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March 2, 2001 PROBE

March 02, 2001

QUESTION: I ran across this article in the Riverside-Press Enterprise. It's about a tombstone found on the Ortega Highway near Hemet.

The marble tombstone was engraved: Adlia M. Wife of T.C. Whitted. Died July 1, 1870." She was 31 years, 8 months old when she died.

After the first article came out, a copy found its way to Stockton where a woman decided she was Adlia's great-great granddaughter.

According to her, Adlia died of complications from childbirth just eight days after giving birth to a son, Charles, in Oregon.

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The mystery is how Adlia died in Southern California so soon after having a baby in Oregon. Didn't there used to be Whitteds in the Imperial Valley? — Constant Reader, Indio

There's no mystery. The trip to California killed her. Or more likely, after her death, her grieving husband ordered a marble tombstone from a Southern California monument maker.

The stone tumbled off a wagon, never making it to Adlia's grave in Coos County, Ore.

You are right about Whitteds in Imperial County. There was a bunch here, but not in 1870. The first local Whitteds, Lyle and his identical twin, Leslie, blew in from Texas in the 1920s.

The brothers settled in, made good livings running Whitted Ice, which later became Whitted Liquor and Deli. You may have seen the Whitted trucks delivering ice around the Valley.

There's still a bunch of Whitteds in the local phone book. Most live in Brawley.

Lyle Whitted II said he got a copy of the tombstone article.

"I'm going to ask my cousin to research it for me to see if we are related," he said.

QUESTION: I am the manager of the migrant education pre-school centers. We have 235 children under age 5. We need books to read to the children.

If we get enough books we will give them away at the Children's Fair after making sure they are in good repair.

If you read to children, they become better readers. We think that applies even to infants. While it's not apparent, infants are learning to process language. — Manager, El Centro

What a great idea! OK, PROBE readers, we know you have stacks of books on dresser tops, under the bed and in the closet.

You have books your kids will never look at again. Dig them out and call Joe Perez at 353-7712.

If you don't have a kid, buy some books; you can afford it. Give Perez enough books to give one book to every pre-schooler in Imperial County.

If you want to make a difference, give a child a book. You can't learn to love books if you don't own a book.

QUESTION: Usually a slang word dies after the fad runs its course. But the word, "cool" goes on and on. What does "cool" mean? — Linguist, Holtville

We asked our granddaughter, Lindsay, 15, to tell us what "cool" means right after she announced her sister, Marissa, 13, was "not cool" and would never be "cool."

To us, she said, "Grandma, if you have to ask, you are not cool."

"How can you know if you don't ask?" we asked.

"Not cool," said Lindsay.

OK, PROBE readers, define cool for us.

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