Posts Tagged ‘1960′s’

Ten Year Anniversary in the NFPW

by Sherry Stocking Kline
February 12, 2010

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I didn’t realize just how much fun I’d had or how much time had flown past until I received the following Congratulatory e-mail from National Federation of Press Women on Friday.

It was my Ten Year Anniversary!  What a nice reminder:

SUBJECT: NFPW MILESTONE CONGRATS!

Fri, February 12, 2010 1:57:27 PM

February 12, 2010

Dear Sherry,

CONGRATULATIONS!

As a member of the National Federation of Press Women, you have reached the 10-year Milestone in your membership.

Your name will be in the 2010 NFPW Chicago Conference Program recognizing your 10 years of membership

Our thanks from the entire membership for your support of this wonderful organization through your dedicated membership.

Information about the conference in Chicago is forthcoming, and I hope you will be attending the entire event. As anyone knows who has attended a conference, they quickly become addictive. Not only for the information gained, but the priceless friendship and memories as well.

Again, my congratulations to you. I hope you will join us for the informative workshops, the inspiration gained, and the never-ending fellowship and fun that fills every conference.

Cordially,

Barb Micek, NFPW Historian

And it’s by such little choices that lives are changed…

Just a little over ten years ago, shortly after I graduated from Kansas State University’s distance learning program with a bachelor’s degree in Arts & Sciences, (emphasis on home economics taken in the late 1960′s) and history (taken in the 1990′s), I took a writing class at Wichita State University.

Seeing a flyer on the bulletin board for a writing group, I went to the meeting.  Would we like a mentor?

Well, yes, of course!

And it’s by such little choices that lives are changed.  I was assigned Beth Bower, editor of a newspaper that I’m ashamed to say I can’t recall the name of right now.  I went to meet Beth, we hit it off, and she asked me to write an article about my genealogy hobby.

So I did.

One thing led to another…

Shortly after that, Beth called and told me that she was leaving that newspaper to go to the Wichita Eagle, Special Publications Division,  and before I could get sad about not doing any more writing for her, she said “Give me a little time, (to get settled into her new job) and I think I can get you some work.”

Beth encouraged me to join the local and state chapters of Press Women, now  Wichita Professional Communicators and Kansas Professional Communicators. It was excellent advice.

One thing led to another and genealogy continued to grow in popularity, and that’s how my column “The Family Tree” that ran in “Active Life” and now in “Healthy Living” came to be.  And now I’ve been writing about genealogy in the Wichita Eagle for ten years also.

Thanks to Beth’s encouragement, advice, (and excellent editing) I’ve won state awards and national honorable mentions.   Woo Hoo!

Thank you, Beth!

Time does fly when you are having fun!

From Birthday Gift to Heirloom…

by Sherry Stocking Kline
November 29, 2009

How is it that something becomes an heirloom? Is it the value of the object, the age of the object, or the love inside the object and its history?

One birthday present that stands out is one that I still have. One that is destined to become a hand-me-down heirloom. And one that I still enjoy.

We were in South Dakota, my mom, dad, and I.  It would be our last vacation with my dad, but we didn’t know that then, or at least I didn’t.

We had been to Minnesota to visit family,  my Great-Aunt May Breneman Jones Willey, her son Kenneth Jones and his wife, Lois, and their family, Lawrence, Lynn, Patty, Charles, and Kenny, and we were coming back down through South Dakota, seeing the sights.

My Parents Laughed…

We visited the “dead Presidents” (Mt Rushmore) which was very impressive, went to the Passion Play (the re-enactment of Christ’s life and crucifixion), and I met a girl at the motel that night who was about my age, (soon to be eleven years old) and what was so impressive was this girl had her life already mapped out.

She told me who she was going to marry and that they were going to raise horses together.  I was so impressed (Here I was at eleven still waffling between being a jockey or an archeologist!) and hadn’t even thought yet about who I would marry and what WE would do that I told my folks all about the girl I met on the motel swing set who already knew who she was going to marry.

My parents laughed….

Mom and I Huddled Inside the Car…

The next day we traveled through the National Park where a herd of several hundred buffalo thundered across the road in front of the car right  in front of us. My mom and huddled inside the car while my dad, unafraid, in typical guy “I ain’t afraid of nothin’” fashion stood outside the car and watched.

Before we came home dad took Mom and I to the Black Hills Gold Jewelry store where the jewelry was actually being made.  Dad had promised Mom that when they went to where the Black Hills gold jewelry was made he would buy her a set.  So we went into the store where we could  see people working on the jewelry.

It took them quite awhile, looking at one necklace and then another. Mom tried on one set, and then another and I kept busy watching the workers, peering into the jewelry cases, and watching the necklace and earring fashion show between Mom and Dad.

But I Had My Sights Set on a Cowboy Hat…

Finally, they had the perfect set for Mom. Then they turned to me.  They wanted to buy me a ring for my birthday.

