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.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. Its religious significance in the Christian community is sacred and special. I remember, as a child, recreating the Bible story of the events of the day. Of course, I grew up in Illinois and had never seen a palm tree nor understood the types of leaves (fronds) that came from them (other than what I saw in pictures). When I first visited California and saw the tall, tall trees with the umbrella-type leaves that gave little shade since they were so far off the ground, I almost thought they were fake - how could such a plant grow like that?! Today I live in Southern California and think nothing of the towering trees all around me and laugh when visitors express awe when they see them for the first time.

So as spring coaxes leaves back to the trees in the yards of those in the eastern US, what about songs dealing with trees? There are so many (until you try to think of one). One of my favorites is a very sad one, dealing with the tragic disease, Alzheimer's. It was written by Susan Graham White and Tom Paxton and is a song that will likely bring sad memories of someone most of us knew at some time (I think of my grand aunt, Mary Eva - Aunt Mamie - Hollander) who lost all recollection of who her sisters and other family members were. She had been a lover of nature and I would suspect that the lyrics of this song would describe her circumstances perfectly.

The song deals with a man who is suffering from the disease, but has not yet disappeared completely into the mists of the affliction:
"There are days when he'll recall the forest in the fall,
When we can walk for hours together, and he's fine
There are precious days like that when he can name them all;
The ash, the elm, the beech, the oak, the pine.
He's forgotten the names of trees . . ."

Do you have a favorite tree song? Share it - the lyrics, the title, a link to an MP3 or YouTube video. Maybe if we sing enough tree songs today we can help sing away the snows that are still visiting my friends in Minnesota and other northern areas.

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