Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Monthly Mélange - Edition I

We live in such a hurried world, always rushing from point A to point B, from one task to the next. Frankly, I don’t do “hurry” very well. That probably explains why I am so unprolific when it comes to posting on my blogs. (Or would that be non-prolific? Or does non-prolific apply only to nuclear test band treaties? Hmm…)

I’m not sure why we are all racing around. Where exactly do we think we are going? I am, by nature, a more reflective person. Things have to roll around in this brain of mine before they take root. So once a month, I’m going to sloooow things down, and do a little reflecting on the blog posts that lingered with me from the past month.

Now understand, I could easily come up with a hundred or more that fit into that category. There is a lot of good writing and interesting topics to be found in the blogosphere, but I’m only going to highlight a dozen or so that, for whatever reason, have stayed with me. It may be that they made me smile. It may be that they made me weep, or it may be that they told me something I wanted to know, even if I didn’t know I wanted to know it.

My picks, like my tastes, are eclectic, hence the name “Monthly Mélange.” I hope you find one or two of these topics that linger with you.

Now to kick this series off, I have a wonderful post that is universal in its theme. What is more wonderful than a grandparent sharing their passion with a grandchild? I loved this story, “You Really Do Know Her” by our lady, footnoteMaven. It’s sweet, without being saccharine, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile.

Speaking of smile, I chose this post by Amy of We Tree, because in addition to the fact that “The G-Files” is about organizing your genealogical data (which always interests me since organization is my personal downfall,) but also because of this wonderful line in her post. “I bought 100 manila folders and I'm not afraid to use them.” You go, girl! I’m still smiling typing that line.

For those of you not local, that is not Northern Ohioans, you may not know about Johnson’s Island. Johnson’s Island is located in Lake Erie, along the Sandusky Bay. During the Civil War, it housed Confederate officers as prisoners-of-war. But why was it called Johnson’s Island? Well, now I know thanks to Dorene of Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay, and her post, “Leonard Beatty Johnson.”

Do you remember the Challenger? Well Denise Olson does. She had a unique perspective of the event. She watched from her office, which happened to be 120 miles from the launch site. This is a short, touching post about the day, and its impact on Denise. Read “Remembering Challenger” at her blog site, Moultrie Creek.

I’m a BIG PowerPoint fan. But just when I think I’ve found all the bells and whistles, Thomas MacEntee shows me another in “Creating a Banner Image,” at Facebook® Bootcamp for Geneabloggers. While it’s true the post is geared toward bloggers, anybody wanting to learn how to make a banner with their PowerPoint program can easily follow along with this step-by-step post. (Dude, Thomas, where were you when I was struggling with the PP program last year?)

My smart friend, Sheri Fenley, tackles a subject near and dear to every genealogist’s heart, “What Happens To My Research When I’m Gone?” In Part 1, Sheri talks about the use of a codicil to determine your wishes and in Part 2, she tells of a wonderful woman who is ready and willing to give your research an eternal home. Not for nothing is Sheri called The Educated Genealogist.

Sometimes when we write about those people who loomed large in our childhood, we tend to look at them through a filtered lens. We round out the rough corners; soften the focus, and dim the light until some of their special essence is scrubbed from the picture. This is not the case with Craig Manson’s portrait of his grandmother. In “Nana’s 100th Anniversary”, we meet a woman who refused for decades to pay property tax because her son had been barred by segregation from attending the local school. A woman, who unannounced, showed up in Germany while her son and his family were posted there. Make no mistake. This is a loving tribute, but it is also a refreshingly honest portrait of a woman who had what we Ohioans call spunk. You can read about it Craig’s blog, GeneaBlogie.

Miriam Robbins Midkiff of AnceStories holds a Scanfest about once a month. What is a Scanfest, you ask? Well, it’s a get together via Live Messenger, where the individuals, mostly geneabloggers, spend an afternoon “chatting” and scanning. This month, before the event, Miriam wrote a blog post entitled, “Things You Don’t Want to Do During Scanfest.” She went on to list seven things, some of which are definitely worth knowing for anyone who does scanning. (Including No. 2, which is, don’t scan photos into .jpg files.) If you scan, you definitely want to check this out.

