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, June 3, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - 3 June 2010

I am thrilled that the article I wrote about my father - L. Roy Wilcox - was printed in Family Chronicle magazine (May/June issue - still available at Barnes & Noble in some places, though Riverside & Corona stores are sold out). The article discusses his experience with bootlegging (he was only 16 and not really aware of the events until it was too late to disconnect himself). Anyway, Dad went on to become a mathematics professor - and very well known in his field - spending some of his post-graduate time at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, working with Einstein and Von Neumann. He played the flute in the Princeton orchestra (I still have that flute . . . maybe I'll blog more about that experience of his at a later date). When we cleared out his things when he sold the family home, I came on many of the tools of his trade. They are now part of our family museum. Dad's love of mathematics and music, and his ability to speak at least three foreign languages, were cause for his being highly respected among his peers. After his passing, I really began to understand all he had done in his life; I wish I'd known while he was still alive! Get to know your living family members . . . you never know what amazing things they did (and are doing) in their lives!


  1. What a nice tribute to your father and it is so true that when you really study each person their own amazing life story unfolds before your eyes!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your dad! And what a great way to share those things that you found out!

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. I waited until too late with my own Dad to try to find out more about him. Of course I knew he was a doctor and had practiced for decades in my home town....I didn't know much about his service during the Korean War and his extracurricular activities.

  4. My hubby has a very similar set. Even though it was old, he used it at MIT. Two degrees later it just sat in his desk for a long time. Then my daughter used some of the instruments for a degree in Art History, and then for a Master's in Communications Management (she loved the PR and advertising classes and designed a lot of brochures and booklets). They both had different types of educations, and used the same old instruments. We don't have any idea who originally owned them, they probably date from the 1910s or 20s.