Category Archives: Book of Me

Book of Me – Prompt 18: First Present or Gift

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week eighteen’s prompt is First Present or Gift.

  • Can you remember it?
  • Who bought it for you?
  • Do you still have it?
  • Pictures or a description
  • Other special gifts?

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Baby Book - Gifts received

Click to enlarge

While I do not remember my first gifts and presents, I have a record of them. I recently liberated my baby book from my mother. Since I started the Book of Me project, I realized my baby book would be a valuable asset.  I was born during an era when baby books were common keepsakes. I bought one for my first born but only half-heartedly filled it in. The second born wasn’t even that lucky. As I was looking through my baby book to find my first gifts, I was queried by the girl as to whether or not she had one. Sadly, the answer was yes, but no. I think it is stored in the garage with the keepsakes I have saved for her. She got over her disappointment quickly (OK, it was non-existent as she didn’t really care). However, her early life is recorded in other ways. We purchased our first digital camera weeks before she was born and a video camera soon after that.

But back to me! My first gifts were typical of any newborn, especially the firstborn. There were gifts of money, baby things and clothing but not really any toys. The money and the clothing are long gone. Two of the items were cups: one silver and one pewter. Over the years I have collected several items from my mother’s stash of keepsakes. She gave me one silver cup around the birth of one of my children, although she could not remember if it was mine or my brother’s. I vaguely remember the pewter cup and suspect I will find in amongst my mother’s things someday. I think that was the cup whose handle kept breaking. Another group of items I have acquired are the baby sweaters. As a knitter, I find them precious and I love vintage knits. At least one toddler coat and hat that I have in the collection were knit by my grandmother Gladys. Several sweater sets are mentioned on the page in the baby book. I have one set which I know must have been given to me (since it was pink). I don’t think it was ever worn as the booties were still attached together.

Baby cup

Silver baby cup

Baby sweater set

Baby sweater set

There are gifts that I received later in life that I remember more. However, they were not the first. I suppose those are a memories for another day.

©2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/01/03/book-of-me-pro…resent-or-gift/

Book of Me – Prompt 17: Toys and Games

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week seventeen’s prompt is Toys and Games.

  • Can you remember your first toy, or game?
  • Do you still have it?
  • Who did you play with?
  • Did you play board games?
  • Have you inherited any of your family games & toys?
  • Share some pictures if you would like to!

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Lizzie

My rag doll Lizzie

My first remembered toy is my rag doll, Lizzie. I am sure there were probably other, earlier toys, but Lizzie is the one I remember. My mother made her for me as well as Raggedy Ann and Andy, and lots of doll’s clothes for them all. Many of the clothes were made from scraps of clothes that my mother made for me or herself from all those lovely 1970s fabrics. Lizzie is a faithful friend who has stayed with me through the years. She looks a little worse for wear now and has moved into the treasured heirloom category.

My brother and I - Christmas 1979

My brother and I – Christmas 1979

My oldest playmate is my little brother. We played lots of board and card games over the years. Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Chess, Parcheesi, Battleship and Life are a few of the board games we played. Clue is probably my all time favorite. Uno was a favorite card game. With the regular card deck, games like War and Rummy were popular. When I got older, one of the preferred games I played was Hearts. Computer games really were not a part of my childhood. The first home computer or television monitor games (like Atari or Texas Instruments) were just starting to be made. My brother (being younger) had more time to be exposed to them.

Doctor Who LegacyIn many ways, I love and hate games. Board and card games are great fun to pass the time with while camping, but I rarely play one at home (even with my children) although our front closet is stuffed full of them. Many board games have lots of little pieces and parts that get lost or broken. At this point, we all have personal tablets  so we play lots of individual or solitary games. I sometimes play Sudoku or other apps on my tablet. As a Doctor Who fan, I recently downloaded the Doctor Who: Legacy app for my iPad. The game is created by and for Doctor Who fans. Partially based on the app game Candy Crush (which I have never played), the game uses the different Doctors as well as various companions to play. Part of the fun is unlocking the various Doctors and companions and seeing who you can collect. The levels of the game are based upon the different television seasons, episodes and feature the various aliens from the show. It is very addicting! I recently got my daughter hooked, too. We spent some quality time this morning playing and discussing the game. For Christmas, the game makers brought out holiday themed levels and decorations. I am looking forward to the next major level (Season Five) to be released after the New Year.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/27/book-of-me-pro…toys-and-games/

Book of Me – Prompt 16: Message in a Bottle

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week sixteen’s prompt is Message in a Bottle.

