Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Calendar Girl

"I love, I love, I love my calendar girl"...can't you just hear Neil Sedaka crooning those words? I always wondered what it would be like to be a calendar girl. Now I know.

Last year my DAR chapter decided to create a calendar as a money maker. The calendars would be on sale to anyone who wanted one and they would also be taken to the Fall Forum for sale to all the other DAR chapters from around the state of Florida. I personally bought four of them...one for Yam, Spud, my in-laws and of  course myself.

Those of us who wanted to be in the calendar dressed up in our best colonial wear (I cobbled my outfit together from other costume pieces I have collected to portray characters when I volunteer for county programs...just a pretty straw hat, mop cap and voila, I looked reasonably colonial).




We had quite a group. The men from the SAR came dressed up too. Our photographer was a friend of one of the ladies in the DAR. She did an excellent job and it all went fairly quickly considering how many people she had to photograph.

Our Chapter Regent (president) was the first to be photographed. She ended up on the calendar's cover.



Soon it was time for others to be photographed.





The photographer wanted to have a group shot of the ladies and the men.





We had shots of couples and even one of a mother and son (so cute).


(Check out the sandals...not quite period footwear)



Finally, a group shot with everyone in it. That was the photograph that took the longest to arrange and get right.


(Notice we covered the lady's sandals with a quilt)

I was the calendar girl for March.



The calendars came out very nicely. I believe we eventually sold all the calendars before the year's end. What a fun experience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Luncheon With George and Martha

Photo from georgeandmarthawashington.com

Every February, local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) have a joint luncheon meeting. We always meet at a fancy retirement complex in town and eat in one of their dinning rooms.

Normally The Colonel, my HODAR (Husband of a Daughter of  the American Revolution), does not attend the monthly meetings of my DAR chapter. HODARs are always welcome to attend and some always do, but The Colonel says that is an evening for me to be with the ladies. I agree. But, this joint meeting was going to be a bit special.

You know by now that The Colonel and I like history. George and Martha Washington were going to be guest speakers at this year's joint meeting. The Colonel did not want to miss it.


The Washingtons were expertly portrayed by Bill and Cara Elder. The first person interpreters are retired educators who have taught in Pennsylvania and Florida. Bill was a high school history teacher and an Exceptional Student Education teacher. Cara taught computer application and elementary education. They have 40 years of teaching experience. The Elders are certified as Skype for Education and have taught internet classes that have been seen worldwide.

Bill and Cara participate in battle reenactments and living history events in places like Mt. Vernon,
Valley Forge, Colonial Williamsburg and Philadelphia (during the Fourth of July).

In their presentations the Elders cover several topics about the Washingtons. They revisit George and Martha's childhoods, the French and Indian War, George and Martha's love story, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution and others.


The Washingtons spoke to our group about George as President and his "Lady" Washington. They shared the contributions they made during the birth of our nation and reviewed the events surrounding the Constitutional Convention. They also spoke about the eight years George served as Chief Executive and "Lady" Washington's role in those years. George and Martha told us of the leaders they worked with (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette) as well as some of the major events that occurred during George's presidency such as the Whiskey Rebellion (The Colonel has an ancestor who fought during the rebellion), Jay's Treaty, the foundation of the National Bank and the future capital city of D.C.




George and Martha took turns speaking. One would sit at their table and "write" as the other was speaking.


George Washington willingly served as president of our great nation for eight years. He was asked to serve another four years but he declined as he wanted to go home to his beloved Mt. Vernon where he and Martha could lead a quiet, private life. Martha too was happy to have her husband back to herself. Of her time as "Lady" Washington she was quoted to say, "I live a very dull life here... indeed I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else".

Martha was a military spouse before she was the first "First Lady". She would often travel with George during the war years. Her following quote mirrors what I always thought during my years as a military spouse and beyond:

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition".

I think I would like to have met the real George and Martha but seeing Bill and Cara Elder's portrayal of them is the next best thing. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Daughter of the American Revolution

This is one of the posts I had hoped to write last year. Better late than never. I need to get this post written because it dovetails with another I am also currently writing. So, here I go...finally.

Way back on March 5, 2016, I was inducted into the Hickory Bluff Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Wow! Has it been almost one year already?

But I am getting ahead of myself...

In November of 2015, The Colonel was invited to speak at a Hickory Bluff Chapter of the DAR meeting (held on Thursday evenings and at a local yacht club). It was a very new chapter and The Colonel spoke about the history of Hickory Bluff (the local and historical area the chapter is named for). As The Colonel's wife, I was also invited to attend the dinner meeting.

As The Colonel and I sat at one of the tables, one of the ladies at the table spoke:

"Are you a DAR member?"

"No, I am not," I answered back.

"Are you able to become one?"

"I am not sure about that, but I could look into it I suppose. Exactly how does one become a member of the DAR?"

"You have to prove a direct lineage to a patriot of the American Revolution and have the paperwork sent to the DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C. and then they will look them over and approve them if they are in order."

"Sounds a daunting task," I replied.

I later enquired of my youngest brother, who has taken over the family genealogy research following our mother's death, about any patriots we may have in our family line(s). He told me that two of our first cousins on our dad's side were already in the DAR.

I contacted my cousin Theresa and asked her what information she had and what was my next step. She was so excited to hear I was wanting to join the DAR. She got to filling out paper work for me. All I had to do was "prove" three generations via birth, marriage and death (if applicable) certificates. I would need my birth certificate as well as The Colonel's and our marriage certificate. I would then need the birth certificates of my parents, their marriage certificate and because my father was deceased, I would need his death certificate too. The last paperwork I would need would be the birth and death certificates of my father's parents as well as their marriage certificate. Theresa had done all of the other paperwork leading up to our shared patriot, Eleazer Ingraham (another post on him at a later date, I promise), when she joined the DAR (Thank you Baby Jesus).

