Showing posts with label family important. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family important. Show all posts


"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Favorite Season

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations.

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at:
This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at:
The prompt for the week is:

My Favorite Season
The Brief
Do you have one?
A Happy/Sad Memory or association
Close your eyes and imagine your favourite season – write down what you see, feel, hear.

My Favorite Season
My favorite season is ...none. I used to like winter and the beauty of it. However, since moving to Australia, not only do they not have a real winter, to me, but the reasons why I liked winter - the crispness, the prettiness of the white snow, and the feeling that family time is just around the corner - are just not here. If you can imagine growing up having a hot summer, a wet and slightly cool autumn, or fall, then having freezing, snowy, icy and then you go to sprint which is mushy, muddy but getting warmer seasons. Then compare that with a hot summer, jumping into rainy, depressing days, then into a wet, muddy, mushy days which lead back into the warmer weather.  The whole experience of a true winter just isn't here. I think this plays into the way I feel about the seasons. As you can see by these pictures, this is as much "snow" (it was hail) that we get here in Australia. Even though Christmas is our summer, we still had hail on Christmas Day but it was gone within a few hours. My husband ran around taking these pictures on the day as he was excited about the "snow".

What I will do is take you on the adventure of what I used to like/love about the winter when I lived in the US. This way, you can see why I liked or loved it so much compared to what I have now.

Memories of why I like winter
The good times
I can remember growing up, as the year went along, the temperature would get cooler and then colder and colder. When this started to happen, I knew that snow would start soon. I always loved the snow. Growing up in a small town, I would love it when it snowed because there was no sound, there were very few cars on the street, and the snow looked like pixie dust coming down and covering everything in its magic. Usually, it was loud by people shouting at each other, music or the TV being turned either on or up, cars that kept going past in either direction - all the time and every day. When it snowed it was like everything was taking a huge break and was quiet because it was scared it would run the pixie's off. Once it had been snowing awhile, you'd look out and things - any toys, bikes, tree branches, tables and chairs - would start to disappear. It would vary in the speed - sometimes it only took an hour and other times it was a full day - before these things would disappear. Most of the time during the height of winter, you wouldn't see these items again until the snow started to disappear and temperatures started to get warmer. However, for those few months of the entire year, the yard looked well kept and magical.

When the snow arrived it also meant there would be time for family to be spending some kind of time together. My family did not do much of this, but we always tried to be together during either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Most of the time it was Thanksgiving, but there were a few occasions where Christmas was the chosen holiday to be together for the year. I enjoyed these times, because it brought the family together and we would catch up on the entire year, or try to, in a few hours.

The not so good times
That being said, there were times where I hated winter just as bad as I liked it. There were some major snow storms. Two of the major ones growing up are in 1977 and 1978.

The Great Blizzard of 1977
 The North East Blizzard of 1978

One of these times, was when my mother and father just divorced and my mother didn't have a car. We had to walk from the house all the way to the elementary school which was about a mile down the road in the blinding snow storm which was so bad that we had to walk in the middle of the road and couldn't really see anything. However, my mother thought that I would still have school and she had to go to work. By the time I got to the school, I was completely frozen and shivering. The days when we arrived only to find out there was no school and had to walk all the way back home or to my sister's (who would watch me) had me crying my eyes out. My figures were so icy cold that they tingled and my feet had been completely numb before we even got to the school and now we had to turn around and go all the way back home was a miserable thought.

However, once the temperature came up a bit and it stopped snowing, and we had to do the same walk, my mother was forever pulling me along because I just wanted to stop and look around at all snow - how much taller it was than me, how pretty everything looked covered in the snow and with the sun shining off of it, it looked like diamonds were trapped underneath just waiting for someone to come along and get them. I would walk around trying to look at all the yards, trees, and sidewalks all covered in, what I would consider, magical dust that looked like pretty diamonds. On the flip side of that walk, was my mother trying to keep her timetable of dropping me off at school so she could get to work on time a further half a mile away.

Family, to me, is important. These were the times family would take the time and sit down with you and talk about the happenings are, what the plans are and how did their last plan do. You can catch up on what's happening and who has done what. There's good times and bad to be had, but each person took the time to sit back and just relax and catch up with others.

