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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Week 7

Week 7: Toys. What was your favorite childhood toy? Is it still being made in some form today?

It goes against everything in me to only choose one thing. I have no idea why I’m like that, but I am. So I’ll just make a brief mention of the other toys I loved. My Little Pony. There I said it. I had more My Little Ponies than I did Barbies. I had Barbies too though, and my Momma made their clothes. How awesome was she? I also loved, loved, loved C.U.T.I.E. figurines. If you do a google image search you can find them but I have a link that does better. There was another toy I loved, they were little clear, plastic princesses I think but no one remembers their names. It reminds me of when I was trying to remember the name of a cartoon I watched as a kid. All I could remember was the little girl in the yellow dress flies out the window with a koala bear. My momma was stuck on David the Gnome. She sure loved David the Gnome. HA. It was called Noozles by the way.

Back onto the subject, I’m here to talk about my number one love. They were called Little People and they were made by Fisher Price. I loved these things. I loved them to death. I even talked about them way back in Childhood Car memories week. This one is made out of wood, and it was bought off eBay probably around 10 years ago. I don’t know what happened to my Little People. Most likely they were given to a family friend who had little girls, much like my Barbie collection. The set I had were plastic. If you want to read about the complete history of these (I’m the only one right? haha), there’s a great write up of their evolution here: link. On that page, the ones I’m familiar with are at the bottom of the History page. I had a million of them though and I had all kinds of accessories. It was my most played with toy and it’s the one I associate with my childhood.

My favorite thing to do was make families, and have them go about their day to day. I’d pick up the kids with the school bus and I’d drop them off all over the house on the “bus route”. It’s probably why I’ve switched to The Sims 2 as I got older. Same concept, just on a computer!

Sadly, Little People are no longer how I remember them. A quick trip to the Fisher Price website will show you how they’ve changed. Visiting the website made me want to go out to the shed and dig out the school bus and house (also from that eBay purchase) I know are in there somewhere. It could be fun to compare them right?

Little People today. Picture from Fisher Price website

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a weekly series thought up by Amy Coffin and hosted by GeneaBloggers. It encourages genealogy bloggers to share their own memories and history, so that we don’t forget that one day, our own stories will be important to future generations.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Week 6

Week 6: Radio and Television. What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

I must preface this post by saying I was in no way raised by the television. It’s going to look like it briefly but I promise I wasn’t. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Every featured show is there for a reason that I’ll explain. There were plenty more but they weren’t as important as the ones that I am actually featuring.

Saved by the Bell: Saved by the Bell is probably a staple of every child of the 80s and 90s childhood. I remember watching it every Saturday morning through it’s entire run and then even moving onto Saved by the Bell: The New Class. This is probably the first show that I loved enough to watch it every week. It was definitely one of many shows that was played on Saturday mornings but this one was the staple. The others came and went (California Dreams, City Guys, One World) but this one was perfection.

It dealt with real teen issues and is still played today and I still watch it if I catch it on! Zach Morris, played by Mark Paul Gosselar, was cute and charismatic. He was a schemer you just couldn’t help but love. Just like the television audience, Zach’s friends and family couldn’t help but laugh at his antics. Yet Zach definitely had a heart and knew when he was in the wrong. I think my favorite episode was when he was writing a report and made friends with the Indian chief who passed away. Out of all the episodes, that’s the one that still sticks with me. Probably because of the genealogist I didn’t know was in me yet!

Little House on the Prairie: I have a confession to make with this one. I used to watch this one in syndication when I was home sick from school. I wasn’t supposed to watch TV if I was sick but I did anyway. If Mom is reading this now, she’s probably laughing because I doubt I pulled the wool over her eyes! What little girl hasn’t seen this show and loved it? I remember reading at least the first book, but I don’t think I ever made it through the others. The show is what hooked me, and I didn’t know at the time it was a true story!

I think the casting of Melissa Gilbert was perfect. They’ve tried to remake the series again and again but nothing quite measures up. The show was a perfect mix of wholesomeness and history. Looking back, I think this show too was part of the road to my genealogy future. I’ve always been fascinated by the time period this takes place in. I also loved the length of the show and how you saw everyone grow and mature, even Nellie Olson!

