Archive for December, 2009
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 7th, 2009
If you asked me what my favorite Christmas song was, I’d have to hem and haw and then answer with about 20 different songs, all favorites, each in their own way.
But “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has always tugged at my heartstrings. Every time I heard it, I’d tear up even when I still lived at home, even when all my family still lived close and all were still alive.
I grew up hearing Bing Crosby sing it, early version with the beautiful photo slide show is special.
We all want to be home for Christmas…
It seems no matter how old I get or what stage in life I am, this song still makes me teary.
Don’t we all want to be home for Christmas? And maybe at different times in our lives we’d like to really go back home and be a child again, when life was carefree, the worries were someone else’s, and in my case, when my family circle wasn’t missing my father.
When I was in college at K-State, though I loved college and my friends, I so looked forward to going home where my family would be at Christmas time.
Now, with my family grown and my brother’s families grown, there’s always an empty spot where one or another of the children weren’t able to make it home for Christmas, or others in the family went to celebrate with their in-laws.
There are More Empty Places in the family circle…
And in the past few years, there are more and more empty places in the family circle that will never be filled again.
And so, the words of this song “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams” tug at my heartstrings more and more each year.
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 7th, 2009
Christmas Parties? My first thought when I read the challenge was “We didn’t go to Christmas parties when I was a kid.” Then I read Randy Seaver’s Christmas Party Challenge at Genea-Musings and realized, well, maybe we did. (And by the way, Congratulations to Randy for his much deserved “Genea-Speak Award.”
Below, from Thomas MacEntee’s Geneabloggers website is today’s challenge! What did/do you and your family do to celebrate Christmas?
Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?
We didn’t do parties, we had “Christmas”…
We didn’t do parties, we had “Christmas”. When I was very young, we used to get together with the aunts and uncles who lived close enough to drive home and draw names to exchange gifts. I’m not sure why and when that stopped, but it may have simply been the result of the next generation marrying, moving further away for jobs, and it becoming too difficult to find a date when all could attend.
Later, it was our own family who gathered as my brother’s grew up, married, and had families. We gathered on Christmas Eve to eat supper (we called it supper then) and exchange gifts. And because my oldest nephew was just two and a half years younger than me, and they stair-stepped down at two year intervals till I had five nephews and nieces, I had ‘partners-in-crime’ to shake packages and impatiently try to hurry the adults up!
I can’t for the life of me remember what we ate on those nights! As a child, it wasn’t about the food, it was about the gifts, and it seemed unbelievable that the adults could think about food when there were so many surprises waiting for them (and more importantly for us) in the other room under the tree.
They actually ate dessert before they let us open the packages, and I think maybe they prolonged the dessert eating just to torture us!
Can you imagine?
Finally, they declared we had waited long enough…
Finally, they declared we had waited long enough, and everyone gathered in our tiny little living room and my Dad began to hand out packages to everyone. He didn’t dress up like Santa, but his Christmas spirit is something that I remember today.
Dad was all about giving the gift and watching the recipient while they opened it. Their enjoyment was the gift that gave him the most joy each Christmas.
After Dad passed away when I was just shy of thirteen, there was something important missing from our Christmas gatherings each year and I didn’t even come close to finding it again till my own children were born.
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 6th, 2009
Woo Hoo! It’s the December 6th Advent Calendar Challenge from GeneaBlogger’s Thomas MacEntee!
Thomas is posting daily Advent Calendar Challenges after 7 a.m. each day. (Being adventurous and a night owl, I’ve tried to cheat and have checked just after midnight. That’s a no-go! )
Thanks Thomas for the Advent Calendar Challenge Fun!
Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?
Surely I must have written a letter to Santa while I was in school, though I don’t recall doing so then or at home.
I Was Grown Before I Sat on Santa’s lap…
The only time I ever sat on Santa’s lap I was a grown woman with a nearly-grown daughter!
My daughter was babysitting the little neighbor girls and the local airport (whose manager was a friend of mine) hosted a “Santa Fly-in” each Christmas where Mr. and Mrs. Santa flew in and visited with the children for a couple of hours. It was festive and fun, so my daughter and I took the little neighbor girls to see Santa.
