Thursday, November 24, 2022

Over the River and Through the Woods - Some Hoy Thanksgivings

The picture below was taken 8 days before Thanksgiving 1916.  It is the wedding picture of my maternal grandparents, Frank Eugene Hoy and Katheryne Cecile Lynch. The date was November 22, 1916.  I asked my grandmother once where she and grandpa met.  She had a twinkle in her eye when she told me it was at a Halloween Party, he was very handsome, and that was all she would say. 

My grandparents would go on to have nine children (who would give them 29 grandchildren), but the two of them were such opposites that their divorce seems inevitable, Grandpa was a quiet gentle man, and Katie was, well, Katie. My grandmother was a natural storyteller, who never let anything as inconvenient as facts get in the way of a good story.  As a child she seemed bigger than life, with her arms and hands constantly in motion making whatever point she intended.  Honestly, she was a little terrifying to a quiet little girl who listened intently to her tales. 





The next picture was taken on Thanksgiving in 1948 or 1949.  My mother remembers they were all angry with their youngest brother, Delbert, because he refused to have his picture taken.  
The two younger boys in the front row are my Uncle Donnie and the defiant Uncle Delbert (with his hand up before his face.) In the back, from left to right are my mother, my Aunt Evelyn, Uncle Johnny, Aunt Flossie, Uncle Dale, Grandpa, Uncle Bob and Aunt Florence.  Aunt Florence inherited the storytelling gene, only her stories were always funny, and self deprecating.  My mother tells me that I remind her of her sister, Florence which I have always considered a huge compliment. (Unless, of course, she is referring to the fact that Aunt Florence and I both snort when we laugh.) 





The next three pictures are from Thanksgiving 1951. It's easy to date because in  the picture of the "Outlaws" - that is actually what they called themselves - you can see a very pregnant Aunt Marion, who would give birth to my cousin in January 1952. 

The first picture is that of my mom and her siblings. The back row is Aunt Florence, Uncle Johnny, Aunt Flossie, Aunt Evelyn, and Uncle Dale.  The front row is Uncle Bob, Uncle Donnie, Uncle Delbert (this time making faces) and my momma. 





The next picture is of the "Outlaws."  The ladies in front are my Aunt Marge and my Aunt Marion.
In the back is my Dad, Uncle Boo, Uncle Alvin and to be honest, I'm not sure who the person on the end is.  While my dad was overseas when I was born, my mom and I lived with my Uncle Boo and Aunt Ev and my cousins, Arlene and Linda. My Uncle Boo was a contractor and he built the first house that my parents owned. .  






























I'm not going to attempt to name all the cousins, but I will tell you that another fifteen grandchildren had yet to be born. (Including, yours truly.)  Grandma Hoy is in the back row, next to her eldest grandchild, my cousin Janet.  My cousin Janet was a natural to babysit for me when I was little.  Later, when she got married, she asked me to be one of her hostesses.  I was nervous, but honored. 

I will be honest with you.  I was an okay looking kid when I was little, but from about the end of second grade until almost the end of ninth grade, I was, to put it honestly, a hot mess.  My nose had grown too quickly for my face, My teeth had come in too large for my mouth and I would later add braces to complete the hideous look.  It was so bad that I overheard my paternal grandmother saying to my mom, "Terry isn't as pretty as Marcia."  My mother, so loyal, told her that both of her girls were pretty.  

I was devastated, but I decided, Fine. If  I couldn't be the pretty one, I would be the smart one. Which was kind of its own joke because my petite little sister had a photographic memory, and learned to read at the age of four.  The school wanted her to skip a grade, but because she was such a tiny thing my parents were a hard no on that idea.  

Nonetheless, I threw myself into studying and bolstered by the fact that my second toe was longer than my big toe, and being assured by my dad that this was a  sign that I was indeed, very intelligent, I ended up in an advanced math class, was later tapped for National Honor Society, and wore golden honor cords for my high school graduation. So all in all, it worked out. 

