Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Past - My First Christmas

Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Past - My First Christmas as a MOM

Christmas Eve 1973 – This was my first Christmas as a mom. Here my ten-month-old daughter Joy and I are opening a gift. Before motherhood snagged me, I had no idea you could love a little person so deeply and with so much abandon. Motherhood opened up a new world for me, and though I entered it a little shakily and with much uncertainty, I entered it wholeheartedly. I was all of twenty.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice Storm

My beautiful birch couldn't handle the ice. Power outages, closed schools and ice covered windows are what's happening in Northwestern Ohio today. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Christmas Past - Christmas 1968 - Or How I learned to smile again!

Terry and her siblings Christmas 1968

This was the year after the infamous "Christmas Slap" and right after my braces had been removed. I suddenly felt like smiling again.

The 62nd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy Has Posted!

You saw what my three wishes were of Dear Genea-Santa. Now read the wishes of the other geneabloggers at Jasia's Creative Gene post, "Carnival of Genealogy, 62nd Edition." Thanks, Jasia, for another well done edition of the COG.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Christmas Past - Shoe Envy 1955

Christmas 1955 - I don't remember much about that Christmas except that I had a bad case of shoe envy. Once I spied my cousin's black patent leather shoes, I was permanently done with those "baby" white shoes of mine. I was two.

A Blog Caroling We Will Go - Part Two

Last week, our own footnote Maven invited the geneablogger community to participate in the Internet version of caroling. This week the very clever fM created her own Christmas Caroling Tree to link you to the various Christmas inspired bloggers.

As you check on the link to each of the geneabloggers, you might want to look around to see some of their other Christmas inspired posts.

Thanks fM! And a very Merry Christmas caroling to you all

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Moe Dog!

Because I love you and because it’s your birthday, I won’t mention the time we were seated at your sister’s sixth grade band concert, and you leaned over and said to me in a very loud stage whisper, “Mom, I forgot to put my underwear back on after my bath,” creating a laughing spasm that rippled through three rows of concert goers and making me want to slither under my seat.

Instead, I’ll just say - Happy 30th Birthday, kiddo! (Where did the time go?)



Monday, December 15, 2008

A Locket of Hair, An old Christmas Recipe and A Family Bible - Three Genea Wishes for Christmas

The locket of red hair, given to the six year old at her mother’s funeral in 1911, had no intrinsic value, but decades later, as she spoke about the gift, its cherished nature was still evident.

The challenge for the 62nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is Three Wishes. “This is your chance to write a letter to Genea-Santa. Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we're talking gifts here, not miracles!).” So

Dear Genea-Santa,

I would like the locket of my great grandmother’s hair that my great aunt Lucille was given the day she said good-bye to her mother. Shortly afterwards, Lucille and her siblings were separated, and as an adult, it was Lucille’s quest that brought her not to her brother’s doorstep some forty years later, but to the doorstep of her brother’s son, my father. To have the locket of hair would serve as a reminder of one woman’s tenacity for putting her family back together.

In my stocking, Santa, it would be easy for you to add a recipe card from another Great Grandmother’s kitchen. Emma Gleffe Schrader was, according to my grandmother (with a hearty endorsement from my father) a very accomplished cook and baker. I’ve heard that there exists a surviving recipe for her Christmas Yule Roll. This would be a wonderful way of passing on an old family tradition that future generations could enjoy, and a way of honoring my great grandmother’s memory. Santa, please!

And finally, in the family of my third great grandparents William Armstrong and Leah Shupe Armstrong, there is a family bible which includes the birth of my own great great grandmother Elizabeth Harriet Armstrong Feasel. Is it too much to ask that Leah’s own parents kept such a family bible, and that somehow, miraculously, it would come into my possession? Okay, I know we don’t get to ask for miracles, but hey, this could be the only way I figure out who Leah’s parents were.

Well Santa, there you have it, my three wishes. I know that these are a lot to ask of one poor overworked fellow, but it sure was fun daydreaming about the possibilities.

Merry Christmas Santa, and don’t eat too many Christmas Cookies!

Terry S.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Christmas Caroling We Will Go

The foototeMaven has invited Genea-bloggers to come Christmas caroling with her today. Of course, she's stipulated that we put down our favorite Christmas carol, and as everybody knows I'm too wishy washy to have a favorite.

But here is one that I often hum to myself during this time of year.

Judy Garland first performed the song in 1944 in the movie "Meet Me in St. Louis." Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine, below is the version that most of us know. In 1957, as Frank Sinatra was recording his album, "A Jolly Christmas," he asked for a rewrite of one of the lines. The line went from "Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow" to "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough."

The original version that Martin and Blaine wrote, was even darker with the first two lines reading, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, It may be your last."
Below is the Frank Sinatra version:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Christmas Past - The Mustachioed Christmas

By 1989, we had added two son-in-laws to the family tree. They, the son-in-laws, turned out to be keepers - the mustaches not so much.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Christmas Past - The Christmas Slap

From now until Christmas, I will be visiting some photos from my Christmas past on Wednesday and Thursday of each week. Below are two of my favorites taken in 1967, as my siblings and I sat for the annual Christmas Tree photo.

