Friday, November 15, 2013

The Family History Book Says I Should Have Done This First

Now that I have been picking away at family history research for the last decade and a half, I have finally gotten around to reading some family history research how-to books. The first thing they say to do is to tell your own story. That makes sense, because who knows more about me than ME? 

I wrote this list of things about myself for my other blog, The Zees Go West. I think it tells the story of me as well as anything else I could tell you, especially since I've already written down the bare facts and statistics in My Own Genealogical Record, elsewhere on this blog. 



Too high up!


1. I have plumbing issues. I’m still afraid of the bathtub drain, and I secretly believe that one day a snake will swim up out of my toilet.

2. My father came from Worcester, Massachusetts and only completed 8th grade, making education for us kids of prime importance to him. We disappointed him a lot but he still loved us.

3. My mother came from a farm family with thirteen children and she didn’t want to talk about it.

4. My parents moved me from my birth state of Maine to California when I was three months old, thus making me officially rootless. I have lived in four other states and one Canadian province. I keep an atlas handy at all times and am always planning my next move.

5. I was born near the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and grew up in San Francisco, one block from the Pacific Ocean.

6. I learned many of the skills I needed from books.

7. I can make a blanket from the sheep onwards.

8. I used to have milk goats and that one goat, Lily, and I have been known to make a big ruckus out in the barn. She always waited until the pail was full before delicately placing her hoof right into it.

9. I believed that book about raising backyard goats and really thought they would weed around the fruit trees for me.

10. During the same period of my life, I once turned the geese into the strawberry patch because another homesteading book said they would clean the weeds between the rows.

11. I know to never turn your back on a gander and I didn’t have to learn that out of a book.

12. I once sheared a sheep by hand with manual clippers, but only the back half. My hand got tired. She looked like a lion.

13. I can give a sheep a shot, but it makes me nervous. It makes the sheep nervous, too.

14. I once owned a weaving store and taught spinning and weaving.

15. I think chickens are fascinating and I can sit and watch them for hours. Their behavior is a metaphor for something that I am still trying to figure out.

16. I once startled a skunk when reaching into a nest to get the eggs out.

17. I helped deliver a lamb in a dark barn while reading the directions, with a flashlight, from yet another homesteading book.

18. In my first garden I planted several rows of corn (reading the directions as I went along) with my little bantam chickens for company. While I was busy looking at the book, the banties were scratching up and eating the corn--another lesson learned about companion animals.

19. One of my favorite things to do (I have a quiet life) is to consider the alternate words offered by autocorrect. For instance, it wanted me to change the word “banties” in the previous sentence into “panties.” Imagine.

20. I honestly believe that I am psychic, but only with my sister, and only some of the time.

21. I used to live in a house that had four fireplaces and was built in 1770. All of the people who had lived there over the centuries had left some little part of themselves behind. There was always lots of company.

22. I hated swimming for years because I was sent to lessons at a vast outdoor unheated salt water pool in cold and foggy San Francisco. The thought of swimming made my teeth chatter.

23. I kind of like swimming now, but only where I can see my feet.

24. I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree when I was in my fifties. My father would have been proud, but it was too late to tell him.

25. I got my master’s degree when I was 56.

26. I’ve always had a secret soundtrack running in my head, describing my adventures as I was having them. (She leaned a little closer to the bathtub drain. What was that slithering sound? Something was coming…)

27. My first library job was driving a bookmobile.

28. My last library job was teaching information technology to reluctant 8th graders.

29. While skiing long ago in a headlong and out of control fashion down a bunny hill, I made a promise to myself to give up extreme sports.

30. I have a sister-in-law who once jumped out of an airplane. That’s extreme enough for me.

31. I once stepped on a snake while running barefoot down a California sidewalk.

32. I have never been bitten by a snake, but expect to be momentarily.

33. I have six dogs. I don’t even like dogs. I might be mistaken, but I thought I was a cat person.

34. Just in case, I have three cats.

35. In an unrelated development, I have had several husbands as well, nice men all. We are still in touch.

36. Beez and I have been married for 32 years and have forgotten to celebrate most of our anniversaries. We remembered the 25th because we were in Yellowstone with some of our kids and grandkids and they reminded us. The 30th was lovely because we went to France.

37. My children's and stepchildren's names are in alphabetical order, but not because of any planned cuteness. The blended family just turned out that way: Angelina, Becka, Ben, Chris, and Dee.

38. I only like to watch non-scary movies. Years ago I decided that life was scary enough.

39. I learned to knit from a book.

40. I have made 110 sweaters for Knit for Kids.

41. I learned how to bake bread from a book. It has taken me years of practice to make a nice light loaf. Ask my first husband, who used to say that one of his arms was longer than the other from carrying the sandwiches I packed for his lunch.

42. I once lived in Canada.

43. When I lived in British Columbia, my California friends believed that I was somewhere in South America. Others, who understood that I had moved somewhere up north, believed that I was living in an igloo.

44. Now that I live in New Mexico, some of my eastern friends believe I am in a foreign country where only Spanish is spoken.

45. I used to lie on a hill all night and take photographic time exposures of meteor showers.

46. A group of people entrusted me to develop their meteor shower photos. I switched the hypo and developer solutions by accident and ended up with clear strips of film.

47. I had a friend who traveled to Europe and asked me to water his plants while he was gone. I used the jug of photo chemicals that was next to the jug of plant watering solution by mistake.

48. I learned to make pies out of a book when I was 11. Once, when my parents were out, I baked ten apple pies for the freezer.

49. Another time when my parents were out, I ate too many home baked cinnamon buns and threw up. Good thing no one had thought of eating disorders back then.

50. I learned to make replacement cinnamon buns from a book.

51. Having political discussions gives me a stomach ache, not unlike the one I got from the cinnamon buns. I know what I believe and can’t understand that everyone else hasn’t gotten with the program. My program.

52. Long ago, I was sleeping naked when my apartment caught on fire. That was bad, but not as frightening for everyone concerned as it would be if it happened now.

53. My first car was a 1951 Chevrolet that my father sold to me for $200.

54. I always wanted to be a cowgirl, until I actually rode a horse and found out how high up I was. Another extreme sport given up.

6 comments:

  1. I would like you to do a blogpost about the ghost in the attic of your old house.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I was just looking at the House on High Street series and figuring out a way for it to be linked on this blog. Glad you second the idea.

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  2. It's not snakes, that's silly. Eels on the other hand do live in water.

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  3. Sorry the place burned. I hope that didn't stop you from sleeping nude.

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  4. Yesterday, I met a kindred spirit. You.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Heather, I have been thinking the same. Here's the thing: I even know where that "kindred spirit" phrase comes from, because I can see by your Facebook page that you like Anne of Green Gables, too. My daughter and I loved those movies, especially since she was adopted. We knew the dialogue by heart, and would gleefully shout out "that's the kind who will put poisoning in the well!" when that part came.

      Delete

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