Road to Avonlea: This is one of the lesser known shows but it rounds out my top 3. I actually got the DVDs from eBay because I love the show that much. I think I’m still missing the last two seasons but I’ll get them eventually. This was shown on the Disney Channel. It’s a Sullivan Entertainment production, based on Prince Edwards Island in Canada. It’s actually a somewhat continuation of the Anne of Green Gables story. Unofficially of course. The show itself is an original out of Canada and Disney bought distribution rights to it I’m guessing. If you have a little girl that loves the Anne books, this is definitely going to be a hit!

Once again, I was interested in history before I realized what a huge part it would play in my life. The thing I loved about this show was the family dynamic. I didn’t grow up around my cousins and aunts and uncle. So this show was really as close to an extended family as I was getting. I just loved to how Felicity was a brat to begin with but by the end of the show, she was mature and the star! Sarah was a free spirit who had lived a privileged, lonely life only to have it crumble down around her. They started out as foes and turned into the best of friends. Alec and Janet King were Felicity’s parents and Sarah’s Uncle and Aunt. They gave her the family and stability that she needed at the time in her life that she moved to PEI.

Also thrown into the mix, you get little snippets of Anne Shirley! Rachel Lynde is a constant presence and probably as much of a foe to Sarah as she was to Anne! Later you see a softer side when Marilla Cuthbert and Rachel take in orphans Davey and Dora Keith.

Punky Brewster: I’m not going to lie. I’ve always been a bit eccentric. I didn’t realize until recently how much, but it all started with Punky. It’s because of Punky I’m not ashamed of my crazy socks! Don’t get me wrong, they’re always matched, but they are never boring!

Punky is about an orphan who ends up living with Henry. A widower who is a bit of a grump. He can’t resist Punky for long though! Punky is definitely unique with her own style.

Full House: I saved the other kahuna for last! It’s definitely not last place in my heart though. This is another show that I grew with. I remember Michelle Tanner (Olsen Twins, respectively) as a baby all the way through the end of the show. This was a show I never missed!

There’s not much I can say about Full House that everyone else doesn’t already know. It dealt with family issues, school issues, sibling issues, everything! In fact, life imitated art more than once in our house! Once after being entirely fed up with having to share my room with my older sister, I too “moved out” into a less habitable part of the house like DJ. I even played a Full House trick on my Dad when me and my best friend accidentally broke something. We sent him on errands to try and buy time for us to fix the problem! In the end, just like the show, you’ve got to fess up and take your punishment.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a weekly series by Amy Coffin and hosted by GeneaBloggers. It’s purpose is to promote writing your own history down to be preserved for future generations.

Week 4: The Childhood Homes

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 4

Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?

Now this could get emotional! This week my task it to talk about my childhood home… or homes as I remember it. I’m very fortunate to have not moved very often in my life. I’m hoping that trend continues, but only after I move to a nice, quiet town where I want to spend the rest of my days. I know I’m a little young to be thinking about the rest of my days, but as the town around me grows, I can’t help but realize city life is not for me.

My family tells me we lived in a small trailer when I was born, but moved to the bigger one I do remember later. I’ll have to trust them on this because I was only a few months old at the time and my memory ain’t what it used to be if you get my drift.  We lived in this trailer from my early baby years until I was in Kindergarten. I remember the circumstances around the end of our time there so clearly.

I remember being in my class and it was very, very dark outside. I don’t know if my fear of storms roots from this day or if it’s always been there. It doesn’t matter, because that day when I got home, I think I already knew something bad happened. Our trailer was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

Mattapany Rd house, 1987.

Those ruins are the first house I remember. In fact, I remember my sister getting stung by a swarm of bees that loved to hang out on that swing set. I remember when my parents got me a bike for my birthday and my Dad ran around the outside of the trailer trying to hide it from me. It’s not in frame but we had a tree line on the other side of the house. It was  there that we built the tree house. It was there that we hung the zip line and tire swing. It was there my brother cracked his head open and I fell out of the tree house breaking my arm (first and only broken bone!) It was here my sister was riding her bike down the driveway and she flew over the handlebars and broke both arms.

Lots of childhood memories of this house.

