Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Genealogically Weathering a Storm

Last night in a display of lightening fireworks, thunder, high winds, rain and hail, a big tree in my drive came tumbling down. Had I not moved my car a few minutes earlier, it would have been crushed. Buildings around town sustained damage and trees are uprooted and broken.

The local newspaper features a photograph of trees uprooted in the cemetery. I am sure Mom will be checking on that early this morning. Mom and I kept a constant phone chatter going last night to make sure we were okay. She reported her wicker furniture blew into the bushes, but everything else appeared to be okay.

At one point Mom said she was shutting her computer down. I was certain she would probably grab her external hard drive full of genealogy information and head to the closet. She reports that she didn't even grab a genealogy book and head to her favorite chair. Mom is slipping! In fact she cleaned up her kitchen, started the dishwasher and left her pan of left over enchiladas on the kitchen counter. That's total preoccupation with the storm.

Looking back at storms we had so frequently here in Nebraska, I don't remember Mom ever putting genealogy before her family. She grabbed us first to run to the basement or crawl space (yucky place to weather a storm). I am sure all the while her mind was on what would happen to all of her years of research, the documents and the photographs.

One of Mom's most vivid memories is about being in a flood in Greeley, Colorado. She was about four years old, but sill remembers the family possessions floating away. Those included trunks of old photographs, At the time she just knew they belonged to the family. As the flood water was going over her head, an older cousin handed her the end of a broom and told her to hang on while he pulled her toward him. The family photographs were gone, but Mom was saved.

Mom always says the lives of our ancestors are important, but the family today are more important. Given the choice, she'd always come to our rescue. That's why I love my genealogy Mom!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Genealogy Spare Time

What do genealogists do in their spare time? They still do genealogy! I know that because my Mom is a genealogist.

Whenever Mom had a spare moment she was doing or thinking genealogy. She was always at our softball games, baseball games and swimming lessons. She always had a book with her. That book was almost always something pertaining to genealogy. If there was a moment that she could read a few lines or a paragraph or even a page and chapter, she did it.

The books were always ready at a moment's notice for her to grab. Sometimes she would stash them in the car or in her purse. We never went to the doctor's office but what she had a genealogy book with her.

Mom says back in those days (1970s and 1980s) there were not as many genealogy magazines or periodicals. One that she subscribed to and looked forward to receiving was The Genealogical Helper. It's been around a long time...long before Mom got into genealogy. She always knew when it was due to arrive in the mail box and it had better arrive then or she was pacing the floor and ready to have words with the mail carrier.

When I was about fourteen years old we went to Hawaii for almost two weeks. I slept most of the way there. Mom read. The Genealogical Helper arrived (miraculously) the day before we left. By the time we landed in Honolulu, Mom had the entire magazine read. I can remember Dad saying, "Now what are you going to do?" Mom just grinned and I new she had plenty of reading material stashed in her luggage.

Those were the days when there were no restrictions on carry on luggage as far as weight and dimension. When we were at the airport to leave Honolulu, Mom and I had to take our carry on bags through inspection. They were looking for flowers and plants and fruit. They found books! I had my school books, which I did not want to take. Mom had her genealogy books. The inspector looked rather surprised and said normally people do not bring bags of books to Hawaii let alone return with them. He didn't find a single plant, flower or fruit...just books.

Mom read her genealogy books in the car while Dad drove. She said once she would get engrossed in what she was reading, Dad would start speeding. It was a thrill to him to speed and try to avoid getting caught. That usually didn't happen. Her reading would be interrupted by the sound of sirens and red lights flashing behind them.
Even though Mom does her own driving now, I know she carries plenty of genealogy books and magazines. There's always some time in the day that she calls her spare time to read.