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So…Who Am I?

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A lifelong friend asked me to describe myself. As an author, historian, and genealogist I’m used to describing others. I believe I do it well. To describe one’s self, though, is not so easy. My “self” can get in the way. The problem was to get my “self” out of the way.

Connie Otto
Connie Otto, Actress, 1969

My friend, Connie Otto, and I have known each other for almost fifty years. We met as actors, doing a Broadway show road tour. When Otto left show business to become a Jungian psychologist and holistic health professional, she adopted her professional name of Chaitania. I’ve been privileged to be among the few she allows to still call her Otto.

In all our time, I’ve also come to respect Chaitania. I’ve learned It is Chaitania who pulls me out of my comfort zone in a way no close friend who loves you can. After I married a second time, Chaitania and her husband came to visit. Within the first twenty-four hours, Chaitania asked me directly, “What are you doing with this woman?” I responded, “I want to be married again.” Chaitania replied, “But you’re a good person.” That was all to our conversation. Chaitania’s skills left me to assess what was said.

Chaitania now has a blog, where she does the same thing for others as she’s done so long for me. She’s installed a new section on her blog Chaitania under the menu link “Amazing People.” That’s when Chaitania asked me to describe myself. Among all the people she has known, I am privileged to be her first subject. Otto is the one who asked me to describe myself, but I also recognized that this is Chaitania’s blog.

Chaitania Hein
Chaitania on her blog today

You cannot snow job a lifelong friend, and you dare not even try with a Jungian holistic psychologist who knows more secrets of the universe than you alone can imagine.

In answer to the request to describe myself, I wrote, “So…Who Am I?” For Chaitania, I believe my “self” has been written away. For my dear friend Otto, she will still recognize me.

You can read “So…Who Am I” HERE.

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History — On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew — the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS’ DAY 2021. See MoreSee Less

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