On Saturday, February 9th, I had the privilege of sharing by Bring Your Ancestors to Life presentation with members of the Genealogical Society of Sarasota.

We discussed many forms a family history story can take, and I was thrilled by the enthusiasm in the room! It’s not easy to know what to do with a collection of facts and historical data. It feels overwhelming, but the unfortunate truth is, the boxes of data are not going to survive more than a generation or two without being transformed into something that will capture your family’s interests!

SarasotaWe had a wonderful morning in Sarasota, and I look forward to returning to write with the Sarasota genealogist again soon! Check out the photos from this fantastic event!

The group participated in a short writing exercise in response to the poem, “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon. Here’s where they are from:

I am 62 years old – yet, whenever I talk to my aunts on the phone, they tell me that I was the cute little girl who lived downstairs from them. They would ask my mom to “borrow me” so that they could play with me. These aunts are my dad’s two younger sisters. They are now about 80 years old. My dad passed away five years ago. I enjoy talking to my aunts. Talking to Aunt Esther and Aunt Diane makes me think of my wonderful dad who everyone knew as Nunny. People tell me, I am just like my dad. I have all of his crazy habits. We both were known for writing endless lists, repeating ourselves too much, and we both loved being remembered. He should be smiling now just knowing that I am writing about him.

Kim Sheintal, author of Jews of Sarasota-Manatee

***

Iam from Virginia’s red dirt.
Iam from the mill creek with a dam where no one can swim anymore.
Iam from shelling peas and cracking black walnuts that stain my hands.
Iam from baby-sitting my nephew so I do not have to milk the cows.
Iam from riding the school bus my father drives on Sundays to pick up neighbors without cars to take to church.
Iam from shivering in the church while my dad builds a wood fire in the pot belly stove.
Iam from a family with lots of love.

Betty Matthews

***

Sarasota-2I am from icy winter salt-water, frozen waves and grey sea-smoke.
I am from rocky shores carved by glaciers millenniums ago.
I am from brown rough sand ground from seashore rocks callousing my bare feet.

I am from an autumn acorn, giving birth to a strong, hard woody oak.
I am from lilacs, purple, white and pink, scented blossoms infusing the springtime air.
I’m from Rosa rugosas with prickly thorns perfuming the summer fog.

I’m from an island surrounded by white caps and lobster boats with stern-men hauling traps and from sailboats with billowy sails luffing as they jibe or come-about.
I am from a soaring osprey, talons extended snatching a herring,
And from the moon white gull dropping a mussel then parachuting down to uncover its tasty delight.

I’m from the white birch forest with mottled bark standing tall, willowy bowing to the summer sun.
I’m from freshly picked wild blueberries and blackberries smothered over vanilla ice cream.

I am from Sophie and Andras whose blackened coal dusted faces gave birth to Erzsebet in a mining town.
And from babka, kielbasa and kolachies, calories stored in my innermost cells.
I am from Sophie’s hands and fingers that crocheted patterns of independence, fortitude and love into my heart.

Colleen Tierney, author of The Weight of Coal and Lace: The Story of Andras and Sophie Kuchta

***

I am from a US Military Hospital in Germany
I am from a huge family that has dwindled and dwindled
I am from”clean up those oak leaves, this is where you wanted to live”
I am from a host of story tellers
I am from “put those baby squirrels back in the meter box”
I am from dogs at my side, wiping my tears away
I am from a wonderful life with my soul mate who comes from another country
I am from learning, reading, and writing
I am from a close knit family circle of dogs, husband and sons; I am the only female

Suzanne Davidovac, author of Helping, Healing, Caring; Memoir of a Nurse

Thank you, again, for sharing your words and your lives with us.

 

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