This Is My Life

Book Review: Time After Time

I remember the first time I saw New York’s Grand Central Terminal. I was in college. My Immigrant Fiction class had embarked on an excursion to New York City to walk in the footsteps of the approximately 12 million people who immigrated there between 1892 and 1954.

Like the immigrants before us, our first stop was Ellis Island, the official entry point.  As we crossed the harbor to Ellis Island, I stood at the ferry’s rail, gazing at the Statue of Liberty who welcomed these people to their new home: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

After we visited both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, we headed over to 42nd Street and Park Avenue to tour Grand Central Terminal, built in 1913. Perhaps some immigrants heading to different locales to live might have caught a train at Grand Central Station? It is possible. Grand Central Terminal was and still is the most famous railway terminal in the world.

However, Grand Central is much more than a railroad station. High above the exterior doors is the ethereal sculpture featuring Hercules, representing physical strength; Mercury, the god of travel and commerce; and Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and protector of cities. Under them is an ornate clock made of Tiffany glass. Then, there is the main concourse. I remember gazing across the expanse to the information booth with its famous four-faced clock; each face crafted of opal.  And above was a ceiling of constellations, painted backward as if I were seeing the stars from God’s vantage point. What a wondrous sight!

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Book Review: The Elegant Out

Recently, I read The Elegant Out, written by Elizabeth Bartasius. Told in the first-person point-of-view, this work of fiction feels more like a memoir.

The main character, Elizabeth, is struggling. Stuck in a dead-end job, Elizabeth is a domestic abuse survivor. Even though Elizabeth has a new love, Gabe, a man who deeply cherishes her, and a son Jack, around whom her world revolves, her ex-husband’s abusive words still echo in her head. And that long-ago vitriol has affected her self-worth and self-identity.

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Dementia in the DNA

Different traits, mannerisms, and susceptibilities are passed down from generation to generation. In my case, I most resemble my mother’s family. My skin, hair, and eye colors come from them. My warped sense of humor has been bequeathed to me by both my father and my maternal grandmother. My affinity for music and dance and my artistic proclivities come from my mom and her kin. My love of the mountains and rolling farmland and even my nose shape are thanks to my paternal line.

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Categories: Everyday People, Noel-Ardinger Line, This Is My Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Review: The Welsh Fasting Girl

In the mid- to late-1800s, a phenomenon known as “fasting girls” were documented in the Americas and Europe. These young girls, usually preteens, claimed that they could survive for long periods of time without eating.

During the Middle Ages, some saints were said to have been able to survive without nourishment. Because of this precedence, many of the Victorian-age faithful regarded these fasting girls as miraculous and saw this self-starvation as a sign of sanctity. As a result, these young girls became spectacles, put on display, often for a price and always at a cost.

Thankfully, the fascination with fasting girls faded. Doctors eventually determined that these girls had suffered from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where food intake is restricted as a way to cope with negative emotions.

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Blogging…Why Bother?

For more than two decades, I have researched my and my spouse’s families’ histories. Initially, I did this for myself and my children—to connect us to the past through our ancestors.

Over time, my tree has grown. New branches have sprouted for the in-laws’, step-families’, and others’ families. Currently, nearly 12,000 people inhabit our combined family trees.

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Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, This Is My Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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