This Bird Does It

Librarian Wannabe ramblings


Leave a comment

A letter to the other Trump supporters

Let me just tell you a few things I’m NOT saying. I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, or any other kind of phobe/ist (though, many of you are saying you aren’t and just saying it doesn’t make it so). I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a threat to the safety of any American. I’m NOT saying that Hillary was my first choice for president. If you continue reading and you come away believing I’ve said any of that, you are simply wrong and you have not really listened.

That said, there are a few things I want to say that I’m not seeing in the social media conversation. First, I want to validate the fear of my LGBTQ+ friends, parents raising LGBTQ+ kids, minority friends, parents of minorities, and anyone else who feels afraid today. We aren’t afraid of all the Trump supporters. That’s ridiculous. If you aren’t a threat, you don’t need to say it every time someone posts their fear. If you feel the need to show that you aren’t a threat, GREAT. One simple thing you can do to show it is to wear a safety pin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with the safety pin, here’s some resources from Huffington Post and The New York Daily News.

So what are we afraid of? That tiny percentage of Americans who are simply horrible. We’re afraid of a tiny percentage who think that Donald Trump’s words (and words ARE important) about Muslims, gays, special needs people, women, and immigrants were not just okay, but great. There are Americans who think it’s not just okay to beat up that effeminate middle schooler, but needs to be done. There are Americans who think that those who have less muscular control of their arms or legs should be made fun of. There are Americans who have long wanted to be able to openly call out those with different ethnic backgrounds in their neighborhoods and schools, to harass them until they feel unsafe and leave, to run them off. If my description of these Americans disgusts you, than you might not be one of them. Chances are NONE of you reading this is one of them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Not only do they exist, but they have been empowered, emboldened, and ENDORSED. It may not have been your intention when you voted for him, but it is the result nonetheless.

So all those people who feel fear are absolutely justified in feeling that fear. If you still disagree with me about that one fact, you are probably one of the few still denying that white privilege exists, and frankly, I’m not sure that our discussion can go much further. We’re speaking different languages and since that is such a basic tenet of my beliefs about this country,  I’m hard pressed to find common ground. We can certainly disagree about how much of a problem it is, how to fix it, even how it came about, but surely you can agree that it exists.

There are dozens of reports today, and over the last few days, about why that fear is justified. There are middle schoolers chanting hateful things at ethnic minorities, graffiti with obvious hate messages, people beat up for appearing to belong to the LGBTQ+ community, women harassed on public transportation. Is there an actual increase in these incidents, or is it just being reported on more often? I don’t know, and really it doesn’t matter. It’s happening. The fear IS justified.

I’m not going to hash out the issues that made me choose to vote for Clinton over Trump. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to assume that most of you who voted for Trump made your decision carefully, perhaps prayerfully, and simply chose different legitimate priorities. Clearly we disagree, but Trump has won the election fair and square, so we have to move from there. I consider America’s endorsement of Trump to be a challenge, and I am up to it. I have the beginnings of a plan. Would you like to know what it is? I  bet we can find common ground there.

wp-1478965011446.jpgFirst, I’m going to show all the love I can. On Wednesday morning, when my children were sad and disappointed, I instructed each one of them to dig deep within themselves and find all the extra kindness and love they could muster and show it to everyone they came across. I want us all to double our efforts in that area every single day. If hate and fear have been endorsed and even ONE person feels more comfortable spreading that, than I want to be part of those who will smother that hate everywhere it springs up. The news will cover the hate faster than the love, so we’ll have to patient and steady and back each other up with that love, but I want to be part of that movement. I’ll wear a safety pin every day as an outward sign. I will continue to teach my children that this is the most important thing they can do, and that God demands it of us.

 

Second, I will try to hear the rest of you. You Trump supporters who are angry at the liberal reaction to this election, if you can express your feelings without anger, I want to hear why you chose him. I will try to squash my own confirmation bias and read even-handed pieces from reliable, authoritative, non-biased sources about the issues you find most important. I have several articles in the queue already, and Hillbilly Elegy is already ordered and on its way to me. I will engage in rational discussion with anyone who is willing about which issues should be most important, how they should be handled, and what the consequences might be of those solutions.

