Sunday, February 27, 2011

Autobiography 005: I often wonder what my life would have been if I'd taken the job offer

Here she wonders about life's course had she never moved to San Diego, discusses loneliness in her early 90s -- alleviated partly by volunteering in an elementary school -- then returns to telling about her marriage to Gene and surprises from friend's from Los Angeles.


I often wonder what my life would have been if I'd taken the job offer & stayed with my girl friend's family in Huntington Park. 

     Gene would hitch hike to San Diego to see me & my dad would loan him his car so he could find a job. Gene said when he got a job we were going to get married. Eventually he landed a job as a Stationary Engineer at the Mountain Meadow Dairy in Mission Valley. He was to take care of the machinery for homogenizing milk etc. So in April after my 22nd April 17 birthday, on April 21st we were married.

Side bar notes - April 21st after my 22nd birthday - married for 65 years.

Moved to Salida CO

     Tues 3/19/02 This was a low man on the totem pole day for me. the day was lonely so walked to the the library to find out when they will want to hang my appliquĂ©' quilt. Woman librarian likes to throw her weight around so wasn't very cooperative. Head of library called me later. Current hangings will be up 'til I get back from Kerry's April 11th.


today, Wed, another school day.

     I wish I could get to be part of a group -- so lonely here. Hate to think of dying here -- so what!!


     Well, today was a round-about day. Went to the school but teacher not there as child is ill. So decided to go see Helen and the Largos.  Helen is failing & hearing is bothering her. They are such nice people & I feel they are my friends.

     Then went by Irma Valdez as she is having problems. So passed the time 'till 11:45 then went to church for brown bag lunch. Always fun to be with those people -- all seniors. Stopped by the bank & cashed a check so all set up for trip to Kerry's. So now will get back to us & time when we were first married. We didn't have a big wedding. In fact didn't tell all the friends in Huntington Park but word got out so most all came to San Diego & managed to get into the apartment we had rented & chopped toilet paper everywhere & I mean all over!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Autobiography 004: But I was such a wimp and afraid to try to go it alone

Carola describes "going steady" with Gene during the depression, then about her first few jobs working as a commercial artist in Los Angeles. She calls herself a "wimp" for not staying in Los Angeles to work full-time as an artist when given the chance by her manager after father gets transferred to San Diego.



time in my life "going steady" was the big thing. Gene was 3 years older than me. It was during the depression + jobs were scarce but Gene got part time work at the local sporting goods store. His parents were separated & his mother moved to Banning where she had a job taking care of an older couple. So for a while he stayed at a local boarding house but jobs wouldn't support that so he batched in the back of a warehouse & lived on french fried potatoes cooked on a hot plate.

     So we went steady for about 4 or 5 years.

     After graduation from high school in Huntington Park, a number of us girls went to work at the L.A. Times calling as "Miss Maxwell" wanting to tell them about the Times want ad section. We had a certain little speal to give. My escape came from that when my dad met at his job with an oil co. the artist who did the advertising and car designs for street cars and buses. Miss 


Annette Honeywell was a commercial artist. Dad asked her if she would take me on as a protegé. She was a bit reluctant as she said she had tried that before & and the student soon thought she knew more than the teacher. But dad finally talked her into giving me a try at $40.00 per month. I went by street car to LA 5 days a week with Miss Honeywell. I learned a lot about doing water colors as that was her specialty when doing ads for Diamond Walnuts, calco avocadoes,etc.

     Eventually times got hard for my dad. I worked at Bullochs in LA for a week doing fashion drawings when one of the artists was on vacation. Then the basement store manager hired me when his artist was on vacation. At this time my father was transferred to San Diego. The basement store advertising manager said he would hire me for a steady job if I would stay in the LA area. But I was such a wimp & afraid to try to go it alone so I went with the folks to San Diego.

Autobiography 003: But his best friend wrote me a letter saying that this fellow was pretty wild.

Here Carola tells about her surprise in having to move from Washington to California, and how it crushed her aspirations of performing on stage. She then discusses meeting her future husband of 65 years, my great-grandfather Elmo Eugene, and how he made a fast move on her in a parked car and her rapid response.


