“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.” – Thich Nhat Han
Welcome to my blog! So glad that you stopped by and, perhaps, to leave a comment.
Blogging . . . who in my generation could have imagined it thirty years ago? I began my career as a business teacher, and I taught typing to high school students. For multiple copies, we used carbon paper, that flimsy, blackened stuff that left smudges on hands and copies. Sandwiching carbon between each clean sheet, the typist could make about eight copies, each page successively blurrier. Erasing errors, you ask? We used a metal shield behind the page being corrected only to be repeated eight times. That’s why, young’uns, creating a web page for anyone in the world to read seems miraculous from the days of handing out copies from carbon paper.
My travel journal expanded to stories of our family history, which began with a pilgrimage to Michigan in 2009–tracing our family history to a farm on the Upper Peninsula. Writing family history turned out to be more difficult than I expected, for many reasons, but probably the most complex question: what would my relatives think of having their life history in a medium for anyone to read? Do I tell a sentimentalized, nostalgic view of family life, preserving their dignity while somewhat whitewashing the unpleasantness? Can I write about shortcomings when I have just a small piece of their history? I struggle with these questions.
What I particularly like about blogging is the collage format with script, photographs, drawings, maps, and documents all part of the mix, and finally, adding digital storytelling videos. I completed a course on digital storytelling, where fellow participants, with no previous experience, managed to create in just a few days, compelling video stories. Through many of my pages and postings, I’ve integrated story-telling videos into the content.
I enjoy reading your comments and feedback.
Thanks for visiting!
Travel sharpens my awareness of the passage of time, whether observing the erosive forces on the Grand Canyon or the sea carving inlets on the coast of Ireland. Recording family history has also expands perceptions of time, how families lived out their days in cycles of births, marriages, and passings. Sometimes I cannot tell whether I am in their time or my own as these dimensions seem to meld together.
Whether we wake or we sleep,
Whether we carol or weep,
The Sun with his Planets in chime,
Marketh the going of Time.
Psalmboxkey is a made up word from two sources. First, the word psalms derives from a Greek word originally meaning “songs sung to a harp” and then to any piece of music. Music adds a dimension to stories that cannot always be conveyed in just a visual form. The second part of the word references a songbox key from a story within the book, Education of Little Tree. (I’ve devoted a post to the book and the controversies surrounding the novel here.)
This excerpt from the book centers around the family attending a small church in the Appalachian mountains. Grandpa’s dearest friend, ‘Coon Jack’, had been given the key to the songbook box. At testifying time ‘Cook Jack’ announced to the entire congregation,
‘I hear tell they’s some in here been talking about me behind my back. I want ye to know that I’m awares. I know what’s the matter with ye: ye’re jealous because the Deacon Board put me in charge of the key to the songbook box.” ‘Coon Jack then reveals a gun tucked into his pants. Now the church was full of some hard men who would soon as not shoot you if the weather changed, but nobody raised an eyebrow. “Coon Jack, said Grandpa,” everyman here admires the way ye have handled the key to the songbook box. Best handling ever been done. If words has been mistook to cause ye discomfort, I here and now state the sorrow of every man present.” Coon Jack set down, total mollified and contented as was everybody else.
Grandpa explains to his grandson about “‘Coon Jack feeling all important about the songbook box key as he never knowed nothing else but fighting.” Grandpa said that it didn’t matter what Coon Jack said or did, he loved him because he understood him. Education of Little Tree, p. 39.