No More Packing, Moving and Sweating…At Least for College Apartments


2005 – 2015

After ten straight years we are done. No more packing boxes, renting moving trucks, climbing up and down stairs or sweating profusely in non-air conditioned dorms or apartments.  We no longer have to stop at Walmart or Target to stock up on additional cleaning supplies, school supplies or essential food and snacks for our college kids. No more pulling off of I-65 at Exit 193 for gas, Stuckey pecan logs or Dairy Queen Blizzards. Yesterday we packed up our youngest and cleaned his apartment in sweltering heat to bring home.

It was the summer of 2005 when we began making our treks down to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana where my daughter began her education and helped start our family tradition of Purdue grads. We became familiar with the phrase “Boiler Up,” and the traditional rivalry chant regarding Indiana University at the football and basketball games. We became familiar with the location of all of the restaurants and bookstores in the area and picked our favorites.

Taking a break for lunch we chose to eat at Applebee’s because that was the first restaurant we ate at ten years ago when we moved our oldest into her dorm. Not eager to get back to work at the apartment we also drove to campus to take a final walk through before our son became a non-resident of Lafayette. The mist of splashing water from the Engineering Fountain was refreshing on this sweltering day.

Ten years ago we needed a map to find classroom buildings. Today my kids know the campus like the back of their hands. They know it so well that due to the extreme heat yesterday we entered a building and walked through the maze of pedways under the buildings to where we were parked without going back outside.

Time is not standing still for this campus as we could tell from all the construction areas. We’ve seen old campus buildings razed and new buildings constructed. We’ve seen two college presidents in ten years. Time is not standing still for our family either. Ten years has flown by and now we are all onto our next venture of life.

Do you recall your college days or the days that you packed up to head off for the first time from home?  Now is the time for you to pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of those life-changing times.


Show Me the Facts Plus the Stories Behind Them

Madden Family44

I’m amazed at the extent of genealogical data I can retrieve from the internet. As a paid subscriber to I can enter names and an array of data pops up. And this past week when I opened up a weekly blog, “The Legal Genealogist” I was ecstatic to find the link to Missouri Digital Heritage because in minutes I was able to find and print death certificates for my Show Me State ancestors.

This is such a major change from when I started collecting genealogical data thirty-five years ago. At that time I was excited when I got information from family members who are now, sadly, deceased. Or I had to write and send checks to various Records Clerks in county court houses requesting birth or death certificates hoping I submitted the correct information. Fortunately today, in minutes, I can get even more details and can easily retrieve records to back up my facts and numbers. I was able to add a vast amount of information to my family tree in a few hours which thirty-five years ago took me months.

However, I am still searching for the birth certificate and death certificate of my maternal great grandmother. From searching the internet I’ve seen her name listed as Gertrude Ella or as Ella G. and learned she was born on September 18, 1868 to Solomon and Eliza Hanna and died June 10, 1897 at the young age of 29.

What is not in the data is that Ella’s passing left my grandmother, who was at that time only five years old, separated from her father and siblings to be raised by her grandmother. My mother had told me that part of the story after my grandmother passed away in 1978. If only I had learned about that before she had passed. I could have asked her more about that and her childhood. I do have my grandmother’s letters published in a book and my memories of her in writing so she will forever be remembered.

Sadly in regards to my great-grandmother we have nothing. We do not know anything of her lifestory. If she had recorded her personal history, I would know her likes and dislikes. I would know what joys and obstacles she faced. I would know about her childhood, her parents and siblings. Did she cook? Was she happy with her marriage? What were her interests? Could she read? What were her dreams and ambitions?

Don’t make your great-grandchildren wonder about you. The best gift you could pass on to your family is your recorded lifestory. Now is the time for you to pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of your life. Even from the simplest parts of your life to the more complicated parts that helped form you into the person you are today. The reflections you make on your life will be cherished by future generations.

  • What special stories did your grandmother or grandfather tell you?
  • How did the Great Depression affect your family?
  • What was your favorite holiday? How did you celebrate it?
  • What was your highest level of education? What was your favorite class?
  • Can you remember a historic event that happened when you were in school?

Small Town Festivals, Parades and Fireworks


Enjoying my beautiful, peaceful early Sunday morning after a busy weekend of celebrating our independence watching parades, listening to fireworks, and eating butter soaked corn on the cob and sugary cinnamon elephant ears at small town festivals with my family.

It was fun meeting a friend for lunch and browsing through the quaint shops around the local town square and enjoying the statues the town is displaying for the summer. Another day I enjoyed driving the country back roads with my daughter to an outlet mall to take advantage of the 4th of July sales. I’m so thankful for GPS’s because the expressway was bumper to bumper.

Today is totally different as I spend my morning rocking on my porch swing listening to the doves, cardinals, wrens, and robins cooing and chirping their own language distinguishing themselves from one another. There are four or five birds that are flying high and chasing after each other. Even with the fly buzzing near my ear I can hear the chipmunk quickly dash under the porch.

I’ve heard very few cars pass by so far this morning which makes it even better. Perhaps with the fireworks blasting off even after 1:00 a.m. many people are sleeping in today.

I enjoy seeing the lilies, with various colors, in bloom. I’ve never been good at identifying flowers and it’s on my back burner to one day identify and create a journal of all my flowers. The previous owner was an awesome gardener and left a beautiful mixture of flowers leaving a serene setting.

Sadly, the weekend is coming to a close, and I have to prepare to get back to work tomorrow in the big city. Sitting here I’m making a mental checklist of all the work that needs to be done at home. The badminton net needs to be taken down that was put up from last weekend’s festivities, weeds need to be pulled in all the gardens, and the grass needs to be cut as the white flowers from the clover are accenting the high green grass. Despite all the endless work involved, I still love the peacefulness of living in the country.

This has been a 4th of July weekend of celebration for our country’s freedom. In the midst of the busyness of the holiday, I cherish the time I have to sit quietly and cherish this peaceful countryside. It gives me time to ponder and give thanks to God for the United States and for all those who served in previous wars to give us freedom and to protect our country. We must pray for our current armed forces and all government leaders as they continue to defend our country and freedom in the days ahead.  God bless the USA!

How do you celebrate the 4th of July? Now is the time for you to pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of your 4th of July traditions. If your parents or grandparents are still with you, interview and record their childhood memories for future generations.

  • Where did you watch fireworks on the 4th of July?
  • Who did you celebrate the holiday with?
  • If you had picnics, where did you go?
  • What food did you eat?
  • Tell a story of one of memorable 4th of July celebrations.