Friday, July 20, 2007

the pot at the end of the rainbow

Finally, it's been seen and photographed...

and wouldn't you know...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Does such a beast exist?

I've been working on my genealogy -- a lot -- lately. It has always been a passion of mine, but it has usually been put on the back burner.

On our recent vacation, we came home through Kansas so I could stop and dig. Thomas was bored to tears, but had his Gameboy to help pass the time.

I learned a little. I learned much more when I got home and hit I'm ready to go back to Clay County and Washington County, KS again because I'm armed with much more info and many more questions.


Several years ago, I called a cousin I hadn't talked to in years to ask her what she knew of our family history. This is a basic beginning step in genealogy: ask living relatives first. She didn't know anything, but she told me her brother did. Well, thing is, my mom couldn't stand her brother and he always kind of "scared" me because of mom. So, I wasn't going to call him.

Instead, he called me. He was elated to find that there was a family member out there who was into the family history. He had two trunks full of stuff that his son did not want. He wanted to give it to someone in the family. Would I like it? Duh, of course I would like it. So instead of me planning a trip to Colorado to get it, he planned a trip to Minnesota and brought the stuff to me. Wow, a great "gift" delivered!

That was the single most best "gift" I have ever received in my life. Ever.

One of the trunks was lined in newspaper. One of the pages of that newspaper had my great-great grandfather's name and a date of February 1879. I surmised from that that my 2great-grandmother had just received the trunk from her father who had just passed. It is a really old trunk and even if it had arrived to my home empty, I would have been thrilled.

But no, that trunk was stuffed. Full of photos and other "stuff." Newspaper clippings, hand-written scraps of paper, etc. It was a genealogical gold mind.


Fast forward to this week. I have all these photos. With all my work, I have discovered some of the photos that I thought were friends are actually related to us. I want to share this stuff with my siblings and cousins. But there are too many pictures to make copies of. I simply could not afford to do that -- even at only .19 per photo. There are too many.

I could write a "book" and print it, but I wouldn't be able to include all the photos and it still would be way too expensive.

I could make a computer disk -- ah, the easiest solution. However, one sister does not own nor does she want a computer.

I have read somewhere that you can make DVDs to play on your TV of your photos. I think this would be perfect. I could make jpegs out of my tree information (family group sheets) easy enough and include those.

Thing is, I'm clueless on how to do this. Is there a software to do this? Plus I'd want an antique-type feel to it. Music would be fun, too. I'm not too keen on narration, as I don't like to hear my own voice. I can make jpegs out of any factual information I want to share to counter the lack of narration.

Does such a software beast exist? In my mind, it is the perfect solution.

I will close with a photo of the road to my second-great-grandparents' home. They lived to the left, a quarter of a mile in. It was gorgeous -- if you love farm country, that is.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Molly Brown House

When we were in Denver, we took a morning from our "work" and went downtown to visit the Molly Brown House.

I had been there before, in the 70s. I remembered it being very small. Well, it wasn't that small at all, but it wasn't as large as I would have expected.

It is a beautiful house, and if you like that kind of thing, I recommend a visit.

However, for the record, I have something to say. (Imagine that! Complaining again.)

When we bought our tickets, the gal at the counter was extremely rude. Instead of greeting us with a hello, how are you, her greeting was: How many and what kind. I looked at her dumbfounded, surprised at her bluntness, and told her I needed two tickets, but I didn't know what she meant by what kind. Were there different tours? She was very huffy and said, "What kind of tickets? Child or adult." Oh.

So she told us where to go. We went to the front porch to wait for our scheduled tour. While there, we snapped a few photos. You're not allowed to take photos inside.

Pretty soon lots of people gathered for the tour. A very sweet young girl -- okay, late teenager, but young to me -- came out. She was very friendly and polite. She engaged the entire group in conversation, asking us where we were from, making very nice small talk, etc. She was the kind of girl that makes you smile, because she was very warm and friendly and obviously "going places."

In the middle of our chat with this gal, the tour guide came out. This was a woman perhaps in her 60s. She didn't look at any of the guests, no. Instead, she chose to berate this lovely young girl in front of all of us. She started badgering her about wearing the wrong-colored tshirt. The girl explained that she hadn't had a chance to get the correct colored shirt. This tour guide belittled her in front of all of us. For a couple minutes. It was very awkward for all of the tourists.

The woman next turned her attention to the trash can. She berated the young girl again about the fact that the trash can was nearly full and how it was her duty to empty it, and after this tour, she WOULD empty it. She then turned to all of us and told us that we could throw our gum, candy and water bottles in the trash can or next to it because it was full because the girl forgot to empty it.

I felt so sorry for that lovely young lady. What a tyrant this woman was.

Then she officially started the tour. She rattled off the rules in a loud but monotone voice. Then she let us all know how long she had volunteered there, how wonderful she was, and that the earth wouldn't spin without her presence on it. Well, not quite, but she was so full of herself that she nearly popped.

Thomas whispered to me, "Mom, she's just not very nice, is she?" The women behind us started laughing and told Thomas he had that right.

Then she told us she was giving us an abbreviated tour because she wanted us to watch the movie on Molly Brown.

Out of all the tours I've ever taken, and that would be many, she was the worst tour guide I have ever seen. She lacked compassion for her subject. She seemed to be bored. She also seemed to be very arrogant, knowing all. Her presentation was ice cold. She was ice cold. And it was darned hot in that house.

So, to sum it all up, it was an abbreviated tour which I found very disappointing. Thomas and I went into the movie room, and the movie had already started. It was dull. It was hotter than you-know-what in there, so we skipped it.

My advice to the Molly Brown House museum: Start monitoring your volunteers. It could have been SO much better.

Nonetheless, the house itself was great. So even with that caveat, I still recommend seeing it.