After a few weeks of sending off for said certificates (with minor hiccups), I had everything I needed. The Colonel was a bit surprised at how quickly I had gotten all the documents. He has been doing his family genealogy for about 30 years and has not had it as easy...beginners luck I said.

The Registrar for my DAR chapter took the paperwork Theresa completed and took copies of my documents and sent them off to Washington, D.C. From not knowing if I had a patriot in my family in November of 2015 to being inducted into the DAR on March 5, 2016 was a fairly quick process by DAR standards (so I am told). Note: The Chapter Regent called me on Friday, February 26, 2016 to let me know that I was officially in the DAR. The Colonel and I were in the car listening to a CD about the American Revolution at the time of her call.

There was one other woman being inducted the same evening I was. Her name is Buffy and she has become one of my favorite people. Had I known she was going to wear her tiara I would have worn mine as well. That is so Buffy.


Buffy and I were inducted into the chapter as Charter Members. We were sworn in a couple of months before the chapter had its first anniversary.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded on October 11, 1890, during a time that was marked by a revival in patriotism and intense interest in the beginnings of the United States of America. Women felt the desire to express their patriotic feelings and were frustrated by their exclusion from men's organizations formed to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. As a result, a group of pioneering women in the nation's capital formed their own organization and the Daughters of the American Revolution has carried the torch of patriotism ever since.

The objectives laid forth in the first meeting of the DAR have remained the same in 125 years of active service to the nation. Those objectives are: Historical - to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence; Educational - to carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, "to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion…"; and Patriotic - to cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty.
Since its founding in 1890, DAR has admitted more than 950,000 members.

I have since become the Chapter's Flag Chairman. I am responsible for bringing the American Flag as well as our Chapter Flag to all meetings. I am also the Chairman for the National Defense Committee which means I am responsible for handing out awards to citizens the chapter deems worthy such as the outstanding cadets of our local high schools' ROTC programs. I help with other community efforts our chapter participates in when I can.

The chapter I belong to is made up of nice, fun ladies and not the bunch of old, pompous women one thinks of when they think of the DAR.. I did see quite a lot of pompous old women from other chapters from around the state of Florida when I attended the DAR's Fall Forum last year in Orlando. Made me appreciate my chapter.

Stay tuned for other DAR themed posts (now that this one has been completed...finally).


Monday, January 23, 2017

Sharing Stories


I know that the number of my posts in 2016 were fewer than I had wanted or anticipated (maybe you, my dear reader, feel the same way). I still have things I want to write about that happened last year and I will, I promise, but today I must write about something that happened today (while it is still fresh in my mind).

I participated in something called StoryCorps. It was founded in 2003 by MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Dave Isay. StoryCorps' mission is to provide people with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives. It collects the stories that are often excluded from the historical record and StoryCorps records narratives that would otherwise be lost to history and reminds the nation that every story matters and every voice counts.

StoryCorps has given nearly 100,000 people a chance to record interviews and leave a legacy for future generations. These stories, which make up what is now the largest single collection of human voices that have been collected, are preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps shares select excerpts of these conversations with the world through their broadcasts on NPR, their animated shorts on PBS, their website, their podcasts and their books.

How did I get to be part of all of this? The director of the little museum I volunteer for was contacted by the local PBS station, WGCU (our little museum has a partnership with WGCU). They said that the StoryCorps' MobileBooth (an Airstream trailer converted into a traveling recording studio) was going to be in Ft. Myers for about five weeks and would be interested in gathering some of the stories of people in my town. StoryCops would send a remote team to the museum (the MobileBooth had to stay in Ft. Myers) and make the recordings there. My museum director asked if I would be interested in participating...but of course I would!

I visited the StoryCorps website to see what I could expect and looked at some of their questions that could make for a good interview. I decided on the marriage and partnership line of questioning and I chose to be interviewed by one of my friends. My friend had the list of questions ahead of time so that she would feel comfortable in asking them. Questions such as: How did you meet your husband? How did you know he was "the one"? and How did he propose? My friend adlibbed a couple of questions too.

Two young women made up the StoryCorps team. They brought in their recording equipment and began setting things up in the office on a little card table that we had at the museum.




Once they had things set up they waited for the first set of interviewers/ees to arrive. My friend and I would be the second set of recordings of the day. Here they are talking with the museum director before the recordings of the day were to begin.


Before you sat down for your recording session you had to fill out paperwork which asked for basic personal information such as name, address and ethnic background. Once we sat down in front of our microphones the recording Facilitator made sure that we were positioned well for recording and checked our audio levels.




The interview lasted about 40 minutes. While my friend and I were talking, the Facilitator took notes, kept time and monitored the audio. When we were done with our interview we were given a copy of it on CD. We also had to sign a release form, which allows StoryCorps to keep one copy and send another one to the archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Finally, the Facilitator took photos of me and my interview partner/friend, both together and separately. These photos will also be included in the archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

My friend and I also received a StoryCorps certificate that reads, This certificate recognizes that the conversation you recorded will be preserved in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and is an official part of the StoryCorps Archive. We thank you for your extraordinary contribution. It is signed by David Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps.

The Colonel was at the museum during the recording but was in another room. He took the pictures of my friend and I. He and I listened to the interview on our way home. He said it was a very good interview and that my friend and I sounded great.

I enjoyed the experience and was pleased with the recording. I am proud to have my story (a slice of it) in the Library of Congress to share now and with future generations.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017