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Discussion in 'MOC 2021 Challenges' started by bestcee, Jan 11, 2021.
In 1976 I became pen pals with a lady who lived in England. We became fast friends, wrote often, called each other every New Years and in 1987 her family paid for her to come to visit me for 2 weeks. Her name is Joan and for years we talked about me visiting her, but I knew that was not in the cards as my family did not have the money for that kind of trip. Christmas of 1990 I received a most unusual call from Joan's mother. She said that Joan has never stopped talking about her visit and all she has wanted was for me to come to England and meet her family. In August of 1991 Joan would be turning 50 and her mother,Margaret and husband wanted to give her a big surprise - ME! Margaret knew I could not afford this trip and she wanted to tell me that if I said yes, everything would be paid for and I would not have to worry about anything. She would get the tickets and I'd be staying at Joan's so no hotel room, no food, just a little bit of money to spend on souvenirs. Margaret said to think about it and talk to my family and she would call me back after New Years....but don't tell Joan when she calls on New Years Day.
It is hard to fathom all the wonderful things I got to experience during my 2 week visit, I don't think there was anything I missed. I got to ride a train into London, ride in a famous Black Cab, and on a double decker bus. I saw the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Place, the Crown Jewels at Windsor Castle, walked across the famous Tower Bridge and visited the Tower of London where Henry the 8th locked away his wives. I walked on London Bridge, heard Big Ben chime, and stood in the sanctuary of St. Paul's Cathedral. I saw the pidgeon’s of Trafalgur Square ( my least favorite thing as I'm not a pidgeon person) and then visited Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Margaret had some special surprises in store for me also, she made reservations at the famous Ritz Hotel for High Tea where we had cucumber sandwiches, clotted cream, and of course tea. After, she took us to a broadway type show. What a special evening. The next day I learned that Margaret used to be a Nanny for the children of the Duke of Northumberland and she had made arrangements for a special tour of his London estate. We went in the back door, not the tourist door and were escorted through the home into rooms no one else got to see, then we were served a light lunch in a very formal dining room. Later we toured the Sion Butterfly house on the property, the home of hundreds of beautiful butterflies, I've never seen anything like this before.
Everyday as we toured and visited sites around London, we would find these wonderful little "Pubs" to stop and eat and drink lots of Guiness. They were all so quaint, and all the outsides were decorated with hanging flower baskets and looked like little garden centers, in fact as we came to the first one I asked if we could go into this cute "garden center"...they laughed and we went in and that's how I learned they did not sell flowers. It was the standing joke after that, every time we came to one of the pubs Margaret would say "let’s see what this garden center has to offer", and in we would go for a "little nip", as she called it. I've never drank so much in my life as I did on those tours.
This was truly the trip of a lifetime for me, one I shall never forget. It is now 2021, and 45 years has gone by since Joan and I became pen pals, more like "pen sisters". We still write, call each other and share lots of wonderful memories.
Well as always when I see a journaling prompt my shoulders go straight up under my ears. And when I saw the 500 word count, I thought, nope, no way, not going to happen. But then I began to write. And these were words I needed to get out because I miss this old farm. And I needed to go back there if for just a little while. So thank you for the challenge. Here is my page: Word count 573
731 words just scratches the surface of this subject for me. There's always more to be told.
My genealogical journey started in 1965 when I was pregnant with our first child. Jim had a boss who invited us for dinner. His wife asked me about my family history and soon learned that it was definitely incomplete by her standards. You see, she was into genealogy big time as she came from an illustrious family where one of her ancestors had been the governor of Mississippi and she was, understandably, proud of her heritage. Soon after she gifted me with the Gilbert Doane book (there were very few genealogy books at that time and I was not aware of any of them). She set in motion a journey that would consume me off-and-on for the rest of my life. The book she gave me was the third edition which was published in 1960 but the original was published in 1937!
Having always been a good student and eager to learn, I attempted, as best I could, to follow the instructions in the book. I interviewed relatives, asking question after question. I filled in family trees on printed forms. I took notes. I was pursuing my father’s line with a passion. Unfortunately in my ignorance of what would later be important to my research, I was trying to get the chart filled out. The people were names on lines on a form -- not flesh and blood people that I wanted to know more about. Life was soon filled with a baby, jobs and limited funds. We lived in Memphis, Tennessee a three hour drive from where I grew up.
Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that if my direct ancestors couldn’t tell me something, maybe collateral relatives could (the brothers and sisters of my own ancestors). So I started asking about them. Where did they live? Could I get addresses so that I might write them asking for information? Those letters I typed on a manual typewriter and I learned to make a question sheet that could be filled out and returned in the stamped self-addressed envelope I included. I waited and watched the mailbox for replies. Sometimes I received one. Often I did not. Occasionally I got one that basically said “mind your own business.” But with every letter I asked for names and addresses of others who might be able to help and kept writing. I also learned that I needed to visit courthouses in the area where my ancestors had lived and search records there. Oh, but that meant time and travel and money to do so. Usually it meant going back to the county where I grew up and the adjoining ones. My mother was totally unsympathetic to my efforts and got her “nose out of joint” when I visited there and wanted to take off and go to the courthouse. But my dad was willing to take me to visit distant relatives and so I progressed bit by bit and have some happy memories of this time we spent together.
