Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Looking Back 5 Years

Photo by Midge Frazel, 26 Aug 2010
modified 2015
Looking Back Five Years

Sometimes it is good to look back and examine your own past. On September 2, 2010, we moved from Bridgewater, Massachusetts to this new condo (freestanding home) from the house we bought on 11 December 1972 after living in three apartments. We lived in Bridgewater because the location fit in the requirement for hubs job area. Hubs first boss drew a circle on a printed map and that was the boundary area within which we had to live. So primitive a method of decision.

I didn't know I had an ancestor that lived in Bridgewater and is buried there. It was simply a move of geography. As native Rhode Islanders, we wanted to live as close as we could to make visiting our parents as painless as possible. In retrospect, it was still too far away.  Both of hubs brothers moved to the West Coast and to the Midwest leaving us with the job of being the local family. As an only child with a good job in Rhode Island, I was not happy to leave my home state. 

It was an easy choice to move away, five years ago, but not easy to decide what to bring and what to discard. We live less than ten minutes from our only child and her family. Our co-workers and friends (mostly) have moved away from where they lived five years ago. After all, they are retiring too. As we approach our senior years, I did not want the hardship of living away from our family again. It was time. I am glad we did it when we did.

Recently, I created a timeline of the process it took to decide, move and sell our old house. Timelines help make sense of places you have lived and why. As people become more mobile, I think future generations are going to regret not writing down places and reasons for moving. They will, however, have photos. 

So, as we celebrate our five year anniversary, here is a look at our condo as it stood when we were deciding which one to buy and a photo as it looks today. What will five more years bring?

Photo by Midge Frazel, 26 April 2010.
Photo by Midge Frazel, 30 August, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sockanosset Crossroads Revisited

Sockanosset, Sockanosset
Photo by Midge Frazel, 2007

History Adventure Trip
After my parents died in 1998 and 2002, I sold their house in the Oakhill Terrace section of Cranston and grieved not only for them but for the loss of living in Rhode Island, my home state, and for the wonderful, safe and friendly neighborhood built in the late 1940s-1950s. 

Even to this day, I appreciate where I came from in the smallest state of the Union. As an only child, it was very hard to sell my childhood home. A fellow high school classmate and former owner of a house in my neighborhood was a real estate agent and she helped me in ways I could never explain. 

After a vacation trip to Connecticut in August of 2007, we finally went back just to drive through the streets and get a Rhode Island staple called Del's, a lemon based slushy drink. But first, we went to the Garden City shopping center to get coffee and buy a few groceries to take home. I was totally stunned to see that the state buildings off Sockanosett Cross Road were being remodeled. (I took the photo you see above and another to try to find out what was going on.)

The buildings had been in bad condition for a long time.  I knew that the juvenile detention center at the Rhode Island State institutions had been moved elsewhere. There had been a fire. Once very scary buildings were now a sad eyesore.

Parents always threatened misbehaving kids kids by telling them they would be sent to the "bad boys school" Sockanosett Training School for Boys or the "bad girls school". I learned that there was a rhyme that kids chanted which started with "Sockanosett, Sockanosett", which not flattering to social reform. 

In 2009, I started buying books about Cranston (link) (link) and I found this New York Times online article about the $90 MILLION dollar renovation. 

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
As the development is called Chapel Hill. I wondered what that area looked like now so we planned it into a genealogy adventure. This is how it looks now. The chapel is an upscale Italian restaurant in an area with stores that have some of the stone buildings preserved.

In addition, I located an article about prison reform from the State of Rhode Island. If you have ever lived in Cranston, you should take a look at this article (in PDF). 

Related post: Shopping in Garden City 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Crayons and Family History

Photo by Midge Frazel, August, 2015

Crayons and Family History

Photo by Midge Frazel, August, 2015
Recently, our family went to see the Minions Movie together. Our little grandson is just over three and loves these crazy, yellow guys as much as I do. I've already pre-ordered the DVD for family watching. I am sure both of them will remember going to the movie together and yes, I took photos. 

Minions are looking to belong by serving a powerful master. They are a family in a way. You have to pay attention to what they look like and put their "minion" language into perspective with their body language and actions. Some are leaders and some are followers. Just like our ancestors. Family history is everywhere we look.

Collecting crayons is a hobby I started some time ago. It won't surprise you to see the multi-cultural crayons in my collection. It says 1993 on the back and they still smell new. Some of my "brick wall" ancestors are limited edition too. We have 8 great grandparents just like the 8 crayons in the special collections. Anyone is lucky to have known just one. Limited edition.

Did you notice the French on the crayons? Minion crayons

Many of my ancestors were artistically inclined or had musical talent. In one line, cousins contacted me to ask that specific question.  Sadly, talent and depression go hand in hand. 

When I am feeling overwhelmed or sad, I open my desk drawer with the crayons and breathe in deeply. I think of it as the sights and smells of those gone before me. Genealogy is so much more than names and dates.

Read this related post?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Writing Every Day?

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Writing Every Day? Why Do it?

Every year about this time, someone asks me if I write (or blog) every single day. I may write every day, but I don't blog every day. Giving information about writing to those who would like to have a blog is not easy. People get excited about writing a blog but they are wondering if anyone will read it. 

Before I was a blogger, I hosted my own Web site. Don't bother to look for it, I have taken it down. It was hard to keep up. All those links to constantly check, but it WAS good for teaching educators about the resources of the Web and how they could use it in the classroom. I enjoyed that part of it but I am no Cyndi Ingle. Keeping up a list of relevant resources is really hard and you must be dedicated and have the time. She's amazing.

But, what you CAN do is start gathering ideas for things to blog about. When I was a child, insurance companies gave out free calendars, appointment books and daily planners. People used to give them to me because they said they wouldn't use them. I was stumped. I loved them all.

Recently, I was looking at journals because I love paper. I am an electronic geek most of the time. (or am I?) I found this type of journal at Amazon (bigger photo) and bought it because it was different (and small). It is called a Memory Book. You can search for them yourself with that search term.

The idea is that you use it for five years to record just a few lines every day. I think this would make a good way to record just milestones or cute things that grandchildren say. My ancestors kept journals about their crops. I think this type of book would help people learn to record and eventually write.