Goal 5: Work on documenting and preserving family history

This month I got an Ancestry subscription. I just started working on compiling the family history. As of now, my parents, husband, and all of my children took the DNA test along with me. We are still waiting for some of the results. I just started a family tree with my mom online.

It seems like yesterday when I was walking around cemeteries with my grandma. We stopped by the family home of my great-great-great grandparents. I never would’ve figured it out if my grandma didn’t know where it was. We talked to distant relatives and found out that my ancestors were involved in politics, art, community theater, and had a love for cats. Not all that unlike our family today.

It is so wonderful to hear stories instead of just names and dates on a headstone. Next month my grandma will be gone for 10 years. You don’t know how much I wish she was still here.

Now I’ve decided to work on this project with my mom. It is amazing how quickly time flies past. I want to hear her stories and preserve them for future generations. I want to make them living characters in my mind. I want to attach names to faces in the black and white photos. I want to give everyone a story. That would be much more exciting than names and dates.

I want to take the stories I remember and that have been handed down to create a wonderful story for future generations. Today I found out that my 5th great-grandpa was hung. Such interesting stories. Too bad my ancestors didn’t have WordPress!

What’s in my genes

You may remember a couple months back when I told you that my son took the AncestryDNA test…He found out that he was only 7% German and I concluded that he probably wasn’t my son.

After all, my genealogy records put me at approximately 75% German…Mecklenberg…Bremen…Pommern…Germany…Germany…Germany!

People comment all the time that I look German. I love beer and sauerkraut.

Imagine my surprise when my results came back as 10% German. Really??

I am almost a three way tie of British, Eastern European (Polish, Czech…), and Scandinavian.

I am also more confused than ever. Could my genealogy records be inaccurate? It seems like all the research I did was a waste of time.

I knew I was English and EE, but had no clue about the Scandinavian.

Several years back someone asked me if I was Swedish. I laughed it off and said I was German. How did they know?

I was so pumped to dig into genealogy again. I wanted to learn the language of my forefathers. I wanted to travel to the land of my heritage. I wanted to dig up dirt and find my roots. But now I totally lost interest. Things don’t mesh up.

I hate it when one plus one doesn’t equal two!

Something appears to be rotten in the state of Denmark.

I used to know so much before I had so much knowledge.

Now everyone wants to take the DNA test. My mom took it and she has a large percentage of Scandinavian too. I know where I got it from, but where did she get it from??

It does change the way I think about things…I didn’t think it would. Do some of the things I like just reflect who I thought I was?

It’s not a bad thing, just different from what I was expecting.

I thought I would find confirmation, but instead I have more questions..

 

 

 

The first and last generation to listen??

The other day I watched a heartwarming video about kids that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. It started out with a cute little blip about surviving bike rides without helmets and drinking water out of hoses. Then it ended with a comment that went something like this…we were the last generation to listen to our parents and the first generation to listen to our children.

Wait…What??

Everything before that last statement was obvious. Yes, we rode bikes without helmets and drank water out of a hose…but the last statement really made me think. Could it be true??

Remember growing up in the 70’s and 80’s (if you did)? Remember when kids sporting events had parent night? Think about it. Why would they do that? On those nights parents would attend their childrens games.

Today’s parents sometimes even go to practices! That never would’ve happened in the 70’s or 80’s.

My younger brothers rode their bikes 10 miles one way into town with a group of friends for Little League practices and games when they were in grade school (without helmets…gasp…). That was not an uncommon practice.

Are we an over involved generation of parents? It the pendulum swinging back the other way from having under involved parents?

Or is it just easier to be over involved? Our kids can text us with any little problem that they have during the school day. I can fix that for you. My son texted me this week that he had a flat tire. Do you need me to come help? I never bothered my parents during the school day unless I had to call home sick. If my car broke down, hopefully I had a flashlight with me or the stranger answered the door when I knocked. We had to solve most of our problems by ourselves. 

I can tell where my teens are by pushing a button on my phone. I can get instant notifications about their grades. I can peer directly into their social media world. I can’t think of another time in history when there has been such a big gap between generations.

It is hard to put restrictions on our children’s technology when they know more about it than we do.

But were we the last generation to listen to our parents? I honestly don’t think that has changed much. Teens today get such a bad rap. How would you like someone in your business all day long? I think most teens listen just fine.

Although I do think parents have less control over their kids. Parents are looked down upon for disciplining their children, yet are also looked down upon when their kids are acting up. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

I simply think that most kids are spoiled because we give give give way too much. We care too much. We fix things too much. We won’t let them work out their own problems because we know about them as they are happening and troubleshoot them with our kids.

Are we the first generation that listens to our children? Probably. My mother was raised to be seen and not heard. She tried to break that pattern with us. We did talk a lot, but I couldn’t imagine telling her half the stuff my kids tell me.