  • If you were to physically write or virtually write a message to place into a bottle what would you write?
  • Do you live by the sea and are able to potentially throw into the Ocean? Or perhaps a river
  • Do you feel strongly that you would not “litter” in this way – in which case you may complete the task virtually
  • What would you like to happen with the message?
  • Do you hope it is picked up somewhere, miles from home?
  • Are you going to create a secret email account in case it is picked up and someone emails you?
  • Or would you like to write an anonymous note to someone that you know?

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Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #5My message in a bottle is a virtual one that I write for my family, distant cousins and strangers, near and far, every day. I toss my bottle into a different type of sea. This virtual ocean is the World Wide Web. As much as I have been fascinated by the concept of “a message in a bottle” over the years, I would never do a physical one. Our planet is already consumed by humanity’s garbage. My message is spread around the world in an instant, without impacting the environment as much as a bottle floating in the ocean does (I do admit that my internet usage requires electricity and does a different type of damage but that is a topic of discussion for another day!). My blog has picked up readers from around the world. Some of them are even distant cousins whom I would not have connected to without my virtual bottle. So thank you, if you have found my virtual bottle and have removed the cork to find my message waiting inside!

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/22/book-of-me-pro…ge-in-a-bottle/

Book of Me – Prompt 15: Snow

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week fifteen’s prompt is Snow.

  • Do you live in area where you routinely have snow?
  • How old were you when you first saw snow?
  • Do you remember it?
    • Did you make snowmen?
    • Throw Snowballs
    • Sledge Rides
  • What is the image that first came to mind when you read snow?
  • What does snow
    • feel like,
    • smell like
  • How do you see snow?

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Christmas is all very new - 1971-12

Christmas Is All Very New
By David Yegerlehner (alias ‘papa’)

Our daughter, named Deborah, is now just past two.
So this business of Christmas is all very new.
First came the snow, and what a delight;
Debbie looked out the window to find the world all white!
The snow set the mood,
And even mama and papa could not be subdued.
So we got in the car—all three,
And very shortly came home with a beautiful tree.
We moved the couch and shoved away the chair,
And left a great big spot bare.
This scurry to rearrange (Debbie’s look seemed to say)
Is certainly all very strange—
And she wondered even more
When we brought that big tree right through the door.
But soon that big bare space was no longer bare,
For the beautiful tree was standing right there.
And now, all covered with balls and with lights,
It is truly a sight with thrills and delights.
Each hanging ball is a colorful mirror,
So Deborah gazes into each tiny sphere.
“Debbie! Debbie!” she coos when she sees her reflection,
And so we now know the tree passes inspection.
Our daughter, named Deborah, is not just past two,
So this business of Christmas is all very new.

Growing up in Massachusetts, snow was a common occurrence during the winter. I have spent the last 20 years in California in an area where snow is not common. The central valley is basically at sea level. I still don’t completely understand the science behind this phenomenon, but we are too low in elevation for it to snow. The temperatures can be below freezing but it. just. doesn’t. snow. I think there have been two instances in which it actually snowed here. It was a passing illusion that delighted the local children before it quickly melted. My hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts has an elevation of around 500 feet and I remember it always snowing when I was a kid. I guess geography does really play a part with weather conditions. Less than fifty miles to the east of where I currently live, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it does snow. We often hear on the weather reports at what elevation the rain changes to snow. During particularly cold storms, the snow might reach as low as 1,000 feet above sea level.

1978-02-07 David Yegerlehner

David the day after The Blizzard of ’78

My father wrote the above poem about me in December 1971. I don’t really recall the first time I saw snow. I just remember it always being part of winter. For me, snow is winter. In some ways, moving to California has definitely disrupted my annual rhythms. As much as I enjoy the slightly warmer temperatures (and the lack of shoveling), I yearn for snow. My children will never know the joy of a snow day or experience the anticipation of sitting by the radio, waiting to hear if school was cancelled for their district or not. They will never know the true silence that comes during a snowfall or the sense of isolation. I often talk about the Blizzard of ’78 and how we missed school for three weeks. I think the concept is inconceivable to them.

We make a point of visiting the snow at least once a winter. Because the snow only comes to the mountains, there are inherent difficulties in reaching the snow. Many of the local roads are closed if the snowfall is too heavy. Chains are also required for driving (which is another difference from my childhood). In California, there are designated snow parks which are open on a daily basis in favorable conditions. Parking requires a permit which can only be purchased away from the snow. Our favorite snow haven is outside of Yosemite National Park at a very nice hotel at the southern entrance of the park. Once we get there, we can spend the weekend sledding down their hills or skating at their rink. Last year, the snow was gone by the time we arrived so we headed further up in elevation to Badger Pass, a ski area within Yosemite. Some years, when camping at Lassen Volcanic National Park for Memorial Day weekend, we have also enjoyed the snow.

