by Alice B.
About Alice B. Clagett
Image: Alice B. Clagett, by Alice B. Clagett, 2016,
CC BY-SA 4.0
This is a little of my personal
story, for those who have an interest in it.
I was born in rural Maryland, in the
after World War II. My mom, Katherine Howard Berry Clagett, was a homemaker
for me and my 4 siblings. Mom got a teachers scholarship to college, and she
inspired me and my siblings to lifelong learning. She taught us homemaking:
cooking, cooking, canning, flower arranging, and many other things.
My mom was a Daughter of the American
Revolution. Her first ancestor of record in the New World was James Berry,
who emigrated to Virginia in 1640. He owned several large land grants in
Mom's family, the Berrys, claimed
descent from the French ducal house of Beri. Silver plate at my grandmother
Berry's house bore the "Arms of Berry". Here's a description of the Arms:
ARMS: ERM (a white field with black
spots); on a bend (diagonal band) engrailed (lines consisting of arcs whose
joined edges point outward) SA. (this may mean 'sable', or black), 3
fleur-de-lys OR. (gold) Crest: A griffin's head erased (meaning that the
head of the griffin looks as if it has been torn off, leaving a jagged edge), indented
(meaning a zigzag line) per pale Arg. (silver) and Gu.(red). The motto is:
Nihil sine labore (which means 'nothing without labor'). I remember
trying my artistic hand, as a child, in drawing and coloring this coat of
arms, and that of my father's family.
Mom's family home was Concord,
District Heights, Maryland; this plantation home built in the 1790s, and now
owned, as I recall, by the Prince George's County Department of Parks and
Recreation is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. For more on
her family home, which I knew in childhood as my Grandmother and Grandfather
Berry's home, see
My father, Hugh Caldwell Clagett,
like my mother, was of Norman stock. (1) He traced his ancestry back to a
progenitor who was a follower of William the Conqueror, and to the Battle of
Hastings in England in 1066.
The first Clagett of record to
emigrate to the New World was Rev. John Eversfield, who was born around the
year 1701. The
family coat of arms was assumed in 1104 by a person known as Clagett of Houghton
in a county
called Cambridge, in England. The arms since borne by the family were:
ARMS: ERM (a white field with black
spots), on a fesse (or broad horizontal band) SA. (this may mean 'sable', or
black), 3 pheons (broad arrows) OR. (gold) Crest: An eagle's head erased
(meaning that the head of the eagle looks as if it has been torn off,
leaving a jagged edge) ERM. (a white field with black spots) ducally crowned
OR (gold), between two wings SA (this may mean 'sable', or black). The motto
is: Gratia Dei Grata (which means 'the acceptable
grace of God')
A famous ancestor of my father's was
Bishop Thomas John Claggett; he was consecrate an Episcopal Bishop in 1792.
He was the first Episcopal Bishop to
have been consecrated in the New World. It was Bishop Claggett who founded Trinity Church of
Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the church where my mother was active in her
later years. Here is some of the history of Trinity Church:
My father's family's country home was
Ingleside, located on a farm outside Upper Marlboro, Maryland. It was
adjacent to Keokuk, a larger farm and historic plantation house built around
the 1820s, and slowly improved upon.
When I was young, my grandmother and
several of her 7 sons lived at and farmed Ingleside. Another of her sons
lived with his family at Keokuk, and farmed that land. These farms were an
easy walk across the state road from my family's home, that my father built
on 7 acres he bought from his mother.
Both Ingleside and Keokuk were since
sold for a subdivision; my grandmother's home burned down after the sale,
but Keokuk, insofar as I know, is still standing, and in use as the
headquarters of the subdivision company, which has planned the buildout in
My father was
a veteran of World War II. As a member of the Navy Seabees, he saw service
on the beach at Normandy. After the war, he became
an architectural engineer at Mills, Petticord and Mills in Washington, DC,
USA. He would take us on long walks through the
fields, and he taught us to be handy with gardening and tools.
Here is a photo of our family from
early days ...
