Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally, I am a Social Worker!


I was really “OK” with “retirement.” I didn’t “need” anything; not really, although there’s always some “thing” a woman wants to buy, and I couldn’t always do that. When I broke my foot; Jerry and I decided that I would not go back to work at my part-time job. We both agreed that if something came along that I was interested in, I most certainly would consider it, but otherwise, I would be a community volunteer, gym rat and grandmother, as well as keeping my household running and MAYBE, even cooking! (Let’s not go overboard!)

Something came up. My long-time and very good friend Ellen called me about a position as a “care coordinator” at the Fairborn Senior Center. This would be 30 hours a week and it would be casework, information and referral, and God only knows what else. 

Back up a little. I went to Wright State University from June of 1971 until August of 1974 and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work. At that time, the peak population of the Baby-Boomers were clamoring for every type of job in every industry. It was no different in Social Work, but I had a plan; or so I thought.

I moved to Columbus—yeah, for a guy, who I quit dating in a month!—and I had a job working in a wholesaler for flooring, carpet and linoleum. I worked the phones and took orders for hard surface. I didn’t hate this job; it really was like family to this 21-year-old girl who was on her own for the first time. I didn’t make much, but I put food on my own table and I was independent. But the idea was to find a Social Work position and then work toward my Masters. At that time The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland were the only schools in Ohio with Masters in Social Work Degrees. It made sense.

I took tests and applied, but I never found a job; although I enjoyed many things about that year, but for me it was that “away year” that I did not experience while living at home attending college. However, when my father had a heart attack on my brother’s 12th birthday, September 14, 1975, at the age of 45; it was a very simple decision to just come back to Fairborn and go from there.

Since I only had two more years with my Dad, I have NEVER regretted that decision, and the ultimate change it made in my life’s path.

I got a job working at the old Farmers and Merchants Bank on Main Street, and that is where I worked with Ellen as 21 and 22-year-old young women.  I met Jerry in October of 1975 and I lived at home until December of 1976, when I moved into an apartment by myself. That year was a year of reestablishment of my life and helping out at home as I was able.

Jerry proposed—I guess that’s what we called it—in January of 1977, and we were formally engaged (putting-it-in-the-paper engaged) in April, and married in November. As I have mentioned, my father died in August of that year.

So, life changed. Although I worked hard at my job at the bank, I never had the opportunity to go back to school and I never pursued anything else. We were 31 and 24 when we married and our first child was born six years later, and our second five after that. We weren’t young parents.

The one thing I was adamant about was raising my kids myself. Since I didn’t have a high-paying job, and we had not invested in my education to change that situation, I was NOT spending a large percentage of my income on daycare. And I wanted to be a mom!

So, I was a mom! And during those years, I contributed in many ways to the household budget and I am not going to bore you with all of those ways, but I never got back to Social Work.

In early 2008, while I was employed by the Springfield Museum of Art, Ellen called me about a position at the Senior Center, but it was part-time and at that point in my life, I couldn’t afford to work part-time. HOWEVER, this encouraged me to get my license!

Now, thirty four years after graduation, getting one’s license is as invasive as a colonoscopy! First of all, I had to apply and be accepted to even TAKE the test. I had just moved back to Fairborn, and God only knew where my transcripts were, so it was in my best interest to send Wright State University a nice crisp check! I had to have the thorough state and federal (read: expensive) background checks, and I could THEN apply to take the test. It was scheduled for September 2008. I had all summer to study; I bought study aids and took an online class, and I actually took TWO practice tests and got in the mid-80% range, which I thought was fabulous thirty four years after college graduation!

I must have had some anxiety for the test itself, and I wasn’t thrilled with a 78%, but you know, NO ONE asks what you got on the test. I passed it and thereby was licensed as a Social Worker with the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board. My actual license date is the end of October, so it took another six weeks to achieve that.

I had a certificate. I had a license #. I was licensed!

I applied for several jobs, only to be told I didn’t have enough experience. I know that one of the organizations hired a recent college graduate. Yeah. After a period of time, I realized this wasn’t going to happen. I renewed my license in 2010, which involved getting 30 credit hours of continuing education and a check to CSWMFT for $60; but I wasn’t planning to renew in 2012.

Until Ellen called.

