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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

(Winter) Solstice Singalong

 While I have re-instituted the Sunday Singalong blog this month, it occurs to me that there may need to be a slight adjustment (this, because the next 2 Sundays are Christmas and New Years) . . . it is just possible that folks will have other things planned for those days, and trying to catch a Sunday singalong would not be as effective as, say, a Winter Solstice Singalong, especially since today is 21 December. Now, I grant that I am posting this after 7pm PST (much later in most other US time zones) on the evening of the Solstice, but since it IS the longest night of the year (something my father mentioned when I asked why he and Mom chose this date to get married, back in 1940), there is plenty of time to throw your thoughts for a song to sing during, not just this date, but throughout the coming weeks (next Sunday Singalong blog planned for 8 January 2023). 

Why THIS date? Ahha, I wonder how many reading this are aware that it is (or was) "Make Music Winter Day." Yup, really. Don't believe me? Check here: MAKE MUSIC DAY . I notice that 2 of my incredibly talented grandsons (do any grandparents have untalented grandchildren? Don't answer that) are recognizing this event (maybe not as an official Make Music Day, but then again, perhaps...):

The older of the 2 brothers is the one in the red shirt, playing viola, and planning his college attendance in the not too distant future (hardly possible). In deference to the privacy of this young man and his family, I'll just say that he is an active and successful part of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO). Pride does not even begin to describe the feelings his grandpa and I have/have had for him and his brother (a violinist, not pictured).

Another reason for posting this blog on this date (i.e., before the holidays that will occupy much of the time of many of the people in this world and beyond), I wish to let music lovers everywhere (yes, everywhere) in on a wonderful "involvement" type, online, event that is FREE (though donations are more than gratefully accepted . . .  get yours in before the calendar removes it from IRS claims for 2022). This is sponsored, hosted, and run by the volunteers of The San Francisco Folk Music Club. It is their annual New Year's Camp Harmony, which, for many, many years, has been held in person. With that not feasible, for the last 2 years, I have enjoyed the club's music events since the pandemic moved into our lives and necessitated (for some) a Zoom-world. Non-SFFMC-members are also invited (see remarks about donations, above, but the event is still available if one's funds have not survived the rigors of holiday spending). What to expect: Songs, concerts, storytelling, games, workshops, and even dances (don't ask me how that is accomplished, but I've heard some great things) in a virtual event that consists of "rooms" that offer the items just mentioned, as well as "low key" rooms for visits and discussions and even "rest." I stay online throughout the entire experience, that begins on Friday, December 30th and continues, almost non-stop, through Monday, January 2nd (one listing shows that it is through "Sunday, January 2," a typo that was created when the info repeated the January date from last year . . . Honest, it is still going to the 2nd, but that's Monday). ANYWAY, mostly folk music (of all sub-genres). It is also perfectly acceptable to just come to listen; we can come and go from "rooms" as desired. And there are actual human "guides" (not auto-response robots) to assist in transitions, locating preferred events, etc. Schedules will be available throughout the weekend. So much to do, see and hear. And this year (my 3rd to attend) will be my first time presenting a workshop for this group: "managing stage fright, even online." Currently scheduled for Saturday, 31 December, 3pm PST (75 minutes, including Q/A and discussion). No need to pre-register for events, but it is necessary to get the Zoom link by registering for the Camp.   

Well, the links for all those parts of the SFFMC organization, in general, and Camp Harmony, in particular, are included above. I'd love to "see" you there (enabling personal camera not obligatory; but definitely be sure to mute your mic when not communicating on the Zoom platform), should your schedule permit (remember, registering for the camp is FREE and can be for a little, a lot, or all . . . though cloning in order to attend 2 simultaneously occurring programs is not one of the options; sorry). 

After all that, here's the Solstice Singalong "challenge": Check out the Make Music Day map to see what various locations are sites of MMD events . . . how about a song dealing nearby or with any one of those locations? It need not be a song of a place where you have visited, lived, or even thought much about, just a song you might enjoy or have family member(s) who sang/enjoyed. I have no idea how long that map will be available to view, so sooner, rather than later, may be helpful. 

The concept of the NAMM-sponsored event is for those participating to ring in the Solstice by sounding gongs along the "Resonant Path" (yes, my grandsons, mentioned above, have participated today). When thinking of the connection between gongs (or similar types of ringing devices) as connected to the grandparent/child relationship, I'm led immediately to think of "My Grandfather's Clock" (lyrics link to Mudcat Cafe, my favorite "find the song" website; song by Henry Clay Work - check out the song history and this YouTube version by Burl Ives) and my own grandfather as well as my grandchildren (2 of whom are were mentioned above . . . see map). 

