You might think that since I suddenly started posting again I am now living in a lovely finished home. You would be wrong. But at least the winter snows aren’t blowing across my keyboard. We are 80% done. The house is cozy and warm, the walls are papered, painted, the floors are polished. The kitchen looks great and functions so well I could cry. The dining room sees regular use and most of the built in hutch is done. We put the good china and crystal in this past weekend. There are only 2 things still in progress – the mirror for the back of the hutch and the wood work. And now that we are 3 snow storms into winter (what is going on with the Pacific Northwest this year?) dear husband is pecking away at the woodwork. It is slow going. He is doing beautiful work but there is a ton of woodwork in a bungalow style home. The mirror will be installed in a couple of weeks. The wood work will occupy the rest of my life – I swear. But the house is lovely. See
Archive for the ‘family matters’ Category
I am very very prone to colds and other upper respiratory nastiness. This year, Seattle weather being what it is and with no walls or insulation in the house, things have been nastier than usual. The doctor has suggested that my “weakness” is probably the result of growing up in a household of smokers. Which started me wondering. My 3rd great grandmother wrote dozens of letters to her children complaining about various illnesses that all sound to my modern ears like a cold or perhaps allergies. My great-grandfather and my grandmother on that same side of the family suffered from various “chest complaints.” I’m pretty sure that ggg-grandma Caroline’s husband didn’t smoke. And I know that my g-grandfather didn’t smoke. But…they all had wood stoves filling the air with particles of soot etc. and they all lived in houses with much less insulation than is currently considered acceptable and they lived in damp cold climates. So maybe I’ve inherited my “weakness” or maybe I’ve recreated enough of the environmental background that I’m suffering from the same sorts of illnesses they mention in their letters. I’m always thinking about how my ancestors lived and wishing I could just drop in for a visit. But maybe this is a bit too much?
When you own a 100 year old house and you are trying to do a sensitive remodel somethings have to give. At this point what is “giving” is my genealogy, my blogging and my sanity! I’ll be back to blogging, hopefully about the time we have walls again. In the meantime, I have managed (don’t tell my employer) to get the webpage back up and more or less running. Check out the new look at www.mcwieser.info
I’ve been a recreational knitter for several years. Unfortunately knitting takes away from family history time and vice versa. But in re-reading the diary of midwife Martha Ballard (I was searching for mentions of my Savage ancestors who were neighbors of Martha’s in Augusta Maine) I suddenly realized how often she discusses her knitting. Knitting seems to Martha to be a resting state activity. Whenever she has nothing else demanding her attention, she knits. She knits while waiting for babies to be ready to be born. She knits while she and her daughters cook or clean. She knits while traveling and in the evenings. Although she doesn’t mention it, I wonder if she knitted while listening to the 4 hour sermons in the freezing cold church. Of course, every woman knit in Martha’s day. That is how stockings, leggings, hat and gloves were created. To keep warm or even to keep “decent” (A word with very specific meanings in the late 1700’s in New England) the women in any household had to knit. But Martha seems to use knitting the way some today use meditation. She knits to think. Busy hands free her mind to roam. Often after jotting down how much knitting she accomplished during a particularly lengthy delivery Martha moves on to record her feelings and thoughts about larger events that are impacting her family. These types of digressions are fairly rare in Martha’s diary so I wonder, is it the knitting that gives her the opportunity to think and record her thoughts. Maybe I should try knitting whenever I have a particularly knotty genealogy problem.
We are remodeling our 100 year old house. Actually, I guess you could say we are restoring/rehabing/rejuvenating our house. When we are done the house will look as close to its roots as we can get but…The kitchen will NOT be a 1907-08 kitchen and we aren’t returning to wood stove heat. Also the floors will not be fir. The cost of good fir is prohibitive not to mention that 2 teenagers and 2 gardeners would be brutally hard on the softer wood of the fir. So we are playing a bit with the kitchen. We are recreating – sort of – a late 1920’s early 30’s kitchen. Open shelving in places, no stainless appliances, true linoleum floors and for fun – I’m buying some depression era kitchen accessories. Vaseline green glass mixing bowls, aluminum gadgets . Its been fun. It’s also been an exercise in social history. How did my many ancestors of the Depression era live? What did they have available to them in the way of labor saving devices? Its ironic in the extreme that the depression glass measuring cup with accompanying mixer attachment probably cost them less than 2 dollars while it will cost me over 50! I’ve always loved “vintage” stuff and thinking about the previous owners of the things I’m buying is sort of thinking about the philosophy of family history. I research my family so that I can understand their lives and also so that I can understand the world they lived in (at least a little bit) Now I’m buying bits and pieces of that world. Hum…..
April has been spent at Disney World and remodeling centers. Life intervenes.
In 1999 a distant cousin named Joy (Smith) Friedland contacted my mother and myself regarding our mutual Scheck genealogy. Mom was able to identify some pictures for Joy and she and I shared some material. Frankly most of the sharing was on Joy’s side since I hadn’t really begun working on the Scheck family. And then, as often happens, I lost track of Joy. I didn’t think much about it – even in genealogical circles that happens. Then last year when I decided to get in touch with Joy on my annual trip to Salt Lake City, my e-mail came back undeliverable. So I tried the SLC phone book and couldn’t find her at her former address. Ah well I thought, I’ll try again later. But already I’d left it until too late. In March, when I began working on the website www.mcwieser.info, I started trying to contact Joy again. Selfishly, I wanted to post material from a brief document she sent me in 1999 regarding the Scheck family. I still hadn’t gotten around to researching the Schecks, so I was hoping to piggyback on Joy’s research and share her results with the larger family. So I started a more intensive hunt for Joy on the Internet. I found a phone number for Joy and her husband in Montana. I was thrilled, but before I called the number I thought I would see if I could find an address. You can imagine my shock when lower down the results page I came across Joy’s obituary. Joy (Smith) (Thompson) Friedland died on 1 July 2004 at her home in Bigfork Montana. I had truly waited too long to get back in touch.