I hope you have stayed with me, I have written 1000 words, and am just getting to the meat of this story.

On July 25, 2012, I began my work with the Fairborn Senior Center. I am already doing stuff that I remember how and what to do—even though all the laws and procedures have changed. I have clients to see and I need to learn what agencies to refer to. They all have their procedures and I need to learn that too. It’s a lot to learn!

However, I work with very nice people; and I will be involved with the Center on two levels; some social events, but primarily the social services area. There is paperwork. There are phone calls. There are walk-ins. There are home visits. It is all going to be challenging to me. But I will get it, and at the end of the week, I will have helped people, and I feel great about myself!

And......listen to me, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the feeling of signing my name on all that paperwork,

Denise Derge, LSW



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hanging Loose

My husband and I had been saving for a trip for some time and it did not happen for our 30th anniversary; but we knew the first place we wanted to go was Hawaii. After all, how is it that your kids get to go there before you do? It was time!

In early 2009, I chose to become unemployed for a period of time. I didn’t expect it to be such a long time, and at a certain point, we said, “Let’s take this opportunity and go to Hawaii.” After looking at many travel brochures, our trip was scheduled for late August.

As with all of our major vacations, we travel with a tour group. We enjoy broadening our friendships and learning about new people as well as the places we go. While I would not recommend this COMPANY again, we had a wonderful time with the people.

Here's me and the guy I was travelling
with, "hanging loose." I don't have
permission to use pictures of the
women I am discussing.
When people ask me what I liked most about the trip to Hawaii, I find it easy to answer. It was not the glorious scenery, although there was plenty of that. Jerry and I like to “do it all” and we go to everything, which makes us tired; but we enjoy and learn something about everything. To the average citizen, all “Hawaiian” dancing looks alike after awhile. The dancing was their method of telling stories, but to me, it all looked very similar. For instance, there was always a fire-eater.

The Road to Hana scared the crap out of me; far beyond any ride in any amusement park, which are all controlled. But we took in fabulous scenery and we ate well. We went to several shows in Honolulu before we began to travel the other islands.

However, my favorite part of the trip began after we got out of the city. Our first hotel (on Kauai) was on a beach, non-swimmable, but scenic. We were there two nights and the first night, several of us women took our chairs from the pool and went down and sat on the beach. This began what I called “the sorority.”

Although a few “pairs” were travelling together; none of us knew each other before the trip. We just talked about girl stuff. I remember the first night, one of them (probably 18-20 years younger than I) talked about losing her teenage son. We talked about happy times, sad times and just the stuff of life that all—well maybe not all—women experience.

We never called this a “girls thing,” because every once in awhile a man would come sit down with us and then eventually leave. We went on for HOURS. As they say in Hawaii, we did indeed "hang loose!"

We pretty much did this every night, at every location, for the rest of the trip. We all took a drink and sat around the pool at the motel we were staying at, or some similar type of location. We talked about everything from our own lives, to that of current events, to what we were experiencing on the trip. We were a diverse group of ages, races, careers and marital statuses. Granted, we had a schedule to consider, but these “girl times” probably happened 7 or 8 times during the two-week trip—they did not happen while we were in the city the first part of the trip.

Now, those of us who were married did not ditch our husbands. We had plenty of time for them. We had a schedule to keep, and we had to be mindful of our need for sleep. I think we ranged in age from mid-30’s to late 60’s. These were not 3:00 A.M. talks, and some were actually in the late afternoon.

It was special. Women can bond quickly in a way I don’t believe men do. I would love to hear from some guys on this. The guys came and went, and we stayed and talked, and talked and talked. We never ran out of subjects; there are so many experiences and feelings common to women.

I came home with lots of pictures, and some souvenirs. But these memories are in my heart.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Fitness Journey: One More

One rep, one pound, one minute.

How do I increase my workouts in a safe manner?

By just remembering, “One More.”

Add one more repetition of the exercise, one more pound of the weight lifted, or one more minute of the time spent.

Perhaps it will be one more “number” on the exercise equipment, for me, adding one number of resistance on the bicycle, and when I am able to walk the treadmill, adding one more number of incline.

Adding "one more" gives me the confidence that I can continue to do more, and destroys the fear of boundaries. I have come a long way, and when I honestly think, "I will never be able to do that," I believe, in time, I can prove myself wrong.