I remember the times when everyone took the day, came over sat around in the living room to talk and catch up. Then as the day would go on, the evening meal was cooked and by mid to late afternoon everyone would pitch in and help in some way. Then we would sit down and enjoy the meal, dessert and meet back in the living room. Shortly after that, everyone would say goodnight and go home. In fact, the last time I saw my grandmother Janet, was when we actually signed her out of her home, brought her to ours for a dinner such as the one described. All the family made the effort to be there - all my sisters (which is a real feat as 2 of my sisters weren't on speaking terms), my brother, my mother, all of my nieces and nephews (and as they were young - under 10 years old) that were born, it was a huge group of us - about 15 of us in total. However, I think my grandmother did know what was happening because I could see the enjoyment sparkle in her eyes when she looked around the table.

Why stop liking the season?
I believe I stopped enjoying the season when the family had really started to stop getting together during this one time of the year. It seemed like no one had time to take just a few hours out of their busy schedules to just sit back and enjoy being with each other. There were the other times when I would get invited over to my father's house, only for his friends to arrive and it was like I was puppy instead of being sent outside, I was sent in the front room rather than be with or be acknowledged by anyone else.

My memory is of being welcomed into the house. They told me to go into the living room until people start to arrive. I go in and sit looking at the Christmas tree lights flashing on and off. I especially loved the tree topper which lit up and flashed lights all over the room. When I looked outside, I could see the faint glows of the Christmas tree lights on the snow that looked so light and fluffy because no one had walked on it yet. I could sit there for hours. As people started to arrive, I got up and my father, and in some cases, his second wife, came out and opened the door to people and welcomed them in, directing them to the downstairs area where the game room area was. If they seen me they told me to go back into the living room and they would come and get me shortly. I went back to watching the tree lights and the lights reflecting on the snow...while listening to the music, laughter, talking and the clinking of ice on glasses. After about an hour after all the guests arrived, I knew they must have forgotten about me.

This picture was taken from
Over the years, I have tried to get people together, usually when I'm visiting, but like I said, everyone's too busy these days just to take a few hours to be with others. This I find a shame because it is destroying what family is all about. 

In closing, I'm sorry this week's post is such a down post, but keep in mind sometimes the smallest thing will bring you more riches than all the money in the world. If I had all that money in the world, I would use it for bringing the smaller things to the forefront - taking time out to:
  • look at the snow
  • catchup with others
  • just be together because you love one another
After all, all the rushing around in the world, will never bring these things back if you don't stop to enjoy them. Besides, they are the cheapest things around they only cost you your time. Sometimes in life that's all that matters...

Check back next week for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series.  


Family History – why is it so important?

About 8 years ago, I started to do my family history. This is the searching for who the people who make up my relatives through both my mother and father. Then I took a break on the searching and recently I have started again.

Why do you want to know? 

Contemplating the complex family history I have
I want to know who made me who I am. I know my own experiences made part of my personality up, but what about those other characteristics come from? Who were those people who came before me? What diseases did they have and, in turn, could I have? These are just a few of the questions I have. To me, they are very important because I want to know why I am the way I am because of my family’s history. 

I never knew either of my grandfathers at all. As for my grandmothers, I used to spend some time with her each summer vacation from school. My other grandmother I saw 3 times my entire life and then she just sat there. My parents never talked about the past – at all. When I was growing up, I always had friends that would talk about their grandparents, and in some cases, great grandparents. I had a grandmother, but that was it and it never occurred to me to ask that one question – why? 

Family Interviews

My grandparent’s headstone in Salisbury Mills, NY
When I first started the journey to answer some of those why questions, I took out my grandmother’s obituary, which had passed when I was a teenager, and found I had a starting point. I started looking up the names on and found – almost nothing.  As I’m pretty stubborn, I figured the only other way to find out any questions would be to start to ask those questions to the oldest people in the family, which at this point are my mother and father. It was a starting point. 

I asked my father some questions and it was glanced right over and not much else was said. I asked a second time and got a “Ya know.” and “You’ve met your grandmother.” and that’s as far as it went. As for my mother, I asked her and she said, as plain as day, “Why do you want to know? They are all dead.” And I told her that I wanted to know my past relatives which included her side. She got really quiet and then went onto another subject. The next time I asked her about family, my grandmother directly, she told me very upset “She is dead. Leave her ALONE. She’s finally getting the peace she never had when she was alive.” I told her I wanted to know where she was buried so I can pay my respects and she just told me “NO”. Another dead end. 

