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Take the Time Now to Shake Your Tree

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Take the Time Now to Shake Your Tree

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Take the Time Now to Shake Your Tree

Have you ever had regrets and thoughts of a time not well spent? Were you ever too busy to pick up the phone or just didn't feel like following the almost extinct art of taking pen to paper? Why am I moved to write about this now, and what am I driving at here?

I just visited with my almost 100 year old great aunt Ethel Lee. You see, Aunt Lee is the granddaugther of a Mississippi slave named Mahaley. I even have an old faded photograph of Mahaley, and I can see the likeness in my own Ethel Lee. Their faces are unbelieveable carbon copies of one another.


We made ourselves comfortable with a bucket of that extra special fried chicken and wiled away the afternoon. My grandmom, Daisy Ree, only a few years younger, also joined in the conversation.

I saw both of their eyes light up, and their postures loosened up a bit as we chatted. I believe at one point, they even forgot some of their aches and pains, sharing the joys and also the heartaches of their childhood and early life. I heard not only about their glitz and glamour but also about the hard times and realities of working the land and living out their slave legacies.

Now here is what I am driving at and the gist of this post and what I mean by shaking your tree. Take the time now to preserve your family history while there is still time. Get started now with these easy steps:


  • Contact your oldest living relative and set up a time to visit them on their terms


  • When you visit, bring a small gift you think they would appreciate (ask close family what would be appropriate)


  • Do bring a tape recorder or camcorder; they may get excited about talking, and you don't want to miss anything (always ask permission though, and set it up out of the way so as not to make it obvious)


  • Talk about everything under the sun; share your life with them too; most do enjoy the interaction, and you just might make their day (and surprisingly, yours too)


  • Be sensitive to their feelings and needs; don't overstay your welcome and make sure they have plenty to eat and drink


  • Write down key facts, names, dates and places


There is just so much to learn and enjoy about our elders. I started out my journey, a dozen or so years ago, trying to find myself, my purpose here, my own legacy. I wanted to be able to share who I am and where I came from in the process. It is just now, in the last few years, I have come to realize that my Aunt Lee holds a very special place in my heart. Knowing her, I now know myself and a little bit more of who I am. I have also met someone I truly treasure and enjoy being with. A family connection can be that powerful. This is just so important in our lives and something we need to pass down to our children.

Don't let this time slip away from you. You will never get it back, and you will have the added loss of missing a piece of you and your family history. Touch someone's life who can mean so much and please do it soon. Go pick up your phone or pen and make the arrangements now.

Here are a few more resources to get you started:

How to Interview a Relative

The Grand Generation: The Interview

Family Interview Questions

Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me of this. I have a great aunt too I haven't spoken to in years. I want to touch base with her right now. I have tears in my eyes.

October 3, 2007 at 1:54 PM  

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