Life@50+ Vendor Spotlight: Ancestry.com

Life@50+ Vendor Spotlight: Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com at Lifeat50
Here at the Spring AARP Life@50+ Convention in Boston, I am one of nearly 20,000 seniors and baby boomers from all walks of life, come together for learning, sharing, shopping, and some good, old-fashioned fun. This is not, as our children and grandchildren may think, an “old person convention.” It is a gathering of individuals with an amazingly diverse set of experiences, backgrounds, interests, and persuasions, looking – more than anything – for ideas, opportunities, services, and products that will make the next few decades at least as exciting and fulfilling as the first five.

Contribute to Posterity with a Family History

After spending most of their adult lives working diligently for financial gain and material comfort, a growing number of retirees have become interested in ways to contribute something to posterity – such as providing a legacy of knowledge and understanding for following generations. One way to do this is genealogical research – and the tools available today for discovering one’s roots are more accessible, easier to navigate, and less expensive than ever before.

Creating a Buzz: Ancestry.com

Ancestry siteOne of the most visited vendor booths here in the convention center is that of the world’s leading online genealogy and family history resource site, Ancestry.com. My wife Mary Ann is here with me and is finding this most interesting since she is working on a family history with her brother Mike who has is a member of ancestry.com. IMG_20140508_132727_334-1As an AARP Discount Partner, Ancestry.com offers a substantially discounted rate for AARP members to access its extensive worldwide database of billions of genealogical records. The Ancestry.com vendor booth is drawing crowds consisting of both avid genealogists – who have already begun the challenge of untangling the roots of their family trees – and newcomers who have never before considered researching family histories. The eminently knowledgeable and helpful Ancestry.com team is here to meet with AARP members, have conversations about the site, and infect Boomers with the “genealogy bug.” People who have almost no previous knowledge of genealogy leave the booth inspired and intrigued by how much historical information is available to them. Ancestry.com has set up shop here with numerous computers and on-site research assistants. Those who want a demonstration fill out a simple worksheet with basic background information from both parents’ families, then sit down with one of the Ancestry.com researchers to see what can be accessed in the database. Even visitors who don’t have much historical information about their families beyond the names of their grandparents are amazed at how much information can be accessed with just some basic info: draft cards, census records, naturalization papers, and more. The ease and rapidity with which Ancestry.com’s researchers are able to pull up records, documents, and genealogical details is creating a buzz here among the Life@50+ attendees. Many, after experiencing that first exciting discovery, are eager to activate a membership at the site so they can begin digging deeper into their families’ histories.

Special Ancestry.com Discount Available to AARP Members

Contributing to the excitement surrounding the genealogy site is the great deal being offered to AARP members: Ancestry.com gives a 30% discount on a year’s worth of their World Explorer package subscription (those who are already members on the site can also access the discount by calling 1-800-514-4654). The World Explorer package gives members access to all of the Ancestry.com databases and other sources within the US and worldwide. This includes about 13 billion different documents, photographs, official records, and other information sources – and the available records are added to constantly, to the tune of about two million new pieces of information each day. An Ancestry.com membership can help you and the younger generations in your family understand where you came from. It can aid in verifying connections with historical societies such as the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution. It may even help to improve your family’s healthcare, as documents such as death certificates are unearthed, shedding light on family medical history. You can organize and share your family tree, locate immigrant ancestors, connect with other members for help and ideas, and ultimately, bring your family history alive with historical documentation, leaving a legacy of information for your children and grandchildren. If you want to join the many AARP Life@50+ visitors who are taking advantage of the Ancestry.com World Explorer package discount, visit aarpdiscounts.com.

Boomer Childhood Memories

If you are a boomer reading this I hope it took you to a place of importance in your life. I hope you will share your story with others that will listen. Most of all, I hope that it has instilled in you the memory of what is really important. Simple can sometimes be the most priceless of things that we have! Ask yourself, is it too late? Maybe your family can still have some of this on a beautiful week end coming up soon.

