Sunday, August 19, 2018

Trash to Treasure?

I have been gone from the blogosphere for nearly a month.  To be perfectly honest, I really haven't missed it - the blogging part, that is.  I am behind on reading posts, so sorry for that.  But I have been busy.

You may remember that I have been trying to get rid of  'stuff'.  I had NO luck selling any of my hats on line, but I did sell a few items of jewelry and some large silk trees that I had.  I then contacted a gentleman who has a business buying stuff to sell on eBay.  I learned quite a bit from him. 

Only about 25% of what is listed there is actually sold.  And outrageous prices are rarely received.  He told me that last year he sold over $200,000 in items on eBay.  But when all expenses and taxes were paid he made only $18,000.  He did buy some of my porcelains and even an old saxophone and we came to a decent agreement on price.

So, the rest of my stuff, which I have been setting aside since the first of the year, went into a three-day garage sale.  Ugh.  Never again.  Yes, I made some money.  But when all was sold and done, it was a heck of a lot of work for the monetary reward.

OTOH, I met some very interesting people.  And one disgusting one.

See anything of interest in this photo?

Well, I sold the suitcase to a very nice nurse who also spent time walking through the garden.  We shared our horror stories of the deer.  I have had sedum and irises eaten this year.  She has lost black-eyed Susans.  All of these flowers are supposed to be deer-resistant.  But the lack of rain means that they are trying to get moisture wherever and however they can. 

I also sold several of my hats.  One young woman from Jamaica bought four of them.  She actually came here twice.  She also bought two of my old Bibles.  She was thrilled.

And that old 1970's sewing machine in the top right corner?  I sold it to a man along with the sewing box and all the attachments.  That was on Thursday.  On Friday, a woman showed up and asked where it was.  I asked if she had come by earlier and she said she saw the picture on Craigslist.  She was very disappointed to see it sold.  Said that it was one of the best old machines ever.  Who knew? 

There was a woman who was excited to find a bookmark with the letter 'D' on it.   She said her name was Denise.  What are the odds?  We talked for a while and she told me that her daughter had been invited to the private funeral for Aretha Franklin and told her that she was going as the 'plus one.'  She was thrilled.  We shared some Aretha stories. 

There was a spry 82-year old who bought all of my little jars left from the days when I would give homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate as Christmas gifts.  She moved here from Illinois a few years ago to be close to her children - I never did ask how they all ended up in Michigan.  She apologized for rambling on - she was delightful - but said she hadn't spoken to anyone all day.  She was soon followed by another senior who said the worst part of living alone is that she sometimes gets lonely.  It makes one think about the real need for some sort of social connection, especially as we age.

Several folks asked if my home was for sale.  I directed them to three other homes in the area that are ranches.  One-story living really is great when you get older.  I can thank my ex for making that decision when we first bought a house.

And then there was the one obnoxious woman.  She bought some items so maybe I shouldn't complain, but I wanted to kick her down the driveway.  Once she had her purchases, she asked if I had a box.  Well, I had been saving boxes and bags for this event.  So, I grabbed a box.  She looked at it and said "Oh, f---ing Amazon.  People on there buying stuff they don't need.  I wish they'd go out of business."  This from a woman at a garage sale.  An obvious trumpite.  I couldn't wait to see the backside of her (which was quite large, BTW).

So, I made a little money.  I joked to my kids last night that I think I made maybe 50 cents an hour when you factor in all the time it took to prepare and run the sale.  We still have some items listed online.  As a matter of fact, before they even left yesterday someone had bought one of the car seats that still had some time left before it expires.  Yes, car seats expire due to wear and tear on the belts and plastic.  You cannot donate them.

I have scheduled Purple Heart to come and pick up several items.  There is another pile to take to the Salvation Army store.  I am off to the library today to donate CDs, DVDs and books.  Even with all that I have gotten rid of, we still have a ways to go.  The consignment guy who was here was interested in several of my porcelains, but that is for the future.  And likely for my kids to deal with.

In the end, it was all worth it just to meet so many interesting people.  And to be able to see the floor in my office and spare bedroom again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

How's This for Dorky?

You know that I have been busy with finding my ancestors.  Now that I have about 320 in the tree, I have started putting names and faces together.  Now, there is no way I am scanning 70+ years worth of photos.  Just a select few for the tree.

