An arboretum of our family trees

For those of you who couldn’t find the title in Webster’s, it is a hybrid of a growl and sigh of desperation.

Broken Gallery

Here’s the back story: A month or so back, Google Chrome started designating this site as risky, and I received an email from Google saying there were security issues with the site. So I purchased a malware plugin and took other measures to ensure the site is secure. Then, a few weeks ago my web hosting service notified me that they were making SSL certificates (a security technology used by banks and commerce sites) available to their customers free of charge — what a coincidence, eh?

Installing SSL changes a site’s URL from “http://www.whatever” to “https://www.whatever”. No big deal, right?

Well tonight I first noticed the genealogy app embedded on the “Hardcore Genealogy” page wasn’t working. After futzing with settings deep within the bowels of the website for a half hour or so, I found the page was looking for an “http” address to embed. Fixed. it is working again.

Then, I noticed the photo galleries (as badly neglected as they are} also are not functioning. Unfortunately, the company from which I purchased the gallery module licensed “http://www.tuell.net”, not “https://www.tuell.net”. So I must now wait on their customer service folks to change the license before I can reactivate the galleries.

Bottom line: My apologies to anyone who has visited the site in recent weeks. With luck the galleries will be back on line in the next day or so — and I might even fill a few more of them with photos!

Ever optimistically yours,
Tom Tuell

Family portrait 02

Tuell family portrait in 2010

Not many people think of Oklahoma as a destination. The name conjures John Steinbeck imagery of the Dust Bowl and weary souls taking flight for greener landscapes and better lives.

In the Seventies, as a restless young man who could not bring his future into focus, I could hardly wait to flee this land. My ancestors had settled here before statehood when south-central Oklahoma was merely the Chickasaw Nation. But it was the American Siberia as far as I was concerned.

A lot can change in four decades.

In August 2013, it was time to come home. My wife Kathy, granddaughter Mae and I packed up the contents of our Florida Keys home. We crammed what we could in a behemouth rental truck, strapped the Prius to an auto trailer and headed to the Great Plains. It was one of the best decisions of our lives.

Two of my three siblings, sisters Carol and Vicki, live in the small town where my parents retired more than 30 years ago. They had helped Mom care for my father, whose health had been slipping in recent years. It was nice to gather around the dinner table with my mother, my sisters and brother Hank, who was making frequent trips from his home in Montana. Mae would become enveloped in an extended family and begin learning what that means.

About a month after we arrived, my father died at age 96. My mother’s health deteriorated quickly after his death, and she died in January 2015 at age 98. After 74 years of marriage, they essentially had become one being, and she missed him more than she could bear. We are grateful that we got to be with them both in their final days, and we miss them terribly.

They had dearly loved their home on two and a half wooded acres on the outskirts of Duncan, Okla. Dad loved tinkering for hours in his huge workshop, and Mom spent most every waking hour planting flowers, pruning shrubs and pulling weeds. They maintained the yard like a state park, and hundreds of daffodils, tulips and irises that Mom lovingly planted still burst into bloom each spring. Dad fenced in a large vegetable garden to keep the deer and rabbits out, and for years they supplied family and neighbors with tomatoes and okra. Mom especially loved the birds, so Dad built and maintained bird houses and feeders throughout the property. It was their paradise.

Now it is our paradise — and responsibility.

We’ve created this space to document this new chapter in our lives, and our efforts to preserve and improve the legacy left us by Henry and Eunice Tuell.