At the time of my cousin's wedding, my nose and my face were now on the same page, the braces had come off, I refused any more short, short hair cuts, and I was able to smile again. So that night I was on the way to feeling better about my looks, but what sealed the deal was my dad.  He came over to where I was cutting the wedding cake, had me put the knife down, and asked me  to dance.  It was a polka. I'd never danced to one before, and I haven't danced to once since,  but my dad made me feel so graceful and beautiful. That was really the night I transformed from the ugly duckling into, if not a swan, at least swan like.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thinking about my childhood.  How my parents were always there for me, supporting me, encouraging me, loving me and I am thankful for that blessing.  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy the day. 





















Monday, November 14, 2022

Then, with eyes that saw not . . .

Sometimes, I think, it is good to be reminded that as all encompassing as a personal loss is, there are those who travel their own path of loss.  So, be as kind as humanly possible, but be as fierce as necessary to protect those people and beliefs you cherish.  

Heather, sweet little one, you are in my thoughts.


The First Snowfall

By James Russell Lowell


The snow had begun in the gloaming,

   And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

   With a silence deep and white.

 

Every pine and fir and hemlock

   Wore ermine too dear for an earl,

And the poorest twig on the elm-tree

   Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

 

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara

   Came Chanticleer's muffled crow,

The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down,

   And still fluttered down the snow.

 

I stood and watched by the window

   The noiseless work of the sky,

And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,

   Like brown leaves whirling by.

 

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn

   Where a little headstone stood;

How the flakes were folding it gently,

   As did robins the babes in the wood.

 

Up spoke our own little Mabel,

   Saying, "Father, who makes it snow?"

And I told of the good All-father

   Who cares for us here below.

 

Again I looked at the snow-fall,

   And thought of the leaden sky

That arched o'er our first great sorrow,

   When that mound was heaped so high.

 

I remembered the gradual patience

   That fell from that cloud-like snow,

Flake by flake, healing and hiding

   The scar of our deep-plunged woe.

 

And again to the child I whispered,

   "The snow that husheth all,

Darling, the merciful Father

   Alone can make it fall!"

 

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;

   And she, kissing back, could not know

That my kiss was given to her sister,

   Folded close under deepening snow.

 


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Happy Anniversary, Little Sis. I miss you.

 

My sister had many sparkling qualities. She had a photographic memory, a quick mind, and an ability to know what she wanted in life. And what my sister wanted, more than anything, was to be a wife and a mother, and to someday be a grandmother. Forty-eight years ago today, she started that journey when she married the love of her life. Happy Anniversary, little sis.  I miss you.








Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Thursday, October 20, 2022

October is National Family History Month

Before you can celebrate Family History Month shouldn’t you at least have a working definition of the term, family?  Some define family as those individuals who live or have lived together in one dwelling. Some define family by a minimum number of shared centimorgans. And some use the heart to set the parameters for who is and isn’t family.

Karen Ferry in Make Me Believe wrote, “Family isn’t whose blood you carry … It’s who you love and who loves you back.”

Fifteen years ago, I struggled with my own definition. Below is the post I wrote  My words were true then, and they are true now.

(FYI – I no longer am a Grey’s Anatomy aficionado, and the number of grandchildren has mushroomed from that mere puny four.)

In honor of Family History Month:

 

For National Family History Month — One Definition of Family

For someone who professes a great interest in family history, I have dragged my heels on mentioning the fact that October has been designated as National Family History Month. As I mentally planned this post, I intended to link you to some terrific ideas on how to celebrate the month.

Instead, I find myself squirming about writing on the subject. Preferring instead to put the laptop down, and go foraging for something to eat, or something interesting to read. Or, when I finally make myself sit with laptop in hand, I suddenly feel the need to find spoilers for “Grey's Anatomy,” or a good recipe for crock-pot Chili or googling about any errant thought that flitters through my brain — anything but writing this post.

The sticking point for me is I'm suddenly self-conscious about the definition of family. If human beings conducted their lives in a nice orderly fashion, and if we all lived to be ninety, the concept of family would be easy. But we don't. We sometimes die in automobile accidents, or get cancer, or we find the love of our life isn't, or we somehow derail a perfectly good life for liquor or drugs or lust. I'm not making judgments; I'm stating that human beings lead messy lives. And these messy lives have consequences, one of which is that the definition of family gets bruised and muddied.