Lastly, I will not endorse or be part of protests that involve shouting “Not my president.” I will not threaten to move to Canada. I will not feed the hatred of “the other side.” I will give Trump the respect of the office he was legitimately elected to. I will likely disagree with MANY of the decisions he will make as president, but I will find productive ways to express that. I will maintain my faith in the democratic system, and work harder within it to effect the change I believe in.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

All American Saturday

20160611_183154-1.jpgGood heavens, we are blessed. I worked this morning, so I missed some excitement. The middle kid had a double header, and he played fabulously. YAY for baseball! A homerun, to RBIs, a slide into home, and he was awarded the game ball. The girl had a softball game and she also played well. It was hot and everyone kept their chin up and pulled through.

When I finished work at one, I hustled over to the end of the boy’s game in time to hear the coach award him the game ball. We gathered the family for a trip out for ice cream because you HAVE to celebrate that kind of game, right?

Then home to watch these rascals soak each other with squirt guns. There was some bickering and general whining, but still a good time. Then we cooked hotdogs and brats on the grill for dinner. Now I’m watching these kids work on throwing and catching in the back yard.

FOR REAL? This is my life? I’m this lucky? This privileged? Yeah. I am. Now, what am I going to teach my children? How am I going to give them the empathy I want them to share with the world? For now, I’m enjoying watching them thrive in this privilege, but please never let them  forget that it IS privilege! Never let ME forget!

 

 


Leave a comment

Progress

When I’ve used the term “progress” in blogging before, it was always with a specific, determined, defined goal. “Progress” toward my degree. “Progress” toward losing weight. “Progress” toward catching up with the laundry. This week I’ve been thinking about progress in a slightly different light. This week’s progress, or this month’s, even this year’s, has been less defined. There will always be intermediate goals along the way, milestones, other objectives to achieve, but all this progress is part of something bigger. The progress I’ve been paying attention to lately seems so much more a part of the over arching flow of our lives.

All that to bring me to pointing out how different life is than when I started this blog. I started blogging for several reasons. Most obviously, I started writing so I could record some of the swirling chaos of home life with three children. They were growing up quickly and I hoped to produce some record they could look back on and enjoy, something to help them remember things but also to see the events of their childhood through their mother’s eyes. I started writing because I wanted to share with whoever might be interested a little about how wonderful I think these young humans are, how it’s a delight and a struggle to be responsible for raising them, and maybe just a little how I just love to share my thoughts and opinions on stuff. The other reason I started writing, maybe the least obvious but still valid reason, is that I wanted to create a good sized web presence made up of absolutely innocuous but truthful information about who I am. That almost seems silly, I guess, but I knew that I would be looking for library employment at some point, and any employer worth working for would surely do a Google search for a candidate. Might as well give them something to read. Later, adding my ePortfolio and resume information was just icing.

When I started writing I had just begun Library School. I had two mid-elementary school children and a toddler who hadn’t even potty trained, yet. I had pretty well hit my stride with motherhood, but adding grad school had thrown things into chaos, and I still believed I could tackle things like getting into shape and overhauling my eating habits. Ups and downs, successes and failures for the whole household, and more than three years later, here we are. The oldest child is heading to middle school with the next on her heels. The youngest has finished kindergarten and is so excited about all things learning. I’ve finished my degree and landed a job I absolutely adore. I’d love to say I’d stay there indefinitely, but for the part-time thing. I’ve got to be full-time with benefits somewhere in a couple years. Still, this job closed the hole in my resume and I can’t even describe the amount of experience I’ve gained there. Not to mention what I hope to learn from our new director.

I haven’t actually written about the job, have I? I was hired on at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, where I did my internship, as Public Services Librarian. It’s part-time, as I’ve said, but that has made for a bit smoother transition for our family to a two working parent model.

20160602_082632-1.jpg

A real sign for my office like a grown up!

Here we are at summer break. My kids will never all be in the same in the same school again. I’ll work some, hang out with kids some. I think it will be a great summer. I hope so!

There are some things that stay the same as we progress through these years. Parenting is dazzling and horrifying. Laundry is never completely caught up. Five people living in one house is an adventure. Children always need new shoes. We will probably never have a fully manicured lawn. I’ve made peace with all those things.