If I believed in coincidences, I would call what happened next the biggest of my life. You see, as our house burned down, my parents were signing papers to purchase the property where we still live. We had to stay with friends until all the details were ironed out. It wasn’t long before we moved into the trailer where we lived for the rest of my childhood.

The differences were huge though. We had a bigger yard for one. We had a neighborhood with more kids around us (that I can remember anyway!). Most of all though, it was ours. Our previous trailer was just a rental. So this time everything in the place was ours. Literally because we had nothing left. We quickly filled the house with memories though.

I remember playing basketball, croquet, and football with my siblings and the other neighborhood kids. I remember being grounded and not being able to “leave the yard”. Gosh that was a horrible punishment! We had a virtual mecca of places to go! Other peoples houses, and the store down the street. Nowadays, that’d be out of the question of course. The road is way too busy for kids being about.

House #2 - Jun 2005.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of our houses. At least in their glory. 🙁 Not that I think the trailer was ever in its glory stage. It was our home though. Mom loved it because she was always in her kids business and they couldn’t get away with anything! Not that I would try any of that nonsense, right? haha. Our trailer definitely had many battle scars. There was the soy sauce stains on the ceiling (I was not apart of that food fight… that I remember). A hole in my parents bedroom door that my brother put there after roughhousing with his friends. Unfortunately for Mom’s bedroom door it was right next to the back door.

You’ll probably notice the arrow in the picture above. It would be that tree that would fall onto our trailer and force our hand on the next move.

The thing is, I’ve said numerous times I don’t believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason and we may not always know what that reason is, but it’s our job to realize when it happens and take action. You see, for my whole life, my mother’s stepfather was on her case about building a house on our property. He was just worried about the trailer, and that we would have another tragedy like the Mattapany house. It was one year to the day of his death that the tree fell onto our house. It happened when Moms children were all grown, still at home, but grown. It happened when she was taking a break for the first time in her life. She’d decided to try and retire from work, at least retail work. My Dad had a more flexible, more generous job.

Our House - Jan 2011

This is the house as it stands today. We’ve finally realized Grandpa Wayne’s dream for us. It took a little pushing from him if you get my drift, but we did it. We’ve lost in our life, everyone has. We came out on the other end though, stronger then you can imagine. Now when we have these monster snowstorms, or powerful storms I just think about our little trailer. You could hear the wind blow in the old thing. I can’t hear a semi truck in this one! I know this is a house my parents will be enjoying for a long, long time. They now have a big kitchen, family room, and a guest room! Well, more when me and my sister finally go. It was always stressful to have visitors because there just wasn’t room. Last 4th of July, we had two of my Aunts and their husbands here and everyone had room.

Note: Yes, that is a large, blue M&M in front of our house. My Mom is eccentric, what can I say!

This post is a part of the 52 weeks of Personal History and Genealogy series hosted by GeneaBloggers and created by Amy Coffin.

Week 3: Cars

It’s time for another 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History post! This week the topic is cars.

Week 3: Cars. What was your first car? Describe the make, model, and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.

I don’t have a drivers license so I don’t have any first car memories yet. I’ll just stick with cars from my childhood. There are two that I remember well, but my family had a lot of cars before that.

Our Station Wagon, May 1994.

The first car of my memory is this old station wagon. Boy did we have this a long time. Don’t ask me why we put a shirt on our dog. It was the 90’s, we did those things for fun. If you look closely, near the back bumper was our other dog, PIB. His original name was Red, but mom eventually just started calling him P.I.B. (Pain in Butt) because he followed me around and was always underfoot. Gosh I miss my Pibbers.

My mom says she finally got a station wagon so the kids would stop complaining, “SHE’S TOUCHING ME!!!! MOOOOOM!! HE HIT ME!” A lot of my younger memories are of this car. Mom used to drive me out to the school bus stop at our old house, the one that we lost to a fire. The driveway was very long and I remember the rides, listening to 98.3 Star FM, our local radio station. You don’t know it but I just sung the jingle. It’s one of those things, I can’t say it without singing the age old jingle. This is the car of my childhood. In fact, I have a lot of memories in the very back of this car. It had two fold up seats in the back. I used to sit back there and play with toys on trips to Ohio. One trip was very memorable. My favorite toy growing up were the Fisher Price Little People. I had more Little People then I did Barbies. I used to set them up in the back of the car and have little towns, including a school bus route.