If I can add “just one” each week, I will build strength and make progress.

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On May 31st I fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in my foot. This debacle is detailed in my blog entry “Derailed,” which was written in early June. Although I continued to follow my eating plan, I did no weight-bearing exercising. I did lift weights. Legacy Fitness generously froze my account, and I didn’t go exercise for about 6 weeks.

After my left foot cast was removed, I could not wait to get back to the gym. However, my goals are different at this very unique time in my life.

The most important thing is to not re-injure my foot. The second thing is to build up strength so that in a few short weeks, when my husband and I take our thirty-fifth anniversary trip to Alaska; I can enjoy it, function well on the sight-seeing we will be doing, and have the stamina to last through a day!

Originally I wrote this blog entitled “Just One More.” I am going to adapt that idea, from the perspective of re-establishing strength. I will give some examples. These are my examples. Yours would be different, but the principals are the same.

Previously I talked about the idea of adding one more repetition, one more level of weight, one more minute of cardio. The idea is just to keep building, to gain strength and also to break through a “plateau” period in terms of weight loss.

For now, it’s more about strength. Yes, I am still counting the calories and watching what I eat; but strength is my goal. Toning is a great by-product, but I want to be strong and have stamina for this upcoming trip.

I am not walking the treadmill yet, but I started on the recumbent bicycle the first day. Day One was only 10 minutes, Day Two was 15, Day Three was 20 and Day Four was 30. Next it’s time to add resistance, although I have pretty much been at max for most of the time. Then, it’s time to start putting more effort into it.

I'm BAAACK! And I have no shame!
I know I am not ready for classes; and frankly I would rather not lift free weights right now. So I work in the circuit room. My personal trainer “Wicked Amy” and I had already decided that 15 reps is my maximum. So I began the first day with 10 times 2, with a minimum of 20-30 lbs, depending on the machine. (More poundage on legs and abs) Each time, I increase by two repetitions until I get back to 15. At that time, I begin to add weights. Eventually it will be three times 15. One step at a time.

It’s important to realize that even when a certain part of my body is stronger, and it’s easier to do those repetitions with, for instance, my legs as opposed to my bum shoulder; that I keep the reps about the same with all the body parts and keep it balanced. Not only because I want all parts strong and toned, but if I do something that seems “easy,” I will do more reps of that and tire more easily for the rest of the workout. I don’t want that.

It’s not about “feeling the burn” right now, it’s about gaining daily strength. Feeling the burn will come later, after I get back from my trip. Cardio is ALWAYS important, so the importance of building that up is my higher priority.

Recovery has different goals than starting from scratch. The good news is that I am NOT back to square one. I know it will come.

The bad news, Amy, is that I am NOT into tire-flipping for awhile! A LONG WHILE!


P.S. Amy, after a week, I AM feeling the burn! Worry not!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

More Than Physical Fitness


We have established that I began my Fitness Journey this year, because I have spent many decades with bad habits that got me to the place that I am now. For many years, I was everything to everyone; I worked full-time, kept a house, was active in a church and followed two children in five sports. It.never.ended. It wasn’t that I sought out to eat unhealthily; it’s just that I didn’t pay attention to what I was eating and how much of it I was eating.

We ate on the run. I walked with walking tacos. During Joel’s Little League years McDonald’s and Subway opened restaurants in Enon. I had CHOICES! But I still didn’t pay attention.

And pop! I can remember drinking 35 ounces of regular Pepsi a day. I still drink some diet soda, but have cut way back. I just have not reached the place where I have cut it out entirely. I sincerely consider myself a “recovering Pepsiholic” with no disrespect to friends with any sort of addiction. ONE Pepsi is dangerous to me!

I crave it, still.

This blog is about MORE than just the Physical Fitness that I have let languish.

It’s important that we “keep fit” in all aspects of life. I will admit, it’s like fighting wars on several fronts at once; but it’s important.

Mental:

It’s so easy to let this part slip. If we are still working, we are focused on what we have to do that day (and while we are at work we are thinking about the tasks that need doing when we get home), and by the time all of that is done, the last thing we want to do is read or watch something that will stretch our brain cells. We want to veg out!