As I awaken from a short nap today and sat enjoying a cup of cappuccino, my mind went back in time to my childhood.  I thought of the big city of St. Louis, Missouri where I was born.  It was a city not suburbs as some of us call city today.  I remember the two and four family flats around the neighborhood.  Most families rented.  The flats were not air conditioned.  Instead, a fan was placed in the window for cooling.  Neighbors sat on the front porch steps to cool in the evening.  Those buildings were very hot in the summer time.  Children played on the sidewalks such games as hop scotch and jacks.  Some kids were lucky enough to own a bicycle.  Our treat consisted of getting a nice cold snow cone from the snow cone man when we heard the musical sound of his truck coming. Our parents were blue collar workers. They were proud to have jobs in factories near by.  After a hard day of work some listened to the Cardinal baseball game on the AM station of their radio.  You could smell the aroma of home cooking coming the apartments. Dinner time was called super time and lunch was dinner.  A hearty lunch consisted of half a bologna sandwich and a can of Campbell’s chicken and noodle soup.  Super usually included some form of potatoes, a meat and gravy, peas or beans.  Children did not complain about their meals and Mom’s enjoyed cooking them.

Week ends came and some Dads might have a beer or two.  Mothers did the weekly grocery shopping at an outside fruit and vegetable market.  Meat was purchased from a butcher at the meat store.  The butcher was a friendly sort of chap with meat blood stains on his apron.  He always cut and wrapped a generous good portion in white freezer paper. The butcher knew all his customers by a first name basis.

Some times families enjoyed the parks on Sunday.  I remember the bright colored plastic table clothes spread out on picnic benches.  Huge bowls of potato salad, slaw and all the fixings were there for a wonderful picnic meal.  Adults and children played softball, badminton and shared a lot of laughter and fun.  At the end of the day we were relaxed, a little tired, sometimes sun burned, but happy. That was life in the big city.

Later I remember the move to a small town.  It was a much slower pace.  The town has one grocery store not a butchers shop.  There was a town square that sat right in the middle of the town with the stores around it.  You could see the old cotton gin where farmers brought their cotton in wagons to be ginned and bailed.  Sometimes there was country music players in the square for the town folks entertainment.  It was very important to get to town at the right time on Saturday evening for the town drawing.  I remember waiting anxiously to hear who would win the prize for the week.

On Sunday most folks put on their go to meeting clothes and attended church.  Everyone’s shoes were shined and dressed in their best clothes.  You could see men’s faces freshly shaved.  Women looked as though they just walked out of a country fashion magazine.   Hats were properly taken off prior to entering the building except for the ladies.  Of course they displayed their hats proudly on their heads clipped on with hat pins.

Sunday dinner was a big thing in the small town.  Tables were prepared with the best dishes.  The windows of the houses were open.  Curtains were swinging back and forth in the windows.  You could smell chicken and okra frying.  Potatoes were being mashed with real butter.  The gravy was simmering in the skillet. Fresh pies were coming out of the ovens.  Beautiful red tomatoes were sliced from the garden.  The families gathered around at the table and enjoyed a feast.  After dinner some nodded off for a nap while others just relaxed as if there was not a care in the world.

If you are a boomer reading this I hope it took you to a place of importance in your life.  I hope you will share your story with others that will listen.  Most of all, I hope that it has instilled in you the memory of what is really important.  Simple can sometimes be the most priceless of things that we have!  Ask yourself, is it too late?  Maybe your family can still have some of this on a beautiful week end coming up soon.

Boomer Memory Of Strengthened Faith

Boomer memories: A get-away turns dangerous when a Winter storm hits, trapping the girls in their cabin at the top of the mountain. Memories are to be shared and Working Boomer lets up know the rest of the story that she always will remember.

It was late March, a beautiful early spring day, as my friend Lou and I set out for the Ozark Mountains for a much needed get a way. I had received one of those free offers to a resort for two nights and three days as guests to view a vacation community. Since funds were low this was an opportunity that we just could not pass up. The sun was shining bright, the sky was crystal clear as we pulled into the resort entrance where we were met by a Realtor who graciously showed us to our condo. It was much more than we had expected. The view from the balcony looked down on the quaint village nestled at the bottom of the mountain.  It was a dream come true; a place for rest and relaxation, no stress, no worries, no responsibility.  For two gals in their early 30’s it was an escape from reality; a little peace of heaven on earth placed there for our enjoyment.  Yes, 1984 was going to be a good year.