Let’s hope I can record a little more of the second half of 2016 than I did of the first half.


Leave a comment

#my8for16 update

 

It has been a day. The littlest kid is still sick, though on the mend, my phone decided to just brick itself, and all day I’ve had this nagging feeling that I’m completely behind on my homework. Well, since I’ve obsessively checked my “unofficial advising” transcript online for weeks, I’ve seen that my degree is, in fact, awarded. I’m certain there’s no real homework coming due. Then I figured out what it was. I haven’t updated anything about #my8for16 AT ALL.

I can’t promise this is a big, juicy update, but I guess I ought to touch on a few of them.

  1. Improving my health? Yeah, I’m doing that, I guess. I’ve been to Zumba classes at the rec center 3 or 4 times a week since the first “resolution solution” class on Jan 1. I like it. I mean, I hate it when I’m doing it, but I like it when it’s over. I feel a need to keep going back. And honestly, I hate it slightly less than I did in the beginning. That’s something. I’ve invested in appropriate footwear. I bought an unlimited pass for the month of February. I’m committed for the month, anyway. I think I may have dropped a few pounds, but I’m not getting on a scale.
  2. More whole foods? Sure. I started making my own instant oatmeal, quit buying “pancake syrup” in favor of maple, and I’m pushing more fruits and veggies. We still eat chips and processed lunch meats, among other things, but we’re making progress.
  3. No word on a job. Sent out a few resumes, but I haven’t gotten crazy about searching. That’s a job for next week, when I’ve got everyone healthy and my phone up and running.
  4. Declutter? Not so much. I have barely gotten Christmas cleaned up and put away. If I’m going to be home with a sick kid one more day, I’m cleaning out a drawer or two tomorrow!
  5. Charitable giving? I have done absolutely nothing on this one. It’s not really an excuse, but I guess I’m waiting to see what happens with the job situation. I should move forward.
  6. My closet? Still spilling into the room. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  7. Stop buying clothes? Well, not so much. I will say that I’ve mostly only bought workout clothes. That’s something, right
  8. Prayer journal? No. No journal. But I am trying to be more mindful in my prayers. I still intend to journal, but I’m behind on this one.

 

So, that’s the update. Progress, but nothing earth shattering. I’m proud of my regular attendance at Zumba. I fully intend to keep that going. We’ll see how it works out.

FB_IMG_1454163791373


Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolutions #my8for16

Edited to update: I originally used the hashtag #8for16, but some company has a whole marketing thing using that. I don’t need my very own hashtag, but if someone else has already claimed it, I’ll change. So, I changed it to #my8for16. If others use it for other things, that’s fine, but at least it’s not part of some big campaign that I have nothing to do with. 

Christmas Day has come and gone, so naturally we’re all thinking about New Year’s Eve, right? We’ll celebrate in our various ways, and then we’ll all wake up the next day and it will be TWENTY SIXTEEN!

2-0-1-6! I just can’t really wrap my head around that, but that’s how I feel every year. Something feels a little different this year, and I’m a little wigged out about it.

I’ve always been so anti-resolution. I mean, it has always seemed like a great way to set myself up for disappointment, and isn’t life full of disappointments without me pushing my own? I like to think that I can just decide to make life changes whenever and I’ll stick to it, and make changes, and be better, and whatever. But I don’t. Not usually.

But I just finished my MLIS. I set a goal, a big one, and I went about achieving it. I’m pretty proud of myself. I might just have it in me to achieve something else.

If you know me, or if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I’m still struggling with my weight. Getting in shape is always the goal that’s “out there.” “Someday” I’ll tackle that project. “Someday” is usually when I finish grad school, or when the littlest fella is in school full time, or maybe when I get a job and have a routine, or on and on. Well, some somedays are here and some aren’t but there will never be a perfect time!

An hour or so ago, I saw a post on Facebook by a neighborhood mom friend who happens to be a Zumba instructor at the community center in town. She was informing us that there will be a “Resolution Solution” class on New Year’s Day from 10-12, and that it will be fun, and we should come. “All fitness levels,” she said. “No judgement!” “A dance party support group,” she called it. I got caught up in the conversation and before I knew it, I’d registered for the class and promised to come! Huh? What? The word “resolution” is right there in the title of the class. This is so not me!

I’m going to try a little something different this year. I’m going to write down my #my8for16, 8 things I hope to accomplish or improve in 2016. I have faith that I can be more successful if I write them down, share them with an audience, check in regularly, and ask you all to help me be accountable. I will keep them simple, not too ambitious (remember that setting up for failure thing?), and I’ll try to check in with each, at least monthly, maybe on the first of the month?

Here we go…

#my8for16

  1. I’ve got to improve my health. I don’t want to be so specific that it feeds that failure thing. I’m not going to say “I’ll lose 60 pounds” or “I’ll be able to run a 5k.” Those are both worthy goals, and I’d love to say I’ll do that this year, but if this time next year I feel better, eat better, and can wear more of the clothes hiding in the back of my closet, we’ll call this resolution MET! (How about, I’d like to wear a belted sweater by next NYE?)
  2. I’d like to feed my family more whole foods, less processed foods, and get them more involved in food preparation. Again, I’m not going to say that I want each kid preparing their own lunches each morning, or for Girlie Bird to be able to cook dinner once a week. I will say that I’d like for them to have more tools to be able to find their own foods in the kitchen, prepare them responsibly, and clean up after themselves. I’d like to have more nutritious options available, and rely less on quick “convenience” processed options.
  3. I’d like to be working full time by the end of the year. I HAVE to find a job , full or part time, in the early part of the year, but a part time start into this world of working parent would be great. That can’t last long. I’d like to be working full time, or at minimum on my way to working full time, by this time next year.
  4. I’d like to find more ways to declutter our lives. Clean out a drawer a week, or take a load to Goodwill each week? I tend to put these tasks off because they aren’t fun, but I intend to push myself more when it comes to tackling them. I want more space and less STUFF in my house this year. Grad school and homework was my regular excuse for not doing these things, and THAT’S over! Along with the theme of keeping things decluttered and cleaner, I’d like to keep my vehicle cleaner. I’ve got three munchkins who often work against me, but usually after they’ve left a few things behind, I just get lazy and let the whole thing go to hell.2014-new-years-resolution-be-more-awesome
  5. I’d like for us to make more room in our budget for charitable donations. If I’m working, there’s every reason to believe that there might be just the tiniest bit of extra wiggle room in the household finances. In addition, I’d like to find places I can pinch a few pennies into a “giving jar” of some sort. I have to think more about this, and of course discuss it with my co-chair, but I think we should be giving a few more dollars to something.
  6. I’m going to figure out a better storage system for my closet. Maybe I have to move some things into the hopefully soon to be cleared out basement, or something. What I know for sure is that my closet is woefully undersized in floor space, and I’ve got  shoes spilling out ALL THE TIME! I don’t think I have a particularly large collection of shoes. Ladies, back me up, I can feel my husband laughing as I type this. Regardless, they don’t have to be thrown on the floor of the closet to spill out all over the room all the time. There has to be a better way.
  7. I’m going to stop buying any clothes for myself. No. For real. This isn’t a wish, or a “I’d like to…” this is a ban. When I’ve lost some weight, and gotten in shape, I may make a plan and a budget and do some shopping, but for the time being, I’m not going to allow myself to spend money on clothes for myself.
  8. I’m going to keep a prayer journal and list. That’s not for public consumption, but for myself. I pray, I pray all the time, but I always feel so random and scattered. I know that God hears my random and scattered prayers, but I feel like I would benefit from attempting to organize my thoughts and meditations.


Leave a comment

After the stress

I’m all done. If you follow me on Facebook, or just know me in real life, you have heard this already. I’m sort of shouting it from the rooftops these days. ALL DONE! No more homework, no more assignments, no more papers, projects, or discussions. Tomorrow is graduation, and though I have elected not to attend, I’ll be officially a Master of Library and Information Science. A librarian. For real.

20151215_121607It’s not like I’m not busy anymore. It’s Christmas, after all. That’s the main reason I chose not to attend the graduation ceremonies tomorrow. The thought of dragging everyone up there for a 6pm ceremony, then bringing everyone home overtired and late, just didn’t appeal. Plus there are several other things on the calendar for Saturday, including a piano recital for the two big kids.

