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”→
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”→
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”→
Over at the blog See, there’s this thing called biology, my friend insanitybytes22 always manages to generate stimulating conversation with her twice-daily posts. Today’s post is no exception and forced me to ask the question: Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?
IB22 doesn’t pose a question. Instead, she urges: Honor Your Bronze Age Parents. I won’t spoil her insightful observations by repeating them here, but please click over to her blog and prepare yourself for an excellent read.
In IB22’s post and the comments that follow, she addresses the point that here in our 21st century world, there’s a common arrogance we have about our vast knowledge, and with that arrogance, a reminder about how often we tend to look down our noses at previous generations who were so embarrassingly ignorant. Continue reading “Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?”→
Winter isn’t my favorite season. Bracing against the cold gets more tedious every year. Climbing into our car the other day, I was all bundled up, arms full with purse, packages, etc. My Beloved urged me: “Close the door, close the door!” He was in a hurry to go. Dismayed, I glared at him and proceeded to pivot my legs and feet into the car before closing the door.
The image of Randy (from A Christmas Story) came to mind. Having obeyed the first rule of Winter (layers), I was encumbered by so many layers, my arms and legs moved only sluggishly! The garb prevented the gusty winds from penetrating, but if there’d been a fire, I’m not sure I’d have made it out! Continue reading “On The Trail”→
Most afternoons of the week, my Beloved leaves his office and drives the couple miles to the assisted living facility where his 92 year old mother resides. (I’ve posted previously about her here.) Some days, she’s able to converse a bit; most days, she tries to make sense but can’t. She sets her focus on things that appear wrong (a lost teacup someone must have stolen), but are often her perception (the teacup is in its place on an upper shelf in the cabinet).
The photo above shows my Beloved and his mom (Charlotte) during a Christmas dinner a couple years ago. When the picture was taken, she was still able to converse and interact with others. She has always been enthusiastic about holiday celebrations and decorations, but as her dementia has progressed, she seems uncertain about things that were once important to her.
In last week’s Veteran’s Day post, I wrote about my granddad’s service during World War I and noted the tragically short arc of Charles Frederick West’s life after being gassed on the battlefield. My brother-in-law reminded me of another Charles Frederick … Robson who also served in that war and who also suffered mustard gas poisoning during his service. Charles Frederick Robson was father to Charlotte (above) and grandfather to my Beloved (and his brothers). I would be terribly remiss in not recognizing the service of this veteran as well. Continue reading “Due Honor”→