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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book of Me, Written by Me, Prompt 21: Hobbies

The Book of Me, Written by Me is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week. More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

This week's prompt is - Hobbies.

Childhood hobbies & collections
  • Did you share a "passion" with a family member or friend?
  • Tell us about it - How, why, where
  • Do you still have any old hobbies - the ones that have been with you since childhood?
  • Do you still have those childhood collections?

I have had many hobbies over my lifetime: collecting stamps, postcards, and lapel pins, model railroading, writing, bird watching, and genealogy. Some I did as a child and some I took up in adulthood.

Collecting. My first true hobby was stamp collecting. I was introduced to stamp collecting by George Ann Olander in the 4th or 5th grade. She gave me a little bag of cancelled stamps and my parents bought a small world stamp collecting book. Some of the stamps I remember were the old World War II stamps of  Nazi-era Germany.  I also remember the many stamps with Queen Elizabeth pictured on them. Later, I got more sophisticated with the stamp collecting, focusing only on new U.S. stamps and such things as plate blocks. I worked on my collection off and on over the years and today collect only the US stamps that interest me and any of the used commemorative stamps that come in our mail.

I also have collected postcards, both those that come in the mail and those I have purchased at a place I've visited. I had a great collection from the two trips across the United States and Canada I took aboard Greyhound during two different summers in the 1970's. However, those were lost and my collection is much smaller. 

Now I tend to purchase lapel pins as well as postcards when I travel because they do not take up as much room (fitting nicely in the suitcase pockets). I haven't found a nice way to display them yet but I'm determined to.

Over the years I have collected other things: depression era glassware, anything with ducks or swans, troll dolls, books, electrical insulators, and dollhouse furniture. Mostly these things are stored in boxes in the garage.

Model Railroading. I have always liked trains. Three different railroads ran through my childhood town of Pittsburg, California so I got to see lots of trains. Being a girl, however, I didn’t get the toy trains that my brothers got but I still played with them. Once I graduated from high school I found a local model railroad club in Walnut Creek and I joined it. I was the only woman at the time, though some of the wives were active during the club open houses. I worked my way up to Senior Engineer and even served on the board as secretary for a few years. I modeled the Great Northern Railway because they had pale blue cabooses and blue locomotives. I also liked the Western Pacific Railroad and the Sacramento Northern Railway to model. When my girls were born, model railroading went to the back burner. Mostly what I do now is volunteer with the occasional conventions. I am currently the secretary for the Pacific Coast Region of the National Model Railroad Association.

Writing. I have been writing stories since I was in 5th or 6th grade. I used to think up stories about my many characters as I tried to fall asleep at night. I wrote my first novel in college instead of working on homework or studying for finals. Funny how my best inspiration occurred during finals week.  Over the next 30 years I wrote several novels or parts of novels, but I have not tried to get any published. I just enjoy reading them myself. I haven’t written any fiction in a few years. I now focus most of my writing to genealogy writing: writing about my family on my two blogs and completing two family histories on my Gleeson family and my husband’s Nilsen family.

Bird Watching. I began paying attention to birds when I was just in high school. My girl friend's mother really liked bird watching and had a pair of binoculars ready on the table next to the window. I still remember the first bird I identified by myself: a killdeer pair in Danville who were playing the "broken wing" to steer us away from their nest. I learned some bird calls while taking a class in college. My most active birding has occurred since I have retired. My co-workers bought me new binoculars when I retired and I now have time to attend the week-day birding trips with the Mt. Diablo Audubon group. I keep a "life" list and got to add Bald Eagle, Greater Roadrunner, Cactus Wren, Gambel's Quail, Gila Woodpecker, and Curved-billed Thrasher from a trip this spring.

 Genealogy.  This hobby has really taken over my life. I find I do something genealogy related every day: whether I’m researching, writing, filing, scanning, reading, volunteering, or learning new methods. I currently only research my own family as well as my husband’s family but as I work my way through ProGen 21 course, I may begin to take clients soon. I volunteer also with several genealogical societies: finishing a 6 year term with Contra Costa County Genealogical Society (where I served as Secretary, Treasurer, and President), in my second term with California Genealogical Society as Secretary, and teaching classes for both of the above societies. I write for three blogs, two of my own: Mam-ma’s Southern Family and My Trails into the Past, and for the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society’s blog.  I hope to write more about my children’s families by writing more books.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

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