Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2001

I've been called cold and heartless.  I call MYSELF cold and heartless.  I received this notation on my persona when it was discovered that I don't turn into a blubbering fool at movies like "Old Yeller".  Who doesn't cry over the death of dog!  I don't.  I never cry in public, or at least that anyone will see.  I suppose this makes people think I'm cold and heartless.

I asked Mr. D. last night if I was heartless.  The conversation streamed from a general "annoyance" that I was beginning to feel with the numerous references to September 11, 2001 that were beginning to pop up on TV, my facebook & twitter feeds, and in general conversation.  Photos of the towers with the words "Never Forget" and "We will always remember"...I was getting annoyed.

You're beginning to agree with the heartless description, aren't you?

Before you begin leaving ugly comments, let me explain myself.

On September 11, 2001, I (as many others did) watched the mornings events unfold in front of me on my TV.  Believe me, I'll never forget it.  I watched that 2nd plane come into view on my TV screen, and just as I was thinking how I'd never seen a plane look so large next to the building, then realizing that was because that plane should not have been next to that building...I watched it fly into the 2nd tower.  Believe me, I'll never forget it.  I felt the knot in my stomach growing as the news from New York quickly shifted to include the Pentagon near Washington D.C.I sat and watched the smoke billowing out of the towers and then realizing that one tower was collapsing before me with the population still inside.

No.  I'll never forget it.

I'll never forget the dread in my stomach as the news from New York quickly shifted to include the Pentagon near Washington D.C.  I'll never forget the heroism displayed by the passengers of Flight 93 who gave their lives that day to save our country from yet another horrific act of terrorism that morning.

I didn't know a single person on any of the planes or in any of the buildings that were hit.   Nor did I know any of the men and women who were called in for rescue, or military members who have since fought for our country.

But I'll never forget.

How could I ever forget?   I just don't want to relive it year after year.  And apparently that makes me cold and heartless.

This morning, 11 years later, I find myself watching the morning news and each channel's recollections of what happened on that day.  I caught a glimpse what the New York City skyline from 2001 looked like with the twin towers standing tall, before they fell leaving the city in a cloud of dust and debris.  Immediately, I was taken back to my own recent trip to New York City.   Even 11 years later, never having seen the city skyline in person - the World Trade Center towers were an obvious absence as I looked across the harbor.  I remember being at the memorial that was established at Liberty Island State Park in New Jersey, directly across from lower Manhattan.  

Today...I get it.  In August, I stood at this "Empty Sky" memorial in New Jersey and looked toward where the towers once stood, and I traced the names that are engraved on the walls.  I didn't know any of them, but they were somebody's mother, daughter, son, father, grandparent...they were someone.

And yes, they deserve to be remembered, and I will never forget.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


I'm having one of those mornings.

It feels like it could turn into one of those days.  But I refuse to believe that this feeling is going to last all day.  I think it's just hitting me hard because I'm sitting here in a quiet house with nothing to do but think about what it was that put me in this mood.

(And no, it's not sentimentality over my kids going off to school.  Don't you all know me better then that by now?)

I'll survive.  Tomorrow I'll (probably) be fine.  But for today, my mind wants to shut the world out, shed a tear (or two or three), eat a pan of brownies and have a big ol' pity party.

I think I'll just eat the pan of brownies.

And then I will go indulge myself in the love of a new baby girl who one day, when she's old enough to talk, may very well call me "Aunt Candy"

And for now that's enough to make me smile.

Okay, that AND the pan of brownies.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

SNGF - Who am I?

Or rather...What am I?  That's the question posed this week by genealogist Randy Seaver via his Genea-Musings blog.  He asked us to write about what type of genealogist we are in relation to various titles and definitions offered up by fellow genea-blogger, Lorine McGinnis Schulze.

This was so easy, it was almost ridiculous.  Hands down, I am a "Hunter / Detective".  According to her list, The Hunter or Detective: "...loves the research. While they want to find their own ancestors, they'll research anyone's ancestry just for the thrill of the hunt. They are easily sidetracked from their own ancestral research by the challenge of solving a stranger's brick wall."

I have researched my own tree.  Obviously I still am researching it.  But a few years ago, I became frustratingly bored with my research.  I was hitting dead-ends left and right, my life didn't allow for traveling to find the documents that weren't available online, and I couldn't afford the fees for the documents that were available.  

About this same time, I had made a connection with a "friend of a friend" who had a genealogy interest, but had stopped researching.  Would I be interested in taking a look?  Umm...YES!  Before long, I was asked by my girlfriend if I would research her family.  Sure!  Both of these experiences proved to be invaluable as I had to put my skills as a researcher to work while searching out people I had no family connection to, and I knew nothing of their ancestors prior to my search.

The "friend of a friend", although serious about his genealogy interest, turned out to be a wee bit creepy and stalker like.  That project was cut short before it got too far along, but I did make some fantastic historical progress for my girlfriend - well I thought it was anyway, and she seemed generally pleased as well with the results I presented to her.

There was also a friend who claimed a connection with the assassin of President McKinley, an acquaintance who was just looking for extra help in what a cousin had already researched, a friend who had been told his family had a connection to a "legendary" outlaw family in the area, a friend who had run into a dead end, the neighbor around the corner who had hit the spot where I was a few years ago and just needed a new set of eyes on his material, and the friend who wanted a completed family tree and asked for her husband's family to be researched in addition to her side.

In each instance, I happily volunteered to rise to the challenge, because in each instance it was as if a brand new puzzle was dumped out on the floor before me - just waiting for me to find the pattern that each piece needed to line up and form the completed picture.  Some of these came to an end in my research - either by request, by natural progression, or finding the answer they were looking for.  Some of these I'm still working on...occasionally.  When I have those days when my mind isn't focused on the familiar names of my own family, and I need something fresh and new to look at, I'm always happy to pull out a new set of names and track down the next clue.