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, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Today is 21 December, the Winter Solstice. It is also the anniversary of the day my parents married, back in 1940 ("the longest night of the year," my father was always quick to add ... though they selected that date because it was convenient for all family members and at the semester break for my father, who was a math professor at Illinois Institute of Technology - the wedding took place in my mother's home town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Both my parents are gone now, but I decided to look back in Mom's diaries to read what they did on their anniversary 40, 50, and 60 years ago. It was essentially the same each year: they were preparing for Christmas and the arrival of one or more of their parents. Mom baked, cleaned, and shopped. Nothing overly memorable for an anniversary. There were no notations of anniversary gifts, given or received, by either parent (though in 1968 there was a mention of my giving them salt and pepper shakers ... well, I was 17 and it was a needed item). I do remember, very distinctly, that on their 25th anniversary (1965) we went to the Kungsholm restaurant/miniature opera theater in Chicago and were treated to a puppet show of gigantic proportions! (Information on the operation can be found on the Web and looking at the results of my Google search for "Kungsholm, Chicago" brought back memories.) Mom & I enjoyed it but my brother and father would have been much happier staying at home and playing cards or Scrabble. That was also the occasion of my first taste of caviar (I didn't like it).

When my parents married they didn't have to spend any money on flowers to decorate the church: it was completely decked out in holly and poinsettia plants. One advantage of marrying close to Christmas, I guess. They looked very happy in those old wedding photos and I still have their guest book (though it suffered a great deal from a fire in their storage facility a few years later) and left over invitations. They kept everything.

So, happy anniversary, Mom and Dad ... I remembered!

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