Uh, Oh.  My little soon-to-be  eleven year old heart had its sights set on a cowboy hat. (Did I mention that I was a tomboy?)  I just hadn’t decided if I wanted it to be black hat like the bad guys or a white hat like Roy Rogers yet, but that’s what  I wanted right then, a cowboy hat.

I didn’t have the horse to go with it, but I wanted that, too.  Mom and dad definitely  had other plans.

They wanted me (a tomboy) to pick something elegant…

So we spent some time picking out a ring. They really wanted me to get something fancy, something a little ‘elegant’.  I wasn’t then, nor am I now, ‘elegant.’

I remember them saying, “Look how much longer this ring makes your fingers look.”

I didn’t think a ring was going to help my fingers look long and ladylike too much. My fingers were short and stubby then and they’re short and stubby now.

I picked out a simple gold band with the Black Hills Gold signature pink and gold leaves on it. Simple lines. Very similar to a wedding band, but I liked it. After some time spent showing me lots of fancier rings to try to get me to pick out something larger, longer, and more elegant, they gave in and let me get the one I liked.

Landstrom's Black Hills Gold Ring

Landstrom's Black Hills Gold Ring

They chose it for one of my larger fingers, hoping I could wear it when I was grown, and they chose wisely there. I can still wear it.

It looks almost exactly like this one, except it has more than 30 years of wear. It’s plain and simple, perfect for my size 4 1/2 to 5 short little fingers. It’s still my favorite.

A little over a year later, my father was gone…

My father was only 50 when he passed away. Just a few years later, heart by-passes became standard practice, but they weren’t then.

I wonder now, if he somehow knew, that his time was getting short, and he wanted us to have these special reminders of him.

Years later, I can look at the Black Hills gold ring that we picked out that day, and remember the whole vacation, the people we met, the good times we had, and feel the love of my parents surrounding me.

12-01-09 Author’s note: After posting this article, I found the ring that was nearly like mine, and so have updated the photograph, and added the name of the ring’s creator. My dad didn’t know he was beginning a new family tradition between myself, my mother, and my children that day, but he did.

I do think he may have known his time was getting shorter as by that time he had had heart disease  for more than ten years and wanted us to have something we could remember him by. My mother, treasuring that memory purchased a cross necklace and another ring at different times in my life, all with that first gift in mind.

Garage Sale Photos

by Sherry Stocking Kline
August 30, 2009

Written for FamilyTreeWriter.com after finding a family’s photographic treasures in a yard sale….

Call me crazy, but I love to garage sale.  Go to them.  Not have them.

So one lazy Friday afternoon when I was on my way to somewhere else I spotted a yard sale, slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car, and went over to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without.

Not much. But there among the mismatched glasses and old pillow cases was a box of photographs with $2.00 written on the box flap.

I looked at the folks holding the yard sale, and trying not to sound like they’d just put a price tag on one of their children, I asked, “You’re selling your photographs?”

“No,” they answered, “they were here when we moved into the house.”

“Oh,” I answered, and feeling better I thumbed through the photographs. Some were old, maybe even early 1900′s old. Some appeared to have been taken in the 1930′s and judging by the clothes, crew-cuts, and cars, they seemed to continue up through the 50′s and 60′s.

Naturally, most were without names.

I walked around, browsed the other tables, but that box kept calling my name. Honest, it just pulled me back to it.

No matter how good or bad, my family photographs are treasures, bits and pieces of our lives, snapshots of our memories. This was someone else’s box of memories, someone else’s babies, someone else’s high school graduation, and someone else’s vacations. Surely somewhere there was someone who would be glad to have them back.

I started to pick up the box, all the while muttering under my breath, “You don’t have time,” “You may not find the family,” and “You’ve got enough to do preserving your own family history.”

But I’m pretty good at playing devil’s advocate, too. “Remember how you nearly cried when that elderly third cousin on your mom’s side that you just located told you she’d thrown her own family photos (your own family photos, too) away?”  “Remember how excited you were when another new-found cousin gave you a photograph of your great-grandparents and you saw their faces for the first time.”

Then, my final winning argument, “if you can’t find the family(s) you can always send the photos to DeadFred.com, a website for ‘orphan’ photographs, as well as a place to upload your own ancestors.

“I’m a genealogist,” I said, explaining that I would like to take them and find their family.

“Do you have any idea who these belong to,” I asked. And that’s when the lady brought out the high school autograph book she found among the photographs and let me go through it. A few had signed their first and last names (a genealogist’s dream) and one or two included the city, state, and date, “Senior 1936″ and “Eads, Colorado.” Eureka!   Helpful clues.

So that did it. I was hooked and reeled in.

Ever the bargainer, I asked if they would take a dollar for it.

“Sure,” they said. I had a plan and a fall-back plan if I couldn’t find the family. So after I copied the information from the autograph book onto a raggedy envelope I had in my purse, I packed up the box, brought it home, and set about planning my next move.

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