But somehow my brain is still processing this lack of school thing. For almost four years I’ve been in the thick of studying, or preparing for the next wave of classes. I’m having trouble just accepting that there is no next wave. Sure, I have to get a job now, and who knows what challenges I’ll find next, but this challenge has been met. And conquered. I’ve reached the shore and climbed out of the water. There are mountains to climb, and jungles to explore, but I think I’ll just sit here on the beach for a bit and enjoy my cocoa and cookies. Okay, maybe that’s not the best image.

Christmas is shaping up to be as lovely as anyone could want here. Except the weather. Not that I want to complain about something nobody can change, but I could use a few flurries. Or at least weather cool enough to force me to close my window at night! It’s like being back in Georgia. We may have to turn on the AC to run the gas fireplace on Christmas Eve this year. That’s just wrong.

Still, we’re rolling in blessings and I’m determined to remember each of them when I say my prayers at night. Enough blessings to induce guilt sometimes. I pray every day for ways to show my children how blessed we are. May they never, ever be unaware of how fortunate they are. I can’t stand to spend any more effort participating in the social media drama of the political discussions this month. I also can’t imagine remaining silent forever on some of these topics. But for the rest of 2015, I will enjoy these blessings with my family. I’ll keep teaching my children how blessed they are and encourage their compassionate natures. We’ll focus on the lessons of a tiny baby born in poverty who brought divinity to mankind. There’s no greater blessing than that one!


1 Comment

Holiday cheer

Here we are again, my third year blogging through the holidays. I so love this time of year, and I’m already feeling like it’s flying by. This is the third year pushing through the holidays as a grad student, too. Thankfully, this is it! Graduation is Dec 18th and though I’ve opted to stay home, I’m really looking forward to calling it DONE! Elli Cucksey, MLIS!

Today, I’m putting the bins back in the basement, they’ve been emptied of their Christmas decor bounty. I’m rearranging the living room in preparation for getting the tree on Saturday. I’m pushing the laundry through as fast as it can dry. I’m generally putzing around the house. I’m ordering pictures for the Christmas cards.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to get the cards addressed. I may be trimming the list a bit. Last year’s 200 was a bit unwieldy. I’ll maybe bake brownies. Because, well, BROWNIES.

20151203_112044_hdr.jpgThe holidays always make me weepy, sometimes over sad stuff, sometimes with joy. You know what got me yesterday? Johnny Mathis belting “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Yeah! I mean, “But the prettiest sight to see is the holly/
That will be on your own front door!” YES, I’ve got holly on MY front door, and it’s gorgeous. And then the end, “Soon the bells will start/
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing/
Right within your heart!” I’ve got a carol right within my heart!

Again, I’m keenly aware of my blessings, because of national events, because of family illnesses, because of friends going through difficult life changes. I’m praying that as long as my blessings last I’m aware and grateful. I’m praying for healing, in all its forms.


Leave a comment

#ALAO2015

Screenshot 2015-11-22 at 10.00.36 PM - EditedI attended my first library conference on Friday! I’d like to tell you all about it, but I’m not sure anyone who wasn’t there wants to read that. Let me just sum it up for you.

I have found my people. There were all sorts of different kinds of people at the conference, but there was something the same. Something I can’t quite articulate. People were friendly and welcoming, and that was lovely, but it wasn’t that. There was just some intangible thing that made me feel totally at home. Confidently at home. Empoweringly at home. (Did I just make up a word? Maybe. But I needed it.)

I helped with the registration table, calling like a carnival barker, “A through L over here, M through Z over there. Did you download the program in advance? Step right up and find your nametag. Would you like a free lanyard? Please see Megan for you packet.” Most validating part of the whole day? Watching all these librarians say the alphabet out loud as they searched for their own name tags. Sometimes they even got confused and started over or realized they were in the wrong line, skipping back over to the A through L side. It wasn’t just me! It happens to long time librarians, too!

