Wednesday, September 3, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Grandma’s travel diaries inspire book, look into past generations

By
From page B10 | April 12, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Sixty years ago, the late Ruth Chidsey Bates Lewis boarded the train in Pomona and set out on a cross-country trek. She was 58 and traveled alone, leaving her husband at home.

She kept a travelogue in numerous pocket-size, spiral-bound memo pads. She also snapped photos and wrote basic information on the back. Her last journal entry was on June 27, 1954, about five weeks into the trip.

Her granddaughter, Fairfield resident Bonnie DiMichele, read the copious notes, pored over the pictures and, inspired, penned the book, “In Grandma’s Shoes.”

DiMichele said her grandmother saved $1 a day for one year to cover the cost of the jaunt. She was able to do this because her children were grown and had moved out.

Her travel expenditures are logged in the notes, including $158.25 for her train fare. Lewis came home with $19.54 in her pocket.

The memories, the travel diaries indicated, were priceless to Lewis. She saw her hometown of Stony Creek, Conn., reunited with old friends and saw many sites from her childhood. The detailed notes offered DiMichele fresh insights into her grandmother.

“I knew my grandma as a very private person and so I am wondering why she made the list of clothing she was washing and hanging on the line,” DiMichele wrote in the book. “I found this bit of information a charming piece of irrelevant nonsense, but she must have written it because she didn’t want someone to think she was being lazy.”

The diaries were Lewis’ chance to relive that trip, DiMichele said.

“I can’t believe my grandfather let her go,” she said.

DiMichele said that she remembers her grandfather as gruff and dependent upon his wife. 

Lewis’ earlier life was tough, living through the Depression. Her younger brother died from appendicitis when he was 10. Lewis’ daughter also died from appendicitis.

When her children were younger, Lewis worked in a cannery sorting fruit. When her shift was over, she brought home the bad fruit and stayed up late into the night cutting and canning so her five children would have something to eat, DiMichele wrote in her book.

DiMichele’s “journey” allowed her to learn more about her father’s side of the family – leading her back several generations. She visited Stony Creek twice to find out more about her paternal grandmother’s early life. The diaries gave DiMichele a feel for what she would experience when she arrived in her grandmother’s hometown. The visits were the inspiration for the poems and the song “Stony Creek,” included in the book.

“It’s such a great line,” she said of her lineage.

DiMichele has placed the book on Ancestry.com for other family members to discover. More information about it can be found at www.bonniedimichele.com.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Travis Heritage Center puts aircraft histories on video

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Teen to be prosecuted as adult for Tabor shooting

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1

 
Body of Eureka soldier returns home through Travis

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Labor Day not a holiday for everyone

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Labor Day breakfast introduces union-backed candidates

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Pool provides last dose of summer fun in the sun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Grape spill backs up commuter traffic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Police chase Labor Day shots-fired reports

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

Rush Ranch puts out call for docents

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

 
College gets large biotechnology grant

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Festival of Hope returns to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
SafeQuest schedules peer counseling training course

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

End city role at Parkway Gardens, Mraz says

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
He’s back: ‘Forest Gump’ returns to theaters

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Bullet-train foes seek state Supreme Court review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Governor seeks federal aid for Napa earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Recovery knocks 21 fish species from watch list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
California wildfire creeps within 2 miles of homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

LA man gets prison in abandoned van dog death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Boy, 11, fights off would-be kidnapper in Azusa

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Double mastectomy doesn’t boost survival for most

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Attorney: Detroit needs debt plan to survive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

30 teens escape from Nashville detention center

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Police: Death of teen whose body burned was random

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Infamous speed trap town investigated over tickets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
PG&E penalized $1.4B for deadly pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Memo: No wrongdoing in handling child immigrants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Mom of autistic girl pleads guilty to child abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Syrian rebels issue demands for captive UN troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pakistan lawmakers back premier amid mass protests

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Seismic activity calms down near Iceland volcano

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Top South America hackers rattle Peru’s Cabinet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ukrainian troops routed as Russia talks tough

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Group says world is losing battle against Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Video purports to show beheading of US journalist

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
US strike targets leader of Somali extremist group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Police enforcement counts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 3, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
10 ways to make life better

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

.

Entertainment

Bieber charged with assault over photo incident

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Family: Joan Rivers on life support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Celebrities’ nude shots removed from some websites

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

Paxton takes shutout into 8th, Mariners stop A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Baalke, Harbaugh won’t tolerate domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Carr knows being named starter just the beginning

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Armijo beats Vanden 2-0 to claim All-City boys soccer title

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Picking the best of the worst for Ryder Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Posey, Giants rally for 12-7 win over Rockies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Questions for FSU and Alabama after opening week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Following his own rules, Monfils into US Open QFs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Seahawks stay atop AP Pro32 power rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Broncos WR Welker suspended for 4 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford’s O-line trying to live up to reputation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL suspends Irsay 6 games, fines him $500,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Unbeaten US routs New Zealand 98-71 at worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tom Watson fills out his Ryder Cup team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prep volleyball: Vikings, Mustangs win foundation games

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Boone insists he will be ready for Sunday opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

It’s no longer safe to recline your airplane seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Some fear auto industry returning to bad habits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Home Depot probes possible credit card data breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Revel casino follows Showboat, closes its doors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Obituaries

George H. Gollinger

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Laurie Danielson Bailey

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7