Lou and I were ready! After taking our cooler and bags from the car we jumped into our comfortable pajama pants and long sloppy tee shirts. We tuned into our favorite radio station and brought out our manicuring sets, facial masks, curling irons, chocolate candy bars, chips and soda pop. Of course, Lou had her favorite love story book while I had my mediation and inspirational book to read. Lou flopped down on one couch with her legs hanging over the end as I spread out on the floor with my feet and legs in a chair. After pampering ourselves for a few hours, we decided to go to bed early to get some much needed sleep before our sightseeing trip that we had planned for the next day.

After sleeping for about two hours I woke up to a pounding sound on the window by my bed.  I pulled back the curtains to see sleet, ice and snow falling all around. The driveway was covered in ice and of course we were at the very top of the mountain.  We were iced in a snow storm to be remembered! Old man winter had returned in full force. I awakened Lou.  Immediately she started to panic.  She was crying as fear over took her.  We both were due back to work within two days and could not afford to miss any pay.  I had a fear of driving in bad weather and always avoided it.  After listening to the weather news, we learned the snow was suppose to continue for two days and there was talk of shutting the highways down.  I felt scared, powerless and out of control.

Lou was not into meditation and prayer but I was. I asked if she would pray with me.  She agreed and we held each others hands while I prayed.  A since of peace came over me that words can not even describe. The answer came!

Some how we de-iced the car and I drove it down the steep mountain. We made it to the highway where there were no vehicles in sight. Along the way, we stopped at a gas station for a fill up.  A truck driver asked us if we were crazy for driving in the weather.  I smiled and replied, “ No Sir. There is something more powerful than me behind the wheel of this car.”  We then continued on our way.  It was a fourteen hour drive which in normal conditions would have only taken five hours.  I remained calm during the entire trip.  My fear of driving had been removed.  My faith had been strengthened. We arrived safely back in the big city.  Lou now prays and meditates.  As for me, I have a story.  I have a memory.  It may not have been the escape that we wanted but it was the Gift that we needed.  It was The Power Of Faith and Peace Within.  The Gift was priceless and now it is being shared with you!

Boomer Memories: A Visit to A Brother in FL

Go deep sea fishing with Working Boomer and her brother and discover the adventure of a lifetime and their treasured monster catch. Boomer stories.

The alarm clock went off at 4 a.m. and I jumped out of bed ready for my fishing trip in South Florida.  This time I had learned a few things from the day before.  I cut off the jeans in my suit case and made shorts to wear along with a halter top.  My carrying bag was full of sun tan lotion.  I was good to go.  By 4:30a.m. my brother and I were at the boat.

It was a nice large boat with a bathroom, table,chairs and an umbrella to keep the sun away.   I thought to myself, ” this is going to be one relaxing fishing trip.” We headed out into the ocean until there was no land to be seen.  The sunrise was beautiful!  My brother stopped the boat so we could begin fishing.

First of all, I could not believe the size of the hooks.  The line was not at all like the line for river fishing  but instead looked to me more like big cable wire wrapped around a huge roller looking thing.  Paul attached a hunk of meat or something on the hook.  Now I had never seen nothing like that before so I figured I had better just do some watching and learning. After casting this large thing out into the ocean, my brother stuck the pole in a big round object and we waited.  It wasn’t long until I saw a large fish in the distance fly up out of the ocean and back down again.  “Wow, look at that!,” I exclaimed to Paul as I looked down at this fishing line which was moving.  Paul responded, “Sis, that flying fish is on your hook.”

Trying to wind in that line was like trying to pull in a bulldozer.  The darn fish got away.  The next fish that hit was a 28 lb. barracuda which Paul caught.  It flopped on the line as it landed on the deck of the boat.  I took a look and  for a moment there, swim or not, I almost jumped overboard.  This fish had big ugly TEETH. Paul said, “Now Sis, don’t try to take the hook out of this baby’s mouth like you do those Missouri fish.”  He didn’t have to worry about that because I was already safely hiding in the bathroom peeking out the door.  Then Paul took some kind of spear looking thing that he called a gaff and stabbed the fish.  Blood went all over the deck.  Now Paul caught a few more barracuda.  I made more escapes to the bathroom.

Then we came upon a group of Red Snapper. He reeled in a lot of those.  Paul really enjoyed snapper catching. Red snapper have BIG red eyeballs.  By that time the sun was drilling down and I was sweating like a big dog, blood everywhere but this was fun.  That is until I had a yank at my line and it took off so fast that I didn’t know what to do.  I tugged, reeled, fought, and was determined to get the fish into the boat.  After what seemed like an hour I had to ask brother for HELP.  It was a Big One!  Now it was at the side of the boat.  I looked down and yelled.  It was Jaws himself.  As you might have already guessed, I was back in the bathroom again.

