Who was Edith Gaylord?: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Edie
Edith Gaylord — 1948 — 2015

This report covers:

  • Edith learns to shoot
  • Home protection
  • The Airgun Letter
  • Field target
  • BRV
  • The Pyramyd Air Blog is born
  • Edith the huntress

Edith learns to shoot

Today I’ll talk about Edith’s shooting. When I met her in 1982, she wasn’t a shooter. She was very neutral on the subject of shooting. When we started talking about marriage I told her I was an active shooter and there would be guns in the house. She said she didn’t mind, but I had to teach her how to handle them safely. She told me the only shooting she had ever done was with a .22 rimfire RugerΒ  pistol owned by her first husband. She said she didn’t feel one way or the other about the experience, but the little shooting she had done seemed like fun. So we started slowly on my Sheridan Blue Streak, learning the basics of safe gun handling.

Home protection

We were married in Denver in May of 1982 and lived there for 10 months while I looked for a job. I wanted to find something that used my military training, which was as an armor officer (tanks) and also as a logistician. There aren’t many jobs in the civilian world for tankers, but logistics is always hot. In the civilian world logistics usually means supplies and transportation, but in the army it means designing integrated systems whose support is designed into them from the start. Just to give a you quick overview, Hillman automobiles failed to sell well in the U.S. because of a lack of support (logistics), while Volkswagen Beetles became extremely popular around the world for the same reason. It wasn’t that VWs were more reliable than Hillmans — they just had better support wherever they went and were designed to be easily maintained.

I finally found a job teaching logistics and acquisition management to the Department of Defense in Maryland, and we moved there in 1983. Our house was somewhat in the country and had a problem with field mice. We had 8 cats at the time, but most of them were indifferent to mice. A couple, however, were very cruel. They would catch the mice and rip out their livers. Then they played with them until they expired on the floor! Edith could not stand that, so she asked me to please kill any mice the cats brought in.

But I worked during the day, so we stepped up the training intervals on my Sheridan Blue Streak so she could take over. We practiced shooting at small targets at close range until she could hit a dime offhand at 15-20 feet, most of the time. She wrapped a yellow twist tie around the triggerguard so she could identify the gun, because the box of pellets for the rifle was also yellow.

She was a bird lover and began leaving bird seed on our front porch so she could watch the birds feed. One day she was surprised when a bird that had been feeding suddenly vanished from the porch. A few feathers were left behind and Edith suspected foul play. So she sat in the dining room overlooking the porch and finally saw a rat come up onto the porch and grab a small feeding bird! She had been attracting birds for the rats to kill and eat! That put her on the warpath, so she decided to get even.

The rats were coming into our area from a nearby forest that was being cleared to make way for new homes. So Edith took up a hide outdoors with the Sheridan pumped and ready to go. She killed 3 adult rats in less than a week by watching the porch from this hidden position. Now she was baiting them!

Then she found 5 baby rats lined up on one of the steps leading up to the porch. They were just sunning themselves, so each one got a pellet in the head. Finally there was just a single adult left, but it was wary and she couldn’t seem to catch it exposed. So she changed tactics and approached from a different direction. When she made the kill, she called me at work to let me know she had made a one-shot kill offhand at 25 feet! That was a proud moment for both of us, and we never saw another rat in the 21 years we lived there.

The Airgun Letter

In the early ’90s my subscription to the only U.S. airgun magazine was cancelled when the magazine folded. I was distraught but Edith said I should write an airgun magazine of my own. I didn’t think I knew enough about airguns to do that, so she handed me a legal tablet and told me to write the titles of the articles I thought I could write about. Three legal sheets later The Airgun Letter was born. It turned out I didn’t have to know a lot about airguns — as long as I knew something about guns and shooting in general.

We published 99 editions of that newsletter from 1994 until 2002. We also published 6 Airgun Revue magazines — each 100 pages long. And let’s not forget the Beeman R1 book that was published in 1995. Edith and I wound up printing and binding all publications except the book ourselves, to control the quality of the photos. We were doing Print on Demand a long time before it became popular.

Field target

While all this was happening, Edie and I put on a public demonstration of precision adult airguns at a local Isaac Walton league that was hosting the Chevy Sportsman’s Challenge (a 3-gun competition). A couple club members were impressed by my TX200 Mark II and with the field targets I used. They asked me to help them start a field target club. That was the Damascus Isaac Walton Field Target club of America, or DIFTA for short. I joined the club to use their firearm range facilities and to help start this field target club.