Enjoy the long night and the movement to bring back the sun in the days ahead. Happy holidays (AKA Holy Days).

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday Singalong: Holidays, Foods, Songs

 Another week has passed and I have discovered that holiday music has been playing on public address and "muzak" players all over! It seems all have gotten into the holiday season with full immersion. I'm actually ready for it this year (that is, the music, not necessarily all the Christmas and related events . . . and I may not fully embrace it all before the first of January, so I am enjoying the lights and feel of the season - TV movies, foods, blog posts, etc. - vicariously . . . less cleanup? Sorry, my cynical side slipped out).

Well, I mentioned food. There was a time when I did baking and prepared holiday potluck dishes, etc. But as I have gotten older, I've learned a few things (about the actual food prep and my own behaviors):

1)    I tire rapidly when baking or doing any extensive cooking . . . so I don't any more.

2)    I will sample as I prepare and consume the product of my efforts afterwards . . . this is evident in short order once I pack the holiday implements away and attempt to wear clothing that had fit just fine prior to December (most of my holiday attire has been purchased a size or 2 higher than I might normally wear, to accommodate the holiday fare).

3)    If I don't bake, but still answer the door to visitors, goodies come into my home with little to no effort (see #2 for the drawback).

4)    I can actually enjoy the season without seasoning (e.g., sugar, salt, cinnamon, anise, cloves, etc.) . . . but do I really want to?

5)    Cleanup is a breeze when I am not the chef or baker!

6)    Amazing, pre-prepared foods of all types are readily available, and many stores deliver! Some items even involve a little, optional, personal touch (e.g., a quick warm-up in my oven, the addition of some powdered sugar, etc.), allowing me to look like the woman with the white thumb (especially if I put the items on my own good serving dishes).

So, here is the Sunday Singalong challenge:

So many holiday songs involve the mention of food or drink or actually are ABOUT consumables. Whether the song comes from the Christmas holiday, Kwanzaa celebration, Jewish tradition, New Year welcoming, or any others that might connect with your culture(s) or life, share the title, lyrics, link to a YouTube video, etc. Share the reason the song is remembered by or important to you. Here is my offering:

"The Candy Cane Tree" - written & sung by my friend, Tom Paxton. I'm not sure why this is one of my favorites on his Christmas CD (A Child's Christmas, 1992). Maybe because it is a non-controversial song (unless one has some issues with candy-cane-eating elves). It's also a song that screams, "everyone join in!" When I sing it at a music gathering, the chorus is picked up quickly and soon everyone is singing "The candy, the candy cane tree, I'll pick some for you if you pick some for me, For Christmas is coming, come hurry with me to the candy, the candy cane tree." (Now, I'm not sure why I can't pick my own and, instead, ask you to pick some for me, for which I'll reciprocate . . . maybe it is possible for me to look a little less greedy if the candy that overflows my basket is picked for someone else instead of for me . . . well, there goes my issue with the post-Christmas poundage.)

Want to hear it? check out "The Candy Cane Tree" by Tom Paxton on YouTube          

Want to get the CD? Yup, it's still available, 30 years later. Used copies are available online, but I usually end up with my "Fail Safe" resource: Amazon.com, A Child's Christmas (when I checked it out it shows I've ordered it twice in the last 4 years, probably as gifts . . . it's a great choice!).

And now, what foods are sung about during these months, extolling the wonders and benefits (or maybe cautions) of the edible treats in your life?

Sunday, December 4, 2022

The Blog returns . . . again . . . for real? Sunday Singalong

 In May 2020, I published my last blog (not meaning the "last," but the last one I've published in this program, to date . . . until now). This was not meant to be a swan song, but "things" started to "happen" after that posting and writing (pretty much anything - blogs, articles, letters, . . .) was not on the forefront of my gray matter. In other words, "I didn't feel like it." So, "do I now?" I hear you ask. Well, yes and no. I am trying to slowly become more human and less automaton, just going through the paces of life without actually doing things to improve it. I figure that this is a good place to start. For those unaware of it, my husband Butch died on 28 January 2021 and I have subsequently been dealing with the nuts and bolts of his demise along with the emotional issues. There is no doubt he was ready to go (physically and spiritually), but spending his last few weeks in hospice during the pandemic's height meant that we were not together and I was not permitted to visit him. This was not necessarily a bad thing. I am a notoriously bad nurse and have my own health issues, so serving as his primary caregiver for the duration of his illnesses (diabetes, heart & pulmonary issues, pancreatic cancer, and a multitude of less obvious concerns, such as deficiencies of certain vitamins, etc.) was hardly a walk in the park for either of us. But we spoke on the phone at least once a day and usually more, talking about a variety of things, few of which I remember now. In fact, in looking back, if he had been at home during those weeks, I would venture to say that we would have talked much less to each other - silent treatment can be preferable to bickering, which I am certain we would have done. Anyway, if you are interested in the whole sordid tale of Butch's illness experience, the details are recorded on Caring Bridge: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lynnbutchhibben