     For three years at North Central High School I played violin in the orchestra which was a fun time as the music teacher was a very special teacher & every year put on an operetta. Oh how I wished I could be there on the stage instead of in the orchestra part. So ----- I screwed up my courage & tried out for the chorus -- and made it! But soon all my ego was crushed as dad announced that we were moving to California. My dad's sister who lived in so. California kept asking him why he stayed in Spokane shoveling snow; why didn't he come to sunny California. So there went my chance of a bit of life "on stage". Little did I know what life had in store for me.

     We settled in Huntington Park, California, a nice little suburb of L.A. I soon made some friends. One in particular asked me to go with her to the Christian Endeavor a young people's meeting on Sunday evening. My dad later called it C E O -- see each other. As it worked out that evening that I went to C.E. with my new girl friend a tall blond fellow was leading the meeting. I could just see his mind working -- Oh! New girl in town!

     So we started dating now & then. This Gene Gough was such fun to be with. But his best friend wrote me a letter saying that this fellow was pretty wild. Well, I guess he & his buddy were liable to take off most any time & hitch hike to Canada or stow away on a boat headed for Alaska. Incidentally they were discovered & put off on the first port in Canada.

     On one date when we went to the local movie theater, on the way taking me home this "wild" fellow stopped & parked & kissed me. Well! This nice girl thought she had better deal with this guy so said "Well, I knew where we were I'd walk home." So Gene started the car, pulled up one block & stopped in front of my home. What could I do but laugh! At that

View Scanned Page

Autobiography 002: Being the eldest I got all the child raising techniques tried out on me

On these pages Carola begins telling more of her life story in detail. She recalls her father being "so fussy" and recalls a time where she took a boat ride with a boy from school and her anxiousness about how her dad would react to a late night past her curfew!


January 18
Today went to senior center for lunch -- Met Sheriff and his successor. Lunch was good -- also speaker -- Walked to town & back.

Feb 10. Sunday always a long day. Didn't go to church as still tired from flu. Tomorrow will get back on track -- Help at school, etc. Hope to get started writing something of my life & adventures. Plan to write each day --


Really starting today.

When I was a child growing up and having a safe childhood was not beset by all the drugs, peer pressure as it is today. When we lived in the Audubon Park area we (several girls in the neighborhood) would go down the hill from our house & play in the forest. We'd rake up leaves & pine needles to make rooms & play house. The only fear I ever remember was when


some gypsies were camped nearby & so lots of scary stories went around.

     Vivienne Bottan was my special chum. Once in a while I was allowed to sleep over at her house but my dad so fussy. Being the eldest I got all the child raising techniques tried out on me -- like having to be home by 10:00 o'clock when I was in high school + dated once in a while.

     I remember once going on a class trip with a boy to a moonlight boat ride on Coeur d'Alene lake not far from Spokane. It was the end of school semester & this boy's father was going to pick him up at 2:00 AM to take him to a lumbering project where his son would work for the summer. So this boy sat around when we got back from the boat ride until 2:00 AM when his dad would come by. I could hear my dad walking back and forth up stairs & expected him to come angrily down the stairs most any minute!
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Autobiography 001: Today I shall at least start this account of my life

Below is a transcription of the first two pages from Carola's autobiographical journal, where she sought to tell her life story. I've also linked the scanned image. Originally I had marked certain areas with words I am not sure of like "??guy??". Other places I had written "????" where I could not read the word. Peggy understood them, however, and correct them all! Thanks, Peggy!

If you see this elsewhere and can make out the words, please submit a comment in the comments.

Also, please submit comments that link to information or good pictures of things that she is talking about, especially if they are authentic to the place or period. For example, if we have photographs, either on or elsewhere, please provide a link to it and information. I'll be monitoring each post as both a transcription and research-receptacle.


Me, a missionary?? Wow!!

     Today I shall at least start this account of my life. Mostly it will be about my life with that so called guy his good friend, Art Cassady, called kind of wild! But to go back a bit, I was born in Wenatchee, Washington but grew up mostly in Spokane. However, my sister Donna, four years younger was born at Diamond Lake. I remember some of that time -- like when my dad found me coasting "belly buster" on my little sled down across the lake where workmen were cutting blocks of ice to store in the ice house. I think he made me some little skis as I remember seeing how he was turning the toes up.

