Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Share Your Childhood Memories

Randy Seaver's challenge for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is interesting and not as easy as it might seem:

1)  Judy Russell asked six questions in her keynote address at RootsTech 2014 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, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

As usual, I am impressed with Randy's recall of events in his youth, because I don't remember those events in my own life that well, and I'm 20 years younger than he is!  But here are my stories:

a.  I don't remember any illnesses.  My mother made sure her children had all the vaccinations available, and we didn't get measles, chicken pox, or any of those other childhood standards.  The first thing I can remember is a visit to the hospital because I had an intense abdominal pain, and they thought I had a gallstone or something.  I think I passed it while I was there.  I have no idea how old I was when that happened.  I can't even remember if it was in California or Australia.

b.  I was quite fortunate while I was growing up in that I had no close relatives die.  The first funeral I attended was while I was in college.  I was in the Naval Auxiliary (girlfriends and fiancées of midshipmen) to the Navy ROTC unit.  One of the midshipmen died unexpectedly during the school year.  I attended as a representative of the NavAux.  After the funeral, the CO thanked me for being there.

c.  My favorite book as a child was Last of the Mochicans by James Fenimore Cooper.  It was part of a "great classics of English literature" set my mother bought for the three of us kids to read.

d.  My favorite class in elementary school was the 5th grade sewing/embroidery class at Woollahra Demonstration School in Woollahra (Sydney suburb), New South Wales, Australia.  I don't remember the teacher's name, but I still have the items I embroidered.

e.  My favorite toy as a child was my Barbie dolls.  I probably got the first one when I was around 6 years old.  I used to dress them up in store-bought outfits, and later I learned to sew new clothes for them myself.

f.  I learned to swim, but damned if I can remember where or when.  I already knew how to swim when my family lived in Pomona, because we'd visit the Lameys across the street and swim in their pool.  So I learned by the time I was 7 or 8.

I think I'd better take the opportunity to ask my father these questions while I can.  My mother and all four of my grandparents have already passed away, so I'm a little late for them.


  1. the corners of my mind....:D

    I remember having the chicken pox very well because it was Thanksgiving 1967 and we had planned to spend the holiday with my grandparents in Arlington, VA. We were living in Ohio and I was unable to fly due to my illness. Flying into D.C. at that time was very dangerous due to the Vietnam protests and cold war backlash. Nevertheless, our neighbor offered to fly with my younger brother into D.C. and I stayed home with my mother. My pox didn't escalate into a full blown outbreak as expected and I was bummed :(
    My first funeral ( still makes me cry) was my dear friend in the 8th grade, Phillip Chantilly. Phillip had been bullied by students AND teachers because he was Jewish and slightly chubby. Phillip and I and a few other nerdy guys were best friends but on Easter Sunday morning he hung himself. The next day, Monday, was report card day and our math teacher tossed Phillip's card into the air and commented, ' Oh well, he was a loser anyway' and I jumped up livid, screamed at the teacher how cruel he was and grabbed Phillips card and I still have it in my box of treasures. Anyway, the school announced that everyone could take off and go visit the funeral home. We all piled into buses and into the parlor. I chose not view Phillip because I only wanted memories of him alive and smiling. But, I was angry that everyone suddenly pretended to care about and honor him in death and take off from school. I chose to 'unfriend' many of those students after that.
    My favorite book...not sure but two books come to mind..Paddington (the bear) and a book of poetry by Shelley ( Percy). Weird, eh? Children's minds are all over the place!
    My favorite toy: Mr. Potato Head and I still love potatoes today :D
    I learned to swim at an Army base in Arlington, VA. by instructors. I hated swimming classes because they made us dive and it always burned my nose.

    1. Thanks for posting your memories! I'm so sorry to hear about your friend Phillip and what an awful teacher you had. Nowadays he might be fired for being so insensitive.


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