I finally got brave and came out.  Jaws ate two gaffs.  I threw soda cans down his BIG mouth and the he still wouldn’t die.  We didn’t have a shark gun so Paul made a lasso like you rope cows with and lassoed the shark.  I took the other end of the rope and tied it around the table legs so we could get jaws head above water. Jaws then gave up the fight and went peacefully to his maker.

After hours we headed back to land with Jaws attached to the side of the boat.  We docked. Oh my, what an adventure but the work was just beginning.  We weighed Jaws. It was only a little 6 ft. baby shark but I wanted the shark teeth.  So Paul cut into the shark. Oh  what a smell which sent me running again. Now, I am here to tell you I have never seen so much blood.  In addition, we had to clean the boat before we could return home.

Finally jaws was cut up by a saw and iced in a trash can.  The teeth were cut out gums and all.  So fish, myself, and brother were finally headed home. I was a bit traumatized, hot, tired and ready for a good nap.  That is when I realized that 1p.m. until 4 p.m. was good napping time in South Florida during the summer.

Later, my brother who was a chef, fried up a mess of those red snapper.  Man were they good.  I ate until I was about to pop as my brother encouraged me to eat more.  After I could eat no more Paul asked,  “Sis did you enjoy your fish dinner?”  Now he had that sly grin on his face again.  I said, Oh yes, that was the best fish that I have ever eaten.”  He said, “I’m glad because you just consumed over a $100 worth of fish if you had bought them at the store.”  So once again I learned a little bit about red snapper, barracuda, shark, salt water ocean fishing, big boat cleaning, and was preparing for my next adventure with my brother Paul.

So if any of this interests you then check out vacations and places to live on this site boomerplaces.com.  If you are lucky you might even find a good smoked fish recipe under the title recipes.  Yep, if I had it all to do over, I would not change a thing.  Those were great times and good boomer memories. More Boomer StoriesBoomer Vacations

Boomer Stories: Memories and Humor

WorkingBoomer has inspired me with her Boomer Stories. I get the premise that Baby Boomers have lived through many exciting decades and have stories to tell. Living is experiences and some experiences you remember more than others. When you tell these personal stories to others it becomes part of your life’s story. Boomer blogging is done by people who want to share some of these stories.

WorkingBoomer has inspired me with her Boomer Stories.  I get the premise that Baby Boomers have lived through many exciting decades and have stories to tell.  Living is experiences and some experiences you remember more than others.   When you tell these personal stories to others it becomes part of  your life’s story.   Boomer blogging  is done by people who want to share some of these stories.

OK I accept the task to write one of my boomer stories.   What shall I write about?  Inspiration?  Generation perspective?  World peace?  No, I think fishing stories.  Fishing and stories kind of go together, don’t you think?

These three fishing stories all happen in the early part of my life, because I don’t fish much anymore except an occasional charter boat trip in the Gulf of Mexico.  The first story is scary and the other two humorous.

Here we go.

1. CATCHING A MESS – Growing up in a small town in middle Georgia,  when I was about age 15,  I went fishing just about every day during the Summer behind the dam at the spillway at Lake Tchukolaho with my two brothers.   This particular day I was catching the bream like crazy with my Zebco 33 spinner.  Wearing Calypso shorts and low cut Converse tennis shoes with no socks I waded out in the water almost up to my waist, to get closer to the fish.  After a while my fish stringer was full of bream and getting heavy so I double tied it to my belt loop so it would not come off and turned to start back to shore .   That fish stinger sure was heavy and I couldn’t wait to show my brother waiting on shore, so with both hands  I hoisted up the stringer of fish.  What happened next I still get goose bumps over.  There was a huge ugly water moccasin snake who had swallowed up the bottom half of my fish stringer.  Gasping jaws wide open trying to sallow the whole string.   I don’t know who was surprised more, me or the snake.  Remember the string was tied to my belt loop.  There was a lot of high stepping and splashing and eventfully I got to shore with out the snake.

Ok on to better times.

