Thursday, May 28, 2009

Genealogy or Motherhood or Both

Mom began doing genealogical research on the family before she became a mother...actually before she even married Dad. Stories she tells indicate that she would work on her research when my brother and I were napping or in bed at night. She never missed a stroke, but her time was somewhat limited for genealogy.

When I was about eight months old Mom began working on a family genealogy for the Amsberry reunion. That was before computers, so she set the typewriter up in the living room on a card table, along with her paper and notes. To entertain my brother for close to an hour, without interruption, she cut out strips of paper and had him color them. After that he could make loops and a chain which he seemed to never tire of doing. That allowed Mom to be a mother and a genealogist. A eight month old is a bit different, so when it came time to feed me she learned how to balance me on her feet under the table and rock me while I drank my bottle. She would type away on the Amsberry genealogy notes.

Of course, there were the trips to visit relatives, to cemeteries and also to allow Mom to research in libraries. My brother and I both had chicken pox practically at the same time. He was about 7 years old and I was about 4 years old. After we had healed up, Dad took Mom to a library that had a genealogy section and told her to spend a few hours and he'd entertain us. Mom had definitely earned that free time!

Mom worked when we were in high school, but she still found time to write and column on genealogy and history for the local newspaper. She would stay up until the wee hours of the morning working on her writing and genealogy. I think that's why she doesn't need as much sleep as some people. When she and Dad moved to Iowa in 1996, Mom was having health problems and was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery in May of 1999, she was declared free of cancer. She's a ten year survivor.

By 2000, Mom and Dad had moved back to Nebraska. Where they were living meant that Mom had to travel quite a ways to do research. That didn't stop her. She had internet and from time to time she'd do some traveling. In 2004 Dad was diagnosed with cancer. After numerous operations, chemo and radiation, it was apparent he was not going to be a survivor like Mom. He left us on 26 June 2007. during those three years, Mom took care of Dad without any help. Their vacations were to hospitals. Mom never complained about not finding time for genealogy. She'd think about it, read genealogy periodicals in the hospitals and doctor's offices and try to do some research from time to time.

A few days before he passed away, Dad told Mom that he wanted her to resume her genealogical research after he passed away. Mom has done exactly that, but she still juggles that with the title of Mother and also Grandmother.

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