Ninety-seven years ago today, my daddy entered this world. As one might expect, he had a significant impact on my life and I’ve posted about him numerous times in this space. With the recent commemorations of D-Day, I’ve been thinking often about Norman Arthur Stricker whose Army Serial Number was 37 404 688.
In an interesting turn of events, I’m spending this day some 14 miles from the Florida condo he and my mother shared in the years before his 1994 death. I thought this would be an appropriate time to debut a new subsection of my blog devoted to my Stricker roots. It’s located here and if you’re related to the Stricker family in any measure, I hope you’ll enjoy this tribute to my dad.
As a genealogy enthusiast, I find the stories of other people (even unrelated) almost as fascinating as the stories I’ve learned about my own ancestors. When the television series Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA?) began in 2010, I thought it was a show I’d enjoy. As a subscriber of Ancestry.com, I figured I might even pick up a few helpful hints to assist me in my own research.
As the first couple seasons progressed, I found the emphasis on celebrities less interesting but I kept watching … though by the third season (after which NBC cancelled the show), I had tuned out. Yes, I was disappointed. I think my interest might have continued with stories of everyday people hoping to solve the mysteries of their ancestry. As it was, there seemed to be a focus on trips to faraway and exotic places where the research was already completed and all the celebrity had to do was show up and look amazed. Continue reading “Image Is Everything”→
All of us appreciate hearing Good News. Am I right?! When a person has waited on Good News the better part of fifty years, it can’t come too soon. Nearly a year ago, I posted about my good friend Joseph Wood who has been researching the details of his parentage, having been abandoned as an infant and found wrapped in a blanket-lined basket, mere hours after his 1965 birth.
Joseph’s delightful story has now made its way to the pages of the Chicago Tribune where it will (hopefully) garner attention and lead (at long last) to a reunion with the family of his birth. (Thanks to Mary Schmich for kindly featuring Joseph’s story!)
There’s already a basket-load of Good News related to Joseph’s story … even as he was abandoned, he was lovingly placed where he’d be found, he was lovingly adopted, he was nurtured in a loving home and all along the way, God had His hand on the lad – who grew into a man, husband, father, as well as a respected and admired friend who currently serves the State of Arkansas as our Deputy Secretary of State. Continue reading “Looking for Good News”→
Everyone has a story to tell. Life doesn’t occur in a vacuum and although the details of one’s life may seem mundane, even boring, other people don’t always share that view. Yesterday’s poem-of-the-day email from Academy of American Poets featured a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning begins “O Dreary life!” we cry, “O dreary life!” Who among us hasn’t felt that identical fatigue?Stories energize us, convince us our personal experiences aren’t isolated … it’s comforting to know other people have felt the very same emotions as we do. A person boards a plane, train, or bus and starts a conversation that is often summed as: this is my story, this is who I am. Each aspect of one’s story sets a basis for common ground, our points of connection with one another. Continue reading “The Human Story”→
Twenty years ago, a television show called FRIENDS debuted. The series ran for ten seasons and chronicled the lives of six characters (3 guys, 3 girls), twenty-somethings living in New York City. Billed as a romantic-comedy series, the show aired to generally mixed reviews but quickly built an audience. In many respects, it was SEINFELD for younger adults. (Seinfeld’s primary characters also lived in NYC and were thirty-somethings.)Though I’ve occasionally caught a clip or two from Friends as I flip through channels, I’ve never actually watched an entire episode. During its initial run, I didn’t exactly fit the age demographic. Now that it’s in syndication, it’s even less appealing to me. But friendship … now that’s something I can get jazzed about! Continue reading “I’ll Be There For You”→
In my family, there are several family history buffs. My cousin B. (and her husband) have gathered a storehouse of information on our forebears and I’m always amazed at their tenacity and stamina for the hunt. This couple has slogged through wastelands and cow pastures where cemeteries used to be located (and still are, but few know about them). A little mud (or cow dung) is trivial to this pair.
While B. and her husband have gathered family history information on the hoof, so to speak, my tendency is to shun the mud (or cow dung) and search for facts electronically. All the online resources that have become available over the last ten years are my gold mine. But guess which one of us has the better track record at snagging the real gold and gems?
Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.
It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations? Continue reading “Opening a Door . . . For Closure”→
When I recently mentioned Vincent Van Gogh in my post about selfies, I decided to dig a little deeper into his life. I knew some of the usual details about his life … admittedly, most of it garnered from a long-ago viewing of the 1956 movie, Lust for Life, with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn (as Van Gogh’s friend Paul Gauguin).The movie description talks about Van Gogh as the “archetypical tortured artistic genius.” This is not an appealing description (as I see it). Whenever the idea of a “tortured artistic genius” is suggested, I tend to assume the individual so described is likely a petulant child who’s never been taught to restrain him or herself. Though I very much appreciate talented artists, it seems to me they may get tagged with the adjective “tortured” so as to make their life stories more sensational. Continue reading “There Will Be God In It”→
When the media were all abuzz earlier this month with the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set A Watchman (set for debut this July), I was intrigued. The first story I read was from The Guardian, explaining that this “new” novel was actually intended – alongside the earlier work To Kill A Mockingbird – to represent two-thirds of a trilogy, with a short connecting work between the two. Pictures posted with the article show a smiling but frail little woman, too small for the clothing she’s wearing.Another article, this one from The Atlantic, sets a somewhat somber tone with the title Harper Lee: The Sadness of A Sequel. The Atlantic also goes with a more gritty picture of Lee (circa 1962) after Mockingbird had earned critical praise from multiple quarters, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.
Both articles mention the author’s frailty. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007 and is now 88 years old, struggling with blindness (due to macular degeneration), profound deafness as well as the indignities of short-term memory loss. A close friend characterized her memory (three years ago) as “completely shot.” The author currently lives in an assisted living facility where she’s confined to a wheelchair. Continue reading “Beauty and Deficiencies of Age”→
The world described in the Book of Genesis was different than ours. In the Beginning, after six days of creative endeavor, God rested and judged His creation as “very good.” Put simply, the Garden of Eden was Paradise … and while the Book doesn’t elaborate in minute detail, we know Eden was radically transformed because of sin into Paradise Lost.Yesterday, I posed the question: Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears? This question actually has some currency given recent discussions dealing with big bang inflation theory (as illustrated above). Certainly, this theory is a departure from the biblical narrative of Genesis. Continue reading “Eden’s Paradise . . . Lost”→