Wilbur Lambing 1943
Wilbur Lambing

Wilbur Lambing was not able to attend the 1947 Bliley Family Reunion held in Erie, Pennsylvania at the home of his cousin, Frank Dawson Bliley. This recording was made at a local recording studio in Wilbur's hometown of San Diego, California. It was played to the group assembled at the reunion.

Below is a transcription of his recorded message. Another form of this transcription was included in each of the souvenir packages given to those who attended the 1947 reunion. I have revised, based on the actual recorded words of Wilbur Lambing. Paragraph eight appears to have been unscripted and is the most significant difference from the reunion copy.

Charles A. Bliley, Nov. 2004

Hello, Dawson, Gertrude, Sam, Cassius, and all the rest of you. My oh my, you all look 10 years younger than the last time I saw you...Congratulations!

From this truly Golden State of California, and from its most charming city, San Diego, nestling in the sun in this southwestern corner formed by the Mexican boarder and the lapping waves of the calm Pacific, I send my heartiest greetings three thousand miles across the nation to all of you who have gathered at the home of Dawson Bliley to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the marriage of our most beloved ancestors, Mary Jane Mead and Charles Bliley, which took place in Erie, Pa, on June 8, 1847.

It is a matter of very deep regret that I find myself unable to be with you on this occasion, which would be such a happy on for me. As I look a the picture of the grandchildren taken at the Golden Wedding anniversary June 8, 1897, at Wesleyville, it appears that there should be 12 in attendance. In the ensuing 50 years five of that group have pass on to their reward. Of the remaining 7, I hope no less than 6 are there in Erie for the one hundredth anniversary.

Before making any comments in a personal way, I should like to remark that we all should be very grateful that we are descendants from Mary Jane Mead and Charles Bliley. To have within our bloodstream the elements of honesty, integrity, fair dealing, tolerance, thrift, clean living, and above all a genuine Christian belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man such as they exemplified in their every day life, is indeed a priceless heritage which we all should guard well. And, we all may take pardonable pride in the fact that the Mead side of the family tree has been serving this nation since 1635, a period of 312 years, with credit and honor.

I have before me some pictures taken in what were the "good old days" back in Wesleyville at the Bliley Homestead. Those of us who are now the young "oldsters" well remember those grand gatherings at grandma and grandpa's house. One picture in particular shows grandma Bliley and Uncle Frank sitting in chairs on the porch and Inez on the top step with little Dawson on her lap. Little Dawson didn't dream at the time of the 100th anniversary party he would be staging at some future day.

Standing out clearly in my mind are the lessons grandma Bliley gave me in gardening. How to tell weeds from flowers. How to water the flowers properly. How to prune them and how to tuck them away for the winter. As some of you know, those early lessons bore much fruit in later years. And how well I remember her cookie jar and those big slices of homemade bread with thick butter and topped off with her own make of apple butter. Boy oh boy, those were the days!

But I must not omit a reference to that heaven of rescue, the little house [out house], out back of the big house where it was comfortable to rest awhile. Gazing up at that picture on the back of the door showing six little Pica ninnies strattling a rail fence and each with a huge slice of watermelon in his hand and a broad grin on his face. However, the aroma--rich and rare--took away my appetite for watermelon. And, in one week of vacation at Grandma's house I could make those trips out back and work my way clear through Sears-Roebuck's catalog from gardens seeds to horse collars. Yes [laughing]...those really were the Good Ol' Days!

Most of you I haven't seen for several years, but it has been a great many years since I last saw Ed Bliley, and if you are there, Ed, I send you my best wishes, and I'm wondering if you aren't as handsome now as you were at the Golden Wedding anniversary 50 years ago. And if Loretta is there, I hope she has her shoes on the right feet, because she sometimes gets mixed up in that little matter and this time I would not be there to help her out.

And perhaps, this is a good time to let all of you know that Sam isn't exactly what he seems to be. He certainly should be fired from the Presbyterian Board of Elders at Rochester if they knew that in his youth, he used to quietly skip upstairs in grandma's house, go out of a window onto the ridgepole of the woodshed and work his way out to where he could swipe the peaches from her peach tree. But, believe me, they were the best peaches he and I ever tasted.

Personally, I am enjoying life in California like I never did in the east. San Diego has the finest climate for 12 months around of anywhere in the world, according to the retired Navy men who live here. It has been very kind to me and I love it more and more every minute. During the war, it was the most interesting city in the nation. Here, we really saw America at war, and even yet, we get great comfort out of seeing a tremendous number of warships parked here in the Bay. We have green lawns and beautiful flowers the year around, and the sun shines nearly every day, and no extremes of heat or cold. I hope a number of you will find you way out here to live.

In closing, let me again express my regret at not being with you. But let me assure you of my love and affection for all of you and my hope of seeing you out here before long. I also regret there isn't time to tell you about my recent operations because they really make a great story! But I will sat just this---When you're feeling all right, and the whole world seems bright, it's a cinch to be merry and gay, ...but, the person worth while is the one who can smile, and when the bed-pan is two feet away!!!

So long for now, folks. Good luck. And God bless you all.

Recorded by radio (phonograph record) at San Diego, California, June 19, 1947
Coast Electric Company, 627 8th Avenue
Loren N. Van Noy, Junior --Audio technician