I love snow. I miss it. If I still lived in an area where snow was more common, I might miss it less. I definitely don’t miss shoveling or driving on icy roads. Watching falling snow is one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. I consider snow to be one of nature’s gifts. It is truly a joy and a delight for me.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/13/book-of-me-prompt-15-snow/

Book of Me – Prompt 14: Special People

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week fourteen’s prompt is  also Special People and is a continuation of the last prompt.

If you had to hold a dinner party and could invite a maximum of 12 special people who would you invite?

You CAN include family this time. Perhaps they are ancestors you have never met or people that you know/knew.

What meals would you serve and why?

Perhaps include the recipe or a photo if you decided to actually cook the items.

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My dinner party would include family members who have all passed on at this point. Most of them I have never known. I have lots of questions for them because they didn’t write anything down or leave much for me to discover about their lives.

The Guests

Alfred M. Dicks and his first wife Ruth Reynolds: They were Quakers. Their families were part of the Quaker migration to North Carolina in the mid 1700s. After staying in the south for several generations, the Quakers began migrating north again. Slavery was a huge issue in the early 1800s. Some remained in the south but many moved in the decades before the Civil War. Some of the North Carolina monthly meetings were decimated by migration. Ruth’s parents migrated a few years before she was born. Alfred traveled as a young man in the 1830s, sometime after the death of his father in 1833. Ruth died young after bearing six children in the 1850s. I know very little about her. Her name appears in very few documents. When she and Alfred married in 1840, their marriage was a civil one which got them disowned from the local Quaker Monthly Meeting. I suspect the meeting was too far away which made it difficult to attend regularly. Also there were lots of strong political feelings and divisions between the monthly meetings in eastern Illinois and western Indiana at that time. I have lots of questions for Alfred, too. He managed to avoid the census takers in 1860. I do not know exactly when Alfred or Ruth died or where they are buried.

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins: I have always known I was a Mayflower descendant.  The lineage of John and Priscilla was the first that my grandmother proved. We “know” so much about their fabled courtship and little else. John’s parentage is unknown. We have very few dates for this couple, including when they married, the births of the children, and when Priscilla died. Hearing about their daily struggles to create a new life in this country would be fascinating.

George Rea and Sarah Ann Jewell: George Rea was an Irishman by birth. He journeyed to America and settled in Greene County, Indiana. So far I have uncovered little information about George’s life in Ireland. He was a presumably successful farmer who owned a sizeable acreage of land in Indiana. George was about 20 years older than his wife Sarah but she died first, perhaps in childbirth. I am currently trying to prove Sarah’s lineage. There was only one Jewell family in Greene County and I think I know how she fits but I have no direct evidence. Again, I have lots of questions for this couple.

David Yegerlehner and Magdalena Strahm: The patriarch of the Yegerlehner family in America and his wife left their homeland to settle in America in 1851. Why? Where & when did Magdalena die? David was a carpet weaver. I would have enjoyed watching him weave. Perhaps they could teach me Swiss or share stories of their life in the Alps.

Michael Schiele and Elizabeth Krieble: I think I have enough questions about Michael and his German ancestry to warrant an invitation to this dinner. Elizabeth’s daughter Nancy raises lots of interesting questions as well. Nancy’s descendents would certainly like some answers about her father.

Roscoe S. Yegerlehner and Gladys Foster: Now that I am old enough to ask the hard family questions, my grandparents have long been gone. Since starting this project, the number of questions that I would have liked to ask my grandparents has increased exponentially. Even sitting with my grandmother for a few hours and having her identify people in the sea of photographs would be a treat.

The dinner

I would like to have a potluck picnic like I remember from all the family reunions of my childhood. Every summer we traveled to Indiana to visit my grandparents. Generally, at some point, a family reunion would be held during our visit. A few times, the reunion was held at my aunt and uncle’s house. At that time, their house was on the outskirts of Centerville. The house was surrounded by corn fields on the two sides, the road to the front, and a wooded area to the back. All my mom’s cousins would come over and all the second cousins would run around for hours. Everyone brought some kind of dish to share.

Since my family does not have a tradition of family recipes being passed down, I would like each of my ancestral couples to bring a family dish that was special for their family and time period. One dish sticks out from my childhood. It appeared on the table for most picnics or special occasions. I am not sure which side of the family the recipe came from. Since my own children have an aversion to food with “sauces,” the tradition hasn’t been continued.

The recipe –

Five Cup Salad:
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup mandarin oranges
1 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup of mini marshmallows
1 cup of sour cream

Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/06/book-of-me-pro…special-people/

Book of Me – Prompt 13: Special People/Iconic Figures

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week thirteen’s prompt is Special People or Iconic Figures.

