Saturday, May 9, 2009

unpublished letter to the editor

Our family histories

Shirley Abbott, in Womenfolks Growing Up Down South writes that "We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. These spirits form our lives, and they may reveal themselves in mere trivialities -- a quirk of speech, a way of folding a shirt. From the earliest days of my life, I encountered the past at every turn, in every season. Like any properly brought up Southern girl, I used to spend a lot of time in graveyards."

Perhaps learning about our heritage - about our ancestors - gives us insight as to who we are. Maybe we are just curious folks who like learning about our ancestors and solving puzzles. Perhaps there is something familiar in a child that reminds us of a grandmother or an aunt or a mother and we want to know more.

I became interested in learning more about my heritage about the time my last child was graduating from high school - and then I was off and running. I couldn't learn enough and I have never lost the desire to learn more. And more.

Several years ago I read a letter my great-grandmother wrote about coming to Texas from Arkansas with wagons, kids, horses, pots and pans (and a daughter's suitor following on horseback until he became disheartened - and sadly, he went back to Arkansas and killed himself). This great-grandmother wrote about the Cherokee Indians coming to their camp while her husband and sons were gone - whooping and hollering and knocking over her large kettle of boiling water which she prepared for washing clothes and how angry she was.

They camped in many places before settling for a brief period of time in Oklahoma (for the birth of twins), then Texas and later Lincoln County, New Mexico and finally in Colfax County, New Mexico. She wrote that Pat Garrett came by, offering his help with whatever she might need while the menfolks were gone. This great grandmother lived until she was 90+ and walked to the post office each and every day and kept a fine home. She saw her brother Darl killed in the front yard of their Bentonville, Arkansas home by 'bushwhackers' during the Civil War. She had many stories.

We all have a story to tell. I treasure the generous genealogy friends I've made through the years as we have shared our research. This 'hobby' has enriched my life and I have learned much about my family and about history and about friends.

My Irish Ancestor Alexander Glenn

My Scottish Ancestor Thomas Culwell

My French ancestor Daniel Jouet

Was this the first chain letter?

Suiting up

I wish I still had a waist.

Not to mention - the moolah to purchase such an elegant suit...

St. John Ribbon-Laced Knit Jacket

Stretch Silk Tank
Diagonal Textured Knit Skirt

But then - I would still probably be wearing my levis and "I Love Seguin" tee-shirt with need-to-be washed tennis shoes . . . so what the heck . . .

Abstinence Education (only?)

Texas, which is Ground Zero
for abstinence education,
has one of the highest
teen pregnancy rates in the country.

President Obama’s 2010 budget
would end nearly all federal funding for abstinence-
only sex-education and launch a new teen pregnancy
prevention initiative using “evidence-based” programs.
The full details of the budget were released on May 7, 2009
and teen pregnancy groups quickly siezed on this major change.

The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least $7 billion annually. Thirty-four percent of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 -- about 820,000 a year. Eight in ten of these teen pregnancies are unintended and 79 percent are to unmarried teens.

Teenage Pregnancy Consequences
Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school (only one-third receive a high school diploma) and only 1.5% have a college degree by age 30. Teen mothers are more likely to end up on welfare (nearly 80 percent of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare).The children of teenage mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and are at greater risk of abuse and neglect.The sons of teen mothers are 13 percent more likely to end up in prison while teen daughters are 22 percent more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

[information obtained from The National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy ]