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, February 5, 2023

Sunday Singalong - February Follies

For the first 21 or so years of my life, I dealt with weather in Illinois (northern suburb of Chicago, right by the lake - well, about a mile away - where we had a certain shelter from some of the worst of Midwest weather experiences . . . The "Lake Effect"). Still, moving west and living in California for the last almost 50 years has meant I haven't needed any lake effects to protect me from the snow. Winds are another matter I won't address here. Anyway, that said, it's no wonder that I have accepted the first 2 months of a new year with some annoyance . . . even in California, the weather can get a bit, well, annoying. (I don't mention the last month or so of a year because all the excitement of the holidays does have a way of tempering the temperatures.)

For about 13 years (from 1998-2011) I hosted a video watching party at my home over groundhog day weekend. People would come from a large number of places (yup, even had some visitors from the UK a time or two); we'd spread out the sleeping bags, and laugh throughout much of the nights. While enduring some of the worst of the California weather, I had some of the best times. There's nothing like friends to get one out of the doldrums. I miss those days, but also know that, as I'm getting older, sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor has less and less appeal. But good times can never be downplayed. I may not have "February Follies" as in times past, but the memories bring back laughter and provide a different type of warmth. Do any follies (not necessarily connected to February) come to mind?

So, I'm afraid that, when I think of "follies," I am also reminded of times, which some people I know have had, as a result of a little bit too much imbibing. Now, I'll never admit to that being me, though there was a time when it might have been (not sure I remember those times, though). And that automatically triggers thought of the performances of my friend, Tom Paxton, and his composition "Wasn't that a Party?" Sadly, I could not find a YouTube video of him performing this live, but I did locate an authorized copy of the song in that format. In fact, the entire album on which it was first recorded by Tom, is featured, so I am linking that here. All the songs on that recording are fun to listen to (the first time, or hundred-and-first time): 

"Wasn't that a Party" from

New Songs for Old Friends

Your turn: any follies you can think of, with the songs that express them?


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