My youngest siblings apparently were feeling pretty confident that Santa was done with the whole naughty and nice list.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Graveyard Rabbits AND My Mutated Gene

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Never could.

I know you’re saying to yourself that all women are born with the multi-tasking gene. You know - that secret weapon that allows us to change a baby’s diaper, drag the toddler away from playing “fishing” with your prized rainbow guppy, and cook a six course dinner simultaneously while putting on the new shade of peppermint pink lipstick, all the better to have kissable lips when the hubs comes home.

I didn’t get that gene. Instead, I got that gene that allows you to concentrate obsessively on one thing, and one thing only.

This gene allowed cave man to focus exclusively on taking down a mammoth lion, instead of say, thinking about not forgetting to pick up a supply of kindling and sticks on his way back to the cave or whether or not the lion in question had the correct color coat his wife had requested for the new cave rug. Nope, he just focused on killing a big ole lion.

The modern day equivalent of this can be witnessed by a husband's almost serene ability to concentrate exclusively on Sunday’s football game. This is done while vacantly nodding as you talk about this year’s Christmas plans, ignoring his own offspring as they bicker loudly about custody of a toy, and looking up with wounded incredibility when you finally get through to him to let him know that YOU KNOW he isn’t paying any attention to you or the kids.

HE CAN”T HELP IT. It’s wired into his DNA and apparently, this very trait has jumped over and replaced the multi-tasking gene that is supposed to be wired into my X chromosome. I think they call this a spontaneous mutation. Genetics, what are you going to do!

This is my usual long-winded way of saying that I don’t know what the heck I was thinking when I agreed to take on a fourth blog at the invitation of Terry Thornton and The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. Blogging, working, babysitting, holiday preparing, genealogical research and an added extra blog – well if that isn’t a recipe for personal disaster.

Thanks to the hard work of Terry and footNote Maven there is an “anchor” site for ALL the Graveyard Rabbits who as of last week numbered 55. The site is really a beautiful work of art. It has a directory listing all the affiliated blogs with their LOCATION.

There’s a contact page and an aggregator page, which updates all the latest posts by each of the rabbits. If you have family that lived in another state, you might check the directory to see if someone is covering that area. I’m still hoping for a New Jersey and/or Oklahoma Rabbit. In the meantime, you are treated to some wonderfully written articles.

Myself, I decided to cover the twelve counties that make up The Great Black Swamp area of Ohio. My latest post, Survey of Washington Chapel Cemetery, did not turn out quite as I had planned.

I worked a good two weeks creating a slideshow from Photo Story 3, complete with titles and narration. (I was especially proud that I had gone back and rerecorded every piece of narration that I said the word Washington and added the famous Midwestern “R” making it “warsh” instead of “wash.” Man, some parts of the country get really creeped out by that.)

All was for naught, as the darn thing refused to open each time I tried to upload it to my YouTube account. Finally, I took another route with less than stellar results. However, I was working on a bit of a deadline. The bylaws of Graveyard Rabbits require me to post at least once a month. It’s not clear if that is a calendar month, or one month from your last post. I was closing in on the one-month mark of the latter qualification, and I didn’t want to get the boot, so there you have it.

If anyone is interested in writing their own post as a guest author for The Great Black Swamp Graveyard Rabbit, please leave me a comment below or email me at but be patient. Owing to that darn gene mutation which causes me to concentrate on one thing at a time, it takes me a while to remember to check that email address.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Today I cannot write

Last night, big fat flakes of snow traveled softly to the ground. I could not see the lights of Clyde, a comforting beacon that lets me know the severity of a snowfall or the thickness of a fog. Last night I paced, this morning I stare at a blank screen, unable to summon the enthusiasm for writing about matters of genealogy.

Last week, I watched with horror the attacks in Mumbai. Half a world away, there were young men, turned killing machines, who embraced not in theory but in deed, the twin evils of death and destruction. Mayhem, carnage, death – how can these be laudable goals, anytime, anywhere?

They and their victims, strangers all, foreign to me not just by birth, but by life and life style. I am not a world traveler. I am not an Indian citizen. I am not of the Jewish faith. And yet …

A father and daughter, visiting India in search of spiritual truths were caught eating in a café and gunned down by terrorists. Their colleagues, who were wounded, survived by playing dead, as the gunmen moved on to other diners.

A prominent food critic of The Times of India was trapped in her suite at The Taj, frantically texting her husband as the siege progressed. Her last transmission, early Thursday morning said that the gunmen were in her bathroom, after that, silence. He would later find her body in a pile of lifeless corpses, deposited there by commandos after the final assault. She died of asphyxiation.

And the vision of a blood spattered little boy, saved by his nanny, after witnessing the murder of his parents. His cries for his mother as the small community that she and her husband served, held a memorial in their honor were too heartbreaking to bear.

I do not know all the stories, nor the names of all the victims who died by man made tragedy last week in Mumbai. But I am filled with sorrow at such a senseless loss.

Today I AM a world traveler. Today I AM an Indian citizen. Today I AM a Jew. And today I cannot write.