Nissan Stanza, 1986 model, picture courtesy of Wikimedia.

This is the car of my teenage years. This is the car I remember through middle and high school. I have a lot of pictures of me and my best friend playing around in this one (yet I can find none at hand). Ours was a blue color. We nicknamed it Bessie. I have a habit of naming our cars. It’s a problem, I know but it’s just the way I am. The Nissan was with us for a lot of life moments. It went with me and my friend to all our concerts. I’ll never forget getting lost going to concerts in DC and Virginia in this thing. Oh it was fun. We had this car for a long time, because we replaced the engine at least once. I have memories of sitting in the back of this car on the way to Ohio. Me and my friend would make faces at other drivers on the beltway.

This post is part of a weekly series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, by Amy Coffin. It is being hosted and promoted by GeneaBloggers.

Follow Friday: Roots and Rambles

It’s time for another one of my favorite genealogy blogs! This week I chose Marian’s Roots and Rambles. Even though I’ve been blogging since March of 2010, I’m still new to genealogy blogging. I’m still searching out blogs that I like and can relate to. Marian’s Roots and Rambles is one I’ve been reading for awhile. I can always relate to what Marian is writing and she’s another active twitterer.

Here are some of my favorite posts from Marian:

Really I find all of Marian’s posts interesting and worth reading and it’s hard to limit myself to just 5 favorites. So just head on over and read some of Marian’s blog and leave her a comment telling her how much you enjoy it. I’m vowing to comment more this year and Marian’s going to be one I make sure to comment on regularly.

Marian’s Roots and Rambles

Week 2: Winter

It’s time for another Personal History entry from me! This week’s topic is:

What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

Winter is never really the same around here. We’ve had periods of snowy winters and periods of no snow.

When we do have snow, boy do we have it! As long as I remember, when it snows like that I would go into work with my mother. It was one of my favorite activities. The picture above was taken in 1996 and she was working at a drug store. After that it was a 7-11 just outside of Washington, DC. I have a lot of pictures of this year. I think it’s the year where we went without power for 2 weeks! That’s a record for us still.

What do you think you’d do if you were a mother of three with the neighborhood kids and no power? My mother taught us how to make candles! We’ve always had a gas stove, it’s just what my mother prefers. So even though we didn’t have power, we had the stove. So she taught us how to make candles, we played board games, and I’m pretty sure we did a lot of shoveling. I even remember one year there were six of us shoveling for hours! We wanted to make sure that my dad could get back in the driveway. We shoveled and shoveled, and we still had quite a ways to go when he got home. He ended up just driving over it, but it was the thought that counts right?

During that snow storm, I remember the camping out in the living room. We all got out sleeping bags and flashlights. We stayed up late telling ghost stories. I was the youngest, so I was tortured of course. As for the food, I can’t really remember that. I’m sure we had a combination of soups and chili. I do love my mama’s chili!

My tastes haven’t changed much, these days there’s nothing better than curling up with a cup of hot chocolate and a bowl of mom’s chicken and noodles! For me there’s nothing more relaxing then snow falling and having a movie day. If you haven’t noticed movies are big in our family. We don’t change much during the winter, it’s just we do more indoors, together stuff.

We’re supposed to get some kind of winter weather today, and I plan on spending it with my genealogy database! I’ve been so busy organizing and doing other things I haven’t had a “genealogy day” in awhile. Hopefully this entry doesn’t sound scatterbrained. I do have an attention span problem when it comes to writing.

Note: This entry is part of a 52 week series called 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History.

Follow Friday: Tonia’s Roots

On December 10th, I blogged about being chosen for the Ancestors Approved award by Cheri Daniels. I said in the post that I was going to highlight my chosen 10 as Follow Friday posts after the holidays. The first winner is here!

Tonia Kendrick at Tonia’s Roots! Tonia was one of the first genealogy blogging buddies I made. She commented on my blog asking a question about the software we both use (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding).  She’s very active on twitter and is always quick to offer congratulations or help to others.

Her blog is very fun to read. Adding a little personality are the scrapbook-like images she makes for her entries. It just adds a little pop to the factual information she’s posting. My favorite features are her vital records analysis and the reviews of her recent experience at the Atlanta Family History Expo.

