Because the Devil’s Music Might Just Save Your Soul

 

 

Very few things in life are better than listening to music alone in my car.

It has never been on a top ten list or anything, but that was clearly an oversight. I just forget sometimes. The biggest thing I have in common with my husband is that music will trump everything else when given a chance. And lately we haven’t been giving it a chance. It often gets replaced by secondary loves.

For example, Dave is completely focused on artwork right now. He has partnered with a friend on a comic book project, and his recording studio is getting dusty. Meanwhile, here I am stringing words together. Here, there and everywhere– as if anyone really needs to know how I feel about life. But these things are very close secondary loves, so they do hold us for a while.

I used to be better at combining them.

But it’s the car ride that gets me. Sometimes I drive to work in silence, but it makes no sense. Technology is too perfect now for driving in silence. So I plug in my phone and listen to something. Today I actually wanted to wait in a drive-thru longer so I wouldn’t get home too soon. I wanted more time to listen; to think about what the world is like inside that particular soundtrack. Because the world can look and feel different when you change what it sounds like.  Continue reading

In Case I Forget to Say Thank You

 

Facebook is a strange human experiment in friendship.

In some ways it really shines. It keeps me in touch with family members, who I may otherwise have let too much time pass without contact. It keeps me in the loop of my friends from Illinois since moving back to Michigan (and with the ones who have also spread elsewhere throughout the country and world). It allows me to meet new people from all walks of life and make connections that were never before possible.

It also changes the natural course of things as we knew it. If you are of a certain age, that is. Suddenly friends who had drifted out of our lives are there again. Which is great….and weird. Because some of these familiar strangers, whose children I have never even met, know some of my deepest secrets. Some of these now casual acquaintances once knew me better than I knew myself, and it went both ways. You know who you are.

And then there are the misunderstandings and expectations of each other. Some people like to share in this type of platform, and others do not. Some people like to watch it all unfold from their secret little corner. Some of us take risks, seek approval, or hold our own approval up as some kind of prize to be won. Some of us care, and others- not so much.  Continue reading

A Cat Named Lincoln

 

We haven’t seen our cat in a few days, and until now I have just kind of pretended like it will work itself out. The mystery has brought me around to finally dealing with it.

The truth is, I don’t think she is alive. I want to believe that she escaped- but experience tells me that she has never escaped past our porch before, and escapes generally end in whining (within minutes) at the front door. Maybe she got hurt…. but I don’t think she even got out.

Which means, in spite of Dave’s claim that he has looked everywhere, I am pretty sure she found a hiding place in the house. And I don’t want to be the one to find her.  Continue reading

Another Step Forward

 

Every once in a while Teghan does something surprising. It’s as if for a few moments she is really connected, and will interact with us in a way we never expected was even possible.

Then it’s gone.

Lately she has been surprising us more and more. Like yesterday, when Dave tried to show her hand over hand how to draw letters. Now, normally Teghan would just scream, run away, and bury her head in the couch. She seldom wants to be shown anything. But we caught her at a good time- because not only did she allow it….she actually requested more of it.  Continue reading

Veterans Day

 

Usually on Veterans Day I put together a short family history project to share with friends and family on Facebook. I post old letters, photos, and histories of various relatives and their roles in past wars. I haven’t been all that motivated this time. I have quite a few letters and photos of my mother’s parents who were both veterans of WWII. As I was looking back through old projects, I was struck by how much I didn’t know them.

I mean, we all have very different phases in our lives. If I make a timeline of my life, plotting every five years where I was, who I spent time with, what my daily activities were…it’s an eye opener to the way life changes. I have already lived many lives, in many places, and with many different people.

When I knew my grandparents they were in their retirement years, and I was a kid. We couldn’t possibly have known each other that well. My grandpa wasn’t exactly a kid’s best friend. He wasn’t mean, and when I watch old home movies I can see that he was always quite kind to me. There just wasn’t a lot of interaction. I am sure we would connect much better as adults, but he died when I was thirteen years old. There is so much I would like to ask him now.  Continue reading

One Hundred Years Later

First 7 Gray Children (Back: Katherine, Ruth, William, Ed (baby), Ethel. Front: Jack, Florence)

 

It’s no secret that I have an interest in genealogy and history (you can learn more here). It is also the one topic I can discuss with my father-in-law. I don’t need to spend any time researching Teghan’s paternal side of the family tree, because we have volumes of it. It’s amazing.

Usually we get a new binder filled with family history for Christmas. One of the most interesting installments came a few years back. It was filled with correspondence from Dave’s maternal family tree, and half were just letters. Most of these were letters from Dave’s great-grandfather to Dave’s great-grandmother. The letters began before their engagement and continued throughout their marriage (he traveled for business). The dates are from the late 1890s through the 1920s.

I will admit, the part that amazes me the most is how my father-in-law typed all these up from the handwritten versions. I know from experience that this is no easy task.

He even created a topical index.

Their names were William and Ruth. They had nine children; the oldest (Dave’s grandfather) was born in 1900, and the youngest was born in 1919. During those years quite a lot happened to Will and Ruth. William went from working in his father’s shoe store to owning his own envelope company. They lived in several houses throughout New Jersey and Brooklyn. They lost two children.

The letters give you the sense that this was a happy family; Will was definitely a man who loved his wife and children. I am working on another blog which features these letters and this family’s story (I will keep everyone updated for those who enjoy this stuff as much as I do).

But the reason that I am mentioning it here is that for the first time I really started to think about William and Ruth’s fifth child, Jack.  Continue reading