Saturday, October 18, 2008

Would You Care To Comment?

Three posts in three days ... It's amazing what a few days with limited commitments will do for you!

Filled with the excitement of having completed the latest Genea-blogger meme a celebration was in order. I packed up my computer, iPod and cell phone and headed off to my favorite coffee/ice cream establishment, Emy J's, for some quality blog time.

What a terrific way to spend a Saturday morning. I am amazed at the number of talented, creative, funny, skilled and down-right nice people in Genea-blogger land. I am inspired to share more of my family history and my corner of the world.

Two large cups of skinny Chai Latte's after I began ... here is my list of the fabulous blog sites in no particular order:

Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life
Number one on my list for so many reasons. My friend, confidiant, tech mentor and I'm sure, a sister in my past life. E and I share a sisterhood in DAR and she has come to my web site rescue more times than I can count. She crosses my mind daily and I count her one of the many blessings in my life. She coaxed me to blogging and Facebook - thanks to her I now know what to do with my time when insomnia strikes. I know ... a shameless post about what a treasure she is. And her redesigned web site is a must see - virtual eye candy for sure.

Lisa at Small-leaved Shamrock
Speaking of eye candy ... this is one of the most soothing, inviting and beautifully designed sites I've had the pleasure of visiting. A cozy room with a warm fire on a wonderfully damp and gray day.

Amy at Amy's Genealogy, etc. Blog
I love barns and Amy's header photo is one of the best. I can't wait to learn more about Tombstone Tuesday's. I had to force myself to leave the Tombstone Tuesday posts in order to finish my 'assignment.'

Denise at Moultrie Creek
Another awesome blog - a well balanced mix of story and beautiful photographs. I'm always sorry when I reach the end of one of Denise's posts. Not to mention her profile photograph which, for some reason, really speaks to me.

Sheri at The Educated Genealogist
Ok ... a professional genealogist who shares all of her knowledge, tips and tricks AND she is learning to do the polka? How can you not love this blog? Just because my last name ends in "ski" (even though it was a name I chose and not the one I inherited) and Sheri's latest post has to do with her learning the official dance of the great state of Wisconsin - I'll admit it looks like I'm a bit prejudiced. But you have to admit - the woman knows how to wear a hat.

Janet at The Chart Chick
There are so many wonderful blogs that I yet to discover and this is one of them. Having been called the 'biking chick', the title of Janet's blog is what caught my eye - she had me laughing out loud at her post about the little girl's smile and before I could take another sip of my latte, Chart Chick was on my list of favorites.

Kathryn at Looking4Ancestors
Is it kismit?? One of our grandpuppies has a swirley purple coloured tongue, a good friend from Wokingham, Berks, was a Girl Guide leader and we both love Tim Horton. Add all that up plus she loves research and I think I can file Karthryn under "we were friends in a past life."

Miriam at Ancestories: The Stories of my Ancestors
This is my favorite learn-something-new-about-research blogs. Miriam is selfless in giving of her time to so many worthwhile projects - her blog is like the Wall Street Journal meets Erma Bombeck. It makes me want to do more to give back to those who have helped me along with way.

Lisa at Genealogy Gems News Blog
I am a huge fan of her podcasts. If you have never ever listened to a podcast - run - don't walk to her site and check it out. Her recent post on igoogle is outstanding - if you have not all ready become a fan of igoogle, you will after reading her post. And become a fan of her blog as well.

What a terrific reminder that sometimes it is good to step outside of the familiar and do something wild and crazy. How about a bag of Robert's American Gourmet Pirate's Cannon Balls and check out an 'unknown' blog!

Life is short ... Enjoy!

Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski

Friday, October 17, 2008

I've Been Tagged! Getting to Know MeMe

Colleen, author of Orations of OMcHodoy has tagged me for the latest MeMe on Genea-blogger. With my thinking cap firmly in place, a fresh cup of coffee and Loreena McKennit playing on my iPod, I'm all set to answer the following five questions. Then the difficult part ... I have to come up with five others to tag. I'll think about that ... later.

Ten Years Ago I ...

1. I had just celebrated my 45th birthday
2. Worked outside of my home
3. Had my hands full with a litter of five cocker spaniel puppies
4. Discovered the joy of road cycling (bicycles)
5. Had just received the Individual Death Personnel File documenting the aircraft accident that claimed the life of my Uncle Earle who flew the "Hump" in the CBI Theater in WWII.

Five Things on Today's To-Do List ...

1. File, sort, shred papers on my desk, on the floor, on the lateral files, on the table ....
2. Make an appointment for a hair cut
3. Download photos from last week's trip to Sault Ste Marie and format camera card
4. Trim dogs nails
5. Fill bird feeders, scrub bird bath and locate extension cord for said bird bath heater

Five Snacks I Enjoy ....

1. Ice Cream
2. Potato Chips
3. Gala or Pink Lady Apples with Peanut Butter
4. Tortilla Chips with homemade Guacamole
5. Craisins

Five Places I Have Lived ...

1. Hartwood Drive in Eau Claire, WI
2. First Avenue North in Park Falls, WI
3. West Williams in Champaign, IL
4. W. Pikes Peak Avenue in Colorado Springs, CO
5. Yorkshire Drive in Madison, WI

Five Jobs I Have Had ...

1. Owner/Office Manager general fire-putter-outer advertising agency
2. Early Childhood Classroom Aide
3. Secretary
4. Retail Sales Clerk
5. Waitress in supper club (term probably known only to those in northern Wisconsin!)

Five Others I Have Tagged ...

