Koala holding onto a branch in a tree, with another koala in the tree below it.

October 10th was Mental Health Day, a world holiday. In these odd times we live in, it seems like an appropriate observance. For my mental health, I have been taking a break from different tasks, which is why this post is late.

For my mental health, I am reviewing various parts of my life, with a view of looking for those activities that work best for me.  One task I’ve added is reviewing old family information and making plans to organize it and get it in electronic format. I learning how to use on-line and off-line tools for storing genealogy research and family trees. I’d like to connect the pictures and notes with the ancestors in our family. As I learn these tools and review the information, I’ve learned the following.

  • A grandfather weathered a strong earthquake by sitting in a big easy chair.
  • A poet wrote a poem describing my great-great grandparents and their love for each other. The poem was published in a collection. (My Loves and My Lovers by Samuel Pearce Merrill, the poem is The Three Seasons)
  • The street and number of a house in New York state, built in 1880, that a branch of the family lived in during the early 1900’s. The house is still standing and in use.
  • Ideas about safety have changed a lot since the late 1950’s/early 1960’s - It was very odd to watch old home movies of people feeding bears from cars at Yellowstone. The other odd thing was watching people who were close to Old Faithful running away when the geyser blew because they were too close.

Close up of pink and white rose blooms

I also found instances of illness, death in war, immigration, hardship and other challenges my ancestors faced. And in spite of these setbacks, they continued on with life, taking care of their family.
It would be easy to focus on the negative, yet somehow, in spite of these challenges, members of the family saved pictures and written stories of their lives. Their efforts are allowing me to learn of their lives and to understand that they made it through good times and bad.

Lemurs in a zoo, behind a fence, sunning on a rock

I find all of this history reassuring, a reminder that in spite of the problems of the world, people make it through and things can improve. I also find this a reminder to live each day in the present and enjoy the experiences because they make up the memories that make a difference for the future.

The book referenced above can be found on-line at this link.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster. Prints of selected photos can be purchased at our Redbubble shop https://www.redbubble.com/people/shellcreek/shop

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