Friday, March 16, 2012
NAMING & NUMBERING GOOD THINGS
I keep finding that having surgery in December for my stupid gall bladder problem gave me a blog setback, as well as a physical setback. I had some good things happen to me last year that I intended to share at year end – and I swear that the surgeon took out some words and some memory, along with my gall bladder and stones, and I just forgot about it. Gradually I’m getting around sorting through all the lost things, and today I’m back at the “good things” idea.
The first thing that happened in 2011 was finding a family in Bakersfield that I’d been looking for ever since the internet got into social networking. In 1951 this family moved in down the street from us. They had a daughter Ruth, my age; a daughter Audrey, my sister’s age; a son Glenn, a year older than me; and then a cute young son about 7 named Norman. We all got along famously, and as it would work out, Glenn became my first boyfriend. A year passed, and their father’s job took him back to Bakersfield. I kept in touch with the family until the late 50s, at which time we lost touch. This past year I was able to locate little Norman on Facebook (not so little anymore!) and we had a “reunion” lunch at Hodel’s restaurant some months later. Glenn provided me with the wonderful picture above. Of special interest was that the car in the photo is the one that he and I painted baby blue using fly sprayers. Such memories. So that was Good Thing #1.
The second thing that happened was that through a strange set of events, which I won’t go into here, a first cousin who I’d been looking for since 1984 found me. Their parents, my Uncle and Aunt, divorced in the early 1950s. My aunt moved away, my uncle joined the military, and I never saw my two little cousins again. Because they lived next door to us in Long Beach and I was a teenager when they were just little tykes, I felt particularly close to them, and all these years I felt an incompleteness. In 1984 when I started into genealogy I began putting queries out, first in print sources and later, when the internet arrived, on the web. I hoped that one day one of them would stumble across their name and discover that I wanted to get to know them.
In spring of 2011 that very thing happened. I got a letter from my cousin Susan saying she had seen online that I was looking for her – and since then we’ve been in constant touch. She is a delightful person and we’ve had many long conversations over the phone. One of these days we’ll meet, I’m sure. So that was Good Thing #2
The third thing that happened was that my special friend Nancy arranged to have me spend two days with her in San Francisco where we got together to work on a booklet on her Buddington ancestors. We have worked together several times since 2004 on these family projects. She uses a computer but is not real comfortable with the graphics that are needed in a booklet, so she does the thinking and writing and I do the layout and the execution. We had thus far been limited to e-mails and phone calls; by spending two days with her we really got our heads together and made some progress. Since I’ve been in San Francisco many times we didn’t need to go sightseeing, but she did take me to some of her favorite haunts, put me up in a perfect hotel close to the ocean and the zoo, and we just had a great time together. She is a registered parliamentarian and in the last few years several times I’ve had to call for her expertise in solving a by-law problem for a group I was in. That was Good Thing #3.
The fourth thing that happened was that in October, Nancy came to little Mira Loma and spent the night in one of our complex's “corporate units” so she and I could sit in front of my computer (a desktop not meant for carting to San Francisco) and make the final decisions on what her booklet was going to look like. I picked her up in Torrance and we had a tour of all the coastal cities on our way back home, and she got a taste of what rural Riverside county is like. Again, we made those 48 hours count and we had a great time together. That’s Good Thing #4.
The fifth thing that happened will seem minor to most of you, but to a genealogist it is a major event. I have a blog called “Immortal Nobodies” in which I post information about my ancestors. Once such posting was about my great-great grandfather Uberto Wright, who was a preacher with the Church of Christ in Barren County Kentucky back in the 1870s and 80s. He was a man who lived what he preached, and in my blog I noted that I had hoped a picture of this man would search but it seemed, after 25 years of researching, it wasn’t going to happen.
Here’s Good Thing #5. A fellow named Terry Gardner, an expert in the field of Church of Christ historical documents, saw my blog and knew where a picture could be had. Of all places, it was on the web! Terry not only led me to it but managed to find a copy of his amazing obituary and many other writings Uberto had published. I am so grateful to Terry for this act of kindness.
And the sixth thing, although in 2012 not 2011, is the latest to happen. Just this past week I received an e-mail from another genealogist who said that he was convinced his family’s Katherine Alexander was one and the same as my family’s Catharine Alexander. His Katherine had married a “Mr. Dobbins” and my Catherine had married Rev. Robert B. Dobbins. His Katherine’s brother had gone from South Carolina to Clermont County, Ohio in the early 1800s, and my Catharine Dobbins and her husband had gone there after they were married in 1804. Further e-mail confirmed that these were the same person – and there was much hooting and hollering at both ends of the e-mails over such a serendipitous discovery. And how did it come to pass? A booklet I did in 2001 entitled “Four Generations of Dobbinses – 1773-1917” had been put on the internet by one of my cousins and was found by a descendant of one of the Alexanders. How good is that, I ask?
I may have lost my gall bladder and stones, along with some words and ideas in 2011, but overall I’d have to say “My Cup Runneth Over!” So many good things! How lucky I’ve been.