Edie and I both helped to organize and run FT matches for three years. She handled the scoring and promotion and I was match director. Of course there were many other volunteers who made it happen as well, because a successful club needs lots of support.

Edith only shot in one field target match — a wacky match. Wacky matches aren’t serious. They are for having fun, and Edith certainly did. Shooters use airguns that would never be seen in regular field target competition. She shot a Sharp UF-P CO2 carbine. She loved it because it is so light and compact.

Edith shooting whacky match
Edith shot a Sharp UF-P in the whacky field target match.

BRV

Later she got involved in BR-50, which changed its name to BRV shortly after she started competing. The objective was to hit a bullseye target without touching the edges of the scoring ring. Though the targets were only 25-30 yards away, the negative scoring system (touch a lower scoring ring and get the lower score — made it challenging. Our roles were reversed in this competition. She was the shooter and I supported her by keeping score and promoting the events.

She was right-handed and left-eye dominant, so airgunsmith Gary Barnes built a special offset scope mount for her rifle. Because the scope had to be angled in to coincide with the line of the bore, the rifle could only be sighted for one distance, but in BRV that was all that was required.

edith shooting
Edith competed in BRV with a .177 Barnes Ranger PCP rifle.

barnes ranger
Gary Barnes made this special offset scope mount so Edith could sight with her left eye while shooting right-handed.Those two outriggers adjust independently and the scope rings swivel to align with the scope tube in any orientation.

In 2003 Edie and I capitalized on a job offer she received at the SHOT Show and moved to Texas. She worked as the internet content editor for a large catalog-based sporting goods retailer and I worked for AirForce Airguns. She and I both got our concealed carry licenses and she began carrying as soon as she could. She was a fan of the Colt M1911A1 platform, but carried a Glock 36 in .45 ACP because it is so compact. Although she didn’t shoot very often, she was fully accustomed to the sound and recoil of the .45 ACP, which was her favorite caliber.

The Pyramyd Air Blog is born

As soon as we were settled here in Texas, she came to me with another idea. Why not write about airguns for the internet? I didn’t know much about the internet at the time (still don’t) but she assured me it was just like writing The Airgun Letter without the hassle of printing, binding and mailing. I started out writing articles for Pyramyd Air, but as soon as they got the software in place, we started this blog. We celebrated our 10th year in operation earlier this year. And it was all due to Edith, working behind the scenes to get me to write about the things I enjoy.

Soon after I started writing this blog Edith joined me here at Pyramyd Air as a member of their marketing team and as content editor for their website. For the rest of her life she worked here and acted much like an owner of the company. She cared passionately for customer satisfaction and strove to make it happen — even when it was in an area that wasn’t hers.

Edith the huntress

Several years ago Edith saw a Winchester model 94 lever action rifle in a gun store we were visiting. She was captivated by it and thought it looked like the Walther Lever Action pellet rifle. That made me laugh, because the Walther was copied after the highly successful Winchester that’s been around more than a century. The rifle had a Weaver scope mounted on the left side of the action and it fit her very well when she mounted it to her shoulder. We bought it for her and she told me she wanted to hunt pigs with it.

She bought books on cleaning and butchering wild game and was keen to learn how to field dress an animal, once killed. And she had collected many recipes for several different game animals besides hogs.

When she passed away we were making plans for our first pig hunt here in Texas. Her brother, Bob, was going to join us, along with our good friend, Otho Henderson. Because of that wish, I started hunting coyotes with Otho a couple weeks ago. I didn’t tell him, but I did it as a memorial to Edith, who never got to go.

Conclusion

Yes, Edith Gaylord was a shooter and she knew what she was doing, both on and off the range. Shooting was not her greatest passion, but because it was what I did, she educated herself thoroughly and always supported me. What she really enjoyed was passing information along to people who were thirsty for it. She loved this blog — especially reading the grateful comments made by readers when they first discovered us!

