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 12, 2023

Sunday Singalong - The heart and other body parts

With Valentine's day a mere 2 days hence, one cannot help but notice hearts all over the place! On the windows of stores, restaurants, service offices, . . .  everyone seems to love everyone. Well, until we turn on the news, or look on social media. I am dumbstruck by the amount of negativity in the world - smash & grab robberies (a new genre for the crooks), home invasion robberies, carjackings, . . .  it seems a lot of people are not even loving themselves. And then the various world events .  . .  Turkey's disaster is unfathomable, except that it's in front of us on the Internet or TV. In 1906, when San Francisco was rocked and much destroyed by a monumental earthquake, it was not visible to those out of the area. No TV. No Internet. Only when photos were printed in newspapers did folks in other areas realize just what had happened and to what degree the city and its citizens suffered. And still, over 100 years later, it's still hard to imagine, now that the city has rebuilt. And, we are to believe, better prepared for the next one. But in Turkey, the devastation was much worse; the buildings that should have been able to withstand at least some of the destruction, toppled. And so much loss of life. In San Francisco, there were fires all over the city . . . I haven't seen that in what we've been shown of Turkey, but instead, they are contending with horrible cold (something that is not really visible to the cameras' eyes). Some of those who died no doubt succumbed to freezing temperatures before they could be rescued.

Yet, amidst all of this, I have seen the positive side of humanity in the first responders . . . not just those who were from the region, but people from all over the world are going to help. No rewards. No overtime pay. Just helping their fellow human beings. Maybe I should not be quite so despondent about the inhumanity that also takes a front seat in news stories. And maybe those hearts that are displayed for folks to see are a reflection of the inner compassion of today's human beings. 

So, where is this going? Thinking of care and love, I guess . . . We need to have heart in order to proceed with relationships if they are to mean much. Of course, here I am referring to "heart" in a figurative sense, and the song that pops in my mind is from Damn Yankees. Last night, when I was listening to my favorite radio program - "The Midnight Special," on WFMT, Chicago - I heard a parody of that song by Alan Sherman. It made me smile (something that should happen more often with many of us), because of its very accurate message: "You Gotta have Skin"  The largest organ of the human body seems to be affected by the elements much quicker than the other organs. Sort of.

So, looking for a little smiling, a little love, a little appreciation for our various organs and recognition of how important they are, especially when they are working well together. So, I'm curious, what songs come to mind when you think of the human body, its fragility, yet its resilience as well? Any organ songs out there (or songs you can play on an organ? Well, that's going a bit too far afield)?

Happy Valentine's Day.

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