I have had very some very open and non-judgmental conversations with my older kids about some difficult topics such as sex, drugs, drinking…you name it. Guess what? Sometimes I don’t like what I hear. But I think it is important to keep the lines of communication open and offer them guidance.

I haven’t had as many conversations with my youngest yet. Although Arabella is 14, she hasn’t started dating or even tried drugs or drinking except for the small glass of champagne I gave her recently when we were celebrating something big.

It is never too early to talk. Last year Arabella had a friend that was very depressed after coming out of the closet with a few close friends. She is still afraid to tell her parents. I found out about it before her parents did because my daughter was worried about her friend and needed someone to talk to. Also, my daughter had another friend that tried to kill herself this week. These kids are only in their early teens.

Does talking to your kids prevent bad things from happening? Does it stop them from going down the wrong path? Does it prevent you from getting a phone call that you would never want to get? Probably not, but at least they know that I will always be here if they need to talk. It’s the best I can do to help them through it.

 

 

 

 

Back to the past

Over Thanksgiving we played the game Loaded Questions. It is a great group get to know each other kind of game. Perfect Christmas gift idea. You’re welcome!

The main object of the game is to ask a question in a category and try to guess who wrote what response. Every player gets a chance to be a judge.

When I was a judge, I asked the question…If you could live in a past time period, when would it be?? Paul said it was taking him awhile to write a response because he was having a hard time spelling his answer..

Here were the answers:

1960’s

1970’s

1970’s

1980’s

1980’s

The Renaissance period (obviously Paul’s answer)

An hour ago so I wouldn’t have to play this lame game (obviously my son)

I found the answers interesting. My mom and Darryl wanted to go back to their teenage/young adult years…but what I really found interesting was that 3 out of 4 teens wanted to live in the time period that I grew up in…I was shocked..

But, but, but, but…there was no internet back then.

The teens said that they didn’t care.

I asked my daughter Angel about it later…Why did you pick that you wanted to live in the time I grew up in??

She had two answers. First, everything today is fake. She said that she knows of an ultra thin uTuber that spent hours posing with an ice cream cone that she never ate. She said that although she is a normal weight that it made her feel fat. Also, people only post good things about their life…which makes her feel like her life is boring or that she is not happy enough. (At this point, I should’ve shared with her about all of the personal posts here on WP but I missed the opportunity to tell her that other people’s lives do suck sometimes).

While we were in conversation, she took my picture with her a couple of times for snapchat. People were sending selfies back with little comments on it. She said I should join. Why would I want to send pictures of myself back and forth to people all day?? I don’t understand.

Second, my daughter said that all of her social contacts are on her phone. I guess that means instead of hanging out with friends in person, they send pictures back and forth all day or play games. She said that putting her phone away for a short time would mean that her social interaction is gone. She talked about a challenge at college that included giving up a phone for one day. Teens become a slave to their phones. Funny thing is…I never see them use their phone as a phone.

This is what it was like growing up in the 80’s…

 

The weekends always held a sense of adventure. After watching the Saturday morning cartoons, the neighborhood kids would ride around on bikes without helmets. Sometimes our chains would fall off or we would fall off our bike miles from home. We had to work together as a team to figure out how to fix problems. No one ever knew where we were.

I really loved the monthly trips into town to go to the library. Sometimes I could read a book a day. I would drool over the new releases that could only be rented for a few days. I couldn’t wait until that book was out on the shelves. I always checked the return pile for coveted books. I loved the silence and the smell of musty old books. Sadly, I haven’t been to a library in years.

It was exciting to hear a new song on the radio. I would listen for hours just to get the chance to pop a cassette tape in and record the song. Of course, I rarely got the whole song on tape. I had a weekly date with America’s Top 40. The weekly countdown was big excitement.

In the evenings, we would go on walks to visit with our grandparents or great aunt and uncle. I think I miss this the most…just walking in as if expected…unannounced visits. People just would stop in and talk for hours. People would drop whatever they were doing and listen. There was never a ‘let me check my schedule’.

We loved playing outside making forts out of wood or in the snow. We were never in a hurry. I loved going to the post office to see if I got a letter in the mail. We would pretend to ‘smoke’ candy cigarettes. We played in the sprinkler and drank water out of the hose. We ate raw cookie dough and ate homemade meals every night. We only had our picture taken on special events. I loved the big poofy hair and the big boxy cars.

We had a computer at home that I learned how to make my name scroll across the screen. It was exciting! Sometimes I would even change the color of my name. I loved to play Donkey Kong. We had an Atari and a VCR. I had a Michael Jackson record player from when he was still black. I spent hours playing with Barbie and Ken. I could spend hours watching a slinky go down the steps. I loved the game of Life. We never heard bad world news, unless things were really bad the adults didn’t tell us.

The strange thing is, although you might say that there was nothing to do, I can’t remember ever being bored.

I would challenge the young folks to spend a weekend without their phone to see what kind of adventures are out there..

What were your favorite memories growing up in pre internet era??