Whatever our life’s circumstances are, we need to exercise our brain. It doesn’t have to be learning a new thing, although I do recommend that at times, but continuing to read, to participate in something challenging. I never got into crossword puzzles, but if that’s what you like, do them! No one ever knows all the answers, and having to look something up is good for you!

I believe that we should be well-read on the news, and I am not talking movie stars here. This is a discipline of mine to this day, reading a morning newspaper. It doesn’t have to be a physical paper, although I believe I will subscribe all the days of my life, but read your news. AND be aware of the leanings of the source! Keep balanced here, don’t just get your news from one channel or one newspaper only.

I think it’s always good to have one new project. There is no time frame for this. If you are the type of person who has 11 projects going on around the house, and has difficulty finishing what you start, just remember, a “mental” project does not have to be limited. Whether it’s reading War and Peace, or a book of crossword or Sudoku puzzles you want to finish, there does not have to be a deadline. There are enough of those at work. Let this be your leisure in the true sense of the word. But do something mental!

Spiritual:

Most of my readers know that I am a Christian; but today I am not pushing my faith. However, I am telling you to nourish the spiritual side of you. If that means reading “scriptures,” meditation or prayer of some sort, and just “being” in the presence of that which you consider to be your spiritual guide. I am a firm believer of meeting together with like-minded folks on a regular basis. This bleeds over into the next area, but again, do this!

Emotional:

If I were a betting woman, I would bet that well over 50% of my married readers are married to the opposite of what they are re: introvert vs. extrovert. (Single readers, be aware!) Introverts and extroverts have different emotional needs. My reader knows which camp I am in, but that is not to disrespect the other camp. We all have our needs. The extrovert is energized by people, the introvert is worn out by them. The introvert can be worn out by the extrovert! Nevertheless, both need to have their emotional needs met in some way. Whichever you are, make sure you are spending (1) enough time with people who replenish you in some way; or (2) getting enough “alone” time to recharge your batteries so that you too are nourished. Couples, recognize this in each other. Provide for each other.

Incidentally, sometimes two extroverts are married to each other, or two introverts, but we are all on a continuum and one is going to be more of one thing than the other. The same rules apply.

We all know I am the extrovert, but there is such a thing as people overload! This is one reason why I do like the Internet; I have my “people,” but they are not right with me all the time!

Each of us needs to stretch against our tendencies too. It’s just better for us to do that. The introvert needs to push him/herself to do things that are good for all concerned, and the extrovert needs to quiet down and make sure there is quality time for the introvert. If you are single, or living with someone other than a spouse/partner, these same rules apply to an extent.

Everything in moderation. Each of these four areas of our lives needs to be nourished and challenged. We need to be pressing forward, not remaining stagnant. “Forward” will have a different meaning for each one of us. BUT……do it! Someway, somehow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Other" Moms

Disclaimer: I actually wrote this blog BEFORE I wrote the one on "Other Dads" for Father's Day. That one was about the men in MY life who were like fathers to me. I certainly could write a companion piece for that--perhaps for Mother's Day next year. This is for my children's "other moms."

I noticed a comment on Facebook the other day. It was from one of my friends to a young man (whom I know, and I am friends with his mother) who had been in a recent accident. She said her piece and signed it “your ‘other’ Mom.” That got me to thinking about the “other Moms” in my kids’ lives and the kids to whom I have been the “other Mom."

While I frequently refer to my son-in-law as Son #2 and my future daughter-in-law as Daughter #2; and those relationships are absolutely precious, I was not a part of their lives to the extent that I can use this phrase “other Mom.”

My first thought is my neighbor, who really has a voice that carries (she should have been a teacher, she has the “teacher voice”). When the kids were in something, and her son—she has two—made a big hit in baseball, a touchdown or big run in football, or performed in the musicals, she was known to say “That’s my boy!” One year, I believe it was my son’s sophomore year, on the JV football team, and he made probably the only touchdown he ever made in high school. Her son wasn’t even playing football in high school, but she was at the game, and when my boy made the TD, she hollered “That’s my OTHER boy!” I was at work during this game; I didn’t miss much, but I did miss this. That defined who she was.

And, who I was to her sons.

And, who she was to my daughter!