Some of my favorite posts of hers are:

So if you have a few extra minutes, check out her blog!

Tonia’s Roots

Follow Friday is a Daily Blogging Topic used by GeneaBloggers worldwide.

Week 1: New Years Memories

This year I’ll be participating in the weekly series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History. It’s a joint effort between GeneaBloggers and Amy Coffin at the We Tree blog. Every week there will be a new topic for me to write about my own past and family history.

Week 1: Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?!

For as long as I can remember, we’ve always done movie marathons on New Years Eve. In fact, that’s our family activity. When we were little, Dad would take us to the video store and we’d have to agree on one movie and then he’d get a “grownup” movie. It would be all of us, and then as we got older it was just me and my sister. We would actually stay up and watch whatever marathon was on TV whether it be a Corey Haim/Corey Feldman marathon on TNT or it was the top 100 music videos on MTV. We weren’t real formal about it.

This tradition has evolved from a marathon night to a family movie night. Now we usually just watch one movie (this year Inception), and we make snacks and drink sparkling cider. I know it’s tame but it’s our little tradition and I can’t see us ending it anytime soon! One day I’m definitely going to instill this tradition in my own family. My best memories growing up are the family movie nights. Whether it be New Years, Halloween, Christmas, and of course birthdays!

The above image is a free clipart image from the Microsoft Office website. I do not own it and am not using it to make money. I am just incapable of having an image free entry.

Tech Tuesday: Slide Updates

I hope everyone reading this had a very, merry Christmas! I’ve been enjoying a few new gadgets. The first gadget I got was a slide viewer that I mentioned earlier this month. I found a few slides that I really wish I could get prints of. They were of my Aunt Diane and some of their family photos. The problem was, I didn’t know what to do. So I went to Google and it brought me up a few options. One of them didn’t cost me a penny!

It turned out that my mother’s scanner has a slide scanner template built into the top. All I had to do was slide the placeholder off and slide my slides in. Then hit the button for film scan. This method will also work for negatives! So if you have a scanner, take a second to study the inside of it’s lid. You might have this feature too! Pressing the film scan button brought up the software that came with the scanner where I could choose between a negative or positive/slide.

Now I can share these photos with my family on Facebook, and I can print them out and frame them for individuals!

I really can’t wait to dig in and see what other treasures I find. It’s really difficult to find pictures of my aunts and dad when they were younger. It’s even more difficult to find pictures of their brother Stevie, who is no longer with us.

By the way, for my regular readers, the house Dad’s family is posing in is in fact the Park Avenue house. There are a bunch of inside shots among the slides!

Those Places Thursday: Park Avenue House

One of the places that I often think about is the house on Park Avenue. Anytime we have a family get together, this house always comes up. Everyone on my dad’s side of the family has memories of this house. Whether it be the layout of the house, the renovations done, or the way the porch was screened in during the winter. Unfortunately, I don’t have any memories of the house. So I soak up any information that people give to me about the house. Now I just have to remember to type it all up and keep it in my files for later.

Park Avenue house, October 2010.

We even drove by the house when we were in Caldwell in October for my cousin’s wedding. Though it looks different, I can recognize much of the original house just by looking at it. (Thanks to my sister for getting the picture!)

Park Avenue house.

Even when people contact me about the family tree, they ask me about this house. I don’t think people love this house because of it’s floor plan or windows. I think people loved the people who lived in this house.

Park Avenue house.

The more I research William and Llewellyn, the more I see that they were well loved by everyone around them. When I first started researching genealogy, I was just soaking up the facts and collecting dates. It’s different now. Now I’m learning about the people. I’m seeing the full scope of things. I’m learning why I am the way I am. Not only that, but I’m learning why my ancestors where the way they were.

July 1931, Park Avenue house.

I have a lot of pictures and documents that pertain to this house. Including all the documents from when William and Llewellyn bought the house. I’ll share those with you another day though.

Park Avenue house.

Would it be weird to knock on the door and ask to come in for a looksie?

Those Places Thursday is a blogging theme being used by GeneaBloggers, it was originally started by Cheryl Palmer at Heritage Happens!

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