42 thoughts on “Who was Edith Gaylord?: Part 2

  1. Wow, what a treasure she was for you BB. I can not imagine a mate who loved my hobbies as much as I do. I feel fortunate in having one who tolerates mine. God Bless both of you.
    Harvey




  2. BB
    As I have said before and will feel this way forever you and all of us here on this blog as well as the world has truly lost a blessed soul in Edith’s passing and she will be forever missed but never forgotten as she lives within us all everyday and I am truly grateful that I got to be part of her life for just the short time that I was as she was a very special lady and had endured more than most of us could ever even think about having to yet still never had a cruel thought or outlook towards life.

    God bless her forever.

    BD



  3. BB
    I remember Edith would always use this blog to keep us informed of your condition when you had your ordeal in the hospital. After reading these two tributes in honour of your wife, I feel she was not one to dwell on negativity, or suffer fools easily. I truly believe it is because Edith refused to accept your initial diagnosis, and treatment you are still with us today. Her passing seemed so abrupt, it is difficult to believe she is not still with us. I for one will always remember her honesty, and humour. These two attributes are what will stay with me each time I read this blog she spent so much time with. The ever increasing number of comments, and readers are a testament to Edith’s blog being a true labour of love.
    Thank you for sharing this insight into Edith’s life with us.
    Ciao
    Titus


  4. BB
    Sounds like Edith was actually a pretty good shot. And she had good taste in gun choice at that.

    You talked about the pig hunt that Edith wanted to go on and also that you and Otho did the coyote hunt. Did you and Edith ever just pick up a couple air guns and shoot for fun. Like plinking or something. Did you ever have get togethers where freinds came over or you all went somewhere and shot air guns?

    And by the way. How did the coyote hunt go?


    • GF1,

      Edie and I did shoot, but not that often. She was working most of the time. But when a nice training pistol came our way, she would shoot it. We bought the Winchester 1911 BB gun because it is such a good 1911 trainer, and that one she did shoot.

      On the hunt we called in one coyote. I saw him out about 225 yards and was holding for a shot when another hunter took a shot. Unfortunately he was shooting Ruger Mini 14 that isn’t that accurate, and he was shooting cheap surplus ammo in it. The range was 175 yards and he didn’t have a chance of hitting the coyote. So he got away.

      B.B.


      • BB
        So she liked pistols? You told about her feild target shooting and such. Did she ever do any pistol competition?

        And what do you think she would of thought about that coyote hunt when that coyote finally showed up and start coming in?

        You and Otho use one of those new electronic calls with the wavey thing on top or use a good old fashioned call. I have used a sqerrial call with pretty good success. I use it as wounded distress call. But out at my brothers there’s alot of tree sqerrials. So I don’t know if the sqerrial call would of worked where you and Otho hunted at.


  5. B.B.,

    A great 2nd. installment on an amazing lady. It is nice to get a behind the scene’s look at her shooting background and knowledge of airguns. Anyone that ever read some of her replies to comments can attest to having that, “Whoa!,…where did THAT come from?”, feeling after reading it. Now we have a much better idea.

    Over the short time I have been here, I had a few questions or comments on/about the P.A. website and like you said,…She went above and beyond the call of duty that anything was fixed and that we were all happy campers. She was always ready with behind the scene’s tid-bits and seemed to know just who to call and ask with regards to the (actual mfgr.) of almost anything airgun. No doubt, contact’s forged from years in the hobby/business.

    Looking forward to more, Chris





    • πŸ™‚ …..that’s a pretty good one! Not half bad! Chris

      (p.s. all,….I figured out the question about single and multi-pump peunamitics. Duh!,…I had one, a 10 pumper as a kid. I would guess that you have the benifit of no-recoil, like a PCP, without the PCP cost? ) Sorry B.B., back to the “corner”,… ;( I promise to “study” better.



  6. You are a lucky man Tom…there are a lot people who have never attained the happiness you had with Edith.
    Keep her memory alive with posts like these…she deserves it.


  7. Thanks for continuing the blog. I really enjoyed your “thegodfatherofairguns” blog covering many of your Shotgun News and Airgun Letter articles. I and many others would love to see you pick that blog back up so we can all appreciate your knowledge of airguns. You have a vast knowledge of airguns and it should be passed on to the rest of us if you ever feel up to picking back up the other blog.

    Maybe I’ll get a chance to talk with you at the Poolville show this weekend.

    Thanks for your sharing your knowledge with the rest of us.