Randy Seaver’s has a habit of writing exactly what I’m thinking, only writing it better, and funnier, and well, actually writing it. So when he wrote his post, “Is US Content being held hostage on” I was all like, right on, Randy. I snickered when he mentioned that we were on Day 6 of the hostage watch. I wanted to come up with a comment that fit his post, but I drew a big blank. A few days later, with visions of a large, organized geneablogger protest, I went back to make an appropriate comment only to find that a very nice person from had REPLIED to Randy’s post. Talk about making your voice heard! So get over to Genea-Musings to see both Randy’s piece and Chris from Ancestry’s reply. (Note to Randy – can you say you want to see additions to the Newspaper collection – I LOVE that collection.)

Under the category of “You just can’t make this stuff up,” comes my next pick, “Killed by Wm. C. Falkner.” Mona Robinson Mills of Graveyard Rabbit of Yorknapatawpha County tells an interesting tale of bad blood, a few killings and an unusual tombstone. All revolved around the great grandfather of Nobel Prize winner, William Faulkner. With such a bloodline, Faulkner probably had to become a writer.

If you have ever had the solemn chore of packing up the vestiges of a deceased loved one’s life, you will understand the feelings of Lorine of Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Her two-part post, “Packing up a Life” and “Packing up a Life – Day 2” are a touching memorial to her mother’s life. She sums up what many have felt in the same circumstance. “We left feeling a bit depressed both at the seemingly never-ending job ahead, and at the realization that we were packing up a life. Once packed it would be over. A life lived, now gone.”

Finally, I admit it. I totally missed this entry when it was first posted on January 1 at Terry Thornton’s, Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi. Which is a pity, because it would have brought some much needed levity to my life, but better late than never. For a few months in the 1940’s, the Thorntons were the proud owners of a pet alligator. Like yarn being waved before a cat, Terry entices us with the story of an alligator, plucked from the Georgia swamps by family friends, delivered as a prospective pet, and determined to cause the family (and community) chaos. For my part, I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around the idea that “friends” would think a medium sized alligator had the makings of a perfect pet. While I sit here and chew on that some more, go see for yourself at “My Pet Alligator.”

Well, that’s it for the January edition of The Monthly Mélange. If you missed any of these particular posts, why not spend some time catching up. It’s okay to take the time, maybe even do a little reflecting. After all, what’s the hurry?


Terry Thornton said...

Thanks OHIO TERRY for mentioning my pet alligator! Glad you enjoyed that recollection.


Sheri said...

You say the nicest things! Now if only I could write as brilliantly as you, I would have it made in the shade!


Dorene from Ohio said...

Great collection of posts!

Thanks for sharing this
delightful collection!

Apple said...

Great list Terry! Somehow my feed for Denise went bad and I would have missed her post if you hadn't highlighted it.

Craig Manson said...


Thanks for "getting it!"

Amy said...

Thanks for the mention. I still love my manila folders. They're not *green* and they go against everything I was taught in library school, but they're mine all MINE!

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Terry,

Thanks for the mention. Isn't it funny how someone from Ancestrry just happens to read my blog posts about them. i'm trying to say nice things too!

You are a much better writer than I am - I can tell! I'm still an engineer trying to cover every possibility rather than a writer trying to make a point. I'm trying to do better.

If you ever want to send me an email with something bugging you, please let me know!

Cheers -- Randy


Terry, Sheri, Dorene, Craig, Amy and Randy, I truly enjoyed reading your posts and they really did stick with me!

Apple, I know what you mean about losing someones feed. I have a couple, I need to go through and find out what the problem is. Computers - sigh...

footnoteMaven said...


Late to The Monthly Melange, I would like to thank you for leading off with my next generation.

I have so enjoyed Unplugged; for your great writing, sense of humor, and the ability to comment without jumping through hoops.

Thank you!



I loved your post that I referenced in this edition. It is one of my favorites.

Hmm! Whatever could you be referring to about comments? :)

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