Tag Archives: Book of Me

Book of Me – Prompt 25: Love

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 twenty five’s prompt is Love.

  • Love comes in varying shapes and sizes
    • I love you
    • I love ice cream
    • I love the smell of rain, Spring, toast
    • I love my (insert your family member, pet etc)
  • There is no right or wrong way to love….or is there?
  • Define what love means to you

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I believe love is un-definable. There are certainly people I love (my family), objects that I love (chocolate comes to mind), things I love to do (another seemingly endless list) and places I love to visit. Do we love these things because they appeal to our senses, in one way or another? Do we love people because they conform (or not conform) to our expectations? How does one put such strong feelings into words? I am certainly not the best writer or poet in the world. Since the dawn of literature, writers have been using words to express how they feel and see the world, and to define love. Artists and craftsmen have been creating masterpieces which appeal to all our senses. Love is an emotion that can be triggered by memories from long ago. It can resurface, evolve and change. In many respects, I believe love defines a person, not the other way around.

Here are some of the things I love that define me.

All photographs are from the private collection of Deborah Sweeney.

© Deborah Sweeney, 2014.
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2014/03/23/book-of-me-prompt-25-love/

Book Of Me – Prompt 24: Favorite Color

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 twenty four’s prompt is Favorite Color.

  • Do you have a favorite color? And if so why?
  • Do you like vibrant colors or darker colors?
  • Do you associate anyone with a particular color? If so who and why?
  • Does your favorite color reflect your personality?

Since I am an elementary school teacher by day, I am often asked what my favorite color is. I generally tell my students that I don’t have one. I have a hard time choosing because I love color in general. I have colors that I wear more than others.  Some colors just do not belong in my wardrobe as my coloring does not agree with them. I love vibrant colors, dark colors, jewel tones, pastels, etc. I enjoy seeing colors in the world around me.

A good friend of mine, who was my maid of honor, is partial to the color purple. My daughter loves turquoise. When I worked actively in theater as a stage crew member, I wore a lot of black. I tend to associate my theatre friends with black as a result.  When I used to design costumes, color was often used symbolically to convey a deeper meaning about a character’s personality or motives.

Instead of colors reflecting my personality, I sometimes feel that they convey my mood (or not). Sometimes it just depends what items are clean and not down at the bottom of the laundry pile.

©2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/02/15/book-of-me-pro…favorite-color/

Book of Me – Prompt 22: Daily Routines

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 twenty two’s prompt is Daily routines.

Do you have a daily routine?

  • Did your parents? Grandparents?
  • Why did they (or you ) have this routine?
  • Where did this routine take place?
  • Structure – Is this important to you? or your family?

Cup of teaLife IS routine and humans are creatures of habit. We thrive on routine. It is amazing how one little thing can upset a person’s routine. The sun hurls its way around the Milky Way. The earth spins on its axis around the sun. The moon waxes and wanes. Our ancestors lived, died, and continued the species. But if I don’t have my cup of tea in the morning, things just aren’t the same.

I honestly don’t know much about the routines of my parents and grandparents. I know my dad writes in his journal every day. My mom is very religious so she attends church every week. When I was younger and visiting my grandparents, my grandfathers always seemed to take a nap after lunch. The daily ins and outs of my grandparents’ lives are pretty much a mystery to me. I haven’t cohabitated with my parents for a very long time or lived significantly close enough to them to really know the intricate details of their daily lives either.

My routines have evolved and changed over the years. When I was in school, my routines were different than they are now. I am not sure when my morning tea habit began but it was probably during my college years. Now my daily routines revolve around my children and their school schedules as well as my own school employment. We are slaves to the education system. There are times when I really want to rebel from the daily grind but I don’t. I just look forward to the next vacation (which is in April by the way!) when we can sleep in and eat as we please.

Presently, I think of routine and structure as the same thing. On many levels, our routines and structured activities are important aspects of our lives. Is there an alternative? Being late to school or skipping work, incomplete homework or bad grades, lack of sleep, dirty laundry or dishes, going hungry because you didn’t cook a meal? There are consequences for not following the routine. As long as the sun keeps rising and setting every day, routines are inescapable. But they do change and evolve, so there is hope that we won’t always be stuck with the same old routines. Just stay away from my tea though.

©2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/02/10/book-of-me-pro…daily-routines/

Book of Me – Prompt 21: Hobbies

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 twenty one’s prompt is Hobbies.

  • Childhood hobbies & collections
  • Did you share a “passion” with a family member or friend?
  • Tell us about it – How, why, where
  • Do you still have any old hobbies – the ones that have been with you since childhood?
  • Do you still have those childhood collections?

I have a few hobbies and they have pretty much been lifelong. They are 1) books and reading, 2) sewing and knitting, and 3) genealogy. All three activities have been passed down to me by my elders and have developed or evolved over many decades. Some of my lesser hobbies are subsets of the larger three categories. For example, I have always been a fan of the science fiction and fantasy genre.  I have read lots of books as well as enjoyed many science fiction television shows and movies over the years. One of my oldest friends (from Jr. high) can be credited with introducing me to science fiction literature. We had already bonded over Doctor Who and Star Trek. One series we read was the Dune books by Frank Herbert. I still have my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin which she gave me for my birthday or Christmas many years ago.

Doctor Who books

Some of my Doctor Who books

So the major, sometimes overwhelming, collection in my life is my books. Some of my books, I have owned since childhood. The collection is always changing but I have thousands of books in my house. I have a collection of Doctor Who novels from my high school days. My first job was at the Worcester (Massachusetts) Public library’s main branch. Across the street from the library was an independent book store (whose name escapes me at present). The store no longer exists. However, they sold many of the Doctor Who books I own. They were the only place in town that sold them at the time. I used to go across the street during my break to buy the newest novelization or I would go to the store after I left work on my way home. I have contemplated selling these books at times, but they really aren’t worth much so I have just held onto them. Several years ago my daughter picked up a few of them to read and that was definitely fun for me to see.