I am not even going to tell the tale on my daughter, because she would kill me, but let’s just say it involved—discipline—at a time when my husband and I both had to be out of town one weekend, unplanned of course.

I can tell the tale about taking said daughter to ER after a track meet; long before cell phone usage among us normal people, and worrying about my 12-year-old son at home, when I should not have worried; he just went to “other Mom’s” house and spent the night there. We got home at 2:00 AM and he was sleeping soundly. Wish I could have said the same for myself; and I was at work at 8:00 AM.

My daughter had a woman she babysat for, who mentored her for years. Daughter was taking care of the girls, when the last-born, a son, was brought home from the hospital. She held her “little boy” before his grandmas did. All three children were in my daughter’s wedding, as junior bridesmaids and ring bearer. She just sold a bed to the oldest daughter, we just unloaded that to her! The middle one is a rising senior, and the son is an 8th grader.

My son has had numerous “other Moms.” I think of another neighbor, whose son is actually five years younger than mine. In the beginning, I thought this relationship was odd; now I get that there is just a “connection” between them. They enjoy the same things. There was the snow day when the two of them lip-synced “Same Girl” by Usher and R. Kelley and put it on You Tube. It was hilarious! There have been golf games, trips to various sporting events, and of course, swimming in their pool—which I do too! But the “mom” AND the “dad” have been an important part of my son’s life. Turnabout, Joel has mentored this young man, who is headed to OSU next month. With his graduation, I feel a real BIG page turning as these young people are growing up.

As the "other Mom," I was not one to keep silent when something needed to be said. With the exception of our neighbors across the street, which we were on first name basis from day one, the kids were to call the adults Mr. and Mrs. and I required it of the other kids too. I WAS the Football Mom! When one of the boys called me Denise, I reminded him that I was Mrs. Derge to him!

I got an email the other day from a kid who grew up with our kids in church. He is 31. He addressed it to “Mrs. Derge.” I think he can call me Denise now…..but isn’t it funny what sticks?

We all have a role to play in the upbringing of the next generation—whether it be kids’ friends, friends’ kids, or just the neighbor kids next door (or my new baby across the street).  My kids are grown now, but they were certainly mentored by many, many people; neighbors, coaches, Sunday school teachers, just to name a few.

The roles become new. My son is continued to be mentored by older coaches; and he is mentoring the next generation.


Lesson learned: Moms, know when to keep your mouths shut! The man who coached my son in baseball said something that REALLY ticked me off, and I was trying to decide whether to intervene; and I never did. I guess I felt Joel needed to deal with it. Today, this man is coaching with him, golfing with him, going to a Bible study with him, and most recently, got him a summer job with his company. This relationship has come full circle. Moms must shut up and let life take its course. It is far better in the end.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Remembering Andy Griffith


When Andy Griffith died last week, I felt like I wanted to say something. After all, this fits within my mission for my blog of “subjects of interest to people of a certain age.”  While I don’t think any of us should be “shocked” at the passing of a person who lives to be 86 years old; it is another reminder of time marching on—another reminder of our past slipping away.

I downloaded a book on Amazon and I decided I wasn’t going to write this until I finished the book. This is NOT a book report—I just wanted the content of the book to be in my head before I started writing.  The title is “The Way Back to Mayberry: Lessons for a Simpler Time.” by Joey Fann, and published by B & H Publishing Group of Nashville, TN. It is $2.99 at the Kindle store and within five minutes I was reading it on my iPad.

Copyrighted in 2010, this book was written as a discussion group book and it does come from the Christian perspective. It reads somewhat like a devotional, and while I could easily read it in an evening, I didn’t want to. I wanted to let it sink in. Each chapter was about a different show, and almost all of them I remembered quite well.

I have said more than once that I felt that The Andy Griffith Show was the best show on television. There were other good ones, I freely admit; many which changed the course of our culture. All In the Family comes to mind immediately, and given time, we can list many others. But The Andy Griffith Show has become the standard of which to remember a certain era, the early years of television programming.

What was it about this show that represents the 60’s? (1960-1968) I believe this was the first show to have an “ensemble cast.” Oh, we had I Love Lucy and we KNOW who the star was on that show, even though we also recognize the comedy of her supporting cast.