I was a student volunteer, so I got to go for free. What a deal. I collected evaluation forms at the end of each session, and got to attend. I learned about managing student workers, creating hybrid lessons, teaching information literacy to students and employees, and creating programs for students to act autonomously at the reference desk. I met about a million other academic librarians and other support staff. I gathered a ton of vendor loot. I ate a couple rather tasty meals. Just a lovely experience.

Perhaps most importantly, I left with a feeling of elation. I think that maybe I didn’t pick a career in my first four decades because I couldn’t stand the thought of choosing wrong. The ultimate in commitment phobic, I guess. Once I applied for library school, I was pretty sure I’d chosen wisely, and I think I’ve gotten more confident with each term, each class. But on Friday, it was official. It was real. It was CERTAIN. I am so doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve found exactly the career for me.

Now I just have to find myself some gainful employment. Stay tuned.


Leave a comment

#FightTheNegative, a campaign of positive

I’m still fighting the urge to rant. Here’s my non-rant for today:

I fight my judgemental tendencies every single day. If I see you in the grocery wearing pajama pants and flip flops when it’s 35 degrees and rainy, I do think, “What gives? Have you no pride. You don’t have sense to put closed toe shoes in this weather?” Then my brain snaps back, and I remember that it’s none of my concern if you choose to wear flip flops in November. I have no idea what’s going on at your house, and frankly, it’s none of my concern.

Most of the time I’m winning the battle. Most of the time, I have no problem remembering that everyone is fighting their own battles and just like me, they’re probably doing the best they can. I don’t jump to the conclusion that you’re a terrible mother when I see you doing the opposite of what I’d do. I don’t assume you don’t care about the environment if you’re using plastic bags. Most of the time I am able to remind my overly critical self that I’m not in any position to judge! I’m not getting any parenting awards, I’ve been to the store twice this week when I should have showered first.

But here’s the thing, see, sometimes you ASK me to judge you. Yeah. Sometimes you put something out there, or actually a lot of things, that you know you want me to use when forming an opinion of you. I’m talking about social media, of course. I’m NOT talking about that one picture of Bernie Sanders you posted last week. I’m not talking about that one FoxNews clip you reposted this morning. I’m not talking about how you changed your profile pic to a French flag. I’m AM talking about all of it. When you repost three, four, ten, twenty memes a day, and all of them are extreme, on either side, you are BEGGING me to judge you.

The problem is that whether you are convinced that George W. created ISIS, or Obama did, whether you think we should deport every muslim in the country or bring every Syrian refugee to our shores, if you are so adamant about your position that you need to post so often and so hateful, I GET to judge you. I HAVE to! Humans can’t really help it. Our brains are wired to put things into categories.

So, will your social media audience put you in the category of “lover” or the category of “hater?” Choose your political beliefs however you like, I’ll keep working on withholding my judgement on all of that. But when you express them, be careful.

This week has been brutal on social media! I have never experienced this level of hate and anger and fear, and I’ve been on social media since the early days of website message boards. This is different. And very concerning. I won’t rail against it, or try to tell anyone why they’re wrong. Instead, I’m launching my own campaign against it. Yesterday I pledged on Facebook to post one REALLY positive post every day. It might be original , or it might be a repost, but I will put as many positive things out there as I can.

So far the response has been lovely, but maybe because I made one other change. These positive posts will be public. And I’m a little overwhelmed by how far it’s spread. I want them to spread as far and wide as possible. Negatives spread farther and faster than anything positive, so it will take an army of positive posters. Repost mine, or make up your own, I don’t care, just spread some joy, or love, or happiness, or any other positive emotion you can dream up. Kittens, puppies, engagements, birth announcements, pretty cloud pictures, stories of people doing loving, accepting things. Any of it. Post it. Please. I need to see it!

Today, if you haven’t seen it, I reposted this story about a woman in an airport.  If it doesn’t make you smile, and maybe get a little teary, you should re-evaluate things.

