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, January 22, 2023

Sunday Singalong - New Years, New Plans, New People

I have determined how to handle my blogging! A new idea (for me) has come into my head (yes, almost all my blogging friends are already wise to this): Just do the writing as the ideas come to mind and schedule the appearance in the blog for the most appropriate time. 

I know it's a little late for "new year," but, at least in my world, the year stays "new" for at least a few weeks. We've had a lot of rain in Southern California and, while everything feels water-logged, it also tends to feel somewhat new (OK, in some places the slick of mud covering almost everything probably gives it more tarnish). I remember, as a kid, doing summers in some wooded location in Wisconsin or Minnesota, the rain seemed to wash off the dirt and leave the trees glistening . . . maybe that's my "picture" of my yard following a good washing . . . even if it is not quite as I remember. So, as long as we are dealing with the rain and then the resulting (or consecutively) appearing greenery, it's still a "new" year.

What songs come to mind when thinking of "new"? Are there plans, people, places, perspectives, ?? There are so many! They don't all scream "THIS IS NEW" . . . but perhaps the information is new to you or to someone who expressed that to you. Some of the oldest songs, when heard for the first time, could be expressing something new, or just be new, to the listener. The first time one hears "Oh, Susanna," "Camptown Ladies," "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?," etc. may come with some "revelation" or connection to a time and/or place in the past.

I was introduced to folk music when I probably hadn't yet learned to talk! My entire family has love and appreciation and respect for music. My mother said I got my musicality from her side of the family, citing the type of household her grandmother was raised in: one where concerts were held in their home and how she, Grandma Carrie, as a small child, would put "pins in the piano keys." They lived in Bohemia (Teplitz and Bilin), where they were acquainted with some great musicians (or so the story goes . . . sadly, I've proved the story probably more a tall tale than family history, but the music love is very real). It was Mom's side of the family from which the various old instruments originated (violin, mandolin, parlor banjo, even the piano) and became mainstays in our home. 

But my father would say my love of music came from his side of the family. He learned to play piano as a youngster but preferred to play organ, which he was able to do at church. His cousin taught him all she could, then passed him on to a more accomplished musician he never named (probably because he out-shone anyone they could afford to hire). I'd like to think that I "inherited" the love, talent, interest, affinity for . . . whatever you call it . . . from both sides equally. Maybe I'm atavistic (having characteristics of remote ancestors) and the origin of my enchantment of music may not really be something one can pinpoint. Whatever, learning a new song can be a memorable experience (whether I like the song or not . . . not all memories are good), at least for me. So let me suggest my "offering" on the subject for this blog on "new" stuff, to be a song I have recently learned (new to me); or perhaps I should qualify that as "renewed."

Yes, I learned this "way back when" (in the 1960s, recorded by The Seekers; written by Tom Springfield). Interestingly, as I read the lyrics (again), I picked up a new appreciation for the words as they might apply to someone who has lost his/her life partner or eternal companion (my new role in life these days). This, then, I guess, makes "I'll Never Find Another You" fit the "new" category.  



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