The “ensemble cast,” which became common vernacular for Friends, has always been with us; but The Andy Griffith Show was probably the first and best use of it. The title may have denoted a “star,” but it simply was not so. As talented as Andy was, in comedy, as a musician, as a straight man for Don Knotts, it was his wit and wisdom in the industry as well as in life itself, that set him apart. The other characters on that show, whether major or minor, made it the show it was.

There were writers, and they are to be commended for their talent, but it was Andy who crafted the final product. He was a mentor for Ron Howard, who has gone on to achieve excellence in his career, and fostered the spin-off career of Jim Nabors, as well as Don Knotts.

Every show had a lesson. It was woven into the humor and as a 7-14 year old, I am sure I didn’t “get” it then, but it’s very obvious now. Yes, it was a simpler time, but some things do not change; how to treat others (how to treat animals!), lying, cheating, and honor. I once saw a book entitled “There is No Such Thing as Business Ethics” and I agree with that. Ethics is ethics. Ethics permeated Mayberry, whether it had to do with home or society.

It WAS a simpler time; and many of those things can be embraced today if we put our minds to it. We don’t have to DO everything that is available to us! Many of those things are good things, but we don’t have to do it all. It’s simplistic to say “Well, women work today,” but women have always worked, in one way or another, and their lives have been filled. Time management has always been with us. We have methods and products to help us speed up what we do today, and we can still choose simplicity. Time with our friends and family is the most important commodity! We can do this!

The Andy Griffith Show created terms that are still with us today and those of a certain age can use these terms with remembrance of the show. Who can forget Barney’s phrase “Nip it in the bud!” and who do you think of if you hear the term “Shazam” or “Golllllleeeee?”  And still, my all-time favorite: “Citizen’s Arrest!”

The Andy Griffith Show would probably not be politically correct today, but it was in the 60’s, and should be remembered in that context. Indeed, when our world started changing in 1968, The Andy Griffith Show was leaving the scene. I can only wonder how its continuation would have been altered by the changing world outside of Mayberry, North Carolina. We will never know, but we can remember with fondness.

As a sidelight, for those who live in my area, there is a gentleman who specialized in “All Things Mayberry.” Tony Farley was my daughter’s sixth grade language arts teacher, and we also had a relationship with him as her seventh grade basketball coach. Tony has a squad car like one that would have been used in the filming of The Andy Griffith Show, and he will take you on a ride. His web site is http://www.mymayberryride.com  and he is my Facebook friend!

Another resource that I found is the author of the aforementioned book's web site http://www.barneyfife.com. There are some great resources there! What I think perhaps I did know, but had forgotten, was in the pilot of the series, the show was a "spin-off" of The Danny Thomas Show, where big-wig Danny from the "big city" ends up in Mayberry. The rest is history.


I encourage comments and remembrances from my contemporaries. Did I get this right, or am I missing something in my Pollyannaish memory?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Other "Admin" World


This blog entry is for my classmates and the guests of our Class of 1971 web site www.fairborn71.com. I was inspired by someone from the Class of 1970, who by the way was inspired by his wife’s Northmont High School site, when I saw their site, www.fairborn70.com . (We are simple folk, are we not?) People who know me best have heard this story; that my true inspiration came from hearing our choir music online on the Class of 1970 site. I had my laptop and I was chasing my husband around the house; “Listen to THIS, Jerry!” I was weeping as I listened to the Vespers version of Silent Night and the solo was sung by a guy I used to date, who has passed from this earth all too soon!

Fortunately for me, Jerry “got” it. So many of my friends are married to people who were not a part of their high school experience at all, and even though Jerry was a teacher and we were in different worlds with no cognizance of each other, we can share culturally what was going on during that time.

So, after two years of “looking” for someone to do this, I guess I decided I could! After late night conversations with Ted from the Class of 1970, who basically said, “Denise, if I can do this, you can do this;” I consulted with other members of our past Reunion Committee and we decided “Go for it.” We had two $100 donations from two people and we could get three years plus domain name for about $370, so the class absorbed the $170.

On November 2, 2009, we went live. It has been a learning process from Day One and I have made mistakes. However, I have learned things about writing code and placing code that I never had a concept of before! I am a simple woman by nature, I don’t care for spinning illustrations and many things we can all do with PowerPoint. I want my classmate to be able to find what they are interested in easily. I like pictures and I like illustrations, but simple is the word.