But in looking through the old photos, sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.  Here is a picture of my sister and I on Easter Sunday 1956 with my Dad in the background.  I do not remember that dress, but I remember the hat.  Dad is keeping a straight face, which is more than I can say for my face when I found this picture.  Go ahead, laugh.  It is good for your health.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

My Genealogy Addiction

I am an addict.  I can admit I am an addict.  I got the addiction back in 2013, but I weaned myself away when my membership ran out.  And then they had an offer I could not refuse.  And so, I am back on searching for my ancestors.  And once I sit here at my computer, I have a hard time leaving.

I am trying to put together the history for my sons.  I have found 261 people on both my side and their father's side of the family.  I have found ancestors back to 1806 on my mother's side of the family.  If there was a DeBenedet or Mariuz in northern Italy, they are probably related to her.  It seems daunting and never-ending.  And lots of decisions have to be made.  I have 18 pages of hints on Ancestry.  That's about 330 documents to read.  Many of them are from Canadian or European sources which means I need to purchase an international membership.  But I will try to go through all the American documents first.

I have talked to folks that I haven't spoken to in many years and even spoke to someone I have never met.  Two phone calls have been made to my father's sister with whom I only ever exchange Christmas cards.  She is 90, but still pretty sharp.  She could not fill me in on our New York relatives except to say that the family all went to a wedding there in the 50's, but she couldn't remember who got married.  But she did remember whose wedding my father took me to when I was two in 1948 and I was able to find the marriage docs online.

As for those New York relatives - My sister inherited everything when my mother died.  She copied a few things out of my mother's address book, including the addresses of two relatives in New York.  I googled the address in Hempstead and saw that the house was still there.  Then I Googled the owners and lo and behold they all had my maiden name.  So I checked for a phone number and WOW - there it was.  So I picked up the phone and dialed.

A woman answered and I asked if this was the D---- residence.  She said it was and I explained that my name was Denise D---.  I said I was looking for a Katherine D---- and she said it was her mother-in-law, now deceased.  I got goosebumps.  During our rather lengthy chat I told her that I found her name on ancestry and was she born in 1935?  She was.  But ancestry was now showing her married name of D--- which was what confused me.  She told me her husband's name and the names of her in-laws.  Unfortunately, she had no idea how we were related and her husband had died several years ago.  We continued chatting and then I asked her if she had any idea who a Stella K--- was in New York.  She said it was her husband's sister.  Eureka!  Our chat ended with a promise to share whatever I could discover.  I am sure her four sons would like to know, too, as one has a tree on Ancestry.

I set about trying to discover the Michigan-New York relationship.  I found her in-laws online and when I found the documents for her father-in-law, I found that his father was not the same name as my great-grandfather.  So, in order for these New York relatives to be cousins of the Michigan family, was it possible that the fathers of these children were born of brothers in Poland?  So, that is what I am supposing. 

I called my aunt and asked her if it was possible she went to Stella's wedding in New York and she said I was right and what happened to Stella?  She said she had not heard from her in many years and I told her that Stella had passed away.  She also remembered the brother whose wife I talked to.  She said that her father, my grandfather, never talked much about his family.  It was my grandmother who kept in touch.  All of those folks who had all the history are long gone.  My mother sent Christmas cards to Katherine and Stella which is why we had those addresses.

And more questions arise.  I still do not understand how one uncle was born in Poland in 1899 when his parents settled in America in 1888?  Did they go back for a visit?  While pregnant?  Brave souls on an ocean crossing.

I found divorces I never knew about.  Dishonorable discharges.  And lots of old addresses which proved quite interesting.  And wonderful photos.  Once I have all the names entered, I will start digitizing old photos so that I can put them online with the family tree.

And then there is my ex's family.  My ex-husband was married and divorced when I met him.  While I have saved documents about that, I have not added those children to the tree.  I have had to limit info on spouses and all of the ancestors if there is no blood line connection.  It is overwhelming.  On his father's side there is some connection to President Harding, but while I have found the Harding child who married into the family, I cannot find any other connection.  And my ex's mother is a cousin of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, but I would need to access Irish docs to discover that. 

I have a six-month membership.  I am sure I will wear myself out before the six months are even close to being over.  It is daunting. 

So, that is why I have not been posting.  And also getting behind in reading others' posts and commenting.  Talk about time flies when you are having fun.  Just try searching for your ancestors!