Vintage patterns

Vintage patterns from 1900-1940

As a knitter and seamstress, I have collections of yarn and fabric. My workroom is filled with buckets full. I also collect old paper patterns. I have some that survive from the 1910s and 1920s. Of course, there are lots of knitting and sewing themed books in my library. There are a few vintage sewing books from the 1950s and 1960s. These are the types of books that were used in high school home economic courses to teach girls to be happy little homemakers.

At this point, genealogy is more than just a hobby; it has turned into a profession. (Sewing was my profession at one point but has now returned to the hobby status). Currently, I have boxes of family ephemera and artifacts that need to be sorted through, preserved and catalogued. I spend much of my spare time every day learning and working in this field. There are a few hundred books that go with this specialty as well.

Most of my friends and family share a passion for one (or more) of the above and I can’t imagine it being otherwise. A world without books is inconceivable!

© 2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/02/08/book-of-me-prompt-21-hobbies/

Book of Me – Prompt 20: The Feeling of Home

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 twenty’s prompt is – The Feeling of Home.

Home means different things to different people, so this week we are going to explore what it means to us:

  • What does it feel like?
  • How do you recognize it?
  • What makes it home? People? Place? Time?

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For me, I have two homes: the geographical location where I was born and grew up, and where I live now.

Former movie theatre (Image via Google)

Former movie theatre (Image via Google)

The first, where I was born, is Massachusetts and the surrounding New England states. No one in my family lives there now so I do not have a family house to return to for a visit. Where one comes from shapes many aspects of one’s psychology. I still think of myself as a New Englander. The landscape and the attitudes of the people from a place stay with you when you move away. There is a sense of familiarity when you return and it is not necessarily something you can put into words. When I returned to New England last summer, I did experience the feeling of coming home. It was my first visit in over 15 years. Many things had changed physically. The downtown area of my city has been remodeled extensively since I lived there. The movie theatre where my husband and I went on our first date is no longer a movie theatre, but the building still stands. My graduating high school class purchased a stone monument to adorn the front walk of the campus. The stone endures but is now covered by overgrown shrubs and flowers. Time moves on but the connection remains.

Graduating class gift

Graduating class gift

My second and present home is where I live with my family: my husband and my children. I do not think it would matter where we lived specifically as long as we were together. On the surface, I think of home as the place where I can put my feet up and relax at the end of the day, and where I keep my stuff. But for me, the expression “Home is where the heart is” says it all. And that goes for both my homes.

©2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/01/17/book-of-me-pro…eeling-of-home/

Book of Me – Prompt 19: Who Do You Miss?

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 nineteen’s prompt is – Who Do You Miss Most?

Having just gone through the holiday season our thoughts turn to those not with us.

  • People who live elsewhere and who we will not see over the holiday season
  • People that have passed away
  • Who do you miss?
  • Why do you miss them?
    • Them as an individual
    • Something specific to them

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Most of the responses I have read so far to this prompt revolve around beloved family members who are deceased. I personally know people who are devastated by the death of a parent or other loved one. I have never felt the death of a family member to this extent. Each of my grandparents lived long, full lives so by the time they were gone, it was easy to accept their deaths and move on. Do I wish they were here on occasion? Of course, but I do not particularly miss them.

David with Deborah, circa 1978, Mt. Wachusett

David with Deborah, circa 1978, Mt. Wachusett

Growing up, I never lived physically close to any of my family. Our closest relatives were my great grandmother and her second husband who lived over an hour away. While they were alive, we visited them a few times a year. The rest of my relatives lived in Indiana or overseas. Overall, my relationships with my relatives were conducted through the mail, over the telephone and by long car trips during school vacations. Visits were few and far between. When I was six going on seven, my parents divorced. Instead of having my father around all the time, I only saw him on weekends at first. Then when I was ten, he moved to New York City.  We still connected through letters, telephone calls, and his monthly visit. We also took trips to New York City throughout the year. Today, my extended family is completely far-flung and we are lucky if we see each other once a year. As I child, I really missed my father, and at times, it was much harder to cope with the distance between us. Thank goodness for modern technology and the ability to communicate via emails, texts and Facebook.

As a young adult, I moved to California with my soon-to-be husband. While I love my adopted state and cannot imagine moving away, there is something that I miss, especially as I have gotten older, and that is the friendships of my youth. If you have always lived relatively close to where you grew up, you may not understand this loss. Many of the people I consider my friends today do not compare to the friends of my youth. They lack the bond of a shared history. Relationships that are built from childhood and up through young adulthood have a way of staying with you. These are friendships forged in fire as you discover who you truly are, whether it is from shared teenage angst or college aged explorations. Often, those very relationships are why you are who you are today. As I see many of my current friends or co-workers celebrating their high school reunions or getting together to hang out with old friends, I recognize that I don’t have the same support system that they do. They live closer to their roots and those bonds. As an introvert, I find it much harder to make new, lasting friendships. While as a middle-aged adult, it becomes harder to find new, truly close friends. Most people already have their support systems in place. Our lives are so filled up with work and families that finding time to explore new friendships is limited.

1985 - Suzanne's birthday #1While many of my friends from my youth are among my current Facebook friends, there are times I really want to just hang out and have our children play together but the distance makes impromptu visits impossible. I have several friends who are performing artists and I would love to watch them perform.   My trip to visit family and friends on the east coast this summer was wonderful and it reminded how much I really miss my friends. So even though “true friends are always together in spirit“ (L. M. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley), it is nice to actually see them in person from time to time.

©2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/01/10/book-of-me-pro…ho-do-you-miss/

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/