The Ephemera of Life

Ephemera of Life 1

Closing out the various properties that belonged to my parents has meant going through boxes and boxes of things we’ve discovered in attics, closets, the garage, and anywhere else someone might hide a box of junk. Most of it is just that – the sort of stuff you save because you think you have to. Some of it looks like trash, but can contain some real nuggets of insight. While probably meaningless to anyone else, to us these bits of paper have revealed another side of our parents, including concerns and other thoughts often unbeknownst to the children at the time. Even though Mom’s been gone for two years now and Dad for five, it’s been like getting to know them and at the same time mourning them all over again. The process has been fascinating, and I thought I’d share some of the discoveries we made while sifting through the ephemera of their lives. Continue reading “The Ephemera of Life”

Amazing Grace

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This past Tuesday night my Aunt Grace Ellenberg passed away. She was 95. The older sister of my late mother, she led a long, amazing life of adventure that defied the expectations set for a young farm girl from Ninety Six, South Carolina. Grace was a teacher and world traveler, a complex person with a profound Christian faith coupled with a keen intellect and desire to learn. Continue reading “Amazing Grace”

Banjo Therapy

Tom with Banjo

Last winter we discovered that Laura’s mom responds well to my banjo playing. Her memory returns and she claps along. I’ve started bringing it every time we visit, and despite my limited skills she seems to like it. This Thanksgiving has been very difficult, with Mrs. Wright battling infections as well as Alzheimer’s While the banjo hasn’t worked miracles, it has brought some relief. More importantly, I’ve discovered that this therapy isn’t limited to Mrs. Wright. Continue reading “Banjo Therapy”

Paddling to Jack Island

Indian River and Jack Island-4

Ever since we first discovered it nearly 30 years ago, Laura and I have enjoying coming to Jack Island. Jack Island State Park and Preserve is a 340 acre island on the Indian River side of North Hutchinson Island. Trails circle the island and cross it. There is a birding tower on the river side of the island. This was the first place I discovered the thrill of “hunting” birds with a long telephoto lens, and that capturing them in this fashion was just as satisfying (even more satisfying) thank actually shooting something. We try to come back to the island as often as we can when we’re down this way.

Jack Island isn’t very far from Amy’s house. However, I’d never been there by boat. I think I might have paddled past it on one of my extended trips, but I’m not sure. This time I had a goal. I was going to paddle until I found the birding tower. That way I could truly say that I had paddled to Jack Island. Continue reading “Paddling to Jack Island”

Requiem for a Homestead

Gray Court Homestead

It’s the end of an era. Per stipulations of our parents’ will, our family home in Gray Court has been sold. A nice young couple will start their lives in a place I’ve thought of as home for 48 years. I’m not exactly sad. In fact, I’m not sure how I’m feeling. Probably more relief that the place did, in fact, sell quickly, and that there won’t be any lingering issues. We’ve spent the past weeks going through the remaining family items in the house and helping my sister Glynda get moved. As of this weekend, for the first time in nearly five decades, the Gray Court house is no longer occupied by a member of our family. I thought some reflection was in order. Continue reading “Requiem for a Homestead”

Dealing with Old Photographs

Wright Family History - Child Family-1

Lately I’ve been hit with a deluge of old family photos. There are the Wright Family photos we found out on Samish Island. We shipped eleven boxes of albums and photos back to the east coast. Then there are the Taylor Family photos – thirteen organized and labeled albums. Throw in all of the photos I’ve taken in pre-digital days, and the number of images is astounding. I would really like to convert all of these to some sort of a digital format, but it is a mountain of a task. For the past several days I’ve been working on workflow and equipment to make the job go as smoothly as possible. Here’s what I’ve learned… Continue reading “Dealing with Old Photographs”

Samish Sojourn – Memories and History

Samish Island Backyard

We have just finished our first week on Samish Island in Washington State. We had made plans last spring to come up here when Laura’s summer research ended and spend some time working on her mom’s house. It’s a chance to relax and recharge, but also to take care of some family business. So far the weather has been spectacular, and has been a welcome break from the sweltering heat of South Carolina. Continue reading “Samish Sojourn – Memories and History”

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