Part 51: I Heart Researchers

Today is Sunday, November 8th, 2020. Yesterday at around 8:30 AM the media called the 2020 election. Kamala Harris will be the first female Vice President, and Joseph Biden will be the 46th President of the United States. The current POTUS isn't accepting the results, saying things like, "We won it by a lot." 70 million people voted for Trump, 74 million for Biden.


Today, Trump was again flagged by Twitter (see blue typeface, below) for posting false information about the election. He's been casting doubts on mail in voting, and his years of calling the media "fake news" is paying off with his supporters. Millions of Americans believe that Trump won the election, and that they have been tricked by a rigged system. Here's a tweet from Trump from today:


“We believe these people are thieves. The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it’s impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states."

This claim about election fraud is disputed

Damn! This slide is also backwards! Scanning slides...harder than I thought it would be. This painting is perfect for this blog. It's called "All American Girl" by Jan Svetlik. I'll re-scan it soon, and she'll be facing the right direction. You'd think I'd get it right 50% of the time. Sheesh.


With this crazy election, I began to think back to the past. I couldn't recall ever seeing my father vote, or hear him say he was going to the polls. I chatted with my mother last week, wondering if Dad ever voted. "I never saw him vote," she said. My mother voted, but Riley may not have, as far as I can tell. I find it odd that someone so politically engaged, and so opinionated, didn't bother to vote.


My mother says he didn't want to register to vote because he'd have to give an address, and he didn't want to be found. There's else something I wonder...was he able to vote? Did he have a felony none of us are aware of? Anyway, new and exciting documents below, from October 16th, 1940. Riley was 22 years-old and in Long Beach, California. My friend and researcher Marilyn McGuire found these documents last week. I'd emailed her because I wondered if I could find out whether or not my father voted, and also, had he avoided the census? So she did some digging, and surprise! It's Riley's draft card for WWll.

Riley stated in his journal that he was called up on the draft board in 1942, but was sent home. He told my mother he was diagnosed as a sociopath, but I have no way to find out if that was true.

She dug a little deeper into these documents, and here's what Marilyn wrote:


"I took a look at who Harold C. Parks was, the person who your father said would always know his address. Dr.” Harold C. Parks had a degree in naturopathy (or so he says) and calls himself a cosmetologist. He and his wife Jessie ran the Long Beach Beauty shop. Jessie was a “massager”. The addresses that are listed in the draft card were long ago transformed and the buildings torn down. The address that Dr. Parks is living at was likely an apartment house as many others are listed at the same address."  


Massager? Hmmmm...


"You notice your father lists The Little Theatre on American Ave. as his address. There’s a parking garage there now. But at the top of the card penciled in is an address in Cicero, Illinois. Which is a suburb of Chicago. So, likely your father was on the road in 1940. How he came to know Dr. Harold C. Parks is a mystery!"


Dad's journal states he married wife number two in 1941 when he was 23 years-old, the woman he met on the SS Deville sailing to Rio, Winnifred Cessek. Their address was in Cicero, a suburb of Chicago. Perhaps he used her address because they were already together. However, according to Dad's secret journal, he also had an on again, off again girl friend in Long Beach. I've typed a section of his journal here:


Live-in-lovers: Colleen Furlong: Met in L.A. after leaving Alma. Lived together twice...Once in L.A., and then in Long Beach. Separated in San Diego.


It's tempting to just tell stories, and not worry about facts. If the past four years have taught us anything, it's that we must do the work to find out what really happened, not try to pass off fiction as fact. The work of fact checking can be done by all of us, but it's also an important part of the Fourth Estate, the press. The U.S. is now in a time when many citizens don't believe they are hearing the truth from the media, and are tuning into "alternative" outlets to get their "news." I have a friend from Rwanda who has been worried about us.


In the meantime, let's insist that researchers get credit for their work, whether it be a movie, a documentary, a podcast, or the media. Researchers and fact checkers should be elevated, and so often they aren't given credit. Oh, and librarians, too. If you hear a story, and find out something isn't right, let the creators know. Most people want to fix mistakes, although it can be time consuming and expensive to go back and fix a story that's already aired. Still, it should be done.


Thank you to Marilyn McGuire for finding so many documents I've used in this blog.

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©2020 by Stacya Silverman.

All photos on this site were taken by Thomas Schworer or David Hiller unless otherwise noted.