  • If you had to hold a dinner party and could invite a maximum of 12 special people who would you invite?
  • You can NOT include family in this – the special people could be famous or historical people.
  • What meals would you serve and why?
  • Perhaps include the recipe or a photo if you decided to actually cook the items!

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The theatre has always played a part in my life. I grew up listening to musicals. I experienced my first Broadway show when I was in elementary school. My father took me to see my first opera, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, when I was six. We had family friends who were members of the repertory cast of the local theatre company. As a young adult, I was a theatre major at my university. When I graduated, I studied costume design at the graduate level for three years. I also worked professionally for several theatres during my twenties.

I am also an Anglophile. I grew up outside of Boston which has one of the best public television stations in the country, WGBH. They were and still are the producing force for many British dramas that come to the United States. I was introduced to Doctor Who in elementary school. I’ve watched countless hours of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, and so on. I have watched David Suchet play Hercule Poirot since he debuted in the role. I watched all of the Jeremy Brett episodes of Sherlock Holmes and I can’t wait for the next installment of Sherlock. And don’t even get me started on Downton Abbey. I am a certifiable Masterpiece Theatre addict (and have been since I was a kid).

My randomly selected twelve guests are all major players in the British theatre community today.

Benedict Cumberbatch
David Tennant
Alan Rickman
Patrick Stewart
David Suchet
Ian McKellan

Emma Thompson
Helena Bonham Carter
Maggie Smith
Helen Mirren
Kate Winslet
Julie Andrews

Since if I ever got to meet or work with these people, I would probably be speechless or turn into a babbling idiot, I would choose a less stressful location in which to have our dinner party. I would prefer a meal at the local pub with a beer or two. In my case, I’d have a cider because I can’t stand beer. Perhaps we could just have fish & chips or a ploughman’s lunch to nosh on. I love the chips but I’m allergic to fish, so I’ll skip that one.

The Ploughman’s lunch is a traditional cold meal served at the pub and generally consisted of cheese, chutney, bread and beer. The meal has evolved over the years and can be quite gourmet.

Ploughman’s lunch (Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/29/book-of-me-pro…iconic-figures/

Book of Me – Prompt 12: Year of Birth

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week twelve’s prompt is the year you were born.

What happened?

  • Historical
  • Films
  • Music
  • Books
  • Television

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1968 was a pivotal year in 20th century United States history. The year was marked by great gains and losses.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.  The Vietnam War was in full swing. Protests against the war were common on college campuses and metropolitan areas. Civil Rights protests and disturbances were occurring every month, and they were continuing to be increasingly violent. In April, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. By the end of the year, Johnson also signed the Gun Control Act of 1968. NASA  launched Apollo 7: the first manned Apollo mission broadcast the first live television coverage from space. Later in the year Apollo 8 would enter orbit around the moon. As the year ended, Richard M. Nixon was elected president and the Zodiac Killer began his killing spree on the west coast. Several books and articles have been written about 1968, including 1968: The Year that Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky and The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives edited by Daniel J. Sherman, should one wish to learn more about this amazing year in history.

Top Ten Grossing Films of 1968:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Funny Girl
The Love Bug
The Odd Couple
Bullitt
Romeo and Juliet
Oliver!
Rosemary’s Baby
Planet of the Apes
Night of the Living Dead

Other notable films were: A Lion in Winter, The Green Berets, The Thomas Crown Affair and Rachel, Rachel.

Music:
Notable rock groups of the year were: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Diana Ross & the Supremes, the list could go on and on. It was also the year that Johnny Cash finally married June Carter.

Debuting On Broadway:
Hair
Promises, Promises
Zorba
George M!

Books:
Lloyd Alexander – The High King
Isaac Asimov – Asimov’s Mysteries
Agatha Christie – By the Pricking of My Thumbs
Arthur C. Clarke – 2001: A Space Odyssey
Phillip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?
John Christopher – The Pool of Fire
Ursula K. Le Guin – A Wizard of Earthsea
Peter S. Beagle – The Last Unicorn
Anne McCaffrey – Dragonflight
Beverly Cleary – Ramona the Pest
Charles Portis – True Grit
Alexander Key – Escape to Witch Mountain

Hugo Award: Roger Zelazny – Lord of Light
Nebula Award: Alexei Panshin – Rite of Passage
Newbery Medal:  E.L. Konignsburg – From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Caldecott Medal: Ed Emberley – Drummer Hoff

On Television:
In the 3rd season of Star Trek’s original run, the groundbreaking episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” featured the first interracial kiss on television.

Doctor Who was played by the second actor in the role, Patrick Troughton. His companions were Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury). The Doctor regenerated at the end of the sixth season  in the spring of 1969. The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) had a recurring role and John Levene made his first appearance as Corporal Benton.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/23/book-of-me-pro…-year-of-birth/