Well, Mr and Mrs Santa’s rules were such that everyone there sat on Santa’s lap and made their wish!
for the Space of time…I was a Little girl again…
And for just the space of time that took I was a little girl again, telling Santa what I wanted for Christmas. Maybe we all need to have that opportunity each Christmas, to become a kid again, sit on Santa’s lap, and tell him what we want for Christmas.
Somewhere, I have a 35 mm photo, and when I can find it, I promise to scan it and add it here…
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 5th, 2009
Thanks to Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings we can let the kid in us out to play tonight while we write our letters to Santa!
Hey, fellow geneaholics, it’s Saturday Night, and time for lots of Genealogy Fun!
Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission: Impossible music), is to write a nice letter to Genea-Santa Here are the directions:
1) Write a letter to Genea-Santa and ask for only ONE thing. It could be hardware, software, a missing family Bible, a record that you desperately want, etc.
2) Tell Genea-Santa what a good genea-girl or genea-boy you’ve been this past year and give examples.
3) Exhibit your posts on your own blog, in a Facebook post commenting on this note, or in a Comment to this blog post.
So – go forth and write your letter!
Thank you for all the great Genealogy gifts you have given me this year, the impromptu family gatherings we’ve had, the marriage licenses I’ve found, and tombstone photo I located on DeadFred.com, and most especially my Twitter and Blogger friends who have welcome me and helped me join their genealogy community!
And Please, Santa, help them get their genealogy wish list this year.
Who was my Great-great grandfather Jones?
Santa, I know times are tough right now, and even Santa and his elves are cutting back. So, the one thing I’d love to know, the one record I’d like to find, is who was my Great-grandfather Willis Washington Jones’ father?
I promise I’ve tried to be a good little genea-girl this year, Santa, and tried to help others when I knew an answer to a question, tried to encourage other genealogists when they were running into brick walls, and forwarded neat information on Twitter.
I wrote a “how-to-get-started-doing-genealogy” blog post to help someone interested in locating their ancestry. I also brought home a box of ‘orphan photographs’ from a garage sale to try and locate a good home for them. (Still working on that!) And I was asked to help locate a living relative/descendant so someone can return some photographs and memorabilia. (This has proved to be tough! Several deaths and no living descendants thus far.)
I’m sorry Santa that I didn’t get more tombstone photographs uploaded to DeadFred.com. I promise to do better next year, Santa, and I’m sorry that I got a little behind keeping track of the births, marriages, and graduations in my dad’s side of the family.
Santa, I promise that I will start sending out new questionnaires along with my Christmas card!
And Santa, along with the butterscotch cookies and milk I’m leaving out for you, I’m giving you a large economy size bottle of Tums ‘cuz I just read that you have to eat 87 million cookies on Christmas Eve…
Thank you, Santa!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 5th, 2009
GeneaBloggers’ Thomas MacEntee has a neat Advent Calendar Challenge going for Genealogy Bloggers! Today’s challenge is below:
And for those of you who think you can click ahead and cheat, just try it! Thomas has that covered on his calendar, too.
I would remind him, though, that after 12:00 midnight, it is tomorrow, technically it really is…
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?
No farmer that I can recall had Christmas lights in their yard…
I grew up on a farm, and no farmer that I can recall had Christmas lights in their yard, nor did anyone in the tiny town that I grew up near.
Today, it is fairly common to see Christmas lights outlining tractors and other equipment in a farmer’s front yard (especially antique tractors) and sometimes the big round bales as well! The decorations are as unique as the owner’s imaginations!
It wasn’t till I hit my teen years that I spent a lot of time in a slightly larger town, and we began to notice that more and more people were decorating their yards, probably in part due to the Christmas lighting contest that offered prizes for the best display.
After I married, my husband and I began to take my mother, who positively loves all Christmas lights, around the towns and sometimes to the Christmas Display “Isle of Lights” on a small island in the middle of a creek in the nearby town of Winfield, Kansas, where each year new displays are added.