 Is a favored uncle by marriage who died more than 40 years ago, still part of my family? Is the aunt of my youth, no longer married to my biological uncle still my aunt? The grade school project of making a family tree seems innocent and straight forward, unless you happen to be an adopted child, or a foster child, or child of a blended family. What tree does that child make? What genealogical chain does he follow? What family history should she celebrate?

Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, author of The Family of Adoption, talks instead of a family tree, a family orchard that includes as many trees as necessary for an individual's identity. The concept allows for both biology and reality, for inclusion of nature and nurture. In my family, it allows the man who adopted my grandfather when he was 10, and whose last name I carried until I married, to be recognized and honored in our family orchard. It allows my orchard to include four beautiful grandchildren for whom I am not grandmother by blood, but rather grandmother by heart. It is a concept I embrace.

Until Next Time — Happy Ancestral Digging!


Note: This post first published online, October 11, 2007, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The Fremont News-Messenger.

 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Happy 70th Birthday, Dear Ruby! 🌹

 

Take a moonlit night on the banks of the Potomac, a few bottles of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine, our guardian angel, Jim (also procurer of the aforementioned wine), my alcoholic infused babbling tongue, and a very long walk back to our Dorm, and presto change-o, you became Ruby. 

In truth, the actual metamorphosis happened the next day.  We dragged ourselves to Jim’s part time gig at the local pizza parlor, feeling a trifle worse for the wear. Jim came to our booth and asked, “So who is this Ruby chick?” What? There was no Ruby. “Well, she,” his fingers pointing at me, “kept calling someone, Ruby.” The light dawned.  My slurred midwestern twang version of Roomie, sounded like Ruby to his Southern accent accustomed ears.  After that, you were officially, Ruby. 

Fifty one years ago was the last time we celebrated your birthday together. 


Honestly, it seems like yesterday.  You came North to be in my wedding, and a year later, I went South to return the favor.  Life was so busy, and we lost touch.  




I chose a school that was six hours away from home.  A school where I knew no one. I made a lot of friends, but the four of us – you, me, J and K – were our own Fab Four. 








I learned so much that year.

I learned that  frozen daiquiris are yummy.

I learned enough swear words to make a marine blush.  (That was mostly, J.  That girl was a swearing savant.  Although, my personal favorite, and one I would continue to use, was your “Well, F—k a red and yellow duck.”)

I learned that it takes beaucoup quarters to call a boyfriend who was spending several months in Europe.  You sold your beautiful red jacket, your clogs, your gorgeous purple dress, and I don’t know what else to Vicky, to feed the machine.  It was a good thing that W came home when he did, or goodness knows you would have been left with only your undies and your slippers!

I learned that yes, Virginia, you can squeeze a mattress through a second floor window to the ground below when Vicky and Hawaii did just that. I don’t know how they explained the missing mattress. But… Not my monkeys, not my zoo.

I learned that sometimes, having a messy closet, can actually be a good thing.  You brought that little black and white TV back for the second semester. It was strictly verboten.  Our RA, who was normally a big stickler for following the rules, agreed to overlook it when you slyly suggested that she was welcome to come down and watch her favorite soap opera. 

The problem was, we were assigned a new house mother that semester, and she was doing a surprise inspection.  I happened to leave our room to go to our wing’s bathroom and there was Miss W. with our R.A., Mary.  Mary was standing behind our new housemother, frantically doing a pantomime for my benefit.  When I got back to the room, I told you what was happening and we quickly hid the TV in my closet, which was, as usual, a disaster.

 We made it more of one, throwing clothes off hangers, grabbing more clothes out of my drawers to cover the TV, and putting some on the floor to complete, “The Look.”  We had just finished when a tapping at the door ushered in Miss W. and Mary. Oh Lord, Mary’s eyes were practically popping out of their sockets as she looked around for that TV.  Miss W. went to your closet first  She did a thorough check. Then she came to mine.  She took one look at the disaster, sniffed, and then left the room. I bet we sat there hyperventilating for a good five minutes.  I don’t remember.  Was that an expulsion offense?

I learned, thanks to your insistence, that I did not need full make-up to go to the dining hall for breakfast.  You would pace the room back and forth until I was ready.  Oh, the pressure!

