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.

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)

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