Often the car is full to capacity, Christmas carols are playing on a CD in the stereo, and old and young voices are ooohing and aaaahing at the displays.
You can hear “Look, over there!” and “Isn’t that beautiful…”
Before and after our visit to the “Isle of Lights”, we travel some of the more well-lit streets, searching for more Christmas displays, and you can hear “Look, over there!” and “Isn’t that beautiful…” over the sounds of “Silent Night” and “Silver Bells” on the radio. (Singing along is allowed and encouraged!)
Placing outdoor lights on our home (my husband’s and mine) was something we always talked about, and didn’t do until the coming of the “icicle lights”. Somehow, those captured our imagination, and we bought strings for ourselves and my mom and up they went, lighting the area around our homes in a beautiful radiant glow, especially on snow-covered ground.
I think the Mountain Genealogist said it best on her Advent Calendar post:
When the sky goes from light to dark on a mid-December’s evening, and there’s a light falling of snow, and I turn on that little strand of lights, my little home suddenly takes on a different look.
Suddenly, it becomes a humble beacon to the celebration of the birth of the One who made this season all that it is!
How glorious is that?
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 4th, 2009
When I was just a little girl, I looked forward each year to my Uncle Frank Stocking’s Christmas card.
It was unique, shaped like a little stocking, with a verse about each member of the family and their travels, triumphs, and sometimes the trials of their life. I still have most of them, stored away.
Sometimes this little Christmas card was my “show and tell” for school, I was that proud of it!
After I married and had children, Uncle Frank’s example became my inspiration. Nearly every Christmas I drew up a little picture (usually of children in old-fashioned sunbonnet and overalls) to depict my two kids doing something representative of our year, and wrote a poem that reflected the years happenings, joys, and sorrows.
2001 was a year of incredible sorrow intermingled with small joys and it is that poem that I’ve chosen to share here:
Kline Christmas Card 2001
I want to be a kid again, it’s Christmas time you see.
I want to hang the tinsel on a lop-sided Christmas tree.
I want to lick the frosting bowl and nibble cookie dough.
I want to call up all my friends and Christmas caroling go.
But most of all I want to wish you Peace and Joy and Love.
And thank our Lord for all His blessings and strength from above.
I hope that kids of every age receive their most-longed-for toy.
And find each day filled with love and the season’s Christmas Joy.
There are days that bring us sunshine, while others bring us rain.
There are years that bring us joy, while others bring us pain.
2001 was such a year of sorrow and sadness in our life.
We pray for comfort and healing from life’s sorrowful strife.
Nancy, my brother Fred’s wife and friend lost her cancer’s fight
In the wee hours of the morning on a January night.
Fifty years of marriage, with five children they were blessed.
Nancy’s smile, her laugh, her faith, her courage, all are sorely missed.
We lost my brother, Gary, on Memorial Day’s afternoon.
He was too young, he was so loved, he died much too soon.
His mom, his wife, his daughter, his brother and “step” sons three,
We each and all miss him so very much you see.
Amidst our grief, we pray for leaders and our troops overseas.
We ask the Lord on bended knee for Peace and safety, Please.
We look forward with hope to the year 2002,
And pray for healing of our hearts and joy that comes anew.
Jarrod’s in K.C., and lucky to be working still at Sprint
We’re thankful that his job was not one of those that ‘went.”
And soon wedding bells will ring in February 2002,
When Marya and Marc tie the knot and happily say “I do.”
Norman hopes each plane he inspects is up to Cessna’s best.
Sometimes he flies with the pilots when they run their tests.
Sherry writes for the Wichita Eagle’s magazine “Active Life”
Web design, “The Mayfield Book”, Sherry has an “active life.”
May this your Merriest Christmas be,
May whatever you wish for be under your tree.
And May God hold you safely in His hand,
As you travel around our beautiful land.
Norman, Sherry, Jarrod & Marya
My Christmas card has changed in several ways. I no longer draw the ‘sunbonnet kids’ as our family has expanded. I now have two adorable granddaughters, and their picture sometimes graces the card’s front.
My oldest granddaughter loves to draw, and I think I will soon be asking her to draw the picture for the front of my card!