Having spent the last forty-five minutes trying to locate Genea-bloggers who have NOT been tagged, I decided that my only choices are:

1. Raise the white flag and ask for amensty
2. Post that the dog ate the 'tag five others' part of my homework
3. Pretend I tagged five names but have no clue why they did not show up in my post
4. Make up a bunch of names and fake web sites
5. "Tag" the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers

Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For The Record

Wise Geek describes an epiphany as "as a moment of self-realization or discovery that enlightens or reveals the person’s character." The site goes on to state that some compare an epiphany as a "Gestalt", an "Ah-ha" moment when things become clear. My friend Maureen and I call these "mascara moments" for the fact that they seem to drop down (or pop up) at the most unexpected moments - such as when you are concentrating on applying mascara. My latest mascara moment occurred on a 'hit and run' trip to the Langlade County court house.

It was during one of those rare three-day week-ends 'up north,' with the colors of early autumn splashed across the landscape and a clear blue sky. When I should have been out walking with my camera, instead I found myself on my way into town for groceries.

"If I take the back way into town, I can stop at the court house for a few minutes, hit the library if I uncover anything interesting and still get to the grocery store with the majority of day left for photography." I felt confident that I could stick to my plan of spending just a few minutes at the court house due to the fact my research folder was not in the same county. Not to mention that over age fifty brain fade lending me powerless to recall more than one research subject (pardon the pun) off the top of my head.

My intention was to check collateral lines (cluster genealogy) in search of additional information on former neighbors of my father's parents. The Olson's gave my mother several glass Christmas ornaments, two of which hold places of honor on our Christmas tree, high above the reach of cocker spaniel tails. Hoping to learn more about the Olson's, I reached for the marriage index which fell open to the section of grooms names in the 's' section. I was surprised to see the index page listing the marriage of mother's parents, Alma Loretta Polar and Harley Allen Space. A few pages later is the index marking the marriage record of my parents, Phyllis Jean Space and H. John Bergeron. My 'Ah-ha' epiphany mascara moment was the realization that contained within the marriage records of Langlade County were three generations of my family: my grandparents, my parents and my oldest son and daughter-in-law.

How many times have I advised family historians to research beyond their direct lines - look in surrounding counties - look for clues to other family members who may be living in the same area. My epiphany - my ah-ha moment - was the reminder of just how alive history is. This was not something that had occured in the past but it was history that was occuring at this very moment. I have many vivid memories of my grandparents, I am blessed to have both of my parents to share and make new memories with as well as with our son and daughter-in-law. Family history is not static but rather something to be looked at in wonder - it is not something that just happens a long time ago, it is happening right now and tomorrow will create today's history. My family history became something more real - it reminded me of the blessing we received during the evening celebration following Chris and Ashley's wedding.

Chris and Ashley chose to exchange vows on the lawn of our beloved 'up north.' A place my grandparents called home after relocating to the original forty acres after a fire destroyed their home and farm during the early 1940s. Where my mother spent part of her life, the place I was brought to after my birth in 1953 and where Al and I spent a portion of our honeymoon.

This was the first time many of their friends had been out on a moonless night, away from any ambient light. While many of them had been to an outdoor wedding, those had occured at a park, not in the middle of 240 acres. They were amazed to see so many stars and the Milky Way as it was meant to be seen - spread across the sky in a band of pale light. Around 11:00 a soft glow began in the northern sky and spread until the entire sky was alight with dancing and flickering northern lights. Nature's fireworks. Elusive, ever changing, unpredictable. I could be describing family research.

Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Green Chair

The end of summer is ushered in when the evenings turn cool and begun to deepen, taking with it more and more of the daylight. Regardless of the date on the calendar, summer is gone when the Elcho Ice Cream Shoppe closes for the season. As that sad day draws near, our week-end trips north include at least one trip to Elcho. The drive itself is a joy as we wind past small lakes and across bogs on our way to the last of the summer time ice cream treat.
On our last ice cream trip for 2008, we took a side trip following a hand made sign advertising a Yard Sale. Imagine our surprise when we discovered the yard sale was at the former home of my second cousin, Allen. It has been five years since Allen's death, he and his wife Jeanetta were close to my grandparents. Allen was a favorite among my mother's cousins. His children and I have become closer over the years enjoying a bond that comes from an appreciation of our shared family history as well as the love and admiration for our respective parents.
Since his death, Allen's daughter, Karen, has become interested in family history. I know Allen is proud she has become the Keeper Of Everything for the family. Over the years I've been the fortunate recipient of boxes of letters and family memorabilia that Karen has discovered that pertain to my grandparents. Allen kept mountains of letters and notes and made numerous copies of documents and photographs. Sorting through the boxes and file cabinets is going to keep Karen busy now that she and her husband have retired.
The yard sale was the typical jumble of ash trays, souveniors from trips to various state and national parks, fishing rods and well used spinner baits. But it was the sight of a green wooden chair that stopped me in my tracks. I was immediately transported back to a time when I spent my summers with my grandparents.
When the heat of the day had passed and the sky was threatening rain, my grandfather would carry the green wooden chair outside and place it below my grandmother's bedroom window. He'd sit on the chair looking out across the western horizon, watching the darkening sky while I would turn cartwheels or look for toads. It has been many, many years since I have sat in that chair - I don't remember it being that small! - but it is something that has often crossed my mind.
We surmise that the chair made its way from the farm to Allen's when my grandmother had to be moved to a nursing home and my grandfather moved in with my parents. For whatever reason Allen took the chair. Thanks to his thrifty, never throw anything away, the chair has come full circle.
I now sit on the porch of our log home on the same piece of land watching storm clouds make their way across that same horizon and many of the same trees - matured from the time when Grandpa and I first watched the rain fall on them.
The price tag on the chair was $5.00 but none of my cousins would let us pay for the chair. A small price for a memory.

Text Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski
Photo Copyright © 2008 Al Scherwinski


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