2. WHAT DO I DO NOW? – When I moved to the city and got married, Mary Ann and I lived in some apartments near Stone Mountain Park which had a nice lake.  I would come home from my Accounting job, change out of the suit, pick up my fishing gear and head over for 30 minutes of bass fishing before dusk.  Each time I would ask Mary Ann if  she wanted to go, and the answer was “No, you go ahead”, but this day she said yes.   Off to park we go and stopped on the side of the road and took the short walk through the woods to the lake .   Bass fishing is done by casting along the shoreline in the shallow water.  But we couldn’t both do that so I set Mary Ann up with a plastic worm and a large weight on her spinner and cast it straight out in the lake.  You just slowly reel in the line and then throw it back out, were my instructions.  There that would take care of here while I do some real Bass fishing.

I quickly disappeared along the wooded path along the lake to the better fishing spot.   Thirty minutes later, I had a couple of hits but no fish. Since it would be getting dark, I headed back.  As I came out of the woods to the clearing, I see Mary Ann standing there with her spinner rod pointed up and a big bass flip flopping on the ground.  “What do I do now” I heard her say.

On to the last fishing story.

3. TALK ABOUT A BIG CATCH!. –  So Mary Ann and I are fishing at a country pond.  It is getting late afternoon and time to bass fish.  We are on the side of the pond.  I plan to go along the pond’s edge fishing for bass. Mary Ann needs something to do.   I rig up a spinner with a Jitterbug lure, the type that wobbles back and forth across the top of the water.   Planning to keep her clear of my fishing grounds, I say “throw it over there towards the other side of the pond by those cattails”.    Mary Ann, where?   At that time three cows were walking along a path on the other side of the pond going to wherever cows go at the end of the day. I said “over there by the cows”.   Mary Ann reared back and slung that Jitterbug lure with a mighty sling .   The lure sailed high in the air and took off.  It landed on the cows back!

The cow keeps strolling down the path.  The fishing line is reeling off.

Mary Ann said here! and gave the spinner to me.  I made sure the line was letting out as the cow continued down the path.  What to do?  The lure after hitting the cow on the back must have jumped off on the other side. The line fell off the cow just before we gave out of line.

Night Time Foot Warmers Never Change

It’s a bit chilly outside this morning which took my mind on a series of thoughts.  As a country gal, we only had one little stove which sat in the living room.  The rest of the house was with out heat.  Now talk about a cold bedroom.

The bed had lots of covers.  There were the flannel sheets and at least six homemade quilts.  My mother made those quilts by hand.  She used fabric from discarded dresses, curtains and so forth. Then the fabric was cut into little squares and sewed together.  For a lining she sewed in old army blankets or sometimes cotton from rolls.  Now this was warmth.  Once you got into bed and found a comfy spot that is where you stayed for the night.  There was not much tossing about because the covers were so heavy it was difficult to turn over.  Then of course there was the problem of keeping one’s nose warm.  In order to breathe it had to come out from under those covers.   I can even remember wearing a cover over my head which helped keep the ears warm.

Today quilting is a hobby.  There are quilts in the department stores with beautiful designs and colors.  If one chooses to have cotton sheets those can be purchased also but are much different from the old days.  Now they are smooth and fit the bed tightly.  Back in the day each morning it was an ordeal picking little cotton balls off ones flannel nighties after arising.

Now we turn the thermostat just to the right temperature.  The ladies deck out in silky sexy attire and they even have those silky pajamas for men.  For true warmth there are electric blankets with his and hers separate controls on them.  Even the family dog has a fancy cozy sleeping bed of its own.

If you still have a bed partner there is something  that still hasn’t changed; COLD FEET! Cold feet are just cold feet.  Now I don’t have a partner so I really don’t have to be concerned with that today but I still haven’t forgotten.  Back in my early first marriage I headed for bed ready to sleep.  Then here he came and over came those COLD FEET.    Now much later in life with the nice heated blankets and temperature controlled bedrooms here he came  with those same icicle COLD FEET.

So the bottom line to this story is just this.  If you have a partner at any time in life that you still sleep with make ABSOLUTELY SURE that there are nice warm HIS and HERS socks for those Cold feet.  After all they can be removed when the body temperatures start to rise.  If you are a house hold of one like me, just jump in the bed drift off to sleep and thank the lucky stars that you don’t have to get that shocker coming your way of the COLD FEET.