On to the blog post proper:

A very close friend (sisters of different parents, we think, but mentors to each other, too) and a couple of mutual "other" friends have been talking about getting more music and less hate and anxiety into the world. Well, I don't know much about the world and all its problems (and what I do know sends me back into auto-mode again), but I know what music does for me. And to me (sometimes helps me TO fall asleep, sometimes helps me TO stay awake, sometimes it seems TO energize me to get tasks done, and numerous other things). One thing that psychologists seem to agree on is that music can reach into people and can connect folks and even heal (more mental than physical, but that's a topic for another day). When I'm singing with friends or family, I definitely feel a sense of connection to and understanding of each other (which may or may not be real). That is one thing I tried to do with my "Sunday Singalong" blogs of a few years ago. I thought I'd try it again. 

So, here's how it works: I suggest a topic - say, "weather" - and those who want to participate respond with song titles or lyrics that incorporate that theme. The incorporation can be vague ("I like to sing this song when it's raining") or very specific ("Blue Skies"). Either way, do share some of the words and the reason(s) the song is of particular interest ("reminds me of my childhood," or "was sung at my grandfather's funeral," etc.). It's perfectly acceptable to include a link to a YouTube video (do not imbed the video or any other copyrighted material, just include the links with an explanation of where they will take us). Please keep this G, or at most, PG, rated - it would be fun to get this working with multiple generations (together or separately). No specific genre -  folk, blues, jazz, rock, heavy metal, show tune, ???)

During the height of the pandemic, I talked often with my brother (he's 6 years my senior and I often feel as if the age difference is reversed . . . I think he feels the same). What we do, and have always done, is help validate each other and encourage the other's interests, even when said interests don't interest us. We are each other's only sibling, but often say we were both "only children" because of the age difference. Bob (brother) was raised by novice parents, who made a number of mistakes (wow, who would've thought?). I, on the other hand, was raised by the same parents who often acted as if they were on top of the whole "raising kids" thing (they weren't), meaning that they made a number of mistakes. Having children growing up in different decades (he, the 1940s-early 1960s and me, the 1950s-1960s), who were of opposite sexes and totally different interests, abilities, and reactions to most things, around us at home or in the world could not have been easy for Mom and Dad. Bob and I were not completely close during our early years, but have made concerted efforts to get closer and stay that way as adults. He lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago and I am in Southern California. I have traveled to see him (and our folks, when they were alive) at least once every 2 years since I moved away (OK, he's come to see me, too, but only twice without some other business event dragging him west). But the last time we'd seen each other was in October 2019 and we all know what happened before another year passed. Bob and I were both adamant about not risking travel during the worst of things, but I'd finally gone long enough without my bro-fix and at the end of November, I flew "home." We had a great visit. Lots of game playing. Lots of talking. Sharing things about our various occupations and travel experiences - things we never took time to discuss on other visits. Oh, yes, and lots of health discussions. It was a wonderful week+ with my brother and sister-in-law and it has struck me that, in spite of time and distance, it is possible to stay connected (Bob is not really computer savvy, but if his wife turns on the machine and brings it to the right page, he can check his email . . . but I don't think he would do it without her intervention). I've discovered that I can continue to be close to him, despite his rejection of smart phones, computers, tablets, and whatever else the 21st Century has to offer. And there are a lot of songs out there that talk about brothers and sisters, often as a link to other elements, allowing a song to continue about 2 verses longer than it otherwise would if siblings were left out of the creation (like my song choice for this week). This can be uplifting to those of us with siblings, but might alienate the folks who are actually only children (both our parents were in that camp and it showed in their lack of understanding the bond that can exist only between kids who share parents - half, step, adopted, foster . . .).

The siblings Wilcox playing "Ticket to Ride":

So, for this week's Sunday Singalong, I am suggesting y'all share songs that mention siblings, use siblings as examples (such as the one I am proposing), or are simply songs you've shared with or remind you of your sibling. And for a possible expansion of sibling relationships, I've included a little bibliography here, for additional reading pleasure (but no test on this). Enjoy.

