Although it’s a Christmas classic the movie It’s a Wonderful Life wasn’t actually released to theaters until after Christmas on January 7th, 1947, 67 years ago today.*
Since the time I was a young boy lying on the floor and watching the old movies of the 30’s and 40’s, on a black and white television, I’ve always loved actor Jimmy Stewart. It was my mother’s fondness for him that initially led me to this discovery. Having my own roots in a small western Pennsylvania community, only 60 miles from Jimmy’s hometown, also helped to cement my affection for him.
But somehow, inexplicably one of Stewart’s greatest movies — It’s a Wonderful Life — went unnoticed by me until sometime in the 1980’s.
Hear these words, hear the rhyme
Heed the hope within my mind
Send me back to where I’ll find
What I wish in place and time
In your time it’s December 13, 1971. I know it’s hard to believe and will come as a great surprise but I’m you! Yep you, but exactly 40 years in your future.
I’ll help you here. Remember that ghostly woman who would repeatedly terrorize you in nightmares as a five-year old? We never knew her intentions, but we knew she was evil. Then there’s that dream of a lakeside home and a boat parked in the back. The huge antenna atop that sprawling ranch style home. How about that last kiss and the words Dani said to you just five nights ago when you last saw her? All those doubts and the terrible, nagging, lingering ache in your heart? Who else but you could know these things? Young love is always tough. Give it time, your feelings will pass as they will for the others that will surely come. Heart breakers, every one of them! Prepare yourself… adult love can be even worse. Continue reading
I never thought I would live to be this old.
Billy Graham – Nearing Home
I was thumbing through a brand new book by the celebrated Evangelist Billy Graham just the other night. I remember Graham from the time I was a little boy and watching him on television. Charismatic and a powerful speaker he’s lived an amazing life and has preached to more people than any other in history, an estimated audience of more than 2.2 billion! Early in his career he was offered a lucrative network television contract that would have made him a millionaire several times over, but turned it down to continue his ministry. Billy Graham is hugely popular and ranked 7th on Gallup’s list of most admired people for the 20th century.
Graham celebrated his 93rd birthday yesterday and his latest book Nearing Home shares his personal experience of growing old and teaches valuable lessons on how to view our time here on Earth. It got me to thinking…. Continue reading
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share.
~~ Steve Jobs ~~
I had planned to post something different in the morning, but just over an hour ago I saw the news on the Internet of the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The fear I wrote of, just a little more than a month ago, that his time might be short, has sadly been realized.
In June of 2005 Jobs left a touching and timely commencement message with the graduating students of Stanford University. From his unique perspective and very personal experiences he urged those graduates to pursue their dreams and to look to the various setbacks of life for the opportunities that present themselves, including death itself.
I’m not sure why I am as saddened about Jobs’ death as I am. I guess it has something to do with his young age and all that he had to offer the world, now cut short in the prime of his life. The world won’t be the same without Steve.
Like many women my age, I am 28 years old. ~~ Mary Schmich
Mary Schmich is a lot smarter than me. She was born in Savannah, Georgia and went to high school in Phoenix, Arizona. She would go on to get her B.A. from California’s Pomona College. Then, after three years working in college admissions, and more than a year in France, she attended journalism school at Stanford. She worked as a newspaper reporter afterwards and in 1985 went to the Chicago Tribune. Later she became their national correspondent in Atlanta.
In 1992 she started writing a column for the Tribune but after a year took time off to attend Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship for journalists. Like I said, Mary’s a lot smarter than me. From 1985 until January of this year she authored a comic strip Brenda Starr. She’s also a ragtime piano player. Multi-talented I’d say.
Schmich who is still writing her columns for the Tribune wrote her most famous in 1997. She started with a simple admonition and continued with advice for living without regret. In time that advice would be spread around the Internet and, as often happens, has been falsely identified as a commencement address given at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by author Kurt Vonnegut. The author was once quoted by the New York Times as saying, I would have been proud had the words been mine.
Eli & Mary Jane (Patton) Lines Family
I’ve been fascinated with my family history since I was a young teenager. Among the first lists and notes I created were those devoted to who my earlier family members were and anything else I could learn about them. Unfortunately I didn’t ask nearly as many questions as I should have nor did I always write things down. It wasn’t until I was an adult and well into my years that I really began to conscientiously keep written track of nearly everything I was told.
I’ve spent untold hours in the cause of documenting all I can learn about my family. Over the years I’ve gone from a few dozen names, with dates, places and sometimes stories, to a few hundred in the mid 1980s to around 1,200 ten years later. By the year 2000 those numbers grew to a few thousand. Now my database has more than 18,000 names [23,700 as of June 2017]. As carefully as I can I’ve tried to assure there are no duplicate records and no mistakes. More than half of them are blood relatives spanning 34 generations.
The photo above was taken in 1905 in Clearfield County, PA. It’s of my great-grandfather Eli Lines and his wife Mary. Two of their six children are standing behind, they are a brother and sister of my grandfather’s. I knew both of them. My great Aunt Cornelia was 12-years old when that photo was taken. She died at the age of 99.
One thing is certain. As I look at the records of my paternal grandparents Harry and Nora Lines and the names of their 13 children, all of whom I knew, except three boys who died as young children in 1910, 1921 and 1926 — and my father who died when I was two — I’ve come to appreciate how short life really is. It wasn’t that long ago that all nine of my aunts and uncles were living, breathing people who I visited with, spoke to, loved and admired. Continue reading