Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: If You Could Take it with You

Here are the rules for this week:

1)  Bill West wrote a blog post, If You Could Take It with You, on his West in New England blog that highlighted a post on Facebook by author CJ Cherryh, which asked:

"A thought question, based on an observation about expectations of the afterlife: the ancient Egyptians envisioned the afterlife as a continuance of their lives, and tried to 'pack' for their future, acquiring charms and items that they could take with them, assuring their association with certain persons, and certain pleasures of life. They spent their lives figuring out what they really truly wanted to have. ----So what would you pack for the afterlife, if you could?"

3)  Tell us what you would pack for the afterlife, if you could.

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in Google Plus Stream post.

Well, let's see:

1.  Photographs of family: my mother, father, siblings, husband, children, niece, nephews, friends, and all the people who have meant much to me.

2.  Copies of my books.  

3.  The books I've loved in life and probably will want to read yet again.

4.  Letters, documents, all the genealogy stuff.  I'll be able to gather information in person there!

5.  Favorite music -- maybe I can even meet my favorite composers.  I think that perhaps George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein would be the most fun!

6.  My computer and its attendant things.  My digital voice recorder.  Both for recording and keeping genealogical information (but I also have games on my computer).

7.  "Joseph's Coat," the colorful afghan my aunt knitted for me.  I'll need to get her to repair some small tears in it.

8.  Some of my collection of frogs, just to have a few around.

9.  I'll want my rolltop desk, too.

10.  Chocolate.  Lots of chocolate.

That's all I can come up with.  I think that would keep me happy.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You, #18: First Gift

I'm catching up on this series of blogging prompts.  This one is:  what was the first gift that you received?

Heavens, I can't remember!  I'm sure it was long, long ago, at an early Christmas or birthday.  But I surely do not remember.

So I will do what some other bloggers following this series of prompts have done, and write about a memorable gift from my childhood.  I was about eight years old the Christmas I received it.

Unfortunately, I cannot show a photograph of it.  I doubt one can be found these days.  It was whimsical, a product of the late 1950s, when I received it.  It was a stuffed . . . er . . . animal.  Or something.  It looked sort of like a monkey, with gangly arms and legs, but had a face more like some sort of alien from outer space.  It was garishly colored.  When my brother and sister and I were permitted to come out of our rooms to the living room, I saw it under the tree -- my mother had apparently not even entertained the thought of wrapping such a strangely-shaped thing -- I exclaimed, "That's great!  What is it?"

It became known as "Whatsit."  I had "Whatsit" until, threadbare and bedraggled, it finally had to be given up.  Even today, some 58 years later, I laugh when I think of "Whatsit."

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - #19

I'm behind on these posts, but when I got home from Pinellas Park, I got a bout of the flu.  Fortunately, I had a flu shot in October, so this round of flu was abbreviated, but I still had some nausea, temperature of 102.4, and muscle and joint aches that kept me in bed, then a couple weeks to really recover.

This prompt is "Who do you miss?"

My answer is:  Who do I not miss?  Most of my family is gone.

My father died in 1954.  I had just turned 7 years old.  I would like to have had him around longer, of course.  Genealogy has helped me learn a lot about him, though.  That has been one of the great benefits!

My aunt died in 1967, when I was in college at Florida State University.  She had helped me get there, helped me get a housing scholarship, helped me get VA benefits and Social Security benefits on account of my father's Navy service.  She helped raise me, too, from the time we moved to Florida from California after my father's death to her death.  She had a great sense of humor, and we had lots of fun.  She taught me to drive, and I would be her driver on Saturdays as she did her errands.

My grandma died in 1978.  We had fun, when I would go over to her house in the next block from where we lived, and we would sit and watch baseball games together.  She would tell me stories of her growing up in Indiana in the 1890s and 1900s.  I wish I had had the sense to record those stories.

My mother-in-law died in 1978, too.  My husband was away at the Coast Guard Reserve Training Center teaching at the time.  It was late at night when my father-in-law called with the news.  I had to get hold of the officer of the day at the training center and tell him to get my husband to call me.  Then I had to tell him the news.  He went to see the base commander, and was home the next day.  My mother-in-law also had a great sense of humor, having been raised in the country in Georgia in a large family.  She would laugh, and turn bright red.

