About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandfather's Rocker

When my grandfather, Lee Alfred Wilcox, died in 1968, the same night that Dr. Martin Luther King was shot, we (my parents & I) were left to clean out his house. One of the items I (still in high school) insisted we keep was his rocking chair. For hours, as a small child, I would sit on the arm of that chair, half in "Deeda's" lap, rocking & listening to the stories of his childhood and my family legacy (much of which fueled my interest in genealogy). I wanted that chair! Though there was no convenient place to keep it in my family's home, my parents relented and squeezed it in until I moved out to my own apartment. That chair has moved across country, up & down the coast of California, and still sits in my home today. Every time I sit in it and run my hands along the arms, I am taken back to those days in Wilmette, Cook, Illinois, when I learned about my lineage.

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