 

 


4 Comments

I won’t rant, I’ll ramble

I’ve wanted to rant for days and days, but I haven’t gotten my thoughts in order. I want to rant about all sorts of things from politics to social injustices, to neighborhood crazies on Facebook and Mommy Wars. Every time I sit down to try and sort it all out, I just keep coming back to one main thought. So what? And not “so what” in the usual way that nobody wants to really hear what I have to rant about. I’m fully aware that I’ve got a pretty, um, well, a pretty limited audience. It’s different this time in that I know I’m just adding to the problem I’m most annoyed by. I don’t really know how to fix that. I want to jump in and share my indignation, but I just can’t shake the feeling that the world is full up to the tip top with all the righteous indignation it can hold, and most of it ain’t doing anybody any good whatsoever.

Instead of trying to distill my indignation, which I assure you is super duper righteous, into any kind of actual post, or even trying to figure out how to channel it into something of some use to somebody, I spent several hours on Friday on a project of no use to anyone. Absolutely nobody on this planet is better off for knowing what I figured out in the three hours or so I spent on this task. No one will eat, sleep, or breathe any easier because of this knowledge. Yet, somehow it helped me put some things into perspective.

Let me see if I can distill THAT for you. I’ve mentioned before that I discovered a few years ago my direct descent from Gov. William Bradford. That and a five dollar bill will get me a plain red cup of coffee these days, for sure. I’ve done the math. Some THIRTY FIVE million Americans can trace their lineage to one of the 24 males on the Mayflower who produced heirs. I just ain’t that special. The cool thing is that I know all the names. ALL of them, that directly connect me to the Mayflower, and the pilgrims, and the first Thanksgiving, and all that. Now, this isn’t the time to tell me about the down side of Puritanism. I’m well acquainted with the shortcomings of this favorite American myth, but that’s not the point I’m getting at, either.

The super cool thing about knowing all those names, is that they’re all wrapped up with all sorts of other cool things going on in the country over those generations. Think about it. There just weren’t that many families back then compared to now, and even fewer of them had the means to do more than subsist. And those that did do important things often didn’t have surviving records for us to peruse today. But having an ancestor like Gov. Bradford means there’s a good chance that many of the generations in between are also well documented. So, I’ve found out some other fun things over the last few years.

For instance, Maj. James Fitch, who married Alice Richards Bradford, granddaughter of Gov. Bradford, generously donated the farmland and all the glass and nails to build the first building for what would become Yale University. James and Alice’s daughter, Lucy married Henry Cleveland, a cousin of Moses Cleaveland, credited founder of Cleveland, Ohio. Maj. James Fitch’s maternal grandfather, Henry Whitfield, was the leader of another group of puritans. They founded Guilford, Connecticut and built the Henry Whitfield home. The stone house still stands, and is a state museum.

So, I knew about Lucy Fitch Cleveland. For no particular reason, about a year ago I came across Lucy Fitch Kilbourne, first wife of James Kilbourne, founder of Worthington, my adopted hometown. I just knew there had to be a connection, given the time period and the fact that the Scioto Company came here from Connecticut, too. I wrote a bit about it when I came across the name last year. It popped up in my Timehop, Facebook memories, blah, blah, and I’d forgotten all about it. Friday seemed a good day to waste some more time on this project. I reposted the blog post on Facebook, and a genealogy enthusiast friend jumped right on it! It took us less than an hour to track down the actual connection this time. I’ll spare you the begats and begots. Here’s a chart.

Untitled presentation (12)
Clear as mud, right? Well, Paula and I were pretty psyched to figure it out. It was a lovely little diversion. Of course, I couldn’t just say MYSTERY SOLVED and go on about my productive day. That would be ludicrous. I spent another couple hours poking around the internet reading random things about the Fitches and the Kilbournes. Turns out, one of James and Lucy’s sons was Byron Kilbourne, who was one of three founders of Milwaukee, WI.

I found a few more tidbits, but they’re too convoluted to spell out. Let’s just say there’s a link to the Fitch in Abercrombie & Fitch. That doesn’t even get me a family discount, so whatever.

This is what I know now. I have even more connection to this place, Worthington, than I thought. It didn’t matter when I thought I had no ancestral connection to this town, and it doesn’t matter that I found one now. Still, for all that it doesn’t matter, or change a thing, I’ll still go visit Lucy’s grave this week. Lucy Fitch Kilbourne died in 1807 during childbirth. She and the unnamed baby girl, her eighth child, are buried together in St. John’s Episcopal Cemetery just a mile and a half up the road.