My mother died in 1980.  It was very difficult.  During this time of all these deaths, I was working as a registered nurse. I had to quit, as it was just too much.  Mom and I had differences -- different political and social outlooks, and all that.  But we had fun, too.  One time we were on a road trip here in Florida, on an ill-maintained state road that was more potholes than pavement, and I was trying to change the radio station.  We were bouncing so much I could not get hold of the tuning knob!  We laughed at that.

A friend died at the end of the 1990s.  She lived in Illinois, and my husband and I had visited her when we attended a convention in Chicago.  We had a great time, and she and I exchanged many letters, both being interested in writing.  It was a shock when I found out she had died.

My brother died in 1996, and I still maintain he was killed by the calousness and thoughtlessness of his insurance company.  That was a horrible experience, and I miss my big brother and think of him often.

So there are a lot of people I miss.  People who helped shape me, people whose company I enjoyed.  At times I think of them, with some sadness.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You #13: Who's Coming to Dinner?

Julie Goucher's geneablogging prompt series, The Book of Me, Written by You, is now a Facebook group!  Neat!

This week:

If you had to hold a dinner party and could invite a maximum of 12 special people who would you invite?

You can NOT include family in this – the special people could be famous or historical people.

What meals would you serve and why.

Perhaps include the recipe or a photo if you decided to actually cook the items!
Wow.  This is going to involve some hard choices.  As a historian, I can think of a slew of people.  But who would I really want at my party?

The first name on the list is easy:  Eleanor Roosevelt.  I would want to get her take on the historical period in which she lived.  I would want to know who she admired, the people she would invite to her dinner party!

Second on the list:  Her cousin Theodore Roosevelt.  I'm a Roosevelt groupie.  I just think T.R. was the bomb, and with all the consolidation in several industries (like banking), we need him back to break up the trusts!

Number 3 on the list:  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I'd like to hear his tales about how he went about creating Sherlock Holmes, and about his medical-school mentor, Dr. Bell.

Number 4:  Juan Ponce de León.  The first thing I'd ask him would be:  Where did you really make landfall in La Florida?  That would settle some pretty silly arguments going on in Florida right now!

Number 5:  One who is still living --Maya Angelou. Oh, would I love to just sit and listen to this lady talk and read her poetry. 

Number 6:  Eliot Ness.  I'm fascinated with this guy.  I'd like to hear all about the Prohibition era, about what went on in Chicago, about the growth of organized crime during that period. 

Number 7:  If I invited Ness, I'd have to invite Robert Stack! I'd like to sit and listen to him and Ness talk!  I think he'd get a kick out of meeting Eliot Ness.  I'd also love to ask Stack to tell more of his stories of old Hollywood.

Number 8:  Benjamin Franklin.  He would just be the life of the party!  Of course, I'd be full of questions about the founding of the U.S.!  And I'd just be itching to ask him what he thinks of today's rightwingnuts!

Number 9:  Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Goodness, but I admire him!  I'd ask him about the Truth & Reconciliation effort in South Africa, and I'd just love to hear his opinions and thoughts on all sorts of things.

Number 10:  Marie Curie.  I'd like to ask her where she found the strength to persist in the face of massive sex discrimination to become one of the most noted scientists in history.

Number 11:  LeRoy Collins, governor of Florida from 1956 to 1962.  He was one of the best governors Florida ever had.  I'd have dozens of questions for him.

Number 12:  Don Vicente Manuel de Zéspedes, Spanish governor of East Florida, 1784-1790.  I'm studying that time and place, and would have a whole bunch of questions for him!

Appetizers would be Spanish tapas -- they're small portions, they have great variety, and they're just so darn good!  For a main course: Capellini with tomato pesto (Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, 116).  I'm not a vegetarian, I'm an omnivore, but this recipe is indeed fairly quick, it's easy, it's delicious, and would probably please everyone.  I'd also serve a salad featuring fresh Florida vegetables, and garlic bread (I make a garlic bread that clears your sinuses).  I'd serve San Sebastian Castillo Red wine, from St. Augustine. 

There are a whole bunch of other people who could have made the list.  I guess I'll just have to have another dinner party!