About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"America's Heart and Soul" - Disney movie

When you think of the "heart and soul" of America, what comes to mind? Some will mention jobs, others will bring up values, family, religion, freedom, etc. I think that some people will consider the vast differences in geography as one travels from one end of the country to the other. In fact, when we made our most recent trek across country, I paid special attention to the changes in weather and terrain as we went from west to east and back again. We could start a day in the desert and end in the plains of Texas; we went from mountains to flatlands in the space of a few hours. There was a lot of constant in the temperature (most days were over 100 degrees), but the change in humidity was dramatic from the beginning days of the trip to those in the middle.

However, how many of us think of the different types of music that are prevalent in the different geographic areas? Last week I saw an amazing movie (sort of by accident - just channel surfed and there it was): "America's Heart and Soul" (released in 2004). If you require your movies to have a clear plot and segues, this one won't be your cup of tea, but if you are interested in variety, types of people, a look into lifestyles, and (here is where I was hooked) a glimpse at different musical styles, this is just the film that you should see. No, it's not for everyone: there is no sex or violence or offensive language (can we really see an entire movie without any of that? What a shock!). For those of us who want to get a break from all that "normal stuff" we are bombarded with every day, then check this one out. This video can be purchased from Amazon.com (there's even a classroom version).

Why I liked it: the music. From New Orleans jazz to family and friends gathering after a hard day's work to swap fiddle tunes. The message that I took from it is that music is part of a normal life; it may not be the main focus of people's lives, but it has a role in making the hard stuff easier to take and the good times that much more enjoyable. And people don't have to play the instruments to enjoy them. So it continues to promote what I've been saying all along: music and families (those alive as well as those who have gone on before) are connected.

A less than complimentary, but very comprehensive review, can be read here.

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