Then & Now: Bass Lake Revisited

(August, 1957– I was not yet five. The two boys with me in the picture were sons of one of my parents’ friends who were camping with us.)

Making special memories with your children is not always easy for working parents to do, but it is one of the most important. Our parents were hard-working people, but they understood that kids are only kids for a short time. Every childhood memory of my summer vacations includes a two-week camping trip to one lake or another.

For many years we went to Bass Lake near Yosemite. I loved the water, could hardly get me out of it, but I wasn’t a great swimmer, yet. However,  thanks to my sister Carol, I learned to float on one of those trips. And then there was the time I fell asleep in our boat when I was supposed to be the observer while my older sister skied behind. By the time Dad noticed he was only towing a rope, she was quite a ways back, her head bobbing above water. Oops! Sorry, Bonnie.

Bass Lake Revisited 2017

October, 2017, I had a chance to revisit Bass Lake. Sixty years later! Standing on the shore near the falls, looking across to where we used to camp, brought a flood of happy memories. The campfire shout around the lake in the evening–“Elmer…. Mother’s calling!”  (Or so, I recall.) Boating. Swimming. “Observing.” The falls. Day trips to Yosemite. But, as an adult, the lake looked so much smaller. (Most things in the world are big through the eyes of a child.) It was wonderful to see through my childhood’s eyes once again. Thanks for the memories, Bass Lake.

Bass Lake 2017

(Left) Friends and our swimming area in the background.                                          (Right) Mom, Dad, and my godmother Mary Jane hanging out.




Restart Number 2

Where does one begin? Oh my gosh… My head is so full of thoughts and memories, bouncing around in every possible direction. I like to think of it as creative energy, but maybe I am more scatter-brained than I ever realized. Nah… that can’t be it.

So, today I am beginning again by announcing to the world that I am “on the clock” with BCG as of 5 February 2018! This is huge for me! I have one year (providing no extension is needed) to complete and submit my portfolio to the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). I have prepared a year-long plan to keep myself on track and focused. (Some people think retirees have nothing to do, but I have never been so busy.) I have begun writing and/or researching for every requirement. I have planned research trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and to a number of repositories, libraries, courthouses, historical and genealogical societies, and museums in the Midwest.

Besides the BCG portfolio, I will be finishing about ten courses for NIGS (National Institute of Genealogical Studies) and the Beyond the Basics course for AGS (American Genealogical Studies). As a board member and volunteer for SGGS (Sacramento German Genealogy Society) I have the honor of working with an amazing group of people to help plan the 2019 IGGP (International German Genealogy Partnership) Conference to be held in Sacramento. (More on that later.)

This year is going to be an amazing one for me! I hope you will follow along with me as I share some of my successes and hurdles, discoveries and revelations, and more of my family history, and maybe along the way, offer some ways you can Show Your Tale, too. See you soon.

My First Taste of Teaching

I love it when teachers find creative ways to challenge their students. Having been on the receiving end of that during my school days, I did my best to be creative and challenging as I planned how to present curriculum in my classroom every year. One of my most memorable experiences as a student came during my senior year of high school.

I was in my fourth year of math and was at the top of the class. Yes, I was one of those girls who kept believing that she was smart enough to learn anything she wanted, even when society told her, “No. That’s just for boys.” I guess having a mechanic for a father , one who loved to challenge me with thinking/problem-solving puzzles during my childhood, had something to do with that attitude.

Our teacher let a handful of us, who caught onto ideas quickly, work ahead of the others in the class. We completed the curriculum by the spring of that school year. Now, he had to figure out what to do with us for the next month or two. So, he made us peer teachers/teacher’s aides. We were given the opportunity to prepare and present math lessons to the class, always under his watchful eye and occasional intervention. We became classroom aides, helping our peers one-on-one to understand concepts they found difficult. We helped with grading papers, and more. I found that by  teaching, my knowledge and understanding grew. An unexpected outcome of a new and novel experience.

Applying to college earlier that year was another interesting experience. I decided to start at a nearby junior college. When it came time to fill out the application, there was a list of majors one could choose. I didn’t know at the time what I wanted to study, but I felt I had to choose something. So, I started down the alphabetical list. Many were definitely out, but there were some maybes, as well. When I got to the “M” section of the list, mathematics stared me in the face, and I couldn’t help but stare right back. I was good at math. I enjoyed the challenge and the problem solving. I had transcribed pages and pages of math problems from my 6th-grade math book to do over the summer, since I was moving away with my parents to Northern California and knew I would have lots of free time. Yes, I could major in math. I wasn’t sure what I would do with a math degree, but that wasn’t too important to me at that point. Check! I majored in mathematics and minored in English, both subjects I enjoyed then and still do today. An uncommon pairing, for sure, but one which served me well over the years.

Skipping ahead to forty years later…

I came across an old fill-in-the-blanks sort of book, Senior Memories, while trying to find some high school pictures and memorabilia to share with some of my students. One of the last pages was about goals, short-term and long-term. Next to the word “Career” I had written these words: “Mathematics teacher in a high school.”  Next to the words “Where You Will Be Living”, I wrote, “Somewhere in a rural town.” I was amazed to read those thoughts after boxing them away so long ago. Even more amazing, those long-term goals, written down at the age of 17, were realized. I spent the last 10-12 years of my career teaching high school mathematics in a rural Northern California community. I even served as Math Department Chair most of that time.

Maybe the elementary school PTA and my high school math teacher knew something I didn’t know. Maybe I knew it all along, deep inside, but was too young to know it consciously for myself. Becoming a teacher was certainly my destiny, for whatever reason.

What about you? Do you have a story about how you chose your career path? I bet your kids and grandkids would love to hear about it. Share Your Tale!!



Goals vs. Resolutions

First week of 2017 has passed, and I am just writing my first post of the new year. I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions, per se, but I do have some goals for this year.

  • Get back to living a healthier lifestyle. In 2014 I lost fifty pounds, but over the past year they found me again. Ugh! So, I am back to my early morning exercise to get toned and to eating right for weight loss. It is tough to do when traveling, but I have to quit making that excuse and just do it.
  • Create my business website. I am enrolled in a class to help get that done. My daughter is creating my logo, which should be done by the end of the month. I am excited about what this will become.
  • Finish my formal schooling and begin working on my BCG (Board for Certification of Genealogists) Portfolio.
  • Complete my DAR and DUVCW (Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War) applications.
  • Create a following for my blog.
  • Do more to develop my genealogy business and take on new clients.
  • Spend as much time with family as possible.
  • Organize my files, photos, research, etc., including backing up.
  • Work on branding my business, Tapestries Professional Genealogy Services.

Of course, there are still other important things, but these are the big goals. Unlike resolutions which are made once and then forgotten after a period of time, goals are meant to be reviewed and evaluated periodically. I have made year-long goals ever since I began teaching. They used to be year-long themes for planning my curriculum. Now, they are focused on this new career path I began over two years ago–that of becoming a professional and certified genealogist. So, if you are frustrated by failed resolutions, then you might try goal-setting, instead. Happy New Year!