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Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Posting from Kindle

That’s right! I am now able to post from my Kindle Fire! There is an app for that!

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There Be Camels!

A week and a half ago, I posted a picture on my Wordless Wednesday post that showed my mom riding a camel. Where? When? How?

From the time I was young, Mom had always wanted to travel to far off countries. She got an opportunity when my dad was stationed twice in Japan in the 1950s with the Army Air Corps (US Air Force). However, I remember her mentioning that she always wanted to go to Australia.  Why there? I don’t know because she never gave an explanation. There were other countries she wanted to visit, too.

In the late ’90s, Mom became very excited when she realized that she might be able to take a trip to the Holy Land as part of a church group.  She told me that she had always wanted to see Israel, although I don’t ever remember her mentioning that. Perhaps it was due to the fact she was getting older or it was something she hadn’t ever shared because it was so personal to her and her faith.

She was working full time and had put money back for the trip. Her minister and another lady from her church would be part of the group. At least she had another woman she knew to room with. Mom was still in pretty good health although I was concerned about the distance and speed at which any walking would take place, and if she would be able to keep up.

Then the time came – even though there was still quite a bit of unease in the Middle East (this was prior to the War) – she told me that if security was too risky, they wouldn’t have been allowed to go.

I waited until she returned from her trip, anxious to hear that she was okay and it had all been worth it for her. She loved seeing places where Jesus had taught and preached during his life. She had taken several rolls of film that she promised she’d send to me – just to look at but I’d have to immediately mail it back afterwards – as soon as they were developed.  The only hitch of her trip had come afterwards when they landed in Egypt for the international flight home. She had stepped off the debarking stairs and twisted her ankle. If it had to happen, I was glad it was after the trip instead of before.

Finally the box of information arrived.  Pictures, pictures, and more pictures – along with small posters, travel guides, and purchased pictures and postcards. It took me over a week to absorb it all. Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever “got” the entire picture at that time.

No, it would be years and years later – after she passed away – that my sister and I were discussing her trip – that the emotions she must have felt finally seeped into my heart. She had taken a pilgrimage to Israel – alone – without any blood relatives with her.  It was Mom and her faith and love of the Lord that had carried her to see the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the hill where Jesus was crucified on the cross, the tomb that he had left after his resurrection. These places and the emotions she felt would never be something she could explain. Yet, she had all the reminders that she could look at every day through the photos she took and the maps of places she had seen.

While in Israel, she rode the camel. It was probably dirty and smelly but that was her way of being “really there.”

After her death, I became the keeper of all her mementos and photographs. She loved being able to travel there. I wish I could have been with her so I could have seen her face as she saw all those things up close. That would have been part of my memory. The camel photo was one that was used on the DVD I made for her memorial service. It showed her in a humorous setting (Mom on a Camel!) and in a country that she repeated over and over again as she aged that she was glad to see before she died.

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SISTERS

(Original & Digital Image Owned by Wendy Littrell)

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I don’t know if anyone else has a “travel” day of the week, but I’m going to start one!  This fits really well as I began my latest travels a week ago Thursday, March 31.  I added 3 more states to my list of those I’ve visited or traveled through. One I had been to but only when the plane stopped there and we were able to get off and outside the terminal (pre-9/11).  Didn’t think that really counted.

In early March I started thinking about my dad – he was getting ready to turn 90 years old.  I haven’t seen him in several years – since his and his wife’s last trip from Florida to Texas around Christmas.  Age and some illnesses have curtailed their long road trips so I knew that they probably wouldn’t be back for a visit.  Wishing there was some way I could see him around his birthday, I thought about how I could pull it off – especially with all my responsibilities at home plus my college course.  I thought about checking for an inexpensive flight – but I wasn’t sure what the nearest airport would be and really didn’t want to add the expense of a rental car or having my dad drive any distance to pick me up.  I went to sleep that night thinking that I’d think some more about it in the days to come.  The next morning I woke up with the thought that it would sure be nice if my sister also decided she wanted to see Dad on his birthday and perhaps we could ride together.  Our road trips have become famous (if only between ourselves)!  As I was thinking about it, I checked my email and saw that she had sent me one about 30 minutes before.  Her first sentence said that we needed to take a road trip to see Dad for his birthday because of his birthday and the second sentence mentioned that it felt like she’d been hit over the head with a hammer with that thought while she was out walking her dog.  Sister ESP! 

