Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:
1) Judy Russell asked six questions in her 2014 Keynote address at RootsTech to determine if audience members knew certain family stories about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. She demonstrated very well that family stories are lost within three generations if they are not recorded and passed on to later generations.
2) This week, I want you to answer Judy's six questions, but about YOUR own life story, not your ancestors. Here are the questions:
a) What was your first illness as a child?
b) What was the first funeral you attended?
c) What was your favorite book as a child?
d) What was your favorite class in elementary school?
e) What was your favorite toy as a child?
f) Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn?
3) Tell us in your own blog post, or in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.
My mother kept a baby book about my early childhood and I’ll use that for some of the questions. I have scanned the pages so the book can be put away safely.
1. My first illness was having Scarlet Fever in September 1959. I was five years old and had just started kindergarten. My mother wrote “Rest and the miracle drugs.” I was thinking that our family was quarantined, but in researching scarlet fever, I find no reference to the need. I do remember the doctor coming to the house, though, and how I hated the tongue depressor, as it seemed he was trying to gag me.
2. The first funeral I attended was when I was nineteen. My maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston, died on 11 July 1973, and the funeral was held at the Oak Park Hills Chapel two days later. We were promised that the casket would be closed, but it hadn’t been. What a shock to see a dead person, though he had been made up quite nicely. My youngest sisters, who were nine and seven, were not there, as my parents thought they were too young. I don’t remember details about the funeral, but remember riding on a jump seat in a limousine to the cemetery. The gathering afterwards was at my grandmother’s home and we saw cousins we rarely had seen before. My Aunt June had brought the best tasting lemon meringue pie I had ever eaten.
3. My favorite books as a young child were the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik with drawings by Maurice Sendak and the Angus books by Marjorie Flack. I loved them so much I bought them for my own daughters to read and enjoy. Later, I was a big fan of biographies in the Childhood of Famous Americans series and I read them all from the school library. Then I discovered mysteries and read everything I could get a hold of: Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, then the Man From Uncle series.
4. My favorite class in elementary school was art. Our classroom teacher had activities for us and once a month the district art teacher came and taught us specific techniques. In intermediate school, I finally got to take art as an elective and did for both 7th and 8th grade. I probably wasn’t as proficient with the technique as other students, but I enjoyed creating art very much. By the end of 10th grade I decided I was not talented enough to take on the more complicated projects and selected other classes as electives. I wish I had a sample of my art. I know my parents saved some but since their deaths, I don't know what happened to them. Perhaps I have some in storage.
5. I didn’t care for dolls but in 5th grade, trolls were introduced and I loved them. My mother found a pattern to make clothes for them out of felt, so none of my trolls were naked anymore. We made troll houses out of cardboard boxes and furniture out of smaller boxes. I even had a troll that fit on the end of my pencil. It was fun to play with their long hair.
6. Ugh, swimming. I finally learned to swim in the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I could play around in shallow pools, but my mother decided we would all really learn to swim. She enrolled us at the high school pool and because I couldn’t swim at all, I was put in the beginner’s class—full of six and seven-year-olds. That was enough motivation for me to learn to swim really fast. In two days I was moved up to a class more my age group. I’m still not very good at swimming. I don’t like to put my face underwater. Some summers we had doughboy pools, and later, our neighbor, the Potters, let us swim in their pool. It was always a treat to go there. But I found sunbathing a lot more fun than swimming.
Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.