Thanks to the inspiration of my niece, I now also include a photo collage with my Christmas cards that I create on my photo software, and so we have a year of our life in word and picture for close family and friends.
Looking back through those cards, it’s easy to see just where we ‘were’ in life, and what was going on each year!
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 3, 2009
Thomas MacEntee’s Advent Calendar Challenge can be found at GeneaBloggers here.
Christmas Tree Ornaments
Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?
There are two ornaments that I remember from childhood as being special, the angel for the top of the tree and the ‘bubble’ lights.
She Bravely Clung to the Top of the Tree…
Our angel was small and short and bless her heart, she bravely clung to the top of the tree year after year, even though her wings became a little tattered, and her robes a little worn.
She often leaned to one side or the other, depending on which way the Christmas tree leaned, but the tree wasn’t done until she was placed on the very top and even though we could have bought a new angel, it wouldn’t have been the same. It wouldn’t have been our angel.
The beautiful bubble lights came into to our family before I did, (or before I remember anyhow) and they were the first thing to go on the tree each year.
They looked like miniature candles, and the candle part was glass with a colored liquid inside which bubbled up to the top when the light became warm. One by one, the bubble lights quit bubbling, and we replaced them with the newer tiny little twinkling lights, but it wasn’t the same.
I remember stringing both cranberries and popcorn, but as Carol said in “Reflections from the Fence” the cranberries were hard as rocks, and hard to penetrate with a needle” so I believe that was a one-time thing, and there were always the paper chains to bring home from school and add to the tree each year.
Dad Didn’t Care What he Received for Christmas…
We gathered on Christmas Eve to exchange presents, and though my father never dressed up, Dad loved playing Santa. My dad really didn’t care what he received for Christmas, his joy came from watching his family open the gifts he and mom had bought.
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 1st, 2009
Today, December 1st, would have been my brother, Gary Neal “Sox” Stocking’s 73rd birthday.
If he were still alive.
Gary fell ill in the spring of 2001, just a month or two after we lost my oldest brother’s wife, Nancy Rae (Cook) Stocking to cancer. By the time the doctors ran a PSA test (to test for prostate cancer) it was too late, it had spread to the bones.
Two weeks after his prostate cancer diagnosis - he was gone…
I’m sharing this today on his birthday, because prostate cancer is one of the most survivable cancers, IF you find it in time, and get treatment.
My brother was a get-things-done, take-care-of-business kind of guy. He kept everyone’s car cleaned, the oil in everyone’s car changed, the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed, except for one. He didn’t have time to take care of his own health. He was too busy. I’m not sure he ever had a PSA test, until it was too late.
Gary was a car guy, and he and his wife Sharon showed their little 1926 Model T Street Rod in four states, and people came to his funeral from at least three. In their street rods.
He was the kind of guy that could get on an elevator, say hello, visit with the folks next to him, and have everyone smiling by the time they got two floors up. He was the kind of guy when a car guy he didn’t even know called for help in the middle of the night, he’d get in his pick-up and drive 2 hours to go help him.
He was the kind of guy you could count on…
He was older than me, and when our dad died young, he became extra protective, extra helpful. I always knew if I had car trouble, or any kind of trouble, anywhere, and my husband couldn’t rescue me, he’d be there for me.
When he died I felt like someone had taken the training wheels off my bike before I was ready to go solo. Whenever I got in the car to go somewhere I knew my ‘safety net’, my own personal ‘Triple A’ type rescuer was gone.
If you’re a guy – get a PSA test, before it’s too late…
I’m writing this to say ‘thank you’, to honor him, and to remind any guy reading this to get a PSA test before it’s too late.
Sherry Stocking Kline
November 30, 2009
According to Facebook Friend and fellow Kansas Professional Communicator’s member, Sue Novak, this cool video was created, directed, and choreographed in Portland by Emily (MacInnes) Somer to raise breast cancer awareness.
It’s a fun video with great music and it’s for a very important cause!
In memory of my sister-in-law, Nancy Rae (Cook) Stocking, and in honor of my niece, Lisa, a breast cancer survivor.