Image: from left, clockwise: sister
Kathy, brother Hugh Jr, Alice, sister Peggy, father Hugh, mother Katherine,
I went to St. Mary of the Assumption
grade school in Upper Marlboro, MD, USA, and graduated in 1961. I recall my first
communion, a very big event in my young life ...
That's me on the left; my sister
Peggy is beside me, and my sister Kathy, quite a lovely smile on her face,
My father was one of the partners at the firm that
designed the school's Bethesda campus. I graduated with honors from Holton
Arms in 1965; I got a very nice note from the headmistress, Miss Sallie E.
Lurton, on graduating ...
I went to college at Mary Washington
College (now a University), Fredericksburg, VA, USA. I majored in
English Literature with a minor in Chemistry, was a member of a scientific
and an academic honorary society, and graduated with a BA, and with top honors,
in 1969. At the
graduation ceremony I received the Darden Award for Scholastic Achievement.
Here's the newspaper article ...
My first fulltime job, which began in
1970, was for
Continental Insurance Company in San Francisco, California, USA.
I worked at JPRS from 1970 to 1973;
my job was fun and at the same time challenging.
While I was working there, I married
a nuclear submarine operator named Wilbur Monroe Mason. Here is our wedding
Bill and I were together for only a
few years, but our time together was really very nice. It's great to look
back on old memories, although he in recent years he has passed on. Here were some of our
first photos, along with a photo of my first car ... my Lilac Cadillac ...
While I was married, my name at work
was Alice Berry Clagett Mason.
In 1973, as a cost-cutting measure,
the San Francisco branch of JPRS, CIA, closed down, and they consolidated back to
their headquarters at Langley AFB in Virginia, USA. I got a very nice letter of
recommendation from my boss, Mr. Kyuma Mano ...
In the following years, I became a
freelance writer. Under the pen name 'Cricket Clagett' I co-authored several
'how-to' books put out by national publishers. These were:
"1001 Ways to Be Your Own Boss"
"1001 Ways to Stretch a Dollar" and
"1001 Ways to Avoid Being Mugged,
Murdered, Robbed Raped and Ripped Off"
I see these books are still offered
on Amazon.com (but not by me).
My co-author and good friend during
those years was Vivo Bennett. Here's a photo of us:
Vivo and I had lots of adventures
together; we travelled here and there in the United States, and also had a
photography business for a while, which was where I began to pick up
photographic skills. In the 1980's, Vivo and I
parted, with good feelings about our time together.
For about 6 years after that, I studied studying
yoga and meditation with 3HO Organization in San Diego, California, USA. There I co-compiled,
along with Elandra Kirsten Meredith, various manuals on yoga and meditation.
"Yoga for Health and Healing: From
the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D."
"Survival Kit: Meditations and
Exercises for Stress and Pressure of the Times"
"Relax and Rejoice A Marriage Manual"
(volumes 1 and 2)
"Yoga for the Aquarian Age" and
Along with Bhai Sahib Guruliv Singh
Khalsa, I co-authored "Japji of Guru Nanak: A Complete Annotated
Word-by-Word Translation." I also did editing, illustrations and
proofreading for Kundalini Research Institute.
During that time, in November of
1979, after a long illness that he bravely bore, my father passed on of
cancer. I remember, before he passed on, he and mom treated all of us
children to a Caribbean cruise, so that we could be together as a family one
I prefer to remember my father young
and full of hope. Here's a photo of him at his office in Washington, DC ...
It was about that time that I began
studying karate with Shotokan Karate of America (SKA), founded by Mr.
Tsutomu Ohshima. I studied this art for over 10 years, and eventually got a
black belt ...
Karate meant a great deal more than
physical conditioning for me. I developed self-confidence, and made friends
with some of the finest people anywhere. One of these was realtor Deke
Keasbey, who taught me about investment and real estate.
At home I have photos of the karate group from
about 30 years ago, taken at the end of over 20 special trainings I
attended. At just about every one of these, Deke was there as well,
leading by example as one of the senior black belts, and encouraging
everyone to excel. It's funny ... I remember those times as if they were
I remember that Deke was a great hiker; I went with
him on some pretty ambitious hikes ... including a couple of grueling day
hikes up Mount Whitney and back. Here he is on a hike at Boney Mountain in
the spring of 2001, at about the time when our paths diverged ...