I learned that forming a study group really made getting decent grades a snap.  The fact that the four of us were all El Ed majors meant we had the same courses, and often the same class.

I learned that I could easily do a 7:10 AM class if it was history.  (The professor loved my papers.) But a 11:10 Friday class in English, just interfered too much with my life.  (That professor hated my papers.)  

I learned that while the movies make it look like throwing a burning object into a waste basket easily smothers the fire, in real life that only works if the basket isn’t already full of paper. Duh!

I learned that a good friend will sit on the bathroom floor outside your stall, patiently explaining – well, never mind, no one else needs the details, but you’ll remember what I am referring to. You, dear Ruby girl, were such a good friend!

I learned that I could go somewhere I had never been; where I knew no one; and find my own tribe.




I hope your birthday is wonderful, Ruby.  You are the first of our group to hit that milestone. The rest of us will bravely follow you.  I think of you and J and K often.  I am sending you virtual hugs and good wishes on the wind.

Terry


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Ancestry’s New Chromosome Painter – Close but no Cigar!

 

I really wanted to give a thumbs up to Ancestry’s new Chromosome Painter.  (Although a Chromosome Browser would make me much happier.) Sadly, Ancestry has missed the mark.

My mother, my brother and I have all taken Ancestry’s DNA test.  And yes, we are the appropriate centimorgans match to show mother and child, and full siblings. Therefore, I should be a half-match to my mother’s ethnicity, on each chromosome.  My brother should be likewise.  As for my brother and I, we could be a full match, a partial match or no match depending on which segments we inherited from mom and which segments we inherited from dad.

Here is what our ethnicity looks like for each of us on Chromosome 12. 

Mom: 




Me: 




Brother: 




The color on this chromosome is deceptive in that mom’s colors represent Germanic Europe for her parent 1 and Scotland for parent 2.

My colors on the same chromosome represent Sweden and Denmark for parent 1 and England and Northwestern Europe for parent 2.

My brother’s colors represent Sweden and Denmark for parent 1 and England and Northwestern Europe for parent 2.

You can see that each of us has a green component to our Chromosome 12, but the green stands for different ethnicities on my mother’s chart as opposed to my brother and me.  In our case, green denotes England and Northwestern Europe, while on my mother’s chart it denotes Scotland. 

Looking at this, you might draw the conclusion that my brother and I are a full match on this chromosome, but we are not. 

By looking at all the chromosomes I can tell that for me, my mother is represented by parent 1 and my father is parent 2.  My brother is the opposite.  Parent 1 for him is my dad, and parent 2 is my mom. How do I know this?  My mother has no Eastern Europe or Russia in her ethnicity, but my father’s German side (half of his DNA) also has some Kashubian thrown into the mix.  Kashubian’s were one of several Slavic tribes that settled in Pomerania along with Germans.  Dad gets this mixture from his maternal grandparents who emigrated from Pomerania in 1906.

On my chromosome painter all the Eastern Europe and Russia show up on parent 2, while for my brother, they show up on parent 1.  Which means according to Ancestry, I received my Sweden and Denmark ethnicity from mom and my England and Northwestern Europe from dad.  My brother, on the other hand, received the Sweden and Denmark ancestry from dad, and the England and Northwestern Europe from mom.  Confusing, yes?

Because I am a visual person, I put all our chromosome ethnicities on a spreadsheet. I coded each ethnicity with a specific color so that I could see immediately where we matched and where we didn’t. 

My mother and I don’t match ethnicities at all on Chromosomes, 1, 12, 13, 14, or 15.  My brother and she do not match on Chromosomes 4, 7, 10 and 12. 

Below you can see Chromosomes 12, 13, and 4 for each of us.                                                                                                                                                         

Logically, not matching ethnicities with my mother on specific chromosomes does not make sense.  I give Ancestry a B for effort, and a D for execution.  The worst part, it makes me question all their ethnicity assumptions.  They have tagged me with Scandinavian (now Sweden and Denmark) since I first took the test in 2012.  I have yet to find a Swede or Dane in the family tree. 

Until Next Time . . . 




Terry

Terry

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