Fallen Idol

My brother, home from college, poses for a picture with me and the family dog.
What a couple of sour pusses!

At a loss for what to write about today, I opened a photo album to a random page, scanned it, and planned to write about it.  The page I opened had six pictures on it.  I chose this one for a variety of reasons:  1) it was the “youngest” of the photos on the page, 2) I don’t look hideous, and 3) it accurately depicts life before digital photography, when you had to shoot a whole roll of film and get it developed to see whether the picture was centered or not.

The photo is dated November 1965, but I think it was taken earlier in the year.  Both our noses are sunburned and my arms are tan, so it may have been the end of summer.  If so, my brother was heading off to his sophomore year at Dartmouth.

Continue reading “Fallen Idol”

Sunday Night TV Lights

NaBloPoMo Daily Prompt:

Tell us about a tradition passed through your family.

Timmy hugs his collie Lassie.
Have you hugged your collie today?

Researchers tell us traditions are easily established in children.  Meaning, you need to repeat an activity only a few times for it to become routine, or customary to child.

Case in point: my family’s Sunday night tradition of gathering in the living room for a supper of fried egg sandwiches and hot cocoa while watching Lassie.  In my memory, this went on for three years.  In reality?  It probably happened three times.

Thank You, NaBloPoMo

Mom and Aunt Marceille have a warm reunion on a cold day.
The Carter girls, home on the farm, c.1943

Thank you, NaBloPoMo for giving us our Daily PromptsWordPress.com also has one, but it usually entails more thinking than I’m willing to do today.  (Plus, I’m not crazy about today’s prompt:  Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about.  Um, no.  Then I’d be writing about it, right?)

From NaBloPoMo:  Are you interested in genealogy?  Do you have a family tree constructed?

Short answer:  No.  And no.

Long answer:  One of my father’s cousins was an genealogist.  He even wrote a book about it, but it was in “geneolo-eze” and I had a horrible time understanding it.  I’m not sure if I still have the book or threw it away.  Hopefully the latter.

My Uncle Rod also wrote a book about my grandfather.  (You may remember them both in word and picture from this post.)  In it, I discovered I could join the DAR, as one of my ancestors loaned his rifle to the Continental Army and followed it into the American Revolution.  I haven’t joined DAR.  Perhaps I will if I feel they’ve sufficiently atoned for not allowing Marion Anderson to sing at Constitution Hall.

I’m not sure about my mother’s side of the family.  I think her sister (Aunt Marceille, pictured above on the right) tried doing some research, but don’t know what became of it—or if she was even successful.  I think her family also dates back a few centuries in America, as she was a member of the DAR.  Or was she eligible by marriage?  Does DAR allow Daughters-in-Law of the American Revolution?   😀

My grandfather was a wonderful story-teller.  He always told of some incident from the past whenever the family gathered.  Unfortunately, being a kid and teen-ager, I didn’t listen very well.  I guess this means I need to do some research if I want to write a memoir of my parents.  I can think of worse pastimes.

Ahead of Her Time

YOne silver spoon is engraved "MR."  The other is engraved "MRS."esterday morning I set the alarm on my watch to 10:30 p.m.  When it went off last night, I’d forgotten what I’d set it for.  Short term memory?  Not so good.

Having not thought about today’s post, the possibility of forgetting to blog was very real.  Perhaps inspired by yesterday’s list of impressive relatives, I remembered thinking, as a young child, how fortunate I was to call these people family.  Which reminded me of a few other early childhood thoughts.

Having been born before “women’s lib,” I often wondered why single and married men were addressed as “Mister,” while single and married women were differentiated by “Miss” and “Mrs.” (When you think about it, “Mrs.” isn’t even a word.  “Missus” is just a phonetic representation of “Mrs.”  Seriously??)  [See Note 1]

I also knew that married men and women shared a last name, even though they were born with different surnames.  What was the most equitable way to resolve this dilemma?  The lawyer’s daughter in me (I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time) figured the county clerk’s office kept a record of marriages (which they do), and assigned the man’s last name to odd numbered couples and the woman’s to the even numbers.  Or vice versa.  Either was fair.

When I asked my mother the question, she seemed surprised and said, “You always take the man’s name.” I replied in horror, “That’s not fair!”  She seemed taken aback.  She  probably thought That’s my daughter, the trouble-maker.

I was indeed the black sheep of the family.  My mother was the oldest of four, my father the oldest of two, and my brother the oldest of two.   At dinner one evening, I told them no one understood me because none of them were “not the oldest.”  Mom said “That doesn’t make any difference.”  Ha!  Later research would prove her wrong.

[Note 1:  Etymology tells me “Mrs.” is the abbreviation for “mistress,” yet “mistress” has been defined as “kept woman of a married man”since the 15th century.]

Starting Fresh All Over Again

When is it okay to start over?  Is it better to focus on improving one’s current path; or is there a point when the path becomes so overgrown it’s better to just change direction?  Or is starting over the perfectionist’s cop-out when things get too messy?

I’ve thought about rebooting my blog many times over the past years in hopes of making it exactly how I want it.  But since I’m not really sure what that is, I’ve avoided the temptation.  Until now.

Why is now different?  Perhaps Stream of Conscience was too unfocused and cluttered.  Perhaps SciFi Chicks burned me out.  Perhaps Ms. Pack Brat was one blog too many.  Or maybe I’m just inspired by spring.  Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to simplify and streamline my online life—just as I’m trying to simplify and streamline my home life.

Long ago, I started a blog for the purpose of telling my nephews and niece about their paternal grandparents (my parents), whom they didn’t know very well.  But along the way, I got sidetracked by other interests and the minutiae of life.  Life still gets in the way, but I have a better understanding of the stories I want to tell, and  a more focused approach to the things I want to talk about.

Will I be more successful this time?  Only time will tell.  Stay tuned…