During those days, I began my career
at the University of California, from which I eventually retired. I started
out as a secretary for Rick Firtel, Cell and Developmental Biology, UC San
Diego, California, USA,
Then I moved to Los Angeles,
California, USA, for a
promotion to Administrative Assistant (AA). The most memorable of my AA jobs
at UCLA was with C. Fred Fox, PhD, in the Department of Microbiology,
Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA.
After that, for about 7 years, I was scientific
editor and librarian at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA School of
In that capacity, I worked with about 600 MDs and PhDs
associated with the Institute. I put together their annual reports, and
supervised about 10 wonderful library volunteers.
Here's a photo of my work-a-day world
When I left JSEI, I received some heart-warming letters of
recommendation from the faculty. Here is the letter I received from Dr.
Bartly Mondino, Chairman of the UCLA Department of Ophthalmology and
Director of the Jules Stein Eye Institute ...
For about a year after that, I did
freelance website design, which was enjoyable, artistic work. Cross-platform
compatibility was an important feature of that work back then. This was one
of the sites I designed:
After that, I went back to work at
UCLA for my prior boss, Dr. Fox. In addition to managing a grant and being
the managing editor of a scientific journal he headed, I designed this web
page for him:
I was abruptly called away from that
job by the unexpected fatal illness of my sister Peggy, in Maryland.
loved horses, and I remember fondly this very typical picture of her with
one of her two horses, next to the barn that she designed and had built:
During that time, my mother also
began a slow decline. I spent 7 years helping care for her and for her home
and land in rural Maryland. This was a very sad time for me, but it was
wonderful to be able to spend some time with my mom during those days.
Mom was cheerful and courageous till
the very end. This is one of my favorite photos of her, taken some years
Mom passed on in May of 2009; I still
miss her. Life goes on. I moved back to my apartment in Santa Monica,
California, USA, where
I had lived for 20 years.
Then later that year, I bought a home
in the San Fernando Valley, at the northwestern tip of the City of Los
Angeles, in California, USA. My home has some beautiful trees in front, and
some very warm days in the summertime ...
For a few years, after I got the
house together, I spent the summers in southern Colorado, USA. I made lots of
friends there. It's quite a different sort of place! Really rugged scenery,
four well defined seasons, roads with very little traffic on them, and friendly, straightfoward people. I'm glad I had a chance to spend time
there, but in late 2015 I realized that home is where the heart is.
So, in early 2016, I came back home
and settled down to life in the San Fernando Valley ... friends, church,
exercise classes, hikes with the Sierra Club and the Lost and Found Gang, yardwork, and the joys of
retirement ... which have included, over the years:
Images: Left: Alice leading a
springtime stream 'hike and float' with the Lost and Found Gang, 2009;
Right: horseback riding in Colorado, 2011 (reminds me a little of the horse
I owned, and the stable I helped build in childhood)
Image: Alice on a Lost and Found Gang
hiking trip to Two Harbors in Catalina a while ago.
Thank goodness for the seasickness medicine! We hiked with wild buffalo!
Well, now you know something about
I know there are people that put up
fake credentials online, and that makes it hard for folks to know whether
they're looking at a true story or a fake one.
If you have any questions about these highlights of my life, do get in
touch. For the doubting Thomas, I would be happy to offer further
In joy and love and light,
Alice B. Clagett
Alice B. Clagett, PO Box 10794,
Canoga Park, CA 91309
(remove the blank space in my email address before emailing me)
(1) The Berry and Clagett ancestral
information on this page is from the book "Across the Years in Prince
George's County: A Genealogical and Biographical History of Some Prince
George's County, Maryland and Allied Families," by Effie Gwynn Bowie,
copyright 1947 by the author. Copies, both new and used, can be found on
Except where otherwise noted, "2U3D" by Alice B. Clagett is licensed under
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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Alice B. Clagett" web page belong to me, to my friends, to members
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