End of June

    Linda & Wayne returned today from a ski trip to Snow Mass by Aspen to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

    Today went with Sanday Hennessy to check on helping with reading at the elementary school.

    Now should get back on track with my story.

    I should have entered the fact that I had a sister, Donna, very petite & loved doing ballet. She would go dancing around on her toes so daintily & I felt like the big, clumsy oaf, but I did learn the Highland Fling from the grandma who lived next door & was from Scotland. Several girls & her grand-daughter would get together & try to learn the steps. That was fun!!

     In summer sometimes we girls camped outside in our back yard. I invented so-called bunks by fastening old heavy draperies between saw horses -- (drawing). All went well until I thought a bug had gotten in my ear! That problem solved I'm sure we spent the whole night out there.

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Introduction: Carola Gough Autobiographical Sketch

In the early 2000's Carola started to write an autobiography. She was not able to complete this before she passed away at age 96 in 2007. However, she asked that her descendants take possession of her journals, photographs, and records of her artwork and complete this for her.

This post is the "home page" for her autobiographical sketch.

Journal Scans

Carola Gough Autobiographical Sketch Scans

Friday, February 25, 2011

PBS Home Video: We Shall Remain

I'm watching PBS's series We Shall Remain: America Through Native Eyes. Even the title reminds me of this painting by Carola:

From the moment I saw this painting, I could feel a glimpse of the simultaneous pride and sorrow of Native Americans. Having met and spent time with some of them in their travels in the southwestern U.S., Carol and Gene got to know some of their stories from their descendants. Here is a brief interview I did with Carola about this and other paintings:

It reminds of this painting also:

As well this one:

I am forever grateful to her for the story her artwork tells, and for the honor she gave to the people she painted. She was not a forgetter, and I shall not be either.

You can see all of her Native American themed art here: Southwestern Indian Art by Carola Gough

You can view We Shall Remain on Netflix. Here is the description on


"Viewers will be amazed." "If you're keeping score, this program ranks among the best TV documentaries ever made." and "Reminds us that true glory lies in the honest histories of people, not the manipulated histories of governments. This is the stuff they kept from us." --Clif Garboden, The Boston Phoenix

Product Description

They were charismatic and forward thinking, imaginative and courageous, compassionate and resolute, and, at times, arrogant, vengeful, and reckless. For hundreds of years, Native American leaders from Massasoit, Tecumseh, and Tenskwatawa, to Major Ridge, Geronimo,
and Fools Crow, valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture. Sometimes, their strategies were militaristic, but more often they were diplomatic, spiritual, legal, and political.
From PBS s acclaimed history series, American
Experience, in association with Native American Public Telecommunications, We Shall Remain establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. These five documentaries spanning three hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective, upending two-dimensional stereotypes of American Indians as simply ferocious warriors or peaceable lovers of the land.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Adjusted Journal Scans Uploading

Peggy said that the scans were too light, so I used ImageMagick to run this command:

mogrify -contrast-stretch 5%% -sigmoidal-contrast 2,50%% -normalize *.JPEG

This has adjusted them to make the writing darker. They look easier to read now. I haven't uploaded all of them yet, but they're side-by-side with the lighter images in this collection:

NOTE: When you browse each set, you can click the "Actions" dropdown above the image and go to "All Sizes", which shows a much larger version.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Carola Gough Life Story: Chronology Document

This document is stored in Google Docs. I could use family members' help in completing this chronology. Just email me if you can help!

Don't forget that scanned images of her journals and letters are located here:

Thank you,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Biography Writing Notes

This page contains my own notes on writing biographies, drawn from many sources.

Robert Caro on Writing Biographies Notes on C-SPAN giving the Leon Levy Biography Lecture

  • Sense of place : often omitted from biographies
    • Impress upon the reader a sense of the place, so that this can help them understand the subject's own impressions and feelings
    • The importance of small sounds, animals in the night, etc
    • Carola's sense of place is undisputed, and is captured in her artwork. It will thus be important to capture the sense of Washington state, Alaska, California, Africa, and Colorado very well.
  • Central life lessons or burdens
    • Example: Caro wrote a biography about President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson had to tend a farm his father bought for more than it was worth, due to its poor soil. He tied this to Johnson's intense ability to "count votes" in the Senate. His life of "living with his father's greatest one mistake" had taught Johnson that he never wanted to be wrong.