Today’s starting genealogists have no idea what research was like before the days of home computers and internet, before the launching of Ancestry and Find A Grave, before the plethora of published materials.
In the intervening years, I have made many trips to conferences and workshops to learn; to courthouses and state archives, to the LDS library in Salt Lake City. I’ve expanded my search to include maternal lines and connections. I’ve spent thousands of hours reading old and faded handwriting hunched over a microfilm reader. I have many “brick-wall problems” where hours, days and weeks of research did not yield the information I needed. I have experienced burn out and put the whole thing all aside for several years. But I have priceless memories of far flung distance relatives I have met or communicated with who were gracious in welcoming and sharing.
Now I realize I need to clearly define my goals, limit my scope and get busy organizing and writing up my research -- a monumental task. I owe it to those who have helped me through the years to do that and place it in repositories where generations who come after me will be able to access it. It means that in 2021 I must limit some other things I enjoy and get busy on documenting this often frustrating but always fascinating search for my ancestors.
oups .. out my comfort zone but nice ! Thank you !
I don't usually have an issue with enough words, but I had to reach a little deeper than expected as I started writing out this story -- 545 words
Thanks for the challenge, there's about 600 words
You have some wonderful stories here!!
We should have a meet up! @Karen is right over the border in MI, and @tradtke and @Dalis are in/around Chicago.
A challenge for me for sure, Courtney! But it was fun!!
This pandemic needs to end so we can go for some donuts or something @Tree City Sara is nearby too.
Mine came to 653 words with the title.
My Mom had this curio cabinet where she displayed her Royal Wheat dishes and her blue glass dishes. I now have the cabinet and I am displaying my teacup and teapot collection, where the teapot and accessories on the left of the third shelf down were part of my Mom’s dishes. It brings me such joy seeing them sitting in the cabinet. In all actuality, all my collection brings me joy just as going out for tea brings me joy. Although it was a lot of work putting on, our two in house teas was also a source of great joy and memories. It was the first time Gigi had black tea. She loved it, which isn’t surprising, because she has a British, Irish, and Scottish lineage as part of her ancestry,
For a time, I was having fun trying to find teacups and teapots from countries mentioned in our ancestry. The tea service on the top shelf right is Royal Tara made in Ireland. It is so cute with all the shamrocks on it. I found this set on Ebay. I just wish the teapot would hold more water. We all like tea.
The mugs on the top shelf left also bring me joy for an extra special reason. I found these mugs at Christmas time in a set with tea from of all places K Mart. What amazes me is they are porcelain and made in England. It seems now that you see designed in England but not made in England on teaware.
What makes these mugs special is because I bring two of them when we go traveling and stay in motels. I always have tea with the continental breakfast. I have always hated the paper, or foam cups the motels use. Now we bring our mugs along and the tea tastes so much better. Also, they are a reminder of fun times.
The orange teacups on the second shelf left make me laugh to look at them. I was looking for inexpensive but nice teacups for the tea that Tia and I were hosting for family and friends. I saw these orange teacups and was so tempted to buy them. I was talking to Tia and told her about them and then I was talking to Rich about them. They are lustreware from the 1920’s and I was debating on buying them. They were made in Czechoslovakia which is also part of my heritage. Rich thought I should buy them but when I went back they were already sold. The funny part is a couple weeks later Scott and Tia gave me a thank you gift. It was the teacups. These teacups will always have special memories attached to them.
The two teacups under the orange ones are a Royal Albert and an Aynsely. I nearly fell over when I found these at a consignment shop for $3.00 each. At this same consignment shop, I found the bell shaped teapot. It is a Sadler. It was tucked away in a corner of a dark case. This was not quite the buy because it cost me $40.00. But, I like it so it was worth it.
I am not an antiquer but one day we were going up to Green Bay to spend the day. I had to use the restroom, so I asked Rich to pull off of 43. He did. We went right past a huge antique store. I told him on the way back to 43 I wanted to stop. They didn’t have much of interest to me and their prices were expensive. I did find the yellow rose teacup at the back of the shop. It was $9.00. I thought that was a reasonable price for a souvenir of our day. I also think it pairs well with the Sadler teapot.
I am so blessed to have so many treasures. January 11, 2021.
Mine came out easier than I expected it, but I can't post until SOSN is posted. I know I am such a tease!
When I saw your sample layout "Why Columbus?" I KNEW what my page was going to be - a scraplift of your page, only my move was to Columbus Ohio! Thanks for the inspiration!
566 Words - typed out in gallery description
phew, I wasn't sure I could do this one, journaling is really a challenge for me!!!