19 September 2012
I had a Friday off from work, so I went into NYC to visit Eli at work, and to go to lunch together. Because we're both nerds, we use Foursquare, and I checked in at the location where we were eating. I didn't really think much about it, but then again, it was just a fun thing to do. Gain a few points, see where I stack up against friends with the check-ins for the week, you know the score.
About ten minutes after I had checked in, who should show up at our booth but a friend of ours. Let's call him Tom. Eli and I were both pleasantly surprised, and we asked if he was at the restaurant on his own lunch hour.
He said, "I saw you check in on Foursquare on Facebook, and I work just a few blocks from here, so I thought I'd swing by."
Now, I know this isn't rocket science, but for me, it was a very quick realization how social media brought this connection together. Granted, we're not curing cancer here, but still, we got to hang out with a friend who we otherwise wouldn't have seen that day.
For this child of the 70s/80s, it was a real thrill.
14 October 2011
17 August 2011
Wandering through the campus of Boston College, it's easy to focus on what is new and different, and part of my conversation with Eli was about that. New building here, changed pathway there, those are the surface changes that are easy to point out. What is deeper and more meaningful, is feeling the reflection and the ghosts of those old memories coming back to life.
Wandering around the grass of Shaw House, it was easy to remember the first time I stayed there, as a senior in High School, and then returning in September 1989 to live there for the first two years of my college experience. It's not the place to just randomly recount memories here, as this is more about those feelings of refreshing the well of memory. Place plays a strong role in memory, so being able to wander the grounds around the building, talking with Eli about what was where, who lived in different rooms, it was easy to connect back to those old times.
I did wish that some of those people I shared the time with were there also, as I think the discussion of what we remembered would cause a great synergy. Tony G. and I have often talked of revisiting Boston at the same time, and this visit just makes it even more imperative to do so at some point in the future.
Revisiting other areas of campus, walking the walks, it gave me flashes of memories that I hadn't recalled in years... Visiting Boston in general allows for that, and also creates the new memories...
05 December 2010
I mentioned in my most recent blog post that my grandmother recently died, on Halloween of this year. My dad asked if I could speak at the funeral, and I agreed. What follows is what I said at the funeral.
My grandmother, Thelma Partridge, was born in September 1917 to Robert Partridge and Bessie Nixon. She was the second of three daughters, and the longest lived of all three. If you are here today, it is because Gram touched your life somehow also, and she loved you in return…
When I think of my grandmother, I think of someone who was always willing to tell a story, to recount something from the day, something she saw, or something from the past to illustrate something in the present. Being the family researcher I am, this was a great help, although I didn’t get off to an auspicious start with this in my childhood. I believe we were driving somewhere, and my grandmother was telling some story, where in the middle of it, she said that she may have told this one before. My response was something along the lines of “Only a few hundred times before!”
But through her stories, as I got older, I got to know the family in ways I would not have otherwise had had the chance to. My grandfather died when I was 13, but through her, I got to know him in different ways. The same holds true for the stories she would tell of both her father and mother, lives I never quite touched, but lives that I was able to learn about from her.
I want to tell two brief stories of my grandmother, and perhaps these stories will sound familiar in some ways to you, just with you playing a role in the story instead of me.
When I was a child, adults are looked to for life lessons, and I remember one time, driving with Gram somewhere, I believe it was to see her mother, my great-grandmother, in the nursing home in Neptune where she lived. I was telling a story about a friend in school who was in some sort of battle with another classmate, and I said, “My friend really hates this other person.” Gram said in return to me, “Well, you should never really hate someone else.” In my mind, I listened, and said, “Okay, don’t hate other people. Check.” It’s something I’ve tried to live by through my life, and while it’s hard, I think that if you don’t hate those you don’t like, you at least can try to understand, rather than be blinded by your hate…
In recent years, with doing my research on the history of the family, I’ve had many conversations with Gram about what I’ve discovered. Through examining old photos, looking up documents that haven’t seen the light of day in years, I’ve learned a lot of the “facts” about the family, but not necessarily the “life” of the people. However, in looking at a lot of old photos, I’ve seen similarities between generations that maybe haven’t been noticed in the past… I mentioned to Gram during one of these conversations, that the Nixon’s, the family of her mother, had rather large ears…. I pointed to some old photos of her uncle Robert, and some others, and even some of the grandchildren of her sister Dot. Nothing that matter with large ears, it was just one of those things you observe in photos…
We left it at that, until I got a call later that week, from Gram! In mock horror, she described looking at her own ears in the mirror that morning, and discovering that she herself had the NIXON EARS! I laughed about it with her, and said that when you live with them that long, they’re just *your* ears, not Nixon ears. But that perhaps she had had hair cover her ears for a reason…
So, those are some of my own special moments that I have featuring Gram. I’d like us all to pause for a moment, to think of those things from our life with Thelma, that make us smile, that we can hold close to ourselves for the future.
Thank you for your time, and I give my love to my grandmother, and to all of you, for being able to be here today.