Book Project Outline and Brainstorm

Following on my goal to spend at least one hour a week on this project, I've spent about 5 already tonight. Below is a sketch of  the project materials and an approach.

I also looked at It's a nice site, but I don't feel like it's necessary. Assembling text through this blog and comments will be OK so long as there is a good "Table of Contents" which links to Chapters or Sections. When all is said and done, we can use Blurb's BookSmart book creator software to produce coffee-table side landscape book.

Next Step:

I'm going to do is start an outline of Carola's life, in chronological order. This does not mean that the Chapter or Sections will will flow 100% from this list or that every detail will be included, but it will be important to assemble this chronology and understand the flow of her life from year to year. With more details, we'll have the best ability to narrate the important events and flow of her life.

Project Outline

  • Numerous journals
    • Including several that encompass time in Africa (Most of these are scanned now)
  • Numerous letters from Africa (Most scanned)
  • Tons of scanned images of paintings photographs, of course (Pretty much all scanned)
  • Lots of scanned awards or letters of appreciation for her volunteer work in her communities (Some scanned)
  • Lots of photographs in photo albums (Not many scanned)
  • Watermark / Copyright each image and store a large version of it on Picasa or Flickr.
    • Flickr has fantastic Set / Collection organization capabilities, and I've paid for unlimited space
    • Create a corresponding blog post for each of these, but on
      • This will not be a narrative blog. Instead:
        • Posts tagged in chronological groups.
        • They don't necessarily need to be sequential at least at first. Time stamps can be adjusted later if important discrepancies found
      • This will allow people to post comments so we can gather information about each item as a collaborative discussion
  • Begin assembling a chronology of Chapters (or Sections) of Carola's life, grouped into large grain "phases", such as:
      • Childhood
      • School age
      • Teenage
      • Courtship
      • Marriage
      • Children
      • Life around the country
      • Life in retirement as an artist
      • Life in Africa
      • Older age travels and art
    • Use a post that links to the various media posts above for each period
  • Conduct interviews of her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (I am the eldest)
  • To flesh out the text, there can be posts that serve as "chapters" or sections within chapters, using tags.
    • This will allow them to have a life of their own while they're being revised and written and commented on by family members.
  • Use Blurb's BookSmart desktop software to create the for-print table top book.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

001 -- Butterflies to Africa

Early childhood memories of my great-grandmother and grandfather.

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
-- Aristotle

If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
-- Vincent Van Gogh

A picture is a poem without words.
-- Horace

When I was a child growing up in Wappingers Falls, New York, there were several curious items in our house. One was a painting that hung in family room area named "The Goughies", painted by my great-grandmother Carola Laurel Gough. It depicted my mother Kathryn, her brother Kevin, and her two sisters, Kelly and Kara. Every so often someone in the family would draw attention to it, usually to new people visiting the house. Everyone would smile and laugh because it really did capture the faces of those four siblings quite well sitting and standing together in a forest. But, it also depicted them all with butterfly wings, which, to my knowledge, they did not have on their backs in real life.

Yet, as Aristotle's quote above states, the function of art is not that. If Carola wanted to merely represent her grand-children as they appeared to the naked eye, then a simple photograph would have done just fine. Instead, the inner meaning, at least as I construe it now, was that her grand-children each would grow up and "fly" in their own unique ways. And, quite more than this, the fact that she spent the time and effort to depict them so creatively at all was, I would imagine, quite heart-warming to them and their parents.

The other object was a dark, carved wooden dish the sat on the coffee table. All I know about it was what my grandmother told me: "Your great-grandmother brought that back from Africa." Africa, I was then told, was a continent across the Atlantic ocean. She and my great-grandfather had lived in Zaire for three years in their early sixties during the late sixties and early seventies. They worked with missionaries and helped people who lived there. That's about all I remember about that story at the time. This was before I started going to elementary school, so it wasn't until later that I learned just exactly how far away Africa was. And, it certainly wasn't until much later that I learned anything about Zaire, today is known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the many problems its people have faced and continue to face.

All I knew was that my great-grandmother was a painter and she traveled around the world. Both of these were very mysterious to me.

Beautiful Wisdom - Carola L. Gough's Art and Legacy

"I always dreamed about making a grand entrance with the red carpet laid out for me, but I don't know about this grand exit!" quipped Carola Laurel Gough. As of that day, April 17, 2004, she had just turned 93-years-old and now a couple of paramedics were carrying her out of Chicago's Steak House (TODO check name) in Marietta, GA on a gurney, whisking her away to an ambulance. She had stumbled off of an elevated booth in the restaurant moments after refusing to wait for her son Gene, my grandfather, who insisted that he lend her a hand to help her down from the the six-inch rise. She lost her footing and came tumbling down to the ground, breaking her hip in the process, we soon discovered. She had managed to keep her self-effacing humor even in that moment of terrifying pain and uncertainty, and I will never forget the that, nor the lessons in self-determination during the three months that followed while she recovered to near perfect health again.

That spring and summer of 2004 she demonstrated to me and all observers the inconceivable joining of an absolutely iron will of personal independence with a tender and unblemished heart toward the respect for and well-being of others. As I later came to learn upon attending her memorial ceremony after her passing in July of 2007, three months after her 96th birthday, this was common for her. This was just the daughter, friend, mentor, spouse, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother that she always was. While her many personas will never be forgotten, there is yet another Carola that will forever be immortalized in the eyes and hearts of family, friends, and acquaintances: Artist.

Carola's artistic talent brought her much renown wherever she lived in the United States and also wherever she traveled abroad. Her art is the expression of a human spirit in love. It is the expression of a love for life and an advocacy for a peaceful, patient way of being so thorough that I feel forever indebted to her for sharing it with me, almost as if it were a personal gift. I also feel compelled, as her eldest great-grandchild, to tell her story and the powerful impact that her life, her example, and her art has had on me and others.

Words, of course, can only do so much, but pictures can tell a life story. This book showcases Carola's artwork and shares my own recollection and experience of spending time with her. Reflecting upon time spent with her taught me much. Those lessons I learned from her have radically improved the direction of my life. For example, seeing her chose to volunteer with children in her community after her husband Gene of 65 years passed away was a powerful example to me. This helped me to grow past personal selfishness to adopt an attitude of gratefulness and become a volunteer as well in my own community.

I sincerely hope that the images and narratives in this book will inspire and comfort Carola's many descendants and friends, and also that it serves to introduce her to those who never got a chance to know her. I also hope that it brings her art and her message of love to many new people around the world.

Below is but one of her paintings. You can find more linked from

Joshua Gough
Carola Laurel Gough's eldest great-grandson, age 31
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
January 26th, 2009


Two Years Later : Feb 12, 2011

It's been a long time since I wrote that, and we've completed a few things, regarding scanning journals and finishing scanning in very high resolution scans of Carola's paintings, plus a large collage print made and framed, thanks to Danny and our neighbor Frances, as well as my friend Erica.

So, while I've spent some money on having others do those things while I've been working my full-time job, I haven't sat down to start writing anything, but it's long overdue. I'm going to spend at least one to two hours a week on this in 2011, which is better than waiting for "a block of 100 hours" to suddenly show up at my door.

Book Goals

  • Commemorate Carola's life, paintings, and spirit
  • Communicate her impact on the lives of others, including me the primary editor
  • Invite other family members to write their own chapters or letters
  • Chronologically tell about different phases of her life
  • Conduct audio/video interviews from family here to shape a narrative to tell her story as best as possible for posterity
  • Highlight her charitable work
  • Showcase letters from Africa
  • And all the art, of course

Call For Assistance!

Family and friends, I'll need your help to fulfill those goals. So, I hope you'll be able to devote some time. The next order of business will be to start creating a outline of the work that needs to be done. I'll start creating that later this week. So, let me know if you'd like to help with a even as much as an hour or two a month this year.