Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roll Out The Red Carpet!

This post was written for the 42nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.

If I were to hold an award ceremony within my own blog and looking only at the best posts made over the past year, I wonder which ones I would pick. With categories such as Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Documentary, Best Biography and Best Comedy, I wonder who would win? Here are my picks and I give them several thumbs up!

Best Picture

The award goes to a photo of my great-granduncle Maurice Austin's wife, Anna McPhillips. In the post Frustrating Search - Searching Newspaper Archives for Genealogy Data on October 13, 2007, I included this fantastic 1920's photo while I explained how difficult it can be to find obtituary information about ancestors. Anna was killed in the Bronx, New York in 1925 when a car drove up on the sidewalk and pinned her against a building. This is one of the stories that I continue to research to find out more information on not only how the accident occurred but how it affected our family.

Best Screen Play

This was a tough one. I almost selected the story of my birth and how it involved kitchen cabinets, Wigilia, Midnight Mass, a game of poker, a generator, a maternity ward and a Christmas stocking. But I had to go more with the focus that started me blogging: my mother's story of early-onset Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 58. In Off-Topic: Blood Test for Alzheimer's Disease, I attempted to explain the process of watching a parent "die in slow motion" and how it affects the entire family.

If I were to cast this as a movie, I don't know that I could do much better than Julie Christie as my mother given Ms. Christie's recent triumph in Away From Her. Perhaps only because I recently saw this movie, but she embodied the vitality, intelligence and ambition of my mother in her prime and then went on to depict an unravelling. For my uncle Jerry, my mother's brother, to whom I owe much since he has really done much of the local care for Mom, I'd pick Tom Skerrit. For myself, probably Tom Hanks.

This post is also very dear to my heart since it is what first introduced me to Jasia and subsequently the entire gang of genea-bloggers.

Best Documentary

Hands down, the best informational post for me was The Hidden - LGBT Family Members and Genealogy. Written back on October 17, 2007 when my blogging started to really pick up, this post doesn't win for what it explains about my family. It wins more for what it doesn't explain and how frustrating it can be to try to document the lives of family members who don't conform to the traditional family structures or relationships.

Best Biography

For me, selecting this one was quite easy and I think the post represents not only one of my best biographical sketches but writing it was a cathartic process not only for me but for my first cousin Debra Jackson VonRonn. In Kenny's Choice A Veterans Day Tribute, I tried to document the short life of my first cousin once removed, Sgt. Kenneth Von Ronn and his death in Iraq in January 2005. The post represented about a month's worth of research, interviews and writing and I hope that I've done Kenny's story justice. I later had the post published using Ancestry's publishing tool and sent the finished product to Kenny's mom who continues to cherish it to this day.

Best Comedy

If a post were to include reviews such as "I laughed, I didn't cry, I mostly laughed" and reading the post caused one fellow genea-blogger to elicit stares at her local Panera store, then it has to be A Man With Dolls. Posted on December 7th, in the midst of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, I wrote this as part of the Cabinet of Curiosities hosted by Tim at Walking the Berkshires. I tried not only to explain why my guest bedroom has a large grouping of antique porcelain dolls, but my unhealthy obsession with dolls as a small male child.


Apple said...

These were all great posts that I remember reading. You have other great stuff in your archives so it must have been hard to choose!

Jasia said...

I'm so glad you picked "Off Topic: Blood Test for Alzheimer's Disease", Thomas! Of all of your blog posts, this is the one that has a special place in my heart. I will always think of this blog post when I think of you. It touched my heart in a way that no other post you've written has. Thank you!

Lidian said...

What marvelous posts you picked out - thank you so much for directing me/us to them. I was especially moved by the one about your mother. My mom had a form of Alzheimer's (it was not clear exactly what, Parkinson's also a bit, no one quite could figure it out)...I am not at the place yet where I can write about it, but I wanted to let you know that I can certainly relate to a lot of what you said.

You are an amazing writer.

Thomas MacEntee said...

If you ever need to write or talk about it let me know. Jasia has taken this journey as well so we all sort of become kindred spirits after a while.