  8. Wow, just…wow. What a neat lady, wish I’d started reading this blog sooner so I’d have had a chance to know her better. Maybe you could someday write an article about that bench rest rifle she used, and what she did to get it to shoot accurately for her? Both the rifle and the scope/mounts seem pretty interesting.


  9. BB ,I have been unable to post for sometime , but I’ve been here long enough to know what an asset Edith was to this hobby and most of all to you. I cannot imagine your loss. One of the things that got me tuning in everyday was that I sensed that Edith was a prepper in the making. I well remember her saying on here, that you should take up archery and get a good crossbow. I see why now that I know how her family struggled to survive in post war Europe and China.Thank you for giving us this insight into your life together,and continuing the blog. Be sure to give the coyotes hell, and get some of those Texas pigs too…


  10. Hi B.B.
    Thank you Sir, for another insight on a truly remarkable & incredibly talented lady. You are so lucky to have met & married Ms. Edith & been together for 33 long years & who supported your interests & was there for you in every way. To most, this is the stuff of dreams! I fondly remember the times she replied to my posts & backed me up when I brought up the question of quality of some Airguns being sold by some big names now and exploiting their reputation & name or going to much trouble to give me the correct info that I needed. Her commitment & knowledge was a pleasant surprise. Please keep up the good work & God Bless you.
    Errol



  11. B.B.

    Two hearts united by shared passions – what can be stronger and more beautiful?
    You’ve got a guardian angel, and I’m sure she’ll never miss the target.
    Again – we are all lucky to know Edith and may things she did when she was with us never be forgotten.

    duskwight



  12. B.B., excellent second installment of the series Sir, I do hope we see a Part 3 ?.
    Funny how revenge/pesting became Edith’s entree point into full blown airgun shooting, I also got my reinvigoration for Airguns from a pesting nuisance situation when I had exhausted all other methods, now I am full blown addicted to every aspect of the sport.
    I agree as well with the rest of the guys that the two rifles Edith used in competition would make for an interesting blogs, separate blogs, as the two rifles are so different in style. I am always fascinated by the eye dominance thing and peoples choosen shooting style, some seem so uncomfortable considering I have heard of all kinds of oddball setup people have used in the name of comfort.
    Thanks, Ricka.


  13. B.B., when I was relatively new on the blog, Edith wrote that if awards were given for posting Matt61 would get one for the longest posts and I would get one for the most posts. That was during one of my obsessive phases and I know she was right. There other occasions I can speak of. What is important is that I always found her to be gracious while having some clear boundaries. Thank you for telling us more about her. ~ken


    • Ken,

      Maybe?,…..I can relate to the “obsessive phases” comment. Discovering something new,..I think we all exeperiece that to some degree. Then,….we find our “niche” or “fit” and begin to enjoy our newfound hobby. The more we learn, the less we realize what we know. And, as any good student does, comments less, and listens more.

      Me?,….not sure I have “rounded” that corner yet,….maybe never will. So much to learn. And, I have never been one to sit back and wait for an answer. So???,….we’ll see.


  14. BB

    I thought it should be mentioned that while shooting guns was not Edith’s #1 passion, playing tennis was.

    According to Edith’s own words, there was nothing that she would rather do than to play tennis.

    When I think about her (and I often do) I ease the sadness by imagine her running the court, volleying that fuzzy yellow ball back and forth, with that enormous grip on her racket, and an enormous smile on her face. That was paradise for her on her time on earth, and I imagine that is exactly what she is doing now.

    I always enjoy getting a look behind the curtain at the Gaylord household. Edith was often the one drawing back the curtain.

    I am certain that I am not alone in hoping that this is not the last entry in the Edith Gaylord saga. She was (is) an extraordinary woman, and one that I will never tire of learning more about.



  15. Tom,

    What a remarkable woman. I love that picture of her shooting Bench Rest. Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting Edith, I still often find myself thinking about her, the two of you, and your loss.

    Michael


  16. I cannot say anything that has not already been voiced above me and my condolences. What a woman and wife.

    I hope to be able to meet you on Saturday. I am driving over from East Texas but it will be worth the trip.

    Mike


  17. Fascinating, as always.

    Sir, I’d be really interested to hear what political opinions you and Mrs Edith had. Though, I know you probably won’t want to get into all that, due to the disastrous political climate etc.

    But thank you for sharing.



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