This is when I left the conversations. Then a few months ago, my husband found more information and told me about it, and that got me interested again. Round 2 had started. My father’s been very helpful but in small doses. The last time he brought up the subject, as “your little project”, I asked a few more questions, but he let information out. I know it hurt him because, for once, I could hear the hurt and loss in his voice.  Finally a win.
My Great Aunt Genevieve
On my mother’s side, I tried again as well. I got a very terse email back stating that a picture I sent to her was of her aunt and that her grandfather wasn’t very nice. I then emailed back stating some of the facts as I knew them, but she had taken them the wrong way and got very ticked off and I could hear the hostility in her writing about her relatives. It was very little that she let go and some of the information she mistook. The last email I wrote to her on the subject, recently, was about what I knew as fact and what I wanted to know. Since then, she hasn’t emailed me back, so I guess I have a mother that is currently not talking to me. 

Family Interviews are very important. They can give you information in small doses that you might never have known before. The way a person says a word, and a word or more can also cause you to ask more questions. 

Why is this so important?

This is very important to me because once we lose that generation, then any information we had about our great grandparents is gone. Any luck with knowing if we have other family out there is completely gone. As my parents are getting older, we have to face the facts that someday in the next 30 years; they will not be with us any longer. If we want those ties to our ancestors then we need to get that information NOW. I feel for some families because the generation that they have left might have dementia or some other trauma which they cannot get the needed information. 

I would love to know if I have first cousins out there. We might be able to talk about our family and how we’re alike. Then there’s the medical history as well. How can you be preventive when you don’t know anything about why your past relatives have died? Are there things we can do now, to prevent the current and future generations from getting a disease or illness and live longer?

The past is just a story

I have seen the above picture on Facebook, and told myself that it is a story, but it’s not JUST a story. Each of us has a story to tell – just like our past family has, and in researching them, you can finally tell their story. Sometimes in telling that story, it will actually change a current story – and in some cases break the cycle. For each one of us, that story is different and in others it can be just the same. Don’t believe me? Then let me focus on one circle in my family. 

I have been told my grandfather had diabetes. No matter what I did, I couldn’t lose weight, but kept trying. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with it. I took a stern stand and controlled all sugar I was eating. After years, I finally lost weight, and in doing so, I actually reversed the diabetes to normal levels.  If I hadn’t known about the diabetes, then we wouldn’t have been looking as early as we were and I could have done real damage which couldn’t have been reversed. 

I have broken the cycle on my side by watching and tightly controlling the sugar and diabetes. It was extremely hard, but it can be done. Now everyone in the family is watching what they eat and is encouraged because it can be done because they have seen it. So by breaking the cycle, it’s changed my story and my sibling’s story. 

Can you imagine what can be done if it had been physical abuse? Or mental abuse? Researchers have said:
“Emotional abuse of a child is commonly defined as a pattern of behavior by parents or caregivers that can seriously interfere with a child’s cognitive, emotional, psychological or social development.[6] Some parents may emotionally and psychologically harm their children because of stress, poor parenting skills, social isolation, and lack of available resources or inappropriate expectations of their children. They may emotionally abuse their children because the parents or caregivers were emotionally abused during their own childhood. Straus and Field report that psychological aggression is a pervasive trait of American families: "verbal attacks on children, like physical attacks, are so prevalent as to be just about universal."[23] A 2008 study by English, et al.found that fathers and mothers were equally likely to be verbally aggressive towards their children.[24] “and physical abuse is aligned with this view. If we find that our past family members had any abuse in the family, then we can break this cycle. That way no abuse happens for further generations. That is an important story – stopping or limiting what we can. 

Staff Sgt J. Sherman's wings
There are good stories as well as bad stories to be given. For instance, my father was in the US Navy. My nephews, two of them, have either served or are serving. Upon my research, I found that my mother had a cousin which served in World War 2. He died on a training mission. His memory is being kept alive by a plaque in France, as he had no wife or children. 
Further, I want to “visit” any relatives… they have lived and loved or we wouldn’t be here. I have to respect that. Why did they do the things they did? If they didn’t then we might not have been here at all, but you ARE here so shouldn’t we honor them by remember what they were – both the good things and the bad? 

People who take on being the family historians are trying to do just that – show both the good sides and the bad of each person and to tell their stories. In doing that, it will release whatever good and evil is known so it cannot be done for future generations. That is the important part. 

I do know this – family is important. When you have nothing, they will still be there to give you confidence and unconditional love. Should those who have lived before us have any less of a story to tell or be unrecognized? I don’t think so, as people, we are all important. Further, those of us who want or need to know this information, please give some family historians some respect and information after all, its for the future generations of your family.

Family History Week is going this year for the whole month of August. To find out more here's the website
Some of my family in 2004