Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Genealogy, Travel Lectures and Snow Angels

I’ve been bored without something on my calendar to do this past week except for that trip to the grocery store Tuesday and that was just a made-up excuse to get out of the house. My desktop computer is working again and you’d think that would keep me occupied and it did for a half a day before I got caught up. One of the things I did was I posted something on Facebook I’ve wanted to do for a long time, a family history paper I ran across that my husband wrote back in 5th or 6th grade. It’s written in pencil and shows a teacher’s corrections written in red. His nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews have probably seen the ancestral chart one of his brother’s made, but Don’s homework assignment included occupations and moves ancestors made since the first one came over from Ireland as a barrel maker. I didn’t want that information to get lost with me and I’m guessing a few of my Facebook contacts on his side of the family will preserve it beyond my grave.

There always seems to be one person in each generation who takes up the genealogy gauntlet.  On the other hand, there are always the people who couldn’t care less and will throw important family documents away. Case in point: When one of my aunts died and her kids were cleaning out her house none of my cousins wanted the 1800’s immigration paper, Italian Army discharge papers, naturalization paper, coal miner’s license and  other documents that all belonged to my grandfather so they asked my dad if he wanted them. We went right over to pick them up, plus we got a small wicker suitcase that my grandfather carried all his earthly possessions in when he came to America.  What a gold mine for genealogy research and I had the Italian papers translated. Fast forward twenty years, I created a blog to post those papers and the research that followed. I’ve since gotten messages from people searching the same family tree (my grandfather’s brothers came over in the same time frame) and I got one message from a grandchild of one of the very cousins who didn’t want those papers. She had stumbled upon my blog while looking for her roots. We were both shocked to learn of our close connection. I love that story.

All week long I’ve been stalking the school bus, looking to catch a pair of teenaged sisters that live down the street and do it in such a way that no one called the police to report my weird behavior. Thursday I made contact. Operation Snow Removal 2014/15 is now a done deal. They seemed genuinely happy to have the job of shoveling my snow this winter and one sister had her arm in a sling last year so I’m sure I got a little sympathy when I explained why I need the help. Now, if they just show up all winter and don’t burn out I’ll be one happy widow lady. Never mind that I’ll to have to learn to accept hearing the word “totally” in every sentence these girls speak and not act like someone is raking their fingernails over a blackboard. I’m totally fricking happy to make that concession. They can totally say “totally” as often as the like and I will totally resist saying it back in a coy way that borders on making fun of the young’uns.

Friday I went to a lecture given by a travel agency and a guide that organizes trips for senior citizens. This slide show/lecture was on South America. Not that I want to go there but what a paradise for nature lovers and fans of lost civilizations. I know the guide fairly well---she facilitates the day trips I take through the senior hall---and if I ever do travel abroad, I’d go with her. I keep trying to get her to plan some trips around the states but even after escorting over fifty trips aboard she still isn’t interested in traveling the USA. I don’t get that. I guess because I grew up in the “See the USA in your Chevrolet” era (remember Dinah Shore singing that commercial?) that idea is firmly imprinted on my DNA just like “Anytime is a good time for Coca Cola” and “Fight tooth decay, stop bad breath all day with Colgate Dental Cream” has thoroughly brainwashed me into decades of brand loyalty.

Besides that, in this era of a terrorist around every corner and Ebola on every plane coming to America (I’d use an eye-rolling icon here if I had one) I’m not exactly inspired to fly. The last time I did it many decades ago I cried on take-off and landing both, thinking it would be the last sight I’d ever see and in between the stewardess tried to disfigure me with hot coffee poured down my chest. Yes, I graduated with honors from the School of Scary Cats which means you’ll never see sky diving on my Bucket List. Still, Nantucket, Cape Cod and New Orleans are on my Bucket List so there could be one or two trips in my future before I kick that proverbial bucket. ©


  1. I'm glad you have some help with the shoveling of snow this winter. That's totally cool. Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.

    Genealogy isn't an interest of mine at all. I know of no one in my family that cares either. My family is pretty boring.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. :)

    1. I totally understand. LOL

      Some people's eyes just glaze over when you talk family history, I know. I think what is interesting about it to me is when you read about a historical events and know that your ancestors were there taking part. When my husband and I compared families we know that we each had relatives who barnstormed on the same circuit with bi-planes and must have known each other. You just find so many interesting things when you think you won't. .

  2. yes i "totally" remember brylcreme signs on the side of the road too!

    smiles, bee

    1. I totally remember those, too, and the ones painted on the sides of barns.

  3. You made snow-shoveling arrangements! That's like totally awesome!!
    I'm going to play dueling memories because I think the "See the USA in your Chevrolet" jingle may have been sung by Dinah Shore rather than Doris Day. (All those blondes look alike :-))
    If you haven't flown in 10 years, you are in for a rude awakening. Flying today is a lot like riding a crowded bus -- unpleasant and no amenities. I do fly when I need to, but if I want a more pleasant travel experience, I see if I can go by train. (A coach seat on Amtrak is as roomy as business class on a plane, and those quiet cars are amazing.) -Jean

    1. I stand corrected. It was Dinah Shore.

      Train travel really appeals to me. It's on my Bucket List. I've been a train before but that, too, was years ago. I flew back in the days when stewards all wore classy uniforms and were all women...1970s. I know I'd be in for an unpleasant shock if I did it now.

  4. I haven't been to Nantucket, but I have visited Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. My sister used to live in New England. I remember getting a cup of clam chowder in a little shed/tiny building as soon as we got off the ferry on Martha's Vineyard. Yum!

    I agree. I'd rather travel in the US than abroad (and I too remember Dinah Shore). My son and DIL want us to travel so much, but I kind of fear getting sick in another country. That happened to a friend of mine and what a fiasco. Thank goodness her husband had been in the service. She and her daughter were able to go to a military hospital in Germany.

    I have some info. on our family genealogy, but I'd like more. What a prize to have your husband's family tree project.

    So glad you got the snow removal issue taken care of. I know that's a relief.

    1. Getting sick on a tour like that is my biggest concern, too. Especially since I don't have children that could come collect me or make decisions for me over the phone, if I couldn't. I asked the tour guide at the lecture what they do when someone can't continue with the group because of an illness and she said, they strongly advice you to buy the travel insurance before you go and that insurance company will make all the arrangements if you get sick and can even get you back home again Or your body if you died abroad. But I fear the smaller kinds of illnesses too---hives, digestion issues, things that would make it hard to keep up or be embarrassing. I had a friend who almost died overseas and his wife was back here and it was terribly stressful for both of them.