(Note: This is not meant to be a Monday-only response post . . . carry it into this week; a new topic - I hope - will be presented next Sunday.)


(Verses: "Sister, help to trim the sail . . . " and "Brother, lend a helping hand . . ." - hey, it could have said "Sister, make the lunch for the trip . . ." remind us that the boat being rowed is carrying the whole family!)

Great version by the Highwaymen (even though it leaves out the "brother" verse): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRv-fgfLFTk

It is proposed that this is a slave song and that it has a rich heritage in America. Read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael,_Row_the_Boat_Ashore

Bibliography (cut & paste links . . . I am hoping all are still valid but no time to check)

American Academy of Pediatrics, “Types of Sibling Relationships,” Healthy Children website, 21 November 2015 (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/Types-of-Sibling-Relationships.aspx [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Ivy Blonwyn, “Siblings’ Vastly Different Experiences and Memories from Growing up in the SAME Family,” Psych Central: Full Heart, Empty Arms blog, 7 January 2019 (https://blogs.psychcentral.com/full-heart/2019/01/siblings-vastly-different-experiences-and-memories-from-growing-up-in-the-same-family/ [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Robert Bly, The Sibling Society, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1996.

Daniel Coleman, “Spacing of Siblings Strongly Linked to Success in Life,” New York Times online, 28 May 1985 (https://www.nytimes.com/1985/05/28/science/spacing-of-siblings-strongly-linked-to-success-in-life.html [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Katherine Jewsbury Conger and Wendy M. Little, “Sibling Relationships during the Transition to Adulthood,” National Center for Biotechnology Information website, 9 August 2010 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917987/ [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Family Caregiver Alliance, “Caregiving and Sibling Relationships: Challenges and Opportunities,” Family Caregiver Alliance®: National Center on Caregiving website, 1 March 2003 (https://www.caregiver.org/caregiving-and-sibling-relationships-challenges-and-opportunities [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Charles Fernyhough, “Mind Bending: Why our Memories are not Always our Own,” Independent website, 15 July 2012 (https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/mind-bending-why-our-memories-are-not-always-our-own-7939049.html [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Charles Fernyhough, “Shared Memories and the Problems They Cause,” The Guardian online, 13 January 2012 (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/14/shared-memories-problems-they-cause [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Anna Goldfarb, “How to Maintain Sibling Relationships,” New York Times online, 8 May 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/smarter-living/how-to-maintain-sibling-relationships.html [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Joshua K. Hartshorne, “How Birth Order Affects Your Personality,” Scientific American online, 1 January 2010 (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ruled-by-birth-order/ [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Marvin G. Knittel, “Why do Siblings have Different Memories of Growing up?,” Psychology Today online, 16 August 2016 (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-help-friend/201608/why-do-siblings-have-different-memories-growing [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, “Healthy Sibling Relationships,” Psychology Today online, 26 April 2014 (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/teen-angst/201404/healthy-sibling-relationships [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Shelley MacDonald, Kimberly Uesiliana, and Harlene Hayne, “Cross-cultural and Gender Differences in Childhood Amnesia,” Memory 8:6, pp. 365-376, online article (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Harlene_Hayne/publication/12184335_Cross-cultural_and_gender_differences_in_childhood_amnesia/links/02bfe50f6eb5e61bd3000000.pdf [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Rachael Rettner, “Birth Order Affects Child’s Intelligence and Personality,” Live Science, 12 August 2010 (https://www.livescience.com/6852-birth-order-affects-childs-intelligence-personality.html [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Frank J. Sulloway, “Birth Order, Sibling Competition, and Human Behavior,” in Conceptual Challenges in Evolutionary Psychology: Innovative Research Strategies online, chapter 2, pp. 39-83, January 2002 (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226362511_Birth_Order_Sibling_Competition_and_Human_Behavior [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Jocelyn Voo, “How Birth Order Affects Your Child’s Personality and Behavior,” Parents online, undated (https://www.parents.com/baby/development/social/birth-order-and-personality/ [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Meri Wallace, “The Effect of Birth Order on Children,” Psychology Today online, 31 May 2016 (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-raise-happy-cooperative-child/201605/the-effect-birth-order-children [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

Nikolay A. Zolotarev, “Direct vs. Collateral Relationships,” Nikolay’s Genetics Lessons YouTube video, 8 November 2017 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVshjmiAV5o [accessed by Jean Wilcox Hibben, 18 January 2019]).

(And, yes, my brother and I have been known to sing together . . . just not in public)