Ohio friend whose mutual love of Bonanza and Pernell Roberts brought us together many years ago. She is attending the same conference I am and when I called her, was told she had space in her room and I didn't even need to bring an air mattress! So I went from staying in a campground to being bunked at the Hilton. OK, not a bad blessing!

Fifth blessing: the Chevy service manager (who has never seen such an engine breakdown) assures us that the dealership will bring Butch back from returning our rental car to the airport, whenever that happens.

Sixth blessing: the many friends & family members who have kept up with our trials on this entire trip, making the pain of the news re: our Chevy truck just a little less painful.

The verdict is in: our Chevy Duramax Diesel (the engine that lasts forever and is more powerful than a locomotive) needs a new long block (translation: essentially the entire engine!). Now, this would make sense if we had 200,000 miles on it, perhaps (though these engines are supposed to make that with ease), but the 2004 vehicle has just about 120,000 miles on it PLUS we had the engine replaced at 68,000 miles! So this puppy has less than 60,000 miles to its credit. Now the first engine replacement cost us nothing since it was still under warranty; but there is no warranty on a failure of a replacement engine. This one's on us! (Oh, we do get the new engine warrantied ... for 5 years ... wanna bet we won't have it another 5 years? I mean, gluttons for punishment we ain't.) How much is a new long block? Ah, pocket change (for Donald Trump): $11,000+ !

Positive part: we may have the vehicle back by the weekend or certainly the first of next week.

Meanwhile, I am at the Hilton and Butch is at Betty Joe's place with the dogs. I even laughed about it today (or was I delirious?). I owe a big thank you to my Bonanza and Pernell Roberts fans "family" - they have nursed us through this from start to finish. And my genealogy friends who have provided many shoulders for crying upon. And an amazing family, willing to travel many miles just to make sure we are OK. And all those around the world who offered prayers for our safety, etc. (again, thank you Facebook).

More blessings: we are safe. Dogs are safe. Life is going on. There must be a reason for the trial, but I'll blog about that when I figure it out (note: may not be in this lifetime!).

Have a great day, all.


  1. Jean, We are so sorry!! I wish we could have been there to help, but am so thankful that Sandi was. Did you have options to trade in the truck as opposed to getting the engine fixed??? I would be writing a not very nice letter to chevy. Seems to me they should be willing to do something for a lemon of a car that should have been fixed properly!!

  2. You are a very blessed woman, Jean. Your friends and family are special people to have come to your rescue. I'm so happy that we (the Pernell fans and friends) are special people willing to help each other in times of need.

  3. I am very happy that all is right!!!! although I am very far, thanks to Pernell Jean and I came to you. Is nice to know that there are good people willing to help ..

  4. That is an incredible story. I am glad you are all safe and comfortable.


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