Thursday, May 28, 2009

Genealogy or Motherhood or Both

Mom began doing genealogical research on the family before she became a mother...actually before she even married Dad. Stories she tells indicate that she would work on her research when my brother and I were napping or in bed at night. She never missed a stroke, but her time was somewhat limited for genealogy.

When I was about eight months old Mom began working on a family genealogy for the Amsberry reunion. That was before computers, so she set the typewriter up in the living room on a card table, along with her paper and notes. To entertain my brother for close to an hour, without interruption, she cut out strips of paper and had him color them. After that he could make loops and a chain which he seemed to never tire of doing. That allowed Mom to be a mother and a genealogist. A eight month old is a bit different, so when it came time to feed me she learned how to balance me on her feet under the table and rock me while I drank my bottle. She would type away on the Amsberry genealogy notes.

Of course, there were the trips to visit relatives, to cemeteries and also to allow Mom to research in libraries. My brother and I both had chicken pox practically at the same time. He was about 7 years old and I was about 4 years old. After we had healed up, Dad took Mom to a library that had a genealogy section and told her to spend a few hours and he'd entertain us. Mom had definitely earned that free time!

Mom worked when we were in high school, but she still found time to write and column on genealogy and history for the local newspaper. She would stay up until the wee hours of the morning working on her writing and genealogy. I think that's why she doesn't need as much sleep as some people. When she and Dad moved to Iowa in 1996, Mom was having health problems and was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery in May of 1999, she was declared free of cancer. She's a ten year survivor.

By 2000, Mom and Dad had moved back to Nebraska. Where they were living meant that Mom had to travel quite a ways to do research. That didn't stop her. She had internet and from time to time she'd do some traveling. In 2004 Dad was diagnosed with cancer. After numerous operations, chemo and radiation, it was apparent he was not going to be a survivor like Mom. He left us on 26 June 2007. during those three years, Mom took care of Dad without any help. Their vacations were to hospitals. Mom never complained about not finding time for genealogy. She'd think about it, read genealogy periodicals in the hospitals and doctor's offices and try to do some research from time to time.

A few days before he passed away, Dad told Mom that he wanted her to resume her genealogical research after he passed away. Mom has done exactly that, but she still juggles that with the title of Mother and also Grandmother.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Girls Head West

Mom and Aunt Cheri (The You Go Genealogy Girls) are packing and repacking, getting ready to head to Salt Lake City. Mom leaves here in a few days. Every time my Mom goes somewhere she has to pack and repack several times. The first on the list is the laptop computer and her genealogy research items. Of course, she can't go anywhere without several pairs of shoes, normally at least five pair. She says that she is only taking two pair of shoes to Salt Lake City. I can't imagine why she doesn't need more!

According to Mom, Aunt Cheri packs everything imaginable. Maybe she'll take the kitchen sink. She will also be heavy on the genealogy items, but light on the shoes. Mom's the shoe fanatic. While Mom crams things into a couple of bags, I'm sure Aunt Cheri will have many bags of this and that. Then comes the them stuff all that into Mom's car, Lil Red.

While the girls are gone, I am in charge of watering Mom's plants, inside and outside. Also will be in charge of making sure everything is okay in her townhouse. I will bring in her mail and advise her on the phone if she has anything that looks important in the way of genealogy mail.

Uncle Geoff does the housework (maybe) and takes care of Aunt Cheri's plants while she's gone. He also is known to call or e-mail her asking for money. As if the girls could send him money when they are traveling! There won't be extra money as they plan on spending all they have on photocopies and genealogy books. Mom may also conveniently buy a pair of shoes. Way to go girls!

If you want to know what the girls are up to, follow their blog, The You Go Genealogy Girls. They will find time to chat on that and fill you in on what they are doing. I will have to read it also...just to get my laugh for the day.