One of the greatest things about our vendor, Class Creator, is the hands-on service you get from the help desk. This is my “other” world. At first I asked a lot of questions myself, and I got excellent response. I had a correspondence going on with one of the FOUNDERS while he was “on vacation,” and he was literally sitting on his sister-in-law's porch in Alabama, waiting for supper. He and I were going back and forth about an issue and it was a problem that I CAUGHT! We all work together in this.

The other part of this “community” is the admins of other schools. We learn from each other and we interact with each other. We look at each others’ pages and talk about things on them. We don’t always agree about what we do (see above reference to spinning illustrations) but we learn. That is the key. I am immeasurably indebted to these folks for asking questions that perhaps I should have, and learning from their mistakes and successes.

There is a definite choice as to how much time to spend on this, but I do subscribe to the emails and I can either look into something, or dispose of it accordingly. Or, third choice, file for future reference! Don’t want to think about it now, but I possibly will in the future.

If there is anything I have learned in living this long, is that possibilities exist for the future that we haven’t even imagined yet! I want to be ready to learn!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Family History


I feel like “family history” is going the way of the dinosaur, even with some renewed interest in “Ancestry.com.” Our younger generation as a whole is losing the concept of who and where they came from. And, frankly, I don’t think they care.

I actually know a lot of family history, which I attribute to my parents and grandparents sharing with me. If you and I had two hours, I could take you to where all four sets of my great-grandparents are buried. I didn’t know them all, but I know much about their lives. When my earthly body is buried, it will be within fifty yards of my grandparents and both sets of their parents, and siblings. It will be within feet of my parents, aunts and uncles and brother.

In this day and age of families spreading out, this just doesn’t happen anymore. My own husband’s parents are next to my mother-in-law’s parents, and my father-in-law’s are a few miles away (in town); but their children will be in many different places, where they have made their homes.

This blog entry is inspired by the death of my mother’s first cousin. We are losing that generation. I am not going to pretend I was exceptionally close to this man, but I DID KNOW HIM! We had family reunions and he lived across the street from my grandparents. I grew up playing with his daughter, my second cousin, whom I am still quite close to today. (If I were in better shape, I could walk to her house).

We have journals from my great-great-grandfather that chronicle much of this side of the family history. The originals have been donated to the Clark County Historical Society and some of us have transcripts. George Netts was born in 1850 and he and his wife had 7 children and lost two of them. Five sons remained, and my second cousin, who has three daughters, is the last of the line, at least as far as passing on the name. 

My great-grandfather was the first born of these sons, and he and my great-grandma lived in a number of places, but settled on a street in Springfield, and at one point they lived in a double, with daughter and husband in the other half, one son next door and the other (my grandparents) across the street.

One can hardly imagine today the type of day-to-day interaction of a family in such close proximity. We would even think it weird! There was a “family business,” a floral company set up by my OTHER great-great-grandfather for his daughter. That daughter died in childbirth and it ended up in the hands of her sister, my great-grandmother, and my great-grandparents ran the floral shop in this particular location.

Their second son took it over, and it passed to his son who is recently deceased, and now my second cousin runs it. She is the fifth generation proprietor. If I need something, I just call her. She knows my budget and my tastes. The floral shop did my mother’s wedding, my wedding and my daughter’s wedding; all very different affairs. She was my homecoming and prom supplier.

My grandfather “left” the business and went to work at the morning newspaper, and I guess it was quite the story at the time. However, he did what he was happy doing and was good at, and provided for his home in the way he wanted.

I illustrate this blog with a picture of the Golden Wedding picture of my great-grandparents. It has always been a favorite of mine, although I was born three years later. My great-grandfather died 7 or 8 months before I was born, and my great-grandmother died when I was five. I do remember her. The three little children are alive, but only four of the “teenage/young adult” generation are still living; my mother, her brother-in-law, and two of her cousins.

The other picture has been used before; it is the occasion of my Mother’s 80th birthday. The family has grown, and that picture is just the descendants of my own grandparents, although two of my mother’s cousins also attended. The one who recently died was too ill.

I thought I would publish this at the time of Independence Day, when families are getting together to celebrate the holiday....and each other!