So with the opportunity, I made the necessary arrangements and she contacted Dad to let him know that we would like to come to visit him – there’s no way you surprise a 90 year old man like that.  I’m not sure who was more excited – my sister and I or our dad. 

So last Thursday morning she picked me up and by 7:30 am we were on the road going east toward Florida.  We traveled through Louisiana – even going through the town of the airport I’d seen briefly back in early September 2001.  Then on through Mississippi and we stopped for the night on the east side of Mobile, Alabama.  We arrived at our Dad’s about early afternoon on Friday.  My sister has been to his home a few times.  I have never been to Florida – it was never a state I really wanted to visit. 

The next day my sister’s daughter – who is only a few years younger than me – drove down from her new home a few hours from Dad’s and spent the rest of the weekend with all of us.  They took us out each evening to the club they go to and the meals fixed at the house were delicious.  We talked and visited and took pictures and relaxed!

My dad’s birthday was the day we left so we all went out to breakfast that morning to celebrate. He had not wanted a birthday cake or party or any fuss and at his age, he can get or not get what he wants.  Yet I ask you – does he really look like he’s 90?

Dad and I

Leaving was bittersweet.  Not knowing if I’d be able to get back and see him soon but so very thankful I had the opportunity to spend just a few days with him. 

Where do your travels take you?

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Photographed by Gene Amore, 1966. Original: slide; Digital scan held by Wendy Littrell

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The center of our home was – and always has been – the kitchen.  The above pictures (photographer: Gene Amore, held privately by Wendy Littrell) show the eat-in kitchen of the house I grew up in.  This was where smaller, family birthdays were celebrated; where the holiday meal preparations were done; where my dad marked the heights of me and my niece and nephew on the recessed door; where we’d sit at the table while talking on the telephone; and where I’d spend my meal times.

Dad and Mom preparing a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner

The kitchen was the place I could find my mom if she wasn’t at her sewing machine or out in her flower beds.  She liked to cook and bake.  She taught me how to cook in this kitchen.  

Mom by the stove

On one side the kitchen was accessed by an open doorway that led into the formal dining area and on the other side it led into the living area – a recessed wooden door could close it off. 

This was not the kitchen my mom used for the last 32 years of her life but it was the kitchen I’ll always think of when remembering childhood meals and ocassions.

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College classes are done for the semester (maintained a 4.0!! Yay, me!) so hopefully I’ll be able to start posting again on a somewhat regular schedule. So sorry I’ve been silent for too long.  Have also had quite a bit of personal upheaval going on – so that doesn’t bode well for focusing on genealogy, research & writing. 

I’ve recently heard from a new-to-me cousin; related through the Goul line of my family and hopefully she & I can start to compare notes and see if we have any new information between the two of us.

I’m excited by the recent upload on Familysearch Indexing of so many new records.  I’ve already found some marriage records and a baby that I never knew existed.  I’ve looked at the records but haven’t had too much time to absorb what I’ve found.

And as many of you know, I lost my mother a year ago this month.  Her estate is still not settled and now the reverse mortgage company wants to foreclose on her property since the real estate broker and the estate attorney decided to list the property for WAY too much to begin with and in this economy (& the fact that the property is in a depressed area of the country), nothing happened in the way of potential buyers.  So now we are just waiting . . . some more. 

I’ve not had a lot of time either to read most of the genea-blogs I am subscribed to – sorry about that.  I’m not ignoring you – believe me! 

And I’ve been thrilled to hear of the geneabloggers getting together recently in Salt Lake.  Love looking at the pictures.

I watched each episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” and my personal favorite was